Mini Course in Effective Communication

Click on one of my articles to read it on the Good Therapy blog:

Practicing Active Listening Can Improve Your Relationship

By learning to become an active listener in your relationship, you can help your partner feel validated while increasing the likelihood that you, too, will be heard and acknowledged.To make sure that you are listening and understanding your partners point of view, before you present yours, read this article. Practicing Active Listening Can Improve Your Relationship

How to Effectively Approach Your Partner About Relationship Issues

Before you present your case to your partner, consider these tips for initiating and getting the most out of the conversation. Read the article to learn  How To Effectively Approach Your Partner About Relationship Issues 

How to Express Your Feelings in a Respectful Way

Effective communication is respectful communication. Read the article to learn how to express yourself candidly while also maintaining your cool. Respectful ways to express your feelings. 

Anger in Relationships: Owning Yours, Softening Your Partner’s

Anger itself isn’t the problem in most relationships. How each partner deals with his or her anger can be problematic, however. Read this article about Anger in relationships  to learn how to communicate your anger in a way that helps your relationship instead of pulling you further apart.

Give A Heart To Heart Connection This Valentines

 

Create the best Valentines Day ever for the one you love!

Are you wondering what you can do to make a real difference this Valentines?

The 7 easy steps below works even if you are having issues in your relationship. Follow the instructions to the letter and it even works when your partner is angry at you!

At this time, It’s not as important what your partner is angry about or what your partners main complains are.

IT’S MORE IMPORTANT HOW YOU CONDUCT YOURSELF!

The following 7 easy steps to create the best Valentines day ever works because you are going to establish a heart to heart connection!

To enhance the effect, combine with a home cooked meal and a wrapped gift. You don’t have to spend a fortune. When it comes to love – It is the thought and the presentation that counts!

Picture 057Try This: Show your partner your love by following the 7 easy steps below:

1) Ask your partner how his/her day was.

2) Listen without interrupting. Don’t get sidetracked by angry blaming remarks. Hold yourself together.

3) Keep eye contact – literary don’t break eye contact.

4) Ask what you can do. Don’t expect an answer right away. Keep being there and keep silent and an answer will come.

5) Again – listen and eye contact. To keep eye contact when you are asking questions can be difficult, but it’s very important that you do. When you talk, your partner is watching you.

6) Ask how your partner would like to spend the evening/ rest of the day. Again be patient.

7) Listen and eye contact. This is not about you!

For the 7 steps to work the best, you need to stay calm and centered.  Your partner needs to feel that you are standing strong on your own two feet, showing that you are there for her/him.

Listen without asking for anything in return! This is your very special Valentines gift to your partner!

Do you need help? Call (954) 806-2974!

Do you need help? 

Is your relationship in trouble?

Do you feel that your differences are too big to bridge without some tools?

Do you need help? Email me at irenesavarese@yahoo.com for an appointment with a specialized couples therapist and Florida Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist!

 

This post is modified from a post I wrote Feb. 14 2012 under the tittle “Valentines Emergency Repair Kit For Couples.

Photo By N.J.

Photo of heart is by terren in Virginia

Let me know how your Valentines Day went! Write a comment below!

If you like this post please share!

Top Five Relationship Articles

Need ideas to improve your relationship or save your marriage? 

Click on image to read the whole article.

Effective Communication Strategies for Couples – and then some!

This post gives you simple communication strategies for how to communicate effectively. But beware! Simple doesn’t always mean easy. To get your point across you have to stay calm and think about what it is that is most important to you and then express that without blaming your partner for how you feel.

Click on image to read the whole article.

 

Dealing With Anger As A Team

To move forward from our “acting out” tendencies, we have to do the needed individual work and start changing how we react and deal with difficult emotions like anger. Both partners have a personal responsibility to work on their own reactions when under stress. I know that we would rather want to point out how our partner is the problem. How much easier it would be if he/she just would change. The problem is that our partner is thinking the same. This is painful work! But we need to be willing to look at our own reactions and decide to stop blaming our partner for how we feel. Click on image to read the whole article

 

“One Plus One Is Greater Than Two” – Are You Ready To Do What You Need To Do To Save Your Marriage? Is this a good description of the marriage/relationship you want to have?

