This summer my husband and I celebrated our 6th anniversary. That's a drop in the bucket compared to the 50-plus years my great-grandparents shared. But it’s 6 years that we've definitely earned.
Not long before our 1st anniversary, we set to work, hammering out our own little trick to staying connected—something specific to our personal communication style that went beyond the usual platitudes like "don't go to bed angry" and "don't sweat the small stuff." So many of the self-help and couples books I was reading at the time had wonderful communication exercises that simply ended up being too time-consuming or otherwise too complex for us. After testing (and rejecting) so many of them, we eventually customized an exercise of our own.
What we created was a nightly ritual, consisting of a mere 3 questions. We call them “The 3 Rs of Marriage”©:
(1) What’s one thing you recognize that made you feel loved today?
(2) What’s one thing you did to return love to me today?
(3) What would you like to request that I do to show love to you tomorrow?
Each question concentrates on listening to the other person’s feelings and seeing the world through his or her eyes. Love is the central theme, so the conversation is always a feel-good way to end the day. What you learn about your partner—and yourself—via this process can astound you.
You don't have to be married to try the exercise, and you don't have to do it every single night. But the more you practice it, the more it works. So, practice these questions with your partner this week and see how it feels for yourself!
© KiKi Productions, Inc. 2009