Grow a Great Relationship

4 Principles for Criticism in Your Relationship

Criticism in Your Relationship

Criticism from someone you love can be particularly hurtful, especially from a romantic partner.  However, not all criticism is meant purely to harm.  Many times criticism from our spouse or partner can be helpful and aiding us in recognizing our true selves and making changes to enhance ourselves.

Below are some basic principles in criticism from partners and how they can be beneficial. Continue reading

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4 Points to Keep Your Relationship Distress Free!

Learning from Relationship Distress

When needs go unmet in a relationship, it is common for the relationship to show signs of distress.  As disappointment with your partner increases, your frustration may turn into criticism or withdrawal.  If this continues, the result might be defensiveness or even contempt.  Generally, couples use destructive behaviors in their relationships to express the fact that their needs are not being met.  However, another way of looking at these undesirable situations within relationships, is as an opportunity to learn from information gathering.  Below is a more specific view of information gathering during the signs of relationship distress. Continue reading

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The See-Saw Effect

The See-Saw Effect

 We have all experienced this in our relationships.  You are upset with your partner and your partner withdraws and becomes detached.  This makes you more upset to the point of hysteria.  Likewise, when your partner is angry, you withdraw, and he or she becomes more upset.  The See-Saw Effect explains why the more calm and detached a husband becomes, the more hysterical and panicky his wife gets.  It explains why nice, even-tempered people may attract partners with tempers.

The See-Saw Effect starts with an emotional connection.  When you began to get serious with your partner, chances are that one of the big perks of the relationship was the emotional connection.  You probably felt like you understood each other, shared intimate moments, and were bonded in a special way.  Once this develops, you and your partner become in tune with each other’s emotions.  The more connected you are to another person, the more you are able to share and experience their feelings. Continue reading

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Post Rapture: The Beginning of True Love

Post-Rapture: The Beginning of True Love

Once you have spent a little time suffering from infatuation syndrome, you may start to feel less satisfied with your partner.  This infatuation hangover happens during the transitional stage between the initial stage of the relationship and true love.  There are subtle changes over time, but common issues that tend to occur include:

  1. Despite months of identical desires, you don’t always want the same things lately
  2. Little habits that were once endearing start to annoy you
  3. You are no longer always the main priority in your partner’s life
  4. Loving gestures, such as flowers and love notes, decrease
  5. You are hesitant to give as much as before due to your feeling that you are not getting anything in return anymore
  6. You feel as though your partner is moving away from you
  7. There is more silence between you than before
  8. You don’t have sex as often and when you do, it isn’t quite the same as before
  9. You feel a need for space and more private time
  10. You start seeing negative traits in your partner that you did not see before
  11. You no longer give the benefit of the doubt and tend to just to negative conclusions

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So how do we keep the spark in a long-term relationship? Here are a 7 ideas:

Keeping the Spark in a Long-Term Relationship

 Change is inevitable within a long-lasting marriage. The excitement, electricity and attraction of the relationship’s early days fade with time. Practical matters of work, family, home and money deplete our energy and sometimes weight the relationship with irritations. We’re older. We’re tired.

Sometimes these alterations are so small and subtle that it comes as a shock when we realize our feelings have changed. We find we’ve become critical of our spouse’s behavior – things that never bothered us before, things we may have once found adorable! We’d rather watch TV or play solitaire than plan something with our husband or wife. We no longer have a sex life worth mentioning.

When we begin a relationship, we are convinced this day will never come. But even in the best relationships, it does, to one degree or another.

So how do we keep the spark in a long-term relationship?   Here are a few ideas: Continue reading

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Infatuation Stage – 17 Decisions We Make While Under the Influence

Infatuation Syndrome

Your eyes meet across the room, and you both blush and smile.  There’s an undeniably instant connection between you that you know will last forever, through your wedding, children, and grandchildren.  That’s it!  You’re in love!

Wrong.  You’re infatuated!

Infatuation syndrome can occur anytime to anyone and, unfortunately, looks a lot like love.  Our brain chemistry gives off a falling-in-love experience.  When we meet someone attractive, our limbic system is flooded with powerful chemicals.  These chemicals are induced by the action of phenylethylamine (PEA), a naturally occurring, amphetamine-like neurotransmitter.  PEA is commonly known as the “love molecule” and works with dopamine and norepinephrine to trigger strong side effects due to infatuation syndrome.  Symptoms include a positive attitude, increased energy, decreased need for sleep, and a loss of appetite.

