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How to Support Instead of Solve

By Relationship Basics 13 Comments

Are you a problem-solver? When your spouse comes to you with an issue, are you quick to offer a solution?

This can be a very positive trait in many areas of life. You’re action-oriented and aren’t one to wallow around in excuses or blame.

Have you ever been caught off guard by a negative reaction from your partner in response to your suggested solution? You probably thought (or said), “I was just trying to help!” and maybe felt a little hurt or annoyed yourself.

The thing is, sometimes a solution isn’t what your partner wants, or needs, or is ready for. So what do you do when they come to you in crisis or to share an issue or problem?

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5 Ways to Make “Same Old” Feel New

By Connection, Relationship Basics 8 Comments

“New year, new you.” The saying has become pretty ubiquitous, but the idea of a new calendar year signaling a fresh start is hard to deny. The problem with the phrase is that it insinuates that you need to change completely, but hey, you might really like what you have going on! And the same goes for your relationship. You might not need a complete relationship overhaul, but perhaps there is room for a “refresh” in areas that have begun to feel mundane or routine. Similar to the burst of motivation and energy you get when you rearrange or reorganize your office, your relationship can be energized as well!

Here are five ways to inject some “new” into your “same old.”

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6 Steps to Make Relationship Goals Reality

By Relationship Basics, Resilience 3 Comments

Let’s talk about relationship goals. No, not the vague social media hashtag, but the actual specific goals that you and your partner have for your own unique relationship. And that’s where it can get hard – putting your good intentions into real action instead of just remaining vague and abstract ideas of what you should or could be.

The CHANGE Model gives you concrete steps to help you develop an action plan for your relationship goals:

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2 Reasons We Give Up On Goals (And How to Overcome Them)

By Connection 5 Comments

Longing for self-improvement or achievement is an all too familiar feeling we seem to get around this time of year. We look forward to what’s to come and think that something magical will happen on January 1st to boost us up with energy to hit new milestones. These goals we set for ourselves can be sourced from all aspects of life. We want to eat healthier and exercise more. We want to be more present with our families and less connected to our smart phones. We want to achieve more at work and secure that promotion. It’s natural to want to get better and the marking of a new year feels like a natural time to set those goals.

However, we’ve also all likely felt the devastation of realizing we made nearly zero progress towards a goal once we’re about six or so weeks into the new year. The novelty of a new routine has worn off or the challenge of trying something different has just become really hard, so we cut ourselves some slack on the goal. We lower what we’re reaching for, push out the timeline we set, or we just give up entirely.

Why is this? You start to wonder. I’m capable, I have the desire, why do I stall out when the work to get there feels mundane or difficult?

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4 Tips to Avoid Holiday Relationship Strain

By Connection, Relationship Basics One Comment

Does it feel like “What are you doing for the holidays?” is a loaded question this year? You’re not alone. Whether you’re doing the usual or changing up your plans, there’s bound to be some stress and strain making its way into your psyche – and maybe your relationship. Here are four “C’s” to help avoid unnecessary stress and strain between you and your partner.

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4 Gifts to Strengthen your Relationship

By Connection, Relationship Basics 3 Comments

It’s that time of year. The time of year where most people fall into one of two camps: the “I’ve already finished my holiday shopping” camp, or the “What are you talking about, I’ve got a whole month” camp.

All joking aside, the holidays can be stressful, and this year is definitely no exception. Maybe your partner is hard to buy for, or maybe they’re not. Maybe you love the task of finding the perfect gift for them or maybe it’s a struggle. Perhaps money is tight this year, or you just want to do things differently (it’s 2020 after all). Wherever you’re at, here are four “gift” ideas that will strengthen your relationship (and don’t have to cost a lot of money).

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The Perks and Challenges of Coworking with Your Spouse

By Quality Time, Relationship Basics 3 Comments

Like many of you, I’ve been working from home since mid-March. It’s been an interesting change! There are certainly perks, but there are struggles, too. In my situation, I work from my home by myself all day. My husband leaves for work around 6:00am and usually returns around 3:30pm unless there are errands to run. I get a majority of my workday to be productive in whatever environment I want to create. Need to do some heads-down work? Great, I make a cup of tea and sit down at my desk. Need to crank out some paperwork? Perfect, I find that new podcast episode and play it while I check tasks off my to-do list. Need to jump on a spontaneous video call with a few coworkers? Easy, just hop on the call, no need to silence the house or notify anyone so they don’t accidentally make a background cameo. I fully realize how easy I have it when it comes to working from home, but I also know many of you don’t have much wiggle room to accommodate your work-from-home needs.  

Working from home with kids, whether they are distance learning or not, comes with a great deal of challenges – we hear people sharing their struggles with this firsthand and on social media. And while I can’t relate to those struggles, I try to empathize and give grace to those I know who are pushing through while in that exact situation.

But one scenario that I don’t see many people talking about, is working from home with your spouse. Specifically, those couples who were thrown into this reality and had to instantly learn how to co-work with their partner every day (not the couples who literally work for the same company together and sort of chose their own destiny).

What are the challenges and unexpected perks of co-working with someone you’re also married to?

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5 Reasons 2020 Was Good for Relationships

By Relationship Basics, Resilience 5 Comments

This might sound crazy, but we’re going to put it out there: 2020 has been good for our relationships. Not just our relationship as a couple, but all of the meaningful relationships in our lives. Don’t get us wrong, it also put them to the test. We experienced tension, terse words, and probably a few arguments thrown in there, too. But we’ve now been in this long enough that we can pull back a bit and see things through a broader perspective.

Here are some of the positive effects on relationships we experienced this year.

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Crazy Families

By Premarital, Relationship Basics, Resilience, Uncategorized 3 Comments

My brother recently got married. During the reception, they played the game where the bride and groom sit in chairs back to back. They each hold one of their own shoes and one of their spouse’s shoes in each hand. The DJ then reads off a series of questions, such as, “Who is the better driver?” or “Who is a night owl?”, and the newlyweds raise the shoe of whomever they think the answer is. It’s entertaining to see how similarly (or not) the couple responds!

One of the questions for my brother and his new wife was, “Who has the crazier family?”

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4 Ways to Support Your Spouse Through Hardship

By Resilience 15 Comments

Tough times are eventually going to find you, it’s inevitable. Life has a way of interjecting adversity despite all we do to try and prevent it. Sometimes, it’s trivial and throws you off for a few weeks, and sometimes it’s life-changing and gives you a new perspective on just about everything.

When bigger adversity challenges you and your partner together, as a couple, there can be a “we’re in this together” bond that is pretty powerful and can give you the momentum to push through the difficult time. However, when something happens to you or your partner separately, it can feel very isolating, even though it’s likely that you’re both significantly affected by it. Tough times that fall into this category can vary greatly, but examples would be a health diagnosis or a job loss. 

In the case where it’s just happening to one of you, it’s really important to remember that even though it may feel as though it’s only happening to the one person, it’s really impacting both of you.

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