Nurturing Your Relationship
My friend is a gardener. Her flowers respond well to her care and attention. Some plants thrive with just a bit of water and sun, while others require fertilizing, a certain climate, and weeding to assure growth.
In your “life garden,” you nurture your children and community with attention and resources. But is your relationship getting consistent “tending”? Even a healthy relationship will blossom with focused care. Gottman’s Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work can point the way:
#1: Enhance Your Understanding of Each Other.
Know your partner and keep abreast of changes in his/her life. You know all the basic stuff, but do you know your partner’s inner world, such as his stresses, worries, aspirations, dreams?
#2: Build Fondness and Admiration.
Friendship is the foundation for passion and romance, and affection and respect are an important basis for friendship. Communicating the areas that you appreciate in each other will increase positive feelings.
#3: Turn Towards Each Other.
Everyday moments when people connect with each other are the building blocks of all relationships. “Turning Toward” with emotional support, shared conversation and humor, exchange of interests, and affection will increase the positivity in the relationship.
#4: Accept Influence from Your Partner.
Being able to “yield to win” means that you won’t be a roadblock to change, and that you’ll be able to make your partner feel valued and respected. Focus on how to stay engaged and connected to your partner, rather than winning the argument.
#5: Solve Your Solvable Problems.
Couples in long-term, satisfying relationships have learned skills to solve the problems that can be solved in their relationship. These skills are not innate; we can all learn them—for example, starting a conversation gently and compromising.
#6: Learn How to Talk about Perpetual Problems More Easily.
Some issues between couples will never be resolved. The best that can be hoped for is to be able to find some humor in them and to be able to talk about them more gently and easily with acceptance, so that they are not great sources of pain.
#7: Create a Vision for Yourselves as a Couple.
One of the tasks of couplehood is to create shared meaning. Finding a vision to work towards together will enhance your sense of “we-ness.”
If you would like to nurture your relationship, contact me at 512-689-7105. I will be happy to set up an initial consultation with you.