Larry James' CelebrateLove.com BLOG

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Don’t Blink!

Life is short… don’t blink! Your life can change in an instant!

I would like to call attention to those people who – intentionally or not – flat out don’t pay close enough attention to their relationship. They let things slide past them as if their partner were not even in the room. Often a moment’s inattention can cause a lasting resentment from your partner. Guys… just remember, when you are ignoring her, you are teaching her to live without you.

REL-DontBLINK“We can choose to connect to those around us, or we can choose to close ourselves off. Some days we may not feel like reaching out to others, but on days when we can, you never know just what may come of it.” ~ Angie Aker

“It all started out perfectly. We were so in Love, but somewhere along the way the Love ran out!”

How sad to be together and know that some of the best days of your lives haven’t happened yet… and you are not paying attention to your relationship. Perhaps it’s time to stand up for something bigger than you both – your relationship – and make it a priority again. Talk. Communicate. When you have a problem, not communicating with your partner about it sends a message of its own. They get to make up what they think the non-spoken messages convey. So, how can couples divorce-proof their marriages? Sixty-five percent of experts agree the most effective way is by improving communication, followed by decreasing negativity/criticism.

You shouldn’t have to do it alone! One cannot do the work that is required of two. Together you are a team and you must work together if your relationship will survive. It’s important to stay connected. That takes some effort on both sides. Everyone’s adventure together is different. Love is what love is! To everyone it expresses itself differently, and it shouldn’t be a struggle.

How does your relationship feel? Feeling new and alive comes from the inside. It’s time to get back to the life you once loved. If the relationship you are in doesn’t feel like there is a lot of love showing up, it’s time to begin demonstrating a higher commitment to finding that love again. It is difficult to feel good about yourself, when you know you are letting your love partner down by not giving yourself your full attention. You take care of you – your partner does the same. It’s difficult, if not impossible, to pay attention to the overall relationship unless you both know how to focus attention on yourselves first. Two broken people can’t fix each other.

“Why isn’t Love enough? Why isn’t romantic love, followed by commitment or marital vows, able to keep us connected for a lifetime? The answer is “falling in love” or “being in love,” though a powerful emotion, is passive. Our culture naively teaches us to believe the feelings of love will never change. We don’t learn how to actively nurture and grow the emotion of love over our lifetimes.” ~ Bob Hollander, JD, LCSW-C and Lori Hollander, LCSW-C, BCD

doNOTblinkRe-examine your relationship! Dump any destructive drama that’s going on in your life. Do you fight, make up, then fight again? Do you feel “not listened to?” You think those kind of people are your friends, but most don’t actually exude any qualities of a true friendship. If you feel stuck, worn down and unsupported or you wonder why your best friend isn’t the person you can count on when you need support, you may be in a toxic relationship.

Begin today to look into the future. Imagine – together – how your relationship can be if you recommit your love for one another and then “do” whatever must be done to have it be the way you imagined it. Love is much more than a basic human need. Power your passion with love. It’s time to reimagine your relationship! Imagination is a powerful thing, only if you use it.

Relationships can be awesome. For them to be awesome… they take work. They take paying close attention to them, nurturing them and expressing lots of love in many different ways.

Rediscover your passion for each other – you do remember the passion that once stirred your soul when you first met? When you fall in love with someone, the infatuation you both experience is exhilarating. You are elated. Everything is just dandy. You are doing the happy dance! You both are sure this will all help hold the relationship together. Power your passion with love. It begins with getting back to being friends again. As best you can, put your differences aside temporarily and do the things that friends do. Do romantic things for each other. This will energize your relationship. Get back to the Love!

NOTE: Some of the articles listed below may help get you started!

BONUS Article: Pay Attention to… Each Other!
Reboot Your Relationship With These 10 Ideas!
Love Yourself FIRST!
Friends and Lovers
Stay With It!
Top Ten Ways to Give Love
When You Stop Paying Attention to Your Marriage…
Everyday You Get to Start Over…
Let Love Change the Course of Your Life
“I Love You” – A to Z!
Got Answers? We’ve Got Questions!
Don’t Let Fear Shut You Down… Use it to Wake You Up!

CLoveLOGOCopyright © 2015 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” Larry James is a professional speaker, author, relationship coach and an award winning nondenominational Wedding Officiant. He performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere. Something NEW about relationships is posted every 4th day on this Relationships BLOG.

the-archives2Click for Archives! ~ commentSubscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles and “LoveNotes” listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

How to Fix a Relationship in 5 Steps

Lori Hollander, LCSW-C, BCD., Guest Author

Originally published on GoodTherapy.org.

