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4 Keys to Staying Connected in Your Relationship – Part 1

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“Marriage isn’t just about raising kids, splitting chores and making love......

“Marriage isn’t just about raising kids, splitting chores and making love. It can also have a spiritual dimension that has to do with creating an inner life together — a culture rich with rituals, and an appreciation for your roles and goals that link you…” Gottman, 7 Principals of Making a Marriage Work

 

There are different elements that help build and support a shared meaning, all of which should be established and then built on over time. Read through each element and answer the questions after each section, making note of any thoughts that pop up you want to share with your lover.

 

Four Elements that Build a Shared Meaning and Purpose

 

Marriage Counseling Tip 1. Rituals of Connection

Marriage Counseling Tip 2. Shared Views

Marriage Counseling Tip 3. Shared Goals and Dreams

Marriage Counseling Tip 4. Shared Values

 

Marriage Counseling Tip 1. Rituals of Connection

 

A ritual of connection refers to the small things you do as a couple or a family which build and strengthen the emotional and spiritual connections between you all.

 

Ask yourself these questions:

  • How do you and your partner connect with each other?
  • Have you developed your own family rituals?

This could be a special meal on the weekend such as a takeaway on a Saturday or Sunday roast or movie night every Friday.

  • In what unique ways do you celebrate religious holidays?
  • Do you have a ritual for love making?
  • Do you dedicate a day or night per week for family or romance?

 

Many couples find love and connection flourishes when they have an intimate ritual to look forward to. The key here is to find something that you do together regularly that you can look forward to.

 

Answer the above questions and think about the rituals of connection you have: do they work for you? Could you improve them to increase your connection or create some new ones?

 

Marriage Counseling Tip 2. Shared Views

 

Support for Each Other’s Roles

When couples come to me a lot of the problems stem from the fall out of what they think their partner “should” be doing versus what they are actually doing. I often hear: “As a husband…” he “should” be doing this, fixing that, paying for this or giving me that. Similarly I hear it the other way round too: “A wife “should”  look after the home, stay in with the family and contribute to the finances.” The problem stems from the fact that these assumed roles are often never discussed so each person develops their own views on situations without taking the time to understand the perspective of their partner. This where resentment builds.  The happiest couples agree on the roles they define for themselves and support each other with them. This is crucial as it helps to build a shared meaning.

 

Family and Parenting

Having similar views on parenting also adds to a strong sense of shared meaning, so does your views on the level of interaction you expect to have with your parents, siblings and cousins. For example, do you both consider extended family part of your daily family life or do you prefer distance and more of a nuclear family?

 

Work and Career

Even the views on what it means to work and the significance of work in your life is important to discuss. How much work is part of your life can be disputed, potentially causing friction, so having a shared outlook is crucial. Where you can talk about its importance in your life and share your experiences. Some individuals I work with get jealous and annoyed at their spouses involvement with work and staying late or socializing with colleagues on the weekends and this can cause tension for some couples. Compared to couples who agree that work comes first and encourage each other to be the best they can possibly be. Which couple are you?

 

The extent to which you feel similar about these issues, the stronger your marriage and connection becomes. This doesn’t mean you need to agree on everything but often it’s the couples that are more closely aligned in their views and approaches that are happier and more fulfilled.

 

What views do you share when it comes to living out your life? Are there any expectations that are a cause of frustration for you that you have not communicated? Could you benefit from some more support when it comes to your roles, family or career?

 

I will discuss shared goals and values in part 2 so stay tuned for that.

 

From my heart to yours, Nicola

Marriage Transformation Specialist and Founder of the Save My Marriage Program

 

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This article was originally published at http://www.savemymarriageprogram.com. Reprinted with permission from the author.

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