1. Protect the safety and security of your relationship above all else. Your relationship comes first, not your in-laws, not your ex, not your computer, or the game on TV. Even your difference of opinions and arguments do not come first. While they may be real and challenging, they do not come before, and in between the two of you. The health of your partnership/relationship is always prioritized
2. Base relationships on true mutuality: All actions and decisions must be in the best interest of both individuals in a partnership. Many people go about their relationship as if they were single, “you do your thing and I do my thing, we are both very independent people.” On the other extreme, others go about their relationship with a “now that we are together we do everything together. A Couple Bubble develops a healthy, mutually INTERDEPENDENT relationship where the relationship itself is the thing you prioritize and care for.
3. Do not threaten to leave or end a relationship. This causes unnecessary fear and anxiety for both partners in the long run. When arguing or “fighting” couples can never, ever, threaten the relationship. Conflicts must be handled in such a way that doesn’t put the relationship at stake. Yes, some conflicts can bring us all to the breaking point. However, for couples to feel secure, both partners must be able to handle the heat and regulate each other from reaching the boiling or freezing point.
4. Turn to partners first: a partner must reach out to his or her significant other in all matters of importance first, before reaching out to anyone else for support or guidance Trust is an intrinsic element of secure functioning relationships. Do not mess with it. Make sure your partner is always the first to know not the last to know what’s going on in your life
5. Smile: Greet one another with kind eyes and a smile at the beginning of each day, and with every subsequent meeting throughout the day. Being mindful that thoughts and feelings move through us like clouds in the sky, and that they often have nothing to do with our reality at the moment, our partner is likely to catch some of these less than fun and loving micro-expressions on our face. Making it a point to smile at each other many times a day is a powerful way to reset our partner’s alarm system, as well as ours. This is a mindful way to remember that we are friends who deeply care and love each other; and that in the midst of all of our challenges, our relationship is secure.
6. Protect one another from potentially harmful situations in public and in private, including hurtful words or threats that put the relationship in jeopardy. Countless couples have a tendency to throw their partner under the proverbial bus, even without knowing it. One person’s vulnerability can be no big deal for the other. A partner’s sense of humor can be offensive to the other. A husband’s need for personal space and alone time may trigger his partner to feel shun or abandoned. Countless numbers of these awkward situations throw couples into conflicts, which are easily avoided when each partner expresses his/her concerns and vulnerabilities.
7. Coordinate wake-up and bedtime schedules so that partners are going to sleep together most nights and waking up together most mornings. Scheduling bedtime together increases the potential for pillow talk and sensual/sexual rekindling. Many couples find great intimacy in sharing 5 things they are grateful for during the day, had fun doing, appreciated from their partner.
8. Accept and forgive: correct any injustices or harmful exchanges as soon as possible without placing blame on who started it, or who is the greater perpetrator. “You did this…” followed by “But you did that first…” seldom (if ever) leads towards efficient and timely win-win resolutions of conflicts. In fact, this approach often takes a simple challenge between partners and escalates it to a whole new level it was never meant to reach. When our partner is perceived as a threat or when we ourselves unintentionally come too strong and confrontational, we both reinforce our “fight and flight” response. Our biology takes the lead in these situations. Honoring our vulnerabilities and sharing them in a kind and respectful manner is a part of the foundation of couples that do not get stuck on conflicts for months and years on end.
9. Gaze lovingly at one another daily, make meaningful gestures of appreciation, use your words to share your admiration and gratitude. In order to maintain the vibrancy of our intimacy and our love, we need to nurture it. Learn your partner’s love language, the words that make him/her melt or open up, the parts of his body that make him/her relax and let go. The kindness and love we bestow on our partner allow him/her to feel secure and cared for.
10. Learn how to influence, persuade, and romance one another without using fear or threats. There is an art in learning to ask for what we want and need; the mastery of it lies in asking clearly and in an invitational manner, not in confrontational, or threatening one. This art form makes couples stronger. It allows couples to truly be there for each other in vulnerable and stressful moments. It also allows to let go of control at times, and let the other person take the lead; all the while knowing that we are safe. Couples who know how to co-regulate each other, remain secure with each other!