“Can this relationship be fixed?”

Troubled couples often ask this question in relationship or marriage counseling. Having exhausted all the tools in their toolbox, partners come to therapy as their last resort, feeling rather hopeless.

FIXrelationshipFixing a relationship doesn’t require a personality makeover, but it does take effort and energy to hone your communication skills and create deeper intimacy and connection. These five steps will start you on your way to repair:

1. Face and embrace your differences. ~ Ever know a couple who never seemed to argue, who was the envy of other couples in your circle of friends? They seemed to be the perfect pair. Next thing you know, you’re shocked to hear they’re splitting up.

We see this all the time. Couples who appear the most at peace may not be dealing with their differences. They may look good on the outside, but underneath it all they have a mountain of hurt, anger, resentment, sadness, and fear that they have been unable to share in their relationship.

They may be “pleasers” who avoid conflict at all cost. Or maybe one person controls the relationship and the other submits. Either way, they are not facing and embracing their issues.

2. Practice effective communication skills. ~

• Carve out regular time for dialogue about concerns. State your thoughts in terms of behavior, without judgment, attack, or blame. Be specific, constructive, and positive.

• Use “I” statements to convey your thoughts and feelings. Own your part of the problem. Tell your partner how his or her behavior affects you and why; e.g., “When you left for work without saying goodbye, I worried you might be angry with me.”

• Hear your partner’s story fully. Everyone’s perception is valid, whether or not you agree with it. Listen without interrupting or judging.

• Be curious about your partner’s point of view; e.g., “Help me understand what you mean by …”

• Paraphrase your partner’s thoughts. Affirming that you heard him or her does not mean you agree or disagree. It just means, “I understand and believe that’s the way you see it.”

• Empathize with your partner’s feelings. Feelings are never right or wrong; they’re just feelings. And all of them are genuine. Expressing empathy validates that you heard your partner’s feelings without judgment; e.g., “I understand that’s how it makes you feel.”

• Take your turn. Once your partner feels heard, share your story and ask your partner to validate and empathize with your thoughts and feelings. When people truly feel heard and validated, whether or not they agree, it’s like magic. They automatically feel better. Only then can people problem solve and come to consensus on solutions.

• Put the problem on the “chalkboard,” view it as a team, and resolve the problem. After each partner has had an opportunity to be heard, it is much easier to be rational and work toward solutions. Identify specific actions each person can take to fix his or her portion of the problem.

3. Love your partner the way he or she wants to receive love. ~ Make a list of responses to: “I feel loved when you …” Anything goes—give me flowers, plan a weekend away, bring home my favorite candy bar, initiate sex. Exchange lists. Giving love the way your partner enjoys receiving it is the greatest gift of all. Receiving love the way you enjoy it isn’t bad, either.

4. Create the habit of loving. ~ On holidays, we express our love with gifts and affection. On the other days, we often forget. Consciously doing small acts of love every day creates “love habits”—loving behaviors that become habitual. Practicing love habits grows connection and intimacy. It’s as simple as greeting each other after work every day with a kiss on the lips and a long hug, establishing a regular date night, going to bed together, and planning regular sex dates. When you show your love, you will feel your love.

5. Express gratitude for “the things your partner is supposed to do anyway.” ~ Most people thank their partner when he or she does something special. What if you thanked her for cooking a meal, or him for mowing the lawn? But wait. “Why should I thank my partner for the routine chores?” The answer: “Because it feels good.” Every drop of love you express nurtures and feeds the relationship.

Practicing these five steps will grow your love and connection. Start today. Share this article with your partner and ensure that your relationship lasts a lifetime. It doesn’t happen by accident.

“Love is not about finding the right person, but creating a right relationship. It’s not about how much love you have in the beginning but how much love you build till the end.” —Unknown

Copyright © 2014 by Lori Hollander, LCSW-C, BCD. Lori Hollander, LCSW-C, BCD, is a licensed counselor and co-founder of Relationships Work, an innovative therapy practice and online resource center. Together with her husband, Bob, they encourage couples to consciously co-create their relationships in order to achieve a deeper, more intimate connection. You can visit Relationships Work online at: http://www.RelationshipsWork.com. Follow them on Facebook.

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CLoveLOGOLarry James is a professional speaker, author, relationship coach and an award winning nondenominational Wedding Officiant. He performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere. Something NEW about relationships is posted every 4th day on this Relationships BLOG.

