Oct 20

Lessons from The DNA of Relationships

READ TO FEED YOUR MARRIAGE – GREAT MARRIAGES REQUIRE HEALTHY FOOD.


Read to Feed Your Marriage allows you to read a great marriage book by a world renowned marriage expert and you get a licensed counselor to give you weekly tips and challenges to transform your marriage from average to amazing. Join us from September 29th to December 1st as we read the DNA of Relationships by Dr. Gary Smalley

GET THE BOOK TODAY

 

Chapter 4 – The Power of One – Take Personal Responsibility

 

Yes, You Can Dance a New Dance

 What if I told you hold the power to stop the fear dance in your relationships, would you believe me? It is so easy to blame others when we are hurt. We seek apology; we try to control others and situations. In reality, we are the only one that can change how we react and act to the fear dance. It can be quite hard to make the first step, but if you are waiting for your spouse to heal you, to complete you or to fix you, you have chosen to be a victim. Beside, you can wait a lifetime hoping that your spouse will change or be extremely tired trying to change your spouse, but the only person you will have total control of is YOU.  

You don’t have to participate in the shouting match that was initiated by your spouse, you can choose to walk away and choose to communicate when both of you are listening to each other- because the Power of One Dance.

You don’t have to use manipulative behaviors and withhold sex from your spouse, you have the power to communicate your needs and your fears – because of the Power of One Dance.

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Photo Courtesy of Linda Yvonne under Flickr Creative Commons

The Power of One Dance is sum up in 3 Words – Take Personal Responsibility

Here are 6 steps that will get you out of the Fear Dance and get you to dance the Power of One Dance: 

1. Take Control of Your Thoughts, Feelings and Actions – When I counseled couples, many spouses will say if my wife didn’t do that, I would act this way. In reality our thoughts, feelings and actions are our properties. No one can have control of these three areas unless, we relinquish that control.

2. Take Responsibility for Your Buttons – Get to know yourself. What exactly get under your skin? If you know what lead you to react out of anger, sadness or any unpleasant emotions, you can learn ways to not react when those buttons are pushed. The truth is – buttons will be pushed, have control of them instead of letting yourself be moved as a yo-yo.


3. Don’t Give Others the Powers to Control Your Feelings – There is nothing that will keep you in the Fear Dance on a perpetual basis more than you relinquishing your feelings to others. I have seen this play out many times in marriage counseling. “You made me mad, he made me sad, she made me angry.” If you are experiencing a feeling, chances are you have a fear that it triggering that feeling. Learn to explore that fear.


4. Don’t Look to Others to Make You Happy – Happiness is really a state of mind. Many couples come to relationships with false expectations. Consequently, when these expectations are not being met, they feel unhappy. Don’t leave your total happiness to your spouse. This is a void only you and God can fill. To set your happiness meter on your spouse is to plan your relationship for doom. If your happiness is your spouse‘s responsibility, when he or she has a bad day, your happiness go down the drain.


5. Become the CEO of Your Life – Don’t watch your life happen while you stand in the distance. Be active. Learn to express legitimate needs. Learn to communicate your fears without holding back. Seek assistance from your spouse as support and accountability partner, but do not make that their responsibility.


6. Forgiveness Heals Relationships – Holding on to grudges will keep you enslaved. The more time you take to give forgiveness the more that you will hold yourself hostage. The only way to heal a relationship is to ask for forgiveness when needed and give forgiveness when needed. 

So today, let it be the day you start dancing the Power of One Dance. Don’t wait for your spouse to make the first move, face the person in the mirror and start taking responsibility for You.

 

 

Challenge of the Week – Take Personal Responsibility.

This week is your week to take back control.

How have you give control to others when it comes to your thoughts, feelings and actions?

How can you take personal responsibility for your relationship? How have you played the Fear Dance? List specifics examples

Answer the above questions by writing them in a journal.

 

Thank you for reading

Oct 17

Having Troubles Connecting With Your Spouse Spiritually? Try These 5 Tips

Spirituality can mean many things to individuals. In a marriage, spirituality can be a bond that help the marriage grow or a point of contention. There are couples that argue that their spouse not going to church or pray. Spirituality in marriage really goes beyond just sitting at the pews on Sunday or attending midweek on Wednesdays. Attending service is one of the ways you can build a spiritual connection with your spouse. However, there are endless ways to build spiritual intimacy with your spouse. Spirituality can really be a way of life that triggers great intimacy in every area of your marriage.