So, what is the brain’s reason for releasing all of these powerful chemicals?  In order to reach a level of knows-no-bounds infatuation, the chemicals must overpower the amygdala, the brain’s inhibition center.  This part of the brain tries to warn you “you don’t know this person! Look at the warning signs that they’re bad for you!”  But Mother Nature has created such a strong chemical concoction in your brain that you do not hear your amygdala’s warnings.

Why is Mother Nature being so tricky?  It’s all about biology.  Infatuation is nature’s way of getting people to meet, mate, procreate and produce healthy offspring.  So, when you make rash relationship decisions, it is for the good of the species!  Continue reading

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Develop 4 Important Qualities for a Proactive Relationship

The Proactive Relationship

To get ahead and maintain a certain level of productivity, you need to be proactive at work.  You plan out your schedule by priority level, tackle the most important projects first, and assess the effectiveness of your methods.  All of this makes you a valuable and efficient employee, but what happens when you get home?

Every activity and situation in life has an initial stimulus and a corresponding response.  However, in every occurrence of this there is a space between the stimulus and the response in which you make a choice.  It is in this space that you have the opportunity to be proactive.

So, what does it mean to be proactive?  Being proactive means that you act based on your principles and values rather than your emotions or specific circumstances.  And in order to maintain a proactive balance within your relationship, reacting based on love rather than momentary frustration, you need to possess four important qualities. Continue reading

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4 Simple Rules to Follow to Create a Positive Relationship Change

Goal Setting for Relationship Change

 We all know the old adage “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”  As simplistic and obvious as it sounds, this motto can be applied to many areas of life, including relationships.   When your marriage is tense and full of conflict, it can be hard to pinpoint exactly what interaction patterns are causing the friction, but distinguishing between conflict triggers and functioning aspects of the marriage is essential.  Otherwise, you may be so desperate to fix everything that you alter areas perfectly in tact.  This is why it is important to set goals to achieve a better relationship.

Goal setting helps you envision exactly what it is you want to accomplish within the marriage and can be broken down into four simple rules to follow:

  1. Describe what you want to accomplish rather than what your spouse is doing wrong.

Instead of dwelling on the current issues plaguing the relationship, set clear goals, and the focus shifts to what the relationship will be like in the future. Goal setting is also important because it helps you identify what you need to do differently to improve the relationship.

  1. Describe goals in behavioral or action terms.

The goals you set within your relationship must be specific and detailed in order to be successful agents for change.  A goal of being more affectionate sounds promising, but affection is a very vague and relative term.  You may interpret it as holding hands while walking the dog, but your partner may interpret it as an increase in sexual affection.  This difference in interpretations has the potential to hurt rather than heal, initiating yet another conflict in the relationship.

Instead, communicate your affection needs in step-by-step behavioral terms.  For example, you can communicate to your partner that you would like the increase in affection to include holding hands while walking, sitting close to each other while watching television, and hugging and kissing each other goodbye.  Your needs are clearly communicated in specific action terms.  This way, you encourage open communication and establish your needs in a clearly defined manner.

  1. Less is more.

 Just like all the conflicts within the marriage, goal setting with your partner and for yourself can seem overwhelming.  Asking for a lot of change all at once can be counterproductive, leading to defensiveness and defeat.  By taking changes in small and concise steps, both you and your partner are able to focus on each change and savor the accomplishments.

  1. Look forward.

 The main concept of goal setting is to look forward toward the future.  Dwelling in the present and past conflicts only delays success and change.  However, like with the previous step, less is more when looking forward.  You do not have to focus solely on the ideal marriage you expect to achieve in months and years to come.  First, think to the first change that will occur.  How will you know there has been a change?  What will be different?  Envisioning the small changes will make them more meaningful and also more likely to occur.

By following these rules, goal setting can bring meaningful changes to your communication patterns, daily interactions, and overall relationship with your partner.  Instead of spending another day arguing, crying, or contemplating separation or divorce, look forward and imagine the specific steps that can lead you and your partner into a deeper and more satisfying marriage.

(Source: Divorce Busting by Michele Weiner-Davis)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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3 Key Aspects About Your Marital Bond

3 Key Aspects About Your The Marital Bond

 The marital bond is a unique connection that only a couple can share.  It provides support, safety, understanding, and love to each member of the couple.  Although the marital bond is one all-encompassing description of a marriage, relationships have many aspects that make up a solid foundation.  The key aspects that make up the marital bond are respect, trust, and intimacy. Continue reading

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10 Characteristics of a Conscious Marriage

A conscious marriage is defined as a marriage that fosters maximum psychological and spiritual growth.  This kind of marriage is created by becoming conscious and cooperating with the fundamental drives of the unconscious mind: to be safe, healed, and whole.

There are ten main characteristics of a conscious marriage.  They are as follows: Continue reading