Articles of Interest

Check out these recent Hot Topic articles! Visit this page regularly to find links to new articles that will keep you informed and engaged.

How Do Couples Therapy Sessions Work?

Many couples argue. According to marriage and family counselors, it can happen monthly or every few months for an average couple. However, if your arguments end with fights, resentment, or unhealthy coping mechanisms, it may be beneficial to seek out support.


4 Tips to Build Everyday Trust in Relationships

When you think of trust in relationships, you likely think of rebuilding after an incident where trust was challenged and/or lost. Some common reasons trust becomes an issue in relationships are dishonesty, unreliability, and betrayal.

Let’s focus on building a foundation of trust from the start of the relationship. To prevent the pitfalls of the issues listed above, here are four practical, concrete ways to establish trust and maintain it. 


What Is Retroactive Jealousy?

Have you ever felt uncomfortable with your partner’s dating history? Have you ever been jealous of their previous romantic partners? Have you ever compared yourself to their ex-partners and felt insecure? If so, you may be experiencing retroactive jealousy.


When Is It Time to Seek Marriage Counseling?

There are many reasons why people might experience strife in a marriage: stretched finances, differences in parenting choices, or infidelity can wreak havoc on any relationship. When periods of tension last a long time, it can feel like the person once closest to you is on the other side of the world.


The Best Relationship Advice to Stay Connected During the Holidays: 7 Expert Tips For Couples

As a therapist, people often ask me if I can share relationship advice about what it takes to have a healthy marriage or a healthy relationship. So, I began thinking about the best relationship advice for couples of all relationship phases - married couples, long-term couples, newly dating couples, struggling couples, and so on. While all couples are unique, filled with people who have individual needs and wants, it may come down to simply seven essential items for a healthy and long-lasting relationship.


Marriage Counseling: Staying Happily Married Through Therapy

Love. Relationships. Marriage.

Such powerful words that evoke meaning and emotion, hopes and dreams, memories, and heartache.

Marriage is a culturally recognized union involving a legal, economic, emotional, and physical partnership. But, like all intimate relationships, it can be, well… complicated.


9 Reasons You Might Need Marriage Counseling

All couples experience conflict. For some it’s battles about money; for others it’s a sex life that’s lacking or a pattern of constant arguing. And the coronavirus pandemic has added yet another potential stressor: more time at home together, which can exacerbate tensions or expose hidden cracks in a relationship.


What Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy Is Actually Like

As plenty of couples who have been in a long-term relationship can attest, there isn't an anniversary milestone when everything becomes rainbows and butterflies. Years into a relationship, conflicts and challenges can arise, even if rom-com montages suggest otherwise.


The Best Relationship Advice to Stay Connected During the Holidays: 7 Expert Tips For Couples

As a therapist, people often ask me if I can share relationship advice about what it takes to have a healthy marriage or a healthy relationship. So, I began thinking about the best relationship advice for couples of all relationship phases - married couples, long-term couples, newly dating couples, struggling couples, and so on. While all couples are unique, filled with people who have individual needs and wants, it may come down to simply seven essential items for a healthy and long-lasting relationship.


4 Encouraging Signs That Your Relationship Can Be Saved

Intimate relationships are complex. What works for one couple—what some see as acceptable or even perfectly fine—will not be the case for other couples. Some friends may offer their "helpful opinions" when they know of those hurting in their relationships. For example:


4 Ways to Bring Out Your Partner’s True Feelings

Do you notice that your partner is constantly unhappy and discontented? Falling short of what you might consider a form of depressive disorder, it may be that your partner just seems to lack joy in life.


Do Bad Memories Cancel Out the Good Memories in a Marriage?

"Are we ever going to talk about the nice things I do for her?" he asked.

"No surprise you want to change the subject instead of admitting that once again you didn't do the dishes like you said you would," his wife said.

"It feels as if we can't make it through one session without having to argue about an argument that we already had!" he pointed out in frustration.

"What do you think we're paying her for? To listen to us talk about our date night?" she asked.

"Wait, what? You had a date night?" I asked.


How to Cope When Your Partner Has a Chronic Health Issue

Relationships can be challenging even when all parties involved are completely healthy. Add a chronic illness or debilitating condition into the mix, and it can feel nearly impossible to keep your relationship happy and emotionally healthy.


How to Show Affection in a Relationship

That feeling of liking and caring, called affection, is important in romantic and familial relationships.

People demonstrate their affection in various ways. While some people have a difficult time showing affection, it’s an important skill to develop so that you can show your loved ones that you care for them.


Family, Politics and the Holidays: 6 Tips to Avoid Family Stress and Enjoy the Holiday Season

The Holidays are here again, and this time of year often brings on a large variety of emotions. While it might be exciting to see family you don't see often, it may also cause stress and anxiety. However, you're probably still wishing for a holiday season filled with love, joy, and peace, creating memories filled with old and new traditions. Why is that so elusive for so many? The Holiday Season is generally busy, full of once-a-year events, activities, travel, and get-togethers with friends, neighbors, colleagues, and family. While being busy with a full calendar of needs, wants, and obligations may bring out the best in some, it can bring out the worst in others. For example, that person at the party that quickly divides the room by bringing up a highly debated and heated topic, such as current political issues! You may even call that person who turns the conversation from positive to negative the F word? You know, the one, FAMILY. If this is your story, then you're not alone. Family relationships are becoming casualties of a toxic political environment where family members experience uncomfortable and nasty political arguments or avoid one another at the same gathering. Some family members are even cutting off lifetime relationships. Read more »


Resilient in Relationships: Building Constructive Habits

Let's face it - all relationships require the art of compromise if it is a long-term partnership. 

We all know those people that seem to have a perfect relationship, and then suddenly, out of the blue, they are getting a divorce or breaking up. 

No human being and no relationship is perfect, and what is perfection anyway? Everyone has a different perspective and answer.

But there are certain traits couples with longevity embrace that can increase your odds of staying together through the sweet and sour of life


Dealing with Difficult Feelings to Help Yourself and Your Relationships

How to manage difficult emotions may seem counterintuitive to many people. We humans don't like to be uncomfortable or in emotional pain. How many times have you been told or tell yourself the following: .


What's More Important: Impact or Intention?

There is a curious cultural debate happening now. Let me summarize it like this: when it comes to interpersonal interactions, impact trumps intention. Meaning that, regardless of what Person A’s intention was behind what they said or did, the only thing that matters is how their actions impacted Person B. The reasoning for this, as proponents say, is to prioritize the harmed party's pain and the damage caused. This assumes there is a Victim and a Perpetrator, whereby the Perpetrator is harming the Victim. Advocates say only when you prioritize the painful impact can repair happen.


How to Make Happiness Last in a Relationship

You’ve likely heard the saying, “Happy wife, happy life” or “Happy spouse, happy house.” But are these popular sayings actually supported by research?

The short answer is likely yes, as several studies link the quality of a couple’s marriage to each partner’s individual happiness. In fact, psychologist Eli Finkel shared survey findings that show 57 percent of people who say they are “very happy” in their marriage also say they are very happy with their life overall—whereas only 10 percent of people who say they are just “pretty happy” in their marriage say they are very happy with their life overall.


Are Your Good Intentions Sabotaging Your Relationship?

Satisfying and sustainable romantic relationships take work. We all know that patience, understanding, and flexibility are important qualities to practice for lasting love. And many of us add to that list the age-old pro-social behavior of sacrifice to improve our relationships.


How Conflict Avoidance Fuels Commitment Issues

Conflict avoidance can powerfully undermine relationship commitment.

Fear of rejection or abandonment is a major factor that contributes to commitment issues regarding relationships. The tendency toward conflict avoidance is one expression of this fear.



Forgiveness in Relationships: How to Practice

We all make mistakes in life; most people have regrets, and the power of forgiveness helps you move forward. This applies to all relationships, especially with your partner. Holding grudges and hurling insults across a room during an argument won't deepen your love. It will only create a deep divide between you and your partner. Learning to practice forgiveness in your relationships helps you understand yourself better and what causes you pain, improves your communication, teaches you empathy, tears down walls of resentment, and so much more.


How to Deal With Passive-Aggressive Behavior in Your Relationship

Whether it’s a backhanded compliment or a subtle eye-roll, learn how to identify passive aggression and what to do about it.

You value transparency and open, honest, communication. So it boils your blood when someone appears angry but doesn’t admit it directly. Maybe they give you the silent treatment but then tell you they’re just tired. Or, they say something nice with a lack of warmth. It doesn’t seem authentic, but they get defensive when you question their sincerity. Sometimes a person uses humor to express hostility and then accuses you of being “too sensitive.” These are all examples of passive-aggressive behavior.


How Your Childhood Can Affect Your Marriage

Your past has a bigger impact on your present than you think. When Deborah, 38, and Scott, 39, (*not their real names) sat on the couch in my office during a couples counseling session, they described their pursuer-distancer pattern. Deborah seeks more connection and affirmation than Scott is comfortable giving. When Deborah makes demands, Scott retreats because he feels criticized and unworthy.


What Causes Contempt in Relationships

How to spot contempt and what to do when it shows up. Any conversation between us explodes. It’s like, “Who can belittle each other more” He looks at me with these smug straight eyes that say, You can talk all you want. I don’t care. It is so condescending. I almost laugh at my partner’s defensiveness. I know that it will escalate the conflict, but I can’t help it! She rolled her eyes and made this face like she was tired. I cannot stand it. Especially when I am attempting to explain, she makes me feel rejected. “Don’t start your emotional drama again.” If you can relate to these statements, you may be experiencing contempt in your relationship. It is like the checkmate to any constructive discussion.


Are Rough Patches in Relationships Normal?

You and your partner are in a tough place. You have a hard time feeling connected and don’t feel understood. You worry if this is the beginning of the end of the relationship. You fantasize about what life might be like starting over, being single, and what dating someone new might be like. Maybe you even started searching for divorce attorneys.


A Better Way for Couples to Connect

Many people have only heard the term “collaborative communication” used in the context of company culture and teamwork. It’s basically defined as a method of exchanging information that helps people work toward a common goal. Yet, it’s not just businesses that reap the rewards of this type of relating.

How to Have Healthier Arguments, According to Psychologists

It may sound counterintuitive, but a happy relationship isn’t necessarily one that’s totally conflict-free.

Arguing is actually a sign that you’re deeply invested in the other person, says Robert Allan, PhD, a licensed clinical psychologist and associate professor at University of Colorado Denver who supervises trainings of couples therapists. “People don’t fight with you if they don’t care about you,” Dr. Allan says.



How to Know If You Need Marriage Counseling

Marriage counseling is couples counseling between a licensed mental health provider and married partners.1 Couples counseling involves working on relationship issues through discussion, advice, and guidance in a supportive environment with a qualified third party.2 It works by focusing on specific problems and using different approaches to address those problems.


Grieving Separately: A Dangerous Relationship Chasm

No one escapes loss in his or her life. The anguishing pain of forever-gone can shatter a person’s world and capability to function, sometimes for an extended period of time.

For most people, those immobilizing experiences do subside. The body, mind, and spirit, can only bear that level of devastation for so long. Eventually, the residual pain must be buried and life goes on, even if it is never the same.


Here’s How Couples Therapy Could Completely Transform Your Relationship

If you’ve been lucky enough to find your partner in life, you probably have an entire list of things you love to do together — activities that enrich your relationship, solidify your bond, and keep you on the right track. We’ve got one more to add: Seeing a therapist.


Marriage Myths and Realities: 12 Common Misconceptions Debunked

We are bombarded by unrealistic portrayals of human relationships from a young age. It's no wonder that many modern Americans are confused about love. While the romances in movies like Sleeping Beauty and 10 Things I Hate about You are entertaining, they are far from realistic.


Bids for Connection: Strengthen Your Love by Practicing These 3 Steps

When children seek attention from their parents, they do so as what's called a "bid for connection." Sadly, many of us didn't get our needs met as kids with the attention needed when we expressed bids for connection. So, it can be difficult being vulnerable and expressing bids for connection in your adult relationships.


How to Manage Conflict and Promote Harmony

Intimate and distant, harmonious and conflictive, empathic and aggressive, constructive and destructive. Most relationships go through these polar moments from time to time. What can we do to nurture positive and manage negative experiences?


Healthy Relationships: Definition, Characteristics, and Tips

What is it like to be in a healthy (or unhealthy) relationship? You may have an idea from popular media or your own personal experience. Keep reading to find out what psychological research has to say.


How Do You Get That Special Person to Open Up to You?

I’m often asked, “How do I get my boyfriend/ girlfriend/ husband/ wife/ lover/ friend/colleague to open up to me?”

At the heart of every encounter between two people is the question of open or closed. You meet with your colleague to discuss the curriculum for a course you're teaching together; you need them to be open to that great new idea you had last night. You're having dinner with your partner and talking about a possible vacation; you need them to be open to hearing your nervousness about flying. Your new love interest shows up late, again, for your date; you need them to be open to hearing that this upsets you.



10 Ways to Release Regret

Few people arrive at adulthood without regrets. You might have a handful of regrets and know they can keep you stuck, rob you of joy, and negatively affect your relationships moving forward.

When you experience an act of betrayal, whether you committed the act or suffered the consequences of another person’s offense, you will likely have feelings of remorse and regret. But that doesn’t mean you need to be burdened by them throughout your life. You can work through your regrets and release them, which will give you freedom and joy.



Why Romantic Partners Need to Play Fair

The golden rule: We should treat others the way we want to be treated. We all want to be treated fairly, and this comes up frequently in intimate relationships. It isn’t cool if one does all the dishes while the other plays on the X-Box and no one wants to be the only one putting the kids to bed or apologizing after a fight. Abusive relationships are fundamentally unfair, because one person expects a servant or a target instead of an equal partner.



Have an Unhealthy Attachment to Your Partner? Healing Is Possible

The emotional bonds you form with other people are essential to your mental health. Healing from relationships that hurt you can make a difference.



How Attachment Styles Affect Adult Relationships

Struggling with relationship problems? The cause may be the attachment style you developed with your primary caregiver as an infant. Here’s how to recognize insecure attachment and build stronger, healthier connections.


Telling Your Spouse about an Affair

When revealing infidelity to your partner, it is essential to handle the conversation with compassion.

What you are about to tell them will undoubtedly be hurtful.

You will need to show empathy and kindness when you tell your spouse about your affair. 

The following is an exercise to help you prepare to disclose an affair to your spouse. 


What Is Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT)?

What Is Emotionally Focused Therapy?

