Are you being brave in your relationship?

You probably already know this, but just in case it’s been a while, I’m here to remind you.  Loving and being loved is one of the bravest things you can do.

This may sound like a no-brainer to some but to others hopefully it’s giving you pause.  You see, it’s important to know that loving and being loved is really, really vulnerable and reall,y really brave.  Because if you don’t know the bravery is involved in doing so, you will struggle to understand why sometimes it can feel so hard to do.

It’s easy to talk yourself out of being vulnerable. For fear of risking, for fear of being hurt or for fear of being seen as “weak”.  Sadly, vulnerability and “weakness” have been paired together for too long AND it’s simply not true!

Is being vulnerable scary? Heck yes it! But it’s bravery in it’s purest form. To open yourself up in your relationship and dive deeper in order to build greater connection with each other…..that’s true bravery.

This week I challenge you to show up brave in your relationship. 

Ask for help. Share some gratitude. Express your appreciation. Whatever step towards greater vulnerability you take is a good one.
Save this week’s relationship tip as a reminder to take a step into vulnerability and demonstrate true bravery.

Be brave my friend,

-A

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If you are doing *this* right, it’s already being noticed!

Happy Sunday friend.

How was your weekend?  Mine was spent sitting on the sidelines cheering my kids on at their various soccer and baseball games.

As a sports fan, there is one thing that always stands out to me on the field. It’s the beautiful sight of humility. 

When you see an athlete make an amazing catch or connect on a sweet corner kick and they run straight to their teammates to high five, that is truly awesome.  

But when you see them complete the same play and they jump up and down on their own, pound their chest and pat themselves on the back…not so awesome. 

We all do cool things in life and we should be really proud of our accomplishments, but sometimes the scales can tip from inner pride to showboating celebrations.

I believe that when you complete that pass, nail that goal or heck even make some strides in your love relationship, that it should be done with humility and gratitude. When you show up on the field (and in love) with a humble heart, you’re always a better teammate and a better partner.

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Save our relationship tip this week as reminder to live each of your days with a humble heart, a gracious spirit and a glow of inner pride; knowing that you’re working hard and you don’t need to call it out in order to have it get noticed.  Because if you’re doing it right, it’s already being noticed.

Until next week,

-A


Are you afraid of this in your relationship?

Happy Sunday to you.  I hope that this slow slide into Fall is treating you and your relationship well.  I believe a change in seasons has the great ability to help us reflect on where you’re headed and hopefully open up the lines of communication about your needs in love.

I also believe that opening up the lines of communication in your relationship is one of the more vulnerable things you can do. Each time you open up, you give, you share, you’re actually risking.  And risking in love can be really really scary.

I honestly think that the fear of risking, of being vulnerable, of giving, ends up being one of the biggest obstacles to connection in love.  

And I get it, it’s scary to give in to love and not know if it’s going to be heard, seen and reciprocated.  And despite all that, I know that you can’t hold back in love AND also receive the love you want in return.

I’m not saying what you give always comes back to you in the exact way you expect it will, but I do know that your willingness to risk really increases the odds that your partner becomes willing too.

That’s really the point of this week’s relationship tip….

Don’t be afraid to give in love. We get back what we put into love.

If you look for opportunities to give in love, I hope that you’re also seeing opportunities for how it’s coming back to you in unexpected and amazing ways.

And if this is a stuck point in your relationship, please reach out. I would hate to have you in that place longer than necessary.

Until next week,

-A

What do you WANT out of your relationship?

One important thing to know about me….I love my job. 

If you’ve met me in real life, you’ve probably heard me say this before. I feel completely honored to get invited into people’s relationships to help, encourage, support and guide as they get it back on track.

One of the coolest parts of my job is when folks start to better identify what they actually want from their relationship. This may seem like an obvious one, but it’s harder than you think. 

You see, what you wanted in your relationship when it first started is likely very different from what you want or need from it now.  And oftentimes life can pass by so quickly that you haven’t taken the time to slow down and even identify what you want or need.

And identifying it is a MUST. Because if you don’t know what you need, how is your partner able to attempt to meet that need?  Right? It’s an impossible circle.

And that’s what this week’s relationship tip is all about….

If you know what you want in love, it makes it easier to ask for it.

