I am a big fan of the minimalism movement. Over the last few years, I have been following Joshua Becker’s Becoming Minimalist blog, Leo Babauta’s Zen Habits musings, and I still enjoy reading the The Minimalists’ essays on trying to simplify their (and our) daily lives. If I was single, I’d definitely consider living in a Tiny House with as few belongings as possible. (I’m not so sure that living in what is essentially one big room would work well for us as a family, however.)
Having recently re-watched Minimalism – The Documentary on Netflix, I went through a few of our rooms with black bin bags and now have two big piles of unwanted clothes, books and toys for the charity shop. It is astounding how much clutter we have amassed in the last 1 ½ years in our new home. And it is wonderful how much more peaceful our decluttered rooms feel now. They are also easier to tidy and clean (which is a plus, given that I am not naturally a particularly tidy person).
Minimalism teaches us to focus on the essential things in life
By getting rid of the surplus clutter and belongings, we get to the essence of what makes us happiest. For example, you may realise that 8 out of the 10 tops in your drawer are not really ‘you’, that you don’t enjoy wearing them that much, and that these can be given away (or sold) without you missing them at all. The remaining two tops, however, make you feel happy, and you definitely want to keep them. Great!
So, how can we apply minimalism to our relationships?
Focus on what makes you happy
When it boils down to it, what are the two or three things that you really need from and in your relationship, i.e. ‘things’ that keep you happy on a day-to-day basis?
I’d be surprised if these ‘things’ really were objects. Most likely, they are gestures of kindness, such as a hug and kiss good morning, practical help with household chores, being thanked/feeling appreciated. (See also our Top 50 list of things you may want to wish for in your relationship.)
Exchange your wishes
So, once you have a shortlist of wishes, exchange them with your partner. Don’t overwhelm them with more than five wishes at a time. Really focus on what makes you happiest. And then ask your partner to fulfil these wishes, in a positive, loving way. It’s an ongoing give and take process, and I guarantee that it will make both of you happier, as long as you both keep working on fulfilling each other’s wishes!
Obviously, we’d love you to do this via our app, which we have custom-built for exactly this purpose. (If you don’t have an Android phone, we’re planning an iPhone version at some point soon! In the meantime, try a paper-and-pen approach.)
We’d love to hear how this is working for you. Just email firstname.lastname@example.org – looking forward to hearing from you! 🙂
Now, back to the decluttering…
Claudia (female half of Couple Karma)