3 Tips to Better Communicate With Your Spouse

In a relationship, two different people can have different communication skills. Yet better communication can also be practiced because it is an ability that anyone can learn. Communication can make the most of a relationship or ruin them. By bringing some of these ideas into your relationship, you can improve your relationship.

1. Stop and listen.

How many times have you heard anyone say that? The issue is more complicated than it seems. When we are embroiled in a serious discussion or disagreement with our partner, it’s difficult for the moment to put aside our viewpoint and listen. Sometimes we’re so terrified not to be heard that we try to keep talking. Unfortunately, this kind of action makes it more likely that we will not be heard.

2. Make yourself hear your partner.

You’ve stopped talking momentarily, but all the thoughts you want to say are still spinning in your head, so you don’t really understand what’s being said anymore. You may find the situation funny, but therapists have a strategy that works very well that “allows” them to hear what a client tells them— rephrasing what a person has just told them (called “reflection“).

Do this too much, or you may end up pushing them away. Also, do not try this in a way that implies that you’re teasing rather than trying to listen seriously. Use this technique in moderation. Let your partner know why you’re doing it when they inquire, “Sometimes I don’t think I’m getting what you’re asking me, and doing that helps me to slow down my mind and really listen to understand what you’re doing.”

3. Be open with your partner.

Many people in their lives have never been very open to others. Many people may not even know themselves, or they do not know a lot about their true needs and desires. Being in a relationship is taking a step towards talking openly about your life and yourself.

Little lies become big lies. Lying may work for you to cover your feelings behind a mask, but it won’t work for most others. Pretending that everything is normal is not okay. And it’s about as useful as giving your partner the silent treatment about not getting what you want for the holidays. In the past, these strategies may have “worked” for you, but they all hinder good communication.

To be open means to speak about things that another person in your life might never have spoken about before. It means truly taking the time to listen and reflect on what your partner has to say. This may mean opening to a world of potential pain and disappointment. But it also ensures that you can be open to the full potential of a true relationship.

Why You Should Date Your Spouse

Dating shouldn’t stop at the altar.

In the beginning, the reason for dating is to get to know someone better to see if this is a good fit. Yet, for those who have been married for a while, they may see dating as a waste of time, energy and money. Rather, dating your spouse should begin with a desire to have a much deeper understanding of each other.

Here are some reasons that you may have forgotten during your dating phase that will hopefully get you back into dating your spouse.

Dating consists of:

  •  Fascinating and effortless conversations. Dating partners tend to value opposing opinions, and readily accept that they disagree over certain quirks. Most married couples presume about each other’s views and refuse to recognize that an individual may change as the years pass.
  • Exciting plans. Whichever partner takes the lead, the date is usually well-planned and may even come with one or two surprises. Instead of going to new places and taking part in new activities, married couples tend to go out to the usual places they’ve been going to for years.
  • Warm body language. A happy couple in a restaurant is easy to pick. They have intentional communication when they laugh and smile at each other. Married couples oppose or overreact to their spouse’s body language without checking their assumptions and reverting to avoidance and exaggeration.
  • Letting go of past mistakes. Dating couples let go of perceived offenses. They just break-up if things are not working out. In contrast, married couples remember past indiscretions which can lead to heated fights. Couples who date while married remain friendly, gentle, and respectable.
  • New and exciting adventures. Any new adventure would help a dating couple enjoy each other’s company enthusiastically. This is where many married couples are lacking in their lives. The passing of time will build years of bitterness, unresolved anger and lack of forgiveness. A boost in passion is just what is required to overcome unresolved problems.

How to Get Started on Dating

Plan a bi-monthly date night, even though it sounds uncomfortable at first. Use this valuable time to reconnect with your spouse.

If you don’t have a good connection, you may need to make the time to go out. Above all, try to add new things wherever you can–a new bar, a new game, or a new trip.

Ultimately, couples bond better with novelty, according to several love experts including the scientist Dr. Art Aron. Then, plan new places and activities together. Start small and see what happens. You will be on your way to feeling together again, by prioritizing connection in real, effective ways.

