In 2012, the world lost one of its most highly effective teachers. Stephen R. Covey died on July 16, 2012, age 79. Covey will be remembered as a transformational thinker on leadership and personal effectiveness. His book ‘The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’ is and continues to be an extraordinarily influential book delivering powerful lessons in personal productivity and growth.

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 his most lasting legacy – the 7 habits.

The seven habits are a step by step model that empower couples to be intentional, to make decisions and to act, to move 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.

The seven habits can be divided into two groups – the first three focus on “private victory” and the second three on “public victory”, with Habit 7 rounding the previous six to work towards refinement, self renewal and continuous improvement. Covey says “Private Victory precedes Public Victory” which means that you must master yourself before enjoying success outside of ourselves and with our partner.

    Habit 1: Be Proactive
    Being proactive is more than just taking action. In this first habit, you have the ability to consciously choose how you respond to your partner rather than responding to the prevailing conditions or instincts or conditioning.
    As John Gottman says in his book ‘Why Marriages Succeed or Fail and How to Make Yours Last’ you must err from using criticism and contempt with your partner, alter your usual response. Think about your start up conversation with your partner and stop being a ‘hot reactor’ and start being a cool, responsible chooser. By consciously choosing the way you respond to your partner, you act to achieve growth and mutual benefit in your relationship.
    As a proactive partner, one who is self-aware, you accept responsibility for your actions and you don’t blame or accuse when things go wrong. You work continuously within your circle of influence, you change and develop yourself first in order to be a better partner. You work to reject past behaviours and ways of reacting and you determine your own destiny to become who you want to be for your partner. By being proactive you take responsibility for your response, often looking for what you can learn from what happened. You are always intentional and proactive in your thoughts, words and actions.

Tune in next week for Habit 2.

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The Couple Checkup generates deep and productive conversations that couples would not otherwise have about their relationship. These conversations restore insight and understanding about one another. The Couple Checkup can help to revive a relationship and increase intimacy. 

The Couple Checkup is an online couple assessment based on the PREPARE/ENRICH couple inventories. The Checkup assessment and Checkup report are designed to go directly to couples at any stage of their relationship (dating, engaged or married). The online system allows for dynamic customization of the assessment to each couple based on how the couple answers background questions. The goal is for the Couple Checkup to reach a more diverse group of couples, to empower couples to deal with issues on their own and to emphasize prevention over remediation.

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