If you want to have anything in your account you have to invest!
It’s true for your bank account.
It’s even more true for your relationship.
Look, it’s almost 2019!
Life is flying by at warp speed. Whether you’re married and have kids or just dating and have fur babies, it’s crazy busy!
What I see as a couples therapist with Gottman counseling training, is that over time we neglect the romantic relationship. We get past the puppy-love and the honeymoon phase and slip into complacency. When that happens we get caught up in our lives and responsibilities. We don’t mean to; but, we lose sight of how important that relationship is.
As this happens, we stop communicating. We feel as though our needs aren’t being met, we feel hurt and resentful and then we start to focus on meeting them ourselves or elsewhere. This is known as Negative Sentiment Override.
According to the Gottman’s research in their Love Lab, the average couple waits 6 years before seeking help for their relationship.
Sadly, 1/2 of all marriages that end, do so in the first 7 years. – Gottman, J.M., 1994
In order to guard and protect your relationship, you have to do the opposite. Make your relationship a priority!
“Just like a 401k, the earlier and the more often you invest, the better off you are. Spend time together regularly!” And keep investing. Don’t put your relationship investment on cruise control.
Life does happen! Things may take precedent from time to time whether that’s kids, family, jobs, illnesses, etc. But don’t completely take your foot off the gas. Those times when life gets hard and Murphy’s Law seems to be the theme to your life, that’s when you need to make investing a priority.
15 Minutes A Day
At least 15 minutes a day keeps the divorce lawyers away. Make sure you connect emotionally in order to keep your romantic and physical “accounts” secure. Last year we challenged couples to commit to 15 minutes for 15 days.
Spend at least 15 minutes a day connecting verbally and emotionally. Without interruptions. Without distractions. No screens. No kids. For the literal readers in the crowd, 15 minutes is the bare minimum. Remember, the larger the investment, the larger the payoff. Try to rebuild your positive love for one another as opposed to getting stuck on negativity.
Even just simple conversations about fond memories. Vacations. Holidays. Embarrassing moments. Bucket lists.
Watch out for what the Gottman’s call the 4 Horsemen!
Know each other’s Love Languages.
I’ll be explaining both of these topics in greater detail in future posts in this series as well as some other concepts that were talked about in the previous post.
Learn How To Reduce Stress
Use what the Gottman’s call a Stress Reducing Conversation. They recommend practicing this exercise daily or as regularly as possible.
The idea is to take turns listening to one another about a stressful issue in your life that is NOT connected to your relationship interactions (ie. The supervisor at work as opposed to how your partner phubs you). While talking, the listening partner should focus on these:
- Listening fully without distraction
- DON’T Problem-solve
- Connect with the emotions your partner expresses
- Take your partners side
- Validate their emotions
Often our relationships die as a result of death by a thousand cuts. Little by little, we neglect them over time. Investing in your relationship with even one of these techniques will be a huge step towards rejuvenating and saving your relationship. We’ll continue unpacking the tips referenced in this blog post – Relationship 911: 9 Ways To Save Your Relationship
Up Next: Relationship 911 – Speak The Same Language