How to Know Your Partner’s Love Language

Everyone has different love languages. The good news is that you can have different languages of love and have a healthy relationship. You should make sure you understand what your partner needs. Both of you just must do a little to consider the various needs.

1. Find out your partner’s love language.

Observe the little actions of your partner. What makes them smile? When do they start to feel frustrated or whine about how their day went? Talking about your romantic needs and wants with your partner is a huge and important step in your relationship. It also takes time.

You can also get together for a date night and complete this online quiz.

2. Understand your partner’s love language.

Follow the relationship advice of so many once you discover your love languages: learn to speak the love language of your partner. Start showing love as they perceive it as love below:

  • Acts of Service: Do small actions to show your affection. Fold and put their laundry away, cook dinner after a busy workday if your partner is usually the cook, and remember to take out the trash.
  • Quality Time: Put away the cell phone and give them your full attention. Take a walk in the neighborhood or play a card game for two.
  • Words of Affirmation: Be loving with your words, whether they be spoken or written. Send a good morning text or put a handwritten note in their briefcase or backpack.
  • Receiving Gifts: Buy them small things every so often. You can buy their favorite pastry or drink from the local coffee shop. Making them “love” coupons are always welcome. Plus, never forget special dates like birthdays and anniversaries.
  • Physical Touch: Reach out and hold their hand. Hug your significant other after you haven’t seen each other all day and give them a kiss goodnight before you go to bed.

3. Compromise with your partner.

There is a single word that encompasses all relationship advice about how to understand the love language of your partner: compromise. It is not easy to learn to negotiate, and a relationship can be full of doubts and difficulties. If you want to make things work in your relationship, it should be all about give-and-take.

With someone with a different language of love, understanding their love language is not difficult. It only means being more attuned to your relationship’s special needs and taking care of your partner.

7 Ways to Reconnect with Your Partner

We expect things to stay the same when we start a relationship. But what binds you together over time will change. You may, of course, feel confused or unsure about how the relationship can be restored. Seven ways to reconnect with your partner are presented here.

1. Avoid having a critical voice

At some point, any person in a relationship will observe their partner with a critical voice. You are far better off paying close attention to this vital inner voice if you want to live in love. Having a more caring and truthful approach towards them will help reconnect with your partner.

2. Receive influence from your partner.

A Gottman Institute study found that a partnership works in examining heterosexual marriages to the degree that the husband would recognize control from his partner. For example, a wife could tell her husband, “Do you have to work on Friday night? My parents are coming this weekend, and I need your help to get ready. ” Her husband replies, “My plans with my friends are set, and I’m not going to change them.” A partnership can blossom when both partners can influence each other.

3. Show Affection

Studies have shown that you feel more connected with physical affection. Getting affectionate in your brain releases oxytocin. Showing affection helps to make you feel connected and stay in touch with your desires and express trust personally.

4. Do Acts of Love

As it sounds simple, kindness is the secret to love. Research has shown that taking more loving action makes you feel more in love. Do small acts of kindness such as writing love notes or sending special text messages; and preparing a favorite breakfast.

5.Laugh Together at Inside Jokes

When you laugh together with your partner, you reconnect with each other. Inside jokes are the result of shared experiences, such as parties, birthdays, travels, pop culture references, and silly singing or dancing.

6. Talk About Your Partner’s Interests

What your partner wants to do and to join is important to know. This leads to creating more trust and dedication by combining empathy and sincere engagement with one’s partner’s passions. If your partner enjoys ballroom dancing, you can say: “I can’t help but see how you improved in dancing tonight. While in the dance room, what do you feel? It inspired me so much.”

7. Share eye contact

Looking into your partner’s eyes when you talk or listen to them communicates to show your partner that you give them a priority. Make sure you show yourself to be present and enjoy being with them.

Give your relationship constant nourishment and affection. Reconnecting takes a leap of faith that you continue to take every day that you choose to be together. If you need more help to reconnect, take part in relationship counseling and couples therapy. 

