How to Actually Follow Through on the Relationship Advice You Get – The New York Times

Posted: September 28, 2019 at 5:42 pm

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He argues that the key to happiness is to not care about most things, and choosing a few specific, values-based things to actually care about. Its an approach the Hollises agree with. We think the most important foundation for a couple is establishing your relationship values, they said. Essentially, deciding which things matter most to you together so you know where to put your time and your effort.

The thing about forming new habits is that the behaviors themselves often arent intrinsically motivating. But if we can connect to the underlying values behind those actions, that can be much more powerful. Youre not just making an effort to give your partner more compliments or do the dishes without being asked; youre working on becoming a specific kind of partner, like a sensitive, kind or trustworthy partner.

To identify the values in your relationship, try having a conversation with your partner about the following questions:

What do you think defines a great relationship?

What qualities in a relationship are most important to you?

What would you like more of in our relationship?

The reason I know my husband loves cuddling so much is because I asked him, What are the top three ways that you like to be shown love?

After 12 years together, I think I know the guy pretty well, but I still like asking him those kinds of questions. For me, the concept of curiosity keeps me on my toes and prevents me from settling into complacency. It means there is always something new that I can learn about him. If youre having trouble identifying core values in your relationship, or you want to start a bit smaller, the top three question is a great one to begin with.

Instead of trying to overhaul your relationship in one fell swoop, try to pick one specific starting place for improvements. The Hollises said that laughter is one of their core values. They told me, It may sound cheesy but we are best friends first and laughing together is what made us friends in the first place. From there, they brainstormed ways to bring more laughter into their lives. Can we watch a comedy special, can we play a game, can we go on a road trip, do something weve never done before, add a date night on the calendar, plan a trip? There are all sorts of roads that will get you to your goal but you only see the available paths when youre looking for them.

Once you have a list of possibilities, pick one to start with. Barrie Davenport, author of Mindful Relationship Habits, said in an email: Its impossible to successfully make several changes at a time because were rewiring our brains to accommodate new behaviors. Just one new behavior can feel overwhelming until we groove new neural pathways to make the behavior automatic.

Having trouble picking your starting place? In his book The All-or-Nothing Marriage, Mr. Finkel outlines eight love hacks that are effective at bringing couples closer together. Mr. Finkel recommends picking a specific love hack with your partner, then creating a concrete game plan for putting it to work. I asked Mr. Finkel to share a few of his favorites, and he outlined three:

1. Reappraise conflict: The basic idea behind this is to think about conflict from the perspective of a neutral third party who wants the best for everybody. In other words, if a therapist was in the room with you, what might they say when you and your partner are arguing?

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How to Actually Follow Through on the Relationship Advice You Get - The New York Times

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September 28th, 2019 at 5:42 pm

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