  • You and your partner have the ability to identify and express important aspects of yourself.
  •  You are curious about your partner and can manage your own reactions.
  • You are able to manage the tension between being two different people AND still be a couple.
  • Click on image to read the whole article.

 

Valentines Emergency Repair Kit For Couples. 

Did your Valentine’s Day fall flat? It is not as important what your partner is angry about or what your partners main complains are about. It is more important how you conduct yourself. It could be too little or too much affection, attention, sex, or something totally different that your partner is angry about.  This Valentines emergency repair kit works because you are going to establish a heart to heart connection ! Follow the instructions below! To read the whole article click on image.

 

Is Marriage Counseling Right For You? 
When you find yourself stressed out and unhappy about your relationship, there are THREE MAIN WAYS you can respond to your partner: 1) You can attack your partner for his/her role in  your relationship. The problem with this choice is that he/she is most likely going to attack you back. 2) You can avoid your partner, withdraw from contact and shut down negative emotions to avoid open conflict. The problem with this choice is that when you avoid and shut down your negative emotions, you are also shutting down your positive emotions.
Click on image to read the whole article.
What do you think is the most important advice to give to couples?
If you like this post please share on your favorite social media sites!

How Couples Should Behave On Social Media Sites.

Guest post by Alisa Martin 

There are definite lines that should be inhered to out of respect for the relationship and your partner

 

Being in a relationship is often one of the most uplifting experiences of life—that is if it is a good one. However, the truth is there are a lot of people who do not know how to treat an intimate relationship with the level of respect it deserves. There are several categories of relationships and ways in which couples interact, both publicly and privately.

The Respectful Relationship

This relationship is the kind of relationship that while having its ups and downs, the couple remains true to the ideals of each other. They pay attention to details that their partner finds important, and they support each others needs and are there for them. This couple may have their fair share of disagreements, but they are handled with a baseline of respect. When the disagreement results in a stalemate, then both sides simply agree to disagree, and finds ways to work around it.

The Disrespectful Relationship

This type of relationship cares little about what the other person needs and is in the relationship to fill their personal needs and agenda. Disagreements can lead to all out battles, and little is ever resolved. These people have little regard for making a public display out of their partner or relationship.

How to have a Healthy Relationship Through Social Media

As with any other source of communication that a couple shares, these outlets should be a place where couples can share, encourage, enlighten and love. Social media sites should be a playful and nurturing arena where the couple has a chance to post up funny stories, loving photos, anecdotes and shared experiences. This is a great spot to keep open lines of communication and express appreciation. It is also a great location for memory building.

What Social Media Should Not Be in a Relationship

This is not the place to post arguments, or to embarrass or harass a partner. Social media sites are not the place for public arguments, or to triangulate an argument by involving others. This is one of the main problems with Social Media sites when proper guidelines are not in place.

Another Social Media Problem

Couples should always be concerned not to flirt with other people on Social Media sites, as this is hurtful. While it may seem harmless because it is not face to face, this can spell trouble for a relationship and should be avoided. While discussions with the opposite sex that are friends, colleagues etc., is perfectly normal, there are definitive lines that should be adhered to out of respect for the relationship and your partner

Intimacy Lines and Social Media

Couples should respect that there is a level of one-on-one relationship that no-one else should be privy to. That is the base foundation of “intimacy”, and its defined meaning. That means others should not share in the same depth of information, nurturing, and closeness that the couple shares.

This can be a line that can be readily crossed with Social media. Sometimes with these sites there is an inclination to share the whole story with America. This open mouth insert foot syndrome can feel compelling, but is highly destructive. This is where restraint is important for both parties. Social media can be great communication tool for a relationship, but caution is advised for couples to maintain “couplehood” mostly in private. It is always best that it be constrained to sharing only tidbits of healthy discussions, jokes and support for the rest of the world to see.

Author’s Bio: Alisa Martin is a freelance writer, professional blogger, and social media enthusiast. Her blog BestDatingSites.org focuses on Dating bloggers. You can follow her on Google+

Do you need help?

 

DO YOU NEED HELP?

