Earlier this month, we explored five tips to use right now in order to improve your relationship. We loved this post, and we’ve gotten feedback that you guys did too! That being said, we’ve also gotten some feedback that you want MORE. Loving the enthusiasm!  We want you to be able to be the expert on these tips and how they work for you, so we’ve taken the time to dive into two tips we mentioned in our previous post: teammates first, and turning towards.   Teammates firstWhen I think of the word “teammate,” my brain goes in a few different directions-- first and foremost being a person whose intentions you keep in mind when you make decisions. This is so crucial to understanding how exactly you can make your relationship grow and thrive. You and your partner are individual people with your own inner worlds, and it is worth recognizing not only this but also the “couple” as a third party.  Let’s face it, you and your partner have very different wants and needs. I am here to remind you that this is not only okay, but actually normal. These needs exist separately because no matter how intertwined your lives are, you are still individuals. Tons of couples experience discrepancies in how they live their daily lives-- sometimes one partner feels they are living life to their fullest, while they feel the other partner is moving too slowly. Both parties feel this makes it hard to be teammates, because they are constantly on different pages about what they want.  Keep in mind that part of the reason we choose people moving at a different rhythm than us is because it creates balance. You do not have to move at the same pace at your partner, and you do not always have to agree. You just need to be able to work and love in tandem, and come together for support after your needs are met separately. In other words, the need of the couple as a whole is not always similar to either need of the individuals. Let’s focus on a simple example that came up so often in quarantine. One partner relaxes by going for runs, and another partner relaxes by watching television. Both partners want to relax together. What to do? Focus on the couple! Relax as individuals, and then find a way to relax as a couple that does not involve watching television or going for a run. Some may look at this as a compromise, however, I think it is more helpful to view this as a way to reorient yourselves towards what the couple as a whole needs.  When you feel nurtured as a team, you’re more likely to feel energized enough to support each other as individuals. It will allow you the head space to remain emotionally attuned and empathetic to one another, and will help you both feel valued and important to one another.   Turn towards rather than awayThis is our other chosen favorite. As mentioned in our previous post, world renowned therapists Drs. John and Julie Gottman discovered a concept common in happy couples- turning towards rather than away. All this means is that you are responding to your partner’s subtle hints at desire for connection with (figurative and literal) open arms and affection. Turning away from your partner is ignoring, dismissing, or shutting down attempts at connection.  This is trickier than it sounds- bids for connection typically pop up in the smallest moments throughout the day. If your partner is verbally noticing the sunset, and you are super engulfed in an article you are reading and missed what your partner said, you are rejecting a bid for connection. Yes- attempts can be this small! I know it is difficult to respond to everything, but fear not-- the Gottmans found that partners who are the happiest responded to each other's bids for connection around 86% of the time. This leaves some healthy room for mistakes.  To turn towards your partner’s bids for connection (that is, any attempt from one partner for affirmation or positive connection from the other), pay attention to the underlying meaning behind the words. Chances are that your partner is not marveling in the sunset’s beauty for their own benefit. Your partner is describing the sunset because they want to share this moment with you, because they love you. And anyway, enjoying a moment with your partner is much more likely to make you feel loved than anything on your phone! Another great way to understand your partner’s bids is to pay attention to when you are making your own. Notice the things you say and what you are looking for from your partner. And of course, talk about this concept with your partner! After all, knowledge is power, right?   How can I apply this to my life?Talk about it with your partner! Bring these concepts to their attention so they can be aware of how hard you’re working, and hopefully will feel full and nurtured enough to respond back. If you feel these and the other tips are outside of the realm of possibility, our suggestion is to invest in couples therapy right here in Manhattan. There are alternatives and ways to explore what is going on for you and your partner outside of just behavior change.   ​Mollie Eliasof, LCSW 

