Relationships Advent Calendar . Day 21 . Turn up the Volume

Nothing brings back memories quite like music .. what’s ‘your’ song?

What was playing on your first date?

At your wedding?

On your first Christmas as a family?

For most of us there’s a special feeling associated with these tunes ..

So today your task is to find the song or songs that bring back these special memories and share with your sweetie .. have it playing when they walk in from work, call the local radio station and ask them to do a dedication, email a YouTube clip or post it on their Facebook wall .. or, if you have one, play it on your guitar, piano or kazoo the next time you see them ..

What did you do, let me know in the Comments below, or tweet me!

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Relationships Advent Calendar Day 20 . Switch on your Relationship Radar

You’ve just spent 19 days doing something every day for the benefit of your relationship .. notice a difference yet?

So now you’re a super honed relationship athlete in tip top condition it’s time to start looking for opportunities to flex those muscles ..

Keep your eyes and ears open for the many small opportunities that come up today to make a difference, and see how many you take .. send me your scores by commenting on this post, or on Twitter or Facebook if you prefer .. a relationship Christmas star for the winner!

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Relationships Advent Calendar Day 19 . Admit When You’re Wrong

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This post follows on from yesterday’s, where I dared to suggest you just might be wrong sometimes (surely not!?) .. relationships thrive where both partners can give a little ground sometimes, and let’s face it, who doesn’t like to be right?

Today your task is to find something your sweetie is right about, give them a big beaming smile and let them know, with grace and love ..

Some of the most powerful words in your relationship may well be “Yes, you’re right.”

Afterwards spend some time thinking about how easy or difficult it was to do that, and how your partner reacted .. what did you learn?

Relationships Advent Calendar Day 18 . Who’s in your Corner?

Christmas and New Year is traditionally a time for partying and family, and also a time for reflection and taking stock, making plans and starting afresh ..

Today take some time to think about which of your friends and family support you in your relationship: who listens to you without judgement when you need to talk; who refuses to take sides; and who’s not afraid to tell you gently when you might just (gulp) be in the wrong .. cultivate these people and pledge to do the same for them in your turn ..

It takes two to make love, and a whole community to keep the flame alive ..

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Relationships Advent Calendar . Day 16 . High 5 Your Sweetie

Sometimes it’s tempting to take the good things for granted and only focus on the things your honey does wrong .. they know you love them right??

Wrong .. research shows that to feel positive in their relationship couples need an average ratio of five positive for every one negative interaction .. that means in order for your relationship to thrive you need to get working on those positives .. so notice your partner’s successes, and those of the two of you, and take time to celebrate them today ..

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Relationships Advent Calendar Day 15 . Express your Gratitude

Yeah yeah, been there done that .. but gratitude and appreciation are one of the single most important indicators of a relationship’s success ..

So today your task is to think of all the things you’re grateful to your sweetie for .. then pick one and make sure you let them know ..

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Relationships Advent Calendar Day 14 . Fix it!

Healthy couple relationships don’t happen by accident, they’re the result of both partners putting time and attention into what feeds the relationship each day, like making small deposits into a bank account that we can draw on when we need it.

Today I invite you to pay into your relationship bank account by finding something to fix around the home. Especially things that would make a difference to your loved ones.

Maybe you could hang a picture that’s been leaning up against the wall for a year; sew those pesky trouser hems up; back up your spouse‚Äôs computer; oil that squeaky door or check your honey’s car is all ready for the cold weather, with de-icer, screenwash, a shovel, snacks, water and an extra warm blanket in case of getting stuck in a traffic jam.

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Relationships Advent Calendar . Day 13 . Write it Out

Nothing is more meaningful than when we take the time to write something out .. so today write your sweetie exactly how you feel and put it somewhere they’ll find it later .. in the fridge, stuck to their toothbrush or maybe on the remote!

Get creative, and spread the love ..

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Does Your Life Have a Soundtrack?

Whenever I used to break up with a guy it always seemed like every song on the radio was about US! I’d drive in my car listening to tune after tune about heartbreak, and when I got home I was so miserable it seemed like everyone was splitting up and that it was the most terrible thing that could happen to a person EVER!

But one day I got sick of being manipulated like this and decided to take back control. I started playing music that was about good times, that made me feel good, that strengthened me instead of diminishing me.

After a couple of years I was ready for the next step .. I sat down with my music collection (I used to DJ and had been buying music since I was 12 so there was a LOT to go through) and sifted out all the ‘misery music’ as I like to call it.

Not only did I make a friend very happy when he found himself the new owner of 6 boxes of prime vinyl but I could actually see what music I did have on my cluttered shelves, and I’ve never regretted it. When I choose to buy music now I do a quick mental scan about whether it will bring me up, calm me or bum me out.

We can’t change a lot of things in our environment but we do have a choice about the music we listen to, the television programmes we watch and the people we spend time with. What would you like to choose?