Dealing with the expectations and dynamics of extended family gatherings can create tension and requires patience, creativity, compassion and clarity how to balance everybody’s needs. The more solid our relationships are, the easier we can navigate challenging times. Do you wish some of your relationships were less stressful, deeper, more harmonious or enjoyable? Read how Michele has completely changed her relationship with her mother-in-law and other family members.
“The new person I am dating is seeing a therapist and they are in AA. Should I be concerned?” Is this a warning sign and shows that something is “wrong” with this person? And what if your long-term partner or spouse is suddenly seeing a therapist or coach?
Kissing plays a role in selecting a potential mate. It also fosters attachment in your long-term relationship or marriage. Here is how to kiss to foster intimacy and strengthen your bond. And what about hugging, cuddling and sleeping together?
When you ask women what qualities they seek when dating, “a good sense of humour” ranks high. Studies show that women, are romantically more attracted to people who make them laugh. Why is humour such an attractive quality when seeking a mate? How does the ability to laugh with each other not only help to navigate marriage and family life but also contributes significantly to our physical and mental health?
To understand the dynamics in your own family—or maybe a family you just married into—look for where the energy and affection go. And why is it problematic, when a parent is bonded into one of the children rather than into their spouse? Perhaps that child is “the favourite,” the confidant, or the shoulder to lean on or cry on for one of the parents.
If you are conflict-avoidant, you have most likely learned that you are lovable when you are fulfilling the expectations of others. Hence, you have learned not to “rock the boat” and to comply—or avoid compliance—rather than facing hard conversations. However, lying, fibbing or omitting the full truth has long-term damaging effects on our partnerships. Whether you are just starting a relationship, getting married or have been in a long-term committed relationship for a while, it is worth adopting a transparency policy. Agree with your partner on what that means for both of you. Read more about why this policy is so beneficial for your partnership.
Due to evolutionary reasons, our brain has a negativity bias. That means it tends to fill in the gaps in conversations with others with negative assumptions. Here are some examples of how you and your partner can create smoother interactions and stay connected by using micro communication to fill in those gaps before your negativity-biased brain takes over.
Terry Real’s concept of the Wise Adult versus the Adaptive Child offers a helpful framework for understanding why we do not always show up fully resourced and able to have productive discussions in a conflict. The path to a more fulfilling and harmonious relationship begins with understanding ourselves and our patterns. “Fight, flight and fix” are the three automatic knee-jerk responses when we are activated. Find out your Adaptive Child’s automatic reaction and how to reconnect with your Wise Adult, so you can more often show up with confidence, warmth and flexibility.
One essential tool for couples who want to improve their communication and build stronger relationships is The Feedback Wheel. It provides a structure for clear, honest, and respectful communication that helps partners understand each other’s perspectives and work towards resolving issues together.
Love, romantic love and sexual polarity are three separate and independent aspects of intimate relationships. To keep the spark alive we need sexual polarity. We are often unaware whether we are in our feminine or masculine energy. Hence we are inadvertently depolarizing our relationship and minimizing sexual attraction. The art of attraction is based on being aware of what energy we are sending out and smoothly shifting back and forth.
Clinical psychologist Joanne Davila names three core skills we need to develop to have long-lasting and successful romantic relationships. What are those skills, and how do they lead to “romantic competence”?