healthy relationships Posts

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Defensiveness in Relationships

John Gottman’s research found that defensiveness was one of 4 important ways that relationships break down. If you are the person in the relationship that is defensive, it is so important that you take care of this in yourself so that the relationship is not damaged. Often when one person in the relationship brings up something negative, (more…)

Jack Sprat could eat no fat…

Jack Sprat could eat no fat…

Jack SpratToday’s blog is about differences and how to handle them in long term relationships. At first most differences are delightful in our partner. Those we don’t find so delightful we are able to put aside. It may not be long, however, when those differences loom up in a negative way and we start to let them separate us. Or perhaps we begin a long campaign to change the other person, creating difficult dynamics in the relationship. When I am talking about differences here, I am not talking about issues such as drugs alcohol, affairs, violence, or other issues that will threaten or betray the attachment that you have. I am talking about the everyday differences that can be irritating. One of the best ways to think about differences between you is to decide to honour them and to make sure they do not play a part in disconnecting you. Let’s take an example that can certainly become disconnecting for some couples. John is a meat lover and Jen is a vegetarian. At first they managed by each making their own dinner and doing their own grocery shopping. It was disconnecting in that they were not a team while doing this. Soon, Jen started making disparaging, in fact, remarks of disgust when John’s meal was being prepared (gagging over the smell of the food). John came back with as good as he got and they each became more isolated and hurt. They were now preparing their meals at different times, not eating together and/or eating out a lot.

What would honouring their differences look like?
• Accepting what is important to each of you. In this case, John and Jen would need to ​accept each other’s values around food. Part of that acceptance is to know that your opinion is not superior to your partners and that many different bodies need different nutrition and over many millennium people have had different preferences.
• Begin to become a team in your differences. Shop together or shop for each other. Watch out for special foods your partner might like. This act says I accept you and care about what you like.
• Cook together. Chop and dice for each other. Try out recipes that can have meat or vegetables added to the dish so that you are sharing some tastes together. Have an attitude of curiosity about the other’s preferences. This says we are in this together.
• Be grateful for the many parts of the food that you are sharing. For the farmers, the soil, the animals – all that go into your meal together. Gratitude and criticism cannot share the same space together.

This example (although very difficult for some couples) is just one example that you can use to find ways to honour each other’s differences. Remember the example of Jack Sprat…

Jack Sprat could eat no fat
His wife could eat no lean
And so betwixt them both you see
They licked the platter clean

Take this as a great metaphor on how you can manage your differences in a way that the whole is greater then the sum of the parts. Go forth and be wonderful!

Happier New Year – Healthier Attitudes in Relationship

Wishing all of my loyal community a Happy New Year! I trust that you are filled with hope and expectations for your relationship in the year 2013. Looking at becoming a great partner means looking at your general attitudes about life. Are you generally optimistic about your life? We are not talking about the state of the world or other parts of life that we cannot necessarily influence or control at this moment but all of our life that we have been given influence and choice over. That includes our attitude every day. You influence your partner’s biology for good or for bad when you walk together in your home, and in all your life journey together.  Remember that marriages that are working well are having 5 positive transactions compared to 1 negative transaction and those who are heading for the divorce court are the opposite (Gottman). I encourage you to welcome this new year, expecting it to be full of things that you have never lived before. Be open to what might be coming in its shiny moments and in its challenges. Imagine yourself as a couple, living the year as a great team. Make small incremental changes in your move from a negative attitude to a positive attitude. Enjoy the energy that results from a positive attitude. It is one of the things in life that you actually can control – make good use of that choice. Go forth in 2013 and be wonderful!

Making Plans for the Season; Be a Team for the Season’s Celebrations

Making plans: Be a team for Christmas Celebrations

How do you want your Christmas season to go? The season is a time of memory making and therefore can be more important then other times of the year. There are often many demands on us as couples for the Christmas season. And often we might not agree with how the season might be best celebrated. The introverts might want quite a bit of space for quiet in the holidays while the more extroverted might want quite a bit of entertaining and people involved in the holidays. Look at your must do’s, then find a way for each of you to experience some time in the season that looks like what you might like the time to be.   I find that for some couples, they feel they are alone in the planning and execution of the season’s festivities. Make sure that you are making this a team effort all around and that you are doing it with an open heart. Cherish that which brings joy to the other. Go forth and be wonderful – I am cheering you on!

Restorative Sleep Helps to Have a Healthy Relationship

Trying to do it all, including having a great relationship in our culture can be difficult. There are many impacts in our daily lives that pull at our emotional energy, leaving us less then prepared for the emotional demands of our relationships. One of the best things to help restore emotional energy is to have restorative sleep. Many studies show that North Americans suffer from too little sleep in this day and age. Taking responsibility for our own restorative sleep is important to our relationship.

Consider teaching yourself to sleep once more. Remind yourself that your bed is for sleeping and not for planning and worrying. Alternative health suggests rubbing your ears for 20 minutes before sleep. There is also research to suggest that taking a pure form of melatonin will also help with sleep. Of course, eating well (not late), not over drinking and exercising is also helpful to sleep. Making love before sleep also helps to have a restorative sleep. Napping, very specific amounts of time, can also be helpful for restorative sleep. If this is a difficulty for you, where will you start to make a change? Go forth and be wonderful in this – you will feel differently and look at yourself, your world and your relationship differently too!

Posted by Lynda in Healthier Marriages and tagged with ,