Marriage

What makes a relationship last forever?

What is the deciding factor in relationships that go the distance and those that don’t? No matter what status you would file your relationship under, ‘happy’ , ‘okay’, ‘on the rocks’ or ‘its complicated’, you can build a partnership that is no just surviving, but THRIVING and one that can truly go the distance. Even the happiest of partnerships, require sustained effort in order to stay that way.

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Have you put your own oxygen mask on first, in your relationship?!?

Relationship advice on how to combat the most common problems that cause divorce and separation. How do we rebuild connection when we feel we are no longer IN LOVE with your spouse?

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Discover THE cornerstone to finding and keeping LOVE!

Oh my, this week’s topic applies to ALL of us, regardless of relationship status.

My Love Letter to you, is focused intently on the very cornerstone that any search for love OR attempts to nurture loving relationships, rests upon.

Photo by  Anna Sullivan  on  Unsplash

 

That cornerstone, is our individual level of self-love.

Many of us don’t recognize how our own lack of self love is affecting our relationships and how we present to others.  The symptoms bare themselves out, but the root is harder to see.  We can address some symptoms in the moment however the coaching work I do with my clients is about sustainable change, not momentary epiphanies, therefore we go deep to the source, so true love can flow.

The most common symptoms people call me with is a lack of confidence and self-worth.  And whilst there is work we can do to be more confident, and to build our self-worth… if we don’t focus on self love, most of our efforts will be for nought.

Why?

Self love is the seed, from which a forest of self-worth and confidence can grow.  

 

Photo by  Trent Haaland  on  Unsplash

 

We must sow the seeds deep, and in great abundance!


This week I am running a SELF LOVE CHALLENGE in my fb community and I wanted to share it with you, too.  The following is a step by step process to spend your next 7 days, taking action to curating a practice of self love.

 


Are you ready to take the challenge towards more self love?

 

7 DAY SELF LOVE CHALLENGE

 


Challenge Step 1:


>> Make a list of at least 10 items you know are acts of self-love for you, and you alone.

Ten actions, that are not just self care of your basic needs but strongly affectionate acts that bring you joy, calm, happiness, wellbeing, pleasure physically, emotionally and spiritually. Ten acts that are real treats, genuine special splurge like ideas, that maybe you just don't allow yourself often enough, that bring you childlike wonder and joy, and are just for your own absolute pleasure!


*this could be... making a beautiful dinner that you eat by candlelight with some of your fav music, yoga, reading a good book for pleasure, long walk in the countryside, chocolate, spa day, facials, fav pod cast, coaching, time with nephews and nieces, spin class, meditation, jumping in the sea, fancy meal out, antiquing, live music, being creative with art or hobbies, positive affirmations, a course that will fulfill your soul, lunch in the sunshine, open mic nights, and on and on and on!

 

 

Challenge Step 2:


It’s time to get really REAL with ourselves and assess just how active we have been in our self love.

>> Take some time here and line by line, item by item, make a numerical notation next to each item that correspond with how many times you actually participated and partook in each of these estimable acts of self love on your list, in the last 30days.  

 

 

 

Challenge Step 3:

 

>> Take out your calendar/diary and schedule in SOMETHING every day!


It doesn’t have to be an hour yoga class… maybe 15 minutes on a Yoga app before bed?  It may not be 30 minutes of mediation at 7am, but instead a sleep mediation you find on youtube you use at bedtime.  It may not be a grand dinner with friends, but scheduling in a 10 minute phone call to your bestie for a giggle.

Do not let your perception of time, stop you from loving you. Find ANY time you can, every day to LOVE YOU!

Intentionally CARVE out 5 minutes on one day,  20 minutes on another, 1-2 hours on a Sunday.. whatever it takes to implement even the smallest act of self love, EACH DAY.   It’s high time, you make YOU the first stop on the LOVE tour.

 


Maybe you don’t have a top 10!?!   Maybe you have never EVER considered yourself, your needs, your desires, your care as a priority?  Maybe you’re not even sure what makes you happy?
WELCOME dearest one.   You're in the right place!