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles and “LoveNotes” listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Wedding BLOG” at: http://CelebrateIntimateWeddings.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s “Networking BLOG” at: http://NetworkingHQ.wordpress.com

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

How to Have a Fair Fight

Filed under: Anger Issues,Arguments,Relationships,Resolving Conflict — Larry James @ 7:30 am

All married couples have disagreements. In order for a relationship to be safe and meaningful it must have ground rules and boundaries. Conflict is best managed within some ground rules.

1. Deal with one issue at a time. Stick to the subject. When attempting to resolve a conflict, stick to only one issue without bringing in other problems. When you feel defensive about an issue, it’s natural to bring up something else and deflect the conversation. Storing up lots of grievances and hurt feelings over time is counterproductive. It’s almost impossible to deal with numerous old problems for which recollections may differ. Try to deal with problems as they arise.

FairFighting2. State problems in the first person using an “I” message instead of a “you” message. Rather than “You never take out the garbage unless I have to ask you over and over,” say, “I feel like you are part of the team when the garbage gets taken out. Thank you.”

3. Avoid motive analysis. It is natural to analyze your partner’s personality or try and discover the “why” of your partner’s behavior. Rather than inferring motives in a conflict, deal with the problem behavior. “I think Betty Ann would really enjoy you surprising her at her birthday party” rather than, “You are always to busy to pay attention to your own family.”

4. Know your own feelings. Seek to grow in self-awareness. Being in touch with your own true feelings is essential before you can constructively handle anger or conflict.

5. Don’t hesitate to confront each issue. In the normal course of relationships, do your best to with issues quickly instead of trying to sit on your discomfort and suppress your concerns. Last week’s issues tend to be like rotten fruit.

6. Allow a cooling-off period. Establish ground rules that permit either partner to “cool off” before trying to resolve anger. It may be necessary to walk or engage in some other physical activity in order to allow anger to dissipate.

7. Look for “win-win” solutions. When someone loses in a conflict the relationship loses and so does everyone involved. Try jointly to arrive a mutually satisfactory solutions.

8. Keep your fights to yourself. It does no good to gossip about your partner to others. Exceptions would be when more serious problems suggest the need for a good relationship coach.

9. Avoid name-calling, insults, put-downs or swearing. Putting your partner down or criticizing your partner’s character shows disrespect for his or her dignity.

10. Yelling only escalates things. Chances are nothing will get resolved when your emotions are running so high. You may be angry, but keep your cool. If you’re mad and feel like yelling, then it’s time to step away and cool down.

11. NEVER mention the “D” word! In the heat of an argument, threatening to leave the relationship is manipulative and hurtful. It creates anxiety about being abandoned and undermines your ability to resolve your issues. It quickly erodes your partner’s confidence in your commitment to the relationship.

12. Let one person speak at a time. When one speaks, the other should be listening—really listening, not just planning their rebuttal. Take turns speaking and listening so that you both have a chance to say what you need.

How you argue – especially how you end an argument – can determine the long-term success or failure of your relationship. A primary requirement for any fight is to maintain control. Always treat your partner with respect, even in the heat of battle. Fighting fairly with respect for one another is a critical marital skill that you must learn.

Remember that you love each other. Never say anything that you might regret later.

CLoveLOGOCopyright © 2014 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” Larry James is a professional speaker, author, relationship coach and an award winning nondenominational Wedding Officiant. He performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere. Something NEW about relationships is posted every 4th day on this Relationships BLOG.

commentSubscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles and “LoveNotes” listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
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Monday, April 15, 2013

“One of us is wrong…

and it’s not me.”

conflictSeth Godin, Guest Author

That’s the way every single conflict begins. Of course it does, because if it didn’t, it wouldn’t be a conflict, would it?

So, given that the other person is sure you’re wrong, what are you going to do about it? Pointing out that they’re wrong doesn’t help, because now you’ve said the second thing in a row that your partner/customer/prospect/adversary doesn’t believe is true.

The thing that’s worth addressing has nothing much to do with the matter at hand, and everything to do with building credibility, attention and respect. Only then do you have a chance to educate and eventually persuade.

seth-godinWe cure disagreements by building a bridge of mutual respect first, a bridge that permits education or dialogue or learning. When you burn that bridge, you’ve ensured nothing but conflict.

Copyright © 2013 – Seth Godin. Seth Godin has written fourteen books that have been translated into more than thirty languages. Every one has been a bestseller. He writes about the post-industrial revolution, the way ideas spread, marketing, quitting, leadership and most of all, changing everything. Visit Seth’s Blog.

