I just couldn’t get enough of the great Australian Relationship Influencers I’ve featured in recent months. They’ve either encouraged, motivated and facilitated great relationships, set a fine example of being in one - or both!
I’m finding it difficult not to call back all those human dynamos and request to observe and bask in their wisdom over a glass of wine or two. They might find that a little creepy, so I’ve taken the liberty of producing a summary of the “best of” their key words of wisdom:
Constantly engage in little rituals that connect advised John Aiken, Psychologist of Channel Nine’s Married at First Sight reality TV show. Successful couples make time or prioritise each other in activities such as morning coffee, walks or a debrief together in bed at the end of the day. It’s the little things that count!
Beware of virtual infidelity warned Clinton Power, fellow Relationship Therapist and one of my mentor’s, Clinton Power & Associates. Many of us hold our screens as an extension of our arm. They’re rarely out of sight and can lead to the temptation of secret flirting or sexting with someone outside your relationship.
Be an open book with each other decided the so very charismatic Barbara & Allan Pease, motivational speakers and authors when they first met. They also affirmed their relationship would always be on an equal footing together financially, as business partners, lovers and as parents.
Shower and wear deodorant was an important and funny tip from the so very impacting and yet humble Pastor Matt & Karryn Thiele from Immanuel Lutheran Church. Are you retaining the best version of yourself for your partner that allured them in the first place? You both deserve a fit, healthy and enticing partner to come home to.
Prioritise the parents was also handy great advice they were given, “Keep your relationship strong and your children will be secure, never let the children divide you or think that they come first. Their security comes from knowing that you two are strong. When you get home, kiss each other first before giving the children attention.” As we struggle to avoid producing the next “entitled” generation Z, it’s not uncommon for couples I counsel to have lost each other as they gratify their children first. Inherently, they are the most demanding and noisiest, however succumbing to this too often can compromise the foundation of the family – the love between the parents.
Relish and learn from the example set by role models: Jacqui Clarke, Marriage Celebrant & accompanying husband roadie, Graham both enjoyed incredible parental influences. It is such a gift when we’ve had the benefit of watching fine relationship and life mentors. My fervour for counselling is fuelled by the positive ripple effect couples instil in their children. It is my greatest desire is for couples to be comfortable to disagree and show future generations how to navigate these challenges with kindness, patience and respect
Establish the ritual of quality dinner time as a family: Joanne Desmond, Channel Seven news presenter and husband John Smeaton, owner of the Hampton Chair Co have established habits that ensure research proven benefits for their children. These include improved speech, better mental health and healthier eating habits. One outstanding ritual is regularly eating together at the table. It’s their favourite part of the day and allows them to share thoughts and opinions, have a good laugh which facilitates an open and honest relationship with their four boys. They know nothing is off limits and they can talk to them about anything without judgement.
Compatible work ethic: is a theme that shone through from Roz & Michael White, IGA Proprietors. Together they’ve honoured friendship whilst having children and honouring the same tenacious, hardworking ethic in a highly competitive industry that has produced three IGA stores on the Sunshine Coast with expansions on the way.
Choose your life partner wisely: recommended Ted O’Brien – Federal Member for Fairfax and wife Sophia, Lecturer in Law at Sunshine Coast University. Ted is grateful he got it so right, however emphasised this single biggest and impacting decision that can change the course of the rest of your life! I loved the way Sophia uses technology to their advantage to ensure Ted receives cute updates from their daughter and son whilst he’s away in Parliament. Another “gem” from Ted’s Mum was, “Think of marriage as a shiny, golden ball. Every harsh word or thoughtless gesture creates a dent or a scratch that may be hard to erase.”
Complement each other’s strengths and weaknesses: was a beautiful message from my final over-achieving “influencers”, Doctor Sophie Poulter, specialist in endocrinology and obstetric medicine with husband, Doctor Rohan Poulter, Clinical Director of Cardiology at the Sunshine Coast University Hospital. Their incredible demanding and competing work schedules could easily over-ride their relationship and family time with three young boys. Despite this, they hold hands in public, ensure regular date nights and even steal a few moments to have lunch together as well. Again, those little moments can mean a lot.
I asked every interviewee about technology trends. Whilst they have their advantages, it was affirmed that screens can kill relationships. Maybe a heart wrenching sad warning image needs to be placed on all the hand-held screen boxes like cigarette packets?
Finally, if you haven’t had great mentors when you were raised, find some now, read about them and learn to be one! It is never too late to begin.
Joanne Wilson is a professional relationship counsellor and certified clinical neuropsychotherapy practitioner of TheConfidante Counselling, based on the Sunshine Coast. Visit: www.theconfidantecounselling.com
Any trends resonate with you? Would love to know your innovative strategies for managing screen time:
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Relationship Specialist for Individuals and Couples servicing areas including Caloundra, Noosa, Noosaville, Buderim, Mountain Creek, Gympie.