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Little Things That Can Make or Break Your Relationship

Posted by on Dec 10, 2017 in Marriage Advice, Marriage Counseling | Comments Off on Little Things That Can Make or Break Your Relationship

We know the way we respond to our partner can impact our partner’s feelings and emotions, but did you know it can impact the longevity and overall satisfaction of the relationship? John Gottman is a researcher who has studied relationships for the past 40 years and developed four scenarios that could make or break the relationship when situations arise, or when we are interacting during daily living. The four scenarios are; we can turn toward our partner, turn happily toward our partner, turn away from our partner, or turn against our partner. “Turning toward” happens when your partner makes a bid for attention by simply interacting with you.  If you turn happily toward, you respond in a positive way.  Turning toward is a neutral response.  Turning away is ignoring or not acknowledging. And turning against is a negative response So what do these four scenarios have to do with your relationship? We are going to break it down by providing a common relationship scenario. Scenario: You’re on your way home from work and after a day full of meetings, a disagreement with your boss on the trajectory of a project, and your commute is taking longer than usual; all you want to do is go home and relax for the evening. You get home to an empty house, take your dog out for a short walk, and when you come home, your partner is in the kitchen talking to their friend about getting together and going out for dinner tonight. Going out to dinner and socializing is the last thing on your mind, and you would prefer to stay in and make dinner. How do you respond? Do you suck it up and go out to dinner? Do you opt to stay home while your partner goes out with friends? More importantly, how do you communicate your feelings about going out or staying in with your partner. According to Gottman, our response to situations like the above scenario can make us or break us. To break it down, you could have ignored your feelings, gone to dinner and not enjoyed yourself and may take that frustration out on your partner after dinner. Or you could have told your partner you are not feeling up to going out and would prefer to stay home. Or you could have asked to take a raincheck on dinner out. There are a number of scenarios that could have played out in response to going out to dinner, but in this case and future situations, even the really small ones, it is imperative to communicate with your partner how you are feeling. Every time we turn to our partner, we are developing a connection- even when it is something small like going or not going out to dinner. Each interaction with our partner gives us the chance to turn towards or away from our partner, to be heard or not. Focus on how you and your partner respond the same situation, are there similarities? Are you being heard? Are you hearing your partner? Always remember, the little things add up to make a relationship successful or not.              ...

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Tips For Recovering from an Argument

Posted by on Dec 9, 2017 in Marriage Advice, Marriage Counseling | Comments Off on Tips For Recovering from an Argument

        It can be hard to reconnect after a disagreement or fight with your partner, even if you have worked together to resolve the issue. Keep in mind; it takes time to reconnect with your partner after an argument. There is no right amount of time, just trust your emotions and continue to communicate with your partner. Here are a few tips for reconnecting with your partner after a disagreement. Give them space: If your partner tells you they need space after an argument, even if the issue has been resolved, respect their time and give them space. Some people are more shaken than others during an argument, and they need time to regroup their emotions and focus. It may take a few hours or a few days for someone to come around, just know they are taking the time for their mental well being and will reconnect with you when the time is right. Communicate: Shutting your partner off or giving them the silent treatment is called stonewalling and can damage the relationship. Be mindful of how you are communicating with your partner after an argument, show them you care by not shutting them out and continue to talk about your day-to-day life. You don’t have to discuss the issue until both of you are ready but in the mean time be cordial, kind and respectful. Show compassion: Be kind and courteous and respectful towards your partner. After an argument, you and your partner may feel disconnected, and it may not feel right to be particularly loving.  Doing something nice for your partner that is a random act of kindness, like buying them their favorite ice cream, flowers, or making a special dinner will show you care and help with reconnecting you to your partner. Hit the reset button:  Try to leave the issue in the past and put your focus on the present and the future. Seek help from a professional: Sometimes in relationships, we struggle with conflict resolution, and we may hold grudges after an argument towards our partners which can impact the relationship and future conflict resolution. If you are struggling with reconnecting with your partner, or with ongoing issues in your relationship reach out for help. A couples therapist will be able to work with you and your partner on conflict resolutions and improve coping skills that will work to improve the overall health of the relationship. Reconnecting after a disagreement takes time. Focus on the good in your relationship and continue to respect each other’s boundaries, communicate, and speak your partner’s love language- all acts that will help to build trust in the relationship and reconnect you to your partner.  ...