5 Self-Care Tips When Living with Anxiety

Approximately 20% of people in the United States have some form of anxiety disorder, making it the most common in the country. So many people are worried, and it can be hard to turn off from a connected world where we document and post everything online. When you want to get away from the world, you need to take care of yourself first using these five strategies.

1.      Exercise

A consistent exercise routine not only offers health and wellness benefits but also helps treat anxiety. There is evidence that aerobic exercise (dancing, walking, swimming) can reduce anxiety and improve your daily and ongoing anxiety.

When you change your habits so that you are rewarded with more energy, better memory, better mood, and even a better immune system.

2.      Use your creative skills.

Research has shown that artsy DIY creations can help your mental health. Spend time making a beautiful object can be used, worn or offered as a gift. This allows you to develop your confidence, to feel valuable, and to improve your skills. Let your creative powers run wild to create a safe space and take a break from the rest of the world, be it through knitting, weaving, drawing, sculpture, or anything else.

3.      Take part in a meditation session

A meditation session can affect your sense of calmness, trust, and gratitude even more profoundly. If you light a candle and play relaxing music, a mindful meditation becomes a soul-friendly ritual. Find positive words to help the mind get rid of everyday stress and experience a daily dose of calm.

4.      Enjoy nature

The influence of nature on our wellbeing is often misunderstood, and too many of us are used to urban lifestyles. When you feel your life has become too stressful, take a walk to the woods and see the trees. Greenery in your home can also help to make your mind feel at ease. Going outside helps to “shut off” your brain parts that cause negative thinking and aggravating depression.

5.      Make your own self-care routine

Do you find the self-care trend on social media overwhelming and almost too perfect? One of the best ways to take care of yourself is to see a therapist and work together to come up with a custom self-care plan. Self-care doesn’t have to look like face masks and bubble baths. You can take care of your mental well-being by watching TV or making yourself hot chocolate. The physical and mental well-being of your body by creating joy and satisfaction is an important part of life with or without conforming to what self-care should look like online.

Anxiety management is a lifelong process. By improving your relationship with yourself by maintaining your physical and mental health, you will become more resilient and able to survive difficult times and enjoy the good times. 

Dating with Anxiety: 3 Ways to Cope

If you are anxious, it can seem almost impossible to pass a date. Many people completely ignore the dating scene. For those who have the confidence to want a new relationship, the date may be so tainted with many worries or panic attacks.

However, there are ways to deal with fear and meet people who are worthwhile. Below are three ways to successfully manage your worries and have fun.

Learn How to Push Yourself Out of Your Comfort Zone

To manage anxiety, there’s the approach of the idea of exposure: the more you deal with stressful situations, the more resilient you become to handle them. If dating sounds especially worrying, start slow by choosing places to practice small talk. Think of a few conversation topics – music, culture, sports games, local events, and world news – that can be helpful. This will help you better connect with your date because current events impact almost everybody.

Keep Dates Short and Sweet

You should concentrate on and empower yourself to get through with some nervous energy. Seek to see your date with a healthy sense of stress. The important thing is to keep the date brief so you’re not stuck for long.

Set up a date that lasts a few hours and meet in a common location— for example your favorite cafe or a nearby restaurant with a familiar menu.

Shift Your Mental State

Anxiety causes stress because we see it as an issue instinctually, nothing more. It’s easy to get nervous about how your date will view you. After your date, you might feel tempted to replay the uncomfortable moments or awkward silences in your head but avoid the temptation.

Focus instead on whether this individual is right for you. Instead of beating yourself up or concentrating on the awkward moments during the date, remember the instances of laughter and good talk: Were you funny? Did you compliment your date or vice versa? Keep thinking about any common interests and values you discussed during your date, the chemistry between the two of you, and if you want to see the other person again or not.

