Supporting Others Coping with Infertility

It is likely that you know an individual or couple who is impacted by infertility. The natural human response is to want to comfort them, but it can be difficult to know what to say or do, especially if you have not experienced infertility yourself. This blog will help you better understand the experience that infertile couples go through and give you ideas for how to most effectively support them.

The American Pregnancy Association estimates that 10-15% of U.S. couples will be impacted by infertility. Not being able to get pregnant or having several miscarriages in a row is difficult to deal with. There are physical, social, and especially emotional repercussions.

One important element of helping those struggling with infertility is to try to see the situation from their perspective. Although they may not make sense to you, try to recognize the losses associated with infertility that they are experiencing.

What people experience:

Self-esteem: The ability to conceive is often seen as a mark of masculinity or femininity so being unable to conceive may make the infertile individuals question their identities.

StatusSociety places value on being a parent so interacting with others can result in daily reminders of the couple’s infertility.

Relationship: Infertility can potentially result in “lost” relationships as the infertility
creates distance between the partners, but also in relationships with others as they may
not see eye-to-eye with the couple on what path to pursue, are unaware of the situation,
do not meet expectations of support, or are uncomfortable with the sexual connotations
of the situation. The intense introspection and inner turmoil that results from infertility
may also lead to defensiveness, moodiness, etc.—reactions that add distance to relationships.

Control: Becoming pregnant is such a personal matter, but when it does not work,
the couple may feel helpless. There is a lack of definitive answers, as well as uncertainty
in deciding what treatments to pursue/not pursue. Becoming pregnant becomes the
main focus, causing everything else in life to take a back seat, disrupting the sense of
control that the couple felt over their lives before. Choosing to seek infertility treatments results in a lack of privacy and intrusive tests that seem to take away from the couple’s control over keeping their relationship private and personal.

But what is the best way to support friends and family members who are suffering as a result of infertility? Each couple, and even each individual will have their own unique experience, but here are some suggestions for how to help:

1. Prepare yourself

You will not be able to best help a couple or individual struggling
with infertility until you have prepared yourself. Acknowledge that there is a  problem and work through your own feelings, shattered expectations, etc., with
regards to infertility. In addition, become informed so that you do not unknowingly
make hurtful comments.

2. Acknowledge the struggle

It will not be helpful if, in your interactions with someone struggling with infertility, you pretend that there is nothing wrong. Do not shy away from talking about the infertility if the couple or individual wants to, but at the same time, recognize that the infertility may
affect his/her/their interactions with you. Although the sufferer(s) may seem irrational
in their struggle, recognize that what they are experiencing is very real to them, and
their reactions may be a surprise to them as well. Realize that you cannot take away their pain or solve the problem for them, but that the purpose of conversations is to
communicate concern. Ask for patience and guidance as you strive to understand and be
sensitive to their needs, feelings, and experience. Ask how they would like to be supported.

3. Listen

Although you may feel powerless to help a struggling couple or individual,
being willing to listen can go a long way. Let the individual or couple know that you
are there to listen. They may or may not be ready to open up, but make sure that they
know that you are there for them whenever they are ready. It can be helpful for the
couple or individual to rehearse their “story” of what they have been through and the
dreams that have been shattered. Ask appropriate questions, such as how treatment is going or how they feel. That will give them an opportunity to confide in you if they choose to. However, if they choose not to, do not push. Listen without interjecting your thoughts and opinions. Accept that each person copes differently and that the needs of the same person may change throughout the experience.

4.  Keep the bigger picture in mind

While itis very important that you are there for the couple or individual in their struggle, do not limit your focus in your interactions with them only to the infertility. Affirm your love and respect for who they are, emphasizing that their infertility is only a part of them. This will help the couple disconnect their identity from the infertility. Invite them to do enjoyable activities with you, but be okay if they choose not to come. For example,
you could find a babysitter for your own children and go out on a double date with the struggling couple. This could be a much-needed distraction from the stresses of infertility.

As you strive to be genuinely concerned and figure out how they would like their needs to be met, you will not only help the struggling couple or individual, but you will also strengthen your relationship with them.

