Here are some helpful tools + resources that show you how to be intentional with the people you love and make your relationship better and stronger.
It’s Valentine’s Day. In addition to the flowers, candy, dinner out, etc…..why not give a gift of intentionality? A gift that involves purpose, planning, evaluation, and improvement of your relationship? If you are a fan of self-improvement and personal growth, this will be right up your alley. And it might be the best gift you can ever give to your loved one(s).
Below, I share a few resources that I find extremely helpful in making any relationship better. Each one is intentional and will help you and your loved one grow better individually and together.
You can use any or all of the tools below today on Valentine’s Day or ANY day you choose. Each of the resources will require that you set aside time to be with your loved one to work through the material. It could be one long session or several shorter ones. Best of all, it will help you make real, intentional moves toward what is most important in life~relationships.
Do a SWOT of the Relationship
In How to Use SWOT to Improve Your Marriage, you’ll see how a tool used primarily by businesses can be used for any relationship in your life. In this blog post, you’ll see specific questions (bullet points) that you can use to evaluate your relationship in 4 areas: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. In the podcast, you can listen to how Zane and I used SWOT to assess our marriage. One of the best gifts you can give to anyone you love is to spend time and effort on the relationship. Doing SWOT on Valentine’s Day or on a regular routine is one of the best gifts you can give to each other.
Ask the Marriage (or the relationship)
Zane shared a very unique concept in The Chair: How to Ask the Marriage. We have had tremendous feedback from couples who have listened, but like SWOT, the concept can be applied to other relationships. In the podcast, Zane shares the unusual way that he discovered the concept of “The Chair.” Then he shares how he used the concept for months, without my knowledge, in the context of our marriage. Here are a few bullet points to help you have a general idea of the topic, but it is best that you listen to the podcast to fully grasp the concept and use it in your relationships.
- The chair is a personification of the marriage as an objective 3rd party.
- The chair sees what is best for the marriage (or relationship)~not for the individual.
- The chair is ALWAYS right.
- You can use this concept to “ask the marriage.” “Ask the team.” “Ask the business.” “Ask the friendship” “Ask the Family.”
You and your loved one can pick any object to be your “chair.” Zane and I have a framed photo of the chair that we use to “ask the marriage.” You can be creative in this exercise and create a practice that will help you in times of frustration, difficult decisions, or unrecognized threats.
Know and Understand Your People
On Valentine’s Day~ or any time for that matter~we can often default to what is quick and easy. Flowers. Candy. Dinner. Those things are fine, but the best way to love our people well is to know specifically what makes them tick. What makes them feel most loved. How they like to be treated. There are several great ways that we can know and understand our loved ones better. Here are my personal favorites.
- The 5 Love Languages (the classic). This book is a must-have for understanding how to speak the language of the one you love. There are also special editions of this book for singles, teenagers, etc….. But the classic is by far the best.
- The Enneagram is a tool that can help us understand not only ourselves, but others. One of the best ways to start the enneagram journey is Ian Cron’s book, The Road Back to You. This book would be a great one to read and study with any of your loved ones. In this episode of The SavvyCast, you and your loved ones can learn more about discovering your type. In the shownotes, I share links to both an enneagram test and a Myers-Briggs test. These are starting points for the journey to understanding yourself and your people.