It's that time of year again.
Store shelves are stocked with notebooks, pens, pencils, binders, backpacks, and more. Buses are on the roads driving children and teens to and from school each day.
A hint of fall is in the air and all of this means it's Back-to-School Season!
If you have a school-aged child (or remember being one), you know that there is a whole process involved to get ready for a successful year of learning in the classroom. Many schools mail out lists of supplies that they recommend parents provide for kids.
This includes the basics, like the many varieties of pencils and notebooks you see at retail stores and specifics, such as a school uniform or sports equipment.
Depending on the grade-level, students may be required to have a particular calculator or other tools to use in the classroom.
For many families, the back-to-school ritual includes a shopping trip. Not only do children outgrow clothes and shoes quickly, taste and styles change rapidly too. When the budget allows, some people find themselves outfitting their son or daughter in a whole new wardrobe (at least it feels that way)!
Whether it’s from the mall or the thrift store, many kids prioritize heading back to school with a fresh look.
And then there are the learning losses that occur over the summer vacation. Studies show, and teachers can attest, that children usually return to school having lost some academic knowledge, especially in math and reading.
A break from the routine and rigors of the classroom can be a wonderful thing, but there is a certain amount of review and re-teaching that has to happen to get students back to where they were so that they can continue to achieve. When students start school with a willingness to make up for those learning losses, the re-teaching is so much more effective.
While you may not take a break from your partner or be apart anything like a summer vacation, your relationship can become generally stuck or stale. You two may have fallen into patterns that are unpleasant and maybe even emotionally painful. These sorts of patterns can lead to a breakup or divorce if left un-addressed.
This is a perfect time for a "Back-to-School" approach to love.
Preparing yourselves for new learning and positive growth together is a powerful way to establish healthier ways to communicate, stronger and more resilient trust, increased cooperation and a sense that you're on the same "team," and a renewal of the love, respect, and appreciation you may have been missing lately.
Even if your relationship doesn't feel troubled, you might want to reinvigorate the passion and connection you used to share, but that's faded a bit.
Whatever challenges you're facing, apply this "Back-to-School" approach to your relationship and watch for signs of success:
Gather Must Have "Supplies"
Think about the tools you have access to that help you be at your best in your relationship. These "supplies" may be quite ordinary and their importance might surprise you.
Think, for example, about how your relationship suffers when you're under stress and strain at work and you're trying to push through it (instead of making time for self-care to release that stress). Consider the tense and annoyed way you interact with your partner when you've not had enough sleep or you've been eating more junk food than usual.
The must have "supplies" that benefit your relationship could be as simple as plenty of clean water, fresh fruits and vegetables, a good night's sleep, and a trip to the gym.
Relationship-enhancing "supplies" may also be specific to your particular relationship challenges. If there's a certain author or book whose teachings about relationships and/or self-improvement resonate for you, add that to your must have list. If there's a counselor, coach, or therapist whom you've benefited from working with, that's another relationship success tool.
Cultivate a Fresh (and Open) Attitude
You might remember from your own school days that attitude means EVERYTHING! A class can be a torturous experience, much like fingernails on a chalkboard, or it can be an enriching delight.
Regardless of the subject matter, if you arrive with the intention to learn and do your best with the material, you're more likely to achieve the understanding and grade you want.
The same thing goes in your relationship ...
Do your best to approach each interaction (even the mundane and everyday ones) and each conversation with your partner with a fresh attitude that sends the message that you're glad to be spending time together and that he or she is important to you, even when you're dealing with a difficult issue.
This comes through when you set your phone aside, look your partner in the eye, and really listen. This also comes through when you allow yourself to be vulnerable and share how you really feel and ask for what you really want. It also comes through when you make it clear that your top priority is working together to solve whatever problems the two of you face.
To create the trust-filled, honest, close, and happy relationship you want, you've got to be open (and stay open) to learning. Get curious when you and your partner bump up against an obstacle in your relationship. Stay curious and look for possibilities that will allow you both to thrive and stay connected.
Having the right words to communicate what you want to say is definitely a part of any couple's must have "supply" list. In this free video, we share with you which words and phrases to say (and which not to say) to create an amazing relationship.