It is common for couples to focus on one another’s flaws. While the goal of pointing out our partner’s weaknesses may be to change the flaw or help it go away, focusing on the negative often leads to bitterness and resentment. Rather than picking out your partner’s defects and feeling ashamed of your own, this intervention is designed to help you to build your personal strengths. Identifying personal strengths can be a very empowering process. Strengths-building exercises foster positive emotions, which are considered indicators of long-term relational success.
This creative strengths building module will help you and your partner to build on one another’s strengths. Focusing on one another’s positive attributes is a way to grow your relationship and work towards your goals as a couple.
Begin by making a list naming your top 3-5 strengths and have your partner do the same. Look over the lists together, and discuss with your partner how these strengths contribute to your marriage. Try to remember situations where these strengths have been displayed in your relationship and share these memories with your partner. Identify a new and different situation where each strength was utilized. When you come across problems in your marriage, remember these strengths and use them to value one another. It is not always easy for couples to remember their strengths in tough situations, so do not be discouraged if this does not come naturally.
The next part of this intervention is finding ways to increase your strengths. This could include identifying a common goal as a couple, and working together to accomplish the goal. For example, Margaret and Jon have decided they want to become more involved in their church. This is their common goal. Margaret loves working with children and Jon is full of life and energy. The couple has identified Margaret’s passion for children and Jon’s playfulness as personal strengths. The couple brainstormed ways to creatively integrate these two strengths as a way to fulfill their goal of helping out at church. They eventually decided to begin volunteering in the children’s ministry at church. This utilized Margaret’s strength by working with children but also utilized Jon’s ample amount of energy, which was much needed when working with young and active youth. The couple was able to combine their strengths in order to accomplish a goal.
Using your strengths to fulfill a goal is an excellent way to build up your positive attributes. It also allows you to notice your partner’s natural abilities. This exercise is intended to be fun and natural for you and your partner because it is expounding on your strengths instead of attempting to change your weaknesses. You may even discover that magnifying your natural strengths draws your attention away from your flaws. You may come to find that you and your partner’s weaknesses are nothing compared to your strengths.