16 years married, 19 together ….
What a journey!
Being together for that long has meant going through periods of joy, doubts, periods when we wondered if we should be together… But recommiting again and again by working together on our relationship means getting to know each other on different levels. It has also meant: 6 moves, 2 continents, 2 children and countless travels to see our families abroad.
Because falling in love or getting married is easy, staying together is hard.
We were never good at having dates or celebrating…..today, on our anniversary, we are 1000s miles appart in different countries
But what helped us was to join a marriage reflection group. We first went on a training and reflection weekend with Marriage encounter, a Christian Marriage organisation. It was the first time we were away from the children for a whole weekend, so it required a lot of juggling and logistic planning, but we did it, on our 10 year anniversary.
And it really helped us talk about things we never gave ourselves time to explore. Marriage encounter uses written reflection so we could really express our emotions and read each others’s before even starting to talk about it. It gave us space and time to breathe and accept where we both were without takng emotions as attacks. It helped us to see that we were still in this together despite the turmoils of daily life with 2 children under 5 and no family or friends leaving near us.
We still attend monthly groups with other couples but also try to make time for small fun sharing, taking 10 minutes to write and talk about little things to continue this discovery of each other.
- Take a paper each.
- Answer the question for 3/5 minutes.
- Swap the papers and take time to read each other’s answers.
- Share what you felt reading the answer
- If I could travel in
time, I would…
- What would I give you an Oscar for?
- .If I could try a new job for one day, I’d try…
There are many more here.
All relationships need nurturing to grow.
Different relationships need different ways to connect but all need nurturing and connections.
Especially when we become parents or something challenging happens in our personal lives, it is easy to forget this need to nurture US.
When we are exhausted and overwhelmed; it is all too easy to want to retreat and feel like there is no time to dedicate to our relationship.
Often in antenatal courses I used to challenge couples, when appropriate, to write on a post it note something small the other person did that made them feel loved.
What can make you feel loved?
So often these parents were unaware that such a small thing made a difference. The most frequent ones beings cup of teas in bed and really small things done without prompting that helped them feel loved
So try to think, what is a little thing that someone special in your life does, that make you feel loved?
Can you share with them?
One way to learn what makes you feel loved is to do the 5 love languages quizz . It all comes from Dr Gary Chapman explaining that different people feel loved in different ways: Touch, Acts of Service, Quality time, Words of affirmation and Receiving gifts.
For example someone whose love language is touch won’t feel loved by receiving gift, but give them a hug and they will feel nurtured and loved.
So when you are struggling and don’t have much time…being able to do something to make the other person feel loved is extremely important. It is all about the connection you form by these small gestures and attentions.
How can comunication strenghten relationships?
Taking little steps like described above is important. But communication is also key!
If you are angry, frustrated, tired or stressed in your own personal life, you will be more likely to have a short fuse and be less patient.
Being happy ourselves is key to be able to be happy in our relationships. Coaching can help you to get clarity and improve your own life and your own emotions. Find out how I can help you here.
When you are happy, your children and partner will also feel the benefits.
David Richio helps in his free e bookhow to understand your own emotions and use affirmations and communication to improve relationships.
- 5 love languages quizz and tips https://www.5lovelanguages.com/
- Marriage Encounter https://wwme.org/ For Married couples of all faiths.
- Relate – relationships support Charity https://www.relate.org.uk/
- Marriage ressources https://www.marriage.com/ and on communication
- Take Heart: The Ways of Love,Free of Fear and Ego from David Richio
- 10 ways to nurture your relationship from Barton Goldsmith in Pshychology today