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Try It Out

Relationship Buyer's Remorse Phase

All couples at some point reach the relationship buyer’s remorse phase. This is the point where one or both start to wonder or question. They may think things like this is not what I signed up for or why should this be so hard. They have probably bumped up against issues and problems and been unwilling or unable to resolve them. They have probably been hurt and may have developed patterns of reacting to each other that make things worse rather than better. Many couples get stuck in negative patterns of arguing and fighting or withdrawing and withholding. In order for things to improve they need to break these patterns. They need to choose to do something different.

An interesting finding from marriage research is that many people who reported being unhappy in their marriage but chose to stay together, later report being very happy in that same marriage. It may pay to be patient and to see the buyer’s remorse phase as a signal to choose to grow and develop as a person and as a couple.

Relationship buyer's remorse
Relationship buyer's remorse

There are some strategies to help get unstuck:

Stop talking about your relationship

I recognize that ignoring problems is not the way to solve them. But I have found that couples in the buyer’s remorse phase of their relationship are not able to have a conversation about their relationship without it escalating to unpleasantness and way worse. So for the first while stop talking about your relationship.

Put positive energy back in your relationship

Smile at each other. Find reasons to feel grateful and to compliment each other. Pretend that you like each other if that is what it takes.

Get helpful help

Avoid simply venting to your friends and family, especially if this turns into relationship or partner bashing. Helpful help is the kind that supports and validates you and at the same time helps you consider how you might be contributing to the problems. Talk to someone you can trust to not blame you or your partner.

Talk with each other

Once you have put some positive energy back in your relationship and you feel you can talk to each other without falling into the same old negative patterns of reacting, create some regular time to talk through your issues. You may need some help with this step. It can be advantageous to have a neutral third party present; you may want to consider a counsellor, mediator or ecclesiastical leader. As you start this process remember that you need to listen twice as much as you talk. Always take time to validate and acknowledge what you partner has said before you jump into making your point.

As you choose to interrupt your negative patterns of reacting, focus on the good in your relationship, feel and express gratitude and actively listen to your partner your relationship should start to feel a little more comfortable. Give yourselves time for healing and growth. Be gentle and patient with yourselves and with each other.

Sometimes it is time to get out

In cases of abuse the above advice does not apply. Call the police or go to a shelter. If you are in danger in your relationship, find a way to get out.

Relationship Goals

“All achievements, whether in the business, intellectual, or spiritual world, are the result of definitely directed thought.” James Allen

If you are like most couples you probably spent many hours, months and possible years thinking about and planning your wedding. I would strongly encourage and invite you to put some energy into thinking about and planning your life together. Consider what relationship goals you would like to work toward together.

Do you really know what you want in your relationship and out of life? Or are your thoughts and attention focused on what you do not want? Set the intention to focus on seeing and creating what you do want in your relationship. It is helpful to write down your relationship goals.

Here are some questions to get you started thinking of possible relationship goals (Each of you answer the questions and then share your answers):

  1. What time together did I enjoy most this past year? In the past 5 years?
  2. What things that we used to do would I like to do more of as a couple?
  3. What is something new that I would like us to try as a couple?
  4. What would my ideal couple getaway look like for us?
  5. If I could choose a relationship goal for the next year, what would I choose?

Relationship goals can fall into several categories. Many of my clients express a desire to improve their ability to communicate. Other concerns couples often notice include wanting to feel supported, to find ways to share household responsibilities, to improve financial stability, to improve their feelings of connection, to improve their sex life or intimate relations, or to have more fun together.

Some possible goal suggestions (remember you need to personalize the goals to suit you as a couple)

  • Start your day with a hug—a real full frontal, gentle, but firm hug. Aim for at least a 10 second hug.
  • Go on a date once a week. Make it something fun for both of you or take turns doing what the other likes to do. Remember, if you are taking turns that you need to do so cheerfully.
  • Talk everyday. Talk about more than the business of life or what the kids are doing. Share who you are with each other.
  • Express gratitude everyday. Notice what each other does well and share what you notice.
  • Do more than say I love you. Find ways to demonstrate your love in ways that your partner will appreciate.

