“It was found that the men who ranked highest in terms of warm relationships averaged an annual earning of $114,000 more than those who appeared to have the least warm relationships during their highest earning years.”
I get it: You’re not relaxing on the beach every day with your partner sipping cocktails and enjoying the views.
(If that was your life everyday, you might just be bored to tears anyway.)
Instead, your typical day is packed. You’re busy and successful and have far too many things to take care of to think about your relationship.
All of that is about to change.
See, your relationship is one of your most important assets, but you might not realize that because we don’t give relationships enough credit in this world. As a result, people suffer and tolerate mediocre relationships, feeling drained and exhausted as a result, sometimes without even realizing how much better things could be if things were different in the love department.
Today I’m going to share three simple steps for busy people to create success in love.
Step 1: Understand the Power of Love
Good news: Love is no longer a mystery. When we take the time to understand the power of love, as Huey Lewis sang, it becomes all too clear how important it is for us to nurture our relationships.
A strong relationship translates to:
In the longest running study of humans of all time, which followed freshman men in Harvard to their deathbeds, it was noted that one predictor of economic success was having warm relationships with others. In fact, it was found that the men who ranked highest in terms of warm relationships averaged an annual earning of $114,000 more than those who appeared to have the least warm relationships during their highest earning years.
The director of the study, George Vaillant, also took his findings from this 75-year study and boiled happiness down to one word: love.
A strong relationship should not be considered a luxury or only for the lucky.
Given all of the myths that we are taught about love and how it is modeled to us, it’s no wonder why so many relationships are messed up. Many people have resigned themselves to the belief that a solid relationship will always be out of reach for them.
Fortunately, thanks to pioneers in the field of love and relationships, such as psychologist, Dr. Sue Johnson, we now know how love makes sense and how to actually shape it. We know that we’re all wired toward love, that humans are resilient and we change over time, and that even the most hopeless among us can have strong relationships.
To learn more about Johnson’s revolutionary work about relationships, check out her book, Love Sense: The Revolutionary New Science of Romantic Relationships.
Step 2: Prioritize Love
Now that you know a strong relationship not only will make your heart sing but will help you be stronger, braver and bolder in every area of your life, including your business, you might be interested in paying a bit more attention to your relationship. That’s good.
The important thing to do here — which may sound so obvious — is to prioritize love.
I get it: When things between the two of you are going well, your relationship may be the last thing you think about taking care of. When things aren’t going well, you may just want to run like hell from it or you don’t know where to begin. Either way, in good times and in bad, making your relationship a priority in your life is a must.
When I work with a couple who are totally lost from each other, I help them articulate experiences to each other that they might have not even realized they were having. They initially talk to me about these experiences, and eventually are able to turn to each other. Over time, they become really good at speaking with each other in this way and no longer get tripped up in their same old problematic cycles of disconnection, and I’m made redundant. I start feeling like a third wheel!
Even so, unless they continue to conversation without me, they’ll come running back to me for my help.
The key here is to continue the conversation. Or start having one!
Love is essentially a deep emotional bond with someone. We nurture that bond by sharing emotionally with each other on a deep level.
This requires slowing down, stopping what you’re doing, really tuning into yourself and your emotional experience and sharing this with your partner.
Doing this for yourself is a gift on its own, especially if you’re typically swept up in the chaos of life.
Sharing your experience on this level with someone you love makes it that much more powerful.
Having this kind of conversation for a lot of couples who are just starting to connect requires structure.
Just like an alcoholic who starts AA benefits from the structure of meetings and accountability, or someone who starts working out for the first time needs a schedule, when you’re starting to first prioritize your relationship, you need to have some kind of structure to actually be with each other.
Automation and scheduling saves you time, keeps you all accountable and guarantees that something will happen. It may not sound romantic, but if you’re just starting to prioritize your relationship, automate and schedule time together.
Of course that doesn’t exclude the possibility for spontaneity or romance, but at this point, a guaranteed conversation and real check in about how you’re actually doing is much more called for than the possibility of roses and chocolates.
Step 3: Get support
I get it, it can be hard to ask for help. But seriously — if you’re so busy and successful, why are you doing the laundry? And in terms of your business, why are you taking care of those tasks that a college student could handle at a much lower cost? Wouldn’t you rather be doing something either more in your zone of genius or spending quality time with the people you love?
Delegate, delegate, delegate.
Think of how many hours a week you spend doing things that someone else could handle for you.
When those hours are freed, you won’t feel so frazzled and busy all the time, you’ll have more time to be with your other half, your relationship will start to thrive when you start taking care of it, and you’ll be that much more energized and available for your work in the world.
And if you desire some support in your relationship, a little expert help can go a long way. A third party facilitator, such as an Emotionally Focused Therapist who understands love and how to shape it, can help you and your partner get out of each other’s way and actually see and be with each other. That way, you’ll start reaping the benefits of a strong relationship and be so much better off because of it.
Originally published: Huffington Post/Flickr
Timothy Marsee/ Flickr