Category Archives: Relationship

How Personal Stress Affects Our Relationship

It’s no surprise that personal stress spills over into our relationships, and to all other aspects of our lives. Stress tends to be contagious, too, so that one partner’s stress “transfers” to the other partner and sometimes kids.

Even in the best of circumstances, there’s a lot of stuff one can be stressed about. Just making a living, minding a job or business, raising a family and dealing with the myriad responsibilities of modern life can raise anyone’s blood pressure.

Personal stress can show up in many ways and have many side effects. Here are some of them …

  • One or both partners withdraws
  • We disappear into ourselves
  • We quit communicating
  • One person shuts out the other
  • We become alienated and disconnected from each other
  • We might become less affectionate, distracted, superficial
  • We obsess about the things that stress us
  • We get more sensitive and take things more personally
  • Negative behaviors become more visible
  • We’re less able to stop ourselves from reacting
  • We get more irritable, hostile which leads to more fighting
  • We have shorter fuses
  • We tend to vent, we got less filters, we say stupid stuff that creates more problems
  • We get depleted, tired, fatigued.
  • We can’t think as clearly, we make more mistakes

And there are probably more (we didn’t even mention the physical health consequences of stress, which are legion!)

So what can we do about this?

#1 Break it down

First, break down your stressors. What specifically is it that you feel stressed about? It’s useful to break it down, because that opens the door to take productive action. As long as you’re in a generalized state of “I’m so stressed”, without getting clear about the stressors, you can’t do anything about it, it just festers inside you.

So break it down. Is it that you got a pink slip? That you have too many responsibilities at work? Is it that there are problems in your marriage? Or that your kids are growing up and leaving the house?

Make a list or talk it out with your partner or a friend.

#2 Determine what you DO have control over

Because there are so many things in life we don’t have control over (Covid, anyone?), it’s easy to just feel victimized.

So what CAN you take action around?
What DO you have some control over?
Where DO you have power?

It’s always useful to shift your mindset to one of opportunity and agency instead of problems and victimization. So you look at the stressors in your life and ask yourself, What if this was a challenge for me? What if (for some unknown reason) this was somehow happening for me? What could I learn here?

Call us hopelessly insistent on optimism, but Sonika & I have always used that mindset to help us turn around stressful situations, the external causes of which we had no control over. Our favorite question is, How are we going to use this to our benefit?

And it’s never failed to galvanize and invigorate our hearts and minds. Remember, the goal here is to do something useful to alleviate and transform your stress, not necessarily to change the whole world.

#3 Take action

Once you break down your stressors, and look at what you can control and have some influence over, then it’s time to take action. No matter how stressful the situation, there are always a host of productive actions you can take.

Some ideas …

  • Reduce your workload. Take on less tasks. Say no to stuff.
  • Create better self-care habits, such as sit in silence for a bit in the morning, or watch the sunset, or take a hot bath.
  • Get other people to take some work off your plate
  • Pay someone to do stuff around the house
  • Talk to a co-worker to help you with some of your projects
  • Ask for help. We sometimes forget we don’t have to do everything solo.
  • And as I always like to remind myself, “Chill the f*** out and stop worrying about stuff that’ll probably never happen” (being someone who’s prone to doing exactly that!)

#4 Create and cultivate empowering daily routines

Today I started my day with 45 min of Tai Chi on our deck, just me and the birds. That’s a daily routine I’ve started in Covid times to help myself feel better. Sonika started the day by envisioning how to best support the clients she’d be meeting with later.

The key here is “feel better”. What routines could you cultivate that would make you feel better? Not just once, but every day, or regularly (hence “routine”, not just a one-time action).

In the face of stress, some people fret, some obsess, some get angry, and some get depressed. Either way, stress is depleting, so by having daily routines that help you reinvigorate, you alleviate your stress.

#5 What can you do together?

How can you help each other? How can you leverage your relationship to ease your stress? So often, we respond to stress by isolating and carrying the whole burden internally. That’s when you know it’s time to use each other; to come up with what you can do together.

We always start by connecting and sharing openly about whatever it is that stresses us. Speaking it out loud, getting it off your chest to someone who will listen without correction, is a time-tested winner for de-stressing. If you feel like you should be able to handle this yourself, maybe you even feel ashamed that you even need to talk about it, then say all that out loud.

Remind yourself that you’re in this together, that you’re on the same team. In times of stress and frustration, who do most people take it out on? Their partners, who becomes an adversary instead of an ally. So use each other, lean on each other, connect, and keep talking. The very act of being vulnerable can help you shed some of the tension, stress, and worry that you carry.

Or, sometimes even better, stop talking all together, go snuggle up or jump in a hot bath and just feel your bodies. Give each other a massage or make love, and see if your stress doesn’t evaporate, at least for a time.

Here’s one super effective and connecting action you can take together for your relationship, which will definitely help with your stress.

We created a 90-min mini-workshop for couples to deal with stress and disagreements, How To Be More Understanding During Disagreements.

In this workshop-from-your-couch, we are going to help you:

* Find understanding
* Relieve tension and stress
* Discover common ground between each other
* Get on the same page
* Learn techniques to de-escalate during conflict
* Get back to connection

Register here: https://loveworksforyou.com/how-to-be-more-understanding-during-disagreements

We have helped thousands of couples navigate crisis and stressful times, and we’d be honored to help you, too.

Posted in Conflicts, Couples, Fear, Marriage, Relationship | Leave a comment

How to Deal with an Emotionally Unavailable Partner

When you have the experience of your partner being emotionally unavailable, you’re probably feeling that you’re not being “met”, that you’re not being heard, that you can’t get your messages across, or that he/she is always trying to fix you when you try to share something. You might find your partner aloof, stonewalling, or defensive. Or any combination of these.

It’s natural that you want to be more connected, more in communion, with your partner.

It’s important to understand that there are inherent differences between men and women, between personality types, and between … just people! We all have a different way of feeling, accessing and expressing our emotions.

For instance, we worked with a couple where the woman was vivacious, talkative, charismatic, and the man was stoic, unmoving, and only talked sparingly. She loved asking him questions, and he hated being asked questions. It’s easy to assume that she’s emotionally available and he’s not. But it’s not that simple. When we took the time to create the right space, he too shared profound insights and emotions.

Some people cry at movies, some don’t, but remember “emotionally unavailable” doesn’t (necessarily) mean they don’t feel or have emotions.

If you have the experience of someone being emotionally unavailable, and they feel judged by you, all that’s going to produce is have them clam up even more.

For starters, what you can do is accept differences and get curious about what those differences might be. Ask questions in a mood of curiosity. Ask your partner, “What happens for you when you watch that movie?” or “What happens for you when so-and-so happens in our family …?”

