Things Super-Happy Couples Talk About

 Super Happy Couple after successful couples counseling

Super-happy couples are in the minority. But there are always certain people who defy the odds.

If you fall into this select group, that’s awesome. If not, you can in time. (And some couples move from ‘good’ to ‘super-happy’ with some relationship skills training from  a short time in good couples counseling.) Here are some ideas for you:

Relationships are a journey and are always changing. Some are getting better and some are deteriorating.

Understanding what those with uniquely fulfilling relationships talk about will give you some ideas about how to improve your own relationship.

More Than the Weather

Before going into more specifics, it’s good to realize that the happiest couples talk mostly about things that have depth to them.

Sure, there are surface conversations about the weather, schedules and summaries of what happened during the day.

But those are conversations you can have with a perfect stranger at a coffee shop. Anyone can talk about those things.

In a healthy, committed relationship, the walls come down and discussions about things you wouldn’t share with anyone else come up.

Just what are some of these rich conversations about? Here are several common topics.

Problem-Solving Discussions

Problems abound in every relationship. Some of them, we cause. Others are completely out of our control.

Most of the time, unhappy couples fight about these stressors. By doing so, they make their problems worse than they originally were.

Although happy couples have moments of weakness and fight at times, those instances are quite rare. And when the inevitable fights come, the couples know hoe ‘fight fair.’

Instead, happy couples work together to come up with solutions to problems. They’re better able to handle the struggles every person experiences through teamwork.

They fight the problem instead of fighting about the problem. And that makes all the difference.

The result is that super-happy couples grow even closer together because of problems.

Problems cause the demise of some relationships. Those same difficulties become the glue that holds the relationships of fulfilled couples together.

Super-Happy Couples Talk About the Future

For anyone, thinking about the future can be scary. There’s no way to know exactly what will happen.

Happy couples talk about the future anyway. They share about their hopes, fears and dreams. They plan the best they can though they realize some things are out of their control.

After talking about the future, happy couples come up with ways to better themselves, their children, their community and people around the world.

Happy couples implement plans to make a positive difference in the world together.

Other Conversations

What else do exceptionally happy couples talk about?

They talk about their fears, their beliefs, their childhood and what bothers them. But that’s not all.

Happy couples build happy memories together and get to remind each other of them.

These memories make even unhappy situations much better. You’ll just know. If it is time for you to schedule your couples counseling appointment online using our online scheduling tool, call us at (949) 220-3211, or text us.

What Your Mate Needs From You

What do we fixate on most in our relationships? The exact opposite of this title.

If we were honest, we’d admit that, much of the time, we think, “What I need from my mate” as most important to us.

But the surest way to get what you need in a relationship is to give your mate what they need. What you need will naturally flow back to you in that case.

Does this mean we should do unselfish things with selfish motives? No. Instead, it highlights how important it is to take care of our mate.

Here are a few quick tips to keep in mind as you do just that.

Listen Without Judgment

Everywhere you turn there is criticism. A lot of the criticism is true. We all have problems and shortcomings after all. But consistent criticism and judgmental tendencies from others cause people to shut down.

As a result, most people find it difficult to be honest with others. What if those we thought were trustworthy use what we tell them as ammunition against us instead of understanding better where we’re coming from?

In your relationship, your mate needs the ability to share about the messy details of their lives. They need the ability to do so without attacks and judgment.

This is crucial because attacks and judgment are everywhere. Your mate requires a safe place to share their thoughts, process shortcomings, admit fears and talk about their dreams.

This must happen without someone stepping on their thoughts and feelings and driving them into the ground.

The best thing to do is let your mate vent and share their feelings and emotions without you initially evaluating whether they are correct. Do your best to refrain from getting angry if something is said that upsets you.

If you quickly interject disagreement with how your mate processes life right away, they’ll be less inclined to be open with you in the future.

Your mate needs the ability to express their feelings and get them out. If you’re patient, you’ll be invited to offer advice or input at the right time.

The proper time to offer advice almost never means doing so in knee-jerk fashion.

Wait and then wait some more as you stay attentive. Doing so will strengthen your relationship, increase transparency and, as a result, build trust.

Your Mate Needs a Friend

Your mate needs a friend that will be there for them no matter what.

You and your mate require other friends besides the two of you. But your mate should be your best friend.

