Couples Counseling Articles

Dr. Anne Hancock

Are You Over, Under or With?

Partnership is reciprocal. It’s a two way street. You talk, play, listen and engage with a partner.

Control is another matter. You are either under someone’s control or you apply control over them.

We live in a culture that endorses freedom, and at the same time, teaches people to seek out and admire the powerful. We reward powerful teachers, coaches, CEOs, celebrities and authority figures who tell us what to do. Not always consciously. It’s just the way it is. Familiar and easy.

Until it seeps into our intimate relationships and we find ourselves over or under. But not with. Blaming. Accusing. Defending. Insisting. Do it this way. Not that way. How could you? Why would you? You should…… You shouldn’t……

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It’s The Communication, Cupid!

Most couples want to improve their communication. And, now more than ever, it’s good to be precise.

Clear, unambiguous language is better than expecting people to interpret your gestures, read your mind or guess what you want.

When you ask for what you need from the creative and powerful stance of vulnerability, tenderness and love, your partner can hear you.

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A Better Option

It seems there’s a contradiction built into our instinct to take; the more we do it, the less we get.

Sharing is another option and leads to a much better outcome.

Crushing your partner in an argument rarely feels good. Most of us would rather weave words together – in ways that find common ground.

A person without safety, lives in fear. A singer without a voice can’t perform. And if you’re the only one talking, your partner will disappear.

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When It’s Time To Repair

When you drop a glass on the kitchen floor it’s not confusing because you know it’s broken and you know what to do.

You sweep it up carefully and throw it away.

It’s not so clear when things deteriorate slowly…especially with big ticket items like your house or car.  You have to pay attention and you’ll need knowledge and wisdom to assess the situation.

You’ll also have to use judgement and decide when and how to make repairs.

This is true for relationships too….and everything else that matters.

Can’t We Just Move On?

In relationships, it seems we find a temporary respite… once we figure out how to move away from an anxious moment.

We take the feeling and tuck it, stuff it, ignore it, shove it down, swallow it, absorb it, compartmentalize it, internalize it, pretend it doesn’t apply, hurt or matter.

We skillfully stiffen and blame……

Look the other way to keep from facing fears we don’t even acknowledge… or have words for.

And thanks to brilliant coping mechanisms, electronic devices, social media, 18 hour work days and a hyper-connected culture of friends… we can distract ourselves indefinitely. We call it… moving on.

But we don’t move on. Ever.

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The Relationship We Create

We say we want tenderness…

but display toughness instead.

We say we want closeness and affection…

but give the cold shoulder or ask for space.

We say we want the truth…

and then bristle, cry or shut the other person down when what we hear differs from our point of view.

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Join us for a 3-Part Workshop – Couples & Coffee – Right here in Charlotte

I’ve created Couples & Coffee, a 3-part workshop designed to provide some new perspectives on the world of relationship. The first 2 evenings are for women and we’ll be inviting men to join us for the 3rd evening.

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You already know attracting a partner, shaping a relationship and loving your life is a tall order. But how do you create an environment that nurtures and nourishes a relationship? And in this hyper-active world, how do you make space for love to thrive?

Couples & Coffee is a very special conversation about having the courage to pause, try something new and approach your relationship in a playful, non-threatening way that’s still full of respect and integrity.

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The A.R.E. Trilogy: Accessible. Responsive. Engaged.

Lasting love (attraction, affection, communication, intimacy etc.) isn’t about just one thing. It’s really about three.

Accessibility: Accessibility is simply ‘Are you available?’ Can your partner reach you even when you’re upset or feeling insecure. When you start to spin, can you make sense of your emotions? Can you express yourself and share in ways that don’t blame, accuse or hold your partner responsible for the spin you’re in? When you’re spinning, you’re disconnected from yourself AND your partner.. If the spin stops, you can determine what’s going on inside. You can reconnect and tune in.

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LOVING vs. LONGING

Loving is not the same as longing.

Love is a verb….and an art form.

Like a muscle that must be used or a dance that must be danced, love gets stronger….better with practice.

  • Kindness
  • Vulnerability
  • Patience
  • Humor
  • Generosity
  • Touch
  • Gentleness

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