Marriage Counseling / Couples therapy can help! You will learn to:

Communicate more effectively, negotiate differences, deal with conflicts and repair after fights.

Focus on what you can do to make a difference in your relationship.

Reach out to your partner in new ways to increase understanding of each other.

Reconnect by changing how you react to your partner in stressful situations.

Are you ready to work on your marriage/relationship?

Let’s talk about how I can help!  I offer a 2 hour first consultation for the price of one!  click here for contact information

Is Marriage Counseling Right For You?

Learn to communicate more effectively, negotiate differences, deal with conflicts and repair after fights.

 

When you find yourself stressed out and unhappy about your relationship, there are THREE MAIN WAYS you can respond to your partner:
 
1) You can attack your partner for his/her role in  your relationship. The problem with this choice is that he/she is most likely going to attack you back.
Here is how it looks: 

  • You fight more and it takes longer to get past the fight. You find yourself regretting what you said and did during a fight.
  • You fight over small things or you can’t remember what started the fight. It feels like the fights follow a certain pattern that you can’t break.
  • You don’t communicate how you feel and what you want in a calm way. You blame your partner and focus on how he/she should change.
  • You are not proud of how you respond to your partner when you are stressed out, but you don’t know how to calm yourself and  respond differently.
  • Sex has become a struggle and a source of conflict.
  • You don’t feel connected and you need to know what your partner is doing at all times.
  • You have lost trust in your partner’s ability to be there for you.
  • You are aware that you are two different people with different perspectives, but you have trouble managing your anxiety over these differences without getting angry at your partner for being different from you.
  • You feel that you don’t know each other anymore. You feel that you have grown apart.
  • You feel angry and misunderstood and blame your partner for how you feel.
  • You rarely express feelings of sadness and anxiety.
  • You have tried everything and are close to giving up. You wonder if being yourself and being together is possible.

Couples that will do anything to avoid differences, disagreements and conflicts are angry and unhappy! Marriage Counseling / Couples therapy can help.

2) You can avoid your partner, withdraw from contact and shut down negative emotions to avoid open conflict. The problem with this choice is that when you avoid and shut down your negative emotions, you are also shutting down your positive emotions.

Here is how it looks:
  • You hardly ever communicate how you feel and what you want.
  • You feel that you haven’t been able to pursue individual interests in your relationship. You feel controlled and overpowered by your partner.
  • You have given up on being yourself with your partner. You withdraw emotionally to avoid conflict.
  • You are best friends, spending most of your time together but there is very little passion left in your relationship.
  • You are disappointed that your relationship is not the way you envisioned it would be it. You wish that your partner would change.
  • You are aware that you are two different people with different perspectives, but you have trouble managing your anxiety over these differences . You feel that your point of view is not worth mentioning.
  • You are unhappy and angry at your partner, but afraid to openly express your feelings. You need to feel understood without having to explain yourself.
  • You would like to reconnect and feel more passionate about your partner, but you fear that you are just going to make everything worse if you start expressing yourself.
3) You can reach out to your partner.
Here is how it looks:
  • You appreciate your partner.  You have at least five positive statements for every negative.
  • You listen actively to your partner without interrupting. Be aware of what your body language is communicating.
  • You express all of your emotions. Use I-statements to stay on the task of expressing yourself and not shift over to blaming (You-statements).
  • You acknowledge your differences and you are able to manage your anxiety over these differences.
  • You are curious about your partner and you are willing to reveal yourself to increase understanding of each others hopes and dreams, fears and worries.

Try This:

Make a note of how you usually respond to your partner.  

Let me know here on the blog (use a pseudonym to protect your privacy).

If you attack or avoid when you are stressed out, decide right now to start responding differently.

At your first opportunity reach out to your partner and do one thing that will make a difference for your partner. 

Ready?

 

Do you need help?

Marriage Counseling / Couples therapy can help! You will learn to:

Communicate more effectively, negotiate differences, deal with conflicts and repair after fights.

Focus on what you can do to make a difference in your relationship.

Reach out to your partner in new ways to increase understanding of each other.

Reconnect by changing how you react to your partner in stressful situations.

Are you ready to work on your marriage/relationship?

