One plus one is greater than the sum of its parts… that’s what marriage purports to deliver. And if you seek to understand your partners needs and interests and resist defending and stonewalling, intimacy grows. Choose your attitude. You can achieve so much more when you engage synergistically in your marriage than if you act alone.

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

    Habit 6: Synergise 
    The word synergy comes from the Greek synergos meaning ‘working together’. In the marriage context, synergy refers to two respectful minds communicating to create solutions – greater than the sum of there parts – solutions that are better than what either proposed originally. Beyond positioning and compromise, seek to understand your partners needs and interests and find solutions to satisfy both. Resist defending and stonewalling and listen to each other and seek new alternatives.
    Commit to loyalty and openness and never bad mouth your partner. People and relationships are more important than things. When you have an issue, seek to resolve it – choose your attitude and behaviour, communicate openly and seek win/win solutions. This creates trust and intimacy.
    Whilst independence is promoted as a strong value in the world today and is difficult for many of us because we have been trained or have learnt that others cannot be trusted, achieving synergy requires high trust and high cooperation. By practicing empathic communication, exhibiting trustworthiness and building trustworthy relationships, trust growths replacing fear and doubt.

Synergy is possible when we have the support of all five previous habits. Change your approach today.

Tune in next week for Habit 7.

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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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Reference: Covey, Stephen R., The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, 1989, Fireside, New York.