Will you get warm and fuzzy feelings every time you’re in the room together? No.

Will you constantly feel romantic thoughts towards each other? No. That will come and go.

But what you need is a fellow life journeyer who will never leave you. Who takes on the resolve to get through life together with you in the good circumstances and the bad.

Your mate needs someone who makes them a better person. That doesn’t always mean happiness. But it means something even better than happiness: purpose.

It means that, together, you work to make the world better than you found it. It means that you leave a lasting contribution that makes a positive difference.

That is where the deepest and most satisfying form of happiness can be found! Schedule your appointment online using our online scheduling tool, call us at (949) 220-3211, or text us.

3 Ways to Stop Settling for Less Than You Deserve

This subject can be a bit tricky. Taken to one extreme, we can become spoiled, privileged-thinking people that only care about our own needs.

Taken to the other extreme, we can feel like it’s bad to aim for good, meaningful and healthy things in life.

How about we cut to the chase and explore the balance between those two sides.

Non-Abusive Relationships

Let’s be up front, no one deserves that. In every single relationship, both parties hurt the other. Unfortunately, it’s bound to happen even when we make great strides at improvement.

But what is one to do when there becomes an ongoing pattern of physical, emotional or verbal abuse? “Business as usual” is not a realistic option—no one deserves to be treated like that.

Finding a competent, caring professional to help work through this can be beneficial. There are also times, for the safety of a spouse, children or both that temporary or permanent separation is the best option.

If you’re in an abusive relationship, get help as soon as possible. No one deserves that, not even your dog. You deserve love and affection—everyone does.

Follow Your Heart

When you come up to the end of your life, others aren’t going to experience your regrets. You’re the only one who will vividly feel those.

Oh, there are so many people ready to assign you to a box, though. They say, “This is who you are, this is all you’ll ever be.”

But you have your suspicions and for good reason. You don’t fit into their carefully crafted compartments. You have creative abilities and talents that must find healthy expression.

There is no one in the world like you. Act like it! Be different!

The world doesn’t need more conformists. What it most desperately needs is for you to be you—to follow your heart.

Ignore the current of conformity. Blaze your own path. And never apologize for it.

Of course, there will be naysayers along the way. But there will be those even if you conform. So, don’t bother being like everyone else. How drab that would be!

You deserve better. Painfully pick through the rubble of life to unearth the reason you were born. And once you find out, never let go of your dreams, your heart.

Everyone has dreams they must listen to and follow. Everyone deserves to follow their hearts.

Be Loved For Who You Are

Let’s wrap things up with a reminder that you deserve to be loved for who you are. Being asked to change who you fundamentally are to be deemed “lovable” is not fair practice.

If there’s something you know you need to change, then you owe it to yourself to get better. If it’s something you can’t or shouldn’t change, then don’t.

Everyone deserves to be loved for who they are, not for what others think they should be! Schedule your appointment online using our online scheduling tool, call us at (949) 220-3211, or text us.

Agree to Disagree

The other kindred saying to this title is “pick your battles.”

Imagine a nation that went to war over every petty provocation. That would be disastrous, wouldn’t it? And plenty of innocent people would get badly hurt in the process.

No one would deny there are times when a hard stance should be taken. But pushed too far, key relationships dissolve. Children become bitter towards their parents. Parents towards their children. Friends stop getting together.

There are certain things worth fighting for. Still, battle points often need to be dropped, axes buried and good will must prevail though complete understanding of the other side may not.

Is it time to agree to disagree? It could be. Here are some things to think about as you strive for an answer.

So Incredibly Different

It’s remarkable how differently people think and act. Even within the same family, members often shake their heads during tense times. How are such varied viewpoints possible within a close-knit group?

Step outside of your family and bring in different ages, races, nations, genders, childhoods and life experiences and things get way more interesting.

The first thing to remember is that this world is incredibly diverse and that isn’t about to change anytime soon. There’s no way everyone will ever fall in line and start thinking and acting exactly like we do.

Anyone who’s about to embark on a crusade to get others to think like they do at all costs is in for disappointment. Not to mention, a life strewn with wreckage of broken relationships.

Deciding on the Cost

Here’s a quick way to decide on whether to agree to disagree or to hold your ground. Picture a scale in your mind with a place to set something on two opposing sides. You can even draw a picture of this scale.

