I can write them easily – Love, Respect, Friendship and Trust. Two dimensional words.
It’s the actions and responses that you show and share with your partner that can make or break your partnership. Are you a good friend?
Are you present, listening, showing care, curiosity and connection? Or are you just going through the motions as you walk through the door?
I am not talking about those still in the romance relationship phase here. This is where we are drugged with nature’s anesthesia as Harville Hendrix calls PEA – Phenylethylamine.
When the PEA wears off as it inevitably will, cracks appear. Our partner eats noisily, forgets to call, leaves without kissing you goodbye.
What attracted you initially now repels you.
All minor things but they build up. Resentment festers. If left too long it seems as if the D-word is the only option.
It’s not, change is possible.
Imago Couple Therapy is designed to help you gain skills, communicate, learn and grow together by applying loving, respectful, and trust-building practices.
So stop the resentment rot from setting in. See a relationship specialist today.
Only the other day in a couple therapy session, a husband and wife joined some of the dots on how their life patterns played out.
Husband said, ” Oh I used to take it personally when I imagined you were prioritizing your friends over me.” His Wife said “I can’t say no to my friends, I over-commit myself. I don’t want to let anyone down or it will feel like a failure to me.” Husband “I see now it’s you wanting to please everyone and where this comes from. What a lot of expectation pressure you put on yourself.” Both said they felt hopeful as this new perspective allowed more love and respect to build.
Relationships a two way street. Keep the avenues open with kindness, gratitude and generosity. Your partner will trigger you. Breathe to calm yourself. Use your words, actions, and deeds to inspire the love you want.
Christmas time can bring a load of feelings. For some of us these are heavy, painful and lonely times. For others, it’s a joyous celebration of connection.
My friend and eminent couples therapist Michele Weiner- Davis’ said at training, we as therapists need to be able to heal relationships. That includes our own circle.
Shutting off or cutting off as it is called in therapy speak it not the most healthy option. Real courage comes from working through the rupture in the relationship to repair and healing.
It is a bias of mine for families to have connections. So in this video, I will show you a Resource Therapy process for clarification. It’s a safe self-help action you can take. I give a quick demonstration.
I think it beats journalling ( although that is good too) as there is something unique in speaking this out with ourselves.
Note I am not suggesting you have the conversation with the person. Rather this is like the letter you write without sending. It is for you to gain insight and hopefully an emotional shift. Love to hear how it went for you. please share your experiences.
Philipa Thornton is your Relationship Psychologist in Sydney, and now worldwide online. Philipa and her husband Chris Paulin run Marriage Works their busy private practice, helping couples re-pair with coupe therapy, heal marital issues to find relationship harmony. We assist singles em-power, heal, and develop healthy internal and external relationships.
As the new year begins, I thought it might be nice to highlight some of the best, most well received articles from the past year.
I have gone through the archives and found articles that gained positive feedback or were particularity powerful and interesting. Hopefully you’ll find a few old favourites here and come across something new to inspire you!
Are you getting the Love you Want? Check out the cheats guide to skipping therapy with a couples retreat to fast track your relationship repair here https://marriageworks.com.au/2019/07/getting-the-love-you-want-couples-workshop/
The best thing you can do for your relationship health and well being is to come in early. Relationships can be repaired. It is so much easier and quicker to learn new ways or communicating and relating before hard core patterns of hurt set in. Waiting for change won’t work and the alternative where there is a breakdown or a crisis like an affair will double or even treble the time, energy and money you will have to channel into your couple therapy.
Not only does all the research confirm this commonsense tells you the truth here. Come in before your spouse says they don’t love you or it’s over.
Why wait for that pain?
Perhaps you have already heard those words. Come in and improve your partnership today I have a quick 4 minute video here encouraging you to take action and save yourself heartache and pain plus money !
You want this to be a beautiful version of your future – look at this couple.
Welcome to May! Here in Sydney it’s Autumn and the darkness comes early. We’ve been blessed with lovely weather and sunny days as we have had Easter and Anzac Day to honour our war veterans.
This month I have been inspired to offer you the opportunity to say no to negativity in your relationship. As John Gottman -a legend in marital research and divorce saving techniques rightly points out criticism is toxic in partnershps and they believe it takes a 5:1 ratio of good comments to over come one negative one.
So give yourself a break and make it Zero! If you find yourself complaining remind yourself of what you are truly grateful in your marriage. For me I look at Chris and I feel gratitude at having a life companion, someone I enjoy spending time with. He’s a good kind husband.
So take the month of May Relationship Challenge and join me for Zero Negativity and increased positivity!
Love to hear your thoughts, ask your partner to join you or be a solo leader in deed. Please pass on the help by sharing.
Hi there Philipa here, as the March monthly challenge nears to an end I wanted to check in. Recall I encouraged you to learn your partners connection vocabulary? The goal was to discover their two favourite dialects and speak their mother tongue.
I have been both slack and had the opportunity. Chris’s birthday is in March. He got the presents he asked for and more. I know he loves receiving a birthday card – in the mail. So I made sure I posted it in time for him to get to the letterbox. I spoke gifting.
He was great in that he told me what he wanted. You can’t expect your partner to read your mind. That’s a total set-up for let down. He let me know in advance what gifts he wanted, where he wanted to celebrate and even the cake he wanted. He is a darling! I talked actions of service and gifting.