I challenge you to come up with a list, let your fingers to the walking on google “What is self love?”,  carve out those same blocks in your dairy with the notation ‘Find my joy!’ and “Self Love’. Go out and experiment till you find your personal Top 10 list!  

 

Find your happy places, and visit them daily!

 

Photo by  Artem Bali  on  Unsplash

Photo by Artem Bali on Unsplash

 

Challenge Phase 4:

 

Accountability in a challenge can boost your results tenfold...


>> Grab a friend and do the challenge with them!  

>> Comment here with your lists!

>> Are you a single lady out in the wilds of the modern dating jungle? Then, dearest one, come join is over at the quite discreet and incredibly supportive, Feminist Seeks Love fb community, where we are doing it together!   Join us, HERE

 

 

I do hope you accept this 7 day Self Love Challenge and boost that love for you by engaging with some real kindness, care and joy for yourself... as it will revolutionize how you find, attract, give and receive LOVE!

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I found THE BIGGEST KEY SECRET to relationship happiness!!

And I, the relationship expert, didn’t even truly know THEN, just what an epic piece of the relationship puzzle this truly was, till THIS PAST YEAR!

 

Not me, not my partner…Neither of us had any real idea what an integral starring role this plays our very successful partnership.  And now that we do know, we can’t stop seeing WHY this is such a big deal.

 

Just last week, as my husband and I were wandering around the streets of Paris, on a quick city break…we found ourselves having this convo again about this integral element of our relationship bliss, that we had absolutely no idea during the dating and early relationship phase, was such going to prove to be such a BIGGIE secret weapon in our marital happiness!

 

This particular deep BIG OL’ core value issue comes up for many of my coaching clients, and it is, hands down, the hardest one to align and move towards reconciliation around…

 

 

What is possibly the most super crazy???   

NOBODY, NOT THE EXPERTS, NOT OTHER HAPPY COUPLES, NOT ALL THE RELATIONSHIP ADVICE MALARKEY ONLINE… NOBODY IS TALKING ENOUGH ABOUT THIS ELEMENT!!

 

keytolove.jpg
 

Check it out. I know that my husband isn’t a unicorn.  He’s not some mythological beast and I just happened to stumble across.  I know our marriage is not just magically easy.  It takes active work on self-awareness, compassion and communication to make ANY partnership thrive.  And our relationship, is no different.  HOWEVER, we did get off on the best possible start, in one area, by luck really!    

 

Okay, let me back track for a minute here…

Before I met Mark, I had invested in love coaching, because my dating and love life was a #hotmessexpress.  In fact, love was my ultimate Achilles heel, for years.  No matter how much improvement I saw in every other area of my life, my romantic relationships lagged behind my usual badassery,. My love life truly resembled a rescue puppy dog headed back to the shelter.

 

One of the MANY results of that coaching work, was that I was way more intentional about WHO I was choosing and WHY. 

I had a relatively firm grasp on my CORE VALUES and had TAKEN OUT just enough of the ‘love will conquer all’ aesthetic, that was so not serving me, so I could make healthy relationship choices that were both practical and loving, towards myself and others.

I had learned that CONNECTION was the fuel for LOVE.   I also learned, that living with someone day in and day out, was the real nitty gritty of what can make or break a partnership. That lasting CONNECTION was about ALIGNMENT.

 

GUESS WHAT?  Even with ALL that knowledge, there was one thing that truly was luck.  Or at the very least, I had no idea would prove to one of the most important reasons my marriage works so well.

 

A day to day, core value issue, we both had no idea was so important, and that I give thanks for every day, that we got right, without even knowing how right we needed to get it, before we said, I DO.

 

Of all the things we identified during our chats, like our high level of mutual respect, the goodwill we have for one another, and the mega trust we had built… the ONE THING that really had one of the greatest impacts on why we are able to co-habitate and build a life with one another, was the least hippy dippy, wooo wooo of all???

 

HELLLLLO, MONEY MINDSET!!

 

image via Pixabay

image via Pixabay

 

ICK, Money?  Where is the rom-com, period drama like love in that??  