Emotionally focused therapy (EFT) is a type of short-term therapy that is used to improve attachment and bonding in adult relationships. This approach to couples therapy was developed by doctors Sue Johnson and Les Greenberg in the 1980s and is rooted in research on love as an attachment bond.1


Forgiveness in Relationships: How to Practice

We all make mistakes in life; most people have regrets, and the power of forgiveness helps you move forward. This applies to all relationships, especially with your partner. 

Holding grudges and hurling insults across a room during an argument won't deepen your love. It will only create a deep divide between you and your partner. Learning to practice forgiveness in your relationships helps you understand yourself better and what causes you pain, improves your communication, teaches you empathy, tears down walls of resentment, and so much more. 


4 Signs You Should Try Couples Therapy

You have kids together because you love each other. But little else tests the limits of your time, patience, and ability to stay positive like parenting. Plus, it goes on and on. For decades. If the two of you are going to stay strong as couple, you may want to dip into couples counseling.



7 Reasons to Try Premarital Counseling

Couples counseling is conversation-based support provided by a professional to romantic partners to address relationship challenges.1 Marriage counseling is couples counseling for married partners. Premarital counseling can be couples counseling for partners planning to get married.



Everything You Need to Know About Relationship Counseling

Relationship counseling, also called relationship therapy, includes all forms of counseling or therapy that address the relationship between two or more people with the support of a mental health professional.1



6 Tips to Overcome Common Obstacles in Couples Therapy

Couples therapy can be beneficial for working through a multitude of challenges. You both can move past obstacles during the process, if you know what to look for.



5 Lessons from Couples Therapy That Can Help Any Relationship

Are you looking for some new techniques to strengthen your relationship? If you’re interested in integrative behavioral couples therapy (IBCT) but don’t seem to be able to fit it into your busy schedule, many couples are utilizing teletherapy as a simpler way to make time for their relationship. Scheduling a teletherapy session with an experienced therapist is convenient and can help you work through relationship issues, but why wait? Here are five tips to get started today.


How Close Do You Really Need to Get to Your Partner?

For much of human history, marriage was an economic arrangement for maintaining property and raising children. People wanted a partner they could depend on to fulfill their end of the bargain, but they had little expectation of getting emotionally close to their spouse. Instead, they got that through relationships with friends and family members..


6 Secrets to Making Love Last

How do you stay married? By not getting divorced.

That’s a joke I heard recently, and there’s a lot of truth to it. You make it to your golden anniversary by not splitting up. It isn’t that easy, of course: No one wants to be in an unhappy relationship for 50 years. So what’s the real secret to making love last? It's a combination of these 6 things:


5 Ways to Keep Jealousy From Destroying Love

Relentless jealousy drove Leanne into therapy late last year. She was depressed and overwhelmed at the romantic wreckage in her life. “Every relationship I’ve had has ended because I couldn’t control my jealousy,” she said. “No matter who the guy was or how trustworthy he seemed, I couldn’t keep from checking his phone, grilling him about former girlfriends or current female friends or co-workers. I snooped through his desk drawers. Sometimes I found incriminating evidence—two of my exes were, in fact, cheaters—but others weren’t and got sick of my obsessing about imagined infidelities. They’re all in the past now. I want to trust more—but how?”


5 Subtle Signs of a Great Relationship

3. You know just how to soothe their anxiety.

Some strengths of loving relationships are obvious. These subtle ones are important too.

1. You can complete this sentence: My partner is good at ___ but not good at ___.



3 Reasons It’s So Easy to Misunderstand a Partner

1. Ignoring their past.

Research has repeatedly shown that what you don’t know about your partner can hurt you—not to mention your partner and the relationship itself. When the misunderstandings that arise from such ignorance are constant or serious enough, separation and divorce are all too often the outcomes.


What to Do If You’re Tired of Begging for Attention From Your Partner

Are you at the point where you’re tired of begging for attention from your partner? Do you often feel like your need for affection is not being met? Being in this position can leave you feeling hurt, rejected, frustrated, and angry.

In a marriage, it’s important for each partner to feel seen, loved, and cared for. Sabrina Romanoff, PsyD, a clinical psychologist, and professor at Yeshiva University says that for many married couples who have been together for years, a difference in expectations surrounding intimacy and attachment can develop among partners over time, with one partner taking the other for granted.


What to Do If You Don't Like Your Partner's Friends

No one said that liking your partner's friends would be easy. In fact, it can be downright impossible sometimes. But if you find yourself in a situation where you don't see eye-to-eye with your partner's friends, you'll likely want to know what to do about it.

The first step is to try and see things from their perspective. It's possible that you're simply misunderstanding their friends or that you're seeing them in a negative light because you're feeling insecure about your relationship. If you can manage to see things from a more objective perspective, it may help you to ease up on your dislike of them.


Healthy Ways to Express Jealousy in Relationships

Jealousy is a common human emotion, and almost all of us have experienced it at times in relationships, particularly romantic relationships. Sometimes these feelings of jealousy are fleeting, but other times they can take over, and we may feel the need to express these feelings to our partners.

The question is how to do this in a healthy and helpful way so that our feelings and concerns are heard, and the lines of communication and trust in the relationship remain intact.


What Are 'I Feel' Statements?

Misunderstandings in relationships happen to everyone. However, regularly feeling misunderstood can be a sign of a need to work on communication skills.

Changing how people communicate can improve relationships and help individuals feel understood. One way to accomplish this is through the use of "I feel" statements, also known as feeling statements, I-messages, or just I-statements.


Lack of Assertiveness in Relationships

Many people find it difficult to express their feelings honestly and openly because they lack assertiveness. This can become a problem when building a relationship or communicating with friends, family members, and co-workers.

Assertiveness is the ability to express your feelings, opinions, beliefs, and needs directly, openly and honestly, while not violating the personal rights of others. Assertiveness does not in any way means being aggressive. Aggressive behavior is self-enhancing at the expense of others. It does not take other individual's rights into consideration.


How to Fight Fairly with Your Relationship Partner

Conflict: What is it and who needs it?

Even the healthiest relationships at times experience conflict. That is to say, persons who care about one another often find it necessary to make important decisions. In that process, the couple may find that differences in perspective and opinion exist. These variances may occur around the definition of a problem, how it is to be solved, or even what is assumed to be an appropriate outcome. The important thing to remember is that people who care about each other do not always think or behave alike. But because they care about each other, the couple who cares can usually find a way to resolve the conflict in a way constructive to the relationship. Conflict, therefore, can be a means to an end, namely constructive decision-making and enhanced respect for one another's perspectives and contributions.


What Is a Healthy Relationship?

Find out what constitutes a healthy relationship and the things you need to keep a relationship healthy.

There are reliable tools that can be used to create a healthy relationship, many of which have not been taught in our culture. If you want to have a really healthy relationship, follow these simple guidelines.


7 Ways to Break Free from a Negative Emotional Cycle

4. Decide what you really want to spend your time dwelling on.

You're having a bad day. Like most days lately, you feel anxious and worried—maybe even a bit hopeless and depressed. Nothing seems to be going right. You might think, “My life just sucks.”

Now ask yourself: Why do I have to wake up tomorrow feeling the same way I do today? The truth is that you don’t.



Six Healthy Communication Tips To Manage Relationship Conflict

Many of us were taught to fear conflict. In truth, conflict doesn't always mean things are bad, nor is conflict unusual in relationships. When we handle conflict with care, it can increase understanding and deepen intimacy in relationships.

Healthy and long-lasting relationships are filled with empathy, validation, and generosity. If your partner says and believes something you don't, try validating the world from "their" point of view instead of criticizing them.



Why Boundaries Are Essential In Healthy Relationships And Lasting Love

A boundary is simply a border, a line around us that teaches people how to respond to us. Knowing what healthy boundaries are and feeling entitled to have them is crucial to our whole lives and crucial to having a healthy relationship.

Without healthy boundaries, we can feel hurt, feel taken advantage of, over-give, feel depleted, and tolerate the not-tolerable. We need to know where we stop in any relationship, and someone else starts.


How to Navigate Challenging Issues in Couples Therapy

When is therapy the best choice?

Imagine for a moment, that you are going, on your own, to see a couples therapist about problems and issues in your intimate relationship, when they hit you with a barrage of troublesome questions: Is your partner willing to come in now, and if not now, then when? Would you rather just work in single therapy on your own issues? If the two of you agree to come in, can you afford a therapist for you, one for your partner, and one for the both of you?


How to Handle Feeling Wronged by Your Partner

Finding healthy ways to make sense of the experience and move forward.

One of the deepest sources of conflict in a relationship occurs when there’s a breach of trust. When we feel hurt or deceived by a partner, we often experience a sense of betrayal. Feeling blindsided by someone with whom we felt secure can trigger a wide range of emotions. It can be hard to unpack our internal experience in such a stirred-up state, much less resolve the issue with the other person.


What To Do When You Reach A Breaking Point In Your Marriage

There is a common misconnection when a couple reaches a breaking point in their marriage. They believe there are only two choices to make. The first choice is to continue living day in and day out in an unhappy home and unhappy marriage. The second choice is to leave the marriage, go your separate ways and file for divorce from your partner.


How to Practice Forgiveness in Your Relationships

We all make mistakes in life; most people have regrets, and the power of forgiveness helps you move forward. This applies to all relationships, especially with your partner.

Holding grudges and hurling insults across a room during an argument won't deepen your love. It will only create a deep divide between you and your partner. Learning to practice forgiveness in your relationships helps you understand yourself better and what causes you pain, improves your communication, teaches you empathy, tears down walls of resentment, and so much more.


How to Have "Healthy" Fights With Your Partner

It is not about how often you argue, but how you disagree with each other.

I don't know about you, but I actually like New Year's resolutions. Yes, we all see headline I am in the line of work that sits on the premises of hope and human potential. I see enthusiastic couples embarking on the journey of love with ferocity and passion. I also see those jaded and disappointed, trapped in an unrelenting “groundhog day,” somehow finding themselves with different partners but the same conflicts. As therapists, we are not immune to the human condition. I, too, have tried to crack the code of love, the secrets to long-lasting relationships.


The Greatest Gift You Can Give a Long-Term Partner

Even if we think we know them, there's more to discover

When we think of virtues, we usually think of the classics: wisdom, compassion, humility, patience, fortitude, courage, kindness, gratitude, and the like. But there are a number of underrated, less-discussed virtues that are vitally important in creating a good life. One that rarely makes the top-ten lists is curiosity. When it comes to virtues, curiosity gets short shrift and sometimes has to defend its right to even identify as a virtue. But curiosity deserves our recognition and a place on the greatest-hits list of virtuous qualities. Not only is it vitally important for creating a good life, but also for maintaining lasting love relationships.


How to Practice Forgiveness in Your Relationships

We all make mistakes in life; most people have regrets, and the power of forgiveness helps you move forward. This applies to all relationships, especially with your partner. .

Holding grudges and hurling insults across a room during an argument won't deepen your love. It will only create a deep divide between you and your partner. Learning to practice forgiveness in your relationships helps you understand yourself better and what causes you pain, improves your communication, teaches you empathy, tears down walls of resentment, and so much more.


What To Do When You Reach A Breaking Point In Your Marriage

There is a common misconnection when a couple reaches a breaking point in their marriage. They believe there are only two choices to make. The first choice is to continue living day in and day out in an unhappy home and unhappy marriage. The second choice is to leave the marriage, go your separate ways and file for divorce from your partner. 



What are Your Core Beliefs and Needs? (and why it’s important to identify them)

When it comes to conflict, knowing the issue underneath the problem is half the battle.

Relationship conflict is complex. Sometimes, conflicts are only about the “here and now” issue. That means that you are truly fighting about what you are fighting about. It’s “I left your favorite creamer out, it spoiled, no coffee, and now you are upset with me.” It doesn’t go much deeper than that.



7 Ways Couples Can Argue More Constructively

5. Don't let anger become angry.

You may be on the same page with your partner for most things, but there will inevitably come a time when you don’t see eye to eye. You have some choices: You can ignore your differences and just circumvent the issue, or you can keep on trying to persuade your partner to see it your way, or you can get increasingly angry and eventually let your partner have it.


3 Questions Partners Should Ask Each Other

... and what to do if the answers are "no."

1. Can you tell from my behavior that you’re important to me?

When relationships run on autopilot, everyone feels taken for granted, if not invisible or unheard. That’s mostly because the brain stops consciously processing familiarity. It tunes out familiar sounds, in a kind of white noise effect. (“You never listen to me!”) We notice change, and the change we’re most likely to notice is negative. We’re more likely to focus on—and recall—partners leaving crumbs on the counter than the fact that they add meaning and purpose to our lives.


How a Partner's Past Trauma Can Disrupt a Relationship

7. Recognize that this partner is different, and ask for what you need.

Many people have suffered emotional or physical trauma. Even when they have worked hard to heal, they will always be vulnerable to being triggered by an event that unearths those painful moments.


A Surefire Way to Repair a Damaged Relationship

New research on the empathy-apology connection.

People in relationships invariably behave in ways that can hurt each other, whether intentionally or not. When the damage is unintentional, the chances are that people are motivated to patch things up but often may not know how to do so.


How to Strengthen Your Marriage During Tough Times

Seek to uplift your partner rather than blame during difficult times.

Many marriages suffer under the stress of business shut-downs, financial worries, illness, and pandemic upheavals. Anxiety, anger, and stress can sometimes bring out the worst qualities in each of us. Strong negative emotions can make us look for someone to blame. Spouses make a convenient target.


3 Steps to a Relationship Reboot

3. Try a complaining fast.

I don't know about you, but I actually like New Year's resolutions. Yes, we all see headline after headline about the dismal follow-through around these new-year-new-me commitments—for example, that fewer than 8 percent of people actually stick to their goals, or that most people end up giving up on their targets before the end of January. The most cynical among us scoff at the idea that the simple turn of a calendar page should even have any sort of magical, Pixie-dust effect on our motivation.


10 Red Flags of Emotional Neglect in a Relationship

10. You only feel positive emotions during sex.

Emotional neglect in a relationship is the absence of enough emotional awareness and response. It may be invisible to everyone, even the couple themselves, yet it's painful. Both partners are hurt by what is not there.

In a now-classic 2004 study, researcher John Gottman found that the difference between couples that thrive and those that divorce is the frequency with which couples meet each other’s requests for emotional connection.


How to Practice Forgiveness in Your Relationships

We all make mistakes in life; most people have regrets, and the power of forgiveness helps you move forward. This applies to all relationships, especially with your partner. .

Holding grudges and hurling insults across a room during an argument won't deepen your love. It will only create a deep divide between you and your partner. Learning to practice forgiveness in your relationships helps you understand yourself better and what causes you pain, improves your communication, teaches you empathy, tears down walls of resentment, and so much more.