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CLoveLOGOLarry James is a professional speaker, author, relationship coach and an award winning nondenominational Wedding Officiant. He performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere. Something NEW about relationships is posted every 4th day on this Relationships BLOG.

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles and “LoveNotes” listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Wedding BLOG” at: http://CelebrateIntimateWeddings.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s “Networking BLOG” at: http://NetworkingHQ.wordpress.com

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Get Out of Your Own Way!

If you are one who can’t seem to settle down with “the one,” then you might consider doing some soul-searching. If success seems to evade you regardless of what you do, then it’s time to have a talk with yourself. You can blame it on the way you and the rest of us were taught to think. But blame will not reverse the effect unless you make a conscious decision to live your life in a way that supports you in what you are really up to.

GetoutofyourownwayIt’s important to remember that wrong decisions don’t make YOU wrong and as crazy as it may sound, one of the ways we learn is through the mistakes we make. But I have to ask, “Why are so many of us unaware of our own self-defeating behavior?”

“Self-sabotage is not just some cutesy catch-phrase, but rather a state of being that is every bit as real as poverty, obesity, homelessness, and any other world-class problem that you can think of. The human capacity for beating the crap out of our own dreams is, sadly, one of our greatest talents.” ~ Aaron Potts

I have found that being in a relationship is both awesome and scary. Perhaps losing the relationship you’re in might serve as a motivator for you to make some changes – or not. You must learn to change your attitudes, beliefs and behaviors that may be blocking you. Having a “healthy” relationship is about making wise choices. Sometimes just keeping our mouth shut is “very” wise. 😉

Getting out of your own way requires an awareness and self-examination. You must focus your energy in a new direction. Your habits, attitudes, beliefs and expectations, are what are actually holding you back in your relationships.

boulderWhat if you were the boulder in the road that’s stopping you? Are you ready for the truth? To get a clear picture of what is really going on it’s time to face the facts. If what you are currently doing is not working, and if you truly want to move ahead you must change the way you are doing it. And when you can’t get a handle on it, get help.

Are you shooting yourself in the foot. Does it feel like your foot in nailed to the floor – you’re not moving forward – everything seems to always be the same? No matter how hard you try, you keep thwarting your own efforts. It’s time to break the cycle of self-sabotage and begin the journey of self-discovery and self-love – to take responsibility for and be accountable to YOU for your actions. Taking responsibility is the most critical step toward relationship success that you will ever make in anything you undertake, either personally or professionally.

Happy couple“Do what you said you would do, when you said you would do it, the way you said you would do it. This simple statement is rooted in personal responsibility. It should be at the very core of all your interaction with others. Every time you are tempted to slack off and do less or be less than you could, remind yourself that you are a person of integrity who lives by this simple creed.” ~ Larry Winget

Making your relationship one you can be proud to be in begins with focusing on what you want, not on how you are going to get it – by not holding back. Focus. In your mind, see how you would like it to be. By not holding back, you learn how to navigate and become aware of your dilemmas in life and and next unapologetically remove anyone and anything that does not better you – anything that stands in your way… including yourself. You must give up your self-defeating behavior. In other words, grab hold of new and workable ideas that can change the way you view your relationship, now and forever.

Give up any negative self-talk. Every minute you spend in a negative mindset is a waste of time. It is a poison, preventing you from achieving the love, success and happiness you want in your relationships. Make some new choices. You have to work at being more balanced and secure in the way you think and with the words you speak. What you think about and speak about, you bring about. Remember that.

“If you limit your choices only to what seems possible or reasonable, you disconnect yourself from what you truly want, and all that is left is a compromise.” – Robert Fritz

To get out of your own way, you must simply become aware that you are the cause and the effect. It’s YOU. No one or anything else. It’s you! It took me years to finally be able to look into the mirror and say to me, “You, Larry James, must get out of your own way! It’s you that must choose to do things differently. No one else is to blame but you!” It was then that I began to build a strong foundation for a lasting, satisfying love, first with myself and then with others. I discovered that getting out of my own way began to vastly improve my health, vitality, and moved me toward positive, tolerant, creative ways of learning, loving and living. It can work for you too.

TimeForChange“The moment you understand that you are where you are because of what you have thought and because of what you believed in being possible or impossible, that will be the moment you will also realize that it all lies in your hands. If you want to change your life then I suggest doing something about it right now, in this very moment. If not right now, then when?” ~ Dana Saviuc

Are you ready to change all that is holding you back? Once you commit to action, the worst thing you can do is to stop.

