Relationship Maintenance

Fine Tune Your Relationship

Why do some relationships last forever and others fall apart? Here are some ways you can make your partner feel appreciated again and prevent your relationship from becoming a casualty.

 

    1.    Treat your partner as you would your boss, best friend, or best customer.

 

    2.    Think about what your partner wants and give it to him or her.

 

    3.    Think of ways you can do the unexpected and be thoughtful. Remember how you acted when you wanted to win your partner over.

 

    4.    Pay attention to your appearance. Dress nicely; get into shape.

 

    5.    Express your thoughts carefully. Being married doesn't give anyone permission to let it all hang out.

 

    6.    Spend regular time together alone.

 

    7.    Look for ways to compliment your partner.

 

    8.    Hug when you say hello and goodbye. It feels good and it makes people feel loved.

 

    9.    Learn and practice communication skills. Relating successfully to another person requires a set of skills that can be learned.

 

    10.    Be polite. Just because you are married doesn't mean you can forget your manners.

 

    11.    When you want something, say please.

 

    12.    When your partner does something for you, say thank you.

 

    13.    When your partner comes home after a day at work, greet her at the door and say hello. Ask how her day went.

 

    14.    When your partner leaves for work in the morning, say goodbye and "I love you" or "Have a good day."

 

    15.    When your partner faces a challenge at work during the day, ask how it went when you get home.

 

    16.    During your evening meal together, avoid the temptation to watch television or read the paper or mail. Look at your partner and have a conversation.

 

    17.    If you want to make plans that affect how your partner will be spending time, check with him first and make sure it's convenient.

 

    18.    When you ask your partner a question, make eye contact and listen to the answer.

 

    19.    When you disagree with something your partner says, pay attention to your response. Do you express your opinion without putting her down? You can express your opinion assertively rather than aggressively. For example, you can say, "I have another opinion. I think we should wait until spring to have the walls painted," rather than, "That's silly! We should wait until spring."

 

    20.    Pay attention to how much of your side of the conversation is asking questions versus making statements. If you tend to be the dominant one, ask more questions.

 

    21.    Ask open-ended questions to encourage your partner to open up and talk. Open-ended questions begin like this:

    a.    Tell me about...

    b.    What do you think of...

    c.    What was it like when...

 

    22.    Have you become passive with your partner because that's the easiest way to avoid conflict? Over time, this is not a good idea. You will inevitably begin to build up feelings of resentment because you are stifling your feelings, thoughts, and opinions. If you think you are choosing passive behavior too often, think about discussing it with your partner and asking him to help you be more assertive.

 

    23.    Researchers have found that people whose marriages last the longest have learned to separate from their families of origin (their own parents and siblings) and have appropriate, healthy boundaries. They value and honor their own privacy and separateness as a couple. This means they have regular, appropriate contact with their extended family, but that it is not excessive or stifling. How do you compare?

 

    24.    Check your communication with your partner and beware of using "You" messages. These are statements that begin with you. For example:

You need to come home by 6:00 tonight.

You shouldn't do that.

You should call me from the office and tell me when you'll be home.

Here is what you ought to do.

"You" messages are damaging because they make the other person feel bad or disrespected. It feels like you are talking down to him or her.

 

    25.    If you want to demonstrate to your partner that you respect and esteem him or her, try speaking with "I" messages instead. When you start your statement with "I," you are taking responsibility for the statement. It is less blameful and less negative than the "you" message.

You can use this formula: Your feelings + Describe the behavior + Effect on you. This is how an "I" message sounds: When I heard that you'd planned a weekend up north, I was confused about why you hadn't asked me first, so I could be sure to get the time off. It takes some practice and you have to stop and think about what you are going to say, but your marriage deserves to be handled with care.

 

    26.    Make a list of your partner's positive qualities. Share them with him and tell her why you think each is true.

 

    27.    Ask your partner to do the same for you.

 

    28.    Respect each other's private space. Over time, many couples let this slide.

 

    29.    As the years pass, many couples begin to feel like they are living in the same house, but have parallel lives. Their paths cross in fewer places. What is the trend in your relationship and what do you want to do about it?

Find out your partner's love language to find out how to meet your partner's specific needs. Go to www.5LoveLanguages.com to take a short quiz.

WHAT IS SOLUTION-FOCUSED THERAPY AND HOW DOES IT WORK?

Photo by egal/iStock / Getty Images

Photo by egal/iStock / Getty Images

Most types of psychotherapy involve exploring feelings, being validated, finding explanations, exploring wishes and dreams, setting goals, and gaining clarity. Every therapist has unique ways of working with clients, based on his or her personality, training, and views of how people change.

A solution-focused therapist is likely to do the following:

1.    Instead of going over past events and focusing on problems, the therapist helps you envision your future without today’s problems.

2.    During the course of therapy (often as few as 3 to 6 sessions), the therapist helps you discover solutions.

3.    The therapist encourages you to identify and do more of what is already working.

4.    The therapist guides you to identify what doesn’t work and to focus on doing less of it.

5.    The emphasis is on the future, not the past.

6.    SFBT therapists believe that the client is the best expert about what it takes to change his or her life.

7.    The therapist’s role is to help you identify solutions that will remove the barriers to having the life you want.

Solution-Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT) is a process that helps people change by constructing solutions rather than dwelling on problems. This type of therapy tends to be shorter-term than traditional psychotherapy. Steve de Shazer and Insoo Kim Berg of the Brief Family Therapy Center in Milwaukee are the originators of this form of therapy.

