The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Couples (Habit 7)

Don’t allow the daily grind to become the focus to the exclusion of our relationships. Take the time to focus on your physical, intellectual, social and spiritual self. We are all in a state of entropy and only consistent and continued refinement and attention to all of these areas will ensure an upward spiral of growth, change, and continuous improvement in ourselves and our relationships. Learn to take care of yourself and continue to sharpen your saw.

The seven habits are not a quick and easy formula for success, but together they form a powerful model for personal change. Adapted for couples, this series of posts is a respectful homage to Stephen R. Coveys most lasting legacy – the 7 Habits.

The seven habits are a step-by-step model that empower individuals to be intentional, to make decisions and to act, moving towards a known destination rather than reacting to whatever is happening at the time. Emphasising the importance of self awareness before successful engagement with your partner, the model is a process of learning new habits to create personal and interpersonal effectiveness.

Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw

Habit 7 is about self renewal or continuous improvement, its about looking after yourself and to overcome entropy, and many of us have to learn to take time to look after ourself. Stephen Covey suggests consistent and continued refinement and attention to all of the following four areas in our lives: 1. Physical; 2. Intellectual; 3. Social and 4. Spiritual. Often we find we live our lives narrowly focusing on work or home. The daily grind becomes our focus to the exclusion of others. The most important thing you can start doing is looking after yourself by focusing on the four areas above.

For marriage, it is essential that we continually review and draw our attention to these four areas to ensure an upward spiral of growth, change, and continuous improvement. The importance of renewal in our lives can not be underestimated. Learning, growing and developing new capabilities and expanding on the old ones is the process through which continued success is made possible. Through applying the 7 habits in our relationships and through continued commitment and loyalty, we will ensure a sharpened saw, one ready to tackle the ups and downs of our marriage.

Through your consistent and continued refinement of the four areas and through continued focus on your mission statement, your focus will be on the important aspects, those that will define you as a highly effective couple. Attempting to balance exercise, nutrition and stress management (physical); by reading, visualising, planning and writing (Intellectual); focusing on clarifying values and our commitment, dedicating time to study, our faith and/or meditation (Spiritual); and through our service, being empathic, being synergistic and ensuring security (Social), ensures success.

Don’t get caught up in the demands of life (or even developing the Habits) that we forget ourselves and our marriage. Be proactive and do this for your marriage. “We are the instruments of our own performance, and to be effective, we need to recognize the importance of taking time to regularly sharpen the saw in all four ways”.

You don’t have to get it right the first time. This is part of life’s journey of learning and developing. You will get there if you are willing to invest the time and effort to developing new habits.

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