We discussed previously how essential it is to prioritize your marriage or intimate relationship above everything else in your life. It is central to your own health, happiness, and success, as well as to those close to you.
Most of us would say we put our relationship first, but do we actually do that?
Do we regularly prioritize our relationship and our spouse or partner ahead of work, digital devices, personal interests, and other people?
Are we willing to sacrifice our time, energy, and emotional comfort to make sure we don’t compromise the intimacy, trust, respect, and love we share with our partner?
Prioritizing your relationship takes commitment and effort 먹튀검증. It is a multifaceted habit that involves many (or most) of the other practices we outline in this book. You may say you prioritize your relationship, but if you aren’t taking daily action to show you are serious, then your words don’t mean much.
However, we have found one habit that is central to prioritizing your relationship and ensuring you keep the health of your connection on the front burner.
That habit is having regular meetings with your partner to assess how things are going between you?what’s working well, what needs to change, and what you need to work on to heal any rifts or hurt feelings.
This is not a meeting to discuss your kids, your to-do lists, or your upcoming vacation. It’s a meeting solely to work on your relationship and identify ways you can make it stronger and better, and it should be the very first habit you establish together.
Your relationship meeting will be the perfect time to discuss the habit work you are doing with this book and how you are progressing with your goals as a couple.
How to Develop This Habit
If you are going through a difficult challenge or conflict, you should meet every day until you feel like things are back on track and you’ve reached a resolution. Otherwise, consider meeting weekly or twice monthly. Set aside an
hour for the meeting, even if you don’t end up using the entire hour.
Discuss a day and a time of day that work well for both of you.
Choose a time when you are less likely to be interrupted by children, work, or other life demands. Also, think about a time when you aren’t stressed or under pressure. In the morning before you leave for work would likely not be a good time. A Sunday morning or an evening after kids are in bed might be better.
Set up a reminder system or trigger for the meeting.
This is especially important if you are just meeting weekly or twice monthly. It’s easy to forget a habit that you don’t do every day if it’s not on your calendar with a clear reminder.
Make sure both of you put this meeting on your schedules for the entire year, and try not to allow anything (except emergencies) to get in the way of this meeting. If you are traveling, or if you absolutely have to miss a meeting for an important reason, reschedule it as soon as possible, even if it’s on another day.
The one tool that Steve recommends is Google Calendar. He and his wife use this tool to share their schedule, including meetings, appointments, and upcoming events related to their son. This makes it pretty handy for both of them to know exactly what the other person is doing at any point in the day.
Start small, and make it simple.
When you first start having these regular meetings, choose a relationship habit you both want to work on that is easy and small, like hugging for two minutes every day or complimenting each other at night before bed.
For the first week, just work on your one habit to get the hang of it. Your next meeting to discuss your progress may not take very long, but you will enjoy the early success of your efforts.
Take notes in a journal during the meeting.
Both of you should take notes during the meetings to keep track of your progress. This allows you to see how your connection and intimacy are improving and to note what you need to continue working on.
It also helps you remember what you both agree to work on during the days or weeks between meetings. Jot down brief notes during the meeting, and then go back and expand your notes afterward if necessary.
During the time in between meetings, you can write down observations, concerns, or situations you want to discuss in the next meeting.
Set the tone for the meeting.
The last thing you want this meeting to become is a forum for arguing and defensiveness. The goal is to create a positive, respectful atmosphere where you can talk openly (but kindly) without fear of being attack or diminished.
Begin the meeting with a hug and words of love and affirmation. Try not to bring any strong feelings of anger into the meeting?although one or both of you may have irritations or frustrations to discuss.
Try to avoid engaging in arguments or difficult discussions before the meeting so you don’t bring in any added negative energy. If you feel too angry to have a positive interaction, then delay the meeting until you feel calmer.
Choose a space for the meeting that is conducive to private, productive, respectful conversation where both partners feel on equal footing. Remove all distractions, like your computers and phones. Make sure anyone else in the house knows not to interrupt you.
Begin with the positives.
We suggest starting the discussion on a positive note by reviewing everything that went well for your relationship the preceding day or week. Share specific things your partner did or said that you liked, how these words or behaviors made you feel, and how you felt they enhanced your relationship.
For example, you might compliment your partner on consistently giving you a hug and kiss before leaving for work each morning. This gesture made you feel cherished and loved, and it improved your relationship by starting the day out on a close and tender note.
Both of you should prepare prior to the meeting to share one or more of these positive situations or encounters. They might relate to something specific you agreed to work on from a previous meeting (like one of the other habits outlined in this book), or simply a behavior you noticed and liked.
Have an agenda for the meeting.
Your meetings will be far more productive if you know what you want to accomplish?whether individually or mutually or both.
If you are working on establishing a new habit to improve your relationship, discuss this habit next, after you talk about the positives. Take turns sharing how well you think you did with this new behavior and how well you think your partner did.
If there is an area where you felt your partner didn’t follow through as promised or expected, this is the time to bring it up and ask for a change. Try to frame these complaints and requests in a positive way rather than as a criticism or demand. Reinforce positive behavior and ask for more of it.
For example, you might say, “I really appreciate that you were so affectionate on Wednesday when we were watching TV together. I need more affection like that and would love for you to cuddle with me when we are in bed before we fall asleep. Are you willing to do that?”
If you are receiving a request from your partner that is reasonable, try your best to honor the request and work on the behavior. Don’t allow selfishness, defensiveness, or stubbornness to prevent you from showing your love to your partner in this way.
If you can’t honor the request the way it’s presented, offer what you are willing to do and seek a compromise. Both of you should make notes about what you are agreeing to work on in the coming days or weeks. You will read more about communicating requests and making compromises later in the book.
You also may have a problem or issue you want to discuss that doesn’t relate to a habit you’re working on. For example, your partner may have said something hurtful or might have neglected you in some way. Bring this up by using the “I feel” statements we cover in Habit #17. You might say, “When you teased me in front of your parents on Saturday, I felt embarrassed and put down. Will you please not do that again?”
It’s very important that neither of you try to minimize your partner’s feelings by defending or deflecting your behavior or by denying that your partner’s feelings are justified. Your teasing comment may have been innocent, but your partner’s feelings should be your priority.
Note: Try not to cover more than one or two big issues or behavior change requests during each meeting so neither of you feels overwhelmed. You both want to be successful in your efforts, and you will be more successful by addressing a few changes at a time.
Review your work for the coming week.
Depending on what you covered in the meeting and the work you both need to do, outline the actions you need to take during the week to make improvements. Write these down in your journals for review the following week. Then end the meeting the same way you began it?with a hug, a kiss, and words of affirmation.
These meetings are an essential part of your progress in strengthening your connection and enhancing your communication and understanding of one another.
If you are working through this book without your partner, have the meeting by yourself to see how you are doing in establishing habits that YOU want to develop within the relationship. Show your journal and the work you are doing to your partner, and perhaps he or she will be inspired to join in.