Balancing “I” and “We” – Part 2

In the last post we talked about the importance of maintaining your own sense of identity and independence within your relationship and gave some tips for doing so. This post takes a look at the other side of this dynamic — when there is too much “I” and not enough “We.”

hands-437968_640When maintaining a sense of closeness is not a priority, intimacy atrophies. It can happen gradually. One day you wake up and suddenly realize you just feel so… far away… from your partner. How did that happen? And how do you get back that sense of “we”?

Read More

Improving Your Marriage in 15 Minutes a Day

Guest Contributor: Marriage in a Box
(Destiny Girard, LMFT,  Maria Sappe, LMFT, & Brad Whiteman)

The Marriage In A Box system was designed by a licensed marriage and family therapist to be used in conjunction with couple’s therapy or in the privacy of the couple’s home. It is a unique and practical approach for working through the most common issues encountered in relationships. Together, couples can examine issues, set goals, track progress, and reinforce their successes – resulting in an improved relationship. Partners can customize a plan suited for their individual needs, with a variety of supportive tools and practices to address a range of concerns.

clock-692416_1280

Whoever said that marriage is easy and does not require work, must have never been married or in a committed relationship! All relationships, no matter how wonderful and fulfilling they are, require work from both partners on a regular basis. Making a relationship work, however, does not require extensive amounts of time and will look different for all couples.

Read More

May is Date Your Mate Month!

Did you know that May is National Date your Mate Month? calendar_date

Use this as an opportunity (or an excuse) to step up your dating game. Continuing (and remembering) to date each other is a fun way to stay connected to your partner when you have so many other responsibilities and commitments (children, careers, housework, bills, to name a few). It does require making an effort. You’ll likely need to plan ahead, but hopefully by booking the sitter and marking the date on your calendar you’ll consider yourselves “locked in” to spending this valuable time together.

Hold up! Read More

Arrows of Appreciation

When there is tension or conflict in a relationship, we are encouraged to speak using “I” statements—“I get worried when I don’t know you’re working late,” or “I wish we could make more of an effort to spend quality time alone.” “I” statements attribute responsibility to the speaker for his/her own perceptions and feelings.

“You” statements, such as, “You never let me know when you’re going to be home late,” or “You spend too much time with your friends,” can put the listener on the defensive from the start. In a way, a “you” statement is like shooting an arrow right at your partner. If it precedes negative, accusatory, or blaming words, they are going to feel the sting and likely react in just as prickly a manner. arrow Read More

Are you a (Personality) Backseat Driver?

backseat-driverDo you like your partner’s personality? That might sound like a ridiculous question to some people. “Of course I do!
Why would I be with him/her if I didn’t?” Please note that this is not the same as “do you love your partner?” You may (or may not) be surprised to learn that many people spend a lot of time trying to change aspects of his/her partner’s personality or secretly hope that one day their “annoying” traits will magically cease. Read More

Fighting Fair

Conflict in relationships is inevitable. You can try to avoid it by tamping down negative emotions and brushing seemingly minor issues under the rug, boxing_gloves_fighting_fairbut at some point, they will come back to bite you. Many times this is in the form of a blowup that is completely disproportional to whatever seemed to trigger it. You end up fighting not only about the topic at hand but ten other previously unaddressed issues as well.

As uncomfortable as it can be, the best way to avoid this situation and grow as a couple is to deal with issues as they occur. Studies have shown that it is not whether a couple fights that predicts divorce, but how they fight. Read More

Win-Win Communication

What is your communication style? Generally, there are four common styles: tin_can_telephone

  1. Passive
    Passive communicators are often unwilling to share thoughts, feelings, or desires in an honest way. This tendency may stem from low self-esteem, but it is also used to avoid criticism or hurting others’ feelings. Being the recipient of passive communicators tend to leave their partner feeling angry, confused, and mistrustful.

Read More

Have you made a CHANGE yet this year?

As you know, PREPARE/ENRICH is celebrating its 35th Anniversary, but perhaps you are a marking a milestone anniversary this year as well. Anniversaries are times to not only celebrate and reflect on how far you’ve come over the years, but also to establish hopes, goals, and resolutions for the year to come.

The CHANGE Model can help you develop an action plan for your relationship goals with six easy steps: Read More

Make Valentine’s Day Your Own

Make Valentine's Day Your Own

Oh, Valentine’s Day. There is so much buildup, so much pressure, to make it the most romantic day of the year.

Often we find ourselves buying the flowers, the sappy cards, the candy (many times at the last minute), or booking an overpriced room at a fancy hotel only to end up getting in a spat about where to park the car right before you check in, and just like that, the mood is lost and the evening ruined. On the other hand, if the day is spent like any other day, we feel as if we’re somehow missing out, that our relationship isn’t as strong, or passionate, or loving as the ones we see plastered across social media.

Why do we put so much pressure on ourselves to make this one day perfect when our relationships and the paths we’ve walked together are usually far from flawless? Why do we tend to subscribe to the cookie cutter notions of romance when we all have different preferences and ideas about what we consider romantic?
Read More