Spencer and Erica gave us a great example of how to be considerate to our partner and how we can put an ongoing investment into our relationship. However, simply hearing about great things other people are doing is never enough if we want to see real changes and improvements in our own lives! In these recap blog posts, we'll break down in much greater detail the relationship elements that these couples demonstrated and some practical approaches for implementation.
This is more than just being nice. Consideration means being thoughtful, thinking through what our partners want and why and then finding a way to make their life better. Spencer gives a good example when he comes home from work and rather than just doing good things to be helpful actually checks in with Erica to see what she needs most. To be considerate we need information, general information about our partners’ preferences and goals but also specific information about the current situation. The key to success is getting good at using that information to adjust our actions. That adjustment, what we change in order to make our partners’ lives a little happier, a little easier, and a little more connected is the essence of being considerate.
Ongoing Investment in the Relationship
When we think of investing we usually think of money, and most of us want passive investments that can be set up and mostly forgotten (or get-rich-quick schemes). We’re busy. Investing in a relationship is the opposite. Despite what all the travel agents and jewelry stores try to tell us, throwing money at a relationship usually adds some temporary excitement but doesn’t really change anything. With relationships we need to invest time and effort. There is no substitute for spending actual time focused on each other with no distractions. Even if that time is sometimes spent working out problems rather than gazing lovingly into each other’s eyes, it is time well spent and it strengthens the relationship. We can also invest effort into a relationship. When we do things for or with our partners, the experience is usually more meaningful if we add some thoughtfulness and care. Everything doesn’t have to be perfect, but it will mean more if it is tailored to the personality and preferences of your partner. That will take some work, but the results can be spectacular.
Take a moment to think, “What does my partner need right now?” and then go and do it.
How Spencer and Erica continue to Invest in their Relationship:
Keeping their goals in mind and choosing to spend time only on what helps move those goals forward.
Being willing to do anything that needs doing.
Making sure they have a weekly date night.
Making sure each has time to focus on their own needs.
Idea of how you can have an Ongoing Investment in your Relationship in a Considerate way
Before purchasing a gift, take a minute to think about what your partner enjoys, wants, and needs.
Find small moments of connection you can insert into everyday routines (greetings, partings, waking up, going to sleep, meals, etc.). Which of these moments would your partner most enjoy? What would they like that connecting act to be? (a kiss, a hug, a compliment, a kindness, commiseration, encouragement, listening, sharing, etc.)
Set aside a time every day to just talk to each other (without phones, kids, work, or other distractions). During that time, really listen. While you really listen, think about what you are learning about your partner’s needs and preferences.
Find a task you can do together and use that time to talk. Do a good job. Pat yourselves on the back.
Think about something your partner doesn’t like to do but has to (waking up in the morning, driving, cooking, cleaning the bathroom, meetings with difficult coworkers, homework, etc.) then think of small ways you can make that task more pleasant for them or show support before/after. If you’re not coming up with anything, ask. Do whatever you decide consistently, not just once.
We're excited to hear what you do for our relationship challenge for the week! Be sure to let us know in the comments section!