Some people have much quicker access to how they feel. Like Sonika and me, for instance. it seems to me she’s always in touch with how she feels at any given moment, but I often have to stop and “think” about how I feel; I have to tune in in order to know how I feel. From her point of view, it might seem as if I’m not feeling anything, but I just need time to access my feelings.

A great tip is when you ask a question, let the person explore for a little bit, give them some time before you ask another question.

On the flip side, if you’re the “unavailable” one, add a little more detail than you normally would. Instead of just answering, “Great!” when she asks how my day was, I can elaborate a bit and add, “I did have an interesting experience with John at work …”. This breeds emotional connection.

Ask yourself, if there isn’t a lot of talking, do you assume it’s disconnection? Another way to think about this, is to join your partner in the silence, and to enjoy the connection inside silence. That’s a different kind of emotional availability, beyond words.

When you’re with an emotionally unavailable partner, it’s easy to have all of your attention is on what your partner is not doing, what they’re not saying. You try to get your partner to be more vulnerable and available.

Instead, try turning it around and ask yourself, How can I be more vulnerable? How can I be more emotionally available? Because often, when you’re busy trying to get your partner to be more available and in touch with their feelings, you’re not in touch with yours.

When you can get more in touch with your own emotions, and share that with your partner from an open, vulnerable place, you invite your partner into your world, which invites your partner to share more deeply.

Granted, there are different degrees of emotional unavailability. Most often, the tools and tips we’re sharing here can help, but if your partner (or you) are completely stonewalling, refusing to engage, you might need a different level of intervention. You can reach out to us for private coaching or talk to a local coach/therapist.

In relationship, we have a tendency to talk more “about” our problems, or “about” our emotions, but the more we talk “about” it, the further we get away from the connection we’re longing for.

Instead of talking “about”, turn it around to explore what am I feeling? How can I be more vulnerable here? How can I be more curious about you? That creates a space for us to “drop in” to, a place of connection and feeling, the place we’re wanting in the first place.

Finally, look for any place where your partner does reach out, where they do share, and where they do connect. Then, once you see those places, appreciate your partner for it. Thank them for where they DO connect with you. That way, you find some small pieces of what you want, and you make them bigger.

Your partner makes eye contact (a mark of availability) for a few seconds? Say, “Thanks for looking at me … that makes me feel really good”.

Here’s a next-step idea that could really boost your sense of emotional connection:

We created a 90-min mini-workshop for couples to deal with stress and disagreements, How To Be More Understanding During Disagreements.

In this workshop-from-your-couch, we are going to help you:

* Find understanding
* Relieve tension and stress
* Discover common ground between each other
* Get on the same page
* Learn techniques to de-escalate during conflict
* Get back to connection

Register here: https://loveworksforyou.com/how-to-be-more-understanding-during-disagreements 

 

Posted in Communication, Conflicts, Marriage, Relationship, Trust | Leave a comment

How To Communicate About Relationship Issues

The most common issue couples present to us is Communication (or lack thereof). It is one thing to communicate about logistics and practicalities such as who goes shopping, who makes food, who picks up the kids, and when. It’s quite another to try and communicate about touchy issues, such as our different preferences or personalities.

All too often, our first communication is about what our partner is doing that we don’t like or find irritating. Basically our default, go-to strategy when we want something to change in our partner’s behavior, is we tell them about it. We point it out to them, so hopefully they’ll get the message and change.

The problem with this strategy is it always ends up sounding like complaining and criticizing to our partner, who then get’s defensive, silent, or complains right back.

#1 Shift your complaints to requests

When I say to my partner, “You’re not listening to me!” or, “You don’t respect me”, I’m hoping it will result in her changing to now listen to me and respect me. But when someone tells you, “”You don’t listen to me!”, do you want to listen more or less? Yeah, less. And you might want to add, “I do listen” (defensive), or “You’re not exactly the best listener yourself!” (complaining back).

It is much more useful to go directly for what you want, bypassing the complaint altogether. So you shift your complaint to a direct request instead:

“Would you be willing to listen to me for five minutes?”
“Would you be willing to tell me something you respect about me?”

Go directly what is wanted, namely listening and a sense of respect.

#2 Express appreciations to your partner every day

It has been shown that the more appreciations and the less complaining we have, the better our chances of keeping our relationship strong and stay together.

Plus, appreciations are to humans what water and sun are to plants. We need it to not wither inside.

Appreciation is the perfect antidote to complaining because in order for me to appreciate something about my partner, I have to shift my attention onto something I like, something I love, something that IS working in my relationship.

Find something your partner did today, or some quality about them that you like, and say it out loud.

“Thanks for making breakfast today”
“Thanks for doing the shopping, that was really nice”
“Thanks for being so responsible with our kids”
“I love how you make people laugh”

Anything will. We’ve kept up a routine for over ten years now. Before we go to sleep, we share at least three appreciations of the other person. Try it out!

#3 Talk about your own experience

You’ve probably heard the recommendation to speak in I-statements. It’s much easier for your partner to hear you saying, “I feel scared when we argue” as opposed to “You’re always arguing with me!”. Sharing your own experience makes communication a lot safer. We call it the “un-arguable truth”. No one can argue that I feel scared. But you can – and probably will – argue if I say, “All your yelling is making me scared!”.

#4 Expand to include

This is a central notion in the LoveWorks Solution. I expand my understanding and mindset to be big enough to include yours. In disagreements, we often think only one of us is right, can be right, but in truth, it’s possible that we’re both right. Expand to include the differences in opinions and styles.

If I love cilantro and you hate it (that’s Sonika and me:-), there’s no point in me arguing that you should love it too. Instead, I expand to include your point of view.

If you want to improve your ability to get on the same page, here’s a great opportunity to practice:

We created a 90-min mini-workshop for couples to deal with stress and disagreements, How To Be More Understanding During Disagreements. In this workshop-from-your-couch, we are going to help you:

* Find understanding
* Relieve tension and stress
* Discover common ground between each other
* Get on the same page
* Learn techniques to de-escalate during conflict
* Get back to connection

Register here: https://loveworksforyou.com/how-to-be-more-understanding-during-disagreements

We have helped thousands of couples navigate crisis and stressful times, and we’d be honored to help you, too.

Posted in Communication, Marriage, Relationship | Leave a comment

Can You Rebuild Trust In A Relationship?

Trust is hugely important for creating a safe, successful, loving relationship. A sense of trust in your partner and your relationship is what allows you to generally relax, let your guard down, and move with faith and ease in your life together.

According to Drs. Gottman et al, in their book A Man’s Guide To Women, trustworthiness is the #1 quality women look for in a male partner.

When trust is broken in a relationship, it can cause a lot of harm. It can make you question everything you’ve thought to be true and factual, and to wonder about what else you don’t know. Anyone who’s ever discovered their partner to have an illicit affair will know exactly what that means. Because you don’t know what to trust, it makes you feel kinda crazy.

