Relationships are a high contact sport! After years of research and experimentation, our incredible marriage uses lots of hacks.
Some of the highlights are:
- In an emotionally heightened moment, I ask myself “Would I rather be right or happy?” Generally the answer is “Happy” but even when the urge to be right overpowers me, at least it isn’t a pure knee jerk response! I know what I am getting myself into and that the result won’t feel nearly as good.
- For couples who are going through a huge change or challenge, especially a new baby, it is really important to increase appreciation for one another. In those times, it is so easy to gather evidence against your loved one and collect data on all the extra sacrifices you are making. A two minute appreciation shower is a great way to reunite at the end of your busy day. Take turns: one minute Person A lauds appreciation onto Person B and then switch. This helps keep the focus on seeing the good in your partner. It also feels good to know your partner notices your efforts.
- For any couple: COMMIT to the relationship. If you commit to a harmonious relationship, that decision guides every interaction. You cannot go too far off the path if you put the health of the relationship above ego demands. It isn’t easy but it is worth it. When you decide to stay, no matter what, you can get through the tough spots with more confidence and support.
- When one of us needs to unload something, we generally ask, “Do you simply need a listening ear or would you like help problem solving?” That way, neither of us feels like the other wants to “fix” us if we simply need to express. Also, we feel supported if we actually want help solving something.
- Make yourself happy and then allow your partner to increase that happiness. I see too many people who don’t know how to be happy (or think that they are “happy” because everything looks right from the outside). A person who doesn’t know how to be happy sucks the vitality out of a room. And a person who refuses to allow her partner to contribute to her happiness is equally damaging.
These aren’t necessarily easy, but they are worth it! Getting through the tough stuff allows for connection deeper than I ever imagined possible. I wish the same for you.
Integrate one of the above tips for the week. See how it works in all of your relationships. It requires some suspension of disbelief! The ego will try to convince you that it is hogwash, but it works!