So, I said I'm going to work on a few good relationships. Where to begin? I'll start by spending time with The Few instead of The Many. But that won't make the few relationships automatically good.
Today, I picked up (again) The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work. I want to try Gottman's six-week exercise on nurturing fondness and admiration. Call it my effort at relational engagement. I'll try to record the exercise in my journal.
Here's Week One of the exercise, and I think it can be modified if a person wanted to use it parent-to-child, friend-to-friend (maybe even co-worker to co-worker). If anyone modifies it, let me know what you substitute. I'd be interested...
Thought: I am genuinely fond of my partner. (We're supposed to "think" this even if we don't think it!)
Task: List one characteristic you find endearing or lovable.
Thought: I can easily speak of the good times in our marriage. (We're supposed to "speak" of them, even if we have nothing to say.)
Task: Pick one good time and write a sentence about it.
Thought: I can easily remember romantic, special times in our marriage. (We're supposed to "remember" even if we seem to have amnesia.)
Task: Pick one such time and think about it.
Thought: I am physically attracted to my partner. (We're supposed to find "attraction" even if we're put off.)
Task: Think of one physical attribute you like.
Thought: My partner has specific qualities that make me proud. (We're supposed to be "proud" even if we're just irritated.)
Task: Write down one characteristic that makes you proud.
Feel free to ask me if I've gone through with my relational engagement exercise. (Not that I'll tell you my secret thoughts or anything!)
Everybody's Engaged Illustration, by Sara.