1. Support Your Partner’s Dreams and Aspirations. Honor and encourage each other to follow your dreams. Find a way to sign on to what matters most to your partner by reading about the issue, making plans, sharing advice, offering financial support or other resources to support their dream.
2. Let your Partner Influence You. The ability to yield to your partner is an important predictor of successful relationships. Being open to influence creates respect and appreciation. It breathes life into your relationship. Find the 2% that’s true, helpful or informative in what your partner says.
3. Make Room for Differences. Just as every healthy ecosystem thrives on diversity, so does your relationship. Differences strengthen your relationship and define its unique gifts, character and contribution to the world. You can strengthen your connection by drawing on your diversity as a couple.
4. Speak your partner’s Love Language. We all have different ways we feel loved and cared for. Decode your unique love map so your partner isn’t left in the dark guessing how to express love in the way you can receive it. What’s your primary love language: Words of Affirmation, Physical Touch, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts or Quality Time?
5. Create Shared Meaning through Ritual: Create daily, monthly or yearly rituals that have meaning for you both as a couple and a family. Sharing rituals builds stronger bonds and creates a shared identity. They are repeatable, predictable events that provide structure for connection to occur on a regular basis..
6. Sit in your Partner’s Bean Bag: When listening to your partner, leave your thoughts and opinions behind and sit in their experience with them. Try to discover what’s important to them, what are they afraid of or longing for? What new can you learn about this amazing person you’re committed to?
7. Get Curious about Conflict. Relationships are constantly evolving – they’re dynamic, living entities. Conflict usually occurs when something is trying to change or evolve in your relationship. Instead of criticizing or making a case for who is right and who is wrong, ask yourselves, “What’s trying to happen here? What wants to change between us?”
8. Discover the Dream behind the Concern: If you get into gridlock over an issue, stop trying to resolve the conflict, and instead talk about the meaning your position holds for each of you. What are the wishes, dreams or goals that underlie each person’s position within the struggle?
9. Build each other UP. Acknowledge, celebrate and appreciate one another. Spend the majority of communication on encouragement and appreciation versus criticizing what your partner isn’t doing right.
10. Your partner is a mirror. What you love about your partner lives in you. And conversely, what you have a hard time being with in your partner often lives in you too. If we don’t own it in ourselves, we’ll keep finding it in others.