15 Simple RuIes for a Remarkable Couple Relationship

Published by Harriet Lerner, Ph.D. in The Dance of Connection

 

The natural course of marriage is downstream, un less you are intentional about paddling against the current.  Even the best marriages will get stuck in too much distance or too much intensity and blame.

Be the one to change first. While it takes two to couple up, it takes only one to make things a whole lot better. Here are 15 essential tips from Marriage Rules: A Manual for The Married and The Coupled Up.

1. Warm things up. Make at least two positive comments every day to your partner and speak to the specifics about what you admire (“I loved how funny you were at the party last night”). Make sure that your positive comments exceed critical ones by a healthy margin.

2. Dial down the criticism. Many folks value criticism at the early stage of a relationship, but become more allergic to it over time. Get more bite marks on your tongue, by letting all but the most important issues go by. When you have a criticism, make it in three sentences or less. Remember this: No one can survive in a marriage (at least not happily) if they feel more judged that admired.

3. Overcome your L.D.D. (Listening Deficit Disorder). Whole-hearted listening is the greatest spiritual gift you can give to your partner. Drop the defensiveness, and listen only to understand, without interrupting, correcting facts, or counter-punching. Save your defense for another conversation.

4. Be self-focused. Connect with friends and family, pursue your own interests, and be of service to others. If your primary energy isn’t directed to living your own life as well as possible, you’ll be over-focused on your partner in a worried or critical way.

5. Apologize. Offer the olive branch. You can say, “I’m sorry for my part of the problem” even if you’re secretly convinced that you’re only 28% to blame.

6. Don’t demand an apology. Don’t get into a tug of war about his failure to apologize. An entrenched non-apologizer may use a nonverbal way to try to defuse tension, reconnect after a fight, or show he’s in a new place and wants to move toward you. Accept the olive branch in whatever form it’s offered.

7. Sweat the small stuff. When you say you’ll do something, do it! Never assume that your overall contribution to the relationship compensates for failing to do what you have agreed to do, whether it’s picking up your socks or moving the boxes out of the garage by Sunday.

 

To be continued

Published by Harriet Lerner, Ph.D. in The Dance of Connection

 

The natural course of marriage is downstream, un less you are intentional about paddling against the current.  Even the best marriages will get stuck in too much distance or too much intensity and blame.

Be the one to change first. While it takes two to couple up, it takes only one to make things a whole lot better. Here are 15 essential tips from Marriage Rules: A Manual for The Married and The Coupled Up.

1. Warm things up. Make at least two positive comments every day to your partner and speak to the specifics about what you admire (“I loved how funny you were at the party last night”). Make sure that your positive comments exceed critical ones by a healthy margin.

2. Dial down the criticism. Many folks value criticism at the early stage of a relationship, but become more allergic to it over time. Get more bite marks on your tongue, by letting all but the most important issues go by. When you have a criticism, make it in three sentences or less. Remember this: No one can survive in a marriage (at least not happily) if they feel more judged that admired.

3. Overcome your L.D.D. (Listening Deficit Disorder). Whole-hearted listening is the greatest spiritual gift you can give to your partner. Drop the defensiveness, and listen only to understand, without interrupting, correcting facts, or counter-punching. Save your defense for another conversation.

4. Be self-focused. Connect with friends and family, pursue your own interests, and be of service to others. If your primary energy isn’t directed to living your own life as well as possible, you’ll be over-focused on your partner in a worried or critical way.

5. Apologize. Offer the olive branch. You can say, “I’m sorry for my part of the problem” even if you’re secretly convinced that you’re only 28% to blame.

6. Don’t demand an apology. Don’t get into a tug of war about his failure to apologize. An entrenched non-apologizer may use a nonverbal way to try to defuse tension, reconnect after a fight, or show he’s in a new place and wants to move toward you. Accept the olive branch in whatever form it’s offered.

7. Sweat the small stuff. When you say you’ll do something, do it! Never assume that your overall contribution to the relationship compensates for failing to do what you have agreed to do, whether it’s picking up your socks or moving the boxes out of the garage by Sunday.

 

To be continued

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