Carefully consider what areas of your relationship you would like to improve. I would recommend choosing to work on one goal at a time. Work together to create a joint goal that works for you both of you. If you are not in agreement on a joint goal, you could each chose one goal to begin. In this case each of you would come up with a personal goal for improving the relationship. Be careful to not set goals for each other. Focus instead on what you can do to improve the relationship.

“If you really know what you want out of life, it’s amazing how opportunities will come to enable you to carry them out.” John M. Goddard

Changing Perspective - Put Yourself In Your Partner's Shoes

You may think that it is positive to try to see things from your partner’s perspective. The danger comes if you think that you know what your partner is thinking or how they are feeling. I have had clients who are so convinced that they know their partner better than their partner knows themselves. They will argue with their partner about what their partner thinks or how they feel.

It is helpful to remember that we are not seeing things as they are; we are seeing things as we are. No matter how hard we try to imagine our partner reactions, thoughts or feeling, we are still looking through our own lens. Changing perspective can be difficult; putting yourself in your partner's shoes may not be as easy as you think.

I have also witness in couples counseling clients who refuse to accept that their partner thinks or feels a certain way, because they would never feel or think that way. Their partner’s pleadings, “How would you feel if I did that to you.” fall on deaf ears. The response, “It wouldn’t bother me.” The assumption is that their partner should respond the same way they would respond. Jerry Belson accurately penned, “Never assume, because when you ASSUME, you make an ASS of U and ME.”

To avoid the assumption trap, you can begin by practicing curiosity. Don’t immediately discard your partner’s view or label it wrong. You can choose to be compassionate toward yourself and toward your partner. Can you take a step back and be open to influence from your partner? To hear their perspective from them, make your best effort to understand and validate their position? Always remembering that validation does not necessarily mean agreement. You can hear your partner and accept their thoughts, opinions and feelings without agreeing with them. Recognize that it is okay for the two of you to have different opinions. You do not have to feel threatened if they do not agree with you, or do not think or feel the same way you do.

Sometimes it is difficult to listen to what your partner has to say because you may feel criticized. It is helpful to look for the request or the unmet need under the criticism. If your partner says something like, “Why can’t you come home from work earlier.” Instead of launching into your defense, it helps to pause and hear the request, “please spend more time with me.” Or the unmet need, “I need to feel important and you spending time with me helps me feel important.” Focusing on the request or need may soften your response.

A wonderful relationship skill is the ability to hear from your partner their perspective, do your best to look through their lens and then rethink your position while remembering their position and make a decision that considers the needs of both.

The most important part of trying to see things from your partner’s perspective is to clarify your assumptions with them. Ask them and listen to accept, learn and validate.

Make Marriage Worth Committing - Avoid The Four Horsemen

  When Dr. John Gottman was working to discover the predictors of divorce, he discovered dangerous patterns of relating that he labeled the four horsemen of the apocalypse. These negative patterns were, Criticism, Stonewalling, Defensiveness and Contempt. The four horsemen represent the punishing behavior patterns that contribute to the demise of many relationships.

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Punishing behavior creates a lack of safety in a relationship. When there safety is lacking in the relationship, couples tend to pull back, lose trust and become less willing to be vulnerable with each other. This lack of trust and vulnerability in the relationship erodes their sense of connection. Without a sense of connection it is difficult to be fully invested in the relationship. And so the downward spiral begins.

However at any moment in time, couples can begin to change the direction of that spiral, by infusing their relationship with some positive energy. Positive energy, compliments, noticing each other’s strengths, focusing on what is going right and smiling, helps to return safety to the relationship. When they are feeling safe in the relationship, they will be much more willing to be vulnerable with each other. Their sense of connection will start to return. And the upward spiral will begin.

Couples can begin moving toward joy, rather than misery in their relationship, by simply changing these patterns. It may be simple, but it not necessarily easy. It may mean getting out of your own way. It is possible that negative habits are strongly entrenched in your relationship.

I have been witnessed couples completely turn their relationship around; sometimes they begin by pretending that they like each other. To reduce the effect of the four horsemen on your relationship, try actively replacing the negative pattern with a more positive approach.

