10 Commandments for Couples

holding-hands-2180640_640

1. Chill First: Take a time out to get calm before discussing conflict; you want to communicate, not vent

2: Love Comes First: Remember the other’s endearing qualities before beginning

 

  1. It’s a Partnership not a Duel: Don’t try to change one another, but to understand and support one another
  1. This Isn’t Badminton: Agree that each partner has the chance to speak without interruption while the other listens;
  1. Take a Lesson from Cats: Start with an attitude of curiosity rather than judgment
  1. Honey First:

Speaker–Encourage your partner’s listening by opening with a positive

  1. This Isn’t about You:

Listener– Temporarily pull the window shade on your issues

  1. Put Down the Sledgehammer and Take Off the Armor

Speaker–Resist the temptation to criticism and blame

Listener–Defensiveness blocks communication; put yourself in your partner’s shoes

  1. First, Do No Harm

Speaker—Voice appreciation rather than contempt

Listener– Stay attentive to your partner’s complaint

  1. Lighten Up

Speaker–Humor is bonding; smile, even elicit a chuckle

Listener—Do not make jokes about the speaker’s issues

  1. Stay in the Present

Speaker—Don’t bring up ancient history

  1. Know When to Stop

Speaker–Don’t perseverate on the issue. Make your point, then listen.

Listener: If your partner is going on and on, gently offer to voice your understanding of the problem.

Someday My Prince Will Come…

Frog

Someday my prince will come” is a fantasy that just about every little girl had at one time or another. The reality is that few princes (or princesses) show up.  Even if you find yourself with the person of your dreams, there will be inevitable bumps in the road. The tough reality is that when you commit to a relationship, you inevitably experience disillusionment. You find out that your prince or princess has flaws you were unaware of or ignored during your courtship.  If you were expecting perfection, you’ll surely be disappointed.  If the gap between your expectations and reality is great, you may even spiral into despair. The reality is that every partner and every relationship has flaws.  Satisfaction in your intimate relationship is directly connected to your ability to accept, even embrace, these imperfections.  In a rewarding and successful relationship—a wise relationship–the connection between you and your partner is so solid that you are content with the not-perfect relationship.

Adapted from Anxious in Love, available on Amazon.

Stay Calm in Love: Dr. Daitch’s Tips for a Happy Valentine’s Day

CupidValentine’s Day is just around the corner. For those couples wishing to enhance their sense of connection,

Dr. Carolyn Daitch, Director of the Center for the Treatment of Anxiety Disorders in Farmington Hills, MI has five easy tips to recommend.

C.U.P.I.D

C: Communication requires de-escalation: successful communication requires deescalating your own heightened emotion before engaging your partner.

U: Understanding is NOT automatic: you and your partner are not always going to share the same perspective—so the assumption that your partner should, by default, understand your perspective can cause frustration and alienation for both of you.

P: Practice makes permanent: repeated practice, not just good intentions or a single instance of success, brings about the change in your relationship that you want to see.

I: Interdependence is the key: a good balance of dependence and independence is the key to healthy relationships.

D: Deescalate whenever needed: when you are in conflict with your partner and emotions start to escalate, take an immediate cease-fire, or “time-out” to calm down before reengaging. Heightened emotion, whether it’s anxiety, fear, anger, or sadness, only heightens disconnect in an interaction. You need to deescalate your own heightened emotion before you’re going to experience connection in any communication.

Embracing and putting these tips into action will help couples feel the warmth of Cupid’s arrow without its sting this Valentine’s Day.