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3 Tips for Healthier Arguing

Posted by on Nov 19, 2017 in Marriage Advice, Marriage Counseling | Comments Off on 3 Tips for Healthier Arguing

  Relationships are not perfect, and sometimes we have disagreements with our partners. We’re only human, and no two people have the same lived experiences, nor the same opinions on things, so it is only natural disagreements are going to come up in relationships. There is a right way to have a disagreement and a wrong way. Demeaning, abusive, and hurtful things said to our partners are detrimental to the relationship and should never be said.  They cause deep wounding, resentment and disconnection that are extremely difficult to overcome. During a discussion with your partner about a disagreement, it is important to be mindful and be conscious of the following three points. Do not bring up the past: The past is the past, discussing it will not change or fix it.  Bringing up the past signals you have not dealt with past issues, and those problems should be dealt with at a different time.  When you’re having a disagreement, try to stay on the one topic your trying to resolve. Bringing up issues derails your focus from the current issue. Do not judge or criticize: During a discussion or disagreement with our partner, the last thing we want to be is judged or criticized for what we are saying. If we criticize, our partner is less likely to open up to us in the future, and it can break trust in the relationship. Try to understand and learn where your partner is coming from instead of critiquing what they have to say or how they feel- those are their feelings and words and even if you don’t agree, judging and criticizing will only be met with defensiveness. Be a good listener: It can be challenging to stay in the moment and not interrupt your partner when they are discussing the conflict, but it is essential not to interrupt or interject with different points as it undermines what your partner is saying. It’s important to understand your partners point of view. When you do, you can offer solutions that work for both of you.   If you are struggling to resolve conflict in your relationship, seek professional help from a couples counselor, they will be able to help you develop conflict resolution skills and better communication skills.  ...

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3 Benefits of Being YourPartners Best Friend

Posted by on Nov 13, 2017 in Marriage Advice | Comments Off on 3 Benefits of Being YourPartners Best Friend

All great relationships start as friendships Do you agree?  Should you be best friends with your partner?  While some relationships benefit from not being each other’s best friends, other relationships flourish from being each other’s best friend. There is no one right way to have a relationship, but having friendship qualities in your partner doesn’t hurt. 3 benefits of being your partner’s best friend: Shared interests: Having shared interests and things to bond over outside your relationship, will help to keep your relationship fun and exciting. Also, you and your partner can introduce each other to new activities which help each of you get to know each other better. You can be honest: You and your best friend keep it real, you tell each other your secrets, dreams, and opinions. This trait in a friendship can transfer to relationships. There’s nothing better than sharing your fears, wishes, and goals with the person you love most, and having them in your corner when you need them most or celebrate a win can help to deepen your bond. You see your partner for who they are: We all know those couples where one partner acts different in social situations, they have to hide a part of who they are because their partner is around. That is not a healthy way to live, nor a healthy relationship. Being friends with your partner, you are in different social situations and learn to embrace each other’s silly side with friends and more serious side during family gatherings- no hiding! These elements of being best friends can enhance your most significant relationship.  It’s great to have them, but If you don’t, the two of you can work on building them into your...

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5 Tips For Leaving Work At Work

Posted by on Nov 6, 2017 in Marriage Advice | Comments Off on 5 Tips For Leaving Work At Work

Now more than ever, our work and relationships  intersect.  Thanks  to technology, we can answer work emails on a Saturday at our child’s baseball game and could potentially keep working 24/7.  This makes maintaining a work-life balance extremely difficult.  It can be frustrating to be in a relationship with someone who is always working, and technology can have a negative impact on our relationships. It is important for our mental health and relationship to establish clear work boundaries and leave work at work so we have energy for our most important relationships.   5 ways to leave work at work:   Find a Transitional Activity: If you are struggling with leaving work at work, try to have an activity in between leaving work and arriving at home.  A few ideas include going to the gym, grabbing an herbal tea at a coffee shop and reading for 30 minutes, or picking up dinner. It will help you de-stress before arriving home, and better able to connect with your loved ones. Evening routine: After arriving home from work, make dinner with your partner or go for a walk with your kids or dog. Having an evening routine that transitions you from work to home mode will help you center in being at home and not in work mode. Limit work talk: We all have those days when a boss aggravates us or a last minute project was assigned to us. It is fine to destress and talk to your partner about things that are bothering you, but put a limit on it. 10 minutes to talk about it and do a little problem solving, then move on. Continually talking about work stress will only stress you out more and keep you from enjoying time with your partner and family. Turn off all devices: Work phone, smartphone, laptop and anything else you can access work on, turn it off and disconnect. All day we are connected to emails, chats, calls, and texts your brain is operating at full-speed. It is necessary for your mental well being to disconnect and connect in-person with the people around you. Clock out boundary: This may be hard for some depending on your position, but when you clock out or are set to leave work for the day, try to clock out mentally of work at that time. Focus on going home and spending time with your partner, or going to catch a movie with friends. Keeping this boundary is essential for maintaining a healthy work-life balance.       work life balance, spouse, work, stress, mental...

