Why is it so hard to be kind to the people who love us the most? Why are we not taught in school how to deal with and express our emotions? Tim and I have chosen to spend a lot of energy on the way we communicate. We know when we have a baby who is awake several times a night it will be harder to have these kinds of conversations, let alone the daytime energy to work on the ways we deal with the stress in our lives. It seems like emotional education is essential to a happy, kind life. It also seems like the window for changing the way a couple communicates tends to be rather short and definitely precedes children.
We are saying “carpe diem” about creating a simpler relationship right now in which we can communicate openly about anything without getting defensive or raising voices. We are done having the same arguments over and over again. Warning: This is harder than it sounds. Feelings get hurt more easily when you are—ahem—hormonal, tired from the week, frustrated by an argument with someone else, discontent with your job, out of orange juice… Hurt feelings make it so, so easy to be nasty to the one you love and we regret it every single time we do it. So we are going to stop. Today we are committing to working on our relationship, to keeping ourselves accountable, and to ask our friends and family to support us in this challenging adventure of kindness. Here are a few things we are reading to get us started with perpetual loving kindness:
Nonviolent Communication is something Tim really loves, but I find it rather dry. It holds the same theories as the next book, which is…
Conscious Loving. This is Meg’s all time favorite relationship book, and was recently featured on www.goop.com. It changed the way I see myself and the people I choose to have in my life, and it changed the way I interact with them for the better in every way.
Scream Free Marriage is our most recent, well-reviewed library pick that we are going to read together so we can relearn how to disagree with our dignity and kindness still intact. Despite the fact that this has been a constant goal for us, it is a perpetual challenge not to let the rest of our stress affect the way we communicate when it is just us.
What about you guys? Anyone have any books they loved about kind relationship building? How do you keep your long term relationships kind and loving as the years pass?