Can you think of a time in your relationship when you needed your partner to be there for you and they weren’t? Maybe you were having a medical test and you were scared about what it might show. Maybe you were ill and you still felt you had to do the childcare even though you […]
Did you ever have the experience of talking to your partner, spilling your heart out about something that is truly important to you and then the words that come out of your partner’s mouth have nothing to do with what you just revealed? What’s that all about??? Often partners aren’t hearing what their significant […]
When I work with couples I often hear from one of the partners what the other isn’t doing. They’re not initiating date night, conversation or having sex. When this happens, the partner who is the one doing all of the initiating ends up feeling resentful. And they’re definitely not feeling accepted, supported, loved and encouraged. […]
Children are constantly taking in information and storing it in their hearts and minds. Think of your child like they’re a video camera capturing everything they see and hear and experience from you. They save all of this in their hearts and minds and then in many ways think and act based on everything they’ve […]
Is this you? “Yeah, I’ll start next week…” Or, “I’ll do it next month, that’ll be a new start!” I hate to break it to you, consistency is necessary for almost every change you make. In almost every part of your life: your body, business, relationships & emotional health. What I’ve notice in my practice […]
Is this you? “Yeah, I’ll start next week…” Or, “I’ll do it next month, that’ll be a new start!”
I hate to break it to you, consistency is necessary for almost every change you make. In almost every part of your life: your body, business, relationships & emotional health.
What I’ve notice in my practice is that there are basically two ways couples approach marriage counseling. Some couples practice the skills I teach them in between sessions. Other couples expect to reach their goals just because they meet with me weekly or biweekly. My experience is that the couples who take the time to reflect on their learnings, try out new behaviors and integrate different ways of communicating every day move towards their goals. This is called personal responsibility. The couples who leave our session and don’t continue consistently practicing what they’ve learned, go right back into their old negative patterns of blaming their partner, trying to be right and other controlling behaviors.
If you find you and/or your partner aren’t making the changes for yourselves and with your relationship that you say you want, I can help you learn how you’re getting in your own way, how to become more motivated and consistent and how to support each other in reaching your relationship vision.
Are you experiencing a lack of intimacy in your relationship? Emotional, physical or both? Here are some of the reasons why this happens and how you both can start to reconnect. The word intimacy means “In-to-me-see?” In order to be able to connect in a deeper way with each other, we need to be […]
In every interaction, there are always two levels of communication going on simultaneously: What you’re saying and how you’re saying it. How many times do we say things without thinking about how it’s coming across to our partner? And then we get frustrated because our partner isn’t hearing us. How many times do we resist, […]
In every interaction, there are always two levels of communication going on simultaneously: What you’re saying and how you’re saying it.
How many times do we say things without thinking about how it’s coming across to our partner? And then we get frustrated because our partner isn’t hearing us.
How many times do we resist, get defensive or come right back at our partner when we don’t like their tone? And then we don’t even listen to the content of what they’re saying.
I’m sure most of you have been on either or both sides of this kind of interaction. And you know from past experience that it doesn’t go very well. It typically leads to arguing, disconnection, hurt feelings and resentment.
So what’s a couple to do?
It helps if both partners take personal responsibility for their role in this kind of interaction.
If you’re the one trying to get your point across, you might want to consciously choose not only what you want to say but the way you want to say it. One healthy choice is to use ‘I’ statements rather than ‘You’ statements. So in the picture above, instead of the boy trying to control the girl, he could say, “When you start gardening right before we’re supposed to leave, ‘I’ feel unimportant.” When you do this, you keep the focus on yourself while still letting your partner know what you’re thinking and how you’re feeling. Rather then your partner shutting down because of feeling judged, blamed or not good enough, he/she will be better able to listen to you without taking your comments personally.
