“Every habit and faculty is formed or strengthened by the corresponding act – walking makes you walk better, running makes you a better runner…so if you like doing something, do it regularly; if you don’t like doing something, make a habit of doing something different.”
- Discourses and Selected Writings, Book II, 18 [1-4] by Epictetus
The same logic applies to our love lives. Working on your relationship makes your relationship, well…better.
This isn’t to say that all relationships can be worked on. Or that all relationships should be worked on. Or that the outcome of working on your relationship is always going to be positive. It may be that you do the work on your relationship and discover that your significant other doesn’t want to work on the relationship (a red flag).
The essence of the principle is this:
If you want a successful, happy, long-term relationship – you must work on it every day.
If it’s better communication you are after, work on having better conversations. If it’s deeper intimacy, know that intimacy is not just a weekend thing. It’s something you cultivate with your actions – every single day.
The same principle is the essence of The Gottman Institute’s Small Things Often podcast. Successful relationships are created through ‘small words, small gestures, and small acts.’
What habits do you want to strengthen and cultivate in your relationship*? What habits do you have that you wish were different?
*Note, your relationship with yourself counts, too.