I used to think that I had to make it a goal and a mission if I wanted to change something in my life, now I know it’s much easier to simply create a healthy habit.If you ask anyone that knows something about change they will tell you that one of the biggest secrets to change is forming new habits. Obviously we would like to align those habits to our goals, but the key is in finding the daily success contributors and constantly applying them to our lives.
I once heard someone say that it’s not the big things you do that matters most, but rather the small things done consistently that has the greatest impact. I completely agree with this statement.
This is why I have created the “Connection Habit”. The connection habit follows the framework for building strong and connected relationships as introduced in my book “Connection – a journey towards intimacy”.
In “Connection – a journey towards intimacy” I ascribe all the tools and thought provoking ideas about our relationships to one of 5 categories. They are:
#1 Who Am I?
#2 Two Worlds Collide
#4 Strengthening the Connection
#5 Community and Accountability
I believe if we can constantly balance our efforts in our marriages around these 5 focus areas, we’ll be successful in building strong and connected relationships.
By working through Connection in the suggested 4 weeks, you will have successfully completed 4x connection habit cycles. The challenge lies in making the connection habit part of your everyday life, but before I jump into that let’s first briefly explore the 5 focus areas.
Day 1 – Who Am I?
Day 1 of our connection habit (usually Monday) we will be focusing on ourselves and what we bring to the relationship as an individual.
It’s easy to see a smudge on your neighbor’s face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, ‘Let me wash your face for you,’ when your own face is distorted by contempt?
– Matthew 7 [MSG]
It’s easy to be critical about our partner and be completely blind to our own shortcomings. This area of “Who Am I” reminds us to focus exclusively on something about ourselves that we could change or improve in order to enjoy a healthier relationship. Like Ghandi famously said: “Be the change you want to see in the world”
Day 2 – Two Worlds Collide
Day 2 of the connection habit reminds us that the two of us are different and our differences can often cause a major collision if we do not find a way to align our differences.
The intention with this focus area is not only to realise that we are different, but to also understand and appreciate the way in which our partner differs from us.
Our differences tend to cause frustrations, but it can also be the area of our greatest strength. After all if the two of us were the same, then one of us wouldn’t be needed in this relationship.
For this day make note of one thing about your partner that is different and start applying yourself on seeing the value their differences bring to the relationship.
Day 3 – Goals
On day 3 we focus our attention to our shared goals. If we don’t change direction, we’ll end up where we are going.
It is important to have goals as an individual, but as a couple you should also be aware of the shared goals and vision for your marriage. Strength is in unity and for a couple to be collectively working towards a shared goal is an opportunity for the marriage to grow stronger and also achieve more together.
On this day we intentionally focus on our goals as a couple. If you don’t have shared goals yet, then this could be the day to create some, if you already know what your goals are then it’s time to intentionally check in and see if you’re still on track.
Write down one thing you’d like to focus on for today.
Day 4 – Strengthening the Connection
Day 4 of the connection framework draws our attention to specifically improving the bond between husband and wife.
If I want something to grow, I need to invest resources and time into it. It is the same with marriage. I cannot expect our relationship to grow stronger unless I intentionally work at it.
This focus area challenges us to do something that will strengthen the bond between the two of you. Think date night material. Remember when you just started seeing each other. You were probably thinking of ways to woo your better half. Make them feel good about themselves so they’d enjoy being around you.
It doesn’t have to be difficult, but choosing to intentionally do something to woo your partner can do wonders for your relationship.
Day 5 – Community and Accountability
On day 5 we move the focus to the broader space surrounding our marriage. Every couple is connected to a broader community and marriage was designed to be a blessing to those around it. Being connected in community also strengthens us as a couple knowing that we do not have to go at it alone.
The focus for this day is in being intentional about connecting with others. Sometimes other people need us as a couple to support them, and other time we may need the support of others. Be it as it may, if we desire to flourish in our relationship we cannot neglect this part of the deal.
Be intentional about connecting to your surrounding community. Be intentional in surrounding yourself with people who you trust to speak into your lives and challenge you when you err, and be intentional about making your marriage beneficial beyond the four walls of your own home.
Take a few minutes each day – it can take as little as 5 minutes – to write down what you will focus on for that day and then fold the small piece of paper into your pocket. As you go through the day and you happen to reach your hand into your pocket and feel the piece of paper, it can act as a reminder for you to think about your focus topic for the day. Alternatively you could set up alarms or reminders on your smartphone to accomplish the same goal.
The secret sauce to this method is the fact that you are constantly reminding your brain that you are serious about changing something. If there’s action to take then take it, but often the transformation needs to occur on a much deeper level in our sub-conscious minds. This type of change takes time and habitual efforts.
So go on, take a few minutes each day and start forming these habits that will transform your marriage, your life, and even your family as a result.