Use this meme as a reminder to slow down and ask yourself what do you want and need in your love relationship right now. Not what you USED to want and not what you may WANT IN THE FUTURE. I’m talking RIGHT NOW.

My hope is that once you identify your wants and needs you’ll be able to find a way to share them with your mate. Because remember, you can’t ask your partner to meet a need that you haven’t shared with them.

Have a lovely week,

- A

How to keep the sizzle alive in your relationship

Has the summer sizzle worn off? 

Are you done with your vacations? 

Are your kids back at school? 

Is your summer tan starting to fade?

Well, if you answered yes to any of these questions, don’t be discouraged.  This week’s relationship tip is all about keeping that sizzle alive.

I’m assuming I’m in the majority when I say that I love summer. Don’t get me wrong, I’m also a big fan of my kids heading back to school but sometimes the routine of the school year can get a bit…well…blah.  

Which I think we can all admit has a tendency to filter into other areas of your life.  You know cooking the same thing for dinner every week, watching the same episode of The Office on Netflix…you get my point.

But I don’t want that “blah” to filter into your relationship.  I want you to be super intentional about keeping that spark alive. Bust out of the routine and plan some spontaneity (yes planned spontaneity is a thing…give me a call and I’ll explain all about it).

That’s why this week’s relationship tip is……  

Try something new! Spice it up! Keep it interesting!

I would love for you to break out of your relationship rut and try something new…together.  It doesn’t have to be crazy but it’s got to be fun!

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Use this meme as a reminder to safeguard your relationship from the dreaded rut!




A few relationship truths...

Greetings my friend. I hope you’re enjoying your Sunday in the exact way that you like it to be. I’m excited to dive into this week’s relationship tip as it’s an important one and I believe bears repeating.

But before I jump into it, let me lay a quick foundation by sharing a few relationship truths.

  1. Your feelings are always good, even when they make you feel not so good. Your feelings show that you’re human and as hard as it may feel in the moment, they are temporary. Yes, sometimes it can feel like the same emotions are always lingering around, but the truth is, your feelings are not permanent.

  2. The story you tell yourself about your feelings or the meaning you take away from an interaction/situation is NOT purely fact. You can get stuck in your story so much that you forget that it’s generated from your perception and filtered through your perspective.

  3. What you choose to do in any given situation is up to you. You have control over your actions and behaviors and feeling a “certain” way doesn’t justify negative choices.

Now take a breath….

I realize those relationship truths are ones that are often debated and also hard to accept. Especially when things are intensifying during times of disconnection with partner.

And yet, they are truths.

You’re entitled to your feelings.

You have great ability to slow down the negative meaning you’re taking away from a situation.

AND

You have even greater control on how you choose to show up.

That leads me to the relationship tip of the week…..

Remember, it’s ok to be mad…it’s not ok to be mean.

Being mad is ok. Choosing to lash out, put down or criticize when you’re mad is NOT.

If you’re stuck here, please reach out. I get how hard it can be to differentiate how you feel, from what it all means, to the actions/behaviors you choose in a given moment; and yet it is such an important relationship tool to be able to know and apply the differences.

I’m here to support and cheer you on.

If you don't do THIS.. your relationship will not work!

Happy Sunday. I hope that you have found a way to connect with your mate this weekend and thank them for doing life with you. In all the hustle and bustle of our weekends, we can forget to find opportunities to slow down together and really share our appreciation.

Or, like so often if happens, you can get in the negative habit of only talking about the bad stuff and never pointing out the good.

It’s actually a phenomenon I see happen in my therapy office; couples come in and are hesitant to share their successes with me, like we’re only meeting in therapy to discuss the bad. I try to (gently) remind them that my office is not the principal’s office and that showing up to therapy means celebrating your wins!!

It’s always ok to high-five each other over incremental changes and the consistent work your putting in together towards your goals.

Let’s just say it, working on your relationship is one of the bravest and most amazing investments you can make.

Because…as this week’s relationship tip (not so gently)reminds us….

If you’re not working on your relationship, your relationship is not going to work.

Your relationship is a living, growing, breathing part of you that needs to be nurtured and tended to like all of the other living, growing, breathing parts of your life. And if it’s not getting the time and energy it needs it is likely to wither right up.

Take a moment to save this meme and schedule some time this week to slow down in your relationship and put a bit of work in. I KNOW you will reap many benefits from it.


