The Solution Focused Marriage is a book written by Elliot Connie, a therapist in Texas who specialises in working with couples. I have had the privilege of attending workshops and conferences by Elliot Connie and he is very passionate about couple work. In his book, Elliot speaks about 5 simple habits that will bring about the best in your relationship. In this blog, I am going to discuss these habits.
- Have a goal for your relationship
Goal setting is a very common principle in most aspects of our lives particularly in the career world. Similarly, in your relationship, it is important to develop a defined picture of your preferred future so that both you and your partner are aware and content with what goal/destination you are working towards. It is important to align both your goals into one comprehensive idea of your preferred future.
Exercise: Complete a list of 50 details of what you and your partner would like your relationship to look like one year from now.
- Take credit for the “Honeymoon Phase” of your relationship
I have sat in many sessions with clients where I ask what the two of them were doing in the initial phase of their relationship to keep it positive and their response is, “it was easy, it was the honeymoon phase.” In order for your relationship to be positive both you and your partner were using a set of skills. These skills often get overlooked. Reminding yourself of the honeymoon phase, serves to remind of you of the skills you possessed then and still possess now and also serves to create a positive space again. I visibly see the mood change in my couple sessions when I ask questions relating to the honeymoon phase.
Exercise: Get together with your partner and recount the story of how you met. Make a list of the things each of you did to keep the relationship moving forward.
- Communicate about progress
In a world which tends to be quite critical and negative, our tendency is to focus on what it going wrong rather than what is going right. Train yourself to notice what is best in your partner, in yourself and in your relationship and highlight these qualities in your routine conversations. Practice more of what seems to be working in the relationship.
Exercise: Each day, or as often as possible, get together with your partner and have a conversation about what each of you is noticing about the other that is pleasing to you.
- Continue to date
Think about dating as a mindset rather than as an actual date. Look at one another with a look of love, talk about each other with the softness of love and act with the others happiness in mind.
Exercise: Do something, in secret for each other daily or as often as possible. Observe what difference this makes for each of you.
- Function as a partnership
The trick to having a strong partnership is to use your strengths to overcome your partner’s weaknesses and allow your partner’s strengths to overcome your own weaknesses. Develop roles in the household, based on each partner’s strengths.
Exercise: Have a discussion with your partner:
- Develop a list of strengths for each partner.
- Develop a list of household goals.
- Develop a plan for achieving these goals that utilises the strengths of each partner.
The Solution Focused Marriage is building a marriage that is infused with habits that help build up each partner, highlight their strengths and make their weaknesses insignificant. It is a marriage built on conversation about progress instead of plagued with conversations about problems.