There are many forces working against healthy relationships. Fortunately, there are 3 key things you can do to counteract those forces.
The first Key is Do Your Part. We all know that there are things that are under our control and things that are not. This Key helps you focus and act on what is within your control.
The second Key is Decide, Don’t Slide. You do better when you think through your choices instead of Sliding into unanticipated and/or unintended consequences.
The third Key is Make it Safe to Connect. Physical, Emotional, and Commitment Safety are essential pillars of a healthy relationship.
Do Your Part
The first key to having a happy and healthy relationship is to Do Your Part. Do Your Part means focusing on the things in your life that you can control and not spending your energy trying to change the things you cannot. Consider what you can do for the relationship, not what you think your partner should do. It also means giving each other space and flexibility to Do Your Part in your own way. Tracking what your partner adds to the relationship – how many chores they do, how much time or effort they invest, etc. – can do more harm than good.
If your partner forgets to empty the rubbish bin, instead of making a critical remark or jumping to conclusions, focus on doing your part in that moment to make the situation better. This might mean emptying the bin yourself this time and offering a gentle reminder about chores later, or asking more questions about your partner’s day to see if they are feeling sick, or stressed. By extending each other some grace, both partners are more likely to do their part – willingly!
Decide, Don’t Slide
Decide, Don’t Slide is a key ingredient to a happy, lasting relationship. Decide, Don’t Slide means that you should think through your choices and act on them instead of Sliding into consequences that you never intended or wanted. It means that you play an active role in choosing what happens in your life and your relationship rather than just letting things occur naturally. Deciding is taking a more mindful view of your future. Recognise the choices you make today might have unintended consequences down the road. An example might be putting an expensive gift or meal on a credit card when you are trying to save up for a vacation with your partner. We can decide our primary goal is to save for vacation and choose not to make expensive purchases in the meantime, or we might slide into charging extra money on our cards now that could jeopardize our trip later on.
Make It Safe to Connect
Make it Safe to Connect means working to make your partner feel safe in your relationship. There are three kinds of Safety Pillars: Physical, Emotional, and Commitment. Each one is important to the overall wellbeing of your relationship.
Physical Safety means not having to worry about feeling threatened or being harmed in the relationship. Any physical aggression or intimidation is a sign of danger.
Emotional Safety is simply feeling comfortable being yourself around your partner. Being able to trust your partner with your heart is an example of being emotionally safe.
Commitment Safety is being able to envision a future together and investing in that future.
For more mini marriage PREP tips, click here!