Better Together: RASA, Rituals, and Compromise

written by Nathan & Kelli

Better Together: a weekly newsletter with ideas on how to improve your marriage and how to live a happy and productive life.

The Couple Project

One of the most compelling things we have learned over the last 18 months is that in order to create a better marriage we need to be willing to change. We have to be willing to pause our thoughts for long enough to try to see their thoughts. Then once we understand them, we have to be willing to see one or two things we would be willing to change. If we're not willing to make any changes in our behaviour, then we won’t be willing to see their side of the story, because we might see something we don’t want to see.

~ Kelli & Nathan

Quotes from what we have been reading

“You can use this in listening, in communication. ...the acronym is RASA, which is the Sanskrit word for "juice" or "essence." And RASA stands for "Receive," which means pay attention to the person; "Appreciate," making little noises like "hmm," "oh," "OK"; "Summarize" -- the word "so" is very important in communication; and "Ask," ask questions afterwards.”

Ted Talk by Julian Treasure

“Despite what they might say, few world-class athletes got where they are solely on motivation and talent. Motivation alone cannot be reliably counted on to spur you to greater levels of achievement or guarantee that you will work towards your goals. …Regardless of how you feel at the beginning of a task, you are more likely to continue once it’s started. …Rituals lower the difficulty of getting started. Even a seemingly small morning ritual will lead to more motivation throughout the day.”

wwww.writingsofamidlifeman.com

“The problem with [this] approach to compromise is that it actually encourages a form of antagonism. If I give in to your needs, I’m losing out while resenting your selfishness. If I stand firm to get my way, I’m selfish and nervous that you might build up resentment against me. ...But there is an approach that bypasses this Catch-22 that has a surprisingly simple focus. This is to realize that you are not in a struggle with your partner. You are struggling with how to honor two different needs in yourself. ...when I notice that one of the things I want is to make my sweetheart happy, then it’s no longer me against you. It’s me having two “competing” but equally important desires.”

Ken Fremont-Smith

Superhero Quote

“Whatever comes our way, whatever battle we have raging inside us, we always have a choice. My friend Harry taught me that. He chose to be the best of himself. It's the choices that make us who we are, and we can always choose to do what's right.”

— Peter Parker in Spider Man 3 (2007)

From Our Lives

One of our children chews on their clothes. It is frustrating. We want them to look nice but instead they tend to have a collar that is stretched out and a little tattered. We can go and buy them a new shirt, but within days it looks the same as their other shirts.

Frustrating. Sometimes that frustration comes out. Why are we so frustrated? Because we want them to look nice. That is our insecurity. That someone might judge us based on how our child looks, based on our children’s clothing, based on some random measuring stick of who we feel like we need to be.

The more insecurity we have, the more we blame those feelings on our children’s actions, the more we will raise children who are insecure. It is up to us to be more secure. We can claim our feelings. We can dig into them and better understand them. Then we can start to deal with them in a more healthy manner. Our new found security will allow our children to be secure in who they are. That is really our goal. We know that. We just sometimes forget.

Now, go give your spouse a hug and tell them you love them!

Written and published by Nathan & Kelli.

ps. Sorry, we didn't end up writing a new article. Next week we should have our book review of "31 Days to Great Sex" by Sheila Gregoire complete. Hint, it is a book that we would recommend.


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The purpose of “The Couple Project” is to learn more about what makes a strong marriage or relationship. We share what we are learning, which ideas we are trying, and which ideas helped improve our relationship. We realize not everything that works for us will work for you, but we still hope you will find our journey valuable.

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