Check In – Part 2: $20,000 vs. $20

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You know what? Weddings are expensive. The beautiful venue, delicious food, trendy entertainment, stunning dress, personalized invitations, crafty decorations, photographer with the perfect eye, adorable favors, so on and so forth, it adds up. I spent just over $20,000 on my (small) wedding years ago and comparing that to others, turns out it was inexpensive! Wedding websites like theknot.com suggest the average cost of a wedding to be just over $31,000. Regardless of your financial situation, that’s a lot of money to spend on one day.

Assuming you spent a decent amount on your wedding, let me ask you – how much money have you invested in your marriage since your wedding? Read More

Why You Should Pick A Fight With Your Partner

Portrait of a young unhappy African American couple lying on the bed and arguingA few years ago PREPARE/ENRICH conducted a survey of over 50,000 married couples. It turned out that 78% of couples reported that they go out of their way to avoid conflict with their partner.

Maybe we could interpret this as a good thing—that the majority of couples are simply extra polite and courteous to their partner, not wanting to upset them.

Unfortunately, this is not the case. Avoiding conflict was listed as one of the top five conflict-related problems for couples. “Why is it a problem?” you might ask. “Isn’t it a good thing to get along with your spouse?” Yes, it is, for the most part. Read More

The Right Foot

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Why do we make New Year’s resolutions? Why not “Third Saturday in July resolutions” or “Birthday resolutions”? Perhaps it is because the beginning of a new calendar year offers a clean slate and the opportunity to literally start the year off on the right foot, in hopes that we will set a precedent that will carry through the remaining 364 days of the year.

Using this logic, we begin to understand that starting something on the right foot can set off positive reverberations that help drive us to success. Read More

How to be More Present in Your Relationship

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Now that we’ve finished opening (or exchanging!) presents, let’s talk about being present!

The more tasks we can accomplish at once, the more productive we feel. We must admit though, that often these are tasks we can complete rather mindlessly— folding laundry while texting your friend and catching up on your favorite show. Your relationship, however, should not be one of these things; it deserves your full attention. Read More

You’re in this together

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We know that family of origin has a huge effect on how you spend your holidays. For couples, it is a time often filled with obligations and assumptions based on the traditions that you grew up with. For example, in my family Christmas Day has always been the “big” day, while Christmas Eve is more low-key. In my husband’s family, the opposite is true. In my family, we exchange gifts, but it’s not the “main event.” With my in-laws, the living room turns into a sea of presents and wrapping paper; it’s a pretty big deal.

It is assumed we will spend these respective days with our respective families and that we will follow the gift-giving guidelines of each. There is also a sense of obligation to make sure that we are spending adequate amounts of time with each side. It can get overwhelming sometimes. Although we do not have children yet, I know that the complications of these dynamics will multiply when that time comes. Couples with kids or those who are remarried: I’m sure you know what I’m talking about.

While there is not a universal set of rules to help you navigate complicated family dynamics and holiday-induced stress, here are three tips to help you and your partner remember that you’re in this together. Read More

On Gratitude: Three Lessons This Realist Needs to Learn

By: Taylor A. Moss, M.S., LMFTA, NIC

rain_coupleI am a realist. Often people describe us as glass-half-empty-people, but I say I describe the glass as it is. In actuality.

In my life this looks like a lot of direct communication, analysis, planning. I plan for what I think will happen, not what I hope will happen or fear might occur. If I am wrong I adjust my understanding of the situation and plan accordingly for next time.

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Relationship Rx: Gratitude

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gratitude 

noun grat·i·tude \ˈgra-tə-ˌtüd, -ˌtyüd\: a feeling of appreciation or thanks

While Merriam-Webster’s definition of gratitude is pretty clear and encompassing, I think we all might feel gratitude in slightly different ways. To me, gratitude differs from appreciation in that I can appreciate a good book, a dry sense of humor, or a killer pair of shoes. However, I am grateful for the things (and people) that I feel I don’t entirely deserve.

Whatever your personal definition of the word, recent studies have found that gratitude may be a key factor in making your relationship last. What if we could replace annoyance, anger, or resentment with feelings of gratitude instead? Read More

Relationship Dynamics & Feedback Loops

By: Dr. Laura Bryan, Ph.D.

Dr. Bryan is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in North Carolina and an Assistant Professor and Clinic Director at Pfieffer University.

Below Dr. Bryan shares her insight from a therapist’s perspective about the Relationship Dynamics section of the PREPARE/ENRICH Assessment—what it covers, how the dynamics interact, and how it can help other facilitators, therapists, and couples themselves gain a deeper understanding of their relationship.

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#RelationshipGoals

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Let’s talk about them.relationship_goals

The term “relationship goals” is casually tossed around on social media to convey admiration, or sometimes envy, of an action/gesture/moment that you want to see in your own relationship. Sometimes when you tag a post with #RelationshipGoals, you are completely serious, and sometimes, well, it might be with a hint of facetiousness. Regardless, the idea that we are admiring others’ relationships, based on as little as one photo, can be unhealthy or healthy depending on your mindset. Read More