As you are roused from your Winter slumbers by the annual alarm-clock that is Springtime, we encourage you – yes, you, and especially you, dear, perennially damp Seattleites – to notice the sweet smell of flowers, the trilling of birds, and the sudden, definitive upsurge in collective optimism. We encourage you to channel this energy wisely – instead of cramming a few more hours of email efficiency into your day, take this opportunity to strengthen your bonds with those who matter most. Your efforts will pay off, not only this Spring, but in the many seasons to come! (See more here).
Remember: Relationships require regular care – like a plant, or your first pet goldfish – only more. Harmony is gradually created or destroyed in the myriad, seemingly inconsequential moments that make up our days and lives. It’s easy to forget this, but, as Dr. Gottman explains in The Relationship Cure:
Strong bonds are not necessarily forged out of earth-shattering events like job loss, irreconcilable conflict, or horrid disaster. Trust doesn’t require gut-wrenching conversations that plumb the depths of your souls. Rather, good relationships usually develop slowly over time, growing out of the thousands of mundane interactions we share each day:
“How was your day?” “A little hectic. You look kind of tired, too.” “I am. Would you like some iced tea?” “Sure. Here, let me help you…”
It turns out that all of this thoughtfulness does pay off richly in times of crisis – and at all other times. Making a habit of turning-towards leads to a virtuous cycle, and to “better access to the healing power of humor, affection, and compassion during times of conflict or catastrophe.”
In the words of Walt Disney:
The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.
Listen to each other with mindful awareness to increase mutual sensitivity to each other’s needs, re-invigorating your relationship and fortifying trust and connection!
We’ll leave you with some encouragement of the very best (Dr. Seussian) kind. Be brave and take heart…
And will you succeed? Yes indeed, yes indeed! Ninety-eight and three-quarters percent guaranteed!
Look forward to more seasonally inspired relationship tips in The Archives section on The Gottman Relationship Blog!