If trust is broken repeatedly over time, sometimes years, it becomes very difficult to repair and stay together.

Even in perfectly harmonious relationships, trust gets broken from time to time. Whatever the circumstances, if you still have love for each other and you still want to be in relationship, you end up asking this question: Can trust be rebuilt in my relationship?

Whether trust can be rebuilt depends on the situation, and the way in which trust was broken.

Generally speaking, if you are willing to …

  • Own what happened and take responsibility.
  • Learn from it.
  • Change behaviors.
  • Apologize
  • Making new commitments backed by action.

Then you have very good chances of repairing trust and healing, even growing, from what happened. If you’re not willing to engage in the actions listed above, it becomes very difficult to repair trust and salvage your relationship.

Building trust can be a long process that requires professional support, so don’t feel bad if you haven’t figured it out on your own yet. It’s a big topic, bigger than one article will cover.

We want to support you to get started, so here are some important pointers and steps to take.

Get specific

Get really specific about where trust was broken. It’s a different situation if your partner showed up 5 minutes late to an appointment or emptied your retirement account and ran off with a lover. Both could be characterized as “broken trust”, but obviously not the same.

Instead of stating a general, “I don’t trust you!”, get specific. Is it that you don’t trust your partner to be with the kids? Or to shop for the right ingredients for dinner? Or to be faithful?

Getting specific makes it easier to stay on track with the process, and it helps the person who broke the trust to do something about it.

Apology process

For the person who broke the trust, the first “something” to do is to go through a complete apologies process. Just saying, “I’m sorry” just doesn’t get the job done.

A complete apologies process involves steps such as ownership of the behavior, demonstrating to your partner that you understand the impact of your actions, making amends to repair the damage, making new promises, and of course, keeping said promises.

If trust has been broken repeatedly over time, or the breach was severe, repairing trust is process over an extended period of time, not a one-time apology process. It takes many new promises that are repeatedly and reliably backed by action to heal from breaches of trust. It takes the ability to clean up when you fall short of your promises.

Acknowledge progress

In the process of repairing trust, make sure you acknowledge and speak out loud your appreciations for the efforts and progress made. If my partner had been lying to me, but now I see real a demonstration of him or her being truthful, I make sure to say, “Thank you so much for telling me that, I really appreciate it”.

It takes two

Even if only person was the one to break the trust, repairing trust still takes willingness from both parties. Even if your partner was the one to break a promise, it still requires willingness from you to learn and grow from what happened, and willingness to heal and eventually let go of what happened (with proper apologies and new actions from your partner). Note, letting go of what happened is not the same as forgetting or condoning what happened.

Finally, breaches of trust, betrayals, affairs, lying, etc. are difficult things to deal with in a relationship. It brings up all manner of feelings and the hurt can run really deep.

So get help! The faster the better. Call coaches like us, use a local therapist or a trusted friend. But don’t just stew with it on your own, that doesn’t help anyone.

And in the meantime, keep your agreements!

 

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How To Make Marriage Fun Again

Anyone else feel like “Groundhog Day” in your marriage these days? Other than stuff we find on our screens, there’s a whole lot less diversion and adventure while we’re waiting out the corona restrictions.

Not just in our relationship, but in life in general, we need to find ways to laugh together. Even under “normal” circumstances life is hard enough and at times completely absurd, so we need a good dose of humor to make it through.

Sonika’s favorite saying has long been, “Trust, risk and keep a sense of humor”.

In marriages and relationships, because we are together every day for years and decades, and because we get to see every possible aspect of each other – good, bad, and ugly – we often forget to have fun.

Not because we don’t want to, but because we get sucked into the myriad responsibilities we all have and we get out of the habit of laughing, enjoying life and each other, and just plain old having fun.

During corona times, you might even have a bunch of added stressors and responsibilities and you might be more inclined to say “F*** it!” than having a good laugh. Understandable. But still, without having some fun, what’s it all for, anyways?

They say that couples who play together, stay together. Whether that’s true or not, it’s definitely true that couples who play together … well, play together! They just have more fun, period.

Even in the confines of our houses there are lots of options to make your marriage fun again.

We’ll offer a few ideas we use to have fun on an ongoing basis (and spend a few minutes with Google, you’ll find plenty more).

Having fun is not exactly rocket science. Even if you’ve been out of practice, there’s still stuff in this world that can make you laugh. The challenge is finding the lightness and levity inside yourself, even in the midst of challenging circumstances.

Some of us didn’t grow up in families where fun and levity were part of the daily diet, and you might even have been reprimanded for “having too much fun” or “being too loud”. Those types of messages from our early years can make it really uncomfortable to let loose and show a goofy or hilarious side of yourself, especially with your partner.

For some of us, it requires a feeling of trust and safety before we let our goofy side out. Sharing laughter, and taking the risk to show up ridiculous, is in fact a great way to build trust and intimacy in your relationship.

So if you’re out of practice in the fun department, or you just never learned, go easy on yourself and your partner. Don’t take your attempts at not taking things too seriously, too seriously! (Phew, even I almost got lost in that sentence!)

Ok, here are some of the ways we make ourselves and each other laugh.

Find comedy clips.

This is a staple of pick-me-ups in our household. Find funny clips anywhere on the internet and give yourself a 10-minute laugh break. We’ll do it over our lunch or anytime the day is draaaaaaggging on or we feel bored or tired. This is a great connector with our son and daughter too (Our daughter showed a clip from The Adley Show on Facebook where a woman has a hilarious fail trying to make a homemade treadmill by pouring soap and oil on her bathroom floor. See the clip at 1:23 in the video above).

You can even make a bit of a contest out of it … see who can find the clip that makes you laugh the hardest.

Laugh at yourself and your partner

A great thing about having been in relationship with someone for a while is you know all their follies and silly habits and routines. This includes yourself, of course. To make it really entertaining, do impersonations of yourself or your partner. Sonika did a really fun bit impersonation of how I splash everything when I shower – we laughed so hard, I almost forgot to wash myself (and my retort to that is, “What, we’re IN the shower, if stuff can’t get wet, it shouldn’t be in here!).

I can mimic Sonika’s perfectionist bed making routine like nobody’s business and usually make both of us laugh. I help make the bed while I do it, too, although Sonika will definitely straighten it out further as soon as I look away.

WARNING: Using impersonations, goofiness and all the other wonderful aspects of humor are wonderful relationship builders, EXCEPT when you’re already hurt, mad or otherwise triggered. In those cases, stay away from using humor as it’s likely to add to the hurt more than alleviate it. Use humor only when you’re in a generally good space with each other.