 


Research provided by Dr. David Schramm and Jennifer Viveros

References:

  • American Pregnancy Association [APA]. (2017). What is infertility? Retrieved from
    http://americanpregnancy.org/infertility/whatis-infertility/
  • Boss, P. (2004). Ambiguous loss research, theory, and practice: Reflections after 9/11. Journal of Marriage and Family, 66(3), 551-566.
  • RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association. (2017). Frequently asked questions about infertility. Retrieved from http://www.resolve.org/about-infertility/whatis-infertility/frequently-asked-questions-aboutinfertility.html
  • RESOLVE. (2007). Coping with infertility: How family and friends can help. Retrieved from http://www.resolve.org/resources/factsheets.html

From Time to Quality Time: Making Every Moment Count

Couples and families often look for ways to find more time together and to make better use of that time. Most people struggle to find enough time in their day for everything. In fact, according to Dr. William Doherty, those that care about each other often feel starved for time together

When considering how to increase time together, individuals often reference two kinds of time: quantity of time and quality of time. While the quantity of time refers to the total amount of time spent together, quality time refers to giving someone his/her undivided attention. This generally implies doing something together rather than just sitting in the same room doing individual activities.

The following ideas are suggested ways to maximize time with loved ones through transforming moments together into quality time.

1.Create a Positive Atmosphere  

How individuals greet or say goodbye to loved ones sets the tone for what follows. Set aside other concerns and give full attention to greetings and farewells. Create a special phrase or way to greet each other that has special meaning in the relationship. Making hello’s and good-bye’s special shows that the relationship is a priority. Regardless of the challenges of the day, when individuals make an effort to smile, be positive, and give their best selves to those they love during their initial greeting, they can set a tone
for more positive interactions in the time they have together.

2. Connect with Conversation

Self-disclosure helps build emotional intimacy with others. Self-disclosing means that all participants involved are sharing their thoughts, feelings, ideas, and desires with each other. Quality conversations focus on taking turns listening and learning about the other person. Asking open-ended questions and listening can help participants to feel closer to each other and better support each other and cope with challenges that arise.

While sometimes it can be helpful to engage in lengthy discussions, conversations can also be as simple as asking about one important thing that happened that day or sharing one thing they appreciate or admire about each other. Establish a time each day to check in with each other, even if it is for 10 minutes.

3. Leave Work at Work

It can be difficult to come home from work and not think about work. Many people stress over tasks they need to do at work while they are spending time with their families. When this happens the time they are spending is not really quality time because their attention is still focused on work and not on connecting in relationships; and because of this, loved ones may not feel as important as the job. One way to relieve this stress and build relationships with others at the same time is to vent to a partner and let go of the stress before engaging in other activities together. Another approach is to focus on being in the moment, which may help to drown out thoughts of work.

4. Unplug

Technology can be a great way to stay connected with loved ones that are far away, but it can also be a distraction to quality time together. In order to better enjoy quality time together, decide together, as a couple or family, boundaries for electronic devices. For example, some families set time limits on the computer, video games or smartphones or turn them off entirely at dinner time.

5. Make the Everyday Tasks Count

Help each other with making dinner, folding laundry or cleaning up the yard. These opportunities may not be as exciting as a night on the town but they can give opportunities to connect with conversation and to lighten each other’s load.

6. Make the Moment Memorable

Quality time can sometimes be found in very small increments of time. Take advantage of 5 minutes and make a memorable experience happen! For example, stop to watch the sunset, swing at the park on the way home from running errands, or make a silly face on each other’s pancakes just for fun. Be silly and laugh together. Take a picture of the fun to make it even more memorable. Couples may also choose to go to bed at the same time in order to have a few moments together before bed.

7. Play Together

Couples and families can benefit from experiencing new activities together and spending time together having fun. Play can increase positive feelings that are associated with those who were also involved in the experience and helps individuals to create positive memories and build connections with each other.

While spending quality time as a family is important, couples can also benefit greatly by planning and going on regular date nights together. Having fun is a great way for couples to remember why they are together in the first place and to increase their feelings of love for one another.

8. Long Distance Connections

Even when couples or families don’t have much time together or live apart from one another, they can still spend time connecting in other ways. For example, individuals can leave a small note where a loved one can find it, or send a text or email of encouragement or appreciation. Online technology can also bridge the distance by utilizing tools such as SkypeTM or FaceTime.

 

While there never seems to be enough time for everything, regardless of the amount of time couples and families find to spend together, utilizing some of these techniques can help individuals ensure they are making the moments count by creating quality time together.

