Couples Counseling Articles

Relationships

It’s Worth Considering

In a safe, intimate partnership, there is nothing more important than approaching each other with an open mind and a vulnerable heart.

The moment we seed our interactions with defenses and demands, we are no longer relating.

It’s subtle, yet over time, we can see how easily and often we project images and comparisons onto our relationships.

When we show up open, without labels or expectations, things start to shift.

The approach is simply to allow; to relax and show up as if you’ve never done it before.

You genuinely don’t know what’s going to happen.

You’re showing up as your unique and original self… willing to relate… not knowing what is going to happen in this moment… or the next.

Your mind is open and your heart is available.

You’re naturally curious and able to experience your partner.

Letting go of all those thoughts of what your relationship should be, is a radical idea.

One worth considering.

Tis the Season: Love, Resentment and Happiness

We all have decisions to make around careers, love, and partnerships.

And making good decisions makes us happy.

It’s a simple concept, but not easy.

Because when life is stressful, it’s hard to know where to begin. Good decisions can seem out of reach.

We might doubt ourselves or think of others as the source of our confusion and unhappiness.

Take a closer look and we can see why.

We are social creatures who are hard-wired to connect, and our happiness depends largely on our relationship with others.

Without love, friends, and community, it’s hard to be happy.

Continue Reading Tis the Season: Love, Resentment and Happiness

Stories That Connect Us

When we’re in a relationship, it’s easy to get stuck on the stories we tell ourselves.

When these stories are based in frustration and fear, they live inside us and are rarely spoken out loud.

We lose ourselves in them and the moment we do, we shut out the people we care about most.

Actually, we shut out everyone because once we get caught up in the story, we’re no longer present with people and the world around us.

We become overwhelmed or distracted and it’s hard to function optimally.

When these internal conversations get big enough, we can’t hold them anymore and we might feel compelled to share them with others (aka venting or gossiping).

When a relationship is in high distress, the storylines we tell ourselves are often disparaging and untrue. Because we’ve told them so many times, it’s hard to believe they could be otherwise.

Sometimes we resort to telling stories about our partner that include name-calling.

It’s a downward spiral and our brain finds it almost impossible to step out of that kind of thinking.

As long as we stay in this limited state, we miss out on authentic relationships with people…especially the ones we care about most.

It keeps us trapped and small. Of course, we can be polite, but there’s little room for the expansiveness of Love.

Recognizing and speaking our storylines out loud along with

the meaning behind them and

the emotions that fuel them

morphs into compassion, presence, and connection.

Young happy couple

5 Tips for Courage, Compassion, Conviction and Celebration on the Side

2020 has been a year!

Here are 5 super quick tips on how to share all the courage, compassion and conviction you can muster…along with some year-end celebration on the side.

  1. Acknowledge Your Team: In 2020, simply entering your workplace presented an element of danger. Working from home has been isolating. Your team is weary and needs YOU and your leadership. Stay connected. They may be overwhelmed and they’ll appreciate your compassion and your presence.
  • Inform daily.
  • Answer questions.
  • Listen to their concerns.
  • Show appreciation.

Neuroscience tells us the brain always wants to know: How am I doing? and What’s next?

  1. Assure Your Customers & Partners: Key stakeholders have similar needs. Assurance that you’re doing as much as you reasonably can.…that you’ll be there and that you’ll provide timely information is a golden opportunity to strengthen your bond and build trust.
  • Use candor.
  • Solidify your relationships.
  • Be responsive and engaged.

Have the courage to let credibility and trust be your North Star.

  1. Pace over Perfection: It’s time to move…thoughtfully, swiftly and confidently. Triage:
  • What do we absolutely need to implement?
  • What are our most critical functions?
  • What can wait and for how long?

Then shape your new reality with conviction. Communicate, connect, collaborate and make your moves. Adjust as needed. Stay nimble and strive for excellence (which is not to be confused with perfection!)

  1. Let Crisis be Your Teacher: Difficult events are transformative. New ideas emerge. Long held beliefs are challenged. Legacy thinking suddenly appears too rigid or entrenched. Don’t stress. Instead, ask:
  • What do I need to learn here?
  • What is this crisis here to teach me?

Others, (including your kids) have probably been wondering when you’d step into the 21st century. Welcome!

  1. Give Yourself Oxygen: Take care of yourself,.
  • Stay healthy.
  • Rest, eat well, exercise.
  • Above all else…Celebrate!

You did it! They did it! Congratulations! Well done!

Now, it’s time to give yourself a much needed and well-deserved rest so you can show up fully present in the New Year.

Your leadership is needed now more than ever!

Moment by Moment / Grace and Gratitude

Just a simple reminder on how well you’re doing.

Those anxious moments you had a year ago are gone.

The problem was either resolved or it faded into the background. Something you live with but no longer think of as urgent.

Today there are other issues – for sure!

And, knowing you can get through every single overwhelming moment makes it easier to see what’s real.

When we give our attention to the important stuff instead of the panic within, we learn to build a cycle of goodness.

Continue Reading Moment by Moment / Grace and Gratitude

After The Argument

Relationships don’t fall apart because of an argument. You and your partner both know mistakes happen. It’s what happens after the argument that can undermine your love for each other. How we repair the injury caused by our blunders is what matters most. That’s where the world of possibility lies.

If you’re available, responsive and engaged and you’re able to stay with your lover’s pain, a door opens to the possibility of building a partnership that’s even stronger than before. It creates a ripple effect that flows into other relationships and supports everyone around you – especially children.

More often than not, we’re focused on not making mistakes. We spend a life-time walking on eggshells and filled with so much shame and blame that we forget about the emotional labor of showing up and staying the course.

Continue Reading After The Argument

Conversations Can Create Emotional Connection

I hope your holiday season was a wonderful one!

In 2018, my team and I look forward to helping you create a new vision of what’s possible – in life and in LOVE.

As a therapist and founder of Wellness Counseling Center, I’ve had the privilege of working with thousands of couples over the years.

This year, I’ve decided to share more LOVE by facilitating workshops, speaking and teaching the amazing model we use here at Wellness.

There is a shift happening in the world of relationships.

And, these radically new concepts about attachment and connection belong in the hands of people who want to be close and make their relationship better!

Deep down, it’s no surprise that communication is the #1 presenting issue with most couples.

The real question is why has it become THE MOST important skill you can learn when it comes to marriage and relationship success?

Continue Reading Conversations Can Create Emotional Connection

Is It Worth It?

It depends.

Before we can even begin to evaluate the worth of a good relationship, it’s important to understand what’s at stake.

The answers aren’t always clear in the near term.

But we’ve learned a few things over time.

If you want to know how valuable a good relationship is, the Harvard Study is a great resource.

It started in 1938, is still going on, included only men (Harvard wasn’t coed at the time) and now includes wives, children and grandchildren.

  • Close relationships keep us happy over time; significantly more so than money or fame.
  • Relationships and how happy we are in them has a powerful effect on our health.
  • Loneliness kills and is as dangerous to our health as smoking and alcoholism.

Continue Reading Is It Worth It?

Choosing Chocolate

It used to be easy to choose a chocolate bar.  Sectioned milk chocolate in a brown wrapper.  Done.

Today it’s more complicated and choosing a chocolate bar has consequences – real or perceived.

  • Is the cocoa content over 70%?
  • Is it compatible with red wine?
  • Will it reduce my cortisol levels?
  • Increase blood circulation to my brain?
  • Is it gluten free?
  • USDA Organic?
  • Were the beans sustainably grown and were the growers paid a fair wage?

Continue Reading Choosing Chocolate

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.

Continue Reading A Better Option