BONUS Articles: Change! “NO! I Don’t Wanna!”
Me Change? Yuk!!
Thoughts about “Change!”
What Is Your Legacy? Living A Meaningful Life

CLoveLOGOCopyright © 2012 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” Larry James is a professional speaker, author, relationship coach and an award winning nondenominational Wedding Officiant. He performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere. Something NEW about relationships is posted every 4th day on this Relationships BLOG.

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles and “LoveNotes” listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Wedding BLOG” at: http://CelebrateIntimateWeddings.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s “Networking BLOG” at: http://NetworkingHQ.wordpress.com

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Troubles?

Filed under: Problems,Resolving Conflict — Larry James @ 1:18 am

The energy we give to our troubles by dwelling on them, saps us of the energy we need to find solutions for them.

troubleThey seem to linger longer the more we pay attention to them. Troubles feed on the energy we give them. Troubles deny us the opportunity that lies just past them.

Never ask why troubles come. Be grateful there are solutions.

We need to redirect our energy to a solution. This deflates the ego of troubles. Focus on the promise of a better tomorrow by acknowledging our troubles, then immediately get busy working on the discovery of workable solutions.

If we are to choose to make things work, we need to listen for answers. We cannot do this when we are immersed in the turmoil of confusion. It takes much energy to remain confused.

CLoveLOGOCopyright © 2012 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” Larry James is a professional speaker, author, relationship coach and an award winning nondenominational Wedding Officiant. He performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere. Something NEW about relationships is posted every 4th day on this Relationships BLOG.

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles and “LoveNotes” listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Wedding BLOG” at: http://CelebrateIntimateWeddings.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s “Networking BLOG” at: http://NetworkingHQ.wordpress.com

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Got Upsets?

Filed under: Accountability,Problems,Resolving Conflict — Larry James @ 7:00 am

Upsets create the wisdom necessary to grow in spite of the situation.

Upsets stimulates courage to face what’s next.

It is one thing to know there is a problem and it is quite another to not do anything about it. You must first acknowledge that a problem exists before it can be fixed. Part of the healing is to acknowledge that there are indeed problems that you may be responsible for. Knowing that is not enough. DOING something different is.

problems2Relationship problems are shared problems. To manage the complexity of a stormy relationship you must accept responsibility for your share of the problem. When you can do that, the problem is half solved. Not only will this change you, it will change your relationship with your partner.

Ideally, having a partner who understands the concept of team and the responsibility that goes with it contributes greatly to creating a greater attitude of team, which sheds light on solutions instead of keeping the focus on the problem.

True love allows for disagreements. Problems are not there to break you. They help make you a better partner; they help you grow. Acknowledging when you are wrong is not a sign of weakness; it is a sign of strength.

problemsWhat you think about and speak about, you bring about. Want more of the problem? Keep thinking about the upset instead of seeking mutually beneficial solutions to it and refuse to change “YOUR” behavior. Rather than looking outside for the source of your problems, look inside for the source of your solutions.

When you dwell on the problem, a solution to it will not appear to you. There is usually more than one solution to every problem. Problems do not go away by themselves. People solve problems.

Obviously if you have a partner who is willing to work with you to get your relationship back on track. . . that’s ideal. But what do you do when your partner doesn’t acknowledge that there is a problem?

You must decide to focus your attention on working on you; getting back in touch with who you are. With a major behavior and attitude adjustment, you will begin to feel better about yourself and stop blaming your partner for the problem.

Remember, changing how you feel about your relationship, begins with changing how you think!

To have a problem be an experience of value, you must be attentive to the lesson the upset presents and be courageous enough to do whatever is necessary to avoid a future setback for the same reason.

HeartHandsCLoveLOGOCopyright © 2011 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” Larry James is a professional speaker, author, relationship coach and an award winning nondenominational Wedding Officiant. He performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere. Something NEW about relationships is posted every 4th day on this Relationships BLOG.

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles and “LoveNotes” listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Wedding BLOG” at: http://CelebrateIntimateWeddings.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s “Networking BLOG” at: http://NetworkingHQ.wordpress.com

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Confessions of a Relationship Therapist

Filed under: Coaching,Resolving Conflict — Larry James @ 7:00 am
Tags:

Sherry Amatenstein, Guest Author

As a relationship therapist who counsels singles and couples, I have been privy to the fears, compulsions, deepest secrets and desires of those hoping to figure out what it takes to find and sustain love.

coupleintherapyNo matter what their ages, histories or financial portfolios, the questions patients ask and the wishes they drop in my lap are heart-touchingly similar. It is likely their secret concerns echo yours. And knowing you are not alone in harboring these emotionally debilitating feelings can be a giant salve, a step toward healing.