 


Research provided by Naomi Brower and Joe Wallace

References:

  • Chapman, G. 2004. The 5 love languages. Chicago, IL: Northfield Publishing.
  • Doherty, W. J. 2001. Take back your marriage. New York, NY: The Guilford Press.
  • Gottman, J., & Silver, N. 1999. The seven principles for making marriage work. New York: Three Rivers Press.
  • Markman, H. J., Stanley, S. M., Blumberg, S. L., Jenkins, N. H., & Whiteley, C. 2004. 12 hours to a great marriage: A step-by-step guide for making love last. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
  • Parrott, L., & Parrott, L. 2006. Your time-starved marriage. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
  • Townsend, M. 2010. Starved stuff. Utah: Townsend Relationship Center.
  • Walker, E., Darrington, J., & Weeks, N. 2009. Honey I’m home: Strengthening your marriage ten minutes at a time. Logan, UT: Utah State University. FC/Marriage/2009-01pr.

 

6 Thoughtful ways to show your partner you care this Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s day can often feel like an overwhelming holiday with expectations of big grand gestures or expensive gifts, but it can be less daunting to look at it as a day to serve and focus on your partner by doing thoughtful things to show gratitude and love. Many studies show that thoughtful acts add up to higher levels of happiness, marriage longevity and satisfaction.

Take the challenge to dive into your feelings this Valentine’s Day to dig deep and really show your partner you care. We’ve got 6 ideas to get you started on making this the most meaningful Valentine’s Day yet!

1. Write a love letter

Set aside 30 minutes to write your partner a love letter. Remind them of all the things you love about them and why they mean so much to you. Use this time to show appreciation for the little and big things they do that continually bring you closer. It doesn’t take a lot of time but it can make a lasting effect on your relationship.

2. Cook their favorite meal

Light some candles, pull out the fancy dinnerware and prepare their favorite meal. Not only is the gesture romantic, but nothing is better than coming home after a long day and finding out that someone has not only already taken care of dinner, but they have also made your favorite meal.

Pro Tip: Dress for the occasion. Pull out your favorite dress or a shirt and tie to take this dinner date to the next level!

3. Surprise them

It doesn’t have to be a huge surprise to be effective! It could simply be buying them their favorite treat, delivering them flowers at work, or having the kids make them cards. These are just some examples of small ways to really show you care and are thinking of them.

Pro Tip: Make sure your partner is the type that likes surprises!

4. Tackle their least favorite chores

This could be something around the house like dishes, laundry, or the house project you’ve both been putting off! It could also be errands they might have to run, such as going to the post office, dropping off dry cleaning, or picking up groceries. Whatever it is, taking on the task will alleviate stress and could even open up more time to spend together.

5. Leave notes for them in everyday places

Take a small stack of post-it notes and write down things you love about them on individual notes. Leave the notes in places they will be sure to find them, such as in their wallet, on the steering wheel, or on the bathroom mirror. This small act lets them know that you are thinking of them, and will help make for an unforgettable day.

6. Put your phone away

Put your phone or other distractions away while spending time with your partner. Show your partner that they are your priority and give them your undivided attention. Taking this simple action will allow you to more fully connect, listen, and cherish that special time together.

The 7 Signs of a Healthy Relationship

Relationships can be one of the greatest joys in life. Research even suggests that love and intimacy have a greater impact on our quality of life than any other factor, including diet, exercise, stress or genetics! Relationships can also be complicated. So, how do you know if you are in a healthy relationship? Check out these 7 signs of a healthy relationship.

 

1. You are honest with each other and you have a strong sense of trust between you. There is no hidden agenda or secrets from the past.

2. You can openly discuss everything—the good, the bad and the ugly in a calm and supportive way. If you have disagreements, you are able to discuss them respectfully and turn your differences into fair compromise.

3. You both know who you are and what you want out of life, and you are on the same page in terms of your basic values and life goals.

4. You enjoy doing things together but you also have quality time apart doing what is most important to each of you. You encourage each other to grow and change and be your best selves.

5. You respect each other’s boundaries and right to privacy.
6. Both of you contribute your fair share to the relationship.

7. You feel safe and supported in the relationship.

 

Some of these might seem like common sense and some might cause you to think a little more about the health of your relationship. Whether you are in a strong relationship or one that is currently in need of a little help, consider attending a relationship strengthening event such as the Northern Utah Marriage Celebration on February 8 at Weber State University to help you create a relationship worth a lifetime of memories. See registration and details here.