Try replacing criticism with sincere compliments. It helps to change the focus from what is wrong with my partner and my relationship to what is great about my partner and our relationship.

Replace stonewalling with vulnerability. Being vulnerable can be a scary proposition for many. Try using active listening, validation and expressing thoughts, feelings and opinions assertively and respectfully.

Replace defensiveness with curiosity. Curiosity means trying to understand, rather than taking offense or taking turns throwing blame.

Replace contempt with acceptance. Accept that there are two of you and that each is unique and that is great. Accept that differences are growth opportunities. All people deserve to have their thoughts, feelings and opinions respected.

Taking the four horsemen out of your relationship greatly increases your chance of having a relationship worth committing to.

Finding Your Sense of Humor In Your Relationship

Smile

Humor can be a great stress releaser. It can improve your health and your enjoyment of life. Playfulness helps you stay feeling younger. Improving your sense of humor will make it less likely that you will overreact to each other. A healthy sense of humor may help keep you from getting offended easily over little things. Sharing humor in your relationship will not only help you connect as a couple, but also make your time together more pleasurable. Take the challenge to increase your sense of humor by completing one item from the list below each day for the next 20 days.

Some ideas for adding humor to your relationship:

1. Reminisce about funny memories; make sure that you are not laughing at each other. Unless you are both laughing, it is not funny.

2. Focus on what is great about your life. Spend a few moments each day appreciating what was great about the day. Express your gratitude to each other.

3. Share ‘the funniest thing that happened today’ stories.

4. Do not take yourself too seriously; be willing to find the humor in your mistakes. A healthy sense of humor can help dissipate the sense of shame that sometimes accompanies being less than perfect.

5. Laugh daily. Even if to start with you simply have to choose to pretend to laugh, find ways to laugh every day.

6. Bring humor into your life. Watch a funny movie, spend time with friends who love to laugh, look for humor in unexpected places.

7. Enjoy playing with your pet. Pets have a way of getting you to relax and laugh at their antics. If you do not have a pet, youtube has a great collection of funny pet videos.

8. Spend time playing with children. Children tend to laugh spontaneously and spending time playing with a child may be just what you need to get you smiling and laughing along with them.

9. Find the humor in difficult situations. Often years later you can see the humor, the challenge is to look for the humor sooner.

10. Smile. Smile at each other. Smile at others and watch most of them smile back at you.

Improving your sense of humor in your relationship will help you as a couple to feel closer to each other, be more creative in solving problems and increase your enjoyment of not only your time together, but will most likely have spill-over effects in all areas of your life.

Celebrate Success

Celebrate

Whenever I'm disappointed with my spot in my life, I stop and think about little Jamie Scott. Jamie was trying out for a part in a school play. His mother told me that he'd set his heart on being in it, though she feared he would not be chosen. On the day the parts were awarded, I went with her to collect him after school. Jamie rushed up to her, eyes shining with pride and excitement. "Guess what Mom," he shouted, and then said those words that will remain a lesson to me: "I've been chosen to clap and cheer." Author Unknown

When was the last time you told your partner that they were amazing? When did you last tell them that they said something brilliant? Have you ever been guilty of shrugging off something that they were excited to share with you?

It requires confidence and maturity to truly join with our partner as they celebrate success. When we have learned to love and accept ourselves, we are far less likely to feel threatened by the good fortunes of others. When we learn to clap and cheer for our partner and recognize that their success in no way diminishes us, we finally double our joy. We become the amplifier of their joy, rather than the wet blanket that dampens their moment.

When we let our pride get in the way and rather than celebrate with them, we discount our partner’s success, possibly because we are secretly jealous of their accomplishment, we not only hurt our partner, but we make ourselves smaller as well. Let’s practice catching ourselves and be more willing to take our turn clapping and cheering.

What Is It Like To Live With Me?