 

Here’s the deal. My husband and I have very similar outlook on money. It’s value, how to spend it, when to save it, where is the best place to put it, and what having it and not having it, means to us.  Our money mindset is not identical.  Emotionally I see money as independence and power, power to live a particular lifestyle and power to help others.  The hubba hubba, he emotionally ties money to security and stability. The means to those different emotional ends, is where we are so very aligned.

 

We rarely disagree on the monetary value of things.  We both had almost the exact number in mind when it came to putting on that quite expensive party of a wedding and no one is off sneaking around buying things and smuggling them into the house.  When I see a parade of Amazon purchases showing up on our doorstep, I don’t go running to check the bank balance.  I KNOW it's not in his nature to spend crazy money on nonsense we don't need and I too do not spend crazy money on nonsense we don't need! (For the record, I did NEED all those French moisturizers I bought in Paris!)

Our intellectual and emotional response to what money should be spent and what should be saved, are in alignment. 

 

Before we got married, we moved in together; Without too much discussion, we opened a joint checking account.  We both still had our separate checking, savings investment accounts.  When we got married, we consolidated ALL our money, aside from some retirement investments, without much deliberation or concern whatsoever.  We could only do that so easily, confidently (and freely) because we shared the same money mindset, and on that foundation, trust around money was easier to cultivate.

 

All of our individual purchases came from the very same account. Full stop.  At the time, I made well over twice as much money as he did, and never for a second was I worried he would go off  ‘spending all MY money’.  We split most things down the middle however from time to time, I gladly spent more, since I had more, without feeling any sense of injustice.  My husband, gratefully, does not tie his masculinity (or provider status) to bank balances, so he never felt threatened by our income disparity.

 

When I left my old career to pursue a coaching certification and start my business, it was all swings and round-a-bouts those first coupe of years, with who was earning and providing more money.  As a couple, there was little distress on our union, even though our overall income dropped considerably.   

I am not saying, joint accounts are THE KEY answer!  I am saying...

Looking back, we both realized that MONEY MINDSET was so crucial to our happiness levels in our life, and our marriage.

 
image via pixabay

image via pixabay

 

Arguments over money and lifestyle associated to money is high up on the marriage killer offender list.  LIKE, WAY WAY UP THERE. 

As a Relationship Coach, who works with couples week in and week out, I can tell you that some of the most bitter resentments and seemingly insurmountable trials in many of these partnerships, is around money mindset.

 

The one thing every single one of us does EVERY DAY, even if we don’t leave the house, is breathe.. and spend money.  That light on my desk and the internet whirring silently, as I type this, are costing me money.

 

 

So what does an aligned money mindset look like?   

 

Well, firstly aligned doesn’t equate to mirrored.  Some differences in views around money can go a long way.  I can think of a few people I know, who the very last thing they need, is someone who spends money the way they do!  Either because, they would be in Las Vegas every night OR because they would save every last penny earned and never EVER go on holiday!  

HOWEVER, alignment is about two (or more) things moving in the same direction at the same time.  It’s an overall shared trajectory and understanding of what effect money has on our physical, mental and emotional well being.

 

There is no avoiding the hard truth, that in our world, money represents security.  Yet, perhaps the greatest contradiction, is that having more money doesn’t always makes different people feel the same way. 

Biggie Smalls said it best “Mo’ money Mo problems”.

 

This is why, even a couple who has ‘all the monies’ can be the couple who fights most viciously about that same money.  There is where the crux of alignment shows it’s face most clearly. 

 

THE KEY? 

It's NOT about how much or how little money there is, but our relationship and engagement with money, that matters. 

It's whether we are operating from a place of scarcity or abundance around money, and if we are behaving from possessive dependency or transparent interdependence.

 
image via pixabay

image via pixabay

 

For those of you have yet to find your partner to be, I encourage you to dig deep about how you really FEEL about and actively associate with money.

It’s all very taboo in our society to talk about money and love together, however, please push past the messaging that this isn’t something that’s spiritual or loving or ‘done’ and start digging. 

