For the past six years, I have devoted a lot of space in this column to The Wheel of Life, and what it takes to create a level of satisfaction in all areas of the wheel.
This includes your level of fulfilment in your career, as well as with money, health, friends and family, physical environment, fun and recreation, personal growth and spirituality.
The final and one of the most important wedges in the wheel, is about your significant other and how deeply satisfied you are with your partner and your relationship. There is no question that when this piece is unfulfilled, the rest of the wheel suffers as a result. So, finding your bliss in your relationship, or in look-ing for that relationship, is paramount to your happiness, health and well-being.
I was delighted recently to do an episode on my show Finding Your Bliss, about finding and maintaining bliss in your relationships. On the program, I was happy to have the Toronto Star’s syndicated advice columnist Ellie Tesher, who offered a wealth of wisdom, wit, insight and inspiration about finding love and nurturing the love you already have. One of the most salient pieces of advice Tesher brought forth on the program was that it all begins with your relationship with yourself – when you are in a loving and healthy place with yourself, you will attract the best quality partner.
She is also a positive and optimistic person who has become a shining example of her own advice philosophy, which is that people can successfully overcome all kinds of obstacles, rise above them and inspire those around them to do so as well. She is very happily married to her second husband, and proves that love can be even better the second time around.
There’s a wonderful book by psychologist Tami Kulbatski and Jeffrey Zeig called Ten Commandments for Every Aspect of Your Relationship Journey. In it, Kulbatski has a wonderful list of the Ten Commandments for Effective Communication for Couples.
They include: “Practise active listening; restate your partner’s message; validate the emotional undertone of your partner’s message; use ‘I’ statements, instead of ‘You’ statements; use clear self-expression, rather than assuming that your partner knows how you feel or what you need; verbalize your thoughts as clearly and honestly as you can."
She goes on to talk about how to use clear self-expression, and my favourite one of all is: “Use a 5:1 ratio in communicating with your partner,” which means for every one negative exchange, follow it up with at least five positive exchanges.
The final commandments deal with changing criticisms into requests, never bringing up past disagreements when you are discussing something, and talking more. I love this one because it involves committing as a couple to sitting down every day for 10 to 20 minutes to “share your thoughts, feelings, dreams and hopes.”
Ultimately, to find bliss in your relationship, you need to devote time to each other. According to Sarah Chana Radcliffe, author of Raising Your Kids without Raising Your Voice, it’s important to make time for date nights alone once a week, without another couple, and to keep the spark alive and ignited, go away without the kids, go on mini-moons, honeymoons and spend time together.
And as American journalist and author Mignon McLaughlin once wrote: “A suc-cessful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same per-son.”
Judy Siblin-Librach is an Adler-trained Life Coach. She can be reached at her web-site, www.findingyourbliss.com or you can watch her TV show Finding Your Bliss, Wednesday nights at 7 p.m. on Rogers TV cable, 10/63 in Toronto/Scarborough.