How to Practice Forgiveness in Your Relationships

We all make mistakes in life; most people have regrets, and the power of forgiveness helps you move forward. This applies to all relationships, especially with your partner.

Holding grudges and hurling insults across a room during an argument won't deepen your love. It will only create a deep divide between you and your partner. Learning to practice forgiveness in your relationships helps you understand yourself better and what causes you pain, improves your communication, teaches you empathy, tears down walls of resentment, and so much more.


How to Create Emotional Safety In Your Relationship

Emotional safety zones are relationships where you can express difficult emotions without fear of rejection. You may have experienced this with close family members, tight-knit friends, or even communities like churches, sangha, or group therapy.

But perhaps the most important person you can share a safety zone with is your spouse or romantic partner. After all, they are the one person you must come home to at the end of the day — both physically and emotionally. Unfortunately, it is all too easy to interact in ways that make you and your partner feel anything but safe with each other.


This One Small Change Can Fix the Communication in Your Relationship

Creating a relationship is a process.

We all know that communication is a two-way street. So, when you share something exciting with your partner, you probably expect to receive that similar, exciting energy back.

But what happens when you get a negative response or your partner isn't interested in what you have to say? Below is an example of that happening in a relationship:


Marriage Power Struggles - 5 Signs of a Conscious Relationship

Oh, it can get downright painful and destructive combat between lovers. Imago Therapists call it "The Power Struggle" phase of the marriage. It typically shows up within a couple of years of togetherness. It is reactive fighting - Lizard Brain stuff.

In case you didn't link over to Wikipedia, that part of our brain is located at the base of the brain stem and is only concerned with "fight or flight" needs.


How to Set (and Respect) Boundaries With Your Spouse

All healthy relationships have healthy boundaries.

Here's a simple truth: All healthy relationships have healthy boundaries.

You see, boundaries aren't restricting or limiting. They provide the freedom to express your needs and values while also honoring the needs and values of your partner. Setting boundaries is:


5 Reasons Why You Keep Having the Same Argument

An unending argument can undermine a relationship. Here's how to put it to rest.

Nan and Serena feel they have the same argument over and over. For them, it’s about money, but for other couples, it could be about the kids, sex, or household chores. Why? We can think about it on two levels:

What is keeping this conflict alive? Here are several possible sources

You never come up with a plan to solve the problem. Nan and Serena have a big fight about money, one of them storms off, maybe one of them sleeps on the couch or they barely speak to each other for a few days. But gradually they emotionally defrost, one of them talks about their day, a signal that they both know is that the other is less angry. The other reciprocates—a light pat on the back—another signal. Then they both actively make up—I’m sorry, no, I’m sorry. We’re good. We’re good.


Happy Marriage: Best Three Tips To Keep The Love Alive

Finding someone who makes you happy is one of life's extraordinary gifts. It only makes sense that you'd want that happiness to last forever. The problem is that it's all too easy to become complacent and lose sight of what you enjoyed about being with each other at the start of the relationship. .

Research indicates long-lasting relationships are fed and sustained by experiencing new things together. That's right – keeping your marriage fresh, happy, and exciting can be as simple as putting in some time and thought into exploring new things to share. Luckily, that work could and ought to be fun for both of you!


How to Practice Gratitude Everyday - Getting Through Hard Times

We are all experiencing difficult times these days, and gratitude is an excellent antidote to the anxiety, loss, and frustration that can feel overwhelming and endless.

Here are four tips to help you get back to feeling more grateful in your life and relationships today.

Make it a habit to write a few sentences of something you're grateful for during the day. Look for the simple things:


The Art of Sensual Communication

When you put words to your desire for your partner, you can experience a satisfying relationship in and out of bed

Even before the pressures of the coronavirus put relationships to the test, many couples found achieving intimacy a continuous, evolving challenge. The barriers to true intimacy are everywhere: couples are pulled apart by the demands of work, answering the call of parenthood, and dealing with any number of personal, financial, and health-related stresses.


How Couples Counseling Can Improve Relationships

Addressing unrealistic expectations about being a couple may help.

Couples counseling is not only for couples who are having difficulty but also for those who want to prevent small problems from becoming bigger ones. There are many adjustments involved in long-term commitments that are very difficult to anticipate because they relate to our subconscious feelings and assumptions. Add to that reality the observation by many therapists that expectations of marriage are unrealistically high in our current time (Perel, 2017). Two basic groups of questions come to mind. First, “What do I expect from this partnership?” and then “What am I assuming about being a couple, without even thinking about it?”:


How to Create Emotional Safety In Your Relationship

Do you have “emotional safety zones” in your life?

Emotional safety zones are relationships where you can express difficult emotions without fear of rejection. You may have experienced this with close family members, tight-knit friends, or even communities like churches, sangha, or group therapy.


Why Boundaries Are Essential In Healthy Relationships and Lasting Love

A boundary is simply a border, a line around us that teaches people how to respond to us. Knowing what healthy boundaries are and feeling entitled to have them is crucial to our whole lives and crucial to having a healthy relationship.

Without healthy boundaries, we can feel hurt, feel taken advantage of, over-give, feel depleted, and tolerate the not-tolerable. We need to know where we stop in any relationship, and someone else starts.


Three Common Mistakes Couples Make During Conflict

If you want to stop arguing all the time, avoid these mistakes.

They trudged into my therapy office, slumped down at opposite ends of my sofa, and glared at each other. This professional couple in their 50s had yet another fight on the way to their appointment. In theory, it was a continuation of something that started last night, but the truth was they had variations of the same row for the last five years.


The Deeper Meaning of Trust

What emotional safety looks like in a healthy relationship

Someone once told me that you could not have a relationship without trust, and they were absolutely right. At least not a healthy one, because trust is embedded in every fiber of a relationship.


Strained Relationship? Focus on the Future, Not the Past

Learn the lessons of the past without having to rehash it.

Many of us have had close relationships that have become strained or estranged, whether it is due to a specific hurtful incident or a final last straw from wounds accumulated over time. We may cut ties or pull back. In these relationships, we stop talking, or talk "cordially" but never again are fully engaged or trusting.


How to Get the Spark Back in a Broken Relationship

During the pandemic, more and more couples struggle to connect on a deeper level and find a way to hold on to intimacy in their relationship. This may be because spending time with your loved one around the clock doesn’t necessarily invite desire or increased attraction…shocker!


Healthy Love vs. Unhealthy Love

Have you ever questioned your love for someone?

Do you feel as though your relationship is not growing or evolving?

There are telltale signs of an unhealthy versus healthy love. Let’s take a look at both.


How Fear of Anger Can Hurt You

Anger provides important information that can deepen our relationships.

Relationships are difficult. We want harmony, yet conflicts are inevitable. Facing the anger of another person increases the intensity of the conflict.


How to Bring Back Romance in a Relationship and Prioritize Love Again

When stress and the busyness of everyday life creep into your relationship, you may notice less and less time for attention and affection in your relationship. This dynamic takes you and your partner down a lonely and disconnected relationship path. After all, it's the complete opposite of where you started at the beginning of your romantic love.


Hidden Relationship Issues

Difficulties in relationships may come from problems the couple is not aware of.

Sometimes, couples can feel stuck, repeating the same pattern of interaction over and over again, with no apparent end in sight. One pattern that lots of couples experience is called “pursuer-distancer.” This is when one person wants to engage their partner in some way, and their partner avoids them. They want to talk about their budget, and their partner finds excuses not to. Or one partner wants to talk about their sex life, and the other avoids it.


Keep Your New Year's Resolutions, and Improve Your Relationships!

One of mine was to blog more… like once a week. I want to write an excuse right now! See? I’m doing it again.

Change is hard, folks.

RE-actions - RE-actions – we do them over and over again. Well-grooved neural pathways in the brain entice us to re-act with the familiar behavior instead of acting.


How to Change the Emotional Climate of Your Relationship

Too much negativity in your relationship? You have the power to change it.

If you live with a partner, in a family, with roommates, or simply spend time around the same work colleagues day after day, you naturally generate your own emotional climate together. Like the weather, it’s something you can’t not notice—the tension your partner carries home after a hard day, the sugar-driven mania of your kids—and is often quickly changeable—the depressing morning staff meeting almost evaporates by the time you’re halfway through your lunch with a close friend or are surprised by a loving text from you partner.


Keep Your New Year's Resolutions, and Improve Your Relationships!

One of mine was to blog more… like once a week. I want to write an excuse right now! See? I’m doing it again.

Change is hard, folks.

RE-actions - RE-actions – we do them over and over again. Well-grooved neural pathways in the brain entice us to re-act with the familiar behavior instead of acting.


Feeling Lonely? Beat Loneliness All Year Long With These 6 Tips

Being alone and feeling lonely are not the same thing - they are complete opposites. Spending time alone affords you enormous benefits like the opportunity to contemplate, sort through thoughts, and calm your mind from the daily barrage of stimuli. This can be especially important during the Holiday Season, and when you take the time to do this, you'll help calm your nervous system.


Compassion, Resentment and Anger in Love

It didn’t take long into my 35-year career of working with angry couples to see that the real problem was not the flame of anger; it was the fuel of resentment. Resentment is like a leaky gas line, any spark can ignite the flame


5 Things You Can Do Now to Make Your Relationship Better

Have you started taking each other for granted? Do you wish there was more affection and fun in your relationship?


4 Tips to Build Everyday Trust in Relationships

When you think of trust in relationships, you likely think of rebuilding after an incident where trust was challenged and/or lost. Some common reasons trust becomes an issue in relationships are dishonesty, unreliability, and betrayal. 


How to Manage Difficult Feedback From Your Partner

Imagine this common scenario: You approach your romantic partner feeling upset because you’ve agreed to share household responsibilities more equitably but you continue to feel like you’re doing the majority of the work. When you bring up the issue, they get completely overwhelmed by the feedback. They may say:


Are You Living in the Past?

Old emotional injuries have a way of complicating our lives, by clouding our judgment and making decisions harder than they need to be.

One of my clients—let’s call her Sheila—was assigned far too much responsibility as a child


Why It's Okay to Have Different Worldviews Than Your Partner

A new study calls into question a longstanding tenet of relationship science — that romantic couples exhibit convergence in their attitudes, traits, beliefs, and behaviors over time.


The Dynamics of Anger and Resentment

Problem anger makes us act against our best interests and violate our deeper values. Most cases of problem anger feature brief episodes of intensity surrounded by continual resentment - a long-lasting, low-grade form of anger.


Dealing With Defensive Walls

Very few people escape some form of trauma in their lives. Most survive those personal tragedies by developing physical or emotional escape strategies that help them cope at the time.


The People I Love The Most Have These Three Traits

We misunderstand this word. I know I did. As a 50-something-year-old adult, I have come to realize that humility is at the root of all growth, learning and kindness. 12-step literature defines humility as “a clear recognition of what and who we really are, followed by a sincere attempt to become what we could be.”


How to Bring Back Romance in a Relationship and Prioritize Love Again

When stress and the busyness of everyday life creep into your relationship, you may notice less and less time for attention and affection in your relationship. This dynamic takes you and your partner down a lonely and disconnected relationship path. After all, it's the complete opposite of where you started at the beginning of your romantic love.


Healthy Family Communication Tips for the Holidays

The Holiday Season is upon us, and many of us are filled with a mix of emotions. While we might be excited to see family we haven't seen in a while, we may also feel some anxiety. The fact is we still want to enjoy a safe, fun, and memorable holiday season. Right?


Why Couples Counseling is Essential After Infidelity

Our expectations for the institution of marriage have changed dramatically in the last century. What once was an economic enterprise, an exchange of property made between families, is now completely different. Certainly, we are moving away from old-fashioned domesticity and oppression of women. We now have more freedom, more choices, and more expectation of happiness than ever before.


Health Happens Between People

“I do not have even the slightest shadow of a doubt that a loss of human connection is the most substantial negative impact that these experiences have.” —A survivor of childhood trauma


The Tipping Point in Your Relationship - Asking for Help

There is a concept called the ‘parental discount’ which goes like this. “There are children starving in….(fill in the blank), so eat your peas!” This message, recounted by parents to their children for eons, is intended to have us go quiet, be grateful, and uncomplaining; make do with what we have. The problem with this method of ‘making do’ and repressing our desires and yearning is that it invites us to feel resentful and guilty. It does not allow us the inner space to reflect on what we like or dislike. In essence, to know and honor ourselves.


Start Setting Boundaries With Confidence

Setting boundaries is key to creating a loving relationship in which your needs are met, you feel respected and valued, you feel a strong sense of self-love, and you feel safe and secure with your partner. Boundaries inform others what we’re OK with, what we’re not OK with, and what we need.


8 Interpersonal Myths Ruining Your Relationships

In my office, I see many people with mistaken beliefs about relationships. These beliefs are learned early in life and are difficult to break. They might be protective in the short term, but at a certain point, they cause conflicts at work, in friendships, with families, and especially in romantic relationships. And the hardest part is that these beliefs are pervasive. Which is why you need to challenge them.


Harmony in a Relationship Does Not Require Agreement

James and Anna came to see me because of a big fight they were embroiled in. The issue was money, which I learned they had been arguing about for years, with no resolution. However, within a few minutes, it became clear that money was not their only or actual problem. They had vastly different ideas and values around money, different narratives on its importance and meaning, and its representation.


The Art of Being in a Loving Adult Relationship - Six Essential Skills

Many people experience difficulty in adult romantic relationships, even when they do very well in work or friendship relationships. In a romantic relationship, you can find yourself feeling emotional extremes that simply do not exist in any other area of your life.  


Attachment Style and People-Pleasing

What do you know about people-pleasing?

Attachment is a big deal. Each of us has an attachment style based on a range of experiences and genetic information. Attachment matters because of how influential it is in our lives. It affects all our relationships, impacts the way we perceive others’ intentions toward us, and even influences our views of self.


Why Conflict Avoidance Doesn't Work

Do you find yourself holding your feelings in just to avoid conflict with your partner? Nobody enjoys conflict but it can be a healthy part of your relationship.


Why the #1 Ingredient for Great Relationship Communication is Listening

The number one way you can show your partner that you truly love them is to be present and emotionally available by listening. It seems simple, right?

Well, genuinely listening is much more than just active listening. Genuine listening is the very key to your loved one being seen, felt, loved, fully valued.

So, what's the difference between listening and hearing when your partner speaks? It's a big difference.


