The Two List Exercise

July 8, 2011 — Leave a comment

Try this simple exercise for an opportunity to enhance your marriage.

You and your spouse make two lists at the end of each day, independently from each other.

The first list is:  Things my spouse did for me today that made me feel appreciated.

The second list is:  What I did for my spouse today to show them that I value them.

Then compare your lists with each other.

Here is what will happen.  First of all, if you are to make a list of things your spouse has done that made you feel appreciated, you’ll start looking for those things.  (In life we often find what we are looking for!)

Secondly, If you have to make a list of things you have done to show your spouse that you value them, you’ll start trying to think of things to do. (No one wants a blank list!)

But here’s the third thing that can happen.  Let’s say my wife and I do this exercise.  On my list of things I’ve done to show her that I value her, I put four things.  On her list of things I’ve done that made her feel appreciated, she only puts one thing, and it’s not even one of the four things on my list.

I would look at her in astonishment, show her my list and say, “What about these things?  Look what I did!”

She would then look at my list and say, “Those things don’t mean anything to me.”

At that point I have two choices.  I can become indignant that she didn’t like what I did.  Or I can say to myself, “Quit wasting your time doing things that don’t get you any return for your investment.  Figure out what she likes and do those things.”

I’ve seen this simple exercise turn sour marriages into sweet relationships.

Give it a try!

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