You have probably heard the cliche, talk is cheap. But there is wisdom contained in this concept and it applies doubly in relationships. It can be eye-opening to contemplate the questions: What is it like to live with me? Consider if your behavior backs up your claims that you love your partner. Words like, “I'm sorry” or “I love you,” quickly begin to lose their meaning if those words are not followed by loving actions. There are many ways to put your love into actions. The most important thing to remember is that you want to choose loving actions that would be interpreted as loving by your partner.

love

Take a few minutes to make a list of the things that you do for and with your partner to demonstrate your love for them. If your list is short or if you are having trouble thinking of things to put on the list, then it may be time to start putting your words into actions. Once you have a list of what you do to show your love for your partner, ask your partner to prepare a list of actions that would feel loving to them. Comparing these two lists will help you see how on target your loving actions are. Below are a few examples of loving actions. You can experiment a little and find out which ones best suit your partner. Feel free to brainstorm to personalize the list.

Do something together:

  • Read a book (take turns reading)
  • Play a sport
  • Play a board game
  • Take a walk
  • Go to the gym

Support your partner:

  • Help around the house
  • Give your partner some space
  • Listen actively
  • Compliment and hug your partner
  • Discuss a problem and find a win win solution

Continue Courting:

  • Plan a date night your partner would love
  • Bring home flowers or a small gift
  • Leave love notes where your partner will find them
  • Meet each other for lunch
  • Plan a getaway weekend

Sacrifice for each other:

  • Make things that are important to your partner important to you
  • Make time for your partner when they need you
  • Give up a habit that frustrates or irritates your partner
  • Accept each other warts and all

Please remember that it is important to be patient when making efforts to improve your relationship. Often people will try behaving more lovingly for a week or two and then get discouraged because their partner has not seemed to notice or has not reciprocated enough. Consistency and patience are required. If we change our attitude to one of generosity and worry less about what we are getting back our gifts of love will have far more impact.

What's Good About Your Partner's Annoying Characteristics?

It is ironic that the very things that attracted us to our partner in the first place, over time often turn into our pet peeves about them. He was calm and quiet, turns into he never shows his feelings. She was the life of the party and so much fun, turns into she is loud and obnoxious. She was independent, now she is stubborn and controlling. He was laid back and fun, now he is irresponsible and childish.

Those cute quirks that seemed attractive at the beginning of the relationship can end up grating on our nerves. They become the annoying characteristics that begin to fray our nerves.  These things become annoying over time partly because we spend so much time together and partly because the rose colored glasses come off and reality sets in.

It is important to recognize that it is not how our partner is that annoys us. This is clear, because mostly in the beginning we either appreciated that quality or easily overlooked it. What annoys us is the judgment that we put on what they are doing. It is the thoughts that we think about how they are or what they are doing. When we identify our partner as irresponsible rather than laid back; stubborn rather than independent, or unfeeling rather than calm, simply by the language we are using, we greatly increase our annoyance factor.

When we try to find the positive side of our partner's annoying characteristics and we reframe what we are saying to ourselves, we may find that our annoyance level drops. Try thinking of the worst opposite you possibly can to your partner’s annoying characteristic. For example, if your partner is stubborn, try thinking, “Well at least they are not completely wishy washy and can never make a decision.” If they happen to be wishy washy and can never make a decision try thinking, “Well at least they do not make rash decision.”

Besides giving us the opportunity to increase our patience and tolerance, our partner's annoying characteristics teach us about ourselves. Partly because what annoys us most in others is usually something that we do not like about ourself. And partly because if we look closely enough we will discover that we are redirecting our frustration by pointing out their flaws. We may find it difficult to honestly talk with our partner about problems in our relationship and as the resentment build up it becomes more and more difficult to overlook their annoying quirks.

We have the opportunity to stop focusing on our partner's flaws and do some soul searching, to examine and learn our own flaws. This gives us the chance to grow as a person. We also have the opportunity to practice being open, honest and assertive with our partner so that our relationship can be healthier and their characteristic can again become more endearing than annoying.

20 Ways To Make Your Relationship Last

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Maturity is probably the most fundamental factor in determining if relationships last. Many of the items listed below require discipline and maturity. Choosing to grow up together is a great way to make your relationship last.