Find silly games to play

Also not rocket science. Just google “fun games to play with my family”, look through your own games cabinet or sort through your garage for old games you haven’t played since forever. We’ve done all of these in the last month. Found a hilarious game called Telestrations where everyone gets humiliated over their terrible drawing skills. Or Mouth Guard which is so absurd I couldn’t even play it but the mouth guard gizmo you have to force in your mouth makes anyone looks so unhinged it was worth the try. We even found old games in the garage; dusted off the old bocce balls and crocket set. Anything will do as long as you can play it. Or simply invent games from scratch (for inspiration, google “Calvin ball rules” from Calvin and Hobbes.

Other random ideas

Out of nowhere, tell your partner, “I’ll give you a five second head start – RUN!” and then give chase. You know much kids love to be chased, how it’ll literally make the squeal with delight? Well, most adults still have that hidden inside them. We chase each other around the kitchen island, through the living room, down the hallway or outside. Never fails to get your blood pumping faster and putting a big grin on your face. We actually sometimes set this up as exercises for couples and singles in our workshops and you’d be amazed at the level what at the joy that can be produced in a 40-50-60 year old person when someone is chasing them with a holler.

Skip down the road. When we’re taking a walk in our neighborhood, I’ll sometimes grab Sonika’s hand and say, “Let’s skip!”, and we skip down the road like a pair of six-year-olds. I imagine anyone watching would think, “Huh! Isn’t that the neighbors … skipping?” but who cares. Sonika once said, “it’s impossible to be depressed while you’re skipping”. I dare you to verify her theory.

Create into the future

This game serves as a powerful forward-looking creation tool. You basically dream out loud with each other. No-limits dreaming. Finish the sentence, “Wouldn’t it be amazing if … “ and just fill in amazing things you’d love to experience someday. Wouldn’t it be amazing if we had a yacht and could cruise over to Hawaii! Wouldn’t it be amazing if we made the winning video for America’s Funniest Home Videos.

In short, get a little creative, don’t let yourself go without laughter in your relationship, put the goofy side of yourself on stage now and again, have some fun, and enjoy the lasting benefits to your marriage!

For extra credits …

Because we tend to have a lot more complaining and criticism than fun and productive communication in our relationships, we created a brand-new, 90-min virtual mini-workshop for couples, How To Replace Complaints And Criticism With Constructive Communication.

In this mini-workshop, we’ll help you:

* Stop the cycle of complaining

* Talk to your partner when you/they get upset

* Find compassion in disagreements

* Relieve tension and stress

* Learn techniques to de-escalate during arguments

* Use productive communication tools

* Get back to connection

Check it out and register here: https://loveworksforyou.com/how-to-replace-complaints-and-criticism-with-constructive-communication

Posted in Communication, Couples, Marriage, Relationship | Comments Off on How To Make Marriage Fun Again

Covid-19: Opportunity or Crisis?

“This moment of uncertainty and unprecedented change is calling to all of us. We have an opportunity to hone our capacity to be with life on life’s terms, to open instead of close, to learn and expand and grow and step into what is possible instead of shrinking away in fear and protection. We have an opportunity to deepen our connection with ourselves and our loved ones, to cultivate our relationship with the earth, with humanity and with Spirit. We have been given a gift, in this great pause, to clarify what really matters to us in this life, and to rethink how we want to live and love and be.”
Sonika Tinker

Covid-19 has turned our worlds upside down. Many have lost jobs and income, family vacations and trips have been cancelled, kids are forced to stay at home from shut down schools. Gyms, restaurants, movie theatres, and state parks are closed – this massive change and its domino effects have stressed even the best of relationships!

Stress has shown up in new and unexpected ways. Both intact and split families are finding themselves arguing about what version of the safety protocols to follow. Some family members insist on removing clothes at the door, washing all grocery items, and not visiting with extended family, while others are content with rigorous hand washing and sanitizing. Some members are okay with going out for walks and going to the grocery store, while others advocate for staying indoors 24/7 and opting for grocery delivery.

Some families are finding themselves out of work with nothing to do, afraid for how they will pay their bills and concerned about what the future holds for them workwise. Others are inundated with more work than they can handle and are exhausted from working long hours. Working one or two jobs remotely from home brings its own set of challenges, especially with young kids at home that need to be fed, homeschooled, entertained and watched over.

Singles are having their own challenges. Isolated with no family, intimate relationships or access to community support services, many are lonely and completely overwhelmed at having to take care of everything on their own.

Add in health challenges, with patients and caretakers stuck at home with no access to needed medical procedures and surgeries, or life transitions – moving to a new location or changing jobs or dealing with the death of an elderly person or the birth of a new baby, it is beyond challenging.

Honestly, we don’t need to say more. You are experiencing your own version of the impact of COVID-19 in your life.

Like you, we have been impacted. Our live workshops for the next three months are cancelled and may not revive for the rest of the year, and we are working overtime to shift our work online. We had intense conversations with family members over different interpretations of Covid protection protocols. Our daughter is not able to participate in classic Senior Year activities and will not have a graduation ceremony with family members in attendance this year. We aren’t seeing friends in person, aren’t participating in our monthly community work weekends, and my piano lessons are now taking place online. We leave the house only when we need food from our local grocery store. Life is changed to be sure.

We are aware that we are privileged and lucky, comparatively. We don’t live in a Covid hot spot, we have enough reserves to keep us housed and fed for many months without income, and we live in the country where we can still get out and take walks and enjoy gardening and being in nature. We also have a sweet loving relationship and get to go through this experience together. While we have had our fair share of “oh shit” moments during this Covid crisis, we have experienced some delightful surprises too.

For one, my “fear of missing out” has disappeared. On Friday and Saturday nights, I am happily content being at home knowing everyone else is home too. I was unaware of how much I pressured myself to be out and about in the world engaging in activities with friends just to stay busy and feel a part of life.

Time has slowed down. I feel like I have an abundance of time to do whatever I am inspired to do. I notice myself going to bed and 10, and waking up at 6, eager to start the day. I do what I want to do all day, and I am surprised to discover that I get way more done in a day than I used to!! Stress has reduced as a result. Whatever I don’t get done today will easily get done tomorrow. Inside of this spaciousness, I feel more present and in the moment.

I am taking better care of my body. Christian and I walk every afternoon, Christian does Tai Chi every morning and I do my Five Rites exercises. Because we are home more, we were able to purchase food shares with our local farm growers – something we have wanted to do for years! As a result, we are eating really great organic farm-fresh, home cooked meals every day. And because we are home all day, our outside work breaks have allowed us to prepare our garden for vegetables and herbs, plant flowers, weed the yard, cut and stack firewood, and burn debris from trimmed trees and shrubs.

