Happy older couple
Relationships & Love

Five Ways to Maintain a Grateful Harmony in Your Relationship

“What If…”  We’ve asked this question many times, sometimes in our heads and sometimes to each other. As college sweethearts, we separated because of a lack of maturity and communication skills, not because anything was wrong between us. Since we reunited six years ago, we’ve both wondered what would’ve happened had we stayed together.

Don’t get us wrong. We wouldn’t change one thing about our lives. Each blessed with children and life experiences that have shaped who we’ve become, we’re certain that we’ve grown into our relationship today, even more connected than we might have been if together the whole time. In our recently released book, 1 Billion Seconds, we explore the implicit understanding of what makes relationships work and what can lead to their downfall; and the short answer is to embrace vulnerability. We wouldn’t have turned tragedy into triumph, gotten back together, or written a book, without having the courage to be 100% vulnerable.

Because we were apart for thirty-two years, and because we experienced other relationships, marriages and divorces, we’re even more grateful, appreciative and mindful of the immense importance of a healthy relationship. We go out of our way to preserve the soulmate stuff we share.

Here are five daily things we do to maintain a grateful harmony:

  1. When there is a disconnect—and it happens—we address the disparity ASAP. If there are other obligations to which we’ve committed, we pause and set up the first available time to share our thoughts. Sometimes, it takes a while to sort them out; sometimes we can’t pinpoint exactly what it is. We brainstorm and problem-solve together.
  2. We recognize when outside influences have broken through the wall of our synchronized existence. When this occurs, we first identify that it has occurred, and work together to detach from the conflict. We resolve that which is in our power and let go of the things that we cannot control. Repeat: let go of that which we cannot control.
  3. Take time for one another. It doesn’t have to include money spent on entertainment. Some of the loveliest and most cherished moments have been just sitting and talking. Many times one or both of us retrieve memories to share of many years ago: a first date or the ageless smile.
  4. Express love and gratitude to one another at least three times in the day: first thing upon waking, and at night before we sleep. The middle of the day might find one of us spontaneously turning to the other to say, “I love you.” Sometimes, and even more meaningful, the I love you comes in the form of action. Geoff, without being asked, hangs up Poppy’s Lulu Lemon clothes that cannot possibly ever go in the dryer or something really bad will happen, like the dryer will blow up.