Healthy Relationships - Relationship Advice

The Essential
Relationship Workbook

During the courtship period of a relationship, the focus is on attracting. Energy is spent on being at your best, showing maximum interest in, and consideration towards the other. Attracting consumes a great deal of effort and focus.

Life as a couple travels inexorably forward-like a train on a long stretch of track between stations. After a while, the excitement experienced at departure fades and even if the landscape views are beautiful, new stimulation is needed to keep things interesting. That is why people try to find interesting things to do on a long ride, beside watching the scenery.

The single best strategy for continuing to feed a relationship over the long run is to remain interested in and involved with what matters most to the other person. Regularly turn off your own self-involvement or self-interest and listen with full attention to the other.

I know a couple who routinely spends Saturday mornings across the booth from one another at a coffee shop where they discuss what is on one another’s mind. They have been doing it for 40 years and it works well for them.

Another effective strategy is to take personal ownership for freshening things up from time to time. What your partner does or does not do about this is irrelevant.

Taking personal ownership, without any form of score keeping, is the trick.

The variations of what freshening up looks like are unlimited. It is unique to each couple. In essence, it involves initiating something new, unexpected, and/or more than expected. It involves purposely putting energy into delighting your partner. It can be practical or sentimental, it can big or small, it can be in the context of everyday life or the creation of a special occasion. It results strengthening your relationship because you have invested thought, time, and energy. It does not take much, but it does take sincerity.

Considering a Partner’s Personality

When it comes to love there is no evidence that one combination of personalities/Types works better than another. Any combination has the potential for creating a magical life partnership. Regardless of the personality combination, thoughtfulness contributes to the fulfillment of the original relationship promise; which is to enrich and support one another’s life One example of thoughtfulness is exerting the energy to move beyond your own personality inclinations and intentionally speak and write in a manner that meets your partner’s needs as well as your own needs to express yourself.

Here are a few hypothetical examples:

Perhaps one partner’s natural tendency is to keep their awareness on the big picture level. Names, dates, and other specifics often go in one ear and out the other. And their partner is highly oriented to the facts and details The way to be supportive toward the Detail-Oriented partner is to for the Big-Picture partner to stay engaged in a conversation about details even when their instinct is to blank out during what feels like minutiae. The Big-Picture partner would strive to remember and inquire about the details of their Detail-Oriented partner’s activities. It is generosity on the part of the Big-Picture individual to purposefully and proactively share greater detail then is their usual inclination. Even well intentioned generalized or big picture explanations can feel unsatisfying to Detail-Oriented people.

Conversely for Detail-Oriented individuals, their natural tendency is to focus on practical issues and to discover and remember as many details as possible. They easily remember names, dates, and other specifics, and have a tendency to ask probing questions to either confirm or dig out new details. Their gift to their Big-Picture partner would be to ratchet back on the amount of details they provide or request so their partner can comfortably stay engaged.