If you have not tapped into spirituality powers to create a great marriage, you are missing out. When you are facing hard times, you can pray with each other or pray for each other. If you are feeling overwhelming, instead of running away or argue with each other meditate.

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Photo Courtesy of Irina Patrascu under Flickr Creative Commons

Here are 5 Tips That Have Helped me to Create a Spiritual Connection with My Spouse:  

1. Meditate together – I can attest to this tip personally. Meditation is not only relaxing, but it triggers so much clarity. I have meditated with scriptures, positive affirmations, eastern music and positive quotes and it keeps me  and my spouse on a positive note. 

2. Read a book from the Bible – I have read Proverbs with my husband. To this date, this is an annual activity I look forward to. We learn so much from each other. This can be a great accountability exercise. As you practice what you learned from reading, you can keep checking on each other and encouraging each other to grow.  


3. Pray together – When you have hard times or want to celebrate victories, praying together can really trigger togetherness. Two hearts petitioning , thanking and praising God. I can tell you hearing my husband praying for me have encouraged me in many situations. Hearing his prayers gives me a door to his heart. Go on a prayer walk, start a prayer journal or just get on your knees together, you will see wonders.

4. Pray for each other – Praying for my spouse have really softened my heart throughout our marriage. There have been times I gained clarity about situations because I prayed. Sure, it is great to pray together, but praying for your spouse’s goals, dreams, struggles, can really help you understand their point of view. 

5. Study a spiritual book together – I’m not talking about a marriage book. I’m talking about a book that will challenge you to grow to the core in your spiritual convictions. A few years ago, we read Grace by Max Lucado.  All I can say is Wow. Talking about our convictions and gaining new insights on grace was just the beginning. The book focused on grace, but I can tell you the benefits were spiritual, emotional and it helped our marriage tremendously.

Whether you have created a great spiritual connection with your spouse or looking to establish a deeper spiritual connection, use the above tips. My marriage has benefited exponentially from these tips. Start getting spiritual connected with your spouse today.

 

 

Question: How do you stay spiritually connected to your spouse?

 

 

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Oct 15

Who is In Charge Here?

The  way they were interrupting each other was so painful. By just observing you would have thought they were enemies. Actually, they engaged in marital counseling because they “fell out of love” I stopped the argument not because it was getting uncomfortable for me, but because they were opening the wounds deeper  and each hurtful words was digging at the flesh of their hearts. A wife and husband who were once in love, but they are at each other throat. She mentioned that her concerns have never been taking into consideration. He mentioned that his leadership is not accepted. This scene is common in marriages all over America. The following questions were not mentioned overtly but they echoed in the room.

Who is in charge in here?  What does leadership means in marriage? Do you value your spouse leadership? What does it means to be the leader in your household? How do you treat your spouse as the leader? Many couples use leadership in marriage to exert a dictatorship control or to avoid participation in decision making. That is not true leadership.

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Photo Courtesy of Vinoth Chandar under Flickr Creative Commons

True leadership in marriage is about service. It is about taking  consideration of your spouse’s needs while making decisions for the marriage. True leadership is not about taking the back seat and letting one spouse making all the decisions. True leadership is about heading in the same direction. True leadership is being in charge of your own emotions  and intentions so you don’t abuse your leadership. True leadership works best when there is unity. True leadership in marriage is NOT about the husband making all the decisions. True leader does not lead with fear. Following your spouse has a leader do not signifies you don’t have a vote. Speak up lovingly. Communicate your needs instead of suffering in silence or letting your anger speak for you. Lead with a heart of a servant.

Question: What does the word leadership means in your marriage?

 

 

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Oct 13

Lessons from The DNA of Relationships

READ TO FEED YOUR MARRIAGE – GREAT MARRIAGES REQUIRE HEALTHY FOOD.


Read to Feed Your Marriage allows you to read a great marriage book by a world renowned marriage expert and you get a licensed counselor to give you weekly tips and challenges to transform your marriage from average to amazing. Join us from September 29th to December 1st as we read the DNA of Relationships by Dr. Gary Smalley

GET THE BOOK TODAY

 

Chapter 3 – The Dance That Destroys Relationships

 

Are You Dancing The Fear Dance?