We are also having more fun together. Christian and I have been playing outside more – bocce ball and badminton and horseshoes. We put on loud music and learn new line dances on YouTube. I practice my piano every day while Christian cooks dinner. We devour audio books and podcasts on walks and tea breaks. We take hot tubs and enjoy the singing birds and our deep conversations. And we have fun watching comedy shows and movies.

We are connecting with people more deeply when we reach out, creatively sharing online Zoom dinners and lunches and afternoon tea. We have connected with family members more often than we did before Covid, celebrating holidays and birthdays online. Christian and I enjoy our kids when they come over. We feel just as connected in our community of friends and family, maybe even more so, because we value now what before we took for granted.

Another byproduct – I got to be home and focus fully on caring for my 18 year-old cat before she died.

In work, we are getting more creative on the calls we lead and the coaching sessions we offer. We are stepping outside the box as we offer online mini-workshops, produce YouTube videos and Facebook lives, and we led our first Gift of Conflict workshop online. We feel expanded, in our heart, and called forth like we haven’t in awhile.

I don’t think I realized how scattered I felt being out there in the world. I am listening more to my heart and the whispers of Spirit and enjoying the beautiful richness of this life during this “stay at home” time period. I am taking more risks, following the lead of my feelings, and settling into accepting the grand paradox of life’s unfolding mystery.

Like many, we have no idea what life will look like after Covid. We don’t know what new form our business will take. For now, we are just letting all the questions of “what is next?” sit there unanswered, knowing the answers will emerge in time. There is no way we can figure all of it out right now anyhow.

While there are many gifts, possibilities, and options available to us during this pause, there are many fears, losses, and breakdowns too. Our feelings are likely to be all over the place.

When things show up in life that we can’t control, it is easy to feel powerless, stuck, scared and angry. For a lot of us, instead of coming together in support during this challenging time, we distance, fight, withdraw, separate and are much more easily triggered by seemingly little things. We distract ourselves with computers, televisions and phones, which only exacerbate our disconnection.

Christian and I noticed at the start of this whole thing, that we were feeling sort of in shock, afraid and distant from each other. We really needed to drop down into our feelings, to reconnect, to talk, make love, and move into our hearts and out of our heads. We wanted to seize the opportunity to mindfully create a meaningful experience together during this “stay at home” order, and to make it the best time of our lives. But at the same time, we didn’t really feel like it or want to. Another part of us wanted to stay distracted on our phones, and disconnected and asleep and moving on autopilot.

We made it a priority and forced ourselves to connect anyways, and it has made all the difference! If we hadn’t of intervened and leaned in towards each other, we would still be feeling disconnected! If we hadn’t of intervened and consciously designed how to use this time as best as possible to create and live a good life, we would still be drifting along waiting for life to return to normal.

Can you relate?

Because of this tendency in all of us to disconnect when we need to come together most, we are offering several live online opportunities for you to stop, drop down and give your relationships the focused priority it deserves and need now more than ever. We are committed to helping you stop and reflect and explore what matters most to you, and to using this Covid time as a pivotal turning point in your relationships and your life.

We are offering 90-minute experiential mini-workshops for both singles and couples via Zoom to support you to connect and learn.

For couples, we offer specific interactive exercises for you to do with your partner, and for singles, guided intimate conversations with other singles, that are guaranteed to have you feel more connected afterwards.

Every week, we also offer free videos and blogs on specific topics to support you to create the best experience possible in your relationship world. Check the schedule below to sign up for the ones you think would make the biggest difference for you.

Space is limited so register soon to reserve your space.

FOR SINGLES:

FOR COUPLES:

 

 

Posted in Conflicts, Relationship | Comments Off on Covid-19: Opportunity or Crisis?

Date Night Ideas For Married Couples

Date night is always a good idea. With the increased “ground hog day” feeling many of us are having during Coronavirus (Covid-19) times, creating fun, romantic, intimate date nights can be a welcome break from the humdrum. But we’re probably not going out, so we need home-based date night ideas.

For date nights, we recommend one of you be accountable for the night. That just makes it more likely to happen in the first place. Plus, it might help come up with new ideas if you take turns being “on point” for the night.

In this post, we’ll share many ideas with you, some of which are classics (don’t scoff at the tried and true classics – they still work:-) and some added twists of intimacy and pleasure.

#1 Candle light dinner

If you’re a cohabiting couple you can do a good old-fashioned candlelight dinner. If you don’t live in the same place, you might have to do candle light Zoom dinner. We’ve done that with other coupled friends; it totally works. We got out the candles, the fancy square plates and an epic Italian dinner.

More importantly, get rid of the distractions. No phones or computers so you can just focus in on each other. Make sure you take time to make eye contact and share appreciations about your partner. Tell them what you love and what you appreciate that he or she did today.

These days, we got a gazillion things on our respective plates, and our daily conversations often default to being all about logistics and who’s doing what when. Simply sitting down, looking in each other’s eyes and telling your partner what you love about them is a good way to start a date night.

We also recommend you bring what we call intimacy questions (see this video post for more). That way, you’re prepared to spark conversations deeper than the usual blah-blah. Stories from when you were first dating and fell in love are always great to foster a sweet and loving mood.

In our marriage it’s now the stuff of legend how we met at a Massachusetts retreat center in the woods, in the dead of winter. As we tell the story, we were slow-motion running towards each other in big parkas, we had slow-motion snowball fights and made the perfect snowman. Just thinking about it puts a grin on our faces, and the story gets better every time.

#2 Invent and play new games.

Ever hear the saying, “Couples who play together, stay together”? We didn’t make that up, but certainly couples who play together … play together! They just have more fun!

We’ve been playing new games a few times here in quarantine times. Can’t take credit for inventing them, other good people on YouTube did that. In one game, we set up a bowling alley on our or deck outside where the pins were kitchen towel rolls and we used a soccer ball as a bowling ball. Super fun. That’s now going to be a memory forever because it was different.

In general, not just in terms of games to play, anything you come up with that’s different creates a spark of life and counteracts the “ground hog day” syndrome.

This one we included our daughter in: We found a new line dance on YouTube an all learned it together. Most of the time we looked uncoordinated and like total amateurs, which made it all the more fun to laugh at. And it’s always a viable date night idea to simply put music on and dance, period.

#3. Make a picnic somewhere different.

These days you might not be going out so make a picnic in your living room or on the floor next to your bed in your bedroom or out in your yard. Grab a bottle of wine or whatever your favorite drinks are and some good food and sit in a new place to enjoy it.

#4 Trust walk.

A really fun, and potentially a bit edgy, depending on your relationship, is to set up a trust walk (or other trust exercises). One of you is blindfolded and the other person takes you for a walk around your house or yard. This is a great way of heightening your senses. As you’re leading your blindfolded partner around, you want to make sure you take care of them and you don’t betray their trust and play tricks on them when their eyes are closed. You could lead them to go smell a flower or feel the grass beneath their feet or listen to a water fountain or pay attention to birds chirping.

