Relationship Strengths: What’s your highway?
Have you taken the StrengthsFinder test by Tom Rath? I took mine a few months back and it confirmed that my top few strengths include: connection, empathy, and relating with others.
The cool thing about this strengths test and ones like it is that they point to places where we hold natural gifts…places where the road is well-paved and we can travel light and fast — like a highway. These highways are places that feel like they come easily for you like nurturing people, listening to someone, making people laugh, being the life of the party, or always keeping your word.
We all have these “highways” and we have some unpaved and bumpy roads too…places where things just feel tough and slow. These are the places where we get stuck repeatedly…think washed out, four-wheel drive road requiring high clearance. One of the things that I love about working with people is that I can help create a map of the highways in your life and also mark the 4-wheel drive roads on your map.
For most of us, we have quite a few highways (read: strengths) in our relationships. These are places where couplehood is a breeze: we share humor together, we agree on finances or a savings plan for the kids’ college, we love the same kinds of movies or food, we equally enjoy a recreational activity together, etc. The highways are the roads that got us into our primary relationship to begin with. If you are not sure what your highways are, remember what first drew you to your partner and those easy early days of your relationship. What was happening during those times?
Make a list with your partner and come up with as many highways as you can. Your list can include all things big and small as the small things are just as important in a relationship as the big things.
Now, what are your 4-wheel drive roads? Where do you get stuck over and over and over again? When you think of looking at your taxes does your stomach drop and your jaw get tight? Maybe you feel your shoulders tense and your brow furrow when issues related to physical intimacy are brought up. These are the places that require a special vehicle to traverse…possibly a guide, coach, minister or a therapist. Once you gain the skills to handle these places, they can become exhilarating, exciting, and dare I say deepen your relationship!
If you need a guide to move you over that bumpy road or help identifying your strengths, let me know. I am always happy to support!