· Describe the honeymoon phase of your relationship
· How are you contributing to your relationship long-term?
I have been told to avoid using words like always, never, everyone, or no one, because one exception could prove me wrong. But I will go out on a limb and say that everyone knows that a honeymoon is a time of bliss when people see no faults in another person or group. Webster describes it as a period of unusual harmony immediately following the establishment of a new [or blossoming] relationship. We are more familiar with honeymoons between significant others; however, they also can describe the onboarding process in a new job. Either situation feels great, but after the honeymoon stage, reality begins to set in.
Whether at home or in the workplace relationships matter. I strongly believe relationships work for those who work on them. I am going to start with the home front first. No matter how important work is, relationships at home are even more so. You are replaceable at work. You are not replaceable at home. Home is your real life. Keep that in perspective always.
I developed a long-term committed relationship worksheet for people who want a lasting relationship. The entertainment industry highlights broken relationships. I want to help those who want to get it right. The worksheet can help couples talk about issues before they become problematic. It contains 21 items that people in long-term relationships have to navigate. During the honeymoon phase, their primary focus is intimacy and sex. As their relationship progresses over time, the other 19 items demand couples’ attention. Here are a few of the items on my relationship worksheet: finances, division of chores, religion, interests, procreation, parenting, career choices, and geographic preferences.
Most of us see the world as we are, through the lens of our lived experience. Our worldview creates stealth expectations and assumptions. Using the worksheet as a proactive tool facilitates constructive conversations. The worksheet probably won’t prevent disagreements from happening, but it could make them less contentious. When disagreements occur, fight fair. Try not to let your emotions take over. You might say regrettable things. Instead, take calming breaths and consider the TherapistAid.com, Fair Fighting Rules,1. Before you begin, ask yourself why you feel upset, 2. Discuss one topic at a time, 3. No degrading language, 4. Express your feelings with words, 5. Take turns talking, 6. No stonewalling, 7. No yelling, 9. Call timeout if things get too heated, 10 Compromise short and long-term. If compromise is not possible seek professional help.
Next week I will discuss this after the post-work onboarding honeymoon. Some of the same principles apply. That is to say, relationships work for those who work on them.