Couples Counseling Articles

Simple Holiday Love

‘Everything should be made as simple as possible but not simpler’.

Einstein’s quote is a head scratcher until you think of a popular and much loved recipe.

Considering the season, let’s take a look at my favorite, Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Whittle Martha Stewart’s complicated recipe down to a few basic ingredients, and you can make it as simple as possible;




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Now the recipe is simple – yet complex – because it still requires mixing and baking.

If you try to make it simpler and eliminate even one of those things – it doesn’t work!

So, here is a simple recipe for holiday love and connection based on A.R.E. principles; as in …..ARE you there for me?

A – Be Accessible. When your partner needs you, be accessible and available. Even if it’s to say, Not now, Sweetie but I can be available in an hour. Will that work for you?

R – Be Responsive. Responsiveness is more than words or a nod. It is most meaningful when you have eye contact and enter each other’s world. It’s about conveying a sense of understanding – even if just for a minute. As in, ‘I get you and what you’re going through. I may not know how to help you or fix the problem, but I do get you and I’m here. Apologies and appeasement are not usually required.’

E – Be Engaged. Engagement is a tricky one and sometimes the most difficult. Because in relationship sometimes you’re there, but not really. Maybe you’re having a conversation while texting your girlfriends. Or you’re trying to answer questions while watching a football game. You’re there…. but not really. To be fully engaged, you’ll have to put the phone down. Look up from the laptop. Mute the TV. Whatever it takes. Look your partner in the eye (With soft eyes instead of a glare!) and be there.

It’s hard to imagine, but 15 seconds of full Accessibility, Responsiveness and Engagement can change everything.

Most important of all – never, ever ignore your partner.

Love is complex. So go for a special kind of love this Holiday Season. Make it as simple as possible – but not simpler.