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I love to talk with couples about their Forever Homework. These are important life-long relationship habits that keep the couple strong over the long-haul. Sort of like regular exercise for your relationship in order to keep your relationship muscles strong and resilient.
Here's the thing... couples counseling won't save your relationship because it's a short term event. You know what does heal a relationship and keep it strong over the long-term? It's the key relationship habits you put in place that you do forever; your Forever Homework.
I have a few ideas for you to explore and mentally munch on ("carrots, anyone?"). This list is by no means all-encompassing, and every couple has different needs. The purpose of today's blog is to inspire you with one or two ideas that you really like so that you start doing them right now, and for the rest of your life.
I'm a big believer that making small changes can lead to an entirely different outcome. I remember in my marriage and family therapy graduate program learning about the example of an airplane that has shifted it's direction by only a degree. Shifting an airplane's direction by a single degree completely changes where that airplane ends up! I don't know the original source on that analogy; I want you to know it's not my original idea. It is a brilliant example though that I've never forgotten. If I come across the original source I will update the blog. So, just try one new thing and see where you end up over the years!
Before I share my recommendations, let’s set the stage. You might think about the core 3 to 6 habits that really keep your relationship the strongest and healthiest. What are they? Can you name them or list them out? What would your partner say they are, and are they all the same or are some of them different? If you feel there is some room for improvement, what do you believe are the one or two habits you could implement that would have the most impact? Have you ever had a conversation about the core habits that keep you and your partner close and connected? If not, when can you have that conversation? Are there certain values you have that guide the habits you want in place?
It's okay to try different habits to see what benefits your relationship the most (go ahead, experiment like a mad scientist! Buwahahaha!!!). This is so you can come up with your own formula for your Forever Homework as a couple. The core habits for each couple will be different, and I believe you as a couple know yourselves the best. Have fun making your own unique recipe that keeps your relationship the healthiest and most resilient!
Forever Homework Ideas:
Every day keep an eye on the ratio of positive to negative interactions. Make it 5 to 1.
Be aware of the fundamental attribution error and it's impact on your relationship.
It's HOW you say what you say that matters. Not WHAT the problem is, that you disagree, or even how big the problem is. HOW you say what you say should be a focus.
If it's important to one of you, it's important to both of you (even if you don't care about it too much or you personally are not really worried about it!).
Fess up when you mess up—every time (for the rest of your life).
Ask yourself “Am I a good person to talk to right now?” (3)
Hurting others is not justified just because we are hurt.
Keep the fun alive in your relationship.
Forever Homework Summary:
Thank you for joining me today and letting me give you some mental carrots to munch on. I'm so glad you are here. I hope one of the Forever Homework items inspired you, and you have decided to incorporate it into your life. I can't wait for you to see the long-term benefits from your daily habits!
For you Relationship Legacy Leaders out there, start doing these habits with your friends, co-workers, and your kids (5)! Share with the people around you what you have learned; teaching is a great way to connect with others and it helps you to remember the new information you have learned.
If this post was helpful, please hit the Facebook Like button below or share the blog on Twitter. Talk to you next week.
All the best,
Holly L. Harrison
PS Can I send you an email about once a week? The email will have a link to my latest blog post in case there is a topic you are interested in. As the business grows and I add more products and services, I will mention in the email what has been added.
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Holly L. Harrison, MA, LMFT