Communication

How to Get the Most From Your Couples Therapy

Couples are often uncertain what to expect from the process of couples therapy. They are not sure of what to expect of the therapist or even if the therapist has any expectations of them. I have found most couples approach therapy with the notion that each person will describe their distress and somehow the therapist will assist them to create a happier, more functional, relationship. They expect to learn some new or better skills. However, most people hope their partner will do most of the learning in problem areas. After 30 years of clinical experience and specializing in working with thousands of couples, I have arrived at some guidelines that can make our work more effective. First, I do have some expectations of you. I am not neutral. I have evolved principles and concepts that I believe give us the greatest chance for success.

Stress-Free Valentine’s Day

  Less Stress & More Fun Holidays can sometimes be stressful for couples—especially Valentine’s Day. One partner may be imagining something very specific to celebrate the day. The other partner may not have a clue of what that thing is. The result can be disappointment and confusion. Rather than hurt feelings and a Valentine’s Day gone sideways, take steps to create a relaxed and fun celebration with your beloved. What Would Your Partner Like? Take the stress out of Valentine’s Day by having a conversation about it. You can ask your sweetheart, “What do you think you might enjoy for Valentine’s Day?”… Read more...

11 Ways to Give the Gift of Intimacy

purple present box isolated on white Intimacy will last longer than most of the items typically exchanged as gifts this season – certainly longer than the latest trends in fashion or a digital device that will be obsolete in six months. Here are 11 ways to give or increase intimacy over the holiday season:… Read more...

6 Ways to Holiday-Proof Your Relationship

nuts, oramge and xmas lightsThe hustle and the bustle of the holiday season are upon us. It’s not an easy time even for folks in perfectly happy relationships, much less anyone who feels tension or is struggling with a significant other. Here are 6 ways to reduce holiday stress.… Read more...

It’s not about the nail

Maybe you’re not exactly hitting the nail on the head when you try to communicate. Usually it's not about the nail. We love how this video illustrates that point… Read more...

Improve Your Own Dancing First

dancing couple I don’t know if you’re keeping up with the latest season of “Dancing With The Stars” but there is some real energy and personality there. Just like in many other arenas, Ellyn and I are on different pages about who we think should win. Regardless of who wins, here's an idea that's relevant for couples: improve yourself first.… Read more...

Are you going to have this kind of Valentine’s Day?

Feb14-225Picture this. It might fit for lot of guys. Valentine's Day approaches. A week before this special, romantic day, Joe starts calling around for dinner reservations. He believes he is pretty smart thinking ahead like this.… Read more...

How To Enjoy Your Family and In-Laws This Year

Are you already playing out scenarios in your head about what could go wrong this holiday season? Maybe you are tired of feeling uncomfortable around the in-laws, or dreading the arguments that tend to come up between you and your partner. With so many different personalities and conflicting desires coming together, it can be challenging to stay centered and feel enthusiastic about the holidays! …Which is why I have put together some tips for you. Who says this year can’t be different from the others?… Read more...

Chore Wars

[trafficplayer_skin padding: 16px 0 0 15px; width: 614px; height: 366px; background: url(https://www.couplesinstitute.com/wp-content/uploads/skin2_600x350.png) no-repeat top left; text-align: left;][trafficplayer_youtube_video width=”600″ height=”350″ src=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/OwDIgwr3QjQ?&showinfo=0modestbranding=1&autohide=0&autoplay=0&controls=1&hd=0&rel=0″ ][/trafficplayer_youtube_video][/trafficplayer_skin]… Read more...

A Surprising (and Magical) Perspective on Your Marriage

  couples-communicationEvery couple has some aggravations with their relationship that seem to defy understanding. “Why in the heck does he/she keep doing that when it is guaranteed to start an argument?” Sometimes these puzzles are hard to figure out. But if you ask different questions or ask them in a different way, you might get a new insight about why these things happen. This takes some detective work but the effort is worthwhile to increase understanding and perhaps avoid some of those common relationship annoyances. Here's a different and fun way to sharpen your sleuthing skills. Click on the following website. … Read more...

Surprising Medical Study: Is Your Marriage Like Poison Ivy?

Recently as I was reading a mostly dry academic journal, I came upon an interesting research article about the power of beliefs. It's a common notion that our beliefs profoundly affect our lives. And this article presented the kind of verification that psychologists seek when attempting to prove that notion. The evidence was detailed in the “Kyousha Journal of Medical Science.” In Japan, thirteen volunteers who reported being hypersensitive to poison ivy were touched on one arm with leaves from a harmless tree. They were told the leaves were from a tree similar to poison ivy. On the other arm, they were touched with the poisonous leaves, which they were led to believe were the harmless ones.… Read more...