For some couples, this can be a bit edgy and scary. So be gentle with each other and relish your heightened senses. See how much you trust yourself to lead or be led.

#5 Out of your head, into your body.

A lot of us spend a lot of time in our heads, taking care of work, business and chores. Conversely, we don’t spend a lot of time really being “in our bodies”, i.e. slowing down to notice our physical body and sensations. We’ve personally had some of the best conversations when we are sitting in our hot tub or we’re taking a bath together, which are prime opportunities for connecting to our bodies. An added benefit to being in water is you can’t be on your phones which helps a lot when you’re trying to get out of your head and into heartfelt connection.

As you sit and soak in warm water, bring in some of the ideas from #1 above (intimacy questions, eye contact). If sustained eye contact makes you really uncomfortable, you’ll know for sure you need to do it some more.

#6 Exchange massages.

Offer each other foot rubs, back rubs, shoulder rubs, or whole body massages. Put on some sensual music, dim the lights and enjoy each other’s touch.

#7 Pleasure sessions.

This is taking the sensuality up a notch from massages. A pleasure session is a set amount of time where you take turns giving pleasure and receiving pleasure. If I’m the one the one giving the pleasure session to Sonika I’ll touch her in various ways, and she reports back how it feels and asks for other types of touch. You can do this as foreplay to sex, but you can also do it fully dressed, sitting in a comfy chair.

The trick is to offer sensual, pleasurable touch. For the receiver, it’s about receiving and enjoying the touch, but also about communicating in a helpful manner how it feels to you and what you’d like next. Pleasure sessions are actually designed to educate couples about their partner’s pleasure and to offer practice in communicating what you want around sex and pleasure.

As the receiver, when your partner is gently stroking your arm, you might say, “Mmmmh, that feels really nice. Now I’d like you to try and increase the pressure a bit”. You practice asking for what you want in a soothing, non-blaming way. (Anyone ever had trouble asking directly for what you wanted in sex and pleasure?)

#8 Sex in a different place, different time.

If you usually have sex in bed only at night, for the next date night (which you might change to a whole-day date or a morning date, just to change it up), try making love in a different place and/or at a different time a day and/or try a different position. For example, we’ve at times made a little bed using pads or camping gear in our living room, so we had a little love nest just for the evening. Or in the summer, set up a tent outside for some outdoor love making.

When it comes to sex, it’s a common tendency for couples to find one thing that works and follow that routine over and over again. Nothing wrong with using what works, but if that’s all you ever do, your enjoyment level is bound to decrease over time and you might even get bored and lose your desire completely.

#9 Watch educational sex videos.

We’ve gotten so many good ideas for sex, love making, and (self) pleasuring by watching educational sex videos. It’s ok if you don’t have an infinite arsenal of sensational “moves”. Watching sex videos together can equip you with great moves for the future as well as turn you both on right now. Learn and turn on at the same time … what could be better for a date night!?

Remember, your next date night doesn’t have to be a big fancy production. Try and create something that breaks the habit, because the very breaking of a pattern or a habit in and of itself frees up energy and it brings us closer together. Having fun together keeps us connected and alive.

We wish you fun and intimacy with your next date night!

Posted in Communication, Couples, Dating, Marriage, Relationship | Comments Off on Date Night Ideas For Married Couples

How To Remain On The Same Team During The Coronavirus Times

How do you do remain on the same team during these stressful corona virus times? And do you communicate with your partner when you disagree?

When you’re in conflict and you’re disagreeing, it seems like you’re on opposite sides. It’s tempting to think that if you would only do it my way, we’d be fine. My way is better, right?

When I hear that from my partner, I’m thinking she’s just telling me I’m wrong and that I’m not doing it right and that my way isn’t a good enough. In the back of my mind, I’m thinking she’s doing it on purpose and she’s out to get. Now I really feel like we’re adversaries on opposite teams.

Give The Benefit Of The Doubt

Our first tip is to give your partner the benefit of the doubt. What we mean by that is that anything you want has a positive intent under it. There’s something good you’re going for and the same is true for your partner. Whatever it is your partner is wanting there’s something positive underneath it that they are going for which it’s just as important as what you’re going for.

So if your partner says your family shouldn’t leave the house, not even for taking a walk in the park, but you think it’s totally fine under these circumstances to take a walk in the park, give your partner the benefit of the doubt and look for what’s the positive intention she or he are trying to get to by saying we shouldn’t go out and take a walk in the park.

Even if you didn’t ask directly – which would be a good idea – you can what their positive intention might be. It might be wanting to make sure everyone and that you don’t contribute to the spread of the virus. That’s a good intention. You’d probably agree with keeping everyone safe and not spreading the virus. Your intentions are aligned even if you go about accomplishing the intention differently.

Expand To Include

This is a central notion in the LoveWorks Solution that we teach. I expand my understanding and mindset to be big enough to include yours. In disagreements, we often think only one of us is right or can be right, but in truth, it’s possible that we’re both right. Expand to include the idea that your partner has a good idea, as do you. It’s about being a big enough person to hold more than one viewpoint without getting combative.

We live by the idea that your concerns matter as much as mine, and my concerns are not more important than yours and yours are not more important than mine. Both of our desires are valid and we strive to make sure we both get what we want. Because you say we shouldn’t go to the park and I say we could, we now start looking for ways to take care of both those desires. On the surface they look mutually exclusive, but as you saw above, the positive intentions underneath are not mutually exclusive.

Speak In “We”

Speaking in “we” means finding the place where there’s overlap and expand to include both our viewpoints and desires. If we think of ourselves as a unit, or a union, it’s as she’s the voice for we should go to the park, and I’m the voice for we should go to the park.

Sonika was just coaching a man for whom this was the exact issue of contention between him and his wife. She wanted to go to the park to get some exercise and he really wanted her to stay home. They live in a tiny apartment in a big city in India. He got scared every time she went out, but as he began to expand to include her needs and concerns and begin to see it from her point of view as well as his own, and began to speak in terms of “we”, he actually came up with a couple of different ideas.

One ideas was for how they could exercise together in the apartment with dancing or some kind of activity that created connection between them. He also came up with the idea to go out with her on a walk so he could reassure himself that she was being safe when she was out there. This too created connection for them in their relationship. He was basically saying, “WE want to be and and WE want exercise” … how do we do both? Which is much better than arguing about who’s right.

Give First, Give Fast

When relationships break down, in pretty much any form, one or both partners have stopped giving. In the early phase of your relationship, when you were still madly in love, remember how much attention, praise, time, touch, love, hugs, and sex you gave each other? Now think about a stressful time in your relationship – perhaps now? – and see if you are giving less? Probably so. One of the most effective ways to restore love, and to get back to being a team, is to pick up giving. We say whoever gives first, wins. Don’t wait for the other person to start.

