Most couples we work have so many things on their plates — work, family obligations, health challenges — that they’re going nonstop. As a result, their romantic relationships take a back seat, which impedes their ability to connect on a deeper level.
Below is an exercise we teach couples who feel stuck. Gather some paper and colored markers, and do this exercise as a couple.
1. Take stock of your life.
Both of you, make a list of all the areas of your life you can think of: work, recreation, family, sex, household maintenance, health, etc. and rate your satisfaction with them from 1-10. You’ll discover where you’re thriving and where you need to invest more attention.
Areas where both of your scores are low or there is a significant difference in your scores are likely the ones that need your attention. Note where you’re both thriving and have a moment of celebration.
2. Express your emotions.
After choosing what you want to focus on, write down every emotion you have about that area of your life. If you feel judgment toward yourself or your partner while you do this, try to let it go and allow your emotions to be expressed.
Before you can pursue solutions, you have to acknowledge and accept your emotions. You may be feeling overwhelmed, discouraged, sad, disoriented, or disappointed. Once this happens, the tension will begin to ease, creating space to move forward.
3. Take action and follow through.
Brainstorm how you might create a change. Don’t filter yourself. You can prioritize these ideas after seeing all of them in front of you.
Once you prioritize the ideas/steps, the key is to follow through. You can brainstorm all you want, but it won’t create change if you don’t follow through.
4. Reassess your emotions and find inspiration.
Check in with your feelings and highlight any positive shifts or inspirations that have emerged.
If you walk through this exercise with mindfulness and openness, it will create forward momentum toward change and more satisfaction in your life and relationship. Ready? Get out your paper and colored markers, add an attitude of fun, and start changing your life.
For more tips on how to breathe life into your relationship, try these: