Want to build a stronger family? Of course you do. We all do. We want a stronger, more intimate family. A healthy family. A connected family. Sometimes it sounds like hard work to “build” a strong, healthy family. But you can do it in three words or less…as long as you use those words often. Let me share some examples.
- You see your spouse washing dishes. Now is your chance. Build a stronger relationship with these 3 little words: “Can I help?” Then follow through when she says “yes.”
- Your parent is washing the car or raking leaves. “Can I help?” are the perfect 3 words to strengthen your connection with your parent.
- Your child is frustrated with their homework. Now is not the time to lecture about waiting until the last minute. Instead, strengthen your bond with these 3 simple words: “Can I help?”
- Your spouse asks for help cooking dinner or putting the summer porch furniture away. They ask for your help. I know. You’re busy. You have your chores too. But they’ve asked for your help; and you want to build intimacy, strengthen your connection. So, three simple words will help: “I’d love to.”
You can strengthen your relationship in less than three words too. Take these examples.
- You ask someone in your family to pass the salt at dinnertime and they do. Reply with a simple “Thank you.” Two words, that’s all. But those two simple words strengthen the bond in your relationship.
- You just finished putting away the clean dishes. You do it almost every day so it’s no big deal. But your spouse thanks you. You could minimize their gratitude; but then you would miss the opportunity to build the relationship. Instead, you say “My pleasure” –two words that deepen your spouse’s appreciation even further.
- You said something mean in the midst of an argument. It just slipped out. You know it was wrong and you don’t really mean it. Nonetheless, it hurt the other person and erected a barrier between you and them. “I’m sorry” begins to repair the breach. “I’m sorry” accepts responsibility and opens the door to restore the intimacy lost.
These are only 2-3 word phrases. But, when shared generously, graciously, and authentically in our family, they will strengthen your family, increase the intimacy in your relationships, and bring greater health to your family relationships. What other simple 2-3 word phrases can you think of that will strengthen your family?