His other language words of affirmation I was not so great on. Writing this column reminds me.
A quick reminder of the 5 Love actions:
Words of Affirmation.
Acts of Service
Love to hear how your Love patter went with your partner. Did you notice your spouse responding? Perhaps it felt good to give? Comment below and I will respond. Thanks for taking the time to read. Philipa
Have you ever felt stuck in a rut? Your alarm propels you out of bed at 6.30, you jump in the shower and get dressed then head off to work. You peck your partners cheek running to catch the bus. It’s still dark, autumn is looming.
Routine equates to boredom and this is no where more evident than in a relationship. We are beings who are drawn to novelty – evidence suggests that’s how affairs can start.
How would it be to bring back that spark of joy from the early days of your partnership? Remember the times you spent having fun and sharing the adventure of each other.
And the first day of March is a fine day to do it! Of course any day that brings you and your spouse closer by your actions is a winner!
Recall Gary Chapman’s 5 Love Languages:
Words of Affirmation. Use your words to build your partner up. Praise them for being them. Here’s my suggestion : I admire you…. add your insider knowledge of your partner’s special talents and thought actions. Verbalize ( text is OK for now but I want you to repeat it in face to face) your magical feelings for both you and your partners benefit.
Gifts. A well chosen gift can be super touching to your mate. It shows you know them intimately and you were thinking of her or him. Watch the ahh in your partners face. Again it’s a win/ win for your connection. Flowers are the fallback here. This love language is related back to our hunter gatherer days.
Acts of Service.Doing something for your spouse that you know they will truly resonate with. Guys for a lot of women that is going to be you bringing in the laundry, jumping up to clear the table, getting in the laundry and washing dishes. Oh how I adore Chris for slaying those dust bunnies with Rowenta our French vacuum cleaner. When I come home I feel a sense peace has been restored in my world, thanks to my thoughtful husband. Aaahhh. Smiley Face.
Quality Time. Focus your love spotlight on your lover! Turn the TV off, phones on silent and check in to your other half. Look them in the eye, ask them how their day was and let them see you lean in to be super present. A tiny 15 minute investment will pay massive dividends, if your partners love vocabulary is Quality Time. The secret is undivided attention to your lovemate.
Physical Touch. Holding hands, hugging, kissing, sex or the squeeze of a partner’s shoulder gently as you pass are all physical expressions of love.
Know the real magic happens when you start giving your partner their gift in their desired love language.
Think back in your marriage and get a sense of what your partner primarily responds to. Identify which of the five Love Languages calls their heart towards you. Choose one or if you are an overachiever two to inspire your love.
Does their face light up as you walk in the door with flowers and tickets to a show? Or do they put the bouquet down and reach to pull you close? Maybe they tell you they’d like to spend more time with you. Or you have heard how good a they are at affirming you or the children. You will see a theme and know.
When you speak your lovers code they will feel closer and more engaged in your relationship.
I want to stress it’s a gift, so drop any expectations of a return. Otherwise you will likely struck with a slap of ouch by the disappointment Panda. I am riffing off Mark Manson’s book – The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck a counter-intuitive approach to living a good live. There’s a gift if they like presents and are a reader.
Decide to be generous as you refresh your relationship from the first of the Month.
I would like you to do this as if you are an undercover agent. It’s OK if you get found out, just no letting the cat out of the bag so to speak. Your special person must experience this as a gift. So let them unwrap your present.
Repetition and reinforcement gets results. Maybe you could keep it up for the whole of March, as we know sustained action encourages results. A daily dose of love, what could be better?
So join the Marriage Works Monthly Challenge – learn your partners number 1 and 2 love language and become a love whisperer.
I’d truly love to hear your experience, what you did, what worked, what tanked and how you felt? So please post your results and reflections. I will respond to you. Drop comment in the box below as your wisdom helps others. Thank You!
I want to share something personal – this is a huge thing for me to put on the website being a very private person. Yet I am a great believer in being real and honest. Chris and I went through some tough times earlier this year. We had come to a place of separation.
It was over as we were wanting different things from the relationship.
I am traditional and believe in the institution of Marriage – hence the name Marriage Works – right! Of course you can be totally committed partners without it. I am no Marriagist. Chris having been divorced was not bothered by matrimony.
I am glad to say we did work things through and are happily back together in a more powerful and deeper connection than ever.
Plus we got married on November 3rd 2018, a happy day all round!
What helped was us going and seeing a couple therapist and working through our sticking points. Being a client and learning about myself has always improved my therapy game. I could not believe how anxious I was going to every appointment. I definitely have a bucket load more compassion having had the counseling experience. Our good therapist really turned things around. Thank you!
Brenda and Peter hold these workshops in Sydney, Melbourne and Auckland New Zealand. In the weekend we learnt so much about each other and it offered us a way forward in hope with our love.
I am passionate about couples learning to connect and heal this can happen in the therapy room. The bonus is you get to take the learning and techniques into your life.
Using it as a therapy tool I have seen partner’s change in 90 minutes as they see and get their spouses angst in a hearfelt way. It’s different to the old ways of communicating which lead to hopelessness and desperation.
I recommend it to all my couples and friends! It is coming very soon 8/9 December so give your self the best gift every – a healthier, happier relationship for the two of you.