|"Life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how
we react to it." Unsure
I've heard it all before, 'We're just too busy, we're not having fun anymore.' As a therapist that specializes in couple's therapy this is a common complaint. The Gottman Institute has done at least four decades of research in working with couples. They have found that fun gets lower and lower on the list for couples. Now, we know life happens; you get a job, buy a home, and have children. So, what happens to fun in all of this? Start to prioritize fun, again, in your relationship. This will help rebuild the friendship and the intimacy. Here are three tips to help you with this:
- Turn towards. Think of your relationship as an emotional bank account. Like any bank account it only grows if you make deposits. We have found that happy couples have a five to one ratio. This means for every five deposits there is only one withdrawal. Yes, that's right it take five positive interactions to make up for one negative interaction. How is your emotional bank account?
- Rituals of connection. How much time do you spend with one another? Rituals of connection are about spending quality time with your partner. This is where you take a genuine interest in your partner. Know at least one important thing about your partner's day before they leave the house in the morning. Kiss when departing and reuniting, for at least six seconds. Celebrate Birthdays, Anniversaries, Holidays, etc.
- Stop criticizing one another. This will lead to resentment and distance in the relationship. Complain without blame. This means asking your partner for what you need and using "I" statements. Instead of saying 'What kind of person are you?' Say, 'I need you to help with dinner, please listen to me.' When your partner feels criticized, a.k.a. attack, this will cause them to shut down. Over time this will damage the relationship.