We’ve been honored to support couples long enough that we now see patterns so recurring we could complete the sentences of clients as they explain what happens in their moments of conflict and disconnect.
We will walk you through an example using some of our recent clients, who we will call Jason and Mary. (Although we used a male and female name for the two roles, please note that they are not gender-specific.)
They enter into couples counseling because Mary feels exasperated, frustrated, and deeply discouraged by how she does the majority of things — around the house, with the kids, and to show up in their relationship.
She complains about how Jason comes home from work and just relaxes on the couch while she runs around tending to everyone’s needs. … Read More.
We are sending you many cozy and light-filled wishes this holiday season. We know it can be a really wonderful and joyous time for many of you, and we know it can also be a time when stress and anxiety are heightened.
Whether it’s the holidays or any time of year, we live in a time when stress and anxiety have become an epidemic.
Not only does this have damaging consequences for our own mental and physical health, it also dramatically impacts our relationships.
That’s why we wanted to be sure to address it in this month’s blog!
If you are in partnership with someone who is more prone to stress and anxiety, it’s easy to unintentionally do the very things that exacerbate the issue.
Instead, in this month’s blog, we share 6 key tips for responding to your beloved in ways that mitigate stress and provide greater peace and calm. … Read More.
A couple of weeks ago, we led our signature Thrive in Love retreat, which is always one of our very favorite weekends of the year. On the first morning, we love to dispel some outdated relationship myths and guide people into embracing a new relationship paradigm — one of thriving love.
At one point, Bret said to everyone: “Many people think relationships are a lot of work. But the truth is: you’re a lot of work.” 😉
He said this with some playfulness and lightness, but it is a very true statement.
When we are in a romantic relationship, there is no place for the scared, confused, ashamed, egotistical, wounded, messy, and less-than-perfect areas within us to hide. They all come to the surface for us to, ideally, love, heal, and transform. … Read More.
You may have heard the expression: you are rarely upset for the reason you think you are. While this is wonderful and wise guidance, it only works if you have the emotional intelligence that is necessary in order to uncover the various layers of what you are really upset about — and why.
This common disconnect from our true emotions happens for a variety of reasons. In fact, very few people are ever taught how to access and express their most authentic emotions in healthy ways.
Instead, you probably grew up in a house where:
– there were certain feelings you weren’t “allowed” to have or that were perceived as wrong, bad, or weak (such as anger, embarrassment, or sadness)
– you lacked role models who identified their more vulnerable feelings and expressed them with an open heart
– you witnessed your caregivers unhealthily manage their emotions by burying them, stuffing them with food, avoiding them with alcohol, taking them out on others, etc. … Read More.
When it comes to communication, there are some obviously unhelpful and unattractive patterns — like being critical, blaming, getting defensive, thinking you know it all, or talking over or interrupting the person who is speaking.
However, there are 3 common communication blunders that many people are less aware of — but that can equally do harm in relationships. We want to be sure you don’t mistakenly fall into these traps.
This blog is highly relevant for relationships that extend beyond just your romantic partner — your friends, kids, colleagues, you name it!
In this month’s blog, you will get to discover what they are and some alternatives that will make you a communication superstar! The people in your life will be very grateful. 😉
Here are the 3 things you may be doing to help that are actually causing harm…
(1) Relating what the other person said back to yourself
When someone else is sharing about either a joy or challenge in their lives, do you instantly relate it back to your own life and start giving them an example of something you experienced? … Read More.
Secrets. We’ve all had them to varying degrees.
Something happens, and we feel embarrassed, ashamed, guilty, or afraid of what would happened if we told the truth.
Secrets show up in many different ways and in every area of life. That extra money you spent. The mistake you made and tried to hide. The food you snuck. The person you found attractive. Your sexual fantasies. Your fears about the relationship. The amount of alcohol you drank. The deadline you missed. What you said to your kids when nobody else was around.
We get scared. We avoid confrontation and other people’s judgments or disapproval. We wonder if it’s the most loving thing just to hold it inside. We justify our dishonesty. We even start lying to ourselves. … Read More.
Several years ago, we attended a wonderful workshop by Dr. Pat Sheehan all about emotional intimacy.
At the event, she shared with us an assessment she created to help couples identify what is standing in the way of bringing our fully vulnerable, available, and openhearted selves to one another.
With her permission, we’ve since been using this assessment tool with clients regularly, and it’s terrific.
We find that nearly everyone has one or more of these 5 fears, and it can be really illuminating to identify. They show up, not only in our romantic partnership, but in other relationships too.
In this month’s blog, we go over the 5 most common fears and then some quick tips for transforming what stands between you.
The 5 Fears of Closeness and Intimacy
(* These 5 fears were identified by Dr. … Read More.
Whether it’s where to live, whether or not to have a(nother) kid, where to go to eat, or whether or not to bring a pet into the house, it can be a painful experience when your beloved shoots down your idea, says “no” to what you really want, or simply doesn’t share your excitement about something.
It can also feel confusing and bring up big questions about your relationship:
Does this mean we aren’t compatible?
Will we have to break-up in order to both get our needs met?
Do I have to choose between what feels right in my heart and my partner?
If you can relate to the pain and confusion of wanting something different from your beloved, we’re hopeful these 3 key tips will give you guidance and bring some relief. … Read More.