We did it together and it felt good! Last weekend we finally cleaned out our garage, after being in this home for almost three months now. And we had so much fun working together… we were a real team. We even had a hula hoop contest and I won! That may not seem like a big deal to you, but my husband beats me at most contests. So I was happy to find out that he sucks on the hula hoop. What I appreciated the most was how we communicated ahead of time about what we were going to be doing for the weekend. A typical conversation for us around Wednesday is what are we doing this weekend? Notice the emphasis on the word “we.” We don’t make plans without consulting each other first. And for the most part, our weekends are dedicated to the family and each other, however, there are times when we go our separate ways for various functions, for girls/guys night out, or activities with the kids. Studies show that the most successful couples exhibit “we” behaviors. These couples use pronouns such as we, ours and us. And they have mastered the art of togetherness while maintaining their own identities. Drs. Elizabeth and Charles Schmitz, renowned love and marriage experts, say these couples accomplish togetherness by doing the following: First, sharing interests, feelings, ideas and memories gives their marriage a uniqueness all its own. Second, compromising to form mutually agreeable decisions that both can support is critically important. And third, the best marriages we have observed thrive on mutual helpfulness and support for each other. The only way for the marriage to become “we” instead of “you” and “me” is to put sharing foremost in the relationship. Both partners work to bring out the best in their spouses by enhancing their feelings of confidence and self-worth. They become each others’ strongest supporters and routinely think in terms of “we” and “our” and “us.” Sharing, compromising, being helpful and supportive… no wonder these couples are happy!! ESSENCE Family: Are you thinking in terms of We and routinely using words like we, our and us? Are you able to put the needs of your spouse and family first and still take care of your own needs? If yes, how do you find that balance?