1. Steer clear of toxic talk. If not careful, toxic talk can easily creep into daily chatter with your spouses. One of the wonderful things a close relationship affords is lots of information about each other, the good and the ugly. When you use the intimate information you have about each other to tease, mock or rail against your spouse you undermine the trust and safety critical for an intimate relationship. Happy couples steer clear of harsh words and share encouragement and positivity instead! Continue reading 5 Habits of happy couples.
When you are struggling to change negative patterns and turn your relationship around for the better it is often hard to know where to start. Online relationship help can be a really helpful place to begin. One of the best parts of online relationship help is that you are in the drivers seat. You are giving yourself the tools and the power to change your relationship. When your relationship is strained and you are ready to seek counseling it is not usually because one day you woke up and were unhappy. More likely there is a pattern of broken communication, negativity, anger and resentment that has been building for some time. Looking for help can feel overwhelming, the internet is often the first place folks turn. Online relationship help is becoming more available as therapists are offering skype and online sessions, unfortunately these options still don’t solve several other major road blocks to getting help: time and money. Finding time to sit down with a therapist or counselor (even via skype) can be difficult. In addition, therapists who offer online counseling options often still charge high hourly rates for sessions held online.
Programs like Power of Two offer an alternative way to address both those concerns and there is one other key difference. Power of Two is a skill based learning experience. While traditional counseling can be very effective in understanding how your childhood and past experience are contributing to your current relationship challenges as well as looking at deeper issues, most couples can benefit greatly from learning relationship skills. When a couple or an individual seeks online relationship help it’s important to look for a program that teaches skills. Online relationship help can be an incredible tool for change.
What does your cell phone have to do with marriage problems? Recently, several prominent news sources have presented surveys and research that point to the problem with cell phones and romantic relationships. One survey reported that “70 percent of women said smartphones were interfering in their romantic relationship.” That’s a huge number of women! In NPR’s recent story “technoference” was citied as a serious problem in relationships. Aside from the question of what you are actually doing on the device, the accessibility and pervasiveness of the devices in our lives is causing several problems. Cell phones are the worst kind of distraction, the convenience of access to all your email accounts, the camera, the social media accounts, not to mention the thousands of other apps you can fill your device with offer an endless stream of information. This coupled with the dings, ringtones and other alerts that make everyone in the room look at their phone in some sort of pavlovian response to a bell are bound to cause marriage problems.
There are certainly big questions to answer individually and culturally about the influence these devices have on our lives. Technology no doubt has it’s place in daily life. If we can thoughtfully engage with it it can actually be used for good in the relationship. Time savings is one instance that can benefit your romantic relationships. If you are able to take care of a task like paying bills that may have in the past taken up precious evening time at the kitchen table you can use that time you’ve gained to connect with your spouse, but do you? The evidence seems pretty clear that by and large they are causing more marriage problems than they solve. In her research, Sarah Coyne, boiled it down to this, “What I think the most important finding is, the more you let the technology interfere, the more conflict you have with your spouse or partner and that leads to not feeling great about the relationship.” So where is the balance? Obviously this question is best left to each couple to navigate, provided the right skills are there to actually have a win win outcome!
A lot of good habits can suffer during stressful times. Some people overeat, workout routines fall off the map, sleep is often affected. Sex is another piece of the relationship puzzle that gets put on the back burner when stress hits the fan. Here are a few tips for how to avoid the sexless marriage trap and keep that lovin’ feeling alive even when stress, including holiday stress takes a hold on your life and relationship…
1. Sleep Naked. Forego the holiday themed, fuzzy footy Pj’s and go to bed in your birthday suit. Couples who sleep naked have more sex. Sleeping naked removes one small barrier to getting busy. In addition, physical touch and close contact increase oxytocin, the love hormone. Climbing into the sheets naked will encourage you to get closer to warm up on cold winter nights. Who knows you might get lucky!
3. Keep your bedroom a sanctuary. When it comes to your bedroom, don’t dismiss the power of setting the mood. Too often the clutter of stressful times builds up in your bedroom. Laundry piling up, work to do, stacks of bills, papers or books waiting to be read, shopping bags full of gifts to be wrapped all contribute to the mental clutter aka intimacy killer. Take some time to de-clutter your bedroom, take the tv out (or at least cover it up or put in in a cabinet) Letting the world in via television and devices can squeeze out special moments to connect with your spouse. Take the stacks of paper out, go through them if you can, if you can’t just put them somewhere else! The last and probably most difficult task in the bedroom is to GET RID OF THE SMARTPHONE!! A recent article cited the statistic that “70 percent of women in a recent survey said smartphones were interfering in their romantic relationship.” Now certainly you don’t need to get rid of it all together, just leave it out of the bedroom!
While reading some reviews for the book “Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts Workbook for Women” I came across a recommendation for our workbook… cool! We haven’t read the book yet, but were excited to find couples out there who are reading Power of Two.
“My fiance and I bought the book, and the two work books and were very much disappointed. It’s focused on Christianity specifically, treats men and women as if they were two great masses of clones, etc. Multiple choice has a lot of room for interpretation – dangerous for a defensive person to be doing. I recommend the power of two workbook instead.”
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