Thriving Relationships: Small things add up


Every year, the Healthy Relationships campaign runs in October. This year it takes place over two weeks from Oct 18 to 29. But why do we even focus on relationships, you ask?

In general, being in a healthy relationship feels good. Healthy relationships can make us feel happy and mentally strong. When we find ourselves in an unhealthy one, the opposite is true. We can feel stressed out about every little thing and even be unhappy in our day-to-day lives.

Yet over time, all relationships will evolve and change. Have you ever wondered what sets apart a healthy relationship from an unhealthy one?

According to relationship experts Drs. John and Julie Gottman, the primary reason why couples separate or divorce is that they are unaware of their partner’s inner world. In the past, experts believed that major betrayals are what led to separation or divorce. The Gottmans have spent the last four decades studying romantic relationships to find out what makes a marriage successful. They report that couples who remain together are more likely to be attentive to their partner’s needs and wants. This simple idea has revolutionized the study of love and romantic relationships. In fact, experts now believe that small acts and gestures are what can make or break a relationship.

There are easy ways to increase your awareness of your partner’s ‘inner world’. How much do you know about your partner’s most embarrassing childhood moment? What does your significant other consider unfair in the world? Is there something that is hard for them to overcome this week? Knowing the answers to these questions allows you to connect with your partner on a much deeper level.

To help you find out more about your partner’s inner world, the Gottmans created an app called Card Decks. It has a series of card deck themes with questions you can ask each other. It’s a fun way to help both of you develop a deeper understanding of each other’s inner worlds. The app is free and is available on both Apple and Android platforms.

There are also other ways you can assess the health of your relationship. You can check out the Intimate Relationship Continuum and Chart on How you answer the questions in the Chart will give you a good idea if your relationship is healthy, unhealthy or somewhere in between. Whether it falls in the green, yellow, orange or red zones, we provide you with other useful tip sheets to help you. Healthy relationships are achievable. Even if yours is less than optimal, there are often things you can do to improve it. But it does require work from both parties involved.

In the event that you or someone you know is experiencing family stress, breakdown or violence, you will find other resources to help on the website. Staying safe is the number one priority in a situation like this. Always call 911 if you or someone you love is in immediate danger.

We also have videos and stories of #RealMilitaryFamilies to help inspire you in your journey. With help, the featured couples have overcome some big challenges. They’ve decided to share their stories to help others who may be in similar situations. Watch them today and get inspired to find ways to improve your relationship!


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