The research and information was provided by Naomi Brower

Reference:

Ornish, D. (2018). Love & Support. https://www.ornish.com/proven-program/love-support/

10 Things You Can do to Romance Your Partner on a Budget

When couples first meet romantic feelings are usually very strong and partners go out of their way to reveal themselves to each other. With time though, these feelings can fade but you can reignite them! Before we dive into tips on how to “reignite” your relationship there are two common barriers that are often a challenge.

  • Time is often a major barrier for couples so before trying any of these tips sit down
    and compare schedules. Find some time just for the two of you when you can
    participate in any of these suggested activities. Even the busiest couples can usually find
    some time if they plan for it and stick to the plan. Doing so gives a message to each
    other, and to your kids, that you care about each other and your relationship is
    important.
  • Quality child care can also be another barrier to spending time alone as a couple. If you do not have family who can babysit for you, find a friend (perhaps one who has
    children) and arrange to exchange babysitting with each other.

Now that we have considered some potential barriers to spending time on reestablishing
romance in your marriage, here are a few tips to help get things on course.

1. Write What You Feel

Take a moment to reflect on the things you really like or appreciate about your partner but often neglect to say. Write them down in a little note or on a decorative card, and put it someplace where it will surprise her or him like under a pillow or on their car’s dashboard. If writing is not your strong suit just keep your sentiments short and sincere.

2. Go “Out” to Eat Together

Going out for an expensive dinner is traditionally a popular way to show your partner that you care but due to the expense, this gesture is usually reserved for special occasions. Try using the same concept of a fancy dinner out but at home and not necessarily on a special occasion. The reason people usually like romantic dinners is because of the ambiance and the beauty of the setting. With a little planning, a few candles, a decorative presentation and some soft music you can bring the joy of fine dining into your home, especially if you leave the TV off and spend the time talking with each other. If cooking is not your best talent, order take out and serve it on your best dishware.

3. Catch a Flick

Movies are a great way to de-stress with your partner. They allow you to sit
and forget about life’s challenges while sitting shoulder to shoulder with the one you love. If you catch a matinee before 5pm you can both see a movie for less than $15. If that’s a bit more than you would like to spend, try joining your local movie store or an online movie rental site. A single movie is usually less than $5 and can be enjoyed without even leaving the house. For the full effect, add some popcorn and drinks!

4. Phone in Your Feelings

In this day and age, cell phones are a common part of everyday life. Use yours to send a romantic text message to your partner. It can be a pleasant surprise to receive a random message in your inbox. If your partner keeps his or her phone off during the work day, a message from you can be a great find during a break in the day.

5. Take a Hike

There is a lot to be said for the simple act of walking. Walking with your partner is a great activity because it can be a relaxing time to talk about life. Not only that, it is a great way for you and your partner to get fit.

6. Get “Board”

Board games are a timeless and inexpensive way of having a great time. The cool thing about them is that once purchased, you can enjoy them for years to come. Pull the box out of the closet, set out some refreshments and have a blast. Another subtle twist on this
idea is to play cards or put together a puzzle.

7. Catch Some Culture

Concerts or plays can make a fun date night but can also be expensive! There are, however, some great alternatives to attending concerts or plays at traditional venues. Look through newspapers each week for the entertainment calendars and notice the
billboards at the local schools. This is a great way to see what kind of activities are going in your area. Local bands and schools are eager to play and always need an audience. Why not let it be you!

8. Dream Out Loud

Part of creating a healthy marriage is setting goals for your future together. Part of this goal setting begins with discussing your hopes and dreams for the future. This simple activity can be a great escape from your present financial challenges because it allows your imagination to run free. Using your imagination will go a long way in shaping your actual plans for the future. By building the foundation for your future you will draw closer to each other and potentially experience a return to former romantic feelings that can be easily overwhelmed during challenging times.

9. Take a Class Together

Research indicates that couples who spend six hours a year in marriage education have happy successful relationships. Taking a class together can help you to gain new skills and insights to strengthen your relationship. Check out the free classes offered in Weber County listed in this newsletter. A listing of classes can also be found on can also be found on under the classes tab at the top of the page!

10. Expand Your Circle

Spending time with other couples who are devoted to developing a healthy marriage can be fun because you can share your experiences and enjoy your commonalities. Many churches and community groups have activities that are designed to be fun and engaging and include good company, laughter, conversation, and refreshments. Check out the low-cost date nights coming up this fall in Weber County listed in this newsletter. Events can also be found on the right side of this page under events!