In my work with couples I see that most spouses want to have a great marriage. The issue is they don’t know how to create the great marriage that they desperately desire. One of the main reasons couples are having a hard time in their marriages is due to dancing a dance of fear. Love is not the problem. Most couples love each other deeply, but when they face their core fear, 1. They make assumptions 2. They put up walls and the fear dance continues.  

Before you can really stop dancing the fear dance with your spouse, you have to understand and accept that you have fears and that when you are hurt, you react and It is a vicious cycle that is part of every relational crisis.

1. I hurt


2. I want


3. I fear


4. I react


5. You hurt


6. You want


7. You fear


8. You react 

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And the whole cycle repeat will be repeated again unless a spouse take a stand to address their core fear and not allow themselves to fall prey to the cycle.  

All of us have some deep core fears, but there are many individuals who live trapped by their fears but have no idea how to explore it and address in the context of marriage or any relationship.  

To start removing fear in your marriage you have to really know what is you core fear – Is it fear of disconnection? Fear of failure? Fear of being controlled or fear of being taken advantage of? If you know your core fear, instead of reacting you can start discussing your want with your spouse.  

It is so powerful for a wife to communicate that she wants companionship instead of reacting to the fear of loneliness. However, if she does not know what is her fear is and learn to communicate that she wants companionship she will always react when she feels hurt by any actions that she might interpret as abandonment or lack of companionship. Consequently, the cycle will continue since her husband will see reactions as attack instead of a wife seeking a deep intimate relationship. 

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In many cases, the fear dance continue causing lasting damages because spouses react by using withdrawal, escalation, temper tantrums, sarcasm and much more. For some couples dancing the dance of fear is a way of life. They want to communicate that they want attention, support, safety, trust, etc. because they are needs. Instead of asking they make demands and the fear button is push again. 

The best way to stop the fear dance is get to know your fear and learn how to communicate with your spouse instead of reacting.

 

Challenge of the Week – To know your fear is to know how to create the marriage you want.

This week is your week to do some self-exploration. 

What is your core fear? – (i.e. rejection, feeling devaluated, humiliation, etc)

How have you reacted to your core fear buttons being trigger by your spouse? ( i.e. blaming, denial, anger, rage, etc) 

What is exactly you want from your spouse? (i.e. respect, worth, wanted, trust, affection, etc) 

If you were to receive what you want from your spouse how would you want your spouse to deliver it to you? By what actions?

Answer the above questions and make time to discuss them with your spouse.

 

 

 

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Oct 10

Looking to Laugh? Inject Your Marriage with Playtime

When was the last time you really play with your spouse?

I’m talking about real fun. Playing, laughing, the kind of play that you just thought of when you read the question.  

There is a lie that been going around for centuries – children play and have all the fun, but adults we are serious individual who just supposed to work. Consequently, the same mindset crawls in many marriages. Actually some couples used to have fun while dating, but as soon they say, “I do” the fun stops right then and there or right after the honeymoon. The sad part about this lie is many couples have come to believe this is the normal way of life. I have heard all the excuses that client have used to justify like of playtime in marriage, and the most common excuses “after the honeymoon we started our life, life gets busy” As if playing is not part of the real life of a married couple, just something that children do.  

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We ache to have fun. We live for laughter. Especially when we play with someone we love. Some of our earliest memories are encrypted with play factors. We recalled the way we play with our parents or a playmate and a huge smile just appear out the blue.We can even go back and relive the play time screen by screen. Some of us can go to the playground right now, recalling our favorite time and games    

Why then so many couples go out of their way to stop playing with each other? I see it all the time. The husband has his buddies and the wife has hers. Both spouses plan separate events with different people. I’m not talking about eliminate the key friendships. I believe that it is healthy for husband and wife to have key friendships because these are the individual that will keep you accountable in your marital journey. 

I’m talking about creating moments with your spouse that evoke laughter. Creating the moments that challenge the both of you together. Creating memories that make you laugh from the belly. Most spouses who have children go to the distance to create playtime and  schedule activities for their children. However, they neglect their marital calendar.