The SFBT therapist helps the client identify elements of the desired solution, which are usually already present in the client’s life. The client learns to build on these elements, which form the basis for ongoing change. Rather than searching for the causes of the problem, the focus is on defining the changes and making them a reality. The two key therapeutic issues are: (1) how the client wants his or her life to be different, and (2) what it will take to make it happen.

Creating a detailed picture of what it will be like when life is better creates a feeling of hope, and this makes the solution seem possible. The therapist helps the client focus on the future and how it will be better when things change. It is important to develop a set of specific, detailed goals. These goals drive the therapy process and keep it focused and efficient.

Why SFBT Is Usually Short-Term

SFBT therapists don’t set out to artificially limit the number of sessions. A good brief therapist will not focus on limiting sessions or time, but rather on helping clients set goals and develop strategies to reach those goals. Focusing on the client’s goals and the concrete steps needed to achieve them usually takes less time than traditional therapy, in which the client typically spends many sessions talking about the past and explores reasons and feelings. SFBT therapists aim to provide clients with the most effective treatment in the most efficient way possible so that clients can achieve their goals and get on with their lives. As a result of this focus, the counseling process often requires as few as six sessions.

Types of Problems That SFBT Addresses

Solution-Focused Brief Therapy is an effective way of helping people solve many kinds of problems, including depression, substance abuse, eating disorders, relationship problems, and many other kinds of issues. Since it focuses on the process of change rather than on dissecting the problem, more serious issues do not necessarily require different treatment. The SFBT therapist’s job is to help clients transform troubling issues into specific goals and an action plan for achieving them.

In The Miracle Method, authors Scott D. Miller and Insoo Kim Berg describe how to create solutions with these steps:

1.    State your desire for something in your life to be different.

2.    Envision that a miracle happens and your life is different.

3.    Make sure the miracle is important to you.

4.    Keep the miracle small.

5.    Define the change with language that is positive, specific, concrete, and behavioral.

6.    State how you will start your journey rather than how you will end it.

7.    Be clear about who, where, and when, but not why.

Signs That You Should Consider Seeing a Therapist

There are several ways to know when you would be doing yourself a favor by finding a licensed, professional therapist to work with.

1.    You’ve tried several things on your own, but you still have the problem.

2.    You want to find a solution sooner rather than later.

3.    You have thoughts of harming yourself or others.

4.    You have symptoms of depression, anxiety, or another disorder that significantly interfere with your daily functioning and the quality of your life. For example, you have lost time from work, your relationships have been harmed, or your health is suffering. These are signs that you need the help of a trained, licensed professional.

MANAGING STRESS IN YOUR LIFE & RELATIONSHIPS

Photo by RapidEye/iStock / Getty Images

Photo by RapidEye/iStock / Getty Images

Learn to Have Healthy Relationships

This subject could fill an entire book. In the limited space of this newsletter, let’s look at the key components of this stress-reducing strategy.

1.    Identify the sources of stress in your relationships. Write about them in a journal. Make a list of people who cause you stress and explore what the issues are.

2.    Resolve the underlying issues. For each of the situations identified in step 1, assess what needs to happen to resolve it. Make a list and design a plan to improve the situation.

3.    Learn skills to improve relationships. Relationship skills are learned. We are not born knowing how to get along well with others, and most of us learned only limited skills from our parents. Identify the skills you need to develop, and make a plan for yourself. You can learn these skills by reading books, taking classes, or working with a therapist.

4.    Avoid toxic people and situations. Some people have a toxic effect on you. If you can, limit the amount of time you spend with them. Look for opportunities to decline their invitations. When these people are family members, remind yourself that you don’t have to feel guilty about avoiding anyone who makes you feel bad about yourself. In work situations, look for ways to rearrange your schedule or your workspace to avoid interacting with such people.

5.    Seek out positive people and situations. This step is the reverse of the previous step. Look for opportunities to spend more time with people and in situations that make you feel good. Think about people who make you feel good about yourself and look for ways to increase time with them.

6.    Watch what you eat. Some substances amplify the stress response. These include:

·    Caffeine stimulates the release of stress hormones. This increases heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen to the heart. Ongoing exposure to caffeine can harm the tissue of the heart.

·    Refined sugar and processed flour are depleted of needed vitamins. In times of stress, certain vitamins help the body maintain the nervous and endocrine systems.

·    Too much salt can lead to excessive fluid retention. This can lead to nervous tension and higher blood pressure. Stress often adds to the problem by causing increased blood pressure.

·    Smoking not only causes disease and shortens life, it leads to increased heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration.

·    Alcohol robs the body of nutrition that it might otherwise use for cell growth and repair. It also harms the liver and adds empty calories to the body.

During times of high stress, eat more complex carbohydrates (fruits, vegetables, whole breads, cereals, and beans).

7.    Get moving. The human body was designed to be physically active. However, in most jobs today, people are sitting down most of the time. They hardly move at all except when it is time for coffee break or lunch. When faced with stressors, we respond with our minds, not our bodies. It is no wonder that many of us have a difficult time responding to stressful events.

Exercise is one of the simplest and most effective ways to respond to stress. Activity provides a natural release for the body during its fight-or-flight state of arousal. After exercising, the body returns to its normal state of equilibrium, and one feels relaxed and refreshed.

8.    Look for ways to let go of tension and anxiety. Meditation, hypnosis, and progressive relaxation are valuable ways to regenerate and refresh yourself. You can purchase meditation and relaxation audiotapes or record your own. This is especially important because your health and long life depend on minimizing stress and achieving a sense of balance and well-being.

 

101 Affirmations and Positive Suggestions: A Workbook Utilizing The Power of Journaling and Self-Hypnosis
by Dr. Elizabeth A Mahaney
Link: http://a.co/0SzD9hN

or

https://www.createspace.com/3402297