1. Choose to accept compliments and loving gestures from your partner.

2. Make spending time with your partner a top priority.

3. Continue creating happy memories and enjoy reminiscing together.

4. Enjoy social outings together; find something you both enjoy or take turns enjoying each others functions.

5. Forgive your partner and yourself for past hurts.

6. Make time for intimacy in your life.

7. Guard against thinking or doing things you would not want your partner to know about.

8. Enjoy time apart and look forward to time together.

9. Think and speak well of your partner; when talking to others share positive opinions and experiences involving your partner.

10. Plan and enjoy a weekly date and an annual or biannual couple get aways.

11. Talk and share your thoughts, feeling, fears, dreams and hopes with each other.

12. Find out what feels loving to your partner and show your love to them in ways that feel loving to them.

13. Listen to your partner and allow them to influence you.

14. Move toward each other rather than finding ways to avoid spending time together.

15. Be healthy and take care of your appearance.

16. Plan your finances and make important financial decisions together.

17. Refuse to compare your partner to others, especially in a negative way.

18. Look at your partner in loving ways and express gratitude to and for them.

19. Fantasize about your partner.

20. If you have addictions find help to rid yourself of them – whether it is food, substances, sex, gambling or whatever; addictions numb your feelings and cause havoc with relationships.

Make your relationship last. Lasting relationships require commitments and effort. But a lasting relationship makes life so much more rewarding. When you strengthen your relationship, you also strengthen yourself. It is the little things done consistently make a huge difference in whether your relationship lasts or fails. Choose to do those things that build rather than erode your relationship.

Increase Happiness: Improve Your Relationship

There may be a bit of a chicken an egg dilemma here. Does improving your relationship improve your happiness or does improving your happiness improve your relationship? The answer is yes! Both are true. When you are happier your relationship tends to improve and improving your relationship makes it easier to feel happy. Healthy relationships are key to lasting happiness. Where to begin? The easiest place to begin is to SMILE. Right now, choose to smile, even if you do not feel like smiling. When you choose to smile, your brain starts to take that as a signal that you are happy. Make an effort to smile often, every day and you may notice that you start to feel happier.

Next, express your admiration and affection to your partner. Start trying to catch your partner doing something right. Let them know that you notice and appreciate it. Give your partner at least two genuine compliment a day. When you start to do this, you may notice that your partner starts to smile more too.

Finally, practice gratitude. Every morning when you wake up mentally rehearse as least five things for which you are grateful. Every night just before sleeping focus again on those things for which you are grateful. Remember that happiness does not come from having what we want; it comes from being grateful for what we have.

The happier you are, the more likely you are to have a happy, lasting relationship. The happier you are, the more likely you are to have great friends and family and to feel satisfied with your family and social life. Start now by choosing to smile. Start looking for reasons to be happy and you will begin to find them.

Beware of Indifference

Neglect

Many relationships die a slow and painful death due to neglect. As J. K. Rowlling said, "Indifference and neglect often do much more damage than outright dislike." Ask yourself, “In what ways might I be indifferent in my relationship? Where has apathy crept in? Do you make an effort to connect each day? Do you find ways each day to show and tell your partner that you love him or her; that you are grateful for who they are and what they do? If you find signs of indifference in your relationship, you will need to act fast to counteract the damage:

  • Listen with both ears and your heart. Let your partner know that you care about what they think and how they feel.
  • Take time for your relationship. Every day say and do something loving for your partner.
  • Be careful about special days. Remember and honor birthdays, anniversaries and other days that are special to the two of you.
  • Enthusiastically support your partner’s dreams. When something is very important to your partner, it should be important to you, because your partner is important to you.

You damage your relationship when you disregard or ignore your partner or the things that are important to your partner. Your indifference gives your partner the clear message that you do not care about what s/he cares about; it may also send the message that you do not care about him/her.

Do not allow your relationship deteriorate due to neglect. Choose to be generous with your time and your love.

Compassion Improves Perspective

When you look at the picture below what do you see?Can you see two different possibilities?

Perspective

How many times when you are talking to your partner do you wish that they could see things from your perspective? Do you wonder why s/he cannot just get what you are trying to tell him/her? It may be interesting to pause and wonder if your partner ever feels that you simply do not get it. How many times does your partner wish that you could see things from their perspective?

