Three Ways to Strengthen Your Relationship This New Year
“Without hard work, nothing grows but weeds”. - Gordon B. Hinckley
We thought we’d take advantage of the new year season to share 3 Relationship Zen practices that you can immediately try out to take your relationship to the next level.
A few folks have been sharing that they sometimes find it hard to bring back the level of desire, excitement, or enthusiasm that they experienced when their relationship was just getting started:
“It was easy back then… I’m not as motivated to try anymore… It’s comfortable, maybe even too comfortable....”
Do these types of descriptions feel a little common? Hey, we definitely get it. It’s actually quite normal to feel less invested about anything over time. This process is often referred to as habituation, which is the idea that we eventually become less stimulated once things are no longer novel (new) to us.
That said, the problem isn’t necessarily feeling comfortable in our relationships. The problem begins when we’ve become complacent and non-attentive to the relationship to the extent that our behaviours no longer align with our own and our partner's needs. In other words, the danger zone is when we move from existing as "two wholes, sharing a path", to being two incomplete fragments on different paths without even realizing it.
The point is: change is the only constant and since change can be messy, it’s a really good idea to check-in and re-align with each other on a regular basis with these 3 practices.
Practice 1: Get Clear
Get clear about what you want your relationship or shared path to be/feel like by developing goals and aspirations together. If there’s no aspiration, will, or commitment, then it’s really easy to stagnate or veer off-course.
We designed Relationship Zen Strategic Planning Part 1 and Part 2 as guides to help us get clear about the vision and values for our relationship. Try it for yourself if you’d like to take a fun and deep dive into your personal and relational development.
Practice 2: Refine and Rekindle
We talked about how through habituation, relationships can eventually turn into mundane experiences. That’s partly why we think it’s important to recall and rekindle our relationship goals from time to time. For this, we designed Tea(m) Time, a recurring “date-night” activity.
Start with Tea(m) Time if you already have a good sense of your relationship goals, but just need to block out time to focus on them.
Practice 3: Recall, Reflect, Plan, and Act
If you want to get started, but don’t have time to read those three posts, consider bookmarking them for later and try using these game changing questions to identify and act on patterns in your relationship:
Recall: Think about a time that your relationship was at its prime. What was going on at that time and why does it stand out? What were you thinking or doing: individually and together? What was in your control (attitudes, beliefs, behaviours, actions, and affiliations) at those times that contributed productively? Make a list.
Reflect: Thinking about your list, what are the patterns which led to positive results? What patterns led to less productive outcomes? Make a short list.
Plan: Thinking about your findings, what patterns would you and/or your partner(s) like to co-create more of moving forward, for the next 2 to 3 months? How?
Act: Set a date, time, or reminder to practice your new focus within the next 24 hours.
Becoming a great partner or couple is like becoming great at anything else: it takes consistency, a little discomfort, a lot of practice, and plenty of gratitude. In other words, you get what you put in and don't forget to celebrate all your small wins along the way. It’s an important message that we wanted to share because we care about helping you create more mindful, happy, and fulfilling relationships.
As always, please share your reactions, comments, and questions on our Community Facebook Group or by tagging our social media accounts and using #RelationshipZen. If you liked this article, help us spread the message by sharing.
Sending you love and light,
“Knowledge is of no value unless you put it into practice.” - Anton Chekhov