Research provided by Naomi Brower and adapted from the Alabama Marriage Coalition.

The Benefits of “Flow” and How to Make it Part of Your Life in 2019

Most of us would probably like more money, more free time, and fewer problems. However, research says these aren’t necessarily the paths to happiness. Instead, studies have found that challenges can be greatly beneficial and it is how we interpret everyday experiences, rather than circumstances themselves, that has a direct impact on our self-perceptions, our sense of purpose, and how much we enjoy our lives. Fortunately, it is possible to learn some control of our consciousness so we can channel our thoughts and feelings in patterns that will benefit us. One of the best ways to do this is to immerse ourselves in the optimal experience of “flow.” This state/experience is likely to bring satisfaction, allow us to help others more, and improve the quality of our lives.

What is Flow?

Flow is a mental state that requires action and awareness. It occurs when the challenge of a task is in balance with our skills – that is, when it’s neither too easy (which brings boredom) nor too difficult (which triggers anxiety) and helps us develop as a person. During flow, we are so focused on the task at hand that time gets distorted, we aren’t distracted by irrelevant thoughts, and we have such purpose and intention that nothing else seems to matter. We tend to “lose ourselves” in optimal experience because our consciousness is channeled and engaged. When we are finished with the task, we have a sense of satisfaction, maybe even exhilaration.

How Does Flow Happen?

Flow might sound like a rare and idealistic state, but it doesn’t have to be. It is possible to learn to be in flow and find joy in whatever comes into our daily life, even in difficult circumstances. Those who succeed in doing so follow this blueprint:
Pay attention to details of the environment and situation to find hidden opportunities for action that go well with personal qualities, skills, and strengths.
Set goals appropriate to skill level and situation.
Use internal and external feedback to monitor progress.
Stay focused and adjust the approach to challenges as needed.
Increase complexity of challenges as goals are reached to prevent boredom.

You need both opportunities and skills, as well as the ability to control your consciousness to make use of them. Self-consciousness (worrying about what other people think) and self-centeredness get in the way of this process, as can extreme environmental and social conditions.

When Can Flow Happen?

Some activities seem designed for flow, but the optimal experience of flow can be achieved in almost every aspect of our lives. For example:

1. The Body:

One of the best ways to start improving quality of life and combat depression, boredom, and unhappiness, is learning to control the body and its senses. Tune into your senses, pay attention to all that your body experiences and does, and get creative. As you immerse yourself in the moment and set goals that challenge and motivate you, flow can be experienced in sports, fitness, dance, yoga, martial arts, or in simple tasks such as eating.
2. Thought:

The mind is normally chaotic, making random patterns before settling on a painful or disturbing thought. Thus, it’s helpful to have specific information to focus on. Activities such as watching TV will give you a steady stream of information to distract you from your problems, but it’s more beneficial to have mental habits that give you control and induce flow. These might include doing or creating puzzles or riddles; reading, listening to, or writing stories or poetry; and exploring philosophy, science, music, or history. Find something that interests you and engages your mind, and aim for lifelong learning.

3. Work:

Even the most mundane or demanding job can be an opportunity for flow as you find ways to apply your strengths and develop skills as you look at your tasks and environment from different angles, set personal goals, and find strategies that help you be motivated rather than overwhelmed or bored. Focus on what is in your control rather than what is not. Counter to what we might think, jobs are actually easier to enjoy than free time because the conditions for flow are more readily available.

4. Relationships:

Optimal experience can be part of relationships with family, friends, and our community. Having a common purpose and open channels of communication, finding new challenges, and investing attention helps induce flow in even routine aspects of family life and relationships. Friendships can provide opportunities to develop expressive skills and feel into touch with our real selves. It is with friends that we often experience excitement, adventure, and discovery. Getting involved in a cause for good and interacting with members of our community beyond family and friends can also bring optimal experience.

Try filling your time rather than killing it by engaging in activities that require focus, increase skills, and develop “self.” Doing so can help you cope with stress, have a healthy relationship with your environment and others, find helpful solutions, and grow in confidence and self-assurance. Pick one aspect of your life in which you’d like to try pursuing optimal experience and go from there. Chances are, over time you’ll be enjoying the sense of purpose, fulfillment, and satisfaction that comes from living with the mental state of flow.


References:

Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1990). Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience. New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers.

