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After You Say “I Do” Part #3

After You Say “I Do” 3 of 3

By John Thurman, M.Div., M.A., LPCC

I hope you have enjoyed some of the “before and after” comments. Some of these happen to all of us in our relationships. One of my professors used to say, “You date the adult, but you marry the child.”

One of our goals as couples is to be intentional about turning towards each other. Many couples slowly forget to do this which can begin to erode the relationship.

This week I want to give you a short, practical, communication tip list that is guaranteed to boost your communication. While the focus is on your relationship, these tips work will work in your day to day living. I will use the word LISTEN as a mental hook for you.

          L       Lean forward and look into your partner’s eyes. Don’t do a stare down it is normal for people to look away from time to time while talking.

            I         Use “I” statements as opposed to “you” statements.   This lets your partner know that you are trying to understand, but might need some help.

            S        Shared Responsibility. Most of us work really hard to find ways to blame our spouse, family of origin, in-laws or others for the problems in our relationships. The truth is that most of the people in relationships share the responsibility for when things go good or bad. A friend of mine used to say, “If you make a mess, take ownership of it, confess it, then clean your mess up.”

            T       Tenacious. Don’t get stuck being wimpy or whiny. Lean into the relationship, unless it is abusive, and do what you can to make it better.

            E       Encourage. The word means to give courage, hope, and confidence. Several years ago, Angie and I were going through a rough patch and went in for some counseling. I will never forget what our counselor said during one of our sessions. “Angie, you and John, despite this rough time you are going through still have a sense of humor and manage to encourage each other despite the challenges. That is part of what is going       to get you through this season of your life.”

            N     Negate the negative. Make surely don’t over think the negatives about the relationship. It is so easy to become stuck in a negative rut. That state of mind will destroy a relationship. Instead, look for positive things. Be intentional about looking for the positive.

I can almost guarantee you that if you begin doing just a couple of these, the results will be immediate.
 (c) 2014 John Thurman

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