How One Game Can Radically Change your Relationship
I was grumpy yesterday. I got too little sleep, I woke up on the wrong side of the bed, and it seemed like I could only see the bad things: the messes, the sibling fighting, the not listening, the dishes that didn't get done because I didn't do them...The list went on. I was STUCK in this really negative space, and it felt terrible! And, to make matters worse, this bad mood was making me short-tempered and just not the mom and partner I am striving to be. I'm usually almost obnoxiously cheerful. You know Buddy, the Elf with his unshakeable optimism and rose-colored glasses, yeah that's usually me. But not yesterday. I was grumpy and negative and while I knew it was happening, it felt like I was powerless to stop it.
Luckily, my husband has been working on being brave and bringing things like this up to me. He works hard to come from a place of concern and love, almost as if he is holding up a mirror so I can truly "see" what I'm doing. And then he offered me the chance to engage in self-care, which I gladly took him up on. Now, in many relationships something like this wouldn't work, (it's really easy to get defensive when someone calls us on our grumpiness) but as I have been navigating my way out of lingering postpartum depression (which is what brings on these bouts of negativity for me) we have negotiated and practiced this process of him noticing and checking in with me and then supporting me to do what I need to in order to get into a better headspace. And it is lovely, and I feel cared for and "seen" in a way that I have rarely ever felt before.
I tell this story to illustrate how powerful our frame of mind is in determining the way we interpret our world and our interactions with the people we love. And this story is also a perfect example of how intentional, agreed upon acts of love can deepen connection for a couple.
My Balanced Parent coaching couples who are working on improving their relationship love it when I have them play my "Random Acts of Connection" game. Random Acts of Connection is a game where the couple chooses little tasks to carry out between appointments aimed at nurturing friendship, love, and connection, and then come back and report how it went. It is an incredibly powerful intervention for a few reasons. For one, while it's called "Random Acts of Connection", there is actually nothing random about it. This activity encourages couples to be conscious of their thoughts and behaviors and to act with INTENTION to increase affection, intimacy and connection.
Also, research shows that we notice what we are looking for. For example, we just got a new-to-us minivan and all of a sudden I am seeing the make and model of our new car everywhere! The same goes for behavior. So if we are in a negative frame of mind we tend to be more aware of the negative behaviors and interactions happening around us. They become more salient; they stand out more. On the flip side, if we are looking for positive behaviors we will notice more positive behaviors.
So the magic of Random Acts of Connection comes from not only DOING more positive, connecting things, but also from being on the look out for the positive things your partner is doing.
It can almost immediately shift the atmosphere of your relationship from one of noticing faults and shortcomings, to one of noticing affection and acts of love and friendship.
And this simple shift can radically change your relationship!
Now, normally I only use this game with my Balanced Parent coaching clients, BUT I just can't keep it to myself anymore, it's just too powerful! So, click the link below to download your copy, share it with your partner, and get started on deepening your connection with your partner!
And if you feel ready to take the next step, to deepen your connection, and explore the ways this can benefit your parenting, I invite you to schedule a FREE mini coaching session!