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Debunking 6 Relationship Myths

Posted by on Oct 27, 2017 in Marriage Advice | Comments Off on Debunking 6 Relationship Myths

When entering a relationship, we have ideas about how it should look and how we should act. It is important to remember, no two people are the same, and a lot of relationship myths are false. This is a breakdown of 6 common relationship myths. Conflict in a relationship is bad: We’ve heard this one a hundred times. In fact, conflict in a relationship is good. No two people are the same, they don’t think the same, react the same so we are going to have conflicts in our relationships. Conflict helps our relationships by building our problem-solving skills and working on more open communication styles within the relationship. Conflict is growth trying to happen. It can be destructive or productive. Marriage is just a piece of paper: Marriage is a lifelong commitment, it is not only a piece of paper but a vow to spend the rest of your life with your spouse. Marriage bonds us emotionally and physically to our spouse building trust and love over years and decades together. If the relationship needs couples therapy, it is too late: This one is so far from the truth. Couples who seek out therapy to work on their relationship are aware they need help, and there is nothing wrong with getting help. In therapy, couples will learn how to communicate, problem solve, and work on existing issues within the relationship. Therapy is a tool and can be an excellent investment for the health and longevity of your relationship. If you have to work at communication, you are not meant to be together: We come to relationships with different communications styles, some of us are open communicators while others are more passive. Communication is something that is always in the works in relationships. Keeping the lines of communication open and being open with your significant other will help strengthen your relationship. True love is unconditional: Let’s be real, most of us have quirks or things about our partners that bother us, and that is perfectly okay, we are human after all. Unconditional love denotes that I love you always no matter how you wound me. Unconditional love can be elusive as our emotions and mental health go through ebbs and flows with daily life. and it’s difficult to feel romantic love when your in pain. Remember, unconditional love is this idea that is portrayed in the movies, but it  is not realistic for a long term, healthy relationship. If the passion has dissipated, a breakup is near: New relationships are magical, you are learning about this new person in your life- what they like or don’t like, how they like to be pleased, their love language and so on. We become a bit infatuated in new relationships as we are bonding and growing towards love. After the honeymoon stage is over, life sets in- we have work, stress, and other obligations and sometimes passion dwindles in a relationship, which is completely normal and is expected. It does not mean the relationship is over; it signifies you are in a committed, growing relationship and learning to grow with your partner. Strive for deeper love, romantic love is not long lasting Tags: relationship myths, marriage, love language, couples...

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5 Tips to Strengthen your Marriage

Posted by on Oct 21, 2017 in Marriage Advice, Marriage Counseling | Comments Off on 5 Tips to Strengthen your Marriage

  Relationships are not easy; they require a lot of work and dedication. When we are on the same page as our partner, efficiently communicating and making our relationship a priority, our relationships tend to run smoothly and don’t succumb to life’s ebbs and flows. To strengthen your relationship, try integrating these 5 tips.  Listen and don’t interrupt: When your partner is talking about something important to them or discussing something that is not working for them in the relationship, listen. We often get wrapped up in what we want to say and interrupt which can provoke feelings of anger or sadness in our partner as they don’t feel like what they are saying is valid due to interruptions. Take the time to listen, and try your best not to interrupt. Have a weekly date night: Do something special once a week with your partner to reconnect. We all get so busy with work, kids and responsibilities we often forget to connect with our partners. Schedule a date once a week and make a regular appointment for it- go to the movies, make a special dinner, whatever it is, keep the date consistent. It will help strengthen your relationship and bond with your partner. Go to therapy: Couples therapy isn’t just for couples who are considering divorce or when the relationship is in a difficult place. Couples therapy is also there to help you work on things, develop new coping skills, and it acts as a safe space to talk through issues. Learn to focus on the positive: When we disagree with our partner, we tend to harp on the negative and think about other things they do that bother us. In the moments after a disagreement, take a moment to breathe and think about why you are together with your partner and the positive attributes you love about your partner. This practice will help you refocus and bring you out of a negative moment. Do something challenging: Nothing bonds us more than when we have to work together as a team. Check out a local escape room or build a piece of furniture together. Navigating challenging tasks and projects helps us to bond with each other as we have to figure out who does what job. Use the experience as a way to learn more about your relationship and how you communicate during challenging tasks. How have you strengthened your relationship or marriage? We would love to hear your story. Send us an...

