As the kids head back to school it may be time to do some relationship revision. Will your relationship get an A+?
The uniforms have been ironed, pencils sharpened, books at the ready, lunches packed – school is now back in session! Now that the kids are organised it’s a good opportunity to do some revision to ensure your relationship gets top marks when the next report cards arrive home.
Dr Gian Gonzaga, world-renowned expert in the field of compatibility and relationships for eHarmony.com.au has more than 15 years experience in studying relationships and what makes a marriage work.
Dr Gonzaga says, “The kids going back to school after summer holidays can mean the start of busy, rigorous routines that can put strain on relationships. Before things get really hectic why not take the time to think about the reasons why you love your partner and remember what is important to achieving a happy ever after.”
Here are five relationship lessons to help you on your way:
1. Do Your Homework – Do you remember all those special occasions; birthdays, anniversaries, first dates etc? Swat up on these important dates and prepare for each occasion, it will make all the difference to your spouse.
2. Playdate Diary – If you have children, it can be hard to spend quality time alone with your partner. Finding a babysitter once a week or even once a month will allow you to go on a date and help you re-connect with your loved one. Whether it’s a daytime date or an evening to yourselves, “alone time” is very important. All work and no play makes for a pretty boring life. Revert back in years and try sleeping in, staying out late, being a little selfish and going on an adventure to dislodge yourself from your rut.
3. Forgiveness and Conflict – Children may have scuffles on the playground and make mistakes in their days at school but so do adults – every day. It’s easy as an adult to tell a child to forgive a friend but often forget to do the same with their partner. Forgiveness does not mean you like everything your partner may do – it means you understand they are not perfect all the time, and your job is to love who they are, not who you want them to be.
When you practice forgiveness you will have less anger, be able to appreciate your partner’s good points, accept them as they are, and ultimately have a long-lasting and healthy relationship, annoying qualities and all. Kiss and make up.
In adult relationships, conflict is normal and can be healthy if something good comes of it. It gives you the chance to show your partner that you understand and care for them, even if the two of you disagree. Management of conflict can turn out to be a step raising you to a higher and higher level of intimacy when you manage the conflict well.
4. Know when to keep quiet but know when to speak up – We’ve all been told to be quiet by a teacher at some point but also have been reprimanded for not taking part in class discussions. The same can happen in a relationship.
Some people consider themselves skilled communicators because they can talk nonstop. But the ability to speak is only one part of the equation—and not the most important part. Communication requires talking and listening, and most people find it easier to do the first than the second. Great communicators are first and foremost great listeners.
Even listening is only part of the equation. You must show your partner that you understand what they are telling you and how it affects your lives together. So listen to your partner, really listen and put yourself in their shoes, the better you understand your spouse, the better your relationship will be.
5. Say ‘I Love You’ – Most parents scoot their children out the door to school everyday with a quick “I love you”. But do you remember to tell your partner everyday? It may sound simple and obvious to some, but couples don’t say these three words as often as their partner would like. Replacing the words ‘thank you’ with ‘I love you’ signal how much you care, how committed you are and will remind your partner how you feel. And that should bring you closer together.
eHarmony was created by Dr Neil Clark Warren, a clinical psychologist with more than 35 years of marriage guidance counseling experience. Prior to launching the online relationship matching service in the United States in 2000, Dr Warren spent three years researching the characteristics between spouses that are consistently associated with the most successful relationships. The company continues to invest heavily in research, with six Ph.Ds on staff at eHarmony Labs and a prominent board of scientific advisors, led by Dr Gonzaga.
Prior to the launch of eHarmony.com.au in Australia, a representative sample of over 700 Australian couples was studied, with the results used to develop a country-specific model and validate the relationship questionnaire.
For more free relationship advice visit the website advice.eharmony.com.au