HOW DO YOU TELL THE STORY OF YOUR RELATIONSHIP?


“So, how did the two of you meet?”

How you answer this question may have greater significance than you think.

All couples have a story to tell.  There’s a story about how you met, your first date, your first fight, meeting each other’s parents, where you got engaged, when you moved in together, and maybe even the magic of your wedding day and the miracle of becoming parents.  How couples view and share their “Story of Us” determines whether their relationship is in the positive or negative perspective.

When you reflect on the story of your relationship, what do you think about?  Is there more “me” than “we?”  Do you shine a spotlight on your disagreements and your partner’s annoying habits?  Do you feel more disappointment and resentment with your partner than satisfaction and appreciation?

Or, do you reflect on how you’ve grown and become stronger, both individually and as a unit?  Do you feel proud of the way you’ve come together as a team and worked through various challenges in your lives and your relationship?  Do you “glorify the struggle” by highlighting the good times in your relationship, and by making light of the bad?

Research out of The Gottman Institute indicates that when your “Story of Us” is positive, as a couple you have a strong buffer against conflict, and each of you tend to focus on the other’s positive qualities.  By contrast, a negative “Story of Us” primes your brain to assume the worst about your partner, and to focus on the intractable nature of your problems rather than on productive conflict resolution.

The brief quiz below will help you determine if you have a positive or negative “Story of Us”:


  • I love talking about the history of our relationship.
    • Strongly Agree
    • Somewhat Agree
    • Neutral
    • Somewhat Disagree
    • Strongly Disagree
  • I love telling stories about how the two of us met.
    • Strongly Agree
    • Somewhat Agree
    • Neutral
    • Somewhat Disagree
    • Strongly Disagree
  • The two of us think the same positive way about our history.
    • Strongly Agree
    • Somewhat Agree
    • Neutral
    • Somewhat Disagree
    • Strongly Disagree
  • We definitely think of ourselves as a team.
    • Strongly Agree
    • Somewhat Agree
    • Neutral
    • Somewhat Disagree
    • Strongly Disagree
  • There’s a lot of fondness and affection between us.
    • Strongly Agree
    • Somewhat Agree
    • Neutral
    • Somewhat Disagree
    • Strongly Disagree
  • We’ve built a great life together.
    • Strongly Agree
    • Somewhat Agree
    • Neutral
    • Somewhat Disagree
    • Strongly Disagree
  • I think we can get through any adversity together.
    • Strongly Agree
    • Somewhat Agree
    • Neutral
    • Somewhat Disagree
    • Strongly Disagree
  • I love a lot of my partner’s personality traits.
    • Strongly Agree
    • Somewhat Agree
    • Neutral
    • Somewhat Disagree
    • Strongly Disagree
  • My partner understands me.
    • Strongly Agree
    • Somewhat Agree
    • Neutral
    • Somewhat Disagree
    • Strongly Disagree
  • I feel very close and connected to my partner.
    • Strongly Agree
    • Somewhat Agree
    • Neutral
    • Somewhat Disagree
    • Strongly Disagree

As a relationship coach, I help my clients assess the strengths in their relationships and identify areas that may need attention.  Among other exercises, the comprehensive Story of Us Questionnaire (from which the questions above were excerpted) is one of my favorite tools to use with my clients.

If you’re interested in working with me, you can send me an email (karenmcguirecoaching@yahoo.com), contact me through my website (www.karenmcguirecoaching.wordpress.com), or call me (773-304-7596).

 

 

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