Happy Valentines Day!
What better day than today to do a little relationship check-in? Within the 8 pillars of wellness is social wellness, which includes your marriage. Marital Wellness includes healthy communication and conflict resolution skills, good boundaries, trust, faithfulness, the ability to be yourself around your spouse, mutual respect, meaningful intimacy, and a daily dose of fun.
Take a look at these 7 characteristics to gauge the health of your relationship:
1. You and your spouse communicate on a regular basis and have healthy conflict resolution skills.
2. You both have healthy boundaries with each other and with those outside of your marriage.
3. You are faithful to one another and trust each other.
4. You have a mutual respect for each other.
5. You seek to spend time together.
6. You experience meaningful intimacy (physical, emotional & spiritual).
7. You invite fun and laughter into your marriage on a regular basis.
Every marriage runs into challenges, but with a little tune up, you can gain new knowledge and perspective that could change the climate of your marriage.
The L.O.V.E. Technique
I first learned of this communication technique many years ago when studying Hope Focused Marriage Counseling (Worthington, 1999, 2005). What I have found over the years is that this technique can stop a conflict in it’s tracks. Here’s how you use this technique:
L–Listen and repeat. Be present and hear the words that are coming out of your partner’s mouth. Get out of your head (where we tend to think about what we are going to say next, defend ourselves etc). Do not interrupt and strive to understand. Repeat back the words that you hear your partner saying. By repeating back, you can avoid and correct any misunderstandings that may be occurring.
O–Observe Your Effects. In a nutshell, this means if you say something and your partner reacts (i.e. partner rolls his/her eyes, etc) the message was probably not received how you intended it to be. Rather than reacting back, you could say something like, “I must not have communicated that the way I thought I was, can you tell me what you heard me say?” (Again, seek to understand).
V–Value & Validate your partner. This will not only decrease misunderstandings but will also increase marital satisfaction & happiness.
E–Evaluate Your Options–Explore what you and your partner’s interests are. Find out what’s important to each other. Take a win-win approach. Collectively come up with possible solutions that meet both interests and choose one to try together.
Take a moment to try this technique next time you’re met with a conflict.
If you’re feeling like you’re at a crossroads in your marriage, you are not alone. Make a decision today to invest in your marriage by contacting a trusted pastor, marriage mentor/coach or counselor.