On one side, mentally place or write down the costs of dropping the conflict. On the other side, write down the cost of not giving in. After you’ve taken a close look at your results, decide on what to do.

Whichever side will cost you and others the most is generally the one you’ll want to avoid.

Most of the time, the necessary or best choice is to agree to disagree. Yet, there are times when this isn’t the best option.

We all tend to be biased toward our own preconceived ideas. Include a trusted friend into deciding what is best. This will help to bring in a more objective opinion.

In conclusion, agreeing to disagree, when done properly, is a huge way of showing you care. It’s a bold though friendly way of saying that you value a person’s friendship more than being right or pushing your own agenda. Schedule your appointment online using our online scheduling tool, call us at (949) 220-3211, or text us.

Why Nagging Your Mate Doesn’t Work

There are plenty of lies we buy into about relationships. Let’s face it, we’re all working to get better in that area.

One tempting misconception is that nagging a mate will encourage and motivate them to change for the good.

It actually causes the opposite. Why is this? Let’s explore what nagging really is and why it doesn’t work.

What Is Nagging?

Simply put, nagging is an ongoing attempt to get someone to change but the attempt is carried out in a persistent, uncaring way.

A nagged mate feels demeaned, put down, treated like a child and attacked. This leads us to the first reason nagging doesn’t work.

Because of Human Nature

The natural human response to ongoing negative criticism is to rebel. This may be more commonly attributed to children but adults respond the same way.

A nagged mate won’t say, “You know, I finally see it. All along you were right!”

Instead, they’ll say, “You want to be mean? I can be mean too. You want to confront? Then I’ll just avoid.”

Since the nagging partner takes an adversarial role, for a nagged mate to give in to their critic would be to admit defeat. Human nature is to hold the high ground, not to grovel in this case.

Opposite Of What a Relationship Should Be

A good and healthy relationship is a shelter. It’s a safe place from the storms and “haters” of life.

When a mate is nagged, the one relationship that should be the safest and most supportive painfully becomes everything but that.

This inevitably leads to resentment, hurt feelings and anger. Some nagged mates live a miserable existence for years in this state.

Others quickly hit the eject button on a relationship like that. They search for someone who will be a safe, loving and admiring mate instead of a naysayer.

The Endless Nagging Cycle

Here’s how the downward spiral works.

One mate nags their partner. The other partner resists, avoids, becomes frustrated or angry. The nagged person begins becoming more “nag-worthy” because they don’t want to conform.

As a result, the confronter increases the amount and severity of their criticism. This causes the amount and severity of the push back from the receiver to multiply at the same time.

Over time, the nagging cycle grows stronger and more destructive. The nagger feels it necessary to nag because their mate is failing so badly.

The nagged person no longer wants anything to do with their mate who, in many cases, has become the most difficult person in their lives to deal with.

Summing It Up

Nagging isn’t fun for either mate. It’ll put both parties on the fast track to misery and greatly increase the chance of relationship failure.

Stop the nagging cycle by complementing your mate, talking openly about your struggles and by being more patient. You can also find an outside party to help you work through your frustrations in a healthy way.

You can break free from the nagging cycle one good choice at a time and experience a much higher quality of life in the process! Let us help. Schedule your appointment online using our online scheduling tool, call us at (949) 220-3211, or text us.

The Right Way To Talk About Your Past Relationships

Depending on your past, it can be awkward to bring up previous relationships. You
may feel like you’re in a lose-lose situation when your significant other asks you.

Although doing so can be difficult, there are some practical things you can do to
share appropriately. Consider the following ideas.

Share According to Personality

There’s something many advice resources fail to mention. You’re not dealing with a
robot here but a person you love. One-size-fits-all advice may work great for one
couple and completely backfire for another.

Think about the uniqueness of your partner. How much can they handle? Maybe
they’re very sensitive when you bring up your past. Be considerate of their feelings
and need for security in your relationship.

Withholding Details

You may worry that withholding details about your past means you’re being dishonest. That isn’t necessarily the case.

Imagine if you spoke out loud everything you ever thought. You’d get yourself in
trouble in a hurry! In the same way, you need to be wise about what you share
regarding your past and how much.

Sure, you don’t want to come across as dishonest because you appear to be holding
back. But you don’t want to scare a new potential mate off early in the game either.

Share Based on Commitment

The reality is that trust needs to be earned to share the intimate details of our past.
Especially if it’s early in your relationship, you should be extra careful.

