Before Cooper and I got married, we took premarital counseling. It was a requirement by the person who was marrying us, but I would go back and make the choice myself all over again. It was one of the best things we could’ve done to get our relationship on the right foot forward.

In this episode, we are talking all about the things that make a healthy relationship! Our expert Alex condensed some of those fundamentals into a few basic ideas.

Alex kicked off an episode on relationships by talking about our relationship with ourselves first. He starts off by saying that it’s important for us to have insight and understanding of who we are and to seek self-awareness. I don’t know about you, but this actually terrifies me when we get down to it. I don’t want to dig into myself more and more, it can be a scary thing. Although it’s not an easy journey, I do believe it’s an important one. I recently started to uncover and find more understanding of myself through the Enneagram. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s worth a google. It’s an ancient personality type system that can be a great tool to help you better understand yourself. I’m currently reading “The Road Back to You” by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile which breaks down the different types of the Enneagram in an easy-to-digest way. There are so many books out there to explore on the Enneagram and it’s just one of the ways to help seek that self-awareness Alex talked about. He then goes on to say if we can better understand who we are and why we react the way we react, it will help us to communicate how we are feeling better to our partner.

Having a team mentality is so important in your relationship. It’s no longer about looking at things as what’s best for me or you, but what’s best for us? I have found that this mentality creates a sense of security and safeness in your relationship and really helps with making big life decisions. It takes the focus off of just you and makes it about the whole.

Active listening is such a great exercise to use when trying to talk through a conflict. On paper, it sounds like it would be an easy. One person calmly explains how the conflict made them feel, the other person listens without interrupting, and then the person listening repeats back what they heard the other person say, then asks “Did I get that right?”. Easy right? Until your emotions are tugging at you or you want to blurt out why you think the other person is wrong. There have been times in my life where Cooper and I practiced this, but then it did escalate to talking over each other and not really hearing from one another. It takes practice to get good at it, but it feels so good when both of you actually feel heard. Then you can move forward together feeling like the other person at least knows where you are coming from. Even in the episode, the conflict of “the fork” obviously had deeper emotions attached to it. Active listening can help uncover those.

The last little tip that Alex left us with was to always put effort into your relationship. It can be so easy to stop doing the little things that we did early on in the whirlwind of a new relationship. Little things, like buying flowers, giving words of encouragement, helping out with chores. It takes effort, so keep trying. If you ever want a better understanding of what little things could mean a lot to you, try reading “The Five Love Languages” book. It really helped me get an idea of what makes me feel the most loved and what makes Cooper feel the most loved.

I hope you were able to take away something from today’s episode! There are definitely things that can be applied to all relationships, not just romantic ones.

We came. We saw. We adulted.