11. What change can I make in my personal/professional life that will have the greatest positive impact on my relationship?
It’s easy to get caught in the trap of only pondering your relationship when trying to improve the strength of your relationship. But just like a world-class Olympic runner shouldn’t only obsess over his running technique (opting instead to also pay attention to their diet, sleep habits, recovery program, etc.), so too should you look to where your energy is going in your life overall.
Are there friends you have that, for the last several years, you have only felt drained by having out with… and, in fact, they’re so draining that each time you spend time with them you have to debrief how awful your experience was with them with your partner? Consider not being friends with those people anymore.
Do you pour so much time and energy into your career/a specific hobby/binge-watching Friends reruns that you don’t have a generous amount of energy to put into your relationship? It might be worth questioning (and reprioritizing) your values hierarchy so that your partner gets more of the best side of you, and not just the leftover energetic scraps.
Analyze what a normal week looks like for you, and see if there’s any energy you can reclaim from low-leverage behaviors that can be more effectively used by being rerouted into your relationship.
12. If I were never allowed to say the words ‘I love you’ to my partner, ever again, what actions would I start incorporating into my daily life so that they never doubted that they were deeply loved by me?
This is a valuable thought experiment that I believe everyone would benefit from.
While this obviously isn’t an either/or scenario, and I am not at all suggesting that saying I love you to your partner is something to be avoided, I have absolutely worked with couples in the last ten years where it has sometimes been the case where the couple said the words ‘I love you’ several times a day, but didn’t really follow up with demonstration in their actions.
So… if for some reason, a curse was put on you and your mouth became fundamentally incapable of ever again saying the words ‘I love you’, what would you have to do, on a daily basis, for your partner to know that they were undoubtedly loved by you?
Would you do more household chores? Would you touch them more, or differently? Would you plan more spontaneous date nights? Would you listen to them talk about their day with a higher quality of attention and presence? Would you more regularly tell them explicit things that you appreciated about them? Would you spend more time with them than you currently do?
Whatever things jumped out in your mind when you first read the question, do more of that.
On a micro-scale, you can even try this as a short-term experiment. Try not saying ‘I love you’ to your partner for a week, and then show up more fully with your actions and other expressions of love. Obviously, only do this if you feel like you could get away with that kind of timeline. The point is not to arbitrarily punish your partner without them knowing… the point is to flood your partner with other demonstrations of love, especially if you have historically leaned on the words too heavily, in situations when actions may have spoken louder.
Self-Reflection Is Sexy
The primary value in these questions is that they make you look inward and do some deep, honest searching.
Ultimately, you are the wisest, most intelligent guru that your relationship needs. Sometimes, you just need to stumble on some helpful arrows that point you back into your own heart.
Spend some time with these questions, let them reveal what needs to be revealed, and then take action on the things that they mine out of you.
And, if you have read this far, thank you from the bottom of my heart. Thank you for loving intentionally. Thank you for making your relationship this much of a priority. The world benefits from your generosity of spirit, and it is so appreciated.
Dedicated to your success,
Written by Jordan Gray Originally appeared in Jordan Gray Consulting