7 Tips for a Mindful Marriage in the New Year

We are approaching the end of yet another year, and the years seem to just keep flying by. If we aren’t careful life can slip by without fully enjoying the people and things we love most. Being mindful, or maintaining an awareness of your thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surroundings, can help us to be more mentally, emotionally and physically present, and more fully enjoy those things, and people, that matter most to us. Consider these seven tips to increasing mindfulness in your relationship with your significant other in the new year.

1. Practice personal mindfulness

Practicing personal mindfulness can help to create a stronger relationship with your significant other. Quieting the excess chatter in your mind will help to steady your emotions and lower your physical and mental stress levels, potentially making you less reactive to your partner’s actions or words. It can also help you to focus on the small, everyday moments with your loved one, such as being fully present when you hug or kiss them.

2. Prioritize time with your spouse

In order for us to connect and be mindful of our partner, we need to have time together. Make your spouse a priority and give them your undivided attention, even if it is for ten minutes every day to check in with them about their day. No TV. No phones. No books. Just each other.

3. Continually learn about each other

Take time to ask open-ended questions so you can know about what is really going on in their world. The more mindful you are of each other’s hopes, dreams and challenges the more of support you can be to each other.  

4. Show affection 

Let your partner know that you are mindful of them through showing your love daily through affection. Hold hands, give a lingering full-body hug, or five-second kiss.

5. Play together

Have fun together and try new things. Show that you are mindful of your partner by trying things that he/she enjoys doing.

6. Express appreciation and compliments

Show your partner that you are aware of them by sharing genuine compliments and words of appreciation daily.

7. Service

Show your partner that you are mindful of them by helping to ease their load through small acts of service. Even little things like getting up with the kids, making dinner, or doing a chore you normally don’t do can make a huge difference.


Research provided by Naomi Brower

References:

Doherty, W. J. (2013). Take back your marriage. New York: NY: The Guildford Press:

Gottman, J. M. & Silver, N. (2007). The seven principles for making marriage work. London, England: Orion Books, Ltd.

 

Parker, T. (2016, August 24). How to mindfully meditate in marriage. [Web log post]. Retrieved from https://www.gottman.com/blog/mindfully-meditate-marriage/

Why Trust Matters in Relationships and Marriage

Trust is a valuable asset in every relationship. It is the cornerstone that shapes an individual’s ability to engage in a happy relationship. Trust provides comfort in a relationship where two people can learn to count on each other. Consider the following tips to help you build trust in your relationships.

T The first key is time.

Healthy relationships and healthy marriages require time to learn each other’s likes and dislikes, hot-button issues, favorite topics, life experiences and expectations. Trust between couples is built by investing time in each other. Individuals relax when time spent together is respectful and honoring, maximized and fulfilling, and rewarding (even when challenging). Even couples who have been together for a long time must continue to invest time in each other to nurture the trust in the relationship.

R The second key is reliability.

Reliability is important because of each person’s need to have someone they can safely count on. As couples grow together, spouses take on specific roles and responsibilities in the relationship or family. The ability to rely on each other to effectively manage a family or marriage together is essential to sustain trust. Reliability builds an abiding trust that is essential to successful relationships.

U Understanding is the third key to deepening a trusting relationship.

The greater the understanding, the more likely it is that spouses will develop unconditional love. Many relationships suffer from what appear to be half-hearted attempts at understanding and accepting differences in each other. Part of this also understanding when relationship expectations are realistic and when they are unrealistic. It is difficult to establish trust without understanding. It is easier to walk away than to walk in someone else’s shoes.

S The fourth key to developing a trusting relationship is sacrifice.

When a person exhibits behaviors in which they sacrifice something for the good of the relationship, trust develops. This can be thought of as the opposite of selfishness in a relationship. It is difficult because many people (unknowingly) expect greater sacrifice from their spouses than they are willing to make themselves. Sacrifices of both partners must be balanced and must be mutual in order to avoid any resentment of one partner toward the other. A healthy marriage is the product of two individuals, each making sacrifices for each other to better the relationship. It is helpful for partners to discuss with one another what their expectations are and be open about what sacrifices each partner feels he or she is making for their relationship or family.

T The fifth and final key to develop a trusting relationship or marriage is thankfulness.

This means recognizing and appreciating a partner’s efforts. As spouses or partners grow in relationships, they should never be taken for granted. They should always be shown they are appreciated for their kindness, concern and care. Doing so expresses to them that they are important, and their efforts are rewarded. Trusting one’s heart to another demands reciprocity, as it is easier to continue to perform lovingly when your gestures are appreciated. Thankfulness matters, because one will seldom continue to pour love onto an unappreciative person. A lack of thankfulness can doom a relationship.

