5 Actions You can Take to End the Year Well Relationally

Fall is here. September is the beginning of the last quarter of the year and a time to evaluate, once again, whether we have created the kind of relationship that we wanted on January 1st, 2013. If you have taken the temperature of your relationship and found it wanting, what are some actions you could take now that will move you towards the couple journey that you would love to have. Here are 5 possibilities.
Say 4 or 5 kind or positive things to your partner today and everyday day this month. What will that do? First it will change you inside. What we say in our relationships matters. In fact, in Gottman’s research, 5 to 1 kind to negative interactions is an indicator of a stable relationship. Whereas, 1 to 5 kind to negative interactions is an indicator of impending divorce.
Honour your partner’s differences. I hear lots of couples who come to a session with me where they reflect on the differences between their partner and themselves. Unfortunately, their partner’s differences become negative personality characteristics in their mind, sometimes resulting in criticism or contempt. When you choose a partner, you choose a set of differences. What you do with those differences is what matters to your inner happiness. Will you adjust and work with your differences, allowing room in the relationship for the other person? Will you honour those differences by allowing them to be an enduring characteristic? From now until the end of the year, do not allow yourself to dwell negatively on your differences, but appreciate them. Laugh a lot about the 2 of you in your relationship.
Be present. When you are with your partner, be there. We are so busy these days and the culture of our technology can sometimes mean that we are multitasking by texting etc. I see it everywhere. Couples sitting in a car where they are both on the phone or sitting in a restaurant together, texting or on the phone. They are beside each other but not being present to each other. You may have heard a complaint from your partner regarding this. Decide for yourself a change you will make in being present to the end of the year.
Add an interest or spark in your life. Take a course together this fall. For instance, take some dancing lessons. The tango is a great dance for couples. Or join a hiking club or something else that would add a new element of experience in your couple life. Consider adding a new spark in your sex life. Even if it is adding another night or morning of love making or adding some sexy new night wear or? Take in a relationship workshop to increase your skills.
Reinstitute your date night. It really makes a positive difference in your relationship. But make it a date night where you have given some thought to your conversation topics. Consider how you can chat with your friends a mile a minute while in some partnerships there are uncomfortable silences or the same conversations about the kids or family again and again. Explore a topic together that you have not explored before. Adopt an attitude of curiosity about your partner’s thoughts and ideas around the topic and it will go well.
Above all enjoy your journey. We get this one opportunity and we are also given the ability to create a great relationship. Pay attention to the positive tools and skills for a great relationship. Be renewed in your quest for more!

If you are in the Vancouver area and would find value in improving your relationship skills, I am offering a workshop for couples using the book, “7 Principles for Making Marriage Work”, by John Gottman, as the text. Please join us. For more information and registration see: www.7principlesformakingmarriagework-workshops.com