Let’s talk about how I can help!  I offer a 2 hour first consultation for the price of one!  click here for contact information

Go to FAQ for answers to your questions or email me at irenesavarese@yahoo.com

This site has over 50 articles to help you and your partner reconnect. Use the search box in the top right corner of this page.

Photo of hostile arguing couple is by hang in there

Photo of avoidant and angry ressistant couple is by John Walker

Photo of loving couple is by Zylenia

Why You Should Go Slow When Dating

How To Go Slow When Dating - Guest post by Sarah Fanning

Take the time to get to know each other. Keep it honest and open by communicating your true feelings and thoughts. 

 

Dating is a mandatory activity for people who are looking for lifelong partners. It is a fun activity that provides unrivaled excitement and amusement. It is the gateway that provides a leeway for the forging of new intimate relationships. Dating provides a convenient way for people to get to know one another in terms of their inner attributes. Those who engage in dating benefit immensely from the comfort and affection that the activity offers.

When dating leads to a new relationship, the happiness usually reaches a crescendo. Fantasies about married life are normally the euphoria associated with two new lovebirds. However, such fast-paced thoughts are detrimental to the relationship. In contrast, you should look to slow down the tempo of your relationship.

Reasons for going slow when dating

It pays dividends for you to go slow when dating because it offers you a better chance to understand one another. Going slow also reduces the impact of heartbreaks if the relationship falls apart. By slowing down the tempo of your relationship, both of you will lay a solid foundation for an everlasting relationship. During this period of level-headedness, it is possible for either one of you to recognize the warning signs in the other partner.

Strategies for going slow when dating

Many lovebirds have scant or no idea on how to drive their relationships at a slow pace. Some of the tips for going slow when dating include:

1. Visiting public places

You should ensure that you keep your love afloat by doing things together. This demands that you scour for great opportunities to engage in joint activities. This includes fun activities such as bowling, roller-skating, going for a picnic or playing pool amongst others. While engaged in these activities, you must ensure that you remain true to yourself. It pays little dividends to act differently in order to impress one another. In case of nervousness, the fun involved in such activities will erase the pressure.

2. Maintaining simplicity in the relationship

Relationships usually crash and burn because one of you or both of you want to rush to the next stage. It is vital that you maintain the tempo of the relationship until both of you are ready to take it to the next level. In the meantime, you should keep the relationship as simple as possible. A mutual agreement is integral in the progression of your relationship as time elapses.

3. Respect of personal space and possessions

Relationships usually bind couples into one body. This is usually manifested when couples share one another’s possessions. Nevertheless, this is normally a preserve of mature relationships. In the case of new relationships, it is safe for both of you to respect each other’s possessions and space. Going slow requires that you need not have to share your possessions all of the time. The key is to treasure every moment spent together.

4. Engaging in regular communication

A relationship in its infancy stage requires constant communication to keep the flame alive. Furthermore, both of you must keep it honest and open by communicating your true feelings and thoughts. These thoughts normally relate to several topics, which will gauge the tempo of the relationship. Constant communication will enlighten you on whether to increase or decrease the speed of the relationship.

Sarah currently works for [Lovestruck] and understands how tricky dating can be. Relationships never seem to pan out like they do in the movies and can sometimes require taking the time to get to know one another truly. For more information, check out the [Lovestruck dating blog].

Don’t forget who you are!

Thank you Sarah for your guest post! I have highlighted your major points and just want to ad a few myself:

  • Spend time with your friends. Don’t neglect your friends because you are dating. A relationship to a friend is a different kind of relationship and should not be seen as a threat to your date. Reflect over and discuss with your date what you think are the differences between love relationships and friend relationships.
  • Spend time alone. Make sure you keep in mind who you are and what you want in a relationship. Reflect over and discuss what is most important to you.
  • Do you share values?  Dating is an essential part of the first stage of a couples development. The purpose of the first stage is to form a bond – “we are a couple”. We look for shared values and areas of compatibility, which provide a foundation of nurturance and trust to further build on in the latter stages of couples development.
  • Don’t agree on everything. A couple consist of two different people! If you have ever been in love, you know how silly we can be agreeing on everything under the sun just to feel this fantastic feeling of understanding each other deeply. Don’t forget who you are! Example: “If I always loved pears more than apples, I will agree to loving apples more because he loves them. It is not that I am lying. At the time, it feels wonderful to forget about pears and instead enjoy apples together; After all, it is so sweet of him to buy me that nice red apple and bring it to me on my lunch break”.
  • Are you having a good time together? Reflect over why or why not. Remember that your date is not responsible for taking care of all your needs!