So I am opening my office door to reveal the five most common problems unhappy-in-love patients bring up on my couch:

1. “I have to hide who I really am, because who I am is unlovable.”
Beneath the bravado and anger a patient exudes when bemoaning that no one (this can include a current partner) seems truly capable of giving love often lies a bone-deep, crippling belief: Something in me is inherently unworthy.

This crippling fear people causes people to hide their true selves, even with the one who shares their bed. *Janet B., a 34-year-old divorcee, admitted, “Bill was an open book. But I held back so much –- an abortion I’d had as a teen, even guilty thoughts I had about co-workers who got bigger raises than me. I didn’t want my husband to think I was a bad person.” She laughed ruefully as I pointed out, “Instead, your withholding made you become strangers.”

Love Tip: Obviously the seeds of such low self esteem are rooted in one’s psyche, thus difficult to rout out with a 1-2-3 abracadabra shrink trick. But it is helpful in moments when you feel, “Oh, I can’t say that to him. I’ll sound too awful,” to tell yourself, “Even Mother Teresa had mean thoughts. No one is perfect. Would I rather pretend to be perfect or try to be real and make a genuine connection?”

2. “My partner doesn’t understand or care about how I feel.” Here is the ultimate irony of relationships circa 2011: In an era where thousands of “friends” are available at the click of a mouse, we long for a soul mate who will truly “get” us, thus assuaging our sense of isolation. Yet 60% of the patients I counsel complain of feeling more alone in their double bed then when they slept solo.

Especially in long-term partnerships, there is a danger of partners becoming emotionally estranged as they stop believing their one and only sees their side. *Kate M., 40, said in a therapy session with her husband of three years, “Don just doesn’t get that I need to hear the words ‘I love you’ more than twice a year or I don’t feel cared about.” Her spouse rebutted in a resigned tone, “And she doesn’t get that it hurts me that she thinks I don’t love her.”

Love Tip: Couples may watch their spouse’s lips move but the words often land like lyrics to a long-recorded-to-memory soundtrack — verbal wallpaper. Here’s a terrific exercise to help partners reboot their listening and comprehension skills: Take turns talking. When in listening mode, pay attention as if you are going to be graded on the answer. Repeat the gist of what your mate said. When your mate finally says, “Yes, that’s right!” it is your turn to talk, be listened to and correct false assumptions until you feel truly heard.

Once Don understood that Kate felt her father never really loved her, he didn’t take her need to hear those words as an accusation that he wasn’t loving enough toward her. And once Kate truly saw that her spouse had been raised by parents who took emotional displays as a sign of weakness, she realized the high cost to her mate of being verbally effusive.

3. “My walls have walls”
Even when they’re naked (for some, especially when they’re naked), many patients report still feeling garbed in in a clunky, painful, albeit invisible suit of armor.

*Tara P., 39 and living with her fiancé, admitted, “Whenever I’m in a relationship, I put the guy through a series of ‘tests’ to prove his loyalty to me. If Dan doesn’t remember I had an important business meeting today it proves he doesn’t really love me. If Dan does remember it only means he made a point to ask me how it went because he was afraid I’d have a fit if he didn’t. With a test this rigged, a losing score is inevitable for both parties.

Love Tip: During therapy, once layer upon layer of defenses is slowly, carefully peeled back, what is typically left is a child petrified of being abandoned. That is the scary place you go to when you make yourself vulnerable to another person. Thus the emotional “cover-up.”

True, it’s wise to protect yourself with people until they prove worthy of your trust. But, once someone has proved over and over and over he is on your side, before putting him through yet another exam, take a breath and ask yourself, ‘In this situation is there a valid reason for mistrust, or is my inner child running the show?’

4. “Even when I’m in a good relationship, I’m afraid I’ll mess it all up.”
Patient after patient has sat across from me and confessed that while she has fairly good self-esteem and believes herself capable of love, there is a secret fear of ultimately doing something to “mess things up.”

For instance *Sharon M., a 42-year-old single mother confessed, “In my work life I’m Pollyanna. I’m secure things will work out the way I want …Yet, perhaps because I followed in my parents’ footsteps and had a messy divorce, I feel romantically jinxed.” She added with a semi-laugh, “Of course with that kind of belief I create a self-fulfilling prophecy.”

