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Family Files

Intentional Harmony

We know that if we have a partner, that relationship is probably one of the most important ones. Then why is this relationship one of the most vulnerable ones to work-life stress? It is all too easy to take out frustrations on the person we love the most. How can we avoid this? Well, the answer is "It takes work" and an investment. Just like the title of this blog, we have to be intentional with having harmony in our life; it just doesn't happen. Keeping a relationship fresh and alive takes time, energy, and constant thought. So what are some specific behaviors we can do to keep our relationship close?

  • Be positive.
  • Be open.
  • Be reassuring.
  • Connect with others.
  • Share fun and responsibilities.

The last bullet on responsibilities makes me think about the chores around the house. Sometimes individuals might think it is about respect or love whether or not someone completes a chore. Resentment can build easily and if you don't acknowledge it then it can explode. There are ways to make this work; which is to figure out a plan.

  • Prioritize- Sit down and really go over everything that could be done and how often.
  • Plan- Who's responsible for which job and all agree.
  • Ban criticism and micromanaging-Give credit for jobs that the other person does. Be flexible to switch jobs every now and then. This also helps reduce boredom.

Again, couples should beware of unhealthy relationship patterns which include: escalation, avoidance or withdrawal, negative interpretation, and put-downs. Once the intensity rises rapidly and pretty soon, everything is out of hand. It is important to look at things from your partner's point of view and find a way to calm down. When a partner checks out then this prevents understanding. The involved partner might need to back off a little and the withdrawing partner may need to stretch out of their comfort zone. When individuals believe the worst instead of the best in each other, destruction happens. Individuals need to be intentional with thinking of some positive interpretations. As we know, putdowns are unhelpful so, watch your sarcasm or insult because words can hurt.

So, again with time, energy, and constant thought, together you can have intentional harmony with your partner.

Source: Intentional Harmony Curriculum is a University of Illinois Extension Family Life Program,

with major funding from The Pampered Chef Family Resiliency Program.