Life can throw curve balls left and right at you, but you can have those playful moments in your arsenal. In the past months, I had to deal with a death of love one, seeing love ones facing serious illnesses. I relied on many things to help me get through those tough times. One of them was playing with my spouse and remembering moments that I play with my spouse. I remember our hike at Kennesaw Mountain and it brought a smile to my face. We were tired, but were dedicated to make it to the top. By the look of our faces, you would have thought we conquered Everest. That moment created something special for us. You can call it  recreational intimacy, laughter or just plan fun. It was good for me then and it is still good for me now. I still had hard to deal with those stressful situations, but I can tell you there were days of laughter from that playtime.

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Photo Courtesy of Bradleypjohnson under Flickr Creative Commons

So if you want to start playing with your spouse use the following tips:

Start by talking about the activities you would like to do.


Make a list of all the activities that both of you talked about.


Make a list of the activities you have in common


Pick one activity from the list


Schedule the activity


Make memories and laugh from the belly. 

If laughter is medicine to the soul, I truly believe you should create many laughable moments. It is those moments that will keep the marital bond strong when you face hard time. When you are stressed at work or with issues of daily living, go back and play with each other and keep making fun memories. The couple that plays together stays together.

Question: What is one activity that you are looking forward to do with your spouse?  

Resource: Recreational activities list for couple.

 

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Oct 08

What is Good About Your Spouse?

Of course, this is not a question we ask of ourselves daily. In fact, sometime we focus on the bad. I have been guilty of it. When things get dicey, we can quickly go on the bad memory lanes. This is a trip many couples take quickly. There are times that we are aware of it and there are times that we get on the plane to bad memories unconsciously even if the cost is high.  

Instead of thinking of the bad job your spouse is doing as a wife or as a husband. Think of the good. Perhaps, you are not even aware of it, but you might focus on the bad by complaining to your friend about she is not doing. You frustrated about a situation; you are sharing your frustrations and then it turn into a complaining party. But, you didn’t start out to tarnish your husband’s reputation. After all you are his ambassador. You feel that your wife nags you a lot and you are talking to the guys about it. They don’t dwell on it, but they agreed that their wives nag too. In a split second, you have just participated in a wife bashing session.  

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The above situations take place daily. If you want a healthy marriage, you have to start thinking about what is good about your spouse? Maybe, you thought about the things that your spouse are doing wrong and you haven’t really mustered the courage to tell them. But, what are the trips to bad memory lanes doing to your marriage? Is thinking about how your wife is a terrible spouse helping your heart to fall in love with her? How is focusing on your husband negative attributes helping you to be closer to him?  

So, I invite you to really answer the question. What is good about my spouse? When I asked myself that question, the answers brought a smile to my face. A great provider, a good father, a servant, and on and on. If you are struggling to answer this question, this is the time to take action. You might need to take a closer look at your marriage or even seek professional help. But commit to start focus on the good. Start by focusing on just today, what have my spouse done right today? 

It is a simple question. The answers you will put down are powerful. It might help you to be grateful. Don’t allow hard times to erode the good memories and the good things that you have experienced with your spouse. Don’t let build up expectations rob you of heart of gratitude. After all, good memories and good things become anchors for future storms.

 

 
Question: What are three good things that you can list about your spouse?

Take Action: Share the list with your spouse.

 

Thank you for reading

Oct 06

Lessons from The DNA of Relationships

READ TO FEED YOUR MARRIAGE – GREAT MARRIAGES REQUIRE HEALTHY FOOD.


Read to Feed Your Marriage allows you to read a great marriage book by a world renowned marriage expert and you get a licensed counselor to give you weekly tips and challenges to transform your marriage from average to amazing. Join us from September 29th to December 1st as we read the DNA of Relationships by Dr. Gary Smalley

GET THE BOOK TODAY

 

Chapter 2 – The DNA of Relationships

 

The Truths Will Set You Free

Since the beginning of time, our hearts ache to have relationships. In the midst of love, we give and take. However, when we forget the core truths about relationship we hurt each other. We point the fingers and try to evade our own responsibility. The core truths about relationships are 1. We were made for relationships. 2. We have a choice to act in ways that will hurt or hinder our relationships 3. We have to take responsibility for ourselves.   

