Whether it’s putting up with annoying behaviors or celebrating everyday accomplishments, parents can apply some of the approaches they use with their children to their relationship as a couple. The lessons of patience and tolerance – even a sense of playfulness – can make for a better marriage and stronger family connections.
If you’re eager to find ways to apply your parenting to help connect with your partner, get started with any of these practical tips:
• Offer one kind word a day. Seek out something your mate has done every day about which to express appreciation.
• Draw up a couple “mission statement.” Don’t fuss over the exact wording. Use this as a chance to become more mindful of how much you share a joint purpose in your lives.
• With your partner, list ways that you’ve grown since meeting one another, and since becoming parents. Are there additional ways you’d like to develop but for which you feel you need more support from your partner? Discuss how to get such needs met.
• Choose one behavior you find it hard to tolerate and talk about why it seems so resistant to change or acceptance. See if you can find a way to develop empathy for your partner’s point of view so you can let your annoyance go.
Susan K. Perry's latest book is Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way.