Taking a strengths approach to your life and your spouse’s not only calls out the best in your spouse, but also it provides access to the natural endorphins that reward you when you use your strengths. This is important because though your spouse may not reward you initially for an action of kindness or generosity, your endorphins will. And let’s face it: we all need a little encouragement to keep going if results are slow in the beginning.
How do you take personal responsibility for your part in the marriage using your strengths? The answer has three parts:
1. Understand yourself.
2. Understand your spouse.
3. Change your thinking.
It starts with your getting to know who you are from a strengths perspective. First, read your Clifton StrengthsFinder® results and get to know what those top-five strengths really mean for you. [www.gallupstrengthscenter.com] . . .Take your strengths results to your spouse or your friends and show them your paragraph descriptions. Ask them to tell you what they see in you, using the description as a starting point. The more you hear from others about how you use that strength, the more your confidence will build. The revelation that you truly have remarkable ability, and that others see it in you, will become a powerful part of your reality.
Next, take some time to get familiar with your spouse’s strengths. It’s common knowledge that our favorite subject is ourselves, so take your spouse’s results and go through the descriptions together. This activity will provide content for a date-night discussion, and it will deepen your understanding of each other.
When appropriate, have your friends tell you about how they see your spouse’s strengths in action. It will deepen your insight about your spouse. Also, in your conversation with friends, be sure to ask about where they see the joy in an action or behavior that displays the strength in your spouse. Recognizing the joy in your spouse’s strengths will give you meaningful insight into what actions provide rewards for your spouse.
Finally, change your thinking. Look at the regular behavior of your spouse through a strengths lens... If you can see your spouse’s actions through a strengths lens, then you can better understand your spouse’s motivations and recognize the corresponding rewards of his or her actions.