Unless you take time to consider and decide what kind of couple you want to be, chances are you will unconsciously try to create a relationship similar to those you grew up with. As a couple you have an opportunity to create the kind of relationship that you want. However it takes some conscious thought to stop running the childhood tapes and choose the life you want. You are unique and you want your relationship to nurture your individuality as well as your coupleness.
Get out a pencil and paper or your laptops. Each of you complete the following sentence stems. Complete each one as many times as you can in 2 -5 minutes. I am . . . You are . . . As a couple we are . . . Loving me means . . . (list what feels loving to you) Loving you means. . . (list what you do to show your love for your partner) Respecting me means . . . (list what feels respectful to you) Respecting you means . . . (list ways that you show respect for your partner) To me it is important that we . . . I have always wanted to be the couple who . . .
Once you have completed the above sentence stems, spend some time sharing and talking about your answers. This will help you learn more about each other and about each of your hopes and expectations for your relationship. You will discover what feels loving to each of you, an invaluable piece of the puzzle. Your challenge is to build your relationship around your strengths as individuals and as a couple.
To complete the exercise, write a list of five to ten things that you can each do to help you be the kind of couple that you want to be.
This would also be an excellent exercise to repeat yearly. One of the common mistakes couples make is to stop sharing who they are and what they want with their partner. As you grow as individuals and as a couple, help keep your relationship strong by continuing to share.