You hear it all the time: “There’s an app for that.” That means that there is some application – like GPS, voicemail, food planner, etc. that, when you click on it, takes you directly to the program you want. You probably have the WAZE app on your phone. As soon as you click on it, WAZE asks your destination and then gives you turn-by-turn directions for getting there.
Wouldn’t it be great if you had a app like that for your relationship? Maybe you do…
For many years, every year, I’ve picked one word that is sort of a “theme” or “directional” word. It’s typically something aspirational, designed to be “directional” and draw me forward, like: focus, love, do it, and believe. Think of it like putting your destination into the WAZE app – it helps you get and stay on track.
A few years ago, I shared my word with my spouse and suggested the two of us pick a couple’s word. We did, and the result was very interesting.
Selecting a Couples Word. What Happened Next
At first, our word (actually two words – better together) was something we said when we traveled, particularly for one of my speaking engagements. I prepped the work, and Joseph helped with setup and the all-important moral support. Then it came up when we were figuring something out for his business. It worked for us – we were better together!
When our moms were both in their last years, we were “the one” in our families who took up the caregiver mantle. “Guilt-free” was the word. Many times we were exhausted from from doing things like fixing my mom’s house so she could move to a retirement center, or moving his mom (3 times!). Some nights we would get into bed and wonder how we did it. Joseph would say something like “but we can put our heads on the pillow without guilt.” When they died, we were truly guilt-free.
We also found that our word helped when we had a family meeting, or problem-solving, and even when we were arguing. One of us would bring up our word for that year and (just like WAZE) it got us back on track. For example, if we were disagreeing about some expenditure for the house or businesses, or had to make a decision about some opportunity, we used our word as a guide. Like…will doing this take us closer to [our word] or further from it.
Relationship Strength 2021: How to Find Your Word
For me, it usually takes a couple weeks to come up with my word. I start by doing a mental review of the year. Then figure out how I feel about going forward. It’s much the same when Joseph and I figure our couple’s word. It’s mostly like this:
- What was good about this year?
- What could have been better?
- What’s coming up in the new year? and/or
- What do we want to see happen in the new year?
The key here is to agree together. If I want a word but Joseph isn’t buying into it (or vice versa), it’s not going to be very powerful. The word has to have meaning for both of you.
Finding Your Own Relationship Word. What Can You Expect?
When you two come up with your word, it’s interesting. In The Five-Year Marriage: Shifting the Marriage Paradigm, I talked about BUZZWORDS. Your word for the year becomes one of your buzzwords.
Say it’s “better together.” Whenever you do something really good, you can share a “better together” moment. Whenever you get stuck someplace – like, maybe your budget or with the kids – you can ask what would make you be “better together.”
If this is your first year with a couple’s word, take your time but also pay attention to the magic it brings. And have fun with it!
Let me know how it goes….by commenting here or posting on FB/FiveYearMarriage
Happy New Year!