One thing I see a lot of in couples is the lack of emotional connection between them. They are so busy or so distracted with other things in life, they don’t pay attention to how their relationship suffers because of the lack of attention and focus they give it. Last week I wrote about how modern-day society has us rushing around so much that as a byproduct of our busyness. relationships are suffering (see the article Make Time for Your Relationships). Partners end up taking each other for granted, negativity takes over, tiredness is an excuse, a hectic schedule with the kids or with work–all of these serve to distract you from maintaining a loving relationship.
If you haven’t heard of Kaizen, it is a practice of small, continuous steps that are made each day in each area of your life. So, for example, if you were to take the categories of the Wheel of Life exercise (the categories are career, health, family and friends, money and finances, fun and recreation, relationships/romance and loving yourself, personal growth, and physical environment), you would focus on taking a small step in each of these categories.
When life gets hectic, at least one of these categories gets put on the proverbial back burner. You don’t notice how your inattentiveness affects you until the issues come creeping up and suddenly you realize there’s a huge fire to put out (couples usually come to couples therapy only after there are major issues coming up–like divorce, an affair, a traumatic event, etc.).
In Kaizen, you focus on all of the categories, every day. Even in very small amounts. Even if a category is a ten (you rank each category from 0 to 10, with 10 being the highest amount of satisfaction), you still want to focus on this as well, it just gets a little less attention than say your relationships area of your life which you may have ranked a 5. There is no right way to do this, you may want to prioritize your categories with money and personal growth being prioritized last right now because of an illness in the family that you need to focus more on so that family and friends moves on up to the forefront.
So let’s say you rank your relationships area as a 5 and you recognize there is room for improvement. Here are three ways you can increase the love and emotional connection in your relationship:
- Catch your partner doing something right. Instead of criticizing them, begin to build a relationship energy of love, respect, and appreciation. Your goal is to say 5 times as many positive statements to your partner than negative.
- Start asking your partner: How are you doing? What’s on your mind? Talk to me. And then listen. Listening helps amplify emotional connection. So does asking about them and their well-being. Everyone wants to feel like they matter.
- Focus your thoughts on gratitude, appreciation, and love. Think about those times you’ve felt these things about your partner. Create more moments and experiences with your partner that you are grateful for. Savor these moments and hold them dear.
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If your relationship needs some attention, and you’re not sure just reading articles like these and books will help, I invite you to discover relationship coaching. You can find out more by clicking here: Relationship Coaching.
My passion is to enrich people’s lives by helping them create extraordinary relationships. I am a certified life coach, have a Master’s degree in psychology, and am a Marriage and Family Therapy Candidate. I am the author of Transforming Divorce, the Transforming Divorce Workbook, and co-author (with my husband Don Nenninger) of The Secrets of Loving Relationships, and The Art and Science of Parenting: How to Act When Your Kid’s Acting Out.