7 Habits You Should Be Doing
7 Habits of Highly Effective Couples
Stephen Covey wrote a book that sold over 25 million copies. In his book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People he espouses the life-changing habits people can adopt. Here I want to give you what I think are 7 habits that couples engage in that prove to be effective in making their relationship effective (happy, healthy, satisfying).
1. They take the time to know each other
Dr. John Gottman calls this building Love Maps. It is knowing the other person really well and feeling they know you really well. Knowing the little things as well as the big things. Little things might be what their favorite salad dressing is. Big things could be what makes them feel loved and appreciated.
2. They listen to understand
When couples argue they tend to get into what-about-me mode. They tend to listen to find something to disagree with rather that listening to understand. Keep in mind that understanding does not mean you agree with the other person rather that you see their side of things.
3. They repair well
Dr. Gottman’s research has shown 69% of problems in a relationship are not solvable. Couples who focus on repairing things tend to be much better off. Repairs are things you say or do to keep conflicts from escalating. A couple I know uses humor to diffuse tension when they argue. One might stick their tongue out in the middle of a fight which elicits a laugh from their partner.
4. They create shared meaning
Think back to your childhood and things that you did as a family that are fond memories. Chances are these are things you did on a regular basis whether it was family dinners or something you did during a holiday. Creating meaning is grounded in rituals, those things you do on a regular and consistent basis. Healthy couples have many rituals, one of the most common is hug and a kiss when they part at the beginning of the day and when they come back together.
5. They have more positive interactions than negative
It takes 5 positives to overcome 1 negative especially in conflict. Thinking that your partner has your best interest at heart and thinking positively of them consistently helps to keep conflict from getting out of control. Of course this may be easier said than done so I encourage couples to regularly share appreciations with each other. This promotes good feelings rather that bad.
6. They accept influence from each other
Do you care what your partner thinks? It’s a good practice to get in the habit of asking them “what do you think?” It sends the message “you are important to me so what you think is important to me.”
7. They share the stress
Life happens to us all and along with it comes stress. Stress can be a burden we carry so being able to share that burden means it may seem lighter. Take the time to talk to each other about stressors that are happening in each other’s life. Stand firmly with your partner with the attitude “It’s us against the world!” and life may just get a little easier for both of you.