Bids for Connection: Strengthen Your Love by Practicing These 3 Steps

When children seek attention from their parents, they do so as what's called a "bid for connection." Sadly, many of us didn't get our needs met as kids with the attention needed when we expressed bids for connection. So, it can be difficult being vulnerable and expressing bids for connection in your adult relationships.


What Destroys Most Relationships? 4 Things That Can Ruin Everything

When the love is deep, many couples feel their relationship will last forever. You and your partner both love one another deeply, and that will stand the test of time.  Sure, you'll go through challenges and obstacles in life, but you'll do it together with your deep love sustaining you both.  Right? 


Passion and Romance in Marriage: How It Goes Sour

Would you choose gelato over non-fat frozen yogurt? Most of us would say gelato, even knowing that it is an unhealthy choice. Long-term marriage versus an affair? Most would choose a good, healthy marriage over a fleeting affair. But that choice depends on many variables. Is your marriage healthy? Do you still have passion, romance, and intimacy? If your relationship has lost its passion and romance, there are ways to bring it back so that it can have the richness of gelato, yet be nourishing and fresh.


Forgiveness in Relationships: How to Practice

We all make mistakes in life; most people have regrets, and the power of forgiveness helps you move forward. This applies to all relationships, especially with your partner.

Holding grudges and hurling insults across a room during an argument won't deepen your love. It will only create a deep divide between you and your partner. Learning to practice forgiveness in your relationships helps you understand yourself better and what causes you pain, improves your communication, teaches you empathy, tears down walls of resentment, and so much more.


Reboot Your Relationship in Four Easy Steps

“I love him, but I’m not IN love with him anymore. What can I do?”

Shaunda, like so many other couples in my online immersion program, feels guilty, frustrated, and alone. So, the first thing I do is reassure her that she is in very good company. So many couples report marital boredom. They wish they could feel more excitement, more attraction, more fun.


Go for the Life Partner, Not the Prom Date

The prom date vs. the life partner

Many of us don’t date for long-term viability. I call this pursuing The Prom Date. What’s an ideal prom date? Someone who looks great in pictures, gives you a night full of fun, and makes you look cool in front of your friends. Many of us finished high school more than a decade ago, and yet we’re still using the same rubric to evaluate potential partners. Do you really want to marry the Prom Date? To worry if your partner is going to help you take care of your aging parents? Or show up to your kid’s parent-teacher conference? Or nurse you back to health after contracting a case of Montezuma’s revenge?


Are You Lonesome Tonight?: Loneliness in Marriage

Loneliness is a common experience. In 2019, 61% of Americans reported they were lonely. Forty-seven percent of adults said they sometimes or always felt their relationships were not meaningful. MDLinx, a news service for physicians reporting on loneliness, called it an “epidemic” and noted these statistics are “double the number affected a few decades ago.”


4 Crucial Questions to Help You Avoid Miscommunication

Why is so difficult to be clearly understood by another person? It seems straightforward enough at first, but when you break down the process of communication into its component steps, it doesn’t look so easy, after all.


How to Know When "It's Not You, It's Me"

Every person on Earth sees the universe in a unique way, from a point in space that no one else can duplicate or occupy. There are billions of individual stories going on all around us all the time, and none of them is the same. How is it, then, that so many of us are convinced that our way of seeing the world is “right?”


The Secret to Happily Ever After

I’ve seen couples in therapy for many years. They come in with their list of complaints about the other person, hoping therapy will fix their problems. Some couples have issues stemming from prior traumas, previous abuse, a history of infidelity, fears of abandonment, or betrayal. And understandably, they would like kindness, reassurance, and support. But instead, many couples struggle with chronic disagreements and irritants. These upsets are expressed in heated arguments, accusations, emotional outbursts, blaming, avoiding, gossiping to others, purposefully ignoring, lying, or disengaging through an addictive behavior.


Suicidal Signs - Several Factors Your Loved One Might Be At Risk of Suicide

Were you shocked when you heard about the famous chef and world traveler Anthony Bourdain’s suicide? How did you feel if you watched the documentary about Anthony Bourdain’s life - Roadrunner? Many people were in complete shock that someone like Anthony, who seemed to have it all in life, would struggle and die by suicide.  


How to Create Emotional Safety In Your Relationship

Do you have “emotional safety zones” in your life

Emotional safety zones are relationships where you can express difficult emotions without fear of rejection. You may have experienced this with close family members, tight-knit friends, or even communities like churches, sangha, or group therapy.


Red Flags in a Relationship - 13 Toxic Warning Signs to Watch Out For

Most of us long to be in a loving, committed relationship. So if we are starting to get some internal signals that tell us our current partner might not be the right person for us, the instinct is to close our eyes to the things we see, to start rationalizing and stay in place, stuck.

However, being willing to see the truth with open eyes is one of the keys to not staying with someone you shouldn't and making a mess out of your life because you're too afraid to say goodbye.

So what are some of the signs that you are in a dead-end relationship?


How to Improve Your Marriage: The 4 Essential Times to Connect Every Day

Have you ever tried to engage your spouse or partner in morning conversation, only to feel frustrated by their lack of response? Conversely, have you tried to connect with them after work but felt hurt by their unwillingness to engage? In both situations, the transition time may have contributed to your marriage problems.


How I Healed My Inner Child

Growing older does not mean we’ve actually grown “up.” Aging chronologically and mentally are two very different things, as my young adult life so brilliantly demonstrated.


Managing Conflict with Humor

Laughter is a powerful tool for bringing people closer together, managing conflict, and reducing tension. Here’s how to use humor and play to resolve disagreements and strengthen your relationships.


Do Opposites Attract or Similarities?

Your partner doesn’t always have to think like you… and that’s a good thing.

Whether you’re dating or considering a serious relationship, sometimes you might wonder how compatible you are with the person sitting across from you. Should you have more things in common?


Jealousy Kills Relationships: Learn What's Underneath & How to Stop It

I once heard a speaker say, "Getting rid of jealousy in a relationship is like trying to grab soap bubbles." It isn't real. The only way to end jealousy is to shift our mind–our consciousness to see the jealousy for what it really is–fear and control.


Improving Emotional Intelligence (EQ)

When it comes to happiness and success in life, EQ matters just as much as IQ. Learn how you can boost your emotional intelligence, build stronger relationships, and achieve your goals. .


Understanding Forgiveness

“Why is it so hard to admit when you’re wrong?” exclaimed my client Sam to his wife, Marlin. Sam explained that when Marlin did something to hurt him, it wasn’t so much the action that bothered him but the fact that she would never take responsibility for it and would, instead, get defensive, finding a way to place the blame on him.


Four Signs That You May Be in a Codependent Relationship

The term codependency is thrown around often, but what does it mean when it comes to romantic relationships? Codependency shows up differently in romantic relationships than it does when discussed in association with substance abuse. In many ways, it is harder to spot.


Date Ideas and Other Ways to Improve Your Relationship

What is attachment?

Whether you’re newly together or in a committed partnership trying to find time together, couples always need fresh ideas to make dates enjoyable and worthwhile. When options are limited, this can be difficult..


Are You Keeping Secrets from Your Therapist?

Therapy can help couples with the skills they need to learn and the pain they need to process. But are you speaking honestly with your therapist?

“I have said to you to speak the truth is a painful thing. To be forced to tell lies is much worse.”- Oscar Wilde..


What Should You Do When Someone Cries?

What if crying didn’t indicate pain?

What if tears were the gift that allows us to wash away the past so we can more clearly see what’s possible in the future?


Passion and Romance in Marriage: How It Goes Sour

If your relationship has lost its passion and romance, there are ways to bring it back so that it can have the richness of gelato, yet be nourishing and fresh

Would you choose gelato over non-fat frozen yogurt? Most of us would say gelato, even knowing that it is an unhealthy choice. Long-term marriage versus an affair? Most would choose a good, healthy marriage over a fleeting affair. But that choice depends on many variables. Is your marriage healthy? Do you still have passion, romance, and intimacy? If your relationship has lost its passion and romance, there are ways to bring it back so that it can have the richness of gelato, yet be nourishing and fresh.


Forgiveness in Relationships: How to Practice

We all make mistakes in life; most people have regrets, and the power of forgiveness helps you move forward. This applies to all relationships, especially with your partner.

Holding grudges and hurling insults across a room during an argument won't deepen your love. It will only create a deep divide between you and your partner. Learning to practice forgiveness in your relationships helps you understand yourself better and what causes you pain, improves your communication, teaches you empathy, tears down walls of resentment, and so much more. .


4 Simple Tips to Keep Your Relationship Strong After Having a Baby

You've found the love of your life. You've fallen in love. You've dated, become engaged, and gotten married. You've longed to make your duo into a trio, and after some waiting, you now have a baby!


Creating a Relationship Vision Together: 3 Steps Toward Happiness

You feel like your partner isn’t romantic enough. They feel like you criticize them too much. When there is dissatisfaction in a relationship, it is often because the reality doesn't match your relationship vision — what you believe that relationship should be. And here’s the kicker — many people don’t even realize they have a vision!


The Secret of Happy & Successful Relationships: Bids for Connection

When I came home, I was often on the phone and would breeze through the family room as I waved to my husband. All the while, my husband would be looking at me with kind, smiling, and expectant eyes.


The Connection Between Happy Marriages and Strong Mental Health

When people think about mental health, they often tend to focus solely on mental illness. Of course, mental health includes anxiety, depression, and other diagnoses — but it encompasses much more than that. Positive factors, such as resiliency, curiosity, self-worth, and strong supportive relationships, are also part of your mental health and can help you cope with adversity and mental illness.


Marriage Myths and Realities: 12 Common Misconceptions Debunked

We are bombarded by unrealistic portrayals of human relationships from a young age. It's no wonder that many modern Americans are confused about love. While the romances in movies like Sleeping Beauty and 10 Things I Hate about You are entertaining, they are far from realistic.


How Do I Apologize to My Partner? (Changing Even If It's Difficult)

In my work with couples and my relationships, I find myself amazed at the ease and power an apology has to mediate a challenging relational moment and even put it to rest. Yet, one member of a relationship may have tremendous difficulty in summoning up this powerful tool and offering it to the other.


How to Enhance Intimacy with Intentional Practices

To be intimate with someone is to allow ourselves to be seen and to see openly in return. At the heart of human relational desires, you long to be seen as the complex and authentic beings that you are. Yet, despite longing for intimacy, not everyone knows how to go about achieving it. How do you create space in your relationship to show up as you are and to invite your partner to do the same?


How Attachment Styles Affect Adult Relationships

What is attachment?

Attachment, or the attachment bond, is the emotional connection you formed as an infant with your primary caregiver—probably your mother. According to attachment theory, pioneered by British psychiatrist John Bowlby and American psychologist Mary Ainsworth, the quality of the bonding you experienced during this first relationship often determines how well you relate to other people and respond to intimacy throughout life.


Strengthening Relationships Through Positive Connections

One of the most powerful ways to calm down from stress or anxiety is to connect and spend time with someone who matters to us. When we spend time with those we let into our inner circle – our closest friends, spouses, family members, or even our favourite beings (human or not) – we have the opportunity to create deeply engrained, positive patterns of comfort that we can access when we are far away from the ones we love.


Effective Communication

What is effective communication?

Effective communication is about more than just exchanging information. It’s about understanding the emotion and intentions behind the information. As well as being able to clearly convey a message, you need to also listen in a way that gains the full meaning of what’s being said and makes the other person feel heard and understood.


Compromise: It’s Not What You Think!

Savannah and Sam are arguing again. It’s all too familiar. Sam’s an extrovert. Newly vaccinated, he wants Savannah to go with him to an outdoor gathering this weekend. People energize him. Savannah’s the introvert. She wants to curl up at home with a good book and be cozy, just the two of them. They visited this conflict before the pandemic, and now they’re at it again. They know that as mature adults, they will need to compromise—just as they know they’re going to fail at it one more time.


Conflict Resolution Skills

What is conflict?

Conflict is a normal part of any healthy relationship. After all, two people can’t be expected to agree on everything, all the time. The key is not to fear or try to avoid conflict but to learn how to resolve it in a healthy way.


Protecting Your Relationship: Practices for Making Effective Repairs

No matter how happy you are or how long you’ve been together, some conflict in your relationship is inevitable. But many people over my counseling career either didn’t see their parents working through problems or were exposed to verbal or physical abuse and thus learned to fear conflict. Sadly avoiding hard conversations leaves things unresolved and creates disconnection and dissatisfaction in the relationship.


How to Have a State of the Union Meeting

The State of the Union is a time to reflect on the relationship and share both things that are working well and things that need to be addressed. What I see with the couples I work with is that things build up over time and lead to either big fights or distance. Having a State of the Union conversation can help you stay connected and engaged in your relationship in an otherwise distracting world.


Romantic Relationships in the Workplace - How to Manage Attraction

As our new normal begins to develop, many of us are concerned with re-entry into the real world. Going back into society may create feelings of anxiety and fear. As we begin to face reality, we have to go back out there and talk to people - in person! 

Perhaps you’ve lost social skills, had a lousy home haircut, gained a few extra pandemic pounds? For many of us, introverts and extroverts, a panic may begin to set in by simply leaving the house and leaving the safety of our home cocoon. 

However, there may be some of us that are freaking out for an entirely different reason when thinking about leaving our home and going back to the office. For some of us, we may be worried about connecting with our colleagues again in-person - real, human flesh up close and personal.


Bored In Your Relationship? 4 Ways To Turn It Around!

If you find yourself nodding off to sleep thinking about your partner and your relationship, don't panic. It may simply mean that you need to shake things up a bit, reboot the day-to-day doldrums, and yes, it is actually possible.

Everyone is capable of changing, and it's simply a matter of doing it. If you want different outcomes, you can't keep repeating yourself. Here are a few ideas to recharge your relationship and get out of the ruts you've been in with your partner.


The Tipping Point in Your Relationship - Asking for Help

There is a concept called the ‘parental discount’ which goes like this. “There are children starving in….(fill in the blank), so eat your peas!” This message, recounted by parents to their children for eons, is intended to have us go quiet, be grateful, and uncomplaining; make do with what we have. The problem with this method of ‘making do’ and repressing our desires and yearning is that it invites us to feel resentful and guilty. It does not allow us the inner space to reflect on what we like or dislike. In essence, to know and honor ourselves.


Racial Dialogues: Creating a Safe Place to Heal in Interracial Relationships

My partner and I are aware that racism is systemic. Racism is a social and structural force that privileges whites over Blacks and people of color. As an interracial married couple, we realize that privilege and oppression are always factors in our marriage and our lives. This cultural elevation of white identity and the parallel devaluing of Black folks and folks of color have led to internalized superiority for whites and internalized inferiority for Blacks.


