Relationship Challenges

Relationship Challenges

9 Ways To Absolutely Know You Are In The Right Relationship

I hear this all the time, 'is he/she the right one for me?' In a time where there are more single people than there have ever been, and there is more betrayal than ever. People have a hard time trusting that they will pick the right partner for themselves. The first step is loving and respecting yourself. Here are nine tips that will help you know you're in the right relationship:

You Don't...
  1. Fear it. You aren't afraid to commit and you put yourself in a situation with someone that, also, doesn't fear it. If you are afraid of commitment, it's best to work that out before starting a relationship.
  2. Snoop. If you trust your partner, why are you looking? Going through your partner's email, phone, Facebook account or journal, strongly indicate you don't trust your partner. You're also violating your partner's trust in you.
  3. Think you're superior. If your feel your partner is inferior in any way you know that matters to you in a mate - morally, intellectually, financially, socially or professionally - then you're never going to respect your partner the way you hoped to be respected. 
  4. Let any substance abuse or behavior come before the relationship. Anyone abusing a substance or behavior is cheating on you with his or her drug of choice. You deserve more.
  5. Depend on each…

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10 Tips To Help Overcome Negativity In Your Relationship

After you've been in a relationship for a while, it's easy to focus on the negative. At The Gottman Institute we call this the negative sentiment override (NSO). Couples that are in the NSO will not notice the positive their partner does 50% of the time. What does this mean? Start adding thank you's and appreciations to your relationship, like it was in the beginning. I know this sounds small, but it will make a big difference. Here are 10 helpful tips to overcome the NSO in your relationship:

  1. Brew up a cup of coffee for your partner. Have a cup of coffee together in the morning and talk about at least one important thing that will be happening in your day. Make this a ritual every morning.
  2. Laugh together. Bring up a funny moment from your past that makes you both laugh. Couples that laugh together are more likely to stay together. Maybe the last time you were out to dinner together the server said or did something funny. Bring it up with your partner. You can also watch a funny comedy together.
  3. Work up a sweat together. You can do this inside or outside of the bedroom. Working up a sweat will boost your endorphins and is good for your heart. Make sure to get your heart rate up. Take a hike, go…

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How Is The Intimacy, Really, In Your Relationship?

When we think of intimacy, we think of passion and romance. It all seems so natural and easy. I mean, just watch the movies, all you have to do is wear a nice outfit and smell nice, and instantly you'll have romance. It all appears, so, easy. We have learned a lot about relationship stability from Dr's. John and Julie Gottman. We have found that relationships are built on trust and commitment. When you have trust and commitment you have a strong friendship. Friendship builds intimacy. We have also found, that in relationships there can be resentments and grudges. These can be damaging to the relationship. When you learn to mange them well, this can lead to increased intimacy. We can think of them as falling into three different categories:

  1. "Maybe this really isn't that important, on second thought and I can let this go."
  2. "This really is irritating to me, I'm feeling resentful here, this really is important to me, (but not particularly meaningful)."
  3. "This is painful and serious, this really has meaning to me related to an important belief, value, or strong feeling.
When there is meaning given to the incident or behavior this can drive the resentment to a level of great distress. The resentment is experienced as painful and can be seen as a fundamental flaw in your partner.…

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Stay Engaged After Marriage

"When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed." Maya Angelou

As many of you know, I see many couples in my practice. One thing I hear a lot from the couples I see is that, "I wish it could be like it was when we first met." To many couples this may sound difficult, but it actually isn't. You can rekindle the spark and bring fun back into the relationship. Here are ten ways to stay engaged after marriage:

  1. Stay interested in one another. Set time aside everyday to talk about your day with your partner. This is a chance for the two of you to learn more about one another's work and play. Stay interested in the conversation and remember to be a good listener when your partner is talking. For help with questions go to The Gottman website, and order Love Map cards. This will help get the conversation started. They also have apps. for your smart phone.
  2. Try something new. Many couples get stuck in the same rut. They shop at the same grocery store, they always drive the same route, eat the same foods; they may even make love in the same room. I think you know where I am going with this. It's time to change your routine. Try a new restaurant, go to a…

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Manic Monday

Seven Signs That You May Need Couples Counseling:

Do you feel like your relationship is chaotic? I hear this all the time, 'the house is a mess, I can't get anything done, you are always complaining, why didn't you tell me this before we got married, our friends don't come around anymore,  I never thought we would end up this way, or it's just never enough.' As many of you know I have been trained to use The Gottman Method for couples. This is a research based method that is used for treating high-conflict couples. It is also a practical approach which helps couples communicate more effectively and lovingly. If you are in a relationship and you have said any of these things about your partner, then you are in a high conflict relationship. Here are seven questions to ask yourself about your relationship:

  1. Is your life with your partner chaotic?
  2. Do you enjoy spending time with your partner, even if you are just spending time together running errands?
  3. Do you dream of what life would be like without your partner?
  4. Are you jealous of your single friends?
  5. Are you excited to see your partner at the end of the day?
  6. Do you go out on at least one date a week? A date is an evening out without the children. 
  7. Do you know one important thing about your partner's day, before they leave the house in the morning?
Your answers to questions 1, 3, & 4 should be no, and your answers to question 2, 5, 6, & 7 should be yes. If they aren't, then it's time to call a Marriage & Family Therapist. 

Lianne Avila has worked with many couples and has found that many relationships go through highs and lows. Is this true of your relationship, or do you find it's low most of the time? For more help, please visit

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