When we’re in disagreement, we tend to focus on what we can get, and when we both focus on what we can get it creates a tug-of-war. Instead, explore what you are willing to give. Like the man above. He really did want to give his wife the experience of walking in the park and getting to exercise. She really did want to give him an experience of them being safe. They came up with ways to give that to each other.

Create Win-Win Solutions

In order to find solutions that work for both of you, you need to slow down the process. If you just plow ahead with your practiced behaviors and patterns, you’ll like just repeating whatever you’ve done in the past. We are firm believers – and we demonstrate this with our couple clients over and over again – in your ability to come up with win-win solutions. The four tips above are part of the foundation for successful “trouble shooting” and resolution. Even in these mad corona times, where’s there so much extra stuff to disagree about, you can find solutions that work for “We”, not just for “me or you”.

Remember, the only way you get a real win-win is if you’re satisfied and your partner is satisfied. If you get your way, whether by persuasive reasoning, pouting, guilt tripping or good old-fashioned stubbornness, but your partner is happy, what do you have? You have something you want and an unhappy partner. That’s not really what you want, right?

If you want to improve your ability to get on the same page, here’s a great opportunity to practice:

We created a 90-min mini-workshop for couples to deal with stress and disagreements, How To Be More Understanding During Disagreements. In this workshop-from-your-couch, we are going to help you:

* Find understanding

* Relieve tension and stress

* Discover common ground between each other

* Get on the same page

* Learn techniques to de-escalate during conflict

* Get back to connection

Register here: https://loveworksforyou.com/how-to-be-more-understanding-during-disagreements

We have helped thousands of couples navigate crisis and stressful times, and we’d be honored to help you, too.

 

Posted in Communication, Conflicts, Couples, Marriage, Relationship | Comments Off on How To Remain On The Same Team During The Coronavirus Times

Four Tips To Make Long Distance Relationships Deeply Intimate

During Coronavirus (Covid-19), many more relationships have turned into long distance relationships. If you’re not sheltering in place with your partner, you could be living in the same town, but still effectively have a long distance relationship.

We have very personal experience with long distance relationship because when we first met, Christian was living in Denmark and Sonika was living in California. For approximately two and a half years, 9 hours time difference, 8500 miles and a 11 hour flight separated us.

We were challenged like a lot of people are being challenged nowadays. How do you keep your intimate connection alive when you can’t see each other, touch each other, kiss each other, talk whenever, sit down for a meal together, or make love together?

Admittedly, it was sometimes really hard not being able to see each other in person. But the upside of that issue is that while we were apart we got really good at staying in touch and still building our relationship, and this was even before the time of FaceTime. We only had landlines and email, so there’s definitely hope for you

We had to get creative about how we connected and kept our relationship progressing. In this article, we’ll four ideas for what you can do to keep building a nourishing intimate relationship with your partner even when you’re not together.

#1 Intimate Communication

The point here is to “drop down”, to take your communication to deeper levels that merely checking in about what you did during the day (although that’s wonderful, too). Share how much you miss each other, share about the pain of being separated, and about the love you have for each other. Share what you’re afraid of, what you’re worried about, as well as what you dream of and what you’re accomplishing in life. Go deeper than the logistics of your daily life.

Here’s a tip that might sounds a little counterintuitive when we’re talking about intimate communication. These days, we might default to communicating through Skype or FaceTime so we can see each other. Try once in a while to turn the video off, and only listen. The vast majority of the stimulation your brain takes in comes through your visual sense. So when you remove visual input, you enhance your sense of hearing and your imagination. Try using earphones, so your get your partner’s voice directly into your ear. This creates a soothing, intimate, sensual sensation. If you close your eyes while you listen to your partner’s voice and imagine their touch, it’s as if he or she is right there with you.

#2 Touch Points

This is a great tip for any relationship, but it’s even more crucial for long distance relationships. You want to create touch points throughout the day, throughout the week as an ongoing practice. With today’s technology, it’s pretty easy to create a touch point. A touch point can be a simple as a text or WhatsApp message that says, “Hey baby, I’m thinking about you” or “Good morning”. If you’re in different time zones like we were, you can make sure your beloved wakes up to a message.

There are any number of ways that we can let the other person know we’re thinking about them. Send images, videos, songs, shared social media posts. When you’re in a physical relationship, think about how many times you brush up against each other, give each a kiss, sit down next each other. When you live together, there are a lot of touch points built into your day (although many live-in couples forget to make touch points too, as they begin to take their love for granted). When you’re living apart, touch points are the day-to-day life blood of your long distance intimacy.

#3 Moment by Moment Relationship.

When you’re in a long distance relationship, you most likely have no idea what your future looks like. This was true for us too. Sonika wasn’t’ leaving her kids in California, and Christian had no intention of leaving his home country and family in Denmark.

With this built-in uncertainty, you might find yourself using a lot of mental bandwidth with questions like, “Are we ever going to be together?” “Where are we going to live?” “What’s going to happen?” “Am I wasting my time on this relationship?” “How am I going to make a living if I move to be together with him/her?”

It’s natural to want to answer those questions and they can be an important part of your discussions about the future. But when you start to obsess about them, it totally takes you out of the moment and makes it impossible to enjoy the intimacy you do share.

We find it much better to practice moment-by-moment relationship, and trust that if you keep liking each other and you keep wanting to move forward, these questions will be answered in due time.

For example, if we had tried to answer the question of where to live in the first six months of our long distance relationship, the answer would have been, “that’s not happening, we might as well give up now”. So we practiced moment-by-moment relationship, and did our very best to grow our relationship now, and now, and now. The only future decisions we made were if we wanted to see each other one more time, and how to make that one time happen.

So when you find the future-questions crowding your mental space, let yourself enjoy the intimacy you do share, relish the times you do see each other, and then share your thoughts with your partner (back to #1 above).

#4: Get Creative

Because there’s so much you can’t do in a long distance relationship, you definitely have to get creative. Here are some of our ideas for how to do that. W

Write each other a love letter that serves to remind you both of your love for each other, your commitment, and your connection. Especially during times you’re feeling really insecure because you haven’t seen each other for a while, or if you’re starting to have doubts or fears creep in, then you read pull out your partner’s love letter to re-anchor you back into what you know. It’s like go-to love letter you can pull out again and again. And you can of course also write each other more than one love letter, so you’ll have a sampling:-)

Other ideas:

  • Set up coffee or tea dates over zoom or Skype.
  • Make meals together. Set the table with candles and the device you use for Zoom, and have candle light dinner together.
  • Listen to the same song together before bed.
  • Watch the same together and keep a Zoom line open so you can laugh or cry at the same moments in the movie.
  • Synchronize your breathing. This is a great way to slow down, de-stress, and get into quick connection. Just sit quietly for a few minutes while you breathe in sync.
  • Read a book together and share about it as you go along.
  • Have virtual sex and love making. Make sure you’re using secure lines, obviously. Or do what we did before Zoom … just a phone line, your partner’s voice, your own hands, and your vivid imagination.
  • Cook together. Come up with a new recipe you want to try and both of you cook it in your respective places
  • Find a song that you can both sing with each other, like long distance karaoke session over FaceTime

These are just some ideas we put under the heading of getting creative. The practices we’ve shared with you here is to support you to really make the most out of this time. Long distance relationship is challenging, but it’s also a unique opportunity to develop your relationship. We got really good at it, and still do this day, when we hear each other’s voices on the phone, we both have a surge of sweetness from the days when we connected by phone. Because we were apart for so long we are still so grateful that we get to live together and sleep in the same bed.

