8 Tips for Working Couples
Here are a few simple ways by which working couples can have a great married life!
1) “A happy marriage has two people who love each other very much and are committed to bringing out the best in each other.”
Just for today, ask this, “Is what I’m about to do or say going to cause my spouse pain or pleasure?”
Each of you should then make two lists:
- One for all the things your spouse does to cause you pain.
- Another which identifies what you would like your spouse to do to give you pleasure.
Negative and painful habits include criticism, contempt, sarcasm, eye-rolling, ignoring and distancing behaviors.
Swap lists, and now you know exactly what to do and what to avoid. No more mind reading! No more guess work! No more assumptions! No more indirect communication.
2) Create Love and Friendship Rituals
Rituals are great as they bring in stability. It also helps us bridge differences and focus on the bigger picture. It helps us to forgive AND forget (what should be forgotten).
A happy marriage has a climate of positive energy, gratitude and appreciation. Love rituals help you in that. Here are some love and friendship rituals we suggest…
- Daily phone call. (especially important for husbands to do). Lets say, immediately after lunch!
- A hug, first thing in the morning.
- Another one before leaving for work.
- One, just after reaching home can be brilliant.
- Anniversaries deserve special attention. Plan to do something both of you really enjoy, rather than feeling stuck two days before your anniversary arrives and then running out to get some flowers or buy a bottle of perfume or ask sheepishly, “Is there anything that you need?”. She will say “No”. Never consider ‘not buying as there is no need’ as OK. Anniversaries deserve and demands lavish gifts. Birthdays are cool. Anniversaries should be HOT!
- Before sleeping, attempt one compliment to each other. Now, this complement cannot be a word or a sentence. it must be a paragraph. This paragraph must be a story and not just an opinion. This means coming up with something new each night! Got it?
- It is essential to have a “date night” at least once a month.
3) Use Good Communication Skills to Resolve Hot Issues
The technique that every couple must learn is called the “listener-speaker technique.” Here’s how it works: One person holds an object in their hand which symbolizes that he or she has the floor. While one person has the floor, the other person can only talk to confirm what they have understood. The speaker ALWAYS needs to have the symbolic object in their hand. The first few times is irritating or hilarious too. Soon, everyone, gets the knack. It has worked out brilliantly for ALL participants who have sincerely attempted it. When couples use this technique, it automatically ensures that each person will be able to say everything s/he needs to say without interruption, rebuttals, criticism or attack. This soothes tempers and makes the search for solutions, easy.
4) Seize the opportunity – When you pass your spouse doing some work, do you stop and rub her shoulders, give her a kiss on the cheek, and whisper something nice in her ear – or do you just walk by? Marriage research shows that happily married couples seize the opportunity whenever they get the chance. They look for ways to be physically and emotionally close to each other. Taking walks together, drinking coffee together after dinner, and listening to music together, even watching movies together are all examples of how couples seize opportunities.
5) – Infuse Your Lives With Shared Meaning
I often ask singles the following question: “After you’re married, what do you plan to do for the next 50 years?”
Human beings need meaning like we need water. Happily married couples enrich their relationship by sharing meaningful experiences with each other. The ultimate in meaning is to share a common philosophy of life and life purpose.
6) Actively manage expectations. Unspoken expectations often lead to disappointment and miscommunication in a relationship. And the first step toward navigating a healthy marriage and an active two-career schedule can be managing expectations — everything from daily routines to ways of working. Do you need time to decompress after a long day at the office or do you need to debrief the day’s events with someone? Do you prefer frequent, short touch points (e.g., phone calls, emails) throughout the day, or do you prefer longer personal time together in the evenings? What are your expectations about travel, meals together, child care, and money? Clarifying these things up front can help you make conscious trade-offs and decisions, rather than running afoul of each other’s unspoken beliefs.
7) Schedule your spouse. The average person spends 10 hours per workday on the job. During your time in the office, you schedule meetings, reviews, and time to complete your own assignments. Other things make the calendar too – Exercise, social events, shopping, friends, social service. But how much emphasis do you put on scheduling your spouse? One of the healthiest things you can do is put the same effort into scheduling time together. If you don’t carve out time with your spouse as rigorously as you do with your work, your most important relationship can suffer.
8) Find time to cheat — on your job. What happens when a work meeting conflicts with something you’ve scheduled at home? And how many weekends and evenings are interrupted when you need “just a few hours” to finish something up for work? Many people fall into the habit of “cheating” time with family for work. Here is a twister. Will you also find time to cheat on your job with your spouse. When was the last time you slipped away at noon for an impromptu lunch date or left early to make it for a surprise early home coming? How often do you decline another work call or event because you have a date night planned? Be spontaneous above and beyond your scheduled time, and make sure that you’re not constantly breaking appointments with your spouse for appointments at work.
When couples share truly meaningful experiences, they bond on a deeper level. These habits may seem small, but when practiced intentionally and consistently, they will form the backbone of a deeply fulfilling marriage.