To Justify or Not to Justify

Justifying resentment is like justifying hunger; you never need to do it.

Of course, some people seem compelled to justify their hunger.

“I’m really hungry; I didn’t have lunch.”

Almost everyone feels compelled to justify resentment by explaining how unfairly they’ve been treated.

Some feel that resentment helps them “right a wrong,” although they’re far more likely to commit another wrong when trying to right one while resentful. The wrong they’re trying to right was most likely done to them by someone who was resentful. Resentment breeds resentment.


How to Communicate (Calmly) With a Defensive Partner

Sarah, Jon’s girlfriend of three years, experiences Jon as “bafflingly defensive.” Jon reports that he has been called “defensive” by every woman he’s ever dated. Not surprisingly, he denies his own defensiveness, and blames his ex-girlfriends for being demanding, impossible to please, aggressive, and his favorite criticism: controlling.


The Importance of Shared Interests in Relationships

As a young clinician, I believed that if you were physically attracted to someone and could not find anything intolerable about them, it made sense to make a commitment. Of course, the concept of tolerance is a subjective one. For example, if you cannot tolerate a smoker or someone who drinks in excess it would be prudent to stay away from such a person rather than invest in their change—which may be the same as investing in a fantasy. If you are a saver and you determine that your potential partner throws caution to the wind when it comes to money, your union is likely to end in disaster. I would not include in this, partners who initially meet your expectations but through no fault of their own regress to intolerable habits or tendencies. Life is tough and bad luck can come upon any of us at a given moment. You can, however, expect that they would do what they could to improve themselves.


Can You Control Relationship Anxiety?

We like it when relationships hum along without worry, upset, or strife. We want relationships to run smoothly. We don’t like it when we become anxious in a relationship over a difficulty. Why is this and what does this desire to be rid of anxiety do to us?


Battling? Make the Problem the Enemy, Not Each Other

Andrew and Cam are having one of their all-too-familiar arguments. While the specific facts, triggers, and topics vary—who said/did something about x—the underlying running theme is about who is not stepping up, who is doing too much, who is not being sensitive, who is not feeling supported.


Are You Having a Conversation or Seeking Validation?

Basic truth: When conversing with other human beings, most of us are inclined to offer an uh-huh, hmmm or head nod every now and again, to let the other person know we’re hearing them and receiving their information. These gestures are a way of maintaining a connection in the interaction and assuring the other person that we’re with them in their story.


What to Do When Your Partner Won't Take Your Advice

People give advice to each other all the time in all kinds of relationships. Whether it’s with your closest romantic partner, a family member, or a co-worker, it’s likely that advice-giving is a frequent aspect of your many interactions. Your partner asks, “Should I wear this outfit today?” You suggest something else you consider more attractive. Much to your surprise, your partner responds, “That’s okay, I’ll stick with my original choice.” Inwardly, you feel annoyed, but you decide to let it go as it’s not that important. But what if this is a regular pattern? What if your partner never listens to you, on matters small or large?


Nonverbal Communication and Body Language

What is body language?

While the key to success in both personal and professional relationships lies in your ability to communicate well, it’s not the words that you use but your nonverbal cues or “body language” that speak the loudest. Body language is the use of physical behavior, expressions, and mannerisms to communicate nonverbally, often done instinctively rather than consciously.


Tips for Building a Healthy Relationship

Building a healthy relationship

All romantic relationships go through ups and downs and they all take work, commitment, and a willingness to adapt and change with your partner. But whether your relationship is just starting out or you’ve been together for years, there are steps you can take to build a healthy relationship. Even if you’ve experienced a lot of failed relationships in the past or have struggled before to rekindle the fires of romance in your current relationship, you can find ways to stay connected, find fulfillment, and enjoy lasting happiness.


How to Adapt to Change in a Relationship: 3 Tips to Help You Thrive

There is no time like the present to learn to manage change in a relationship, and this year has been riddled with changes (social, economic, technological, and personal) that have been challenging to say the least.


Helping Couples Grow - 8 Key Shifts in Imago Relationship Therapy

When we first met, we had no idea our conversations on couples’ conflict would create a methodology of doing therapy that would become mainstream and go global. Nor did we realize that it contained the seeds of a paradigm shift that would redefine the human problem and offer an alternative solution to where psychological healing takes place, shifting therapy from the individual paradigm to the relational paradigm.

Today, over 2,500 therapists have been trained worldwide in the Imago process. What makes this training and these Imago therapists unique?


The Art of Being in a Loving Adult Relationship - Six Essential Skills

Many people experience difficulty in adult romantic relationships, even when they do very well in work or friendship relationships. In a romantic relationship, you can find yourself feeling emotional extremes that simply do not exist in any other area of your life.


Ideal Partner Qualities - What to Look for in a Partner

What ARE you looking for in a potential partner? For many of you, it may be easier to come up with a list of things you know you don't want than what you are looking for in a potential partner...and we can start there.

Many people are often not aware of how we are attracted to our partners and that most of it is an unconscious process. Imago Relationship Therapy, developed by Harville Hendrix, PhD and Helen LaKelly Hunt, PhD, states that we are attracted to our early caretakers' positive and negative traits and search for those same traits in our potential partners. This explains that when we find our partner, we often feel "at home" with them, as it feels familiar to us.


Validating Your Partner’s Viewpoint: The Amazing Payoffs

It can hardly be emphasized enough that all viewpoints are subjective. Here we’re not talking about a closed, delimited mathematical system not open to debate. For 2 + 2 will always equal 4, regardless of whether anyone (for who knows what reason) might wish—or will—it to be otherwise.


Forgiveness in Relationships: How to Practice

We all make mistakes in life; most people have regrets, and the power of forgiveness helps you move forward. This applies to all relationships, especially with your partner. Holding grudges and hurling insults across a room during an argument won't deepen your love. It will only create a deep divide between you and your partner. Learning to practice forgiveness in your relationships helps you understand yourself better and what causes you pain, improves your communication, teaches you empathy, tears down walls of resentment, and so much more.


When Your Partner Needs Space and You Crave Closeness

Being in a relationship is a delicate balancing act of feeling close to another person but not losing yourself in the process. Often the idea of space in a relationship has a negative connotation and can be associated with breaking up when in reality having a healthy amount of space can actually be a significant component of whether your relationship thrives. ⠀


4 Reasons to View Your Relationship from a New Perspective

When your partner is having a tough day, how do you respond? Do you go about your ordinary activities without acknowledging your partner’s unhappiness, or do you try to find out what’s making your partner’s life so difficult at the moment? Perhaps you're pretty good at slipping into the mind of others to see the world from their eyes. Most importantly, when this ability involves your partner, this mental shift can allow you to go on to help alleviate that distress.


When Only One Spouse Retires

When Gloria Strauss’s husband Michael retired 17 years ago from his position as director of special education for a New York City school district, she remembers being very disappointed.

She was still working full-time, also as a special educator administrator. “I expected him to step up his game when he retired, and he didn’t,” she says. “There were no nice healthy dinners waiting on the table. I would leave, and he was on the couch, and when I came back, he was on the couch.”


Talking About Talking: Prepping for Conversations Is Key

If you want your important conversations to go well, the key is to prepare for them properly, and I’m not talking just about knowing what you want to say. It’s vital to fully understand the situation or have a preparatory conversation so that you can manage all the variables that different people bring to a discussion.


Is It Worth Going to Therapy If Your Problem Isn’t Fixable?

“A counselor can’t fix this, so what’s the point of therapy?” Not all of your problems are fixable, that’s just a fact. When you’re struggling with a relatively small problem, like you spilled coffee on your laptop, you resign yourself to buying a new one and you move on with your life. It’s a significant expense and a hassle, but you handle it. Unfortunately though, it’s not always that simple. Some relatively common and seemingly unfixable problems are much more painful and impactful. Like, when your partner is unfaithful, chronically depressed, or they’ve lost all interest in sex. In these situations, it’s easy to feel helpless and hopeless. With no solution evident, it may be tempting to withdraw inwards and just soldier on. This is a lonely and depressing choice, and frankly, one likely to bring you even more pain as you shoulder the burden alone.


5 Important Conversations to Have BEFORE You Get Married

During the romantic beginnings of relationships, most couples don't talk about the more sober issues. Often those issues can highlight differences, bring up disagreements and be painful discussions. However, we know that the ability to talk about the (maybe) hard things is part of a sign you are with a good partner.

Many articles discuss obvious conversations before marriage, such as:


3 Essential Relationship Tips for Shifting to a Growth Mindset

When romance fades and couples find themselves in the second stage of a relationship, the Power Struggle, it may not be obvious you are in an actual "relationship stage" or even what to do about it.

Let's face it - most couples expect to "live happily ever after," and if conflicts arise, the coping may be less than stellar if we did not have great role models. So we try our best, and if we cannot resolve things, the arguments continue.


Jealousy Kills Relationships: Learn What's Underneath & How to Stop It

I once heard a speaker say, "Getting rid of jealousy in a relationship is like trying to grab soap bubbles." It isn't real. The only way to end jealousy is to shift our mind–our consciousness to see the jealousy for what it really is–fear and control.

I looked up jealousy in the dictionary. It basically says, "We are fearful of losing affection or being replaced by another person." It also says that when we're jealous, we are cautious about guarding something. Knowing the definition helps to understand the real issues under a powerful emotion like jealousy.


When the Honeymoon Phase Wears Off - How to Keep Your Marriage Strong

After you get engaged, there is a combined bliss and stressful period while planning for your wedding day. However, those highs and lows of emotions will be followed by a romantic and relaxation phase that is your honeymoon.

During this time, when you're freshly married and enjoying each other's company, whether on vacation or not, it's easy to be lost in the happy bubble and unable to see past it to your reality together. Those few months post-wedding are commonly called the honeymoon period for a reason - with the emphasis on it's a period of time. 


Men, Let’s Talk About Menopause and Perimenopause

Let’s talk man to woman about menopause and perimenopause—a subject men probably know little to nothing about. However, if a man wants to fully support his partner, educating himself on what to expect is the advice sex therapist Cathy Saputo recommends.

In a recent podcast, I interviewed Cathy on this exact subject—menopause and perimenopause—and how it affects a woman’s sexual health and relationships. Cathy is a licensed professional counselor and a national certified counselor as well as a certified sex therapist through the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT).


Are You with Someone Who Knows How to Pursue You?

It’s easy when you’re dating someone to get caught up in the emotions of the relationship. It’s new, exciting, and usually full of hope. So, it can be quite difficult to bring your head back down from the clouds and look realistically at the relationship.

If you see something that needs work, or realize something’s missing, it doesn’t mean you need to call it quits. It does mean you need to communicate. One thing that should be present in any healthy dating relationship, is that you are pursued by the person you’re dating—and you should be pursuing them. If the person you’re dating isn’t pursuing you, find out why. The answer may save you a lot of time and heartache.


Delusions of the Codependent

One of the most painful moments for a codependent is when he or she realizes that a relationship is not going to work out as imagined. Facing the end of a relationship is stressful for most people, and it is normal and natural to do whatever we can to keep a relationship going. But a codependent (and particularly one who is also a love addict) will typically go above and beyond what most people will do to help a relationship succeed, giving far more effort, time, energy, attention, and other resources than their partner does.


Working From Home with Your Partner: How to Thrive vs. Survive

We've all heard the saying that familiarity breeds contempt; it's sure not something we'd like to apply to our marriage and relationships. However, my guess is you've never been in a pandemic with your partner before.

Staying at home, living together, working together, day and night, with most likely tons of fear and uncertainty as the sky has been falling. What do we do when we feel irritated and triggered by our partner as we traverse these unknown times?

As my couples will tell you, one of the things I'm big on is getting couples to a place of zero tolerance for expressing irritation with each other.


How to Fight Without Breaking Up

Communicating what you want is the only way to have a happy relationship.

KEY POINTS

• 1. Examine your anger and gain control of your emotions.

• 2. Discuss and define the problem from each person’s point of view.

• 3. Brainstorm ideas and options for solving the problem, and discuss pros and cons of each potential solution.


Dealing with Difficult Feelings to Help Yourself and Your Relationships

How to manage difficult emotions may seem counterintuitive to many people. We humans don't like to be uncomfortable or in emotional pain. How many times have you been told or tell yourself the following:

• "buck up."

• "don't wallow."

• "move on."

• "don't feel sorry for yourself."

• "think of how many others have it worse than you."

Plenty, I'm sure. The conventional wisdom of our culture is full of "think positive thoughts." The problem is that this wisdom doesn't chart the path we need to follow to that end.


8 Relationship Tips Couples Therapists Are Giving All the Time Right Now

A few weeks ago, I cried at my husband (oh yes, you can cry at somebody), saying, “You’re the only person I’m allowed to hang out with and you don’t even want to do anything!” What can I say? I’m a peach. I’m also not alone when it comes to dealing with relationship struggles right now. Thanks to the complete and utter chaos we’re all dealing with, some of the happiest couples I know are on edge. Whether or not to go to a new park versus an old park has become a red-alert conflict. Small daily tasks turn into tempting opportunities to snip at each other. Sound familiar?


Resilient in Relationships: Building Constructive Habits

Let's face it - all relationships require the art of compromise if it is a long-term partnership.

We all know those people that seem to have a perfect relationship, and then suddenly, out of the blue, they are getting a divorce or breaking up.

No human being and no relationship is perfect, and what is perfection anyway? Everyone has a different perspective and answer.

But there are certain traits couples with longevity embrace that can increase your odds of staying together through the sweet and sour of life.


What is Sex Therapy? (Hint: It's Not What You Think)

Many questions arise about the process of Sex Therapy when you may need a sex therapist. Here are the most common misconceptions to help you better understand what sex therapists do and how they can help you as a couple or an individual.  

If you feel like your quality of life and emotional health in your relationships have been impacted by sexual dysfunction, a sex therapist might be the best place to start. Or, if you have intimacy or difficulty communicating with your partner, seeing a couples therapist with Sex Therapy training can be an excellent tool to help in your relationship. 


Is My Marriage Over? Ask Yourself These Important Questions First

There is a common misconnection when a couple reaches a breaking point in their marriage. They believe there are only two choices to make. The first choice is to continue living day in and day out in an unhappy home and unhappy marriage. The second choice is to leave the marriage, go your separate ways and file for divorce from your partner.


How to Get Your Emotional Needs Met in Your Relationship

Being in a committed long-term relationship is one of the most challenging things you will ever do in your life. Individuals in a relationship can be categorized into two very distinct groups. You can think of it as "Pursuers" and "Withdrawers." Or another term we use is called "Minimizers" and "Maximizers."