If you are dating you might like to read: “I fell in love and then… what the heck happened?” This blog post is about different stages of a couples development. Read the whole article here on the blog!

Photo of two hearts is by MAMJODH

Photo of couples on beach is  by ῨᾂῄὐἄṜ™

Dealing With Anger As A Team

Blaming and finger-pointing is not going to get you want you want. Photo of finger-pointing is by Jason Rogers

Linda Esposito, a psychotherapist and a friend of mine wrote a comment to a post here on the blog:  “How to get the most benefit from couples therapy”.  I liked her comment and the questions she asked so much that I decided to allocate a post to address the issue.

Here is Linda’s comment:

Wow–this is a really extensive list Irene. Question: what’s a good exercise for couples who understand when they’re in a rational, adult-thinking place that they need to refrain from blaming one another, whining, engaging in resentful compliance, etc., but regress when they’re emotional and under stress? I guess it’s helpful from a therapeutic standpoint to have them reenact or review an argument, but it seems like there should be better ways to address the “acting out” tendencies…

Hope this makes sense! TY :) .

What a great question Linda!

TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR OWN REACTIONS UNDER STRESS


To move forward from our “acting out” tendencies, we have to do the needed individual work and start changing how we react and deal with difficult emotions like anger. Both partners have a personal responsibility to work on their own reactions when under stress. I know that we would rather want to point out how our partner is the problem. How much easier it would be if he/she just would change. The problem is that our partner is thinking the same. This is painful work! But we need to be willing to look at our own reactions and decide to stop blaming our partner for how we feel.

Here is my take on how you can start working on your individual issues in the context of the couples work:

DEAL WITH YOUR ANGER BY RESPECTFULLY EXPRESSING HOW YOU FEEL – SELF EXPRESSION

Talk to your partner about how you react when under stress, and how you would like to be able to act instead. Focus on how it is for you – your perspective, thoughts and emotions. You need to express all your emotions, not only your anger.  Try to find your “softer” emotions that are hidden underneath your anger.  “I am angry at you, but I realize that I also feel hurt, sad, afraid etc.”

REACH OUT TO YOUR PARTNER IN ANY WAY YOU CAN THINK OF

Have your partner tell you how he/she typically reacts. Be sure to listen. Now is not the time to let your anger out. You are going to hear your partner’s perspective and you will want to make sure you understand. Recap and ask questions.

SUPPORT EACH OTHERS INDIVIDUAL WORK

Now talk about how you can support each other in this important individual work that you both have to do. It is not something we learn by talking about this once. We have to continuously be aware and mindful of our own triggers and reactions. We can reach out for help and we can influence each other, but we can’t blame and attack our partner and expect that he/she will listen and change. Being resentful and focusing on how impossible your partner is being in silence (avoidance) is not going to work either.

IF YOU ATTACK YOUR PARTNER OR WITHDRAW FROM EXPRESSING HOW YOU FEEL – TAKE A TIME OUT

Ask for a time out, calm yourself and remind yourself what is important to you and why you are doing this hard work. Reflect on what kind of partner you would like to be. When you come back from time out, make sure you respectfully express your thoughts and feelings to your partner. If you are not sure how, think about how you would like your partner to talk to you.

FOCUSING ON YOUR INTENTIONS IS SOMETIMES EASIER THAN FOCUSING ON HOW ANGRY YOU ARE

Explain what you want and what you would like your partner to help you with. By doing this you are focusing on your own goals for yourself, which is a whole other story than blaming your partner for hurting your feelings.

For more help on how to communicate more effectively go here

Interested in learning more about couples therapy and how to get started go here

How to ensure a positive couples therapy experience go here and how to get the most benefit go here

For new couples entering therapy go here

Ask an experienced and trained couples therapist for help if you need to. Photo by worak

 

This work is not easy, so make sure you ask for help if you need to. This blog gives advice, and is no substitute for couples therapy. By having an experienced and trained couples therapist by your side you have a neutral resource person to help you navigate these turbulent waters. Call (954) 806-2974 for help in the Fort Lauderdale, Florida area.

