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Don't Go to Bed Mad

Day 5: Make Date Nights Fresh Again

Today’s Easy Relationship Task: Create a path toward a more intimate, trusting, and satisfying relationship by committing to consistency.

By Dr. Roz

New to the Christian Power Couple’s Challenge: Conflict Management Edition? Learn more about it HERE...

Need to catch up? Click on the link where you left off and then come back!

Day 1: Serenity for Perpetual Problems
Day 2: Courage to Change What You Can
Day 3: The Power of the Positive Perspective
Day 4: Don’t Wait to Do it Big!

Today’s Easy Relationship Task: Create a path toward a more intimate, trusting, and satisfying relationship by committing to consistency.

How to love on this task:

  • Use today’s fondness exercise to reflect on romantic times.
  • Read the concept of Turning Towards
  • Learn  how to update Love Maps so date nights are fresh, not frozen.

Listen Now- Don't Go to Bed Mad Challenge: (Day Five) Make Date Nights Fresh Again

Welcome to Day Five! 

In the last training, I shared 3 ways to shift to more positivity in your daily interactions by doing small, thoughtful things often.   Now, let’s beef up date night- Gottman Style.

But before we do, here’s your Fondness exercise.  Don’t skip this! Remember, every positive thought counts and adds to your relationship’s emotional bank account. 

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    Thought:
    I CAN EASILY REMEMBER ROMANTIC, SPECIAL TIMES IN OUR RELATIONSHIP.

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    Task: PICK ONE SUCH TIME AND WRITE ABOUT IT.

Turning Towards vs. Turning Away

Renea, my best friend since the third grade, and I saw were at one of our favorite seafood restaurants when a couple came and sat across from us. There was something peculiar, but sadly familiar, about them that made me wonder if they were even a real couple.

They had the most dried-up look on their face, as though they hardly knew each other (or didn’t really want to be there).  It looked more like a business meeting. The only thing that gave it away was the fact that each had on a ring.

We immediately begin to whisper, “Girl do they even like each other???”

As they waited for food to arrive, one stared at the floor, the other played with her hands. The food came.

I sat there the entire time, glancing to see what they’d do next. Watching on, I’m guessing somebody was thinking, “I’m here for the hushpuppies, coleslaw, and catfish. Don’t look at me and I won’t look atchoo. “

It was that tense.

Do you know they literally did not speak to each other THE WHOLE TIME, until it was time to take care of the check?

It was sooooo uncomfortable for me to watch: physically, they faced each another; Emotionally, they were back to back.

If I had the guts, I would have told them that they were missing out on the chance to turn towards each other. 

Turning towards requires that you make some type of bid or gesture–verbal or nonverbal–for a positive connection. Let’s say you were at the restaurant. It could be starting a conversation.  Or doing something funny. Could be just reaching across the table and putting your hand on your partner’s hand. Or scooting your chair closer to his.  Your partner has the opportunity to either turn towards, turn away, or turn against the bid.

The quality of the Turning Towards in a relationship determines whether you have a positive or negative perspective on your relationship
The Gottman Institute
A Research-based Approach to Relationships

Turning towards can be looking up from the menu and making eye contact, as if interested in the conversation.  Turning away might be to completely ignore what has been said, opting to change the subject.  For example, your partner says, “I’m so sleepy. It’s been a long day”, while you say, “I’m so hungry, I could eat a horse.” Nobody is moving towards the other with two different subjects.

Turning against might look like making an insult or other criticism. This time, your response to your partner is, “Well, you wouldn’t be so sleepy if you would go to bed at a decent time.”

Couples who do small, thoughtful things often and repair conflict when it arises, will create a path toward a more intimate, trusting, and satisfying relationship.
John Gottman
The Gottman Institute

Action Step: Do the 3 P’s

Plan. a weekly date night

Obviously, date nights can become pretty stale when the goal is to eat something versus to relax and get to know each other better.  If you’re thinking, “We’ve been together for too long and I know everything about my partner”, that couldn’t be further from the truth! There is always something more to know, especially when I hear couples confessing that they’re breaking up because they grew apart.

And I don’t want that to be your story.  Besides, since you’re here, I’m assuming that your relationship could use the TLC.

A weekly date night for at least two hours can be a relaxing, low stress way to “turn toward” each other. You’re going to use this time together to update your Love Maps.

Ninja Date Tip: since the goal is talk time, go some place where you can actually talk. 

Prepare. a set of 20 open-ended questions

No question is a dumb question BUT there are some questions that don’t help you on your treasure hunt to deeper intimacy. These are called closed-ended questions, where the answer can easily be a simple yes or no. Avoid those.

Here are 10 open-ended questions to get you started:

  1. If you could change anything about the world, what would it be?
  2. What would be your idea of a great getaway?
  3. How do you see yourself spending your retirement?
  4. How would you like your life to be different three years from now?
  5. What do you feel is missing from your life?
  6. What adventures would you like in your life right now?
  7. If you could live during any other time in history, when would you choose and why?
  8. Who is the person you want to become? What areas must you overcome to make this person a reality?
  9. How have you changed in the last year?
  10. If you could live another person’s life, whose would you choose?

Play. 20 Questions before the food gets there

The ultimate goal of using a map is to have a strategic path to get to a treasure or destination in the shortest time possible. Love maps are the path you take to get to the treasure within your partner.

Do you know his fears? Hopes and dreams? Least favorite thing or person? Or what keeps him up at night versus what kept him up at night 10 years ago and why?

If you answered no to any question, that’s great! Date night is the perfect time to ask.

Have fun and take turns asking each other a question.  In the end, you’ll find that you both will have a greater understanding of each other and it’ll keep you from twiddling your thumbs while waiting on your food to arrive.

🗣️friends don't let their friends go to bed mad.