In our life, we maintain a plethora of relationships such as family, friends, spouse, children, and so on. We make choices to connect, interact, understand and form a meaningful relationship with them. Our intentional choices help in strengthening relationships, avoiding conflict and reducing stress. The Gottman concept of family legacy is based on the concept of rituals of connection. It states that happy couples are those who have a shared sense of meaning about life and make an intentional choice about their day rather than just trying to get through it. In order to make intentional choices to connect with your family, he suggested certain questions that you can ask yourself such as –
- How do we want to spend our mealtime?
- How will we spend our vacations?
- How will we celebrate good news and deal with the bad news?
A number of times, we have to adapt to new changes in our relationships or family such as a change in work, birth of a child and so on. During such times, you can pose certain small-scale questions to continue making intentional choices and do family legacy. These questions are –
- What can bring us joy today?
- What will connect us to something familiar amidst all this newness?
- What routines of mealtime are working best nowadays and can we try that again today?
Gottman has a motto when it comes to relationships: Small Things Often. We build the partnerships and families of our dreams one hour at a time, one day at a time, by doing the kind things, loving things, things that feel meaningful, and things that give and express gratitude and appreciation.
There are some ways which you can include to make intentional choices to connect with your family. They are as follow-
- Make certain rituals in a day to connect with your family such as mealtime interaction. For example, one hour’s time where every member of the family will sit, share and interact. These activities can help in strengthening the bonds of the family.
- Dividing the role and responsibility of chores can also be beneficial as it will help to manage the work and also reduce conflict in the family.
- Making choices of how to deal with conflicts in the family, how to plan vacations, making a plan for the day and soon can also be beneficial. It will help in organizing, connecting and forming bonds with your family.
- During changing time or while adapting to the newness, you need to make your plans again to connect with your family. Modify the ways which you were using before because change demands modification and adaptation.
- If you are raising a child in the family, you will have to make certain changes and choices in your daily rituals. Think about how you were raised; look at your childhood through the lens of a parent.
- Communicate with your partner. It requires teamwork to make a plan about the ways and choices you want to make and make sure that you both are on the same page.
- As a child brings changes in your routine, you need to make modifications in your daily activities and also in the ways such as planning your vacations, spending your weekends and so on. For example, you can’t party regularly on weekends or go for an adventurous trip with your toddler. So, you need to make different choices in your life to keep the bond strong.
- Make a routine to help your child succeed and stay consistent. As your child grows, having a routine in place will help them to be prepared for the day.
- Spend time with your child to connect and build a relationship with them. With the passage of time, we become busy and are unable to take out time to connect with our loved ones. It is important to make time to enjoy with them, participate in what they like, show them how to act, teach them to be gracious and kind, and set the standards for their life. It is important to be present.
- Take some time out for yourself to engage in activities which you love to do.
It is important to make intentional choices while connecting with your family. These are certain ways by which you can make intentional choices for your family.
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