We’re all looking to strengthen our relationships. And when we’re fortunate enough to have these solid social connections, it’s even good for our health. Research shows strong, healthy relationships can also help to strengthen your immune system, help you recover from disease, and may even lengthen your life. These are the Three Cs I have learned that can lead to a happier, healthier partnership!
This could be a no brainer for some, but it took quite a bit of observations before establishing this technique for my own relationship, and it is a continual work in progress.
It started with observing my partner at work. He has daily check-ins with his team at work to review where each individual is on the current project and express any concerns. These project check-ins seem to get each person in the group together on the same page through a more comprehensive understanding and time for reflection.
This led me to a more obvious observation of myself. Not only is it part of my job to check in with clients, I also check in with myself daily. Actually, I do so multiple times a day: morning, lunch, and evening. These check-ins help me establish my to-do list, define daily priorities, set personal objectives, and get organized. Without them, I would likely aimlessly do the “stuff” in hopes I could get it all done with no hindrances. So it is safe to say, my check-ins provide me with direction and clarity just like my partner.
I’ve also made several other observations in other scenarios that led me to similar conclusions. Relationship check-ins can provide precisely what these examples show very well.
A simple way to check in with your partner is by starting weekly check-ins at the beginning and end of the week.
At the beginning of the week, you can ask…
“What can I do to support you this week?”
” Is there anything I can do to help you have a good week this week?”
“Do you see any obstacles getting in the way of you having a good week that I could assist with?”
At the end of the week it may be useful to ask your partner…
“Anything from this week that you think we should constructively discuss?” Mention positives first.
“If you were to rate your week on a scale of 1-10, where does this past week fall?”
“Is there anything valuable that you learned this week that might help us this coming week?”
Communication is far from assumption and selfishness. I hear this a lot from clients, and I am guilty of it myself. Oftentimes, as a partner in a relationship, I might assume what my partner wants or needs. These assumptions leave a lot of room for me to allow my own thoughts, feelings and habits to take lead over what my partner may truly be trying to express or show. Thus, I lead with a bit of selfishness by thinking my partner in fact thinks, feels and habituates the exact same as me.
Communication in a healthy relationship rids assumption and leads with selflessness, which ultimately leaves room for each partner to show up with authenticity, truth, and an unapologetic realness.
It is important to note that communication is a two way street. It is one part sharing what you need and want, and the other part is listening to what your partner needs and wants. An excellent tool to apply is reflective listening in this instance. This tool encourages you to reflect back what you hear your partner saying he or she needs, which allows your partner to further clarify if needed.
As shared by many couples that I admire and take advice from, “Communication is a lot of work but communication is key.”
Let me begin by shaping the definition of compromise based on what I have so far learned.
Compromise is not always, “I have to give this up so that you can have that (and vice versa).” Rather it is, I want to give this up so that we can be happy, healthy, etc. as a couple. The key word here is WE.
A partnership is just that: two (or more) individuals with separate wants and needs, in it together. WE. Not I. Not she. Not he.
Compromise can be very tricky though, because it requires a balance of give and take. Coming up with a solution that satisfies both partners as much as possible is the ultimate end-goal. Some of the best compromises can be a win-win for both parties, but it can certainly be easier said than done.
An exercise you can try to support learning healthy, reasonable action to compromise is…
- When you have reached an impasse with your partner, avoid saying damaging things. Instead, stop and press pause in verbal communication.
- You and your partner then grab a blank sheet of paper each. Write down a sentence or two describing the ideal scenario from your point of view only. Be direct and as simple as possible.
- Hand the paper to your partner to read silently. Circle at least one thing on your partner’s paper that you are willing to compromise on, then hand it back.
- Pick up verbal communication to reach the official compromise.
The Three Cs tool has helped me remember that relationships take work and what is really important. But perhaps more importantly, this tool helps focus on being the best me I can be for WE.
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– CASEY EDMONDS, CHWC, CPT, CMS
Health Advisor | Email Casey