Love Tip: Sharon is correct: Her (your?) doomsday mindset is in large part responsible for a lack of success in the love department. Instead of automatically giving free reign to that belief, stop recycling the ‘poor me’ card and start repeating a new mantra: “I’m sick of being a victim. It’s in my power to sustain a great relationship.”

That objective becomes easier to achieve by looking for positive romantic role models to emulate — couples that have been together 10 years or more and are happy to share their secrets.

5. “I love my partner. Why am I still unhappy?”
This wistful lament is familiar to anyone who has hoped that finding love can heal an inner emptiness. But the job description of a partner is to add to your life, not make your life fulfilling.

*Jenna E., 29 and single, has a history of serial monogamy. She landed in my office to work out mixed feelings about her current boyfriend. “Things seemed wonderful at first — I get such a high from being in love. But then I start not feeling as close and the person starts seeming like part of my problem.” She concluded, “I don’t want to leave Eric because that’s what I always do. He’s a good guy but things feel flat.”

Love Tip: Again, alas, no easy fix but the ‘solution’ is to realize that happiness is an inside job. The more you look for external sources to feed you the hungrier you will be. A lover can’t just be a temporary distraction from loneliness. Focus on things you love about yourself, activities that feel good, and, most important, on being able to feel good when alone. It takes work, true, but there’s a big payoff!

* Names changed

Copyright © 2011 – Sherry Amatenstein. Relationship therapist Sherry Amatenstein, LCSW, author of “The Complete Marriage Counselor: Relationship Saving Advice From America’s Top 50+ Couples Therapists (Adams, 2010). Visit Sherry’s Website. Get a daily Sherapy love tip by liking Sherry Amatenstein, LCSW on Facebook.

Larry James is a professional speaker, author, relationship coach and a nondenominational minister. He performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere.

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles and “LoveNotes” listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Monday, May 16, 2011

Who Ya Gonna Call? – The Love Doctor, of Course!

Filed under: Coaching,Communication,Resolving Conflict — Larry James @ 7:00 am

Have you ever felt like you’ve lost track of where you are in the relationship? Perhaps it doesn’t seem to have the romance it once had or maybe you’ve drifted apart and you seem to be at an impasse?

It doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve failed in any way. All that may mean is that you need a swift kick in the behind to get you back on track. A relationship coach might help.

commonsenseThe truth is that often the key ingredient that is missing in many relationships is plain old “common sense.” What is common sense? It is the sound practical judgment that is independent of specialized knowledge or training. Everyone has it. Some never put it to use. A relationship problem happens and common sense goes out the window.

When you love someone, it doesn’t make sense to slow down or stop communication with one another just because you have a disagreement. Smart people make it a point to move past the annoying problems that people with very little common sense allow to cause permanent damage to their relationship.

When communication stops – listening also stops. With no listening, there is no possible solution to the problem. A good relationship coach is a good listener. They will allow each other to speak and listen to what the other person has to say and if the couple can temporarily suspend judgment and their anger that is often a major step in resolving matters.

It doesn’t make sense to hold on to resentment or to not forgive your partner. To forgive means to “give up”, to let go. Let it go. Forgiveness is a journey. Forgive and forget is a myth. You may never forget AND you can still choose to forgive. You can forgive and tomorrow you may feel the pain all over again. As life goes on and you choose to remember and feel the pain, that is the time to once again remember that you have already forgiven. Mentally forgive again if necessary, next, move forward. When we allow it, time can dull the vividness of the memory of the hurt; the memory will eventually fade.

“Forgiveness allows us to let go of the pain in the memory and if we let go of the pain in the memory we can have the memory but it does not control us. When memory controls us we are then the puppets of the past.” ~ Alexandra Asseily, author of “The Garden of Forgiveness in Beirut”

One more thing about forgiveness; when you let it go. . . really let it go and do not bring it up again. That only reopens the wound and the hurt will never heal.

Sometimes just being able to freely express how you really feel about your partner – in the presence of your partner – opens up the opportunity to more clearly see the problem from both sides. A good relationship coach will listen and ask lots of questions the answers to which could and often does lead you to your own conclusion about what needs to be done. Once you have a better understanding of the reasoning behind your behavior, you will have a much easier time getting your relationship back on track, minus the resentment.

deathofcommonsenseNotice that I said “behavior.” Your behavior in the relationship has to change for any positive change to occur. That is a fact.