You’re a high powered professional enjoying the life you built, but you’re also hitting a snag. Your relationship is struggling, and you feel stuck and unclear on how to help your relationship succeed in the same way you are at work.  If you love some quick tips, this blog post is definitely right for you. I am going to break down five ways to improve your relationship ASAP. By improving your relationship, I truly mean enhancing warmth, connection and overall feelings of love for one another. 1. Teammates firstYou and your partner are teammates above all else! Yes, there are other people in your world. You may have a work team to tend to, a large family, and a bunch of friends who love you. This is completely normal, and does not mean that your partnership cannot be a priority for you.  By “priority,” I do not mean that your partner is your everything, or even that you need to spend the most time with them. What I mean is putting them first the moments that count. Remember their emotional and inner worlds are different than yours, and respond based on their needs. This is the glue that will help you excel in your relationship.  2. Remember to laughI know this one sounds simple, but it is easy to lose in the shuffle. Because you are a business person, you know what it is like to be on hyperspeed. You want to move fast and get the most out of life, so you forget that part of getting the most out of life is actually slowing down to enjoy the moments you’ve worked so hard for. This is so difficult- there a million things to do, both at work and at home. It is easy to slide into a pattern of focusing only on things you need to do instead of remembering why exactly you’re doing them in the first place! Try practicing mindfulness to be present, and enjoy those small silly moments with your partner. Check out this article on slowing down to find joy.  3. Say “thank you”This is easy to skip if you’ve been with your partner for a long time. The things they do start becoming exactly that- just things they do. So when your partner pays for dinner or opens the car door for you, you forget to say “thank you” because this becomes the norm for your relationship. While it is lovely to have these pleasant, small gestures become the norm, it also makes it much more difficult to remember to show appreciation and gratitude. Saying “thank you” can help your partner feel understood and exceptional and could even leave them space to want to go that extra mile for you. After all, who doesn’t love being appreciated for who they are? Check out this post on the importance of saying “thank you” in the workplace.  4. Turn towards rather than awayOk, so this one is from Drs. John and Julie Gottman. As we’ve mentioned in a handful of previous posts, the Gottmans are couples therapists and researchers who are exceptional in what they’ve found throughout their years of experience.  Turning towards your partner essentially means that you are responding to the subtle bids for connection that they make. This could be verbal (“check out that sunset!”) to physical (reaching out to touch their hand) to an act of service (making coffee). Responding is turning towards your partner, and silence or rejection (“I’m reading right now”) are turning away. This can be very hard, especially when there is a ton to do and you feel like you’re buzzing through life! Acknowledging the small moments may even feel like another thing you have to worry about. Instead, take some baby steps- start by noticing when you are bidding for connection, and what it is like for you both when your partner is able to respond and when they are not. Once you master this, it’ll be a little easier to know what your partner is looking for when they are making their own bids! 5. Have buy-inInvest in your relationship! Your relationship is so important to you-- after all, that is why you’re reading this post! Give energy to those small moments. The goal here is to optimize the time you are able to spend together, rather than increasing the quantity of time together.  The first four tips on this post explore ways to optimize and enrich your quality of time with your partner. For example, let’s focus on that moment in the morning when your partner is making coffee and you are beginning your dive into work emails.  Picture this: You take a second to acknowledge your partner, and you say “babe, this coffee is amazing.” You both giggle because you’re using a Keurig, you are saying “thank you,” you are responding to a bid, and you’re making the moment of the small moment. Way to optimize! Why wait?! Get to it! Show your partner how important they are by using your small moments and making them the best they can be. Make your moments high quality by remembering to laugh, saying “thank you,” turning towards, and investing. Maybe start by sending over a quick text saying that you’re thinking of them. Who doesn’t love a small reminder of their importance? ​Mollie Eliasof, LCSW   

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How can I stay motivated during the pandemic?​

If you’re a professional go getter, it can be so difficult to have experienced the switch from constantly moving around to remaining exclusively at home. Lack of incoming new business, strain of finances, mental health, and health all play roles in the ability to balance your career with your life at home. 

 

We’ve created some tips to help you stay motivated and organized, and to help you keep your priorities and end goals in mind! 

 

Create Landmarks

Start with one year from now, and think about where you want to be. Imagine your future self. Where do they want to be? Are they going to be happy with where you are now, or are they going to wish you did some more to enhance success? For more ways to explore your future self’s business needs, check out this post

 

Thinking about where you want to be in one year from now is an excellent way to begin to set up landmarks. Plan backwards- in order to be where you want to be in one year, where do you have to be in six months? In 3 months? In one month, and next week? 

 

Don’t forget the baby steps! 

If you’ve ever started a business, or really started anything that requires some hard work, you know that landmarks can only be reached if baby steps are accomplished. Give yourself credit for those small steps so you know what you are accomplishing. 

 

This will not only help you recognize how far you’ve come, but will also boost your sense of competence and confidence. Chances are that you are accomplishing fantastic things every single day, and just have a harder time recognizing those smaller steps. Check out this article on how self compassion can lead to better business. 

 

Get creative with organization

Prioritize what you want to organize! I know I am saying a lot of words here, but prioritizing organization can make overall organizing less daunting. For example, if you know you need to figure out how to organize your inbox, but your desk is such a mess that you can’t even think straight, one of these things definitely needs to be done before the other. And don’t forget to give yourself credit for the baby step of organizing your desk! 

 

Work-home boundaries/routines

I will give you this- this one is exceptionally tricky during a pandemic in which you are quarantined, even as things are opening up. Try starting your work day with a solidified routine, so your body and mind know your work day is starting. Maybe this is something like a cup of coffee, or maybe it is just a few deep breaths. Whatever works! 

 

Try to do this at the end of the day too. Choose a different routine to solidify the end of your day, so your body and mind can adjust to shutting off and tuning into your partner and children for the rest of the evening. For more advice on how to manage being a parent who is now working from home, check out this guide.

 

Make sure you are also setting internal boundaries. This does not necessarily mean setting limits on what you do at work (learning to say “no” is always a crowd favorite!), but instead means knowing when your body has just had enough. Tune into what exhaustion feels like for you. Do your eyes get droopy? Or do you start to zone out? Notice when you have reached your max, and try to tap out then. 

 

Keep in mind that this may be constantly changing! This is why we suggest an end of day routine rather than a consistent time. It is possible that some days you are able to work until 7pm, and this works for you, but other days you need to shut off at 5. This is okay! Pay attention to what your body is telling you. 

 

Keep a schedule

Finally, try to organize your day into a concrete schedule. You can really do this based on how you best function. If you are someone who likes to know what they are doing every hour, on the hour, awesome! If not, this is more than okay too. Instead, try to break down your schedule by morning, noon and night. 

 

For example, try accomplishing a specific set of tasks before 12PM, and another set before 5PM. This can make the day feel less overwhelming, and will also allow you the space to give yourself that credit we discussed earlier! 

 

All in all…

Goals are hard to accomplish at any time, but exceptionally difficult to tackle when the world feels like it is out of control. Remember to instill that sense of accomplishment through acknowledging what you are doing, so you don’t get bogged down with what you haven’t done. 

 

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