Over the past 7 years, one of the significant, meaningful, and practical goals my wife and I have always set together cost us just time, and less than $25.
However, it has always strengthened our relationship, intellectual and emotional intimacy. It has also improved our planning, communication, and “taking action” skills.
By achieving this goal together, we have become a better couple, individuals, and parents.
In one sentence, this goal is:
Read at least one book together, that costs less than $25 and will strengthen your relationship, every single year.
Although this goal is very simple, don’t take it lightly because it’s easy to not achieve. Plus you will both have to be intentional about accomplishing it by a certain date.
Below are the 5 proven steps we have used to achieve this goal for less than $25 every year. You and your significant other can also use these simple steps to strengthen your relationship too.
Step 1. Choose a book that will strengthen your relationship.
Sit down with your partner and choose a book that will strengthen your relationship. Then buy the book.
If you prefer audiobooks, get the book in audio format to listen.
You can always check out the list of best-selling books about relationships on Amazon. It is a good place to start. You could also ask your friends and relatives for recommendations too.
For us, we usually look for books about relationships, marriage, parenting, finances, sex, business, and self-development. Your choice can be from one of those topics, or something completely different.
Sometimes, because of how good a book is, we choose to re-read it again to see if we can learn something new while reminding ourselves of what we learned the last time we read it.
Step 2. Read the book by a certain date.
Schedule time to read or listen to the book you purchased individually or together. You can decide to read 5 pages a day, or whatever you are comfortable with.
Just make sure you have a date to complete reading the book, so you both have enough time to discuss what you learned together.
The earlier you finish reading the book, the more time you will have to discuss and practice what you learned during the year.
Step 3. Keep a record of what you learn.
As you read or listen to the book, write down what you are learning.
We try to learn at least one new thing from each book we read, or re-read. Something practical that will improve our relationship, help us grow together, and become better individuals.
Step 4. Discuss your lessons learned together.
Discuss what you learned from the book with each other. Let your discussion be focused on how you can both apply the lesson(s) to your relationship. You can do this as you read through the book, or after you are finished.
You can even write down what you both want to apply to your relationship on a piece of paper and place it somewhere you can both see every day.
Step 5. Apply what you both learned.
For the next 30 consecutive days, practice what you both learned and found useful from the book to your relationship. After the 30th day, evaluate the impact the lesson(s) had on your relationship.
From our experience, your relationship will become better after 30 days of practicing the lesson(s) you both learned.
Even better, practice what you learn throughout your relationship and life.
This year, 2017, the book my wife and I chose and read was The Whole-Brain Child by Daniel Siegel and Tina Bryson.
After reading this book, we discussed and implemented some of the parenting strategies with our kids, which was super helpful in helping them deal with their emotions. The strategies helped us to become more patient with them, listen to their unspoken needs, and understand them in a better way.
Not only did the strategies we learned help us become better parents, but it also helped us to communicate better and be accountable to each other. We listened to each other, were open-minded, and practiced what we learned. Now, we are on to the next book!
If you and your partner follow the steps above, you will strengthen your relationship, achieve one goal together each year, learn and practice something new for your relationship and life.
In addition, you will grow together as a couple, connect intellectually, and get to know each other better.
Take your relationship to the next level by achieving this goal together with your partner. This is a worthy, meaningful, and practical goal for couples.
What goals do you and your partner set every year to strengthen your relationship?
Together with his amazing wife, Marcus helps newlyweds adjust to married life, and inspire married couples to become better husbands and wives.
He hosts the First Year Marriage Show podcast and has co-authored three Amazon best-selling books with his wife.
Visit him at www.OurPeacefulFamily.com.
Originally published at medium.com