14445157466_d52745af3d_oBy Jonathan Pishner

Yes, the title is written correctly. You should treat your spouse better than a stranger.

Obvious, right? On the surface, everyone would agree to this. But in practice, it doesn’t always turn out that way.

When you have been in a relationship for a long time, you eventually become very comfortable with each other. It’s good to be comfortable around a love partner.

There is, however, such a thing as TOO comfortable.

As relationships progress, it becomes very easy to start letting one or two little things get forgotten. Then another one or two things. Then some more. Before you know it, the partners are treating each other VERY differently than they were at the beginning of the relationship, and not in a good way.

While growth can and should happen in a relationship, we sometimes allow our comfort to become so great that important details get lost or forgotten. Many relationships with problems have broken down so much that the partners no longer observe even the most basic of manners toward each other. After many months or years together, some couples find themselves doing or saying things to each other that they would NEVER have said in the early days of the relationship.

I have seen many relationships where the partners do not treat each other as well as they would treat a stranger on the street.

Some people might read this and think that is crazy.

But some people reading this just paused and became very thoughtful. If this applies to you in some way, I encourage you to read on.

There is an easy way to tell if you are not treating your partner well enough. Ask yourself one simple question…..

Do I treat strangers better than I treat my partner?

Remember: your love partner is supposed to be an extremely important part of your life. The hope is that you would treat each other at least as well as you would any other person. But do you? There are many couples in which partners are not treated as well as friends, acquaintances, or even strangers.

You can answer these simple questions to help figure out if this applies to you:

  • Are you more polite to a waiter bringing your food than your partner?
  • Are you kinder to your coworkers than your partner?
  • Do you forgive mistakes from a cashier or clerk, but not your partner?
  • Do you do nice things for your friends, but not your partner?
  • Do you bother to say or do nice things for them at all?
  • Do you ask them how their day was and actually listen to the answer?
  • Do you use polite phrases like “please” and “thank you”?

If the answer to any of these is “no”, there may be a problem. If you answered “no” and came up with a reason or excuse, it’s still a problem.

An unfortunate reality for many couples is that they become distant over time. And this distance starts in the tiny details of the relationship. Details like:

  • Being polite
  • Respecting boundaries
  • Doing nice things for each other
  • Forgiving mistakes

If you want a fulfilling relationship, you have to at least treat your partner as politely as you would a stranger. Preferably much more so.

Take some time today and think this over. How do you REALLY treat your partner? Like a roommate? Like a lover? Like an acquantance? Like an employee? Like a child?

Like a stranger?

If you are one of the many, MANY people who have fallen into bad habits, it may not be too late to turn it around.

Start small. Relationships aren’t made by grand gestures. They are made by the little moments and tiny details. They are created in the everyday interactions. To get started, at least give your partner the basic politeness you would give a stranger.

Then maybe give them a little more.



“Couple” by Vladimir Pustovit / is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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