 

Understanding the necessary keys of trust can help couples to thrive and grow in their relationship. Try to focus on building one aspect of trust in a close relationship this week!


Research provided by Naomi Brower

 

 

4 Reasons Why Date Nights Matter

The holiday season is a great time to spend building memories as a family, but don’t forget to also take time for a one-on-one date with your sweetheart too! While it can be a challenge to make arrangements or take the time to get away together research has shown that having date nights can strengthen your relationship in the following ways:

  1. Time to talk can provide opportunities to reconnect and discover your partner’s newest interests and dreams.
  2. Having fun together. Date nights provide an opportunity to get out of the routine, build happy memories and rekindle the spark that can help to sustain couples through the tough times.
  3. Strengthen commitment. Setting aside time to go on a date demonstrates your commitment to each other and sets an important example to children or others that you value your relationship.
  4. Stress relief. Date nights allow couples to enjoy time together apart from the pressing concerns of ordinary life.

In order to make the most of your time together consider the following tips:

  • Make an effort to plan your date in advance, and if needed budget so you can put money towards some nice evenings out. For ideas on what to do for your date, check out the blog post 10 Tips for Romance on a Budget livewellutah.org.
  • Make an effort to look your best by wearing something special for your date together (clothing, cologne, jewelry, etc.).
  • Get ready to music that pumps you up! When you’re listening to music you enjoy, you’ll begin to feel good and radiate positive energy.
  • Give compliments. Compliment yourself and your spouse to build self-esteem.
  • Make the car ride special. Use the time driving to get to know your partner better and discover their current hopes, dreams, and interests.

The research and information was provided by Naomi Brower

For more information see “The Date Night Opportunity” by Brad Wilcox and Jeff Dew found at http://nationalmarriageproject.org/wordpress/

Reconnecting in Relationships

 

We all have challenges even in our closest relationships. In fact, most relationships have about 12 things that they disagree on at any one time. Twelve!!! But what’s more important than those struggles are the things we do to build our relationship and to reconnect. When we focus on the things that are going right in our relationships, we can more easily conquer the struggles we may be facing as a team. So how do we reconnect and build a stronger relationship?  Consider the following “three L’s and a T.”

Look at your partner

We see those we love almost every day but when was the last time you looked at them deep in their eyes and really connected with them? Try this, look in your partner’s eyes for about 30 seconds, really pay attention to their expressions, and be in the moment with them. Look at the person as a whole, for who they really are, and not just what you might be hurt or frustrated about.   When we really connect with someone, we feel it deep inside and it also literally stimulates our brain, not to mention helping us to feel closer to our partner!

Laugh with your partner

When we were kids we laughed 200 to 300 times a day but the average adult may only average 12 to 14 times per day! When we lose humor in our relationship, we may get too wound up and lose sight of the bigger picture and being able to see humor in one another and in challenging moments. For good mental health, it’s a good idea to get five belly laughs a day. So, turn on your silliness and dance around the kitchen or find ways to make each other laugh! It’s not only good for your own health but also strengthens your relationship.

Listen to your partner every day

 Sometimes we think we are being good listeners but in reality, we are more rejecting then we are receiving of our partner. Often times listening is about seeking connection with someone rather than having someone share advice or solve problems. Even if we ask for advice, we are often just seeking to be understood and validated.  So, the next time your partner is sharing their thoughts with you, listen very carefully to what your partner is sharing, not just to the words but why it is important to them.

Touch daily

 Physical touch is good for our health! Shoot for five hugs a day. Many of these will probably be from your partner, but they can also be from kids or others that are close to you. Touch could also be in the form of holding your partner’s hand while watching TV, giving them a kiss hello or goodbye, or touching them on the shoulder or hair as you walk by just to let them know that you acknowledge them. When we touch someone, we let them know that they are important to us and it builds our relationship.

By practicing these “three L’s and a T” on a daily basis we exercise our relationship muscles so that we continue to grow together rather than letting our relationship atrophy. Reconnecting with your partner doesn’t have to take a lot of time or money, but making some investments every day can make a huge difference in your relationship and your general happiness and satisfaction in life!


Research provided by Naomi Brower

Based on personal communication with Doug Nielsen, psychotherapist and speaker, www.dougspeaks.com

 

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