The more clearly we choose a life partner based on our Core Values, the better chance we have at sustaining connection and love, for the long haul.   

 

 

For those of you reading this, who are in partnerships, and you are now thinking right now, ‘uh oh, we got big, BIG problems in this area’, please know that alignment is achievable, even for those who are frighteningly out of whack.

Willingness and understanding, of ourselves and our partners money mindset, is the base to which we can align ourselves to be moving in the same direction!  

 

We have to want to, and we have to be open to the idea, that our way is not the only, right way. Alignment is NOT bending others to our will!   As impossible as it may feel to you, I can guarantee that IF you proactively open yourself up to new ideas, and processes every day… in your relationship, at work, with friends, even on your holiday bookings, ALIGNMENT becomes possible!  

 

Sending you ALL the love!  xx

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Do you know your LOVE attachment style? Are you avoiding love in dating & relationships? YIKES!

Lately, I’ve been digging in a bit again, around 'attachment' styles. WOW, is this really fascinating stuff!

Over the next couple of weeks I will be guiding you through a brief introduction to these various attachment styles, so you can begin to identify your own default style, rumble with how that’s effecting both your search for love AND how you are engaging in your current relationship + how to begin to change up your attachment style for better results in love and relationships.

YES. You read that right.  These next few blogswill be invaluable to those who are still looking for love AND those fighting to keep love! 

Attachment styles, is our natural default engagement with attraction, attachment and love.

Attachment styles, directly influence who we choose, how we interpret feelings of love, how we respond to love and how we show love.

There are three major attachment styles, Anxious, Avoidant and Secure.

Oh, and this is NOT one of those contests, where everybody gets a prize.  There is ONE DEFINITIVE attachment style that is THE BEST. That when we are OR overlay this particular type we have better, longer lasting, happier and more fulfilled relationships!  So stay tuned, throughout this series, dearest ones!

 

First up… the AVOIDANT Attachment Style!

The Avoidant attachment style is REALLY interesting.

The avoidant style always manifests itself. Which is to say, it requires some proactive thought or action, even if only subconsciously to consistently be maneuvering to keep people, and partners at an arm’s length.  The Avoidant attachment style, determines to a great degree what you expect from relationships, how you engage with romantic situations, how you interpret what prospective and actual partners want from you and want to give to you.

The Avoidant often self-identify as ‘free spirits’ and they view ‘NEEDS’, especially needing other people, as a weakness. The avoidant will tend to repress emotions instead of expressing them.  When someone takes a step closer to them, offering connection, intimacy and even safety, the avoidant will take two steps back. 

 

Here is the super abbreviated version of what you really need to know;

1. We come across them SO MUCH whilst dating because they are the largest population of the dating pool.. they avoid relationships, so stay single and dating longer and/or have a higher turn over in relationships, hence dipping in and out of the dating pool more often. (#ghosting #mixedmessages #saytheywantarelationshipthensaytheydont)

 

2. Avoidant can be a secondary attachment style, many of us adopt and lay over our natural attachment style as a survival skill. We come to believe, maybe after being hurt in love or due to abandonment or instability (as example) in our childhoods that self-reliance and avoiding attachment is the safer option. This self-reliance is fear based, so please don't confuse it with independence. It ain't, doll. I often witness women brandish 'I don't need a partner/I love my single status' as a shield (and a mask) which is not truly authentic OR helpful, if it comes from a place of fear and ego! And by 'witness', I mean I've also seen it in the mirror too! 😲

For those in relationships, we may have been hurt by our current partner, so we recede into the depths and into our fortresses, avoiding intimacy and vulnerability, for protection.  Again, if we are engaging with love from a place of anger, resentment and fear...then we‘re not engaging with love, at all. If our partners actions are forgivable, we need to forgive and if they aren’t, if there is no love left on the table worth fighting for, it may be time to stop digging and move on.