The challenge in relationships is to get past self-interest to compassion for one another. Compassion suggests that we not only understand what our partner feels and wants, but that we care about how they feel and what they want. Too often selfishness in relationships leaves one or the other or both feeling unloved and unappreciated.

It is important to put your ego aside and give up having to be right in order to find compassion for your self and your partner.

Here are 7 steps to increasing your compassion for your partner:

    1. Think of your partner as once being a precious newborn and having infinite worth. Take some time to really ponder on this idea, until you can feel a warm feeling toward your partner, even if it is only a warm feeling toward them as a lovable infant.

    2. Think of your self as one being a precious newborn and accept that you have infinite worth.

    3. Focus on positive and happy memories from your past together. Look at pictures of fun times.

    4. Each day think of something about your partner that you can be grateful for. Express gratitude to your partner.

    5. Remember that your partner is beautiful (handsome) when s/he is happy and fulfilled. Think of your partner as happy and content.

    6. Increase your acceptance for yourself and for your partner. Accept responsibility for being compassionate toward your partner.

    7. Make your partners feelings and wants as important to you as your own.

Developing compassion for your partner will help you to recognize and feel the love that your partner offers to you.

A Healthy Relationship is FUNCTIONAL

Couple

A healthy relationship is functional and gives people a soft place to land. There is mutual respect and acceptance. The following is a list of attributes of a healthy, functional relationship:

F eeling like two whole people

U nwavering commitment to each other and the relationship

N o game playing, saying what you mean and meaning what you say

C ommunication is open, honest and assertive

T ime together and time apart are balanced

I ntimacy without the need for chemicals

O pinions are validated and respected

N urturing individual and couple friendships are encouraged

A ccepting and respectful of differences

L ooking for the best in each other

An unhealthy relationship is dysfunctional and can leave people feeling smothered or neglected or like they are walking on eggshells. The following is a list of attributes of an unhealthy, dysfunctional relationship:

D ependency or feeling incomplete without your partner

Y ou rely on your partner to make you feel happy, safe, beautiful, etc.

S elfishness, manipulation and game playing

F ull of blaming and shaming

U sing chemicals to help achieve a sense of intimacy

N egative focus; focused on what is wrong rather than what is great

C lingy and unable to let go

T oo much time together or too much time apart

I nability to allow the relationship to grow and change

O verly jealous or possessive

N ot able to express what is wanted or needed

A ggressive or passive aggressive approach to problem solving or avoidance thereof

L ack of friendships and healthy relationships with others

Take a few minutes to evaluate your relationship. Does it have more attributes of a functional or dysfunctional relationship. Ask your self, What one thing, that if I did it consistently, would improve the quality of my relationship? Make a commitment to do that one thing consistently for at least thirty days. By then it will have become a habit and you can choose the next one thing you can work on to improve your relationship.

10 Commandments For A Loving Relationship

Your marriage has the potential to be fulfilling, energizing and loving. Perhaps happily ever after is a fantasy, but strong, loving relationships are not. You can by making positive choices create a relationship worth envying. Here are 10 commandments (tips) for creating a loving relationship:

 

1. Have fun together. Do things regularly that are fun for both of you. Laugh together often.

2. Listen twice as much as you talk. Get curious and really listen to your partner. Learn about what they like and what is important to them. Feeling understood brings partners closer together.

3. Give appreciation. Say thank you often. Notice the things that your partner does that you like and point them out. This helps you to remember why you love your partner and helps your partner know why you love them.

4. Communicate. Share your thoughts, feelings, fears and dreams with your partner. Be honest and open. Say what you mean and mean what you say.

5. Sacrifice. Making little and big sacrifices for each other greatly increases loving feelings.

6. Be Supportive. Celebrate with your partner. When your partner shares dreams and ideas with you, be excited with them.

7. Smile. Every morning and night look at each other and smile. Smile often at each other. Find reasons to smile with your partner.

