The Expectation Filter

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Let’s say there’s going to be a party.

Expectation A: You’ve been looking forward to it for weeks, building it up to epic proportions in your mind. All of your friends are going to be there, you’ll get to wear that new outfit, and it’s at that new, trendy place in town so the food, drinks, and ambience will be fantastic!

Let’s say there’s going to be a party.

Expectation B: You’ve been dreading it for weeks, wishing you could come up with a plausible excuse to get out of it. You probably won’t know anyone, you have nothing to wear, and it’s at that new, trendy place in town so it will probably be crowded, expensive, and parking will be terrible.

Reality: So the party was last night. Some of your friends were there, but a few didn’t make it. No one seemed too preoccupied with attire—some people dressed up and some didn’t. You were a few minutes late trying to find a parking spot, but you found one relatively close by. The food and drinks were moderately priced and relatively tasty, but nothing exceptional.

Based on the two sets of expectations above, how do you think you’d feel about the party at the end of the night? Read More

Check In – Part 3: Conversation Inspiration

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Last night was rough. Work ran late, traffic was bad, dinner was overcooked, kids didn’t want to take their baths or go to bed, and then finally, after all of that, my husband and I sat down for our Wednesday night “check in” and we just stared at each other.

I set aside time at the end of my (hectic) day for what should have been an effortless (and rewarding) talk with my husband, and yet we both felt like it was another draining task that needed to be completed before we could finally get rest.

If this situation sounds familiar – you’re in luck! Read More

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

What Comic Books and Your Relationship Have in Common

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Any comic book nerds out there? I can’t honestly say that I am one myself, but perhaps I am by proxy. My husband grew up with the worlds of Marvel and DC Comics, so whenever we watch one of the latest blockbusters based on these characters, I get a “supplemental” history of their storyline. (Sidenote: who knew there were so many X-Men?)

One thing I’ve come to learn is that most of these characters have what is known as an “origin story.” In comic book terms, an origin story is “an account or backstory revealing how a character or team gained their superpowers and/or the circumstances under which they became superheroes or supervillains.” (Wikipedia) It got me thinking that perhaps relationships have origin stories, too. Read More

Complacency & Communication

When one goes up, the other goes down.

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If you Google “quotes about complacency”, you will see many different iterations of the same idea — complacency is the enemy. Companies get complacent, and they begin to lose customers to their competitors. Employees get complacent, and they are shocked when they are passed over for promotions or are let go altogether.

Complacency slowly corrodes the motivation, desire, and potential for progress, improvement, change, growth, and ultimately success. Apply that to relationships, and… yikes.

The scary thing about complacency in relationships is that, by nature, it silently takes root and eats away at intimacy. You don’t notice it lurking because hey, things are “fine.” You’re both just busy with work, and the kids, and your separate hobbies, and any number of other things. Why rock the boat? Then one day you find yourselves standing on opposite sides of a Grand Canyon-sized chasm, wondering, “How did we get here?” 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.

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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.

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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