 

 

 

 

 FREE RESOURCES

This site has over 50 articles offering relationship advice so you on your own can improve your relationship!

WARNING! Reading the advice is not enough. You have to follow the instructions and do the exercises with your partner, and remember that it takes practice before you master a new skill.

  • If you partner is not yet willing to do the exercises with you – don’t despair – do them yourself and show your partner than you are holding your end of your relationship.

Subscribe to updates on blog via my facebook page Couples Counseling – Save Your Marriage/Relationship and get my 26 page happiness report free! Learn about:

What Happy Couples Do To Stay Happy And Stay Together!

WHAT HAPPY COUPLES DO TO STAY HAPPY AND STAY TOGETHER

You will receive the  report after you have subscribed to my facebook page!   

So, how does it work?

  • Subscribe to page and send me a message with your email.
  • I will email you the free report.

Thanks for visiting – Hope to connect with you!
Photo by Desi on Flickr

Grow As A Couple By Working On A Shared Project.

Grow as a couple by learning to negotiate effectively Call (954) 806-2974 for your first two hour consultation for the price of one!

 

See how Ellyn and Pete are negotiating their differences, working on a shared project and receiving an experience of a lifetime together!

Ellyn Bader and Peter Pearson from The Couples Institute are helping couples and training couples therapists.

They are the couple that has meant the most to me in my work. As you will see- they are an amazing couple. They have helped me acquire the necessary skills to help you grow in your relationships.

 

See the video below together with your partner.

Try This: Discuss with your partner:

  • What kind of relationship have you always wanted?
  • What are you passionate about? Do you know what your partner is passionate about?
  • What would the benefits be for your relationship if you worked on a shared project together?
Learn to negotiate differences – Couples therapy can help. Call (954) 806-2974 for your first two hour consultation for the price of one! (Fort Lauderdale office)

“One Plus One Is Greater Than Two” – Are You Ready To Do What You Need To Do To Save Your Marriage?

“One plus one is greater than two”

Is this a good description of the marriage/relationship you want to have?

  • You and your partner have the ability to identify and express important aspects of yourself.
  •  You are curious about your partner and can manage your own reactions.
  • You are able to manage the tension between being two different people AND still be a couple.
  • The “We” and the “I” functions together.
  • You are able to negotiate differences on an ongoing basis.
  • Your disagreements are friendly and not a question of being together or not.
  • Your vulnerability is not seen as weakness.
  • Your capability is not seen as a threat.
  • The “We” gives strengths to both your own AND your partners ongoing development.
  • You are able to rely on each other and you are able to give even when it’s inconvenient.
  • As a couple you are interdependent;

“I need you to be there for me, not because I am not independent, but because you enrich my life by being with you!”

Are you ready to do what you need to do to save your marriage/relationship?

Give me a call at (954) 806-2974 for your first two hour consultation for the price of one!

Try This: Use these questions to talk with your partner about how you can Grow As A Couple:

  1. What are your individual life goals and how can I help?
  2. What goals do you have for our relationship – couples goals?
  3. What do you most appreciate about our relationship and about me as your partner?
  4. Do you feel you are able to pursue your life goals and still feel connected to me as your partner?
  5. What would you say is the biggest obstacle for us as a couple?
  6. Do you feel that you can confide in me about what is making you feel vulnerable?
  7. How do you see our relationship developing in the near future?

Photo of kissing couple by emilianohorcada

Get help and enjoy south Florida at the same time!

Do you need help but don’t live in south Florida?

Consider traveling to the sunny Fort Lauderdale for an intensive workshop tailored just for you and your partner!

Call (954) 806-2974 to talk about your needs and how I can help! We will meet for 2-3 hour per day.

The rest of the time you can spend with your partner enjoying the many attractions we have here in south Florida.

 Call (954) 806-2974  Today!

 Photo of beach by jamNigelMorris

If you have any comments or questions please end me an email at irenesavarese@yahoo.com.