 

3. For those of us with a more anxious attachment style (more on that later) we are often drawn to and fall for the Avoidant because we confuse the highs and lows of our anxiety attachment with the feeling of 'falling in love'. Avoidants are the worst attachment style for Anxious types, as they cannot offer us the stability we require to feel safe. And yet, when we meet Secure attachment folks, because the frenetic energy of our own anxiety attachment, the crazy highs and lows, are not activated we think there is no 'spark'. Hellllo vicious cycle!

Fascinating stuff. And a bit of a head scramble, but in a good way! 🤣

Here are a few quick tips to help move you forward through and beyond The Avoidant Attachment Style.

How do we ‘avoid’ Avoidants whilst dating? 

Abundance is a top technique for dodging avoidants. The more people we date, the more active we are on meeting new people, the more likely we will get in front of people who do not have the avoidance attachment style. Of course really understanding and accepting our own attachment style, what we really NEED in a relationship (versus what we want sometimes) is they super duper ninja move.

 

Yikes, I may be in a committed relationship with an avoidant, are we doomed?

NO.  The Avoidant attachment style, like any other attachment style, can change.  Sometimes, they really want to love us, and the wall inside of them is blocking them, as much as it is you.  Threatening, badgering or making demands of an avoidant, is the worst possible tactic. They scare easy, no matter how tough they may act.  If you can consistently offer them safety, they will step out of the fortress.  This won’t happen overnight or even after a week of trying.  This is a long game, my dear.  Once you have created an atmosphere of safety, you can logically lay out how their behaviour makes you feel and tell them specifically what they can do to support and love you better. Think of it as saying “we’re here. Would you like to go there with me?  This is how we can get there together and it would be most helpful if YOU did X, Y, Z for us to get there.”

 

Uh oh, I am an Avoidant… now what?

There is a whole lotta work to do around changing and tempering your attachment style. KNOWING IS HALF THE BATTLE!  We can absolutely overlay other attachment styles, over our default. We can zig, when your attachment style is telling us to ZAG.  We can choose partners who offer a secure attachment style. If we are in a relationship, and we can see how our own avoidance is creating damage, we can have a brave conversation with our partners, let them know how we operate and what we need (scary word for the avoidant) from them to help us try to do better at giving and receiving love.

 

Later this week, I will be reviewing the Anxious attachment style, so stay tuned!

 

Attachment styles is a well researched area of human engagement and connection;  covering it ALL in a blog, will never be possible.  Helping individuals and couples understand, accept and move forward with their attachment styles is part of the deeper work I do with my private clients. 

 

There are many MANY books on this however one I have come to rely on is 'ATTACHED, by Dr Amir Levine & Rachel Heller'.  #recommendedreading

xx 💘

 

 

#attachmentstyles #avoidantattachmentstyle #dating #relationships #betterrelationships #choosingbetterpartners #love

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How do I keep the LOVE alive?

Photo by  Jez Timms  on  Unsplash

Photo by Jez Timms on Unsplash

Love: (noun) - a strong feeling of affection.

Huh, that doesn’t sound as nearly as tricky as I expected.  Considering all the great, art, poetry and songs that lament how complicated, painful and disastrous finding and being in LOVE can be.

The reality is, finding… falling in… feeling… and attracting LOVE isn’t the hard bit. 

Maintaining, nourishing and growing a strong feeling of affection that lasts years?  A LIFE TIME?

Now THAT’S, the nitty gritty hard bit! 

 

So, how do we learn to do that?   Is it a class in school, we skipped?  A course we opted out of at University?  Does it fall to our parents to teach us how to love and be loved, to communicate, resolve conflict, anger and resentment, to rebuild trust?  Who was supposed to teach us all the skills and techniques to extend that strong feeling of affection, no matter what?

Like, you know, when life does what life does? 

The dream job, turns nightmare?  You haven't slept in 2 months because, new baby!? The investments, bottom out?  The market dips and the you’re now underwater on your house?  Your sweet child gets a diagnosis you didn’t plan on?  YOU get a diagnosis you can’t even say out loud yet?  The money is gone? Your mother passes away?  Your father-in-law has to move in with you for 24 hour care? His kid has suddenly morphed into devil spawn tween?  Your kid is football star in the making, with 3 practices a week to show for it? Your boss is making your life hell?  The commute is gobbling up 3 hours of their day?  And Sex? Ahhhhahahaha, What’s that?!?!

