Archive for May, 2013

Get up, stand up!

May 27, 2013

Stay fit and healthy. No, I am not some health guru, but I do know that getting the juices flowing by doing some sort of physical activity is a great way to- relieve anxiety, get frustration out, get the endorphins pumping and relax completely. In this state of mind, we are more likely to feel relaxed with our partner and less likely to feel wound up. This way when our partner does say or do something that bothers us, we are less likely to snap and explode on them. Instead our tolerance and patience levels will be higher, we will feel naturally calmer and it will be easier to deal with the issue in a calm and relaxed way. Exercising also does wonders for the sex life and we sleep better, again causing less anxiety and frustration to build up.

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Excuses, excuses!

May 22, 2013

He/she wants to come in to really to fix me. “It’s not really that bad. It’s too expensive. We need individual therapy first. We really can’t afford the time to do it. He (she) says I’m the one with the problem and she (he) doesn’t need any help. It’s probably too late anyway. Going to therapy means we’re crazy. The therapist will take sides. My partner is much more verbal/articulate/in touch with her feelings than I am and the therapist will clearly take her side. If we need couples therapy we are so messed up in the first place we should just break up. My partner wants to bring me to couples therapy to break up with me. The therapist will tell us we should break up. So what’s your excuse for not working on and having the best relationship you can have with your love? Think about it.

Be careful what you accept at the beginning!

May 20, 2013

Don’t pave the way for what you don’t want in a relationship.
Pave the way? What does this mean? I’ll tell you, it means don’t accept what you don’t want at the beginning of a relationship because it sets the groundwork for the entire relationship. You are casting a mold of what you will accept, of what the relationship will look like, of what you will tolerate and of what the future will be. If it bothers you that your partner isn’t more affectionate, but you don’t want to make waves or rock the boat, then don’t be surprised when 10 years down the road you don’t get no lovin’! You are molding the future, take this responsibility very seriously. Be very careful as to what you accept and how much you settle for. As in business, you get, not what you deserve, but what you negotiate.

Deposit money into your emotional bank account!

May 15, 2013

Find at least 10 minutes every night to talk together, alone and uninterrupted. This really reconnects us with our partner after a long day apart. It also makes each other a priority when you both come home and lets each other know in a subtle way that this relationship is really important to you both. I know for those of you with children, that this might be challenging, but finding 10 minutes to have a glass of wine together or just sit and tell each other about your respective days, listening, reflecting back and paying total attention to your partner is like depositing money into your emotional bank account each and every day. The more money you have in there, the easier it will be for the two of you to weather any storm in the relationship. Couples who end up apart often lack money in their emotional bank account; nothing in there to get them through the hard stuff. Share both the best and worst parts of your day with your partner, every day. I have a friend who asks the most delightful questions, such as, “What was the best thing that happened to you today?” “What was the worst part of your day today?” “What did you learn about yourself today?” These types of questions are wonderful and tend to be a lot more deeper questions than, “How was your day?” Make up some of your own, you will learn a lot more about each other from these questions.
Happy coupling!

The shit sandwich!

May 9, 2013

A therapist friend of mine calls this a “shit sandwich”. I love this metaphor because that’s what this is. Truth be told, it is much easier to hear a criticism about yourself if its been sandwiched between two good things about yourself. Well, your partner is no different. Your partner will also be much more receptive to hearing you if you’ve softened him/her up first.

Me: “Thank you for doing the laundry today, it really helps me out a lot. I wish you would have washed that whole pile of clothes in the bedroom, but I know you have a lot on your mind with work and everything, and I really appreciate you doing anything around the house at this time.”

There, now isn’t that better and easier to hear than, “Why didn’t you wash that huge pile of clothes in the bedroom, what’s the matter with you, didn’t you see it?” That comment completely ignores the fact that your partner did do something right (washing clothes without first being told first by you). You want to reward your partner for doing something good, not punish him/her by scolding him/her. Like a dog, if you want your partner to keep on doing good things, reward, reward, reward.

Admit when you are wrong…

May 7, 2013

Always admit it when you’re wrong. Remember, it doesn’t make you a bad person, just a human one.
By refusing to admit when you are wrong, you perpetuate a power struggle with your partner. Everyone is wrong sometimes. Surely there are enough wonderful, charming, exciting and riveting things about you, such that admitting you’re wrong doesn’t completely annihilate you! You can still be the great person you are and be wrong. It makes you human. Some people believe that to admit to a wrongdoing means there is something wrong with them as a person. No, the behavior was wrong, you as a person are irresistible! I believe this idea gets started in childhood when our parents would punish us for doing something wrong. We therefore learned not to admit to doing anything wrong. Smart move, see, add smart to your list of wonderful qualities! As an adult you can start admitting when you are wrong, it will feel very real and if done with the right person, it will feel very liberating. You will be surprised how quickly your partner will also take their responsibility for any wrongdoings once they see you doing it and feel safe enough to do so as well. Hell, you’re an adult now-you can admit to being wrong and not get punished! Halleluyah, you’re human!! Happy coupling!

It’s counter intuitive- but hey! It works!

May 6, 2013

Touch your partner, especially in the heat of an argument. It will remind you that you’re on the same team.
My friend Brenda’s husband waves a white towel in front of her during arguments and says, “Same team, same team”! This usually calms her down right away and is a nice way of staying connected during a dispute. Remember, this is a marriage, there is going to be conflict, this is about doing the least amount of damage to the relationship during arguments. It’s about damage control. Touching your partner in the heat of an argument keeps you both grounded in the fact that you love each other and are together and are on the same team. It is very easy to forget this when arguing. Things can get out of control really quickly and your partner can look like an enemy. This is when the damage usually happens. Even though you disagree and may not like your partner just then, it is a reminder that you are together and you do love each other. It is just an argument and this too shall pass. It reminds you that you can argue, but you don’t have to hate each other in the process. Happy coupling!

I can’t understand what you’re saying!

May 1, 2013

Research shows that up to 75% of communication between any two people is miscommunication! Can you believe how high that statistic is? Imagine how much it happens in relationships where the stakes are higher, the pressure is on and the expectations are high! What’s the reason for it? Well, a variety of reasons. One of the biggest reasons is that people don’t communicate what they need in open and vulnerable ways. For example, if a woman wants her guy to buy her flowers more often and feels badly that he doesn’t, she may feel afraid and vulnerable to say something like, “Hey sweetie, I really enjoy gettin flowers and wish you would get them for me more often”. That’s an example of clear, open, honest and vulnerable communication. What she is more likely to say is, “You never buy me flowers!” That is an attack, a criticism and probably an untruth which is very far from the originally intended message of, “I wish you’d buy more flowers more often!” See the miscommunication? Think the guy is going to feel like buying her flowers when she attacks and criticizes him? Think he’ll even know that’s what she wants or do you think he’ll think she’s just trying to dump on him? Classic miscommunication! So, the morale of the story is, beat the statistic! Ask for what you need in an open, safe and vulnerable way and watch how little of your communication is miscommunication! Happy coupling!