If you’re on the receiving end of your partner’s controlling energy, it’s important to remember that your partner’s tone has nothing to do with you. It’s his/her feeling and you can’t make your partner talk that way to you. What you do have control over is how you respond. I know how hard this can be sometimes. When you get triggered by your partner’s tone It takes a lot of inner strength to not react by getting defensive, withdrawing, or arguing back. The more you value yourself the better you’ll be able to manage your feelings. When you know that you didn’t cause, can’t control and can’t change your partner’s behavior, you’ll be able to set loving boundaries with your partner. In the picture above, this might look like the girl saying, “It doesn’t feel good to be talked to like that, do you want to talk about why you’re so upset?” When you’re able to respond like this, you’ll find out if your partner is open to sharing what’s going on with him/her or you’ll learn that your partner is closed and you need to disengage with love.
When you’re both open to learning and willing to take personal responsibility for their thoughts, feelings and behavior, you’ll replace arguing with understanding and empathy. And when you do this you’ll both feel more connected and cared for in your relationship.
Question: If your partner doesn’t want to join you for Couples Counseling, is it still Couples Counseling? Answer: Yes. I call it Couples Counseling for One! I often find myself doing Couples Counseling with only one of the partners because the other one doesn’t want to attend. Some of the ‘no show’ partner’s […]
“You can’t forgive without loving. And I don’t mean sentimentality. I don’t mean mush. I mean having enough courage to stand up and say, ‘I forgive. I’m finished with it.” – Maya Angelou This quote resonated with me as I also believe that in order to forgive, you need to first love yourself. This […]
“You can’t forgive without loving. And I don’t mean sentimentality. I don’t mean mush. I mean having enough courage to stand up and say, ‘I forgive. I’m finished with it.” – Maya Angelou
This quote resonated with me as I also believe that in order to forgive, you need to first love yourself.
This means first looking within and identifying if there is any way you might have contributed to the situation and if so, then moving into compassion for yourself and into an intention to learn about your role. Once you have the courage to do this, you’ll find it’s a lot easier to then move into compassion for your partner.
If you’re clear that this isn’t about you at all and this is something that was done to you, then you might want to consider how holding onto the anger and resentment and hurt is helpful for you. It isn’t right? So here you are struggling with these difficult feelings yet you’re not willing to let go of them by moving into forgiveness. One reason partners do this because they believe that “If I forgive my partner he/she will think they didn’t do anything wrong”. Another is the belief that if I ‘punish’ my partner, they’ll never do this again.
Forgiveness isn’t about the other person. It’s about you. My experience is that when you focus on your partner and what they did or didn’t do then you’re not taking very good care of yourself. Instead of perpetuating your difficult feelings, you can choose to forgive so that you can let go of these feelings and you feel better. Forgiveness is really about freeing yourself up to move on rather than releasing your partner from taking responsibility for their unloving behavior. That’s not something you can or probably want to do.
My experience is that the more you value yourself the more courageous you’ll be to forgive. And when you’ve set yourself free from those difficult feelings, you’ll know what it looks like to take loving care of yourself in your relationship. You’ll know how best to address what happened in a more loving way that doesn’t include holding onto those painful feelings which are really only hurting yourself.
“Let there be spaces in your togetherness, and let the winds of the heavens dance between you.” – Kahlil Gibran This passage comes from Gibran’s ‘The Prophet’. He writes about one of the major challenges of relationships: The tendency for partners to lose themselves in relationships. I work with many couples who struggle finding […]
“Let there be spaces in your togetherness, and let the winds of the heavens dance between you.”
– Kahlil Gibran
This passage comes from Gibran’s ‘The Prophet’. He writes about one of the major challenges of relationships: The tendency for partners to lose themselves in relationships. I work with many couples who struggle finding this balance of having a ‘We’ and still keeping the ‘you’ and ‘I’.
One belief I hear over and over again is that partners think they’re being selfish when they take care of themselves. For me that’s a false belief. It’s loving not only to you to do what’s best for you but also it’s loving to your partner even if they don’t agree! And if your partner is wanting you to give yourself up for him/her, than you might want to consider that they’re the one being selfish. If you feel you abandon yourself in relationships, you can learn how to value yourself more so that you never ever want to give yourself up again. You’re worth it!
Here’s the rest of Gibran’s passage:
“Love one another but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,
Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.
Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together, yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.”