So, what are the Minimizers and Maximizers? It's best explained as one partner who is eternally disappointed while the other partner lives in fear of perpetually disappointing their partner. It all boils down to the same fear for both partners.


Forgiveness in Relationships: How to Practice

We all make mistakes in life; most people have regrets, and the power of forgiveness helps you move forward. This applies to all relationships, especially with your partner.

Holding grudges and hurling insults across a room during an argument won't deepen your love. It will only create a deep divide between you and your partner. Learning to practice forgiveness in your relationships helps you understand yourself better and what causes you pain, improves your communication, teaches you empathy, tears down walls of resentment, and so much more.


3 Things Good Listeners Consistently Do

In the Fall of 2016, I was a fresh graduate of the exercise science master’s program at SUNY Cortland where I was also teaching and coaching strength and conditioning.

Frankly, I was in a rut. My relationship with my girlfriend was on the verge of collapsing and I was realizing I did not have upward mobility in my current position.


Advice from a Marriage Counselor for Working Parents

Sam and Rhonda, a couple in their 30s, came to me for therapy because they felt disconnected. They were busy raising two active boys, ages 3 and 5, and temporarily taking care of his ailing father while Sam was going through a career change. Halfway into our first session, Rhonda gave me a clue to their problem.


8 Marriage Issues You'll Face After Baby and How to Solve Them

Making the leap from coupledom to baby-makes-three is exciting, exhilarating, and wonderful. It's also exhausting, exasperating, and worrisome—a combination that can be toxic to the romantic relationship that made you parents in the first place.


The Masks We Must Wear: Authentic Relationships

We are adjusting and re-adjusting to living in a new normal during the pandemic of COVID-19, and wearing a mask is no longer a once a year thing we enjoyed during October for Halloween parties.

This got me to thinking. Since we are now putting on our daily masks for health and safety and having to socially distance from those we used to hug and feel close, how has this shifted the masks we wear internally in all our relationships?


What’s Love Got to Do With a Lasting Marriage?

What is love in a marriage? How does it develop, change, and impact the relationship? It comes as no surprise that love is a key factor in people getting married and in contributing to the marriage’s longevity. Researchers discuss how love is one of the variables that plays a strong role in stable and lasting marriages (Sternberg, 1986; Roizblatt, et al., 1999; Weigel, 1999; Bachand and Caron, 2001).


Dealing With Your Partner’s Differences

Even when a couple is well-matched, differences usually remain. Here are five common differences and sample wording for how you might address each or at least start a conversation about it.

You wish your partner were warmer. It’s easy to feel unloved when you demonstrate more warm gestures to your partner than s/he does to you. For example, you more often show true interest in how your partner’s day went, you give little touches, you sometimes anticipate his or her desires. Here’s a possible conversation starter.


Cultivating Curiosity for More Fulfilling Relationships

Humans are hard-wired for curiosity. From a toddler grasping at any object that comes into sight to the first shuttle to breach the Earth’s stratosphere, we are perpetually seeking to understand more about the world around us.


Doing This Can Help you Connect Rather Than Collide

If you're like most couples you may find yourself often colliding rather than connecting with your partner. And you may wonder why. Isn’t love all you need? You may think that if you and your partner really cared for one another you would both be effortlessly connecting rather than endlessly arguing over seemingly trivial matters, not to mention some very large ones as well.


Working From Home with Your Partner: How to Thrive vs. Survive

We've all heard the saying that familiarity breeds contempt; it's sure not something we'd like to apply to our marriage and relationships. However, my guess is you've never been in a pandemic with your partner before. 

Staying at home, living together, working together, day and night, with most likely tons of fear and uncertainty as the sky has been falling. What do we do when we feel irritated and triggered by our partner as we traverse these unknown times?

As my couples will tell you, one of the things I'm big on is getting couples to a place of zero tolerance for expressing irritation with each other. 


How to Maintain a Connected Relationship All Year Long

There is no perfect equation to what makes a couple deeply connected in their relationship. The myth that relationships are meant to be endlessly romantic and easy is simply that, a myth.

Couples may feel at times as though things are coming apart at the relationship seams. So, we've put together some practices to help re-inspire you and your partner to step into your relationship with intentional planning and mindful purpose to deepen and maintain a connected relationship all year long.


Neurodiverse Marriage: How to Love a Partner with Autism

On my first date with my husband — we've been partners now for 28 years – he asked me, "Are we on a date?" And the second date, he asked, "Are we still dating?"

I thought it was so sweet and endearing then. It took me nearly 17 years to realize what was going on was typical of someone with Asperger's syndrome (AS). The syndrome wasn't even a diagnosis back then. Today it is considered a high-functioning form of autism.

Aspergers presents in myriad ways, including an obsession with details, social awkwardness, a seeming inability to recognize others' feelings or reactions, and a flat, outward expression with few physical cues about what the AS person feels.


Ideal Partner Qualities - What to Look for in a Partner

What ARE you looking for in a potential partner? For many of you, it may be easier to come up with a list of things you know you don't want than what you are looking for in a potential partner...and we can start there.

Many people are often not aware of how we are attracted to our partners and that most of it is an unconscious process. Imago Relationship Therapy, developed by Harville Hendrix, PhD and Helen LaKelly Hunt, PhD, states that we are attracted to our early caretakers' positive and negative traits and search for those same traits in our potential partners. This explains that when we find our partner, we often feel "at home" with them, as it feels familiar to us.


How to Get the Spark Back in a Broken Relationship

During the pandemic, more and more couples struggle to connect on a deeper level and find a way to hold on to intimacy in their relationship. This may be because spending time with your loved one around the clock doesn’t necessarily invite desire or increased attraction…shocker!

What’s that you say?… spending Twenty-four hours with your partner doesn’t make you want to spend even more time with them? Well, you wouldn’t be the first to feel cramped, frustrated, and in need of personal space.


The Masks We Must Wear: Authentic Relationships

We are adjusting and re-adjusting to living in a new normal during the pandemic of COVID-19, and wearing a mask is no longer a once a year thing we enjoyed during October for Halloween parties.

This got me to thinking. Since we are now putting on our daily masks for health and safety and having to socially distance from those we used to hug and feel close, how has this shifted the masks we wear internally in all our relationships?


9 Tips for Navigating Relationship Stress During COVID

We are approaching eight months of pandemic life. For some, this means a relentless routine of virtual living and socially distanced interactions that may leave you feeling slightly unsatisfied.

Paradoxically, our new world of ongoing separateness and space does not necessarily occur for married or partnered couples. You may find yourself spending more time than before with your spouse or partner at home. Too much togetherness may leave you screaming, “When is this going to end?”

Here are a few tips to help you deal with relationship stress while you cope with the effects of the COVID pandemic.


What Pushes Your Buttons?

For Andy, it’s about his partner wagging her finger in his face. For Sara, it’s about the way Matt chews his food. For Jake, it’s about Mindy’s “whatever” attitude when he brings up something that is bothering him. For Kara, it’s those towels left on the bathroom floor. For Jacquin, it’s his daughter rolling her eyes.

The list can go on and on.


The Six Levels of Communication in Marriage

Communication is the most crucial issue in marriage. It’s the most important thing a husband and wife can do together because communication transcends everything. Every cause of stress in marriage—kids, money, sex, etc.—can be addressed with honest, open communication.

That’s how you overcome conflicts: You talk through them. Talk about money. Talk about sex. Talk about parenting issues. One study showed that 86 percent of divorced couples admitted they had communication problems in their marriages.


It’s Not Only Women Who Want More Intimacy in Relationships

“I want more intimacy, more vulnerability. That was a challenge in my marriage. For too long I felt sad and alone, and I just don’t want to feel alone anymore.”

This has been the threadbare anthem for women of all ages in their romantic partnerships with far too many men for far too long.

That’s changing.


Hidden Messages

Successful communication between intimate partners is crucial to the success of their relationship. When it goes awry, it is one of the most compelling reasons that couples seek therapy.

There are multiple communication skills that are readily available and most committed couples can readily master them. But there is another crucial type of interaction between intimate partners that is rarely identified and easily missed — but crucially important.


Committing to Honesty in Your Relationship

I was a massive liar as a kid. Once, in kindergarten, I stood up at "Show and Tell" and announced, falsely, that my family had gotten a dog. Over the next several months, I regaled the class each week with new stories (meaning, lies) about my dog. The turning point was the day I shared that the dog had given birth to a litter of puppies. Immediately, my classmates started begging to come to my house to meet the puppies.


Four Ways to Ruin, and to Repair, Your Relationship

Every couple messes up every day. What matters most is the ability to repair things when they go wrong. What are the big four predictors of divorce? Marriage researcher John Gottman (1999) identified “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse,” relational behavioral patterns that can run your intimate life into the ground in no time—criticism, contempt, stonewalling, and defensiveness.


What Partners Have to Contribute to Their Relationship

Recently a couple came in with a common squabble partners have: the proper way to load the dishwasher. The husband was upset because he felt micromanaged by his wife telling him how he should be putting the dishes in the dishwasher. He said, “She should be happy I’m doing it, not criticizing me for how I’m doing it. Is this how she wants to spend our relationship capital?”



How Life Changed After Covid-19: Is Your Relationship Better or Worse?

This year has been unprecedented in so many ways. For me, not being old enough to have lived through the Spanish flu, this is my very first pandemic experience. About a year ago, when I first heard of Covid-19, I, like most of us, thought that we would hunker down for a month or two and quickly get back to normal.

I felt that my husband and I could do anything for a short time. I thought we were courageous and resilient when the first Shelter at Home orders came down from our governor. We would stay home to do our part, wash our hands and not hoard toilet paper!



Growing a Healthy and Loving Relationship

It's Valentine's Day, and love is in the air.

Not for everyone, unfortunately.

As a therapist, I'm often needed when love is no longer in the air. A heart has been broken, and love has turned cruel. Or the pain of loneliness has become unbearable. Only occasionally do people seek therapy when love is blooming like the daffodils.


Conversational Boundaries without Stonewalling

Difficult conversations can lead to flooding. Learn how to set conversational boundaries without stonewalling. During stressful times, it can be challenging to have conversations with friends and family about sensitive topics without getting uncomfortable.

Think about the last time you had a difficult conversation that upset you. Did you want to just leave? Did you feel that you needed to control yourself from saying what you truly felt? Did you choose not to respond? To shut down? Did you want to avoid a fight, but then felt resentful? Did you blow up and say things that you later wished you could take back?


5 Reasons Why You Keep Having the Same Argument

Nan and Serena feel they have the same argument over and over. For them, it’s about money, but for other couples, it could be about the kids, sex, or household chores. Why? We can think about it on two levels:

Level One: Why This


The Art of Sensual Communication

Even before the pressures of the coronavirus put relationships to the test, many couples found achieving intimacy a continuous, evolving challenge. The barriers to true intimacy are everywhere: couples are pulled apart by the demands of work, answering the call of parenthood, and dealing with any number of personal, financial, and health-related stresses.


Start focusing on what's right instead of just what's wrong in your relationship.

Sarah Schewitz, Psy.D., a licensed clinical psychologist and founder of Couples Learn, an online couples therapy and marriage counseling service, explained how by focusing on the positive parts of their partner, couples become stronger and more in tune with each other.


How to Set (and Respect) Boundaries With Your Spouse

Here's a simple truth: All healthy relationships have healthy boundaries.

You see, boundaries aren't restricting or limiting. They provide the freedom to express your needs and values while also honoring the needs and values of your partner. Setting boundaries is:


Why Small Disagreements End in Nightmare Fights

The discussion may be as simple as where to go to dinner yet ends in a screaming match. Why? Some partners may be incapable of resolving conflict.

Owning a mistake, understanding a partner’s perspective, and identifying a compromise, are healthy ways to resolve conflict. A couple who repairs a rift quickly is usually happier, more at peace, and able to sustain trust.


4 Ways to Mend a Wounded Relationship

Relationships are dynamic entities. They have their highs and lows, and they don’t always go as planned.

What’s the best way to recover from a relationship rut? While there’s no easy answer, relationship science has found some techniques to be helpful at getting a relationship back on track. Here are four strategies to inject new life into a troubled romance.


How to Recognize—and Respond to—a Fake Apology

Suppose someone apologizes to you for harm they’ve caused, and it doesn’t quite “land.” Maybe it doesn’t sound entirely sincere—or you get a vague sense that the person delivering it just wants to wrap it up, but you’re not yet ready to move on. Or maybe they offer any of these notoriously bad ways to make amends:


Refreshing a Stale Relationship

At meals or in the car, there are long silences. After 31 years together, they just don’t have much to say to each other. They don’t fight much; they’ve resolved what they can and shrug at the rest. They parallel play: usually him on his computer, her watching TV or reading. They haven’t had sex in ten years.


Signs Your Partner is Emotionally Unavailable

It takes time to get to know someone - that's what the dating period offers us all. You really can't rush things, either. Things need air and space to bloom. It's also important to know when to commit to the relationship or go your separate ways.


Dealing with Difficult Feelings to Help Yourself & Your Relationships

How to manage difficult emotions may seem counterintuitive to many people. We humans don't like to be uncomfortable or in emotional pain. How many times have you been told or tell yourself the following:


2021 New Year's Resolutions - Curbing Your Light Addictions

It's a New Year, and we are hopeful as we wait for our world to get back to normal. In 2020, the pandemic drastically changed our daily routines and isolated many of us from family, friends, co-workers, and more. So, we had to quickly learn new ways of coping and being in our lives. We might even feel a little uncomfortable with some of our choices made in 2020.


Spouse Had an Affair? Beware How You Handle Your Anger

Therapists frequently invite those who have been betrayed by their partner to freely let out their anger toward the guilty party. And unquestionably, such an emotional release is ethically warranted. After all, a grave relational injustice has occurred, and victims venting just how infuriated they are with their spouse’s deception is definitely reasonable.


Recovering from Infidelity: Why Does Forgiveness Feel So Dangerous?

I believe infidelity is one of the most difficult challenges a couple can experience and attempt to recover from. In my work with people who have experienced infidelity—who may still be reeling from its effects—I’ve noticed some similarities between their varied experiences. While some come to me days after discovery and others may wait decades, many of those seeking help share one common experience, regardless of the amount of time that has passed: the pressure to forgive.


8 Common Myths (and 1 Truth) About Intimacy in Relationships

One topic in psychology that permeates the media is intimacy, which seems to trump almost all of our other concerns. Unfortunately, the advice you receive from magazines and televised advice shows may not be very accurate. One magazine article tells you intimacy is all about sex, while another reports that you don’t need to have sex to have intimacy.