That can take a great deal of pressure from the date, because you are playing an active part in this process instead of hoping for approval or not. Any experience with dating should be seen as a positive lesson. You have been hopeful in your dating journey, and the next date will be even better. Your therapist can help you navigate your dating experience and help you see ways to improve them.

5 Ways You Can Support a Loved One with Anxiety

To watch a loved one suffering from anxiety is hard to witness, and it is more difficult when you are worried about it. Your loved one may feel too ashamed to avoid acting or acting in ways that your own anxiety is inconsiderate or that. This could look like your partner who puts off important tasks or conversations all the time or a best friend who feels lonely after divorce but still to go on dates.

While seeing these people suffer is debilitating and upsetting, you can do some things to help your loved one.

1.Understand how anxiety works

We are wired to respond to anxiety through fight, flight, or freeze because of evolution. One of these solutions usually dominates for different people. Once you know that anxiety is a natural response for us in a state of risk, it’s easier to understand and to have empathy for someone who feels scared (or stressed). You will understand their habits and be in a better position to help by paying attention to how anxiety develops in the person you care for.

2. Ask how you can best support them

Research shows that people with an avoidant attachment style (generally those who have had previous caretaker rejections or relationships) will probably best respond to strong displays of pragmatic support. Many people would prefer emotional support, particularly those who have a secure or preoccupied attachment because of fear of abandonment or of the overwhelming emotions they have for others. It’s best to ask someone what kind of help they want instead of guessing! 

3. Support someone who wants to change their anxiety

While you can learn more about anxiety through a therapy session or reading more about different models of anxiety, you can also use a cognitive-behavioral strategy for anxious people.

People with anxiety tend to think of worst-case scenarios. You can ask them to answer three questions: 

  • What is the worst thing that could happen?
  • What could be the best thing?
  • What is most likely or most probable?

So if your loved one is anxious to hear from a high-stakes job interview a few days ago but doesn’t, you can suggest he or she takes into consideration some of the worst, best, and most probable reasons for the lack of contact.

4. Give support but only encourage

We may often feel taken out by doing things to our obvious loved ones and feeding them unintentionally when they want to avoid situations or things that make them anxious. Encourage them to step out of their comfort zone by offering to go with them to therapy if they choose and make an appointment with a therapist, for example. One key principle to keep in mind is that people need to help themselves, not do things for themselves. 

5. If they have more severe anxiety, reassure them

What if your loved one has anxiety from a more severe condition such as PTSD or panic disorder? You can offer support by reassuring them that you care for them, no matter what they’re going through, and helping them stay connected to their true selves with hobbies or interests.

There are several ways to help people with anxiety. Select one or two appealing ideas that you and your loved one find manageable. Be ready for exploration. Remember you’re doing your best to support your loved one.

highly sensitive person parker Colorado

If you consider yourself to be very emotionally aware, a deep thinker, and very sensitive to your environment, it is possible you may be a Highly Sensitive Person.

Click here to take the official Highly Sensitive Person assessment.

Created by leading researcher Dr. Elaine Aron.

 As defined by Dr. Elaine Aron, a Highly Sensitive Person or HSP is a person who is born biologically more sensitive than most to their environment.  They naturally tend to process information that they receive from their senses and social interactions more deeply.  However, while this can provide great insights, it also means that the person can be more easily overstimulated and overwhelmed.  This biological trait is a great gift but can appear to be a curse for those who do not understand how to work with this trait.

I specialize in helping HSPs learn how to make the most of their gifts and better manage overstimulation.  As an HSP myself, I understand how being highly sensitive can affect every aspect of your life from your career to your personal relationships.  I have helped many HSPs learn the skills they need to find peace in a busy world of high stimulation and high demands.

