Updated: Mar 8
Last time we asked what the heck this idea of “working on” your relationship is really all about. And how do successful couples go about this?
The main thing is that it’s not so much about “work” as about know what areas to prioritize. What to focus on to make sure you are and will continue to be okay. It doesn’t have to be a major labor. Just enough to get a passing grade.
In our research we uncovered the 5 areas couples need to prioritize. Feeling safe, respect, fun, easy intimate connection, and affection.
And we talked about how to make progress when it comes to feeling safe.
Today we’ll talk about respect and fun, definitely two crucial ingredients for a healthy relationship.
Right off the bat, there are two parts to this. Respect and contempt. Dealing with this—in theory!!—is so easy it’s ridiculous.
If you don’t actually feel respect for you partner, get out of the relationship!
Wherever and whenever you do feel respect or appreciation, SHOW IT. SAY SOMETHING. Respect that stays buried doesn’t exist. The only respect that counts is the respect you articulate and articulate often. And not just in your words but in your actions.
Disrespect? Contempt? Never EVER let that be part of your language. Never say or do anything that shows disrespect no matter how badly you want to do so to make a stunning point. Every little word of disrespect, even things like interrupting or not listening, show contempt that works like poison on the relationship.
And what if your partner does stuff you don’t like, to the point where you find it impossible to respect that behavior? Well, you’re entitled to that, but not to showing disrespect. What you CAN do is ask your partner to change their behavior. Just say, “What do you need to stop doing X [or start doing Y]? It’s really important to me.”
And that’s IT!
You LIVE a life together of respect. And it’s something any two people can do or they shouldn’t be together.
Here too, no real work, just focus and attention.
The thing to understand here is that when it comes to fun in any relationship over time, habit and stress have a way of wearing away a couple’s ability to have fun together. It becomes easier and easier to have fun separately, staring into separate screens.
There’s no one to blame. You’re both a victim of these forces.
Here’s what couples do who are successful in continuing to have fun together.
They persist in looking for new fun things to do.
When they find something to do that fun, they persist in doing it.
And that’s IT.
They pay attention to finding fun—without blame. They share ideas. They make things happen. You know: like what you do when something’s important to you.
Next time? Easy intimate connection and affection.