Couple Appreciation Month: Celebrate and Reinforce Your Relationship

Couple Appreciation Month: Celebrate and Reinforce Your RelationshipApril is designated National Couple Appreciation Month to encourage couples to do something special to re-enforce and celebrate their relationship – to let their partners know that they are respected and desired.

Given the grim statistics we hear on the state of relationships, I’m glad there is a whole month set aside to appreciate couples.

Statistics say most couples are unhappy in their relationships and more than 40% of marriages end in divorce.

As bleak as these statistics are, on the other hand, there are still approximately 50% of couples in relationships that are long lasting, thriving and happy.

What keeps these couples connected and happy?

Here are few tips you can use to improve and strengthen your relationship:

  • Communicate. Communication is one of the most important qualities in a relationship. Expressing your feelings is the key to effective communication no matter how uncomfortable or awkward it may feel. In strong resilient relationships, couples say “I love you” often and don’t sweep unpleasant issues under the rug.
  • Date Night. Remember how you looked forward to going on a date with your partner before the bills, school functions, meetings and other life forces took over and pushed your relationship to the back burner? You can regain that same excitement and joy in your relationship. Start going on dates again. Just as you schedule other functions, schedule a time devoted to each other. Make your relationship as a priority. Take out your calendar or smartphone, select a mutually agreeable date and time and write in your partner’s name. Commit to this date and don’t use excuses to stand up your partner. I’m sure you’re super busy but you must have at least one night out of seven to devote to your partner.
  • Never go to bed angry. In any relationship, especially a couple, unresolved anger breed resentment. Long-term resentment leads to apathy and disconnection. Don’t give anger space to grow. Let the other person know how you feel without directing blame or criticism.
  • Play together. Most couples spend less than 20 minutes a day engaged with each other and even less having fun together. Make time in your schedule to do a fun activity you both enjoy. Couples who share a common interest such as golf or bowling tend to have less conflict in their relationship. Not only do these couples spend time having fun, they also are strengthening their connection.
  • Trust. Can you count on your partner tomorrow do what he or she says? Successful relationships are built on trust. If you tell your partner you’ll be home by 6:30, don’t be persuaded to stop for a beer or get into a 20-minute conversation with co-workers when it’s time to leave work.
  • Fight fair. All couples have disagreements. If you’re not careful, disagreement can end in shouting matches, anger and hurt. A disagreement does not mean you don’t love each other or care. Before you start slinging insults, name calling or a disagreement ends badly, a 5-10 minute “time out” may help you sort out your thoughts so you can return and reach an amicable solution.
  • Show appreciation. Couples ought to show appreciation every day not just in April when we celebrate National Couple Appreciation Month. It’s the little things that mean a lot. It’s not that you don’t appreciate your partner; you just forget to verbalize your appreciation. Tell your partner how much you appreciate him or her. Put an “”I love you” note on a pillow, in a pocket, on the bathroom mirror, in his or her gym bag or briefcase/purse to make them smile.

Couple Appreciation month ends in a few days but you don’t wait for Couple Appreciation month to  let your partner know how much more enjoyable he or she makes your life, and then tell them.

To get professional help to improve or strengthen your relationship, please contact me to schedule a consultation.

5 Audacious Agreements that Empower

5 Audacious Agreements That EmpowerUnlike written or verbal contracts we make to provide a service or product, sometimes we make agreements with ourselves and other people that we are not even aware we made. And, when our expectations fall short of our desired outcome, we become angry, disillusioned, frustrated and confused.

For example, you may live with an unspoken agreement that conflict is to be avoided at all cost by not speaking up when there is a disagreement or difference of opinion. You may soon discover that avoiding conflict never gets anything resolved – just shoved under the proverbial rug.

Instead of going with the flow and operating from agreements that limit, define and get in the way of being your true self, here are 5 audacious agreements that empower so that the real you shines through:

Agree to ditch the labels – Mom, daughter, sister, wife or girlfriend is merely a label assigned to women by society. You are much more than a label. Labels don’t define who you really are anymore than tags in designer clothes tell you anything about the designer. Who you really are goes much deeper than any of the labels that you wear.

