Amy Morin is a psychotherapist, mental strength trainer, and international bestselling author. Her books, including 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do sold more than 1 million copies. People Magazine says her book is one of the top 20 must-read books of all time. Her TEDx talk, The Secret of Becoming Mentally Strong, is one of the most-viewed talks of all time with more than 23 million views. She lives on a sailboat in the Florida Keys.

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  • Just two years into Amy’s work as a therapist, her mother passed away unexpectedly. Exactly three years to the day later, her 26-year-old husband, Lincoln, died of a heart attack. So she set out on a personal journey to learn as much as she could about grief, mental health, and mental strength. Amy decided that she would live life to the fullest. She rode mules into the Grand Canyon, went skydiving, took flying trapeze lessons, spent the night in 49 states, got 6-pack abs in 28 days, and started driving a motorcycle
  • Amy’s daily challenge: She pushes herself to run a mile as fast as she can. It forces her outside of her comfort zone and ensures mental and physical growth.
  • Pleasant activity scheduling. Put them on the calendar. Block out time for pleasant experiences together with your partner, your family, and your friends. You then look forward to those moments, get to experience those moments, and then create memory dividends that you’ll have for life. Schedule pleasant activities. 
  • Don’t take your partner for granted. I think this goes for any relationship, but especially for those of us who are in committed long-term relationships with a spouse. Think of the Tony Robbins story: For the past twenty years, each day when he gets home from work, he has a “Honey I’m home” routine where they share a big embrace and a kiss and they both bring positive energy to the interaction. This sets the tone so that their relationship doesn’t get boring.
  • What Mentally Strong Couples Do:
    • They don’t ignore their problems. – Whether they face a sudden financial hiccup or experience issues related to intimacy, mentally strong couples address their problems head-on. They engage in difficult conversations and confront their issues, regardless of the discomfort it might bring. By working together to find solutions early on, they prevent their problems from escalating.
    • They don’t keep secrets. – Mentally strong couples respect each other’s privacy, like allowing one another to have private conversations with friends. However, they draw the line at keeping secrets. They’re honest about everything, whether it’s how much they really spent on an item or the fact that a co-worker has been flirting with them. They prioritize open discussion over potential discomfort because they understand that trust is the foundation of their relationship.
    • They don’t hesitate to set boundaries – Mentally strong couples know the importance of setting boundaries with each other. For instance, one partner may need to refrain from responding to text messages during the workday as it interferes with their job. But they also set boundaries to shield their relationship from external influences, like an overbearing mother-in-law or a relative who asks to borrow money. Together, they establish financial, physical, emotional, social, and temporal boundaries that enable them to function at their best.
    • They don’t become martyrs – Mentally strong couples understand that while sacrifices are part of a relationship, it doesn’t mean giving up everything to the point of self-destruction. They steer clear of bitterness and resentment for the things they’ve done for the family. Instead, they set boundaries, voice their needs, and take care of their well-being.
    • They don’t use their emotions as weapons – It’s healthy to experience and express a wide variety of emotions. But mentally strong couples don’t weaponize their emotions. For instance, a strong individual won’t cry to avoid a tough conversation, and they won’t raise their voice to get their way. Their focus is on managing their emotions, not controlling their partner’s actions.
    • They don’t try to “fix” each other – While they work toward bringing out the best in each other, mentally strong individuals don’t try to “fix” their partners. They strive to be a positive influence but respect their partner’s autonomy to make personal choices—even when they don’t agree with those choices. They support their partner’s attempts at self-improvement but understand that they can’t do the work on their partner’s behalf.
    • They don’t communicate with disrespect – While most couples understand that name-calling or belittling each other can harm their relationship, mentally strong couples also pay attention to the subtle aspects of communication that can make a significant difference (like looking up from their devices to hold a conversation). They prioritize active listening, understanding each other’s perspectives, and expressing their feelings in a healthy manner.
    • They don’t blame each other for their issues – A mentally strong individual doesn’t pass the buck by saying things like, “I’d be happier if my partner changed.” Instead, they take ownership of their happiness. They refrain from blaming their partner for their struggles, acknowledging that everyone has the power to bring about change.
    • They never lose sight of why they fell in love – Mentally strong couples ensure their love endures even as circumstances evolve. Career advancements, parenthood, and shifting responsibilities may make their lives look different from when they first met, but they never forget why they chose each other. Remembering why they fell in love helps them stay committed to resolving issues and working things out.
    • They don’t expect their relationship to meet all their needs – These couples don’t subscribe to the notion that their partner will “complete” them. They understand that they each have to fulfill some of their own needs. Whether it’s spending time with friends for recreational companionship or pursuing personal hobbies, they realize they have the agency and flexibility to meet their needs in various ways.
    • They don’t neglect their partnership – Mentally resilient couples understand that while there will be multiple demands on their attention—children, extended family, work—they can’t neglect their relationship. They discuss their priorities and collaborate to maintain their connection, even during phases of life when they’re being pulled in different directions.
    • They don’t take each other for granted – The strongest couples don’t overlook the kindness, love, and affection their partner provides. They express gratitude and appreciation for each other regularly. Frequent conversations about what they value, tokens of appreciation, and genuine gratitude are integral to their partnership.
    • They don’t stop growing and changing – Mentally strong couples strive for personal growth but also ensure they don’t grow apart. They aren’t intimidated by their partner’s progress. As they secure new jobs, take on fresh responsibilities, and change their viewpoints, they make sure their relationship evolves accordingly.
  • It’s inspirational when both partners are invested in strengthening their relationship. However, often one partner may be more focused on building mental strength and strengthening the relationship than the other. The good news is that one person can significantly impact the overall health of the relationship. You can start improving your relationship by giving up any unhealthy habits that could weaken your relationship. When you decide to change your habits, you can grow stronger as an individual while also strengthening your relationship, even if your partner isn’t invested in building their mental strength right away.
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Time Stamps

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