Basically, this book is a guide on how people could nurture and strengthen their relationships with either their spouse and at the same time avoid the habits that could possibly break the relationship off. Dr. Richard and Kristine Carlson share a hundred strategies on how we could do so.
Strategy #1: Mostly, be pals.
Love relationships usually start from being good friends and getting-to-know each other phase. There’s nothing wrong with starting off from being good pals as this is where you get to know more of your partner (e.g. his/her likes and dislikes, imperfections, etc.). Just as how you treat your friend, should also be the way how you treat your partner in life.
Strategy #2: Learn to laugh at yourself
We all know that nobody is perfect. It’s part of being human. Don’t take yourself too seriously but instead learn to laugh at yourself whenever you happen to make some mistakes in your life.
Strategy #3: Let it go already
Don’t keep on dwelling on whatever mistakes or shortcomings your partner may have had. It’s no fun being around someone who harbors bitter feelings towards their partner, thinking that they would possibly do the same thing again. As what Elsa from Disney’s “Frozen” says, let it go.
Strategy #4: Turn Up The Heat
Don’t wait for your partner to make the change before you do. Because honestly, he or she won’t. Making conditions or excuses such as “I can’t turn up the heat until certain conditions are met, until he or she begins to change.” or even “I’m sick of his laziness. All he does is sit around. He’s not even trying.” is never going to work, much less that your partner will get his or her act together. No matter how long you wait, there’s a fat chance that the change you wanted to see in your partner will come.
Strategy #5: Consider that the grass probably isn’t greener
We all have this habit of trading old things for newer ones, but we never get satisfied because we always look or wish for something better. Newer cars, newer things, better jobs or careers, and so on. We can’t always get what we want all the time. Same goes for our relationship with our future partner (for those who are single).
Strategy #6: Throw away your scorecard
Admit it, some of us also have this habit of keeping track on what we do compared to that of what our partner fails to do, vice versa. This could lead to frustrations in life if this habit of ours never goes away. Instead of being resentful and keeping a tally of our partner’s mistakes, why not let him or her know where he or she has gone wrong in a calm manner?
Strategy #7: Be Kind First
Familiar with the Golden Rule “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”? This applies to how we treat our partners or future spouse. We can’t expect our partner to treat us kindly when we ourselves don’t treat them the same way or manner we wanted them to treat us.
Strategy #8 : Don’t use your partner as a punching bag!
Don’t vent all your frustrations on your partner as if he or she is always the one responsible for all your frustrations in life. They don’t even have any idea what’s going on with your day. As much as it feels good to share your frustrations with someone you love and care for, venting all of it on them does not even seem to be fair. Don’t make your partner feel like a punching bag by doing this.
Strategy #9: Ask the question: Whose quirk is this anyway?
We usually get frustrated whenever our things disappear or even get used by other people, leaving us with nothing to use whenever we do things. Or much more, leave a mess in some areas of our house, most especially the kitchen. Before we get mad at our partner for doing so, why don’t we pause for a minute and ask ourselves this question: “Whose quirk is this anyway?”
Rather than yell out at our partner, why don’t we just do the thing ourselves in a calm manner?
Strategy #10: Talk To Him His Way
Just like in the 5th and 7th strategy, we don’t always get to be the one to be listened to. Same goes for our partner. It’s a give and take situation here. We listen to our partner just as we want our partner to listen to us in whatever we want to tell them. It’s all about effective communication.
Strategy #11: Avoid the words, “I Love You, But”
Never must we add conditions whenever we say these three words to our future partner. We don’t make it a habit to connect our loving phrase to our special someone with something that’s bothering us. Don’t make it sound like a lecture to them.
There are other different strategies that the author of this book want to impart on us. These are ways we could further strengthen and nurture relationships with our future partner and spouse. Other strategies include filling our lives with opportunities to express love, looking for gifts, sharing an insight, staying away from ultimatums (no one wants them anyway), allowing time for transitions, keeping your cool before the quarrel, knowing your own value (you don’t have to end up being a doormat) , setting a good example, being a world-class listener, letting your partner buy his or her own lunch, surprising your partner with compliments, stop wishing your partner were different, thinking before you speak … and most importantly, staying away from comparisons.