When and where was THAT seminar, the one for ‘keeping that strong feelings of affection’, alive and kicking, when the shit’s really going down? 

sweet-ice-cream-photography-255437.jpg

Breathe.  You’re not the only one.  WE ALL MISSED IT!   

Because, ‘relationships’, isn’t something, as a society, we structure into a formal teaching. 

 

Which is kind of odd, no? 

I mean, we wouldn’t throw someone into nuclear physicist work without any training, schooling or expertise and say, here you go, power the country and reduce our carbon footprint please!

We wouldn’t pick some wonderful kind super well intentioned person with no skills, no real track record of long term success and say ‘hey you, stop world hunger! Here is the head seat of this charity, now get this done and no mistakes, okay buddy??

I wish I could write here, we wouldn’t vote someone in to run a country without… but UM, yikes! 

In all seriousness, I picked some VERY important jobs, didn’t I? However, let’s be real here. 

LOVE is a HUGE part of our ability to be happy with our lives.  RELATIONSHIPS, deep meaningful LONG TERM connections with other human beings, has been proven to not only increase our satisfaction in life and mental health, but our actual life expectancy!!

So why aren’t we investing in more personal development, learning and teaching around love and relationships? 

Well hello old frenemies, FEAR & SHAME. 

Somehow, we have come to believe, that asking for help in this area, means we have already failed.

Which, again, is pretty odd. 

If I wanted to get a degree in business, it wouldn’t be required or assumed, it’s because I’ve failed in business.  If I wanted to get a certification in Yoga, the opposite would be assumed, people would natural think, I must be really good at yoga already if I want to become an instructor!! 

Whenever there is not a structure in place to teach and to learn, fear and shame have all the space they need to take root and grow.  Fear & Shame lead to hatred and distrust of what we don’t know.  We definitely DO NOT need any more of that in our world today! 

 

So, is this point of the blog where I say, HIRE ME, I’LL TEACH YOU!!

No. Nope. Not even close.

I just want to let you know, it’s okay… that you don’t know. 

That you don’t know, how to communicate better with your partner.  It’s okay if you’re not sure if you LOVE them anymore.  It’s okay that you may even have a roadside littered with past failed relationships.

LOVE, the strong feeling of affection, takes work to sustain, not magic. 

I write, offering the kindness and compassion in the sacred knowledge that NO ONE IS BORN WITH ‘IT’.  

And with the HOPE that YOU CAN GET BETTER at relationships. 

Just like you did with yoga, or rowing, or your career, or at making smarter investments with your money, or at being a parent, improving your tennis game, or negotiating your salary for a new job, or baking pinterest worthy (and not so pinterest worthy) cakes...

Communication, conflict resolution, overcoming the negative head chatter, rebuilding trust, facilitating goodwill and true partnership, are ALL skills that can be learned and improved upon.  Even the SKILL that is LOVE, the feeling of strong affection, is a muscle that requires an exercise regime.  

Today, simply embrace this kindness, compassion and hope. 

Kindness, compassion and hope, is how you kill fear and shame, with fire!

xx

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Using 'Reflective Listening' To Improve Relationship Communication

Communication is a multi faceted skill set.  We often get so caught up in improving our ‘Verbal’ communication skills, we don’t dedicate the necessary time to all the other bits that make communication successful. 
 
Perhaps the most overlooked and wayward of the communication skills these days, across our society as a whole, is LISTENING.

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Why yes.  Remember LISTENING?  It’s that oh so crucial other half of Verbal communication, that if we don’t get it right… we miss out on the conversation and on connection, completely.
 
 
Today, I wanted to focus on one particular listening skill we can all easily work towards being better at, every day called REFLECTIVE LISTENING.


 
>> You know when your partner jumps in, midway through your well thought out rant and finishes your sentences for you?
 
>> When you find yourself tuning out your partner, as you retreat into your own mind to carefully mount your defense, AKA your response, to what they are saying?
 
