Doesn’t that sound great?

Yet, before we get to the one thing, it is wise to tap into some motivation. People generally change for two reasons: desperation or inspiration. Desperation propels people into action, but it doesn’t last. Desperation allows people to do something in an emergency. Think of a house on fire. A couple doesn’t need to work on their communication skills, learn to get along better, or get a consultation to figure out what to do! They get to work, get the kids and the dog out of the house. They don’t need to talk about it or get guidance. As the Nike slogan goes, they “just do it”.

So desperation is helpful, but short lived. Inspiration on the other hand is what really propels people to achieve greatness. If you want to have lasting results you have to have a reason. So if you want this “one thing” to get real results you need to come up with a reason, a why.

What’s a why?

A why is a guiding north star. It helps you keep on going when the going gets tough. Having a why cuts through the excuses of not doing something. An example of a why is “because I want to have a happy marriage and be an example for others”, “I want to be in a happy relationship”, or “I want to feel proud of the way I treat others”. Having a why gives you hope. It helps you keep on doing something even though the results are not immediate. If you really want to do something, anchor it in a reason. Just wanting to get a result is not a good why.

The one thing

Throughout my career specializing in couples therapy one of the most powerful predictors of change is showing appreciations and taking daily actions. My mentor has a powerful game changer activity called the daily double in which he challenges couples to pick two positive things off a list to do daily. He guarantees a positive outcome. I want to take this a step further and say if you do this one thing and you do it first thing in the morning it is going to set off a cascade of positive effects throughout the day.

Learn your mates love language

First, you are going to need to do some homework. If you want this to be successful you will need to make sure that you are taking the correct action. In the popular book the Five Love Languages, author Dr Gary Chapman talks about how we communicate love for one another and how we often speak different “love languages”. The first part of this work is to find out your partner’s love language. You might ask them what actions make them feel loved, valued, and appreciated. I happen to know my partner’s love language because we took the quiz.

My partner has a different love language than I do. When I do this one thing each morning it has to be done in her love language. She prefers physical touch. If your partner’s love language is words of affirmation you might let them know that you think they will do well on their project today because they put a lot of effort into their work over the last week. Note that words of affirmation includes letting them know why you are praising them. Maybe it is the coffee that they made and they did a great job making it. Whatever their language is, gear the action that you take towards that language.

Do it first thing in the morning

Once you know what your mate’s love language is, you are set! It’s time to take your why and get to work. Make it something simple. Sometimes the biggest difference between a champion and 2nd place finisher is the consistency of the champion. As you probably know starting off on the right foot sets the day up for success. In the same way, starting off your relationship with a positive sets you up to have continued positive interactions. It is amazing the rewards!

Let go of your idea of getting.

There is a famous aphorism that we have all heard. It is better to give than receive. I want to let you know that you will actually be getting, but that cannot be the reason that you are doing it. Science now tells us that there is a huge payoff to giving. One thing we cannot be sure about is whether you will get more love because your partner is giving it or if you are just going to feel it because of this experiment. We know, because scientific research tells us, that you will be happier if you are giving. Through fMRI technology, scientists have found that the parts of the brain that are activated when giving are the same parts that are lit up by having good food and sex.

If you are consistent with this relationship exercise of doing the one thing that speaks your partner’s love language in the morning, then you are guaranteed to reap the benefit.

I have been trying this specific experiment for the past 2 weeks and the results are pretty amazing. I have been feeling more appreciated and loved by my partner than I did before the experiment. It’s not easy to do the one thing because I like to pop out of bed and hit the ground running. My daily task of snuggling and making sure to connect for a moment first isn’t as easy as my wife thinks it is! I guess it goes without saying that if you want positive results for your relationship, then you have to take action.

I offer specialized marriage therapy and couples counseling at my Harrisburg, PA location. You may be interested in learning how a couples intensive or a couples boot camp can provide your marriage the relief you seek in a concentrated burst.  Start your journey today.