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If you’re feeling stuck or don’t know where to begin, reach out. Don’t stay stuck! I’m here to help.

Are you crying "wolf" in your relationships?

Hey there…quick question for you…do you have anyone in your life that seems to really struggle with being happy about anything? They sort of walk around with a perspective that EVERYTHING is a huge deal and that every detail about everything matters all of the time? The person that is always ready for a debate/confrontation/excuse to prove themselves right?

I assume we all know a person like that….and if we’re being honest, we’ve have probably been that person a time or two.

Well the truth is, when you’re showing up really argumentative in your relationship or expressing to your partner that everything needs to be a certain way (aka hypercritical mode), your voice tends to get lost in the shear enormity of what you’re expressing.

I get that some things are really really important and I’m completely with you on that.  I also believe that you can NOT die on every hill in your relationship.

If everything matters all of the time, it is highly likely that your overall needs are going to ignored. It’s sort of like the “boy that cried wolf”.  If you choose to die on every hill your partner will struggle to know what REALLY matters and what is just a preference.

I encourage you to take this week’s relationship tip to heart and….

Ask yourself, “Is this the hill I want to die on?”

If you find that you’re stating your needs over and over again and partner just isn’t “getting it” then I encourage you to step back and evaluate if perhaps you’re attempting to die on too many hills and your needs are getting missed.

This is a tough tip and yet an essential one for you to sit with and observe a bit.  Save this meme so you can slow down long enough to observe if and how this may be showing up in your relationship.

Reach out if you have questions or if I can support in anyway, I’m happy to help.

Take care of yourself and each other.

Relationship tip #5: If you have something nice to say…SAY IT!

We are officially in the throws of summer and if I’m being completely honest…I really like these hot days. I grew up in the beautiful Monterey area which means gorgeous views AND never a summer day over 68 degrees.  So being out in the sun and taking a cooling off dive into the pool is perfectly fine for me.

These long days of summer are also when the craziness of summer travel, the kids being out of school and trying to run a business all seem to catch up with me in a less than celebratory, pretty overwhelming sort of way.

And when I find myself in that sort of headspace, I need to do a quick check in on my mindset. Meaning, I have to pause and ask myself “Am I looking at things through a glass half empty and running on fumes OR am I taking small moments to adjust expectations and breathe?”

One of my biggest “slowing” down strategies is gratitude. As simple as it may seem, the act of writing down or verbally sharing gratitude creates Ah-MAZING shifts in your attitude.  It’s a simple act that yields big rewards AND it’s harder to apply then you think.

A mindset of gratitude lends perfectly to this week’s relationship tip….

If you have something nice to say…SAY IT!

If you’re finding yourself overwhelmed, stretched thin and stressed out, chances are you’re not noticing or expressing gratitude for the small things in your life. I know this to be true in my own life and I’m assuming it’s similar for you.

If you have something nice to say to your mate, your children, your friends, I want you to say it. Pick up the phone, send a quick text or jot it down in your journal.  Kindness is meant to be shared, not stuffed inside.

Throw kindness around like confetti my friend and see what starts to take shape around you.

Save this meme as a reminder to “just say it” this week in love.

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Are You Playing Madlibs in Love?

One of the worst things you can do when communicating is to insert absolutes into your conversation.  If you're falling into this trap in love, then watch the video below to learn some new tools to apply to your love conversations.

Interested in attending our Summer Couple's Weekend Workshop inspired by Sue Johnson's book Hold Me Tight? There is still room to register. Click here to learn more about the workshop.

I look forward to staying connected.

Warmly,

A

The Value of Different

There are so many "differences" we experience in our relationships.  Different points of view, different perspectives, different likes, different dislikes.  As a couple's therapist, I've heard them all.  But there's one universal trap that couples often fall into when it comes to differences......

Click here to watch and find out what it is!

Want to learn more about couples counseling and the power of neutralizing differences? I'd love to chat more about how we could help.

Click here to set up a time to speak further, or you can also reach out via email to: info@LifeUnscriptedCounseling.com

I look forward to connecting soon.

Warmly,

A

Decisions Made in Places of Pain = No Good

I love working on and in relationships. It’s amazingly rewarding work and there is nothing more humbling to see a couple grow back together right in front of your eyes.