You should never feel pressured to talk about every gory detail of your past
relationships.

If you’re new to a relationship, share small things first to test the water. As your
relationship grows and trust is built, you’ll feel comfortable sharing more.

Don’t Compare

One of the most important things to avoid is comparison between your significant
other and those from past relationships.

Doing so can needlessly upset the one you love. They may feel like they can’t
measure up to your previous loves. This can cause anger and arguments that don’t
need to happen.

Your partner may even try to outdo those you were in a relationship with previously. Insecurities can come out where your partner is constantly asking you if you are still happy with them.

Although navigating the tricky issue of your past may seem daunting, with a little
practice you’ll do great. Someone who truly cares about you will stick with you
regardless of your past.

Let us help. Schedule your appointment online using our online scheduling tool, call us at (949) 220-3211, or text us.

Building the Bond in Your Relationship

Ever have a job around the house that required a repair? Perhaps, you finally decided that glue was your best bet to make the fix. However, you knew that it would take a better-than-average adhesive.

A glue stick that little kids use for crafts wasn’t going to cut it. You pulled out both guns and got the stuff you don’t want to get on your fingers. The last thing you wanted was for that glue to fail at the most inconvenient moment.

Did you know that there’s a major parallel to that analogy and relationships? A general gluing rule is that the stronger the materials you’re working with, the more powerful your glue must be. It shouldn’t surprise you then, that developing and applying “glue” in relationships requires a much stronger bond than anyone can create in a laboratory.

This involves applying the right glue but it also means that you must work hard to make sure that nothing eats away at the glue you already established.

What’s the best glue to apply? Every person is different so finding a custom-glue solution that’s best for your relationship will take some time and effort to figure out.

In our culture, we’re often over-focused on the physical aspect of a relationship. That’s an essential element but focusing only on the physical will not create a strong enough bond to keep you together over the long haul. Here are some quick ideas, though, since some of the major ingredients of relationship glue are universal.

Laugh Together

You’ve heard it more than once. “I was attracted to him or her because they made me laugh.” In effect, they were saying that it felt good to be around that person and they wanted to keep feeling good which meant spending more time with them.

Listen

Our world is flooded with talkers. It’s in short supply of listeners, though. If you learn to listen to your significant other, you’ll place yourself in a unique category and strengthen your bond.

Just a quick warning before you start, sincere listening is likely one of the most difficult things that you’ll ever do. Still, it’s completely possible and worth it.

Tough Times Together

Seriously? Absolutely. If you were ever on a sports team, you likely built some great friendships. That’s because you and your teammates worked hard together to overcome adversity. If you go through a tough time together and stick with each other anyway, you’ll develop staying power and a new, bonding respect for each other.

There are plenty of other ways to build the bond in your relationship. The more you work at it, the more successful you’ll become. In time, you’ll develop a relationship that can withstand any challenge that comes your way! Let us help. Schedule your appointment online using our online scheduling tool, call us at (949) 220-3211, or text us.

How to Live a Happy and Satisfying Life

Everyone desires to be happy and to lead a satisfying life. It could even be argued that every decision that we make is done with the attempt to be happy. Although this may be the case, one thing’s for sure. Not everyone is happy or fulfilled. So how can you lead a happy and fulfilled life? That’s a question that people have asked since the dawn of time. Here are few ideas to help you get there.

Positive Perspective

The most unbearable aspect of bad things that we go through is often our perspective. Perhaps trust was breached in a relationship, you lost your job or you have an ongoing health problem. It’s easy to believe that negative life circumstances can make you unhappy. The reality is that bad circumstances can throw you on your head for a while. It is even natural to experience some sadness, but that’s not where you need to stay.

A positive or negative attitude will determine the rest. A negative attitude can injure you long after a painful life problem occurs. Negative self-talk, internally putting yourself down and bitterness will eat away at you. In contrast, a positive attitude will speak tenderly to you, heal your pain and lead to a smile.

A perfect life isn’t a prerequisite for a happy life. If that was the case, no one could be happy. Even if you only had one small negative aspect to your entire life, if you focused on that one thing, you would become miserable.

Conversely, if your life was full of mostly trouble but you focused on the good, you could become happy. Although it’s often difficult to believe at first, unhappy circumstances in your life are not the greatest barrