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Relationship Basics

To Be (Social) Or Not To Be: 5 Things to Talk About

By Quality Time, Relationship BasicsOne Comment

Believe it or not, our social lives can be a source of conflict. One partner needs more social interaction, while the other prefers much less. One person thinks the party is on Friday, but the other person is certain they told you Saturday. Throw in limited free time, kids, and other various circumstances, and things can turn into a mess pretty quickly.

One of the keys to navigating this challenge is obvious, but oh so important: clear and honest communication. Here are five things to make sure you’re talking about.

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Spring Cleaning For Your Relationship

By Connection, Relationship Basics4 Comments

Ah, spring. Those first few warm days where people feel the urge to open the windows, dust away the cobwebs, and deep clean the grime that has accumulated over the winter. Relationships can benefit from a regular “clean up” as well, or in this context it could be more of a “check in.” Whether it’s once a year on your anniversary or as often as a weekly or monthly date night, make a point to touch base with each other on the state of your relationship. Here are some things you might have on your task list:

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Baby Steps to Relationship Growth

By Quality Time, Relationship BasicsOne Comment

Growing is part of life. Physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, spiritually, you name it – we grow in so many ways throughout our lives. The thing about growing, though, is that there isn’t a shortcut. We usually can’t skip over the hard, uncomfortable, or awkward parts even though we’d sometimes like to (middle school flashbacks – yikes). Even though it might not seem like it at the time, those stages are valuable. We learn a lot from them, often gaining experience and insight that helps us down the road. Through this, we also gain the confidence to stretch the boundaries of our current state, growing as we tackle the next step.

It’s not entirely surprising then, that our confidence and motivation can take a hit when our “next step” is too big.  Sometimes we go for it and fall, and we say, “Okay, not trying that again anytime soon!” Sometimes we just can’t even fathom how we’ll make it, so we don’t even try. 

Have you ever experienced this? How about in your relationship?

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Can I Get Your Advice?

By Relationship Basics6 Comments

Has anyone ever asked you for relationship advice? How did you respond?

Chances are, we’ll experience this in some form or another in our lives. Maybe it’s a good friend seeking your input, a younger sibling looking for guidance, or a coworker venting about their significant other. Whatever the situation, you’ll have a choice of how to respond. That response, and the ease with which you give it, depends a lot on the context of your relationship with that person, as well as your own relationship experience. Your comfort level could range from “Argh, I don’t know what to say,” to “TMI alert!”

No matter where you fall on this spectrum, here are some things to keep in mind:

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How to Become Positive Marriage Role Models

By Premarital, Relationship Basics, Resilience6 Comments

We know we learn through observing others – this is natural human behavior. Previously on the blog, we’ve talked about what marriage lessons we learn from our families – either as a young kid or even into our adulthood when we’re so kindly given those one-liner pieces of advice from family members. Thinking about those lessons, we encouraged you to consider what things you carry forward and strive to live up to in your marriage and relationships, as what you’d rather leave behind. Your family has good intentions, but they’re likely not all marriage experts.

What happens when you flip the question, to ask not about what you learned, but what can you teach others?

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Marriage Lessons From Family

By Relationship Basics5 Comments

What did you learn from your family about marriage? You may have been given some thoughtful bits of wisdom from your grandma or uncle on your wedding day, and you probably picked up some subtle observations as a kid. Whether you realized it or not, you’ve been learning from relationship role models throughout your entire life.

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The Two-Way Street of Defensiveness

By Connection, Relationship Basics6 Comments

Is it just us or does the statement, “Don’t get so defensive!” seem to have the same effect as when someone tells you, “Just try to relax!”

In other words, it makes you feel the opposite of what’s intended – more defensive, less relaxed.

Unfortunately, defensiveness can be a catalyst for negative communication patterns. It can make it hard to talk through issues and be open, authentic, and vulnerable with each other.

Sometimes our defensiveness is our own doing, and sometimes it’s just a natural response to protect ourselves if we’re feeling attacked or exposed. And that’s why if we want to decrease defensiveness, it’s not just one person that needs to put in the effort – it’s a two-way street.

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How to Support Instead of Solve

By Relationship Basics13 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 Basics8 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, Resilience3 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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