Have you ever been in close proximity to your beloved but felt miles apart? You may sleep in the same bed, share meals, and watch TV in the same room, but when it comes to feeling emotionally connected, there is a wall between you.
It can be so painful to stand next to the very person who used to feel like your best friend and wonder where they went and if you’ll find each other again.
In all of our work with couples and in our own relationship, we’ve found 3 things to be more essential than any other when it comes to melting the barriers between you, opening your hearts, and finding one another again.
(1) BE WITH EACH OTHER IN YOUR UPSET
We realize it’s not the most appealing thing to listen to your beloved complain about something you’ve done or to hear them express their frustration and disappointment, especially when it involves you. … Read More.
Have you ever had this experience — the feedback or request you want most of all for your beloved to hear from you is actually the hardest for them to listen to and receive?
And then it’s painful, frustrating, discouraging, or infuriating when they don’t listen. You feel unheard, misunderstood, invalidated, ignored, or rejected. You get quieter, shut down from your beloved, and disconnect; or you get louder, more demanding, controlling, and expressive.
You wonder what it will take for them to finally listen. You know you make sense, and you hunger for them to hear you. If they would just listen, things would be so much easier.
Here’s part of the challenge: the more important something is to you, the more emotionally-charged it tends to be, and the more emotionally-charged it is, the more you probably trigger (unconsciously and unintentionally) fear and threat responses in your mate. … Read More.
The goal in a thriving relationship isn’t to never experience conflict again or to be your best self every second of the day. Given you are human beings with unique perspectives, wants, and needs, this would be unrealistic! :)
Instead, it’s about how to repair after a challenging moment has occurred – whether you took your stress out on your beloved, got defensive, raised your voice, were being critical, gave the silent treatment, made a mistake, or simply weren’t being your best selves, individually or together.
Knowing how to repair after these moments can make the difference between bringing you closer together or building further resentment and disconnect. It can also prevent future conflict so that the need for repair becomes less and less!
Here are 7 tips for things we recommend including in every repair! … Read More.
We just returned home from an amazing family trip over our son’s fall break (he’s a sophomore now at Arizona State University!). We’re so fortunate to enjoy a deeply connected and joyous relationship with him, and what we’ve learned about relationships has made an enormous difference in making this possible. We are profoundly grateful.
We know that parenting can be one of the top conflict areas in a lot of relationships: conflict over who’s more strict or lenient, the things you allow them to do (or think they shouldn’t be able to do), how much time you spend with them (or don’t spend with them), how you talk to them, and so on.
Every week in our office, we see loving and caring parents with the most wonderful intentions who feel confused and exhausted when they don’t see the results they are wanting, and it adds significant stress to their lives and relationship. … Read More.
Most humans are hardwired to scan for what isn’t right, what needs to be fixed, and what could be better. In fact, it’s part of our survival wiring to look for perceived “threats” to our physical and emotional well-being.
There are places in life where this could be handy (like if you work in quality control or are scanning something for safety hazards). However, in your relationship, it’s definitely something to train yourself out of.
And, fortunately, thanks to neuroplasticity and the power of choice and self-awareness, it’s something you can absolutely shift!
Otherwise, what ends up happening in relationships (when you scan for what’s wrong) is that you are more likely to get the opposite of what you’re really looking for. In fact, you end up training your beloved to not do the very thing you want. … Read More.
How we SPEAK in our relationships is so very important, but learning how to LISTEN is equally so. Plus, how we listen directly determines how others will relate to us, speak to us, and feel about us. So many more challenges in relationships stem from people not fully hearing each other than they do from the issue itself. This probably means it’s high time we learn this invaluable relationship skill!
When we’re guiding a couple through a process in our office, we often have them take turns being the listener and speaker. Distinguishing these roles from each other can be super helpful in interrupting unhealthy communication patterns. Typically, when others speak, most people are in their own heads.
When it comes to thriving relationships, it’s essential that you get out of your own head and drop into the heart and world of someone else.… Read More.
Want to know one of the most essential elements to a healthy, conscious, connected, thriving relationship and the perfect antidote to defensiveness?
Here are 3 ways and situations in which we think CURIOSITY is the best response we can choose!
(1) When your partner shares something upsetting to them
Whether the upset involves you or not, here are some people’s favorite go-to responses…
– jumping right into advice giving
– judging them for overreacting, for being too sensitive, etc.
– “Yea, but…”
– “You are only saying that because…”
– “Well, you’re just going to have to…”
– “I did not!”
– “That is not what happened.”
All of the above responses can feel invalidating, unhelpful, and disconnecting, and the list of them goes on and on. … Read More.
Happiest start to sweet summertime! In our couples counseling and coaching practice, we tend to notice certain themes run through our office — with the challenges couples are experiencing and with the very things that would create the breakthroughs.
One of the big themes we’ve noticed recently is this: so many couples have lost touch with PLAYING together. Yes…PLAY!
When we refer to play, we’re referring to “play” as a way of stepping away from the world of tasks, distractions, and to-do-lists, as well as “playfulness,” which is a spirit in which we can approach just about anything!
Before we go on with some tips we hope are helpful for rejuvenating play, we first want to speak to those of you…
…who think you have too much to do and not enough time for play
…who bought into the myth that play is for children and not for adults
…and/or who are having a hard time imagining playing with the person you feel anything but playful with recently. … Read More.