Is it really almost Spring? Or is it just wishful thinking? At any rate, I hope this finds you well.
In this issue, check out my article on "When We do Talk, How do We do it?" and also information about my upcoming Couples Class.
Tools & Tips: When We Do Talk, How Do We Do it?
The following are tips to use when you actually do sit down and talk about the tough topics:
1. Soften Your Start Up! -- If you go on the attack (or you start with a manipulative comment to get a certain outcome), you will get met with resistance or defensiveness.
2. Use non-verbal gestures to keep the connection while you talk. Lightly touch knees, hug, hold hands, offer a glass of water, tea, etc., help each other if in the middle of a task.
3. If talking about something really difficult, try moving together side by side. Things like walking, driving in the car or doing a task like folding laundry or cooking. The point is being “side by side” rather than face to face. Sometimes face to face conversations are too stimulating. Walking hand in hand or close together is probably the best strategy. As a bonus, when you're exercising, you're expelling stress toxins.
4. Shift complaints into requests.
5. Connect in your mind before you make that request. Doing so will likely make it go smoother. Spend a few minutes in your mind thinking of things you love about them or seeing their perspective—your tone, your phrasing will likely be different. “Baby cakes, can you pick up your towel” or “Honey, I would love to watch the game tonight, is there anything I can do for you before I do that?”(or even better saying that as you’re loading the dishwasher!!) – different from even just saying “Can you pick up your towel?” or “Hey, I’m going to watch the game tonight”
6. Don’t criticize, say something that manipulates their fears/feelings of shame or intentionally trigger them.
7. Don’t resist when your partner is sharing a concern or complaint. If you resist, it persists!! You won’t allow your partner to get over his/her frustration or feel heard if you keep resisting what they are saying (by being defensive, criticizing in return, withdrawing from the conversation, etc.). Instead try: “Okay, I can see what you mean…” or “I know, I see your point...” Then shut up and let them finish. You don’t have to agree with them, but it goes a long way to validate what they’re saying.
8. Listen more than you talk. If you find yourselves feeling like you’re on two different planets when you talk, it’s probably because you’re not really being in tune with them while they talk. You are probably lost in your own head and getting stuck in your own perspective about the situation.
9. Remember this is the person you fell in love with and your goal is to stay close and be happy.
Upcoming Couples Class
Next Couples Class starts April 7th! If you know any couples who might be interested forward this newsletter!
Build a relationship you love by learning the skills you need. We'll talk about communication, learning to see the other's perspective, creating closeness, and identifying those relationship killing behaviors.
April 7, 14, 21 and 28th from 6:30 to 8:00p.m.
4155 E. Jewell Avenue, Conference Room
Denver, CO 80222
Call (720) 210-5452 or
Click here for more information or to sign up!
While there are so many books out there that are wonderful, the following I've found to be personally helpful.
1. Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work – John Gottman
2. How to Improve Your Marriage without Talking about It – Patricia Love & Steven Stosney
3. The Five Love Languages – Gary Chapman
4. Relationship Cure – John Gottman
5. How to Say it: For Couples – Paul Coleman
6. Talk to Me Like I'm Someone You Love - Nancy Dreyfus
7. Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life with the Heart of a Buddha – Tara Brach
8.Loving What Is – Byron Katie
9.Three Laws of Performance – Steve Zaffron & Dave Logan
Want Even more Advice on Relationships?
Subscribe to my blog and read at your leisure. Topics range from date night, to what we can learn from sitcoms, to what to do with anger during arguments.
There's lots to read these days and certainly not enough time to read it all. Tuck this blog away for those times when you really need to read something to get perspective on your relationship.
Click here to read my latest blog entry entitled: Why I love Modern Family and What We Can Learn from Sitcoms"
I hope you enjoyed reading. I look forward to seeing many of you in the coming weeks. Happy Almost Spring!
Karen Holland, LMFT
4155 E. Jewell Avenue, Ste 703
Denver, CO 80222
(720) 210-5452/office & fax
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