>> Or how about when you KNOW you’re speaking plain English and yet still, what they heard and what you said, simply doesn’t match up??


 

Seeing RED yet?

I don’t blame you.  We’ve all been there.
 
This is what listening to respond looks like.  WE NEED to learn how to listen to UNDERSTAND! 
 
This is also why you keep having the same conversations over and over, and are getting nowhere but straight to the land of frustration and anger. 
 
Next stop on that train?
 
Derailment!   Cause why bother, right?   Why even go through the trouble oftalking about this anymore?  Nothing ever changes!  They aren’t really listening to you, anyways!


Using a technique called REFLECTIVE LISTENING can quickly help you become a better listener.  Reflective listening, begins with the simple act of repeating back what someone say to us, but in your own words.  This shows you didn’t just hear what the other person said, but understood it as well.

rying this skill set on.  At first, can feel a bit odd and insincere.  You may even think, this might prove more annoying than anything else.  However, when used correctly (and practice will get you there)  REFLECTIVE LISTENING is a killer way to drive conversations forward.
 
Here is a prime example of such an exchange;
 
SPEAKER 1
I get so angry when you spend so much money without telling me. We’re trying to save for a house!!!
 
SPEAKER 2
We’re working hard to save for a a house, so its really frustrating when it seems like I don’t care
.
 

 
Now, TONE is really important here.  We want to use a tone that comes across as a statement, with a bit of uncertainty.  The end goal is to express ‘I think this is what you are telling me, but correct me if I’m wrong’. Your reflections don’t have to be perfect.  If the other person has to correct you, that’s actually a really good thing!  Helllllo!  Now, you are actually having a conversation based on trying to really understand one another better.  Not, oh I don’t know. Trying to prove a point, win an argument, or force someone to hear you!
 
That, my darlings, is progress from the familiar train wreck we are accustomed to, in just a few sentences exchanged.


 
Try to reflect the other persons emotions, even if it wasn’t part of the sentence they spoke. 
 
SPEAKER 1
Why do you always take this route?  There is always traffic and we are going to be late again to pick up the kids?
 
SPEAKER 2
You’re worried we will be late to pick up the kids, and I’ve chosen the route I know best, that usually has traffic.  Do you know a better route we can take?

 
Speaker 1 never mentioned being worried however it was probably implied through their tone or the look on their face.  When we acknowledge emotions, it hows we are not just listening and mimicking back their words but using our eyes to read our partners communication as well.  The understanding, just got next leveled! 



 

Sometimes our partners have a whole lot to say in one statement, filled with both essential and non essential details and story lines.  And pulling out a notebook or recording device to keep up, well that might not send the right message J
 
When we reflect back, we want to pick out the main points only.
 
SPEAKER 1
First, I woke up late, because you turned off both alarms. Then I went to get in the bathroom to get ready and nearly killed myself because the floor was soaking wet from when you took a shower, my mom called and you know how that gets me worked up, the dog peed on the floor, the kids were running around with two different shoes on, I forgot to brush my teeth, and to top it all off I get into the car and there is no gas in it BECAUSE you the last person to drive it, left me on empty!! 
 
 
SPEAKER 2

I hear you saying, you had a shitty morning and that I contributed to that by not taking the time to consider how my actions may affect you. 
 

The reality is, most of us have a handful of well grooved auto responses on hand that are continuing the unsuccessful dynamics in our relationship communications. 
 
Do you know what I say when my husband complains about the route I chose to drive?
 
“Oh, sorry… did you want to drive?!?!?!“ in my best flippant nasty tone.
 
Yup. Almost every time.  Not very reflective, huh?
 
Most humans are creatures of habit.  We wear a groove and settle there.  Sometimes habitual structure can be a good thing.  We always say ‘I love you’ when someone leaves the house or a quick kiss goodnight before rolling over, like clockwork. 

However, when the groove becomes a rut, and is causing communication to break down in our relationship, the very next thing to go is connection. 
 
Without connection, love cannot survive. 
 
 

I love to hear how you get on with introducing REFLECTIVE LISTENING into your communications in the comments here!

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