We have been married almost 17 years now and last week we took a 4 day trip to Sedona Arizona. It was the first time in 16 years, pretty much since we had our first child, that we took a few days of vacation just to ourselves – no seminars, no work and no kids.
After realizing that we looked at each other and the question touched our hearts, “after all those years will we enjoy each other’s company like we used too? “
Of course, our getaway was wonderful and it brought us even deeper and closer to each other than we were.
It allowed us to reflect on the key elements that supports our couple.
1. Respect. We don’t always agree with each other but always try to understand he others point of view and try to understand where it is coming from so we can make compromises.
In my practice I see many women not respecting their husbands anymore. And the husband in most cases doesn’t respect them either. It takes them both on a downward spiral of frustration, hate and anger. Regaining respect can be hard. We work on keeping the respect we have for each other using our 2nd key – communication.
2. Communication Woman and Men are so different – “Men are from Mars, Woman are from Venus” is the title of a famous book. Check out this pastor, Mark Gungor, talking about the differences between men’s brains and women’s brains to get a great laugh. Video
We need to communicate those differences to each other and understand them if we are truly communicating. Women cannot expect guys to feel like them, and men cannot expect women to do the same. A safe space is needed to open up and feel comfortable in sharing one’s needs. Burton and I take the time to talk about how each other needs and feelings to find common ground and understanding.
3. Growing together. Living life brings us experiences that enable us to grow. We learn new things make new discoveries, and experience life differently. Some of those experiences will happen on a personal level and some at a couple’s level. Let me share a real life experience for more clarity. C and F have been married for almost 15 years and when they started their life together a big part of it revolved around parties, friends, and alcohol. As they grew older (and apart, moved a few times and had children, C started paying attention to how alcohol, food and stress was impacting their family life. Her husband stayed in the stage of drinking and needed a couple glass a whiskey after a stressful day of work. Take your partner on your healing journey, be interested in what the other is doing that will change him/her. If our couple is not growing together then it may be growing apart.
4.Share the load. In our relationship we share the load of house work and professional work. Men and women can take two very different roles in the house and in a couple. Some are stereotypical (mom at home, dad at work) and some not stereotypical, and many can get stuck in a role that is not really fulfilling.
In our couple from early on we both shared chores: taking care of the kids, working, prepping dinner…. I loved as a brand new mom being able to sleep in every other day. We arranged that the one who would get up during the night could sleep in and the other would handle the morning duties of a newborn baby. Now Burton cooks 2 days a week and takes care of the kids in the morning while I take afternoons. We try to shop and clean together often. We’ve created a balance of work and family life by sharing the responsibilities of both. The fact that we share the work allows us to share the fun too!
Talking about fun, have you heard about the retreat for couples we are organizing?
You can learn all about it here
These are 5 of the most important keys that make our couple work beautifully. Of course there are more than these 5 and we would love to hear from you about your keys for success.