It doesn’t make sense to hold on to being right when you know you are wrong. That’s called stupid! Do you want to be right or happy? Constantly fighting about little things doesn’t make sense either. If either of you can’t seem to get a point across without having a full-blown disagreement, a relationship coach can help you communicate better – in a way that benefits, rather than burdens, the relationship.

It never makes sense to blame your partner for everything in your relationship. As long as you are blaming anyone else for anything, you are giving away your power and creating more negative effects in your relationship. There is a payoff for everything you do. The payoff for pointing a finger at your partner and blaming him or her for your relationship condition is: you don’t have to take responsibility for your share of the problem.

Relationship problems are shared problems. To manage the complexity of a stormy relationship you must accept responsibility for your share of the problem. When you can do that, the problem is half solved. Not only will this change you, it will change your relationship with your partner.

So, the bottom line is this: Relationships are something that must be worked on all the time, not only when they are broken and need to be fixed. Trying to fix your own relationship is like standing in a bucket and trying to lift yourself up by the handle.

When your relationship is about to crash, it is wise to take immediate action. Never wait until your relationship is past the point of no return. Be brave. Call a relationship coach.

“The best time – in fact, the only time – to make a real change in your life is in the moment of seeing the need for it. He who hesitates always gets lost in the hundred reasons why tomorrow is a better day to get started!” ~ Guy Finley, author of “The Secret of Letting Go

Preventative relationship maintenance works too!

CLoveLOGOBONUS Articles: Preventative Maintenance
Relationship Speed Bumps!

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Copyright © 2011 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” Larry James is a professional speaker, author, relationship coach and a nondenominational minister. He performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere. Something NEW about relationships is posted every 4th day on this Relationships BLOG.

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles and “LoveNotes” listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
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Sunday, April 10, 2011

The BIG “Oops!”

Filed under: "I'm sorry!",Resolving Conflict,Trust — Larry James @ 7:00 am

Saying, “My bad!” or “I’m sorry” over and over again when you make a big “Oops!” is kinda like the story of the little boy who cried, “Wolf.” After a while your partner will get the idea that change is not in the picture.

my-badWhen you make a misstep. . . acknowledge it and promise not to do it again. . . and KEEP YOUR WORD! “I was wrong and I am sorry,” works once or possibly twice. Those seven words will help make your perceptions clearer, your judgments sounder, your relationship and your life work better and you will be closer to your heart’s desire; a healthy love relationship and marriage.

oopsSaying “I’m sorry” over and over for the same mistake doesn’t work! Not making the same mistake again does. It demonstrates your sincerity and respect for your partner and makes a significant contribution to your relationship.

Do you want to be happy or do you want to be right?

Get a grip! Stop saying, “I’m sorry” and do it right the next time.

You can’t take back words in anger, and you can only say I’m sorry a couple of times for the same thing. Then, those words aren’t even a Band-Aid; the apology just plain doesn’t work.” When you are upset or angry because of a “oops,” allow a cooling off period.

Toothpaste once squeezed, cannot be put back into the tube. Feathers scattered in the wind cannot be collected. You cannot un-ring a bell. Hurtful words once spoken, cannot be taken back.

sorryBy the way, saying “I’m sorry” is okay as long as the behavior stops. Again, too many “I’m sorrys” is like crying, “Wolf!”

Speak unto others as you would have them speak unto you. Think twice before you say something that may hurt someone else!

Make an effort to make sure the last words to your partner each morning and each night are loving, positive and encouraging.

Trust is the foundation of a healthy relationship. There can be no trust without conversation; no genuine intimacy without trust.

One of the secrets to having healthy love relationships is to never be afraid to openly and honestly discuss whatever is relevant to the success of the relationship. Making mistakes is part of having a relationship. Those kind of issues are not to break us, but to make us stronger as a team.

Sometimes saying you are sorry doesn’t always mean you did anything wrong. When your lover is experiencing difficulties, “I’m sorry” can be an expression of understanding; it demonstrates an attitude of caring and empathy.

Disagreements will occur. When they do, bounce back quickly. If an “I’m sorry” is appropriate, muster the courage and say it. Don’t waste time wallowing in the stuff of the quarrel.

Someone has to be first to break the silence. Let it be you.

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Copyright © 2011 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” Larry James is a professional speaker, author, relationship coach and a nondenominational minister. He performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere.

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles and “LoveNotes” listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

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Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Wedding BLOG” at: http://CelebrateIntimateWeddings.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s “Networking BLOG” at: http://NetworkingHQ.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s “Author and Speakers BLOG” at: http://AuthorsandSpeakersNetwork.wordpress.com

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