This next activity is inspired by a client of mine who is co-authoring a love story with her wife. “Thank you” for your inspiration.
We Document the Important Things in Life
Why do people make wedding albums? Baby books? School annuals?
Because they help us remember and savor the special (and not so special) moments in our lives. We are human and our brain is not going to remember everything; we will forget. The benefit of these special books is we can review them, go back in time, remember the moments, and rekindle those emotions.
If we want a book that documents our wedding day, a school year, or the first few years of a baby’s life, then why not have a book that documents the days, years, and life of our love relationships?
Documenting the Story of Your Relationship
Love stories are not always rainbows and sunshine. In our relationships, we have times of sadness and difficulty. Our ability to work through those emphasizes the resilience we have in our relationships (something often overlooked).
Writing your relationship’s love story will help you connect
Before. Initially, when engaging in activities with your partner and knowing you will be documenting it, you will be ‘tuned in’. This gives you the choice to focus on what is good; what is happening that is a connecting component of the experience.
During. As you write about the experience, activity, or event, you will re-experience the emotions and memories. The act of documenting allows you to savor and reinforces your sense of connection with your partner.
After. Later on, when you review your love story, it reminds you of the bonding experiences (again, not always positive, but connecting, nonetheless) and re-affirms the strength of your connection.
This activity is ongoing and the motivation to do this will vary. Be kind to yourself and your partner and accept that at times you may be excited to do this and other times, you may completely forget you are even documenting your relationship.
Pick your writing medium
You may choose a beautiful journal (Barnes & Noble tends to have nice ones) or a simple composition book that blends in on your bookshelf. Having a physical book allows you to place it in a spot you will see it (and be inspired to review and write). You also may easily insert physical items such as tickets, napkins, etc.
You may also choose to journal online via a blog or an app. Sites such as wordpress.com provides free sites for you to blog (which can be kept ‘private’) and this way, you can journal on your phone and add photos easily. I am sure there are apps out there that do this as well. If you know of any, please note that in the comments below.
Consider the writing frequency
Some couples may write when inspired. The fantastic restaurant or surprise getaway are natural things to note for future reflections. The challenge with this is there is a pressure for only ‘big’ things to qualify to be entered in your love story. If there are not many ‘big’ things happening, nothing is noted and that absence may actually serve to discourage you in your relationship. 🙁
Other couples may consider writing on a regular basis (bi-weekly or monthly). This strategy allows for a more realistic view of your story (the fantastic restaurant and also the passing away of the family dog). It notes your moments of happiness that feed your connection; it also documents your periods of difficulty that acknowledge your resilience. The challenge with this option is the sense of obligation that could occur.
This is your story…write with the frequency that works and makes sense for you two!
Definitely write about the fun and positive memories. You need those to look back on when times are hard and your relationship feels difficult. The shared laughs, tender moments, and intimate connections remind you why your relationship is worth the effort.
Also note the painful and challenging times. ‘Surviving’ those has given you strength and reminds you that you have resilience as a team. Shared losses remind you that you are not alone.
Accept the reality of who will write more
Your relationship may be different, but for most of the couples I have worked with, one person tends to do more of the ‘mushy’ stuff in the relationship. I understand that this can feel frustrating at times, but some things just ‘are’. Rather than getting frustrated about this, accept who will be the main author. That being said, go ahead and ask questions of your co-author to get his/her perspective and contribution.
Plan when you two might consider reading your story
Noting moments and reliving them as you write them is a significant benefit of this activity. Another gain is experienced by the savoring of those moments long after they have occurred. So think and plan when you might want to review some of these.
Special times, such as anniversaries or holiday’s are natural opportunities. An impromptu dinner or a cozy evening with this story could also be a welcome moment to revisit parts of your story. It’s ok, to read bits here and there, like how you might flip through a great magazine; there are no hard and fast rules on how to do this correctly.
When you share your love story with one another (and possibly with others), as imperfect as it may be, it’s a story of your connection and resilience as a couple.
Improve Your Relationship’s Connection With a Private Couples Therapy Intensive or “Hold Me Tight Workshop®”
As much as you are doing things to nurture the connection in your relationship, it’s tiring and lonely at times. Sometimes, it can feel like you are the only one working on the relationship. As discouraging as that is, there is help to make that different.
Private Couple Retreats (couples therapy intensives) and “Hold Me Tight®” Couples Workshops help you learn communication tools so you can resolve conflicts and re-connect. New England Hold Me Tight has skilled therapists and relationship coaches who specialize in helping couples like you who want to improve your connection and learn better communication skills.
Strengthen your relationship and continue onto the path of better connection through these simple steps:
1. Contact Bri McCarroll at New England Hold Me Tight.
2. Meet for a free 50-minute consultation (video or in office).
4. Strengthen your connection like it’s never been.
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