5 Simple Ways to Make Sex More Romantic

Sex can be an uncomfortable topic for couples. Many of us feel embarrassed about our bodies or have been sexually rejected at some point. Not to mention our culture and life experiences which have created feelings of sexual shame, making romantic and intimate sex a scary endeavor to even talk about.


How Couples Counseling Can Improve Relationship Expectations

Couples counseling is not only for couples who are having difficulty but also for those who want to prevent small problems from becoming bigger ones. There are many adjustments involved in long-term commitments that are very difficult to anticipate because they relate to our subconscious feelings and assumptions.


Why It May Be Hard to Forgive Your Partner

Numerous couples have presented to me for treatment because one (or both) cannot let go of past sins (anything perceived as hurtful or painful) committed in the relationship. Oddly enough, these sins can range from a small lie to adultery.


Finding Time for Sex

With all the demands of modern life, many couples can find it hard to schedule in time to have sex. To nurture this vital part of your relationship says psychosexual therapist Paula Hall, you need to dispense with a few bedroom myths and make time to make love.


How Does Sex Differ from Intimacy?

Are sex and intimacy different things? Can you have one without the other? Or does one lead to another?

It seems that there are many conflicting opinions on the roles of sex and intimacy within a relationship (and out of one, too).


Top 10 Relationship Tips and Blogs for Imago Relationships North America in 2020

2020 was a challenging year for us all. We hope our expert-written Relationship Blogs and Tips were there to support you every step of the way.

Our mental health experts focused on a variety of relationship topics and even issues impacting our communities like violence, the pandemic, and race relations.

Our mission is to help you thrive in healthy, connected, and deeply loving relationships.

Please enjoy our Top Ten Relationship Tips and Blogs for 2020!


Dream Relationship Recipe - 10 Ingredients for Healthy Love

I keep reading articles about relationship red flags to look for in your partner. There are lists of things NOT to do in a relationship or people to avoid. These articles catalog ways to know if your partner isn't into you, is narcissistic, or just biding time.


Feeling Lost in Your Relationships? Reclaim the Lost Parts

At the beginning of our relationship, we are both very focused on our partner, attuned, wanting to please. But how well can we keep that up?

I believe most of us have good intentions and want to do the right thing. But does your partner lack characteristics for a healthy and successful relationship?


How to Argue With Your Partner - Healthy and Productive Tips

Relationships are not built on words alone, yet their ability to deflate or uplift your partner is critical to building trust.

Positive words encourage and help establish a connection.


Intimacy Issues During COVID-19

Intimacy issues during COVID-19 are on the rise. During a time where social distancing and self-isolation are now the normal way of doing things, many have found themselves struggling to stay connected.

Subgroups of social interaction like dating and hookup culture have been largely impacted due to the necessary limitations on in-person interactions.

The unintended consequence of these changes has led many to experience intimacy issues during COVID-19 both physically and emotionally.


Why Do Loving Couples Struggle with Sexual Communication?

When I began researching the topic of sexual communication, defined broadly as the process by which romantic partners share their sexual preferences, it surprised me to learn how little partners knew about each other’s sexual likes and dislikes.


The Four S’s of a Healthy Relationship

One of the questions I’m asked most frequently in my psychotherapy practice is: “What is a healthy relationship?” To many, this is a great mystery as they have not had adequate or sometimes even any models of a positive, loving relationship.


The What and How of True Intimacy

Intimacy. People often confuse it with sex. But people can be sexual without being intimate. One night stands, friends with benefits, or sex without love are examples of purely physical acts with no intimacy involved. They are what they are, but they don’t foster warmth, closeness or trust.


How to Keep Your Sex Life Healthy in Marriage

Sex does not have to get boring in a long-term marriage. As the years go by and you get older, your intimate relationship should get better. Sex with your partner can become more satisfying because you know each other's likes, dislikes, habits, and preferences.


What to Do If Your Partner Has Lost Interest in Sex

Research suggests that sexual satisfaction plays a pivotal role in healthy relationships according to research, but there are a number of factors that can influence the quality of a couple's sex life as well as individual sexual desire over the course of a relationship.1 Every relationship can go through dry spells when your partner is suddenly less interested in sex than you.


Talking About Sex When You're Married

Although many experts believe that a majority of marriages today are in distress because of financial reasons, problems with sex and sexuality rank high, too. It seems easier to talk to a stranger online than to your own partner. In fact, the topic of sex is the number one problem discussed in online relationship forums.


Making Sex Exciting

Sleeping with the same person can become predictable in time, but that doesn't mean it's all over. Sex and relationships counselor Suzie Hayman explains why the fire can fade even if you're still in love - and how to reignite the spark.


How to Overcome Fear During Difficult Times

Fear is one of our least favorite guests. When fear shows up—and it shows up for all of us—we’re rarely in a position for it. Right now, we might be trying to get away from some fear before it arrives—even if we need to vacate the premises—our body.
The more we try to run away from our fears, the stronger it gets. Fear goes where we go—regardless of how much we may stuff it, medicate it, or deny it.
This sounds like bad news. But it is actually good news if we learn how to work with fear rather than run from it. Working with it means turning toward it intellectually—and emotionally.


Marriage Power Struggles - 5 Signs of a Conscious Relationship

Oh, it can get downright painful and destructive combat between lovers. Imago Therapists call it "The Power Struggle" phase of the marriage. It typically shows up within a couple of years of togetherness. It is reactive fighting - Lizard Brain stuff.


2020 Holiday Planning Ideas and Questions to Ask During a Pandemic

Discussing how to navigate the holidays can bring up disagreements, disappointments, stress, and strain. Holidays can be contentious, even in a normal year. And, 2020 is far from normal.
With so many people feeling raw and on edge these days, approaching the subject of Holidays from a place of kindness and understanding is best. Talking openly, honestly, and thoroughly about your hopes, needs, and fears can be crucial.
So how can you do that in your relationship? By really thinking through things together and examining all angles.


Healthy Love vs. Unhealthy Love

Have you ever questioned your love for someone?
Do you feel as though your relationship is not growing or evolving?
There are telltale signs of an unhealthy versus healthy love. Let’s take a look at both.


Telling Your Spouse about an Affair

When revealing infidelity to your partner, it is essential to handle the conversation with compassion.

What you are about to tell them will undoubtedly be hurtful.

You will need to show empathy and kindness when you tell your spouse about your affair.

The following is an exercise to help you prepare to disclose an affair to your spouse.


Monthly Digest October 2020: Imago Relationships Blog and Relationship Tips

Here's your Monthly Digest packed full of amazing Imago Relationship Blog posts and Relationship Tips. Explore healing racialized trauma in an interracial marriage, learn the right questions to determine your true life partner, discover how to heal violence in your home, learn how to stop sabotaging your relationship, explore how to increase sexual frequency and intimacy, examine what keeps a woman truly happy, discover the best sex tips for women to have more pleasure, and learn how to raise loving and kind children in today's world.


Good Sex in Long Term Relationships

Couples in long term relationships often complain of lagging sexual energy. In fact, over half of the people in my "Retreat for Couples" sexuality workshops attend with the hope of increasing their sexual energy, and others want to know they are not perverts for enjoying sex, especially at midlife and beyond. All want passion and they want it with each other. They want to grow old together as lovers, not roommates.


Sexless Marriage Reasons and Remedies

Physical intimacy is what makes a relationship more than just a platonic friendship. Some couples fall into a pattern or habit of letting the physical part of their marriage fall by the wayside.


15 Ways To Save Your Relationship When You're On The Verge Of Breaking Up

If you're not happy in your relationship or you're going through some relationship problems, don't fret.

First off, it happens to most couples (it's not always smooth sailing!), so don't think it's just you two. Second, a few tiffs don't always mean you have to break up.


5 Tips For Couples Reuniting After A Trial Separation

If you and your partner have decided on a trial separation to fix your relationship issues, you need to get one thing straight: Unless you work together on those issues, don’t expect change.


Outgrow the Impulse to Blame

I recently received some interesting questions about blame from a journalist. Here are the questions and answers.


10 Things to Talk About Before You Get Married

Should a couple try to identify where trouble may lurk in the years ahead? It can be jarring to go through a list of potentially divisive subjects together, especially when areas that have been previously avoided are thereby brought to the fore. Often, tough issues have gotten papered over with expedient but superficial compromises. Is it wise to take a closer look and risk undoing these truces?


When Old Loves Haunt

Experiences from prior relationships will, in various ways, infiltrate those that follow. But new love has the best chance of flourishing when the reasons for past failures are successfully resolved beforehand.


Create and Maintain Healthy Relationships

The most essential aspect of determining the quality of your life flows through your self-talk. Running a close second as the most important and influential part of your life are your relationships. The people in your life contribute significantly to your well-being (or lack thereof).


4 Steps to Solving Your Core Relationship Problem

When Tom begins to feel neglected by his partner, Anna—when she doesn’t show much interest in his everyday life, isn’t being affectionate enough—Tom initially cuts her some slack, telling himself that she’s probably tired from work or stressed. But as it goes on, he eventually gets fed up and blows up—suddenly ranting at her about her playing a video game, or about her clothes laying on the floor, or the dirty dishes she left in the sink—and Anna, feeling surprised, unsafe, and hurt by Tom’s assault, then withdraws further.


Raising Loving Children - How to Teach Kindness to a Child

What can we all do right now in response to the recent horrific, unjust murders and long-standing history of systemic racism? Wow, big question! Raise children who love.

Yes, we can donate to organizations like Black Lives Matter.


Healing Violence in Our Homes

“He hit me!” Daria announced in a harsh tone when she and Ricardo came in for their first couple’s session. “You provoked me until I did. You wanted me to hit you!” Ricardo rebutted.

“No, I didn’t! You always blame me for everything. Why can’t you just take responsibility and say you’re abusive? You’re just like your step-dad, and you know he was and still is an abuser.” Daria rebutted.


Best Sex Tips for Women - How to Have More Pleasure During Sex

A while ago, I read an inspiring article in The Guardian about several women working at the radical edge of sex-positive feminism, called "The Pleasure Revolution." This line particularly struck me: "#MeToo was about men imposing their pleasure on women. The pleasure revolution is about women asserting their pleasure."


When to Say I Love You - Why Waiting is a Good Idea

Opening our hearts to a new relationship can feel so vulnerable and scary, and we're looking for signs that we are not going to be hurt, to make a fool of ourselves.

That can be especially true if we've got a lot of relationship trauma in our backgrounds. So there can be a tendency to push for declarations from our partner that they genuinely love and cherish us.


Lack of Sex in a Relationship? How to Increase Intimacy in the Bedroom

We have all seen the scene in the movie when a man and a woman become overwhelmed with passion, and they find themselves in a hurried embrace that leads to steamy, spontaneous sex. Those moments are erotic, but for committed couples, impromptu sex doesn’t often materialize. That doesn’t mean your sex life has to suffer, on the contrary.


How to Stop Sabotaging your Relationship

We all know what it’s like in relationships: We fall in love, and with all good intentions, we think we have met “The One.”

The one who’ll meet all your needs, make you happy, and think and feel the same way you do! We may even say, “I’m so lucky to have met you!”


"Say The Thing" to Revitalize Your Relationship

We communicate in ways that are multi-faceted, complex, politically correct, and often intended to conform to an “offense free” society. This might work well when engaging in philosophical, political, or academic discourses, but when it comes to intimate relationships, such ambiguity can be a disaster. During Coronavirus lockdown, ambiguous communication is even more problematic because of already high levels of anxiety, frustration and fear.


The Top 15 Myths About Apologies

An apology can be an intimate exchange or an international diplomatic statement. Whatever the scale, a sincere and thorough amends process is enormously powerful.


Avoiding Explosions

When we see our differences as opportunities to develop our capacities, we begin to meet them with openness and appreciation. This shift in our perspective transforms ordinary conflict into an extraordinary gift, providing us with information that we would otherwise be unable to access. This information tells us about who we are, what matters to us, what we most deeply desire, what we most greatly fear, and what places within us require the healing that loving attention brings.


Three Reasons to Be Vulnerable in Your Relationship

Imagine this scenario:

You notice your partner seems anxious about something. You’re not sure what’s going on, but all day they’ve been acting agitated and on edge. How do you respond? Is there a part of you that begins to worry or perceive their mood as a rejection of you? What do you say to your partner about your concerns—if anything? Do you reach out, even if you’re not sure how?


When Your Partner Can’t Get It Up

Erectile problems are more common than most people think—and definitely more common than most folks want to admit. As much as the guy having trouble getting it up can go through his own private hell, it can also be really hard to be the other person in bed. It can be hard to know how to react and really easy for your insecurities to run wild.


How Not to Say 'I'm Sorry'

“I’m sorry” is only one part of an apology but, for most of us, it’s the most familiar part. It’s a classic line we’ve been taught since childhood, but even so, we don’t always make good use of it.


Playing the Blame Game in Your Relationship? Stop the Defensive Pattern

In our intimate partnerships, we may try hard to connect, wish to be heard, feel understood, ask for change, and validate all of those things. Yet we might be met with resistance.


Conflict Resolution in Couples: Irrational Goals

I blogged about TRIP goals and principled negotiation here. TRIP stands for various goals operating in a conflict: Topic Goals are the real-world outcomes in play; Relational Goals apply to the kind of relationship those in conflict want to have with each other; Identity Goals have to do with saving and losing face; Process Goals involved preferred methods of addressing the conflict.


If You Mess Up, Fess Up

he reward for the work of becoming a person of integrity is that we begin to live a life of harmony. There has been a significant amount of inner work, and we finally know ourselves at a deeper level. We feel we are on the right path; that we are living according to our own personal values; there is a sense of ringing true. There is an alignment of what we think and feel and say and do, all lined up as one. Our inner life and outer life are expressions of each other; we are living our truth.


5 Tips for a Happy Second Marriage Later in Life

Did you know that the overall divorce rate among couples over 50 has more than doubled in the last two decades?

This has left an aging population looking to remarry. Because we are living longer, many Boomers are taking a second chance to find marital bliss.


How to Practice Gratitude Everyday - Getting Through Hard Times

We are all experiencing difficult times these days, and gratitude is an excellent antidote to the anxiety, loss, and frustration that can feel overwhelming and endless.

Here are four tips to help you get back to feeling more grateful in your life and relationships today.


4 Tips on How to Make Your Man Happy

Jessica wonders why she and Steve don't seem to have much to say to each other lately. Bickering has become a frequent pastime. It seems he's only interested in being with her when he has sex in mind. However, Jessica ponders when it would be a good time to broach a conversation.


