I got a lot of really beautiful feedback about last week’s post, where I introduced my beautiful son to the world… so, thank you so much for that support! It means a ton to me!

Now that the three of us are home and settling in from our amazing adventure, I wanted to share one of the “nuggets” of wisdom from our journey.

Before we boarded the first flight to China, my amazing husband (Seth) and I had a powerful conversation where we set two rules for our journey:

  1. Pretend to be calm… even when you aren’t.
  2. Compliment each other as much as possible.

We decided to base our entire experience in China around these 2 Rules and they served us well.. So well, in fact, that we continue to abide by them even now.

I believe these rules will be useful to anyone – whether you have kids or not, whether you’re married or not, whether you have horses or not… you get the idea.

Here’s why:

If you pretend to be calm, you’re telling your body that you are calm… and then the panic instinct that tends to take over can’t gain a foothold. Much in the same way that if you lower a horse’s head, he naturally becomes more relaxed, choosing to be calm puts your mind to work on getting your body on board. Fake it ’til you make it!

The second rule is based on research we learned about that studied the importance of complimenting your partner in successful, long-term, and happy relationships. The Gottman Institute even created what they dubbed “The Magic Ratio” of positive to negative interactions of 5:1. We aimed for an even higher ratio than that, given the potential stress of an international adoption. We complimented each other constantly:

“Great job wiping Zi’s snotty nose before he even realized it was happening!”
“Wow, you did so awesome getting him down for his nap!”
“You are getting SO fast at putting him in the Ergo!”

And the list went on and on… At first, it seemed a bit forced or maybe even over-the-top, but after awhile, it seemed totally natural. Instead of the inherent challenges of adopting a toddler in a foreign country putting Seth and I at odds with each other, we found ourselves more connected than ever.

I encourage you to try these rules out for a week and see how they work for you, in your romantic relationship, your relationship with your kids, or any other relationship you’d like to bolster. And please let me know how they worked for you, if you feel so inclined. I’d love to hear about them!