And if you want to take it to the next level, here’s an opportunity for you:

We created a 90-min mini-workshop for couples to deal with stress and disagreements, How To Be More Understanding During Disagreements.

In this workshop-from-your-couch, we are going to help you:

* Find understanding

* Relieve tension and stress

* Discover common ground between each other

* Get on the same page

* Learn techniques to de-escalate during conflict

* Get back to connection

Register here: https://loveworksforyou.com/how-to-be-more-understanding-during-disagreements

We have helped thousands of couples navigate crisis and stressful times, and we’d be honored to help you, too.

 

 

Posted in Communication, Long Distance Relationship, Relationship | Comments Off on Four Tips To Make Long Distance Relationships Deeply Intimate

How To Survive Working From Home With Your Spouse

In today’s coronavirus (Covid-19) environment, many of us are stuck working from with your spouse or partner, perhaps children, too. Sometimes that’s a blessing and a luxury we’ve been dreaming of, but other times, it’s tremendously stressful and you might want to scream at your spouse.

We’ll share 5 tips for how to survive working from home with your spouse, maybe even have a good time:-)

First, we’ll just acknowledge that’s a genuine challenge when you have two people working and living in the same house, perhaps even with a bunch of kids in the house.

#1 Compartmentalize your workspaces.

Compartmentalize your workspaces, so you know who’s working where and when. We’ve seen some good examples with couples we’ve coached. One couple that have kids at home and both work full time, came up with him being on kid duty in the from 6:00 AM to 10:00 AM, then he’d go to work in his “garage office” while she took over the kid duties in the house till 2:00PM.

If you have a very small space you might need to use dividers or curtains or to create some private work space.

A man we coached worked it out with his wife, so they agreed that when he was on his work time, they’d literally pretend like he wasn’t at home. If she “accidentally” tried to talk to him during that time, he’d say, “Remember, I’m not here”. It took them a little bit to get used to that, but they’re now working harmoniously together.

#2: Create time apart

We always say that relationships need time together and time apart. Not unlike breathing. During our regular work schedules – i.e. before Corona – we often have a lot of time apart built in, because we work and do activities in different locations. During those times, it’s more a challenge to build in together-time. But now, given how much we’re in the same space all the time, it can be the exact opposite. Now, we need to create apart-time.

Depending on your physical space, you might need to get creative and negotiate win-wins to accomplish this. Maybe you can turn your back in a little corner and having time to meditate or read a book or play a game. Either way, it’s important that you find time where you can focus in on yourself.

#3: Nourish your soul, body and mind.

During your alone-time, do things that nourish your soul, body and mind. Don’t use all your alone-time watch Netflix and scroll through Instagram (although that’s fun too:-). In our house, Sonika is learning to play piano, so she finds private time while practicing a new song. Christian starts off his morning doing tai chi on the deck outside the house. Friends and clients tell us they meditate, sing, take walks, do yoga, study new topics, dance. Whatever it is for you, make sure you get to recharge and nourish, so that when you do come together with your partner again, you feel refreshed and filled up. That way, your together-time is going to be much more satisfying and intimate.

#4: Do what you’re doing right now.

For some of us, shelter-in-place has resulted in much more free time and less work. But for many others, it’s the exact opposite. We have to figure out how to work in a new environment, we have to be workers, parents, teachers, you name it. It’s overwhelming. It’s easy to feel that there isn’t sufficient time to do any of our duties well. One man I coached said he’s feeling guilty for not working when he’s with the kids and guilty for not being with kids when he’s working. He wasn’t being effective while working, but also wasn’t being present with the kids and wife.

So let yourself do only the thing you’re doing right now. If you really focus, you get more work done in half an hour than in three hours of half-focused, feeling-guilty work. Say to yourself, “For the next 30 minutes, I’m with the kids, and nothing else. I’m going to love my time with the kids!”. After that, tell yourself, “For the next 30 min or 3 hours, I’m working on this work project and nothing else”. Choose the activity you’re engaged in, and let yourself do one thing at a time. (We know might have sub-optimal circumstances, but try this as much as possible).

#5: Express appreciation and gratitude

This is always a go-to, don’t-ever-stop recommendation in any relationship. But during critical, stressful times, it is extra important that we express our appreciations out loud. For many years, we had a “standard operating procedure” of expressing three appreciations of the other person or of our lives before we go to bed. Every night, appreciation and gratitude is the last thing we say or hear before we drift off to sleep.

If you’re if you’re feeling tension in your relationship, your focus gets directed onto the stuff that isn’t working and the stuff you don’t like. The human negativity bias directs out attention to what is not wanted. Unless we direct our attention somewhere else.

The more we can focus in on what we love and what we appreciate, the better we counteract that negative tendency. It’s been demonstrated that relationship does better when we maintain a high ratio of of positive-to-negative interactions.

Today, you probably don’t have a choice in the matter about working from home with your spouse. You just have to, and there’s nowhere to go. So we just have to make the best of it. We’re in a time where relationships could turn into divorces, but it’s also a time that could help relationships and marriages turn even deeper, even more intimate, and even stronger.

Expressing appreciation and gratitude lubricates all the moving parts of our relationship and helps everything flow better. We heard from one woman today who said she was surprised to discover just how much she loved being with her husband 24/7 … much to her delighted surprise.

Sharing appreciations and what we’re grateful for is a quick way to connect, smooth our the kinks, and put “love deposits” in the bank for when stress gets high again.

If you’d like to connect deeper with your spouse our partner, we’re offering a free mini-workshop for couples, Couples Creating Connection, check it out here: https://loveworksforyou.com/couples-creating-connection

For singles, we’re offering a special mini-workshop, also free, Singles Connecting in Corona Times. Find it here … https://loveworksforyou.com/singles-connecting-in-corona-times

 

 

Posted in Communication, Conflicts, Couples, Marriage, Relationship | Comments Off on How To Survive Working From Home With Your Spouse