Archive for February, 2010

Cherishing Behaviors For Couples: Some Suggestions

February always brings the day of love…Valentine’s Day! This month, the media is doing all of the marketing for you! Every other commercial through the middle of this month will be about Valentine’s Day and every other couple will begin comparing their relationship to the fictional one they see on TV, and coming up short!

Even thought Valentine’s Day is gone, the feelings of resentment over the forgotten flowers or gift, the fight that happened later that day and the clumsy attempt at making up later that night are still lingering; and causing all of the OTHER resentments to surface as well. So Valentine’s Day is very much still in the picture if you’re a therapist and you see adults who are part of a couple.  Create a handout on ‘Tips for Cherishing Your Loved One’ – make sure you put your name and contact information on it and get ready to keep it restocked. Here’s our free gift to you this month…. remember it is a popular one!

If you work with couples, or even if you don’t, you can use this to incorporate into your marketing. Find-a-Therapist lets you customize an audio message to your clients and potential clients. Let your current clients know they can come to your listing on FT to hear a “Tip of the Month” from you to rejuvenate your marriage (make sure you mention it in your Personal Statement” so they will know where to click).

When you are reading this, you will recall some of the pleasing and delightful behaviors that drew you to each other during courtship, or which were practiced during some happy times or even in crisis times. Select from this list, or one of your own, two or three cherishing behaviors you might be willing to practice.

* Call me during the day and tell me something pleasant.
* Ask me how I spent my day and for a few minutes give me your undivided attention.
* Fix the coffee in the morning so we can have a few minutes to talk before starting the day.
* Enjoy touching me.
* Sometimes turn off the lights and light a candle when we are having dinner.
* Find something humorous in your day to share with me.
* When you are out walking bring back a flower or a leaf or funny rock.
* For no special reason, hug me and say you like me.
* Offer to wash my back when I’m in the shower or tub.
* Tell the children (in front of me) what a good parent I am.
*Cuddle with me at night before we go to sleep.
* Ask my opinion about some TV program or world news event.
* Slip a surprise note in my lunch bag or under my pillow occasionally.
* Occasionally call me sweetheart or honey or dear or some word special to us.
* Hold my hand when we walk down the street.
* When we sit together put your arm around me or touch me.
* Look at me and smile. Remember a funny story you heard just for me.
* Get me the morning paper and let me read the main section first.
* Put on one of my favorite records or CD’s and play it without asking.
* Bring me a flower sometimes for no reason at all.
* Surprise me with something that tells me you enjoy being with me and seeing me happy.
* When you see me coming home, come to meet me.
* Give up some personal habit that you know bothers me (like smoking, swearing, etc).

No one can expect a relationship to maintain the same level of emotional, sexual, and romantic intensity that was present during courtship. But we can grow in love and consideration. A successful, happy marriage is made up of many small things.

Find a Therapist

Is Your Marriage In Trouble? Some of the most interesting work on relationships has been conducted by Dr. John Gottman at the University of Washington. Dr. Gottman’s lab has watched thousands of hours of videotaped marital interactions. They have learned how to predict divorce with an astonishing degree of accuracy–and Dr. Gottman says they can do it on the basis of 2 minutes of “How Was Your Day” talk as well as after having watched 45 minutes of problem-solving. What’s the secret? You might think it’s different interests, religion, sexual problems. Nope.   Dr. Gottman has identified the “4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse” of Marriage:

* Contempt

* Criticism

* Defensiveness

* Withdrawal

Now, these are not always blatant. Sometimes contempt is expressed through a rolling of the eyes; withdrawal through a stonewalling in the other’s presence. If your communication is characterized by these tendencies, your relationship may be in significant trouble.  Find-a-Therapist

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