2. Consideration: This is very similar to the golden rule. Put yourself in your partner’s shoes. Try to do things that will please your partner, without becoming a “Pleaser.” That means, be sensitive to their feelings, desires, idiosyncrasies, and take them into account when making decisions. Wash your dishes and pick up your socks if it bothers her. Buy his favorite snack on your way home. Think of little things you can do to make your partner happy. Fight fairly when you can. You can never take back certain words or experiences. Try to think and consider how your partner will feel and use the same common courtesy as you would for a close friend or colleague. This is one of the key points to keep the spark alive in a relationship. Putting in a little effort to show respect and concern for your partner’s feelings goes a long way.
3. Connection: This is the water and sunshine necessary to keep your relationship thriving. Like a garden, you must tend to your relationship everyday. It doesn’t have to take all night. But, decide to spend at least 15 minutes a day looking into your partner’s eyes, hearing about their day, and being affectionate. With all of the technology out there, even for those who travel for work, it is almost impossible not to connect with your partner. Connecting means lovingly concentrating in the present moment on your partner. Connection is the fuel for chemistry, passion, and romance. Sit outside on a warm night, or in front of a fire. Drink a glass of wine or a cup of tea. At the very least, watch a movie or TV show you both like and laugh together. Spend a few minutes consciously putting aside your stress, and be with the person you love.
4. Communication: Finally, you must weed your garden. This means speaking your truth. Don’t let resentments build up, unexpressed. Often people have a very difficult time knowing how to talk to each other calmly when they are upset. Communicating before a fight ensues is always advisable. Use the earthquake metaphor and allow for mini-tremors instead of waiting for the “Big One.” There will always be conflict in every relationship. Do not avoid it. When a partner does not feel safe to discuss his/her fears, desires, anger, or beliefs, he will often look for someone else he feels comfortable being himself around. One of the most important keys to communication is to try to take a breath and think about how your partner will hear what you are saying before you speak. Of course we will all blurt things out we don’t mean, get upset, have regrets, and make mistakes. Apologize, forgive and forget. If communication difficulties are an issue in your relationship, seek the help of a licensed therapist, or read one of the many books out there to improve your communication skills.
Tiger Woods and his wife, Elin, have lived our collective relationship nightmare in the public eye. We have projected our fears upon them, felt our own sense of betrayal and imagined ourselves in their shoes. Don’t let their public humiliation have occurred in vain. Following the 4 c’s of : commitment, consideration, connection, and communication is the moral of this tiger’s tale.
Alisa Ruby Bash, M.A., LMFT is a licensed marriage and family psychotherapist, with offices in Beverly Hills and Malibu, California. Alisa is an expert in relationships, and is regularly consulted in the media. She has contributed to the books, "The Complete Marriage Counselor: Relationship-saving Advice from America’s Top 50+ Couples Therapists", "The AARP Crash Course In Career Change" and has been interviewed on Los Angeles’ V100 radio (100.3) about singles issues. Alisa is happily married and lives with her wonderful husband in Southern California. www.alisarubybash.com