4 Truths About the Division of Labor Among Couples

Fair division of labor is considered key to a successful marriage, according to Pew Research Polls. (Other top sources consistently include a satisfying sex life). But what does fair mean exactly? And does the division of labor change over time?


Sometimes Not Rocking the Boat Is the Worst Thing to Do

Kim and Jack have been married for six years. While they’ve always gotten along, enjoyed each other’s company, and have had few big arguments, for the last few months they have simply been snipping and snapping at each other about admittedly little things.


What's the Difference Between Sexual Needs and Wants?

“You’re not meeting my sexual needs.”

Have you ever thought this about or said this to someone else? Has anyone ever said this to you?


Incubated Infidelity

Couples all over the world have been sheltering in place for weeks. Judging by the calls to my office and confessions from friends and family, I’d say that the old adage, “familiarity breeds contempt” has some merit.


Why Do People Still Get Married? 4 Reasons Marriage Probably Is — Or Isn't — Right For You

Only you can decide what's right for you, but here's why marriage might be worth it.

You're born for connection. But in modern times, you don't necessarily have to marry in order to live a long, fulfilling life with someone you deeply love.


Improving Communication with Your Partner During COVID-19 Quarantine

Relationships are one of life’s most beautiful offerings.

What may feel like a gift on some days can feel more like a labor of love — with emphasis on the “labor” — on others.


COVID-19 and Couples: Being Less Reactive and More Vulnerable

If your relationship with your significant other is suffering right now, you’re not alone. Relationships go through ups and downs in the best of circumstances, but the arrival of COVID-19 has put many relationships under unprecedented strain.


Learning from Death: How We Change When Losing a Loved One

There is no easy way to write about death that doesn't risk trivializing it or being overwhelmed by it. Fortunately, I have never suffered a tragedy, such as the loss of a child or spouse or family member before their natural time.


Relationship Advice for Lesbian Couples

Lesbian couples are different in many ways from their heterosexual and gay male couple peers. However, lesbian couples are not particularly different from one another.


How to Get Out of a Relationship Rut - Tips to Help

It's normal to experience a relationship rut once we've "landed" our partner.

Our relationship excitement, and all the things we felt motivated us to "land it" become more of the background as time goes on. And, the rest of life becomes more of the foreground for both partners.


Personal Boundaries - Has Your Partner Crossed the Line?

It happens easily! Unconsciously and unintentionally we cross over the not so visible boundary lines with our partners, friends, colleagues, and children because we are not thinking.


The Masks We Must Wear

We are adjusting and re-adjusting to living in a new normal during the pandemic of COVID-19, and wearing a mask is no longer a once a year thing we enjoyed during October for Halloween parties.


How to Show Appreciation & Practice Daily: Creating a Healthy Brain

If you are looking for ways to create a deeper connection and better overall communication with your partner, Imago Relationship Therapists can assist with a powerful technique that takes only minutes each day.


Why Has My Partner Become So Angry?

As I started thinking about this question, I had to laugh. Why? What’s so funny about an angry spouse? Nothing, really.

I giggled because I know all too well about anger these days. Just this morning, my spouse asked me this question! “Honey, why do you seem so angry lately?” Well, here was my reply to him - via text message too!


Want Lasting Love? These 7 Tips & Exercises Will Help.

Are you an established couple with the average number of ups and downs which would like to return your relationship to their original state of love, romance, adventure, and connection?


Bridge the Communication Gap: Tips on Creating a Marriage Vision

Communication is, at its essence, shared understanding. So it makes sense that, if you and your spouse have different understandings of key terms related to marriage, your communication will suffer.


How to Connect With Your Spouse After a Long Workday

Once you're finally home from work, you might flop down next to your spouse and ask, “How was your day?” They'll likely reply, “Good.” They may go into detail or they may not. You may forget that you even asked the question while zoning out.


A Surprising Cause of Conflict in Relationships — and an Easy Remedy

A common but often undetected source of conflict in relationships is harboring an inaccurate belief about your partner’s (or teenager’s) intentions. Our perception of why the other person did or didn’t do something, and what we believe that means — is often the true culprit behind persistent hurt, anger, and/or frustration — not just the behavior itself.


Saying I'm Sorry the Right Way - 3 Tips

Ever wonder why some of your apologies fall flat and you’re not forgiven? Ask yourself… Did you really own it? Or, did you do some of the following?


Bridge the Communication Gap: Tips on Creating a Marriage Vision

Communication is, at its essence, shared understanding. So it makes sense that, if you and your spouse have different understandings of key terms related to marriage, your communication will suffer.


How to Break Habits in a Relationship

Habits are formed by behaviors we’ve repeated over and over, and some are deeply formed in our early years from our experiences and environments. It’s helpful to become aware of each habit and understand why you want to break the habit. Breaking old habits occurs through repetition, practice, and focus.


Irritated? What to Do When Your Partner Annoys You

Going through relationship phases is normal. How you move past the phase and little annoyances back into being deeply connected is what matters most.


Affordable Dates to Connect with Your Partner Today!

Do you and your partner go on regular dates?

Do you laugh, play, and enjoy each other's company?

Or, are you stuck in the routine of rushing to work, rushing home, rushing through errands, rushing to kid activities, and then crashing at night to sleep as much as possible?


Relationships can be amazing!

We can experience such closeneness, compatibility, and enjoyment from sharing our lives with the one we love.

Stop Abusing Your Partner with Negativity

During the time our marriage teetered between renewal and divorce, we were visiting a book store when we happened on a book about how astrology affects relationships. Just for fun, we opened to the page where our two astrological signs intersected. Then we read, “You will destroy your relationship unless you stop the unrelenting negative scrutiny of each other.” We were stunned. And then we laughed. We knew the book had gotten it right.


What to Expect From Couples Therapy - 4 Tips

Congratulations! If you are reading this, you have probably decided to seek help for your relationship. And this is often a difficult decision.

If things are not going well in our intimate relationships, it can feel like a very personal failing.


Is it Cheating or Micro-Cheating? Here's the Difference.

Monogamy falls on a continuum. It goes from totally closed—meaning no sexual, sensual, or emotional connection with anyone outside of a marriage or committed partnership—to totally open, with both partners agreeing to explore sexual, sensual fully, and emotional connections outside of their relationship. But there are ways to cheat that fall somewhere in the cracks of these definitions. These avoidant techniques are outside of your explicit monogamy agreement and are called micro-cheating.


How to Heal Your Partner with an Apology

I often tell couples that an apology costs us nothing, and can bring us the world.

Giving an apology is a gift we offer to our partner, to recognize we have hurt them, and that their pain matters to us, big or small. But how its expressed makes all the difference.


6 Ways to Fight Fair in Your Marriage

Most phone calls to a couples counselor come when the romance has faded, and the power struggle stage has set in.


How to Increase Intimacy with Your Partner

Are you married now? If not, have you thought about being married? Do you ever wonder how you can have a lasting marriage? Do you want to remarry but are unsure it's right?


Healthy Relationships - 6 Steps to Create Harmony at Home

What does the word Home mean to you? Does home equate to nurture or love? Is home filled with healthy relationships? Or, is it simply a permanent place where one resides?


Gratitude is a Choice - Even in Challenging Times

One of the best things you can do for your marriage and for your overall happiness is to actively cultivate an attitude of gratitude. It requires some dedicated focus, but it’s much easier than you think!


One Tip to Improve Your Marriage Fast!

Many clients come in the first time for relationship advice after they’ve already gotten to a place where it’s too difficult to see the positive in one another any longer. Does all this sound familiar?


Are You Truly Connecting with Your Partner?

As an Imago therapist, I often see couples struggling in the area of connecting vs. communicating with each other. Communication can be very different from connecting with your loved ones if you are not in a conscious relationship.


The Two Simple Ways to Upgrade Your Relationship

When a relationship is going well, it feels magical. After 40 years as a marital therapist, though, I know that good marriages depend on more than magic. They are built on habits that capture the feelings you have for each other and make them durable. I've seen couples use these skills to transform a poor marriage into one that is wonderful. My wife and I have experienced this ourselves.


Mind Reading in Relationships - When Is It a Good Idea?

If you want to improve your relationship, one cardinal rule to follow is - don’t expect your partner to read your mind. This seems obvious, right? But many people operate this way, in an unconscious manner, almost daily.


The Beauty of Loving and Connecting with Another

Have you ever wondered why our closest intimate relationships provide our deepest comfort and solace, but can also cause us to feel our loneliest, most unsupported and frightened? Much of this contrast evolves from early socialization and romantic notions encouraged by pop culture, literature, and fairy tales, which emphasize the intoxicating excitement of romantic love (and even the spark of a great new friendship) and omit the critical component of nourishing a relationship.


Do Opposites Attract? How to Save your Marriage when the Differences Drive you Apart!

They say that opposites attract, and that can certainly be a good thing for a happily married or coupled-up pair of people who are, indeed, polar opposites. Still, it can be scary to discover that the person you've fallen in love with, married, and are building a life with is actually very different from you. Personality type compatibility is certainly important, but rather than dwelling on it; it might help you to know that this isn't uncommon in even the healthiest of relationships.


The Fatigue of Long-Term Relationships

Not long ago, I went to pick someone up at the airport. Ahead of me, as I moved through the terminal, was an older couple, probably in their 60s. He was walking some 20 feet in front of her. She was criticizing him from behind, something to the effect of “You’re not pulling the suitcase correctly.”


Sex: Can We Talk About It?

It doesn’t matter whether you start with sex or communication, the patterns that hinder connection play out in all areas of the relationship.


How to Rebuild Trust and Fall Back in Love

As a Marriage Therapist, one of the hardest things I encounter is a couple where trust has been broken.


Flatten Your Couple Curve! Stop the Spread of Conflict with 6 Tips

Here we are in spring and sheltering in place with our partners and families 24/7, something we seldom ever do.


Let People Know You Love Them

The old saying, "actions speak louder than words," holds true when it comes to expressing the love we feel for others. This behavior may come easy to you, or you may struggle with showing your love, and if that's the case, you are not alone.


Top Qualities of Strong Relationships

Strong relationships involve flexibility, communication, intentionality, fun, compassion, and an overall sense of togetherness.


How to Build Resilience as a Trauma Survivor

This global pandemic, COVID-19, is happening to everyone! Everyone will have some trauma history after living through this crisis.


How to Overcome the Negative Bias in your Relationship - 3 Tips

Imagine scripting a perfect day with your partner...


Marriage: What Nobody Tells Us About

Your partner is a pain in the butt! You probably already know this, but what you may not know is that this is the way it is supposed to be.


How Your Love Can Thrive During a Crisis - 3 Tips

The increased stress from the Coronavirus impacts each of us differently in all of our relationships.


6 Myths About Female Sexuality

Enjoy these six relationship tips to help you and your partner fall back in love again. Or, help you and your partner increase the intensity of the love you already share in your relationship.


Marriage: The Birth of Love

Enjoy these six relationship tips to help you and your partner fall back in love again. Or, help you and your partner increase the intensity of the love you already share in your relationship.


Get More Love in Your Relationship Today with These 6 Tips!

Enjoy these six relationship tips to help you and your partner fall back in love again. Or, help you and your partner increase the intensity of the love you already share in your relationship.


In a Standoff with Your Partner? Tips to Help You Resolve.

In North America, we have a deeply embedded belief that if we marry the right person, things will be easy, we will get our needs met, and we will "live happily ever after."


How to Repair a Rupture in Your Relationship Today!

Think back to the last argument you had with your partner. Did you feel intense emotional pain afterward? That’s likely due to the fact you experienced a rupture in connection during and after the argument.


Let People Know You Love Them

The old saying, "actions speak louder than words," holds true when it comes to expressing the love we feel for others. This behavior may come easy to you, or you may struggle with showing your love, and if that's the case, you are not alone.


Communication Skills - Are They Needed in Your Relationship?

Do you and your partner have difficulties communicating? Do you have the same core fight over and over again? You know the one, it’s the dreaded topic that keeps coming back and never resolves!


Get the Sex You Want - 7 Tips

A lot of people are in relationships that they like, with partners they are attracted to, who want sex, and enjoy intimacy. But, life gets in the way even when we are spending lots of time Sheltered in Place due to the Coronavirus Pandemic. If this is your story, and you want more or better sex, these seven tips might help you change that today!


Top Qualities of Strong Relationships

Strong relationships involve flexibility, communication, intentionality, fun, compassion, and an overall sense of togetherness.


The Space-Between and the Point of Connection for Couples

Most people describe a committed love relationship consisting of two people. But we define a love relationship as "two people plus the Space-Between them.”


Words Can Kill Relationships - 5 Words and Phrases to Avoid

Sticks and stones may break your bones, but let’s be honest: words hurt, too. Even after years of a marriage where you and your partner are completely open and honest with each other, it’s still wise to set some boundaries and refrain from using words and phrases that may hurt your relationship.


Are You Defensive in Your Relationship?

As an Imago Therapist, I often hear clients express their concerns about their partner's behaviors during moments of conflict. One partner might be fully bothered by the fact their partner seems to shut down, while another client might hate the fact their partner overreacts and takes things "the wrong way."


How to Build Resilience as a Trauma Survivor

This global pandemic, COVID-19, is happening to everyone! Everyone will have some trauma history after living through this crisis. Every child now has at least one point on the ACE score! (Learn more about the ACEs study and its connection to trauma and health.) Everyone needs support to build up their resilience right now, during COVID-19.


7 Signs of Serious Relationship Troubles

Sometimes it can be hard to tell if your relationship is actually headed for the rocks. Or you might suspect that, in fact, it’s already over. But is it just a normal part of a relationship to be in conflict sometimes? How do you know if it’s really in trouble?


Overcoming the Negative Bias in your Relationship - 3 Tips

Imagine scripting a perfect day with your partner... You set out on a hike on a beautiful Sunday morning, take a dip at a refreshing waterfall with no one around, snack on the fruit salad and sandwiches you prepared together, and – feeling connected and energized – you head back home.


6 Myths About Female Sexuality

Walking down the strip in South Beach on one Saturday night, we passed a woman in her late 30's dressed up for the evening, sporting a frilly, very low-cut blouse. I asked my husband, "What do you think she has in mind?" He didn't skip a beat in answering, "Finding someone to have sex with tonight."


Protect Your Marriage - Avoid These 4 Harmful Behaviors

When most people are asked to describe what cheating would look like in their relationship the first thing that comes to mind is an extramarital affair. But there are a number of ways you can cheat your partner out of genuine intimacy without ever having an affair.

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