As simple the above core truths might sound, we can easily forget them in the heat of arguments with our spouse; in the interactions we have with our coworkers and even when we are disciplining our children. The first marriage in the world started on a great path. However, when the above core truths were forgotten the fingers pointing started. Adam and Eve were at a great place, but the marriage experienced a wake up call that changes the course of their lives. Adam blamed Eve. Eve blamed the serpent. If the y had hold on to the above truths, the story would have been different. Let us see how these truths play in your marriage.   

1. You were made for relationship – The relationship might be amicable or romantic, but no human being can survive without relationships. If you see your spouse has an individual that God created for you and to be in a relationship with you, you have succeeded in resolving many of your marriage conflicts. Holding to these truth, give you a mindset of gratitude. A mindset to be a teammate, a friend instead of a foe. 

2. You have a choice to act in ways that will hurt or hinder your relationship – When I work with couples, one of my first goals is to have each spouse look at themselves. Most couples come to counseling when their marriages are hanging by a thread. Consequently, they blame each other for the problems instead of looking inward to see how they have individually contributed to the marriage issues. It is never just about your spouse. You have a relationship with yourself, with God and your spouse. In your relationship with yourself, if you are secure, you can see when you need to make changes and accept constructive feedback from your spouse. In relationship with your spouse, you can see their point of views and how you are part of the problems and part of the solutions. In a relationship with God, you learn to give grace to yourself and to your spouse when you mess up. The more you look at yourself and your spouse through God’s eyes the more you will strive to build a healthy relationship.  

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3. You have to take responsibility for your action – It is always powerful to see a wife or a husband finally accepts that the only person that they have responsibility for is themselves. The struggle to control is gone, the victim mindset is gone and now they have the power to change their actions and make choices that will bring their marriage to health. This is the point that many spouses set boundaries to address issues like emotional abuse, physical abuse, and disrespectful. Instead of getting caught up in a battle to get respect, and say stop abusing me with victim statement, the ownership statement is now change to I love you, but I will no longer tolerate a situation like this I will take actions to protect myself. The choices are backed by actions. The need to control and make the spouse “behave” is gone.   

You have truths that can make or break you relationship. The choice to act on them is yours. If you choose to not act you have made choice. Consequently, let these truths set you free to really learn the DNA of your relationship

 

Challenge of the Week – Be Free

You have a choice. A choice to apply the truths to your marriage.

How can you demonstrate to your spouse that you were made for this marriage. How will you take responsibility for your actions and your choices in the marriage? What choice can you make this week that will help your marriage?

 

 

Thank you for reading

Oct 03

10 Proverbs for Great Marriage Communication

Communication is the key. Studies show countless times that married couples who communicate effectively have more success in their marriages. In addition, couples who communicate have fewer conflicts. In order for communication to be effective, it needs to be frequent and honest. Fill with kindness. Addressing the real issues and being wise about the timing.  This type of communication can be challenging to achieve, but it is not impossible. Most couples do not only dream about having great communication, they keep attempting to communicate better. However, many spouses let their own emotions get in the way of communication. They speak when they should remain silent. The silent treatment is the weapon of choice when they should speak the truth in love. Lack of patience, harsh words and poor timing are some of the scars that are left in their attempts to communicate.

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I have found the Proverbs to be one of the most amazing books to address communication from all aspects. These proverbs might seem so simple, but they can really change the way you communicate with your spouse.

Here are my top 10 favorite Proverbs on communication:


1. The tongue has the power of life and death.(Proverbs 18:21)


2. He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin. (Proverbs 13:3)


3. The lips of the righteous nourish many, but fools die for lack of judgment. (Proverbs 10:21) 

4. Through patience a ruler can be persuaded, and a gentle tongue can break a bone. (Proverbs 25:15)


5. The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly. (Proverbs 15:2)


6. Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. (Proverbs 12:18)


7. Do you see a man who speaks in haste? There is more hope for a fool than for him. (Proverbs 29:20)


8. The heart of the righteous weighs its answers, but the mouth of the wicked gushes evil. (Proverbs 15:28)

9. He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from calamity. (Proverbs 21:23)


10. Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue. (Proverbs 17:28) 

If you are reading this paragraph, you have read great nuggets of wisdom. Reading is just one step, but it is really the application that will change your marriage. You might not feel like it at times, but applying these proverbs might be the most important thing that you can do for your marriage.

