Conflict in Relationships

Be Complementary, Not Adversarial   No long-term relationship is without conflict. Conflict in a relationship, however, is not necessarily always a bad thing. Indeed, you don’t have to agree on everything to have a healthy, happy relationship. This is particularly true if the disagreeing viewpoints complement or challenge each other and lead to greater levels…

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Having the Same Standards in a Relationship

Having the same standards is tough sometimes. For example, if you can go out for drinks with friends and stay out as late as you want, you better be willing to feel comfortable with your partner doing the same. If, however, you’d want your spouse at home with you each night and checking in periodically,…

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Turn Towards the Bid of Your Partner

In 1986, Gottman performed a study that was later dubbed, “The Seattle Love Lab Study.” In this study, observed and interviewed various newlywed couples and then put them into two categories: The Masters – who he predicted would make it, and the Disasters – whose marriages he predicted would likely fail.   In making his…

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Start Softly and Assume Good Intentions

Let’s say your spouse is running late for dinner. You made the reservations and showed up on time. You’ve been sitting along for the better part of 20 minutes, and you notice yourself starting to feel irritated. In fact, you’re starting to stew. After sitting alone for 25 minutes, your spouse comes in looking flustered.…

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Enhancing Your Love Map

Relationship expert, John Gottman, first introduced me to the idea of a “love map.” Basically, your love map is how well you know your partner, colleague, friend, or loved one. Early on in my relationship with Tresa, I learned that her favorite candy was Twizzlers. Oftentimes on my way home from work, I would stop…

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The Five Love Languages: A Quick Summary

First published by Gary Chapman in 1992, “The Five Love Languages” has sold over 10 million copies in English and has been translated into 49 other languages.77 The five love languages are… Acts of Service Words of Praise Quality Time Giving Gifts Physical Touch Acts of Service are anything you can do to ease the burden…

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Stop Giving Reasons or Excuses for All Your Behavior

Most people want to be agreeable and well liked. The challenge becomes when our desire to be liked and agreeable interferes with or supersedes our ability to set healthy boundaries.   One thing I find myself saying over and over again to my more passive clients in my therapy and coaching sessions is: “Stop giving…

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What Does it Mean to be “Passive Aggressive?”

Usually when we think of communication, we think of a spectrum from passive to aggressive. The question then becomes, what does it mean to be passive aggressive? In short, being passive aggressive is a form of communication where the sender of the message does so in a way that is backhanded, rude, covert, or condescending.…

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Don’t Be Tone Deaf

As a professional therapist, I realize that a lot of people’s stress in life stems from an inability to assertively express themselves. Therefore, I end up teaching a good amount of effective communication skills. Still, the truth is that I can teach all the technical skills in the world and all that doesn’t mean squat…

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