Agree to squash relationship drama – All relationships (marital, family, friends, co-workers and neighbors an even the relationship you have with yourself) will eventually hit a bump in the road. Are you clear about the kind of relationships you want to have in your life? Do you have relationships filled with confusion, temper tantrums, manipulation or deception? I hope not. But if you’ve ever experienced such behavior in a relationship, it may be time to assess how clear you are about who YOU are. Attracting drama into your life is usually an indication that you are giving others permission to set the tone of the relationship. You can change the dynamics of any relationship if you set clear boundaries about what you will accept and how you want to be treated.

Agree to say “no” like a 2 year old –One of the first words a toddler learns is the word “no”. That’s because she wants to be heard and express their assertiveness. Toddlers already have this down pat. She says “no” loud, clear and with conviction. Of course you don’t have to yell but certainly speak loud enough to be heard.

What happens to that conviction and assertiveness when we reach adulthood?

Unfortunately, once we leave toddlerhood, we seem to forget how to be assertive, express our wishes and think independently. Saying “no” is not meant to be antagonistic, difficult or mean spirited.

Saying “no” means that you set limits on what you are willing to do or give, what you’re capable of and how you desire to spend your time and energy.

Make an agreement to set realistic expectations – I agree with Dr. Phil when he says, “what upsets people is not what happens. What upsets people is if what happens violates their expectation of what was going to happen!”

Examine the expectations you have for yourself and others. Make sure they are realistic so as not to end up frustrated, angry or disappointed when things don’t turn out the way you hoped.

Agree to show more gratitude – When you consistently show gratitude for the things you already have, you open the window to receive more. An easy way to begin the practice of gratitude is to write down the things you are grateful for. You can use a journal to record your gratitude or write what you are grateful for each day and place it in a jar or other container. When you need a boost, go to your gratitude journal or jar for added inspiration.

And, to learn more about empowerment and being your true self, I invite you to get my book, Master the Genie Within: Uncover, Embrace and Celebrate the Real You.

Look Within to Find Your Way Home

Do you recall the characters from the Wizard of Oz?

They all thought something was missing from their lives and they just had to find the missing piece …

  • Dorothy dreamed of finding her way home to Kansas
  • The Tin Man thought he would be happy if he only had a heart
  • The Scarecrow believed he would be happy when he had a brain
  • The Cowardly lion thought he would find happiness with some courage

Just as a lot of us do, they all were looking for answers outside of themselves.  And is most often the case, all we need is already is within our reach.

The characters in the Wizard of Oz thought they didn’t have what they needed to be happy.

In case you need a gentle reminder from your friendly wizard about what it takes to get unstuck, joyful, courageous, and confident, here are a few things to think about:

  • When you can’t find your true self and feel lost, clear your mind of limiting thoughts.  Open yourself us to the answers that are deep within you. The more open you are to receiving the answers, the more of your authentic self will be uncovered. Sometimes you may need the help of a wise wizard to get you on your way.
  • Fear is a limiting emotion when it keeps you stuck thinking the same negative thoughts about what you can or cannot do.  Start with baby steps until you are comfortable taking larger steps that will get the results you want.
  • Live your dream. You dream is uniquely yours.  No one can take away your dream or live it. If you know deep inside there is something you want to do, you may need the support of a coach or trusted friend to help you sort out all the pieces.
  • Think positive, affirming thoughts to ward off negativity and doubt about what you are capable of doing.

Remember, the only thing that kept Dorothy, the Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion and the Scarecrow from getting what they wanted was their own thoughts. Change how you think and the solutions you desire will be evident.

What thoughts are holding you back from finding your way home?

Share your thoughts, observations, and comments…I would love to hear from you.

Gladys Anderson – Life Coach, Therapist, Author

Gladys Anderson is a certified life coach, licensed marriage and family therapist, author and speaker. Gladys combines years of experience, training and a genuine commitment to helping individuals and couples to receive and revive the love, passion, respect and fun that’s been missing from their relationships.