Learn how to…

  • Use your sensitivity as a gift and take pride in being a HSP
  • Cope with strong emotions and better understand their purpose
  • Reduce overstimulation and adjust your environment to fit you better
  • Increase your self-esteem and strengthen your sense of self
  • Handle conflict without automatically switching into anxiety, guilt, anger, or withdraw
  • Maintain healthy boundaries with others and express your needs
  • Receive guidance from your own intuition

If you would like to learn more, please get in touch.

colorado anxiety depression counseling self doubt

I would like to share a short story about a fictional person named Sally. One day, Sally has a rough day and hits an emotional roadblock. It sparked a conversation with a friend about some barriers with her boss. A slew of negative thoughts crept in whispering, “You are lazy. You are going to fail at this. You need to be managed like a child”. She notices these thoughts and immediately voiced them aloud to her friend, who of course, refuted everything. She wanted to believe his encouragement and kindness, but her own words had already become a stronghold. Discouragement and a deep sadness flooded in.

The next morning, Sally woke to the heaviness of apathy and disappointment. The words continued to be difficult to shake off. She knew her internal dialogue was not only unfair and unkind but also counterproductive to where she needed to be. Throughout the rest of the day, Sally was mindful of the pain, and reframed her thoughts to be gentle and compassionate: “You’re feeling pretty disappointed right now about not reaching some of your goals. You wish you had more follow through. It’s okay that you’ve been feeling stuck.” Something shifted the moment she tapped into some self-compassion. By the end of the day, the heaviness was gone and a newfound determination kicked in.

.     .     .  

Our inner dialogue reflects our deepest vulnerability. It holds so much power over how we view and treat ourselves, and how we are able to engage with the world. In my work as a therapist, it’s common for me to hear statements such as “I’m so stupid”, “I’m useless”, “I am the biggest failure in the world”, “I don’t deserve anything good to happen to me”.

These words are deeply painful and defeating. We would never say these statements to anyone we care about, even to strangers, but allow this to be a familiar repertoire of self-talk. What this reveals is that we are often harsher and more cruel to ourselves than we are to anyone else. Some view this negative self-talk as a motivator to improve or change, whereas others become attuned to the vicious internal cycle that deepens symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Don’t let self doubt create anxiety, depression, fear, and uncertainty. Talk to a professional counselor to learn how to get past defeating thoughts and feelings.

Colorado relationship and marriage counseling

Handling the crisis of a spouse’s affair and the resulting divorce can be overwhelming. During this crisis, your actions can greatly affect you, your children and the family. One of the most difficult areas to navigate is what to tell the children when they ask why you are divorcing. I suggest you consider the following questions:

  1. Will telling them about your spouse’s affair help address their concerns about your divorce?

    Your children will be worried about what will happen to them during and after the divorce. Ask yourself how knowing about the affair will be helpful to them during this adjustment? Most children don’t want to know anything about their parents’ sex life even when things are going well.
  2. How will telling them affect their relationships with the other parent?

    Your children need to feel that their relationship with both their parents is secure. Telling them about the affair will cause conflicting loyalties towards the other parent. They could experience another loss and high levels of confusion and stress.
  3. Are you telling them for your benefit or for their benefit?

    It is important for you to explore your feelings of anger and hurt and the motivation for wanting to tell your kids. There may be other ways for you to get support for the pain and suffering you are experiencing during this time. You may feel it is not fair that the kids get to love and enjoy your spouse even though he or she hurt you so much. You may really want to hurt your spouse and see them suffer some consequences. However, if you focus on what is best for your children, you may be able to separate your feelings towards your spouse and let the kids have their relationship with their parent.
  4. What do you want your kids to remember about the divorce?

    Your kids will be as strong as their parents’ ability to handle their emotions during and after the divorce. Protecting them from unnecessary information will help them focus on their own needs. You must take good care of yourself during this time. Let the generous part of you guide you and seek the help and support you need at this time. You want to look back on your actions during the divorce with pride.

Knowing my children’s unique characters and needs, what will be best for them to know and not know? Focusing on their best interests and what they need in order to keep feeling loved and secure with both of you should guide your decision about what to tell them. It is best to discuss a Divorce Story with your spouse ahead of time, and talk to the kids about the “why” in a non-blaming way.

After you consider these topics, consult with a professional specializing in divorce to help you be clear and concise before you talk to your children.