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Keep Stress From Impacting Your Sex Life

Posted by on Oct 13, 2017 in Marriage Advice, Marriage Counseling | Comments Off on Keep Stress From Impacting Your Sex Life

We all know stress impacts our sleep, work, eating habits and so on. Did you know stress can also impact your sex life? It does! Stress can lead to unhealthy habits including excessive drinking and negative body image which can also decrease our sex drive. Don’t let stress get in the way of your sex life! De-stressing Tips: Leave work at work: It’s important to purposefully switch gears mentally to leave work at work when you clock out. In the age of technology, it is so easy to answer work emails during dinner or hanging out with friends. When you walk through the door at home, don’t think about your project deadline or an upcoming meeting you are dreading, as that will only stress you out more and take time away from spending with your loved ones. Unwind from the day: When you get home, have a daily routine that will help you unwind from the workday. An unwind routine may include preparing dinner with your partner, eating dinner together and taking an after dinner walk, or it could be as simple as a 20-minute meditation session. Whatever works for you, stick to it so your body and mind will become accustom to de-stressing when arriving home. Establish boundaries: For those of us who say yes to everything- extra work projects, PTA, and socializing with friends, it is essential to understand your limitations as saying yes to everything will continue to stress you out and take away time from your relationship. It is okay to say no. Schedule sex dates: If you and your partner are struggling to connect and have sex, schedule it. It may seem less romantic than spontaneous sex, but it will ultimately help you connect. Navigating relationships in a demanding world full of work, social media and email can be difficult. At the end of the day, it is essential to prioritize your relationship and continue to connect and build your relationship with your partner. Managing stress so it doesn’t affect your sex life is an important part of self care and relational...

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Tips for supporting a partner with depression

Posted by on Oct 8, 2017 in Marriage Advice, Marriage Counseling | Comments Off on Tips for supporting a partner with depression

Depression is a mental health condition characterized by an ongoing depressed mood in which an individual loses interest in activities that impact everyday life. Depression is a serious mental health condition. If your partner is experiencing depression, it important they seek medical and mental health services. Navigating a relationship with a partner that is depressed or going through a depressive episode is challenging, at the same time it is important to remember your partner is still the same person regardless of a diagnosis. Tips for supporting a partner with depression: Research and learn: If you have not experienced depression interpersonally, it may be hard for you to understand what your partner is going through. Take the time to research and read stories from others who have experienced depression; it will help you better understand what your partner is going through. The stories and research may also offer tips for supporting your loved one. Do something they enjoy: Schedule a date night that your partner would enjoy, go to the movies, out to dinner, or a museum. Taking them out of the day-to-day may help to lift their mood, even for just a few hours. Ask them how they want to be helped: Before a depressive episode sets in, it is important to talk about how you can help your partner. If you didn’t prepare in advance, talk to your partner about how you can help. Sometimes people want time alone with a book, or they may prefer spending time with other people, so they don’t feel alone. Take care of you: Caring for someone with depression can be challenging. To avoid burnout, make sure to schedule time for yourself. Going for a walk, calling a trusted friend, or visiting your favorite coffee shop can help you de-stress. Navigating challenges in a relationship is not easy. Just remember, you are not alone and if you need additional support for how to help your partner with depression, reach out and seek services from a mental health professional....

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What Are The 5 Love Languages?

Posted by on Sep 30, 2017 in Marriage Advice | Comments Off on What Are The 5 Love Languages?

We’ve all heard about the 5 love languages in magazines, on TV and from your neighbor down the street. Do you know what they are and how they relate to you and your relationship? We’re breaking down the 5 love languages and how you can integrate them into your relationship. Words of Affirmation: This love language is all about using words to affirm your partner. Sayings like- “You mean the world to me,” “You are doing a great job balancing everything” and “I appreciate you” are all affirmations that can be used if your partner’s love language is words of affirmation. Acts of Service: Actions speak louder than words for those whose love language is acts of service. Taking out the garbage, bringing the car for an oil change, or picking up the dry cleaning are all acts of service. Receiving Gifts: We’re not talking about a new car or expensive shoes, though those are nice. Gifting is more about meaningful gifts that are unique to your partner. Example, last week your wife was talking about this book her friends were raving about at brunch. Purchase the book for your wife with a sweet note about how you remembered her talking about it. Quality Time: It does not mean spending an evening together watching TV with both of you on your phone, it is all about undivided attention. If your significant other’s love language is quality time, schedule some time with them that will be uninterrupted, maybe a date night at home, or a nature walk. Physical Touch: This one is pretty straightforward, some people require more physical contact than others. Physical touch can be  simple like holding your partner’s hand at dinner or giving a back massage. With this love language, it is about appropriate touch when wanted- it does not mean making out in the middle of a mall, nor explicit touch that may make your partner comfortable. If you are unsure, ask your partner for consent before touching them. The 5 love languages are important to understand as we tend to show our love language to our partner, but sometimes fail to accommodate to their love language, which can lead to a disconnection in the relationship. To take your relationship to the next level, start practicing your partner’s love language, it will help to strengthen your bond together!...

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