 

Question: What books have you used to improve communication in your ?

 

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Oct 01

Is Your Marriage a Safe Place?

Have you created a safe place in your marriage? When I ask this question to couples, I get mix answers. The answers usually range from the deer in the headlight look, the accusatory look to the please save me look. You might not consider that your marriage to be a place of hostility. You might even think that you have created a safe place. After all, there is no emotional, physical or verbal abuse taking place. 

 

Many couples view marriage safety as the absence or presence of abuse. Abuse might not be even be close to enter your marriage, but your marriage can still be unsafe. 

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Safety in marriage goes beyond abuse. It is revealed in the daily conversations your have with your spouse. The way you speak in public about your spouse. Your tone during arguments and after arguments determined how safe of a space you are creating in your marriage. One wife mentioned to me that she knew for a fact that her husband loves her, but each time she talked about spending time she knew he would get his emotional weapons ready.

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You might not even say a word, but does the way you look at your spouse encourage or discourage a conversation? Safety in marriage is crucial for intimacy. Your spouse can open her heart and talk about her deepest fears if she knows that she will not face repercussions. Your husband can be the man who leads his house with servant leadership if he knows that you are not keeping score and that he will be punished tonight.   

There are no quick fixes and shortcuts to build intimacy, but one thing that can really ignite all level of intimacies in your marriage is creating a safe place for you and your spouse to be open and honest, baring all and letting all the barriers fall down. Search your heart and see if you have created a safe place in your marriage.

Question: How can you increase safety in your marriage?

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Sep 29

Lessons from The DNA of Relationships

READ TO FEED YOUR MARRIAGE – GREAT MARRIAGES REQUIRE HEALTHY FOOD.


Read to Feed Your Marriage allows you to read a great marriage book by a world renowned marriage expert and you get a licensed counselor to give you weekly tips and challenges to transform your marriage from average to amazing. Join us from September 29th to December 1st as we read the DNA of Relationships by Dr. Gary Smalley

GET THE BOOK TODAY

 

Chapter 1 – A Relationship Revolution

 

Yes, You Can Revolutionize Your Relationship & Create Healthy Patterns 

Negative patterns usually lurked in the background of many marriages. Many couples are not even aware of these negatives patterns until it is too late. You know the husband who walks away each time an argument occurred or the wife who uses sex as a weapon when she feels hurt. These couples keep wounding each other day after day and wonder why the marriage is not working. Painful words echo in their hearts and minds years after years. With each unresolved arguments negative patterns become more cemented. When conflicts emerge, each spouse play their unhealthy patterns without missing a beat.

Do you know the unhealthy patterns you are playing in your relationship?

Negative patterns are sometimes masked as wrong reading of messages, caustic and sarcastic comments, avoidance, etc. You don’t have to accept every invitation to arguments. Arguments can be opportunities to resolve your conflicts and build healthy patterns. But most couples find themselves play the same role over and over again. The wife says we need to talk and the husband put the same defensive barrier patterns that he always put up. Some spouses have become robots. Instead of identifying the patterns and build new healthy patterns they accuse each other. Consequently, the marriage keep suffering.

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If you want to reprogram your marriage with healthy patterns you have to really decode your relationship. Listed below are 5 healthy patterns that make a healthy DNA for a relationship:   

Learn the power of being one

Take care of yourself to prevent burnout

Deepen your emotional connection

Learn how to create a safe place to build intimacy

Be a team 

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Don’t fall in the same trap over and over again. The most important thing you can do is to decode your relationship today and work to instill new healthy patterns. If you want to revolutionize your relationship, you have to let go of the old patterns. Stop participating in the bad scripts.

I encourage you to dig deep and decode your relationship. Learn practical and successful tip that will lkead you to have a satisfying relationship.

Challenge of the WeekAre you ready for a revolution?

Life is relationships and the rest is just details. There are times that you got to dig deep and ensure that the details are not being shadowed by negative patterns, bad scripts that you have willingly and voluntarily play years after years?

This week dig deep and write down what negative patterns do you want to take out of your marriage.

Write new healthy patterns you want to instill in your marriage?

 

 

Thank you for reading

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