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    Tuesday
    Jan202015

    Valentines Day Clichés And Good Relationships

    Long live the clichés of love--- cards, letters, flowers or chocolate or even all four given to someone special. Our brains are genetically hard-wired for attachment or connection. When a connection is warm and secure, we thrive in romantic relationships and may use one of the clichés to express our love. When we do not have this type of connection or attachment, we can learn it with practice and trial and error, much like learning to play an musical instrument. This Valentines Day you can enjoy the day and attach to any person/s in your life that is special and try something new and different. But even better is:

          Daily Dialogue!  

    “Being heard is so close to being loved 
that for the average person, 
they are almost indistinguishable.” David Augsburger


    There are several things that happy couples tend to do to get, and keep their relationship, happy. Based on research, whatever they do every day dialogue can make all the difference . This daily habit of communication keeps a couple knowing each other currently and keeps things fresh and alive. This can mean praying together, a talking time together or even just a short walk together. Designating a Speaker and then a listener in a talk time with each other can be money in the bank!

    There are  other "Rituals of connection" that you can tap into. Research tells us that two-thirds of couples do not have sex daily. The good news is there are  other ways (including sexual talk) that are effective in putting money in the love bank.

    A way to get a good connection going now is to work it into your daily routine. Five Minutes a day is all the time it takes to kiss someone hello in the morning, hug at the door goodbye, greeting them at the door with a quick "how are you?" and offer another hug or kiss at nighttime. Couples who build in these routines often have busy lives but feel more satisfied with their relationships. Try it yourself and get a good change going.

     

    Here are some more ideas for making daily deposits into the love bank.


    Make fondness, admiration, affection, respect and praise a constant part of your relationship. The ratio of 5:1 positive to negative is so important. Mention the positives in great detail.

    Strengthen intimacy with rituals of emotional connection---ways you always do things that show care for each other. Reduce distress in your relationship and increase your sexual pleasure and joy through a solid friendship. This is key to Lovemaking and one way couples counseling helps with both "communication" and sex.

     

    Be able to “repair” an argument


    Arguing in itself does not necessarily hurt a marriage. But hurt needs to be repaired for the relationship to flourish. A couple of ways to repair an argument is to:

    Get to Yes.:” I agree with part of what you’re saying. I never thought of things that way. “

    Stating: “I need to calm down.: Just listen to me right now and try to understand (kind tone needed). Can I take that back? This is important to me. Please listen. I am starting to feel flooded.”

     Accept influence from each other. Stay engaged and calm in discussion. Start gently with a compliant rather than harshly. Research shows men especially need to accept influence from their wives.

    The couple that repairs a relationship instead of withdrawing from conflict. If you want to grow and change your relationship including your sexual intimacy---remember Repair is key in a couples relationship. 

    All of these items as noted can make your Valentines day special, try to practice just a few of these and see changes occure!

     

    ~ Barbara Massey LMFT

     

     

     


    Monday
    Sep152014

    Less Daylight, Positive Interactions Needed

    In the fall leaves start to change, Daylight Savings time ends and we stay inside more often. Now's the time to add More positive Interactions if you don't already do so in your relationship. Now in your household the stress, sickness and possible addition of school combine to increase interactions. (I like to start things off on a cheery note!).

    There is a need for negative reactions (you can't stuff it forever or it will "leak") along with five positive interaction between partners. (Hold up one hand with one finger and the other hand with five fingers up, this is how I demonstrate this prinicple.) Humor, affection, sympathy and connection in this amount influences the other to hear their partner. This hearing is soothing and then couples "behave like good friends, and they handle their conflicts in gentle, positive ways." (Gottman blog)

    This ratio is key to a happy marriage and if continued will lead to divorce. Use this tool to increase the ratio and change the course of your marriage. Medford is citied as a high divorce city, let's prove 'm wrong and work smart with this ratio.

     

     

     

     

     

    Tuesday
    Aug192014

    App to Prevent Another "Robin Williams"


    Robin William's suicide was a shock to most people. A person with depression who considers suicide and talks about suicide as a possibility is hard to comprehend. Perhaps that's why my relatives weren't prepared when he gathered everyone and said goodbye. Many relatives were professionals but ASKing didn't happen.

    So now I am especially, strongly suggesting going to this app or one like it. Anything that helps you talk to someone who is extremely depressed. You can download the app beforehand and have it with you when needed.

    How to: go to the App store and search "suicide prevention ASK by Mental Health of Texas". This app has warning signs and very clear questions to ask. It takes some maneuvering to get to the Ask questions. (Using the section Ask:Here's How, keep swiping 3 times to get to specific questions, it does take some persistence). 

    As a therapist I know people do Want to be asked. They are not insulted. They want others to reach beyond their comfort zones as a sign of love for them. Couples need to ask each other, family members, in-laws and more. Being a professional is not necessary. As a starting point to help a depressed person, please ASK. 

    Barbara Massey

    Medford Oregon

    Monday
    Jun022014

    Relationship Gardens

    Every Spring I love to go out and work in my backyard garden. From my desk in my home office I see weeds, dried plants, moss and fallen leaves. No matter how hard I try or what garndening techniques I find on the internet and in my gardening books my yard is just not attractive all year long. Just like my garden, we have to work hard to keep our personal relationships healthy and close. For a healthy couple relationship, this work can be the most challenging of all.

    Back to my garden --- I still need to work on all aspects of my garden and yard to make it beautiful and keep it that way. Planting flowers, plants and even the correct type of lawn and knowing when and where to plant these items are skills I have had  to learn over the past years.

    Relationship skills like gardening can also be learned. Most people I see in my counseling office think somehow they are already supposed to know how to communicate well automatically without much training or effort.  They also often believe they can just solve conflicts without getting upset or not have any other part of their stressful life interfear with the relationship. It’s just not so. All of us need to learn and grow especially when we are under pressure to solve a painful situation. 

    To grow, your responses to the other person needs to change. You can’t wait till the other person changes. Waiting for the other person to make needed changes is a stand off. It’s not about who cares the most in the couple , its about you working toward a healthy relationship and taking the steps for growth and change yourself right now. The attitude of - I’ll start anyway making changes and growing is a good one. And your growth will make it more likely the other person will be influenced. 

    I have learned in my years of work as a therapist with most people it is the hardest to respond well as an individual in a couple. There are several reasons for this --- the risk is different, your buttons get pushed more easily and all the stuff from the relationship comes up. There are many things that can effect the relationship just as there are many types of plants and flowers in my garden that all require different types of care. 

    Today choose to start the change in your relationship and work in that garden you will be surprised and excited to see yourself as an individual and as a couple change!

    Photo by istockphoto.com

     

    Sunday
    Mar302014

    April Fools Day and Couples

    We've all heard "Laughter is the best medicine". It has been studied and it is especially good for a relationship. April Fools jokes helps us feel closer to others. The 5 to 1 rule of positives to negatives that strengthen a marriage is easy to use on this day.  Bob Hope, who was a comedian, and married 60 years. He said he and his wife had a strong marriage because of humor.  So here's some ideas to have more humor in your family:

    Be aware of the humor each day.

    Make it a habit for everyone in your family to share at dinner something funny that happened to them.

    My husband studies comedy---almost every night he watches Faulty Towers a British comedy.

    Laugh about funny times---when I went to see the daffodils this weekend. My daughter said they were dead. (They were in full bloom!)

    Finally, be a good sport when a blog entry and images don't work. Someone maybe playing a trick (hmmm).