And yet, when most couples reach out, they’re in a place of pain.  I’d love for my work to be much more preventative, but the reality is that most people come to couple’s therapy when they’re hurting. 

Be the Mirror

I know you’ve all heard the great Ghandi quote, “Be the change you wish to see in the world”.  And I whole heartedly believe it.  I believe that you have 8000 times more power to influence change when you’re doing it too!

But if you need one quote that packs a bit more punch to realize the power of influencing change, here it is: “If you want to be successful, focus on your own sh*t!”

We have to accept that our greatest power to influence change, especially in our relationships is by doing it first!

Quieting the Noise

One term that I use all of the time in the couple’s therapy room is about the “noise” we get stuck in during communication.  And when I say “noise”, I don’t mean this dismissively, I mean it from a place of understanding.  Because I get caught in the “noise” in my relationship too. 

So what do I mean when I say “noise”?  Well, it’s the stuff flying around in your relationship that has NO relevance to what you really need to be talking about and yet it continually come up and distracts you from having the real conversation.  It’s the stuff that becomes so circular that you end up confused how you got there but you’re fired up and can’t seem to let it go. It’s the unproductive stuck places that don’t create repair or resolution.

Is Couples Therapy Where Relationships Go To Die?

I realize the title of this post may sound really intense, but it’s a question that I get asked more often than you’d think.  And quite honestly it’s a valid question because it’s a real fear that many couples have. One that actually prevents them from asking for help.

And sadly, the longer couples put off asking for help, the longer they live in pain.  Really unnecessary pain. 

According to researcher and world renowned couples therapist, John Gottman, couples wait an average of 6 years being unhappy before they reach out for help….SIX YEARS!  Let that sink in for a bit.  Can you imagine the resentment that can build in that time? (Some of you are reading this, nodding along and saying, “um, yes, that’s my life!”)

And really there’s no reason to wait.  Couples therapy is a gift that we give to our relationship.  A gift of hope.  A gift of healing.  A gift of creating a fresh start.

PreCommunication

Precommunication is a funny term that I came up with years ago that has become a super helpful tool in couple’s therapy.  Precommunication is the communication that needs to happen right before you communicate.

Sounds silly, right?

But let me expand a bit.  Whenever you go into communication, you typically (aka always) have a vision of what you want to accomplish. Right?  But the problem is we rarely start conversation by sharing what we want to accomplish. Yes, we share what we want to talk about, but not necessarily the why. And sadly, we end up leaving the conversation feeling unsatisfied and unfulfilled. The implications of this have a huge impact on your intimate relationship.

Losing Our Needs

I’d say that 99.99% of all arguments are based on unmet needs.  Yes, even the ones about chewing too loud or forgetting to take out the garbage can be narrowed down to some attachment need not being met in the relationship.

And I realize that may sound like an intense overgeneralization, but if you really slow down to think about it, it’s sort of true.  Whether it’s our need for safety, belonging, acceptance or unconditional love, it all comes back to an attachment need.

And yet one of the hardest things in love is actually learning how to communicate our needs. We’re honestly really crappy about it. And it’s understandable, because communicating our needs is really, really vulnerable. And most of us don’t do vulnerability well.

Priorities Reveal Themselves

A reoccurring theme in my office and life in general is this running against the clock, fast paced, we have no time to do what we know we need to be doing pace.

And no one is immune to it. We all struggle with juggling our time and sadly the things that we say are the most important can often get placed much too low on the priority list.  And sometimes we can feel lost or stuck on how to reverse the order.

I work with couples every day that find themselves months and years down the road of not connecting, not spending intentional time together and not prioritizing their partnership. And they’re not bad people. They’re couples that were trying their best doing all the wrong things when it comes to nurturing their love relationship.

Messages in Water

Has anyone heard of the book Messages in Water by Masaru Emoto?  It’s a few years old, but I’m so darn fascinated by it.  The whole premise of the book (spoiler alert) is scientifically demonstrating how “the influence of our thoughts, words and feelings on molecules of water can positively impact the earth and our personal health”.

Which to some may sound absolutely nutty but I swear it’s completely fascinating. Mr. Emoto shares about how negative words can literally change the molecular make up of water.  Pretty much mutating the molecules.  And he shows how positive words and feelings can enhance the molecular make up of water making it “super” water.