Archive for February, 2012

A Stronger, More Passionate Relationship — Four Minutes at a Time

February 29, 2012

We recently came across a new strategy to help couples build up and expand on the positive in their relationships. We want to share it with you because we’ve seen couples who use it be enormously successful at changing the tone of their relationship on a day to day basis. It is a great technique because when the tone shifts the foundation is set for couples to create a better, strong, more loving and passionate marriage.  It really can be a part of what makes happier marriages and relationships. No, it won’t make all the unresolved issues go away, but it can make you feel more connected to each other, more loving, and more hopeful about your relationship. With all those good feelings and good will, often negotiating the tough issues becomes a lot easier and sometimes, some of the issues do dissolve.

Most people are very busy these days. There are multiple commitments and obligations, kids after school schedules, work, to do lists, the tedious tasks of day to day living. Most of us certainly want a better, stronger, healthier and more passionate marriage but we forget that we need to take purposeful action to have a relationship or a marriage like that. Too many partners or spouses rarely have much couple time. What they have is often what is left over after most other things are taken care of. Just think about how much energy is being put into the relationship in a situation like that. It isn’t that most of us are bad or thoughtless people, it is just that we are pulled in so many directions and have to do more to stay or top of our lives than in any other time in history.

When we are so overworked and rundown it is like a car trying to run without gasoline. In that state it can be a little harder to see the good things around us.  We might more easily focus on what is not working or what is wearing us down. So this exercise, like many of its type, helps couples develop the positive in relationships.

This strategy was created originally by Linda Duncan, PhD, Professor and Director of the Professional Counseling Program and Tarleton State University. She has developed what she calls the Four Critical Moments Activity. Don’t worry. “Critical” in this case does not mean to criticize. It means “crucial” “important.” There are four critical moments during the day which can set the tone of your relationship for that day. These critical moments are:

  • The first four minutes you and our partner are awake in the morning
  • The last four minutes you and your partner spend together before leaving the house for the day
  • The first four minutes when you both get back home in the evening
  • The last four minutes before you go to sleep

First, do a little “interview” with your partner. Ask each other about what you would like most from each other during those critical moments. Think about what are the things that would make you feel loved, taken care of, nurtured. Maybe you really want to spend those four minutes before you get up just snuggling with your partner while you both are awake. Perhaps your partner making you a fresh cup of coffee or your favorite tea when you come downstairs makes you feel cared for.  It could be a long warm embrace and a brief overview of your plan before you leave the house. Or, a gentle shoulder rub when you walk in the door. You can get as creative as you’d like as long as it’s something your partner can reasonably do in four minutes. This helps ensure you both get to feel successful and see the rewards almost immediately.

After you’ve “interviewed” each other and made your lists, put it into practice. There may be times you don’t feel like doing it and do it anyway. Part of what makes us feel cherished is sometimes knowing what we are receiving takes some effort. Besides that shows a lot of commitment to the tone of the relationship. Think for a moment how it feels when your partner goes out of their way to do something nice for you.

After a couple of weeks of this activity, notice how the tone of your days have changed. Notice if there has been a domino effect and other things have begun to shift in your relationship. Some couples tell me they notice a big difference right away and others say they need a little more to shift some of the more serious issues between them. Either way it is a great place to start creating a stronger, healthier, more loving and more passionate relationship

Dare y’a:

(what have you got to lose?)

Why not try to develop a positive ritual you and your partner can do at one of the four times a day for two weeks. For example, upon waking lay in bed and cuddle for 5 minutes or before bed make eye contact before the lights go out and smile or…you decide!

Yours in relationship, Maureen and Tamara

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How to put meaning back into Valentines Day

February 12, 2012

Here we are again….Valentines Day is almost upon us!

It doesn’t matter if you are married, dating, engaged, in a committed partnership or newly in love. Whether in a relationship or not, Valentines Day impacts most of us.  When it comes to V Day there are bound to be as many experiences as there are different kinds of relationships,  I am sure most of us have  been through highs and lows; some memorable, some we may wish to forget; this one coming up, are you looking forward to it?

What is V Day  really about?

What does it mean to you?

Is it just a plot set up by corporations to make money off of us?

Why does it often feel like a let down?

How can we make it a day of real meaning?

How can it be the day you really want it to be?

What do you think about these questions? (why not send us a response and tell us?)

Honestly, I have mixed feelings about it.

I think it is great to mark a day a year and celebrate love and relationship, commitment and romance. Making  Feb 14th special is wonderful as long as it  turns out wonderful.

I hope this post will give you an idea of how to make it memorable in a good way!

Unfortunately, too often I hear folks complain of being let down. Why does this happen? I think it comes from having hopes that are not met or wanting a partner to do something or say something that does not happen or if it does it’s just not quite right.  Then comes the sadness, the discouragement or worse.

Seems like too many couples nearing Feb 14 come to it with this thing called…it begins with e and is followed by_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _s. That’s right expectations (for those of you not good with words clues).

What is this about? I think we want so much for our partner to be a certain way towards us or do a certain something and it never feels good enough.  Even more confusing is when they do it only once a year  so we are  even more  disappointed about the other 364 days. Valentines Day can be a real set up!

How can we change this???

Seems to me what we all really want is to connect with our lover and feel special. My suggestion is, why not keep it simple and put real meaning into it?

Let’s face it, we all want to feel appreciated and loved! Ask yourself how can I express this to my partner so it will really land? How can I do a few small and meaningful behaviours that will promote connection and help my partner feel loved?

Dare ya!

(Here are some ideas to get you started):

First off…REMEMBER IT IS ABOUT THE OTHER 364 DAYS OF THE YEAR! Yes keep it special on the 14th but why not generalize it to the rest of the year. Don’t we all want to keep it fresh and full of surprises all year round? It really is the little things that matter. Telling your partner what they want to hear is way better than a box of chocolates or roses!

Give your partner what they want not what you want to give them. Forget the lingerie if your partner doesn’t love it, why not come home early, put the kids to bed make a nice dinner and give your partner a massage? Oh yeah, clean up the kitchen too.

Send a sweet and sexy email or text more than 3 times in the day on the 14th.

Tell your partner what first attracted you to them and DO NOT make it brief, make it LONG!

Make a compilation of music your partner loves, include songs from the beginning of your relationship, special times together, relationship milestones.

Make a card, DO NOT BUY ONE….include a beautiful poem, “How Do I Love Thee” is tried and true!

Watch a movie genre you do not like but your partner does and ENJOY it.

Flood your partner with positive appreciations that tells them how much they mean to you.

Tell us what you have planned so we can add more ideas to this!

Yours truly,

TA