8. Take turns. When you find yourselves butting heads about where to eat, what movie to watch, or where to go on vacation. Stop and decide to take turns. Just remember that when it is not your turn, to smile and enjoy yourself. Your turn is coming.

9. Say important things. Say I love you often. Say I am sorry when you have hurt your partner, whether you meant to or not. Other important things to say are: would you please, thank you, what do you think, and I forgive you.

10. Meet your own needs and help meet each other’s needs. The ultimate responsibility for meeting our needs belongs to us. No one can make us feel loved if we are convinced that we are unlovable. At the same time, if you help your partner feel loved, important, secure, and experience excitement or variety, they will feel close and bonded to you.

Following these commandments and encouraging your partner to follow them as well, will increase the loving feelings in your relationship.

Make Time To Be A Couple

If you are in a relationship, it is important to make time together a priority. There should be times where you shut off the cell phones, television and other distractions and focus on each other. Make couple time a priority.

In a well-rounded relationship couple time comes in many different forms:

Working together

Sharing household chores can make them seem less burdensome. Doing the dishes together, shopping together, or cleaning a room, if done with a cheerful attitude can be fun. There can even be time for patting your honey on the backside or giving him a hug and letting him know that there is nothing sexier that a man helping.

Playing together

Find something or several somethings that are fun for both of you and make a habit of regularly taking time to have fun together.

Planning together

Whether it is planning for the day, week or your future, doing it together can help strengthen your relationship. Knowing what you want, need and expect from each other can help prevent miscommunication and frustration.

Socializing together

It is possible to socialize together. Remember that little things like touching hands, touching feet under the table, or making eye contact can help you feel connected even in a crowd.

Learning Together

Learning something new together can be another way to connect. Whether it is adventurous like learning to scuba dive, or simply intellectually stimulating, it can give you an opportunity to grow together.

Worshiping Together

If you are of the same faith, this can be attending church together. It can also be as simple as spending time quietly enjoying nature. This can recharge your batteries and help you see things in perspective.

Lovemaking

The ultimate togetherness is lovemaking. There may be times when life is so hectic and busy that you need to schedule time for lovemaking.

Strengthen your relationship by making time for each other.

Healing The Hurt

Are you coming at your relationship from a place of healing or a place of hurting? Is peace and acceptance the umbrella under which your relationship flourishes? Or do anger and judgment undermine its success.

Sean Stephenson said, “The hurt hurt and the healed heal.” When we are hurting inside; we spread hurt to those around us. Ask yourself: Are you whole and happy within yourself? Do you accept and love yourself? This tends to be one of the biggest challenges in therapy—to help clients reach that point of inner peace and acceptance.

If you want healed relationships, first heal yourself. To move toward healing practice becoming your own best friend. What makes a best friend great? They are always there to support you; they tell you the truth, not just what you want to hear; they treat you with respect and encourage you; they see you, not through rose-colored glasses, but in a glass 1/2 full kind of way. They know your faults, but they love you anyway.

People who are wounded and hurting tend to lash out at others, to mistrust and to seek to even the score. Those who are healed understand that although self worth may be affected by what we do, how we look, what we have or many other factors; our REAL WORTH is infinite and can never be increased or decreased.

Watch Your Focus

Take the Challenge: Step one: Write down the things your partner does that drive you crazy or that you wish they would do differently.

Step two: Write down the things that your partner does that you love or that you appreciate.

Step three: Promise yourself that you will not mention any of the things on the first list to your partner for the next week. Bite your tongue if necessary. For one week choose to ignore the things that bug you about your partner.

Positive Focus

Step four: Make an effort to notice the things on the second list. Let your partner know that you have noticed. You can say thank you and you can give them sincere compliments. Be sure to notice several things each day for the next week.

At times it may seem as though we are at the mercy of our thoughts and feelings. It is true that we can feel a sudden rush of feelings and can at times feel overwhelmed.

It is also true that we can have a great deal of control over our feeling. That control begins with watching what we choose to focus our attention on. When we choose to focus our attention on our partner flaws and faults, that is what we will see.

Take the challenge and focus your attention on your partner strengths and positive qualities for one whole week. You may find the results so satisfying that you choose to continue for another week and then another.