BUSINESS TIPS FOR A SUCCESSFUL RELATIONSHIP
You’re never going to be short advice on how to “keep the flame alive” or “weather any relationship storm.” Just browse Instagram’s inspirational feeds, turn to your busybody gal pal or, if you still have one of these in your hometown, browse the self-help aisle of your local bookstore.
But, we’ve decided to turn to the business world for some highly effective means for making sure your relationship stays fresh, engaging and thriving. These “techniques” are as relevant to those of you in the early stages of dating, all the way to those pioneers who had to make due, for far too long, with the “less than” commitment ceremony. (For those of you who still love said ceremony, we are 100% in support of you and it!)
So, taking a page from our MBA syllabi, herewith business tips for making the most of your dating and married life:
You read that right. This is a yearly agreement where the two of you decide how you will be for and to each other for the year. It can cover everything from one’s commitment to loading the dishwasher as it is meant to be all the way to what relationship you each will have with money.
The intent of this “document’ is, well, intent! It is to explicitly state and agree on the type of relationship you want to have and the efforts you will each and jointly make towards manifesting your relationship. Including recognizing you’re not going to make or focus on an effort, such as having kids.
But, lest this idea come off as too affirming or too binding, it is also meant to recognize and embrace weaknesses as individuals and as the couple. Codifying your vulnerabilities goes a long way towards deepening your bond.
Ultimately, the relationship contract is a means for externalizing everything about you two as individuals in a couple, and individuals building a couple, such that there isn’t any mystery, opacity or lingering resentment as you go about building and growing in whatever relationship stage you find yourselves.
If the CEO of a publicly traded company has to get on the “squawk box with ‘the street’” every month, why shouldn’t you?
Deliberately setting out to set and review monthly goals as people, but also as people in a relationship, meaningfully advances you as people and as people in a relationship. Much like the contract, the monthly meeting is meant to make explicit efforts you are working on, choosing not to work on and ideas you intend to explore together. We like to think of the agenda for this meeting as: YOU, ME and US.
It goes a long way for a couple to hear what the other is up to, helping hold each other accountable to one’s intentions and jointly agreeing new efforts to develop as a couple. And, to do so over a period of time where both will experience progress.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
If company’s get the benefit of outside counsel, so too should couples in a relationship.
You might think this is another name for your “guys or gals” you dish with on a regular Saturday on the town. But, what we mean is a group of people you both have in common that you can, together, turn to for advice and different perspective. Your board could be a combination of family, close friends, spiritual leader, stylist or trainer!
You want your board to be comprised of people who know you, people whose own relationships you admire, and whom you’d be there to support if the tables were turned. They know you both well, are excited to see your relationship grow and with whom you’re comfortable sharing deeper and even more intimate parts of your relationship.
Now, it is important to define for all involved, the parameters of the dynamic: how, when and why to consult the board; how or if you want the board to hold you accountable; how or if you want the board to intervene if you are in conflict; etc. The board is not there to replace a therapist, nor are they there to solely field the brunt of your issues (or revel in the greatness of your accomplishments). You don’t want to become those who continuously turn for advice and continuously don’t act on it!
But, having your “village elders” present and available as you make your way through the peeks and valleys of your relationship, especially those where you’re not experienced, will go a long way to building you as a couple, but you as a couple in community.
As with all tips, their effectiveness is directly related to the effort you put into them. Really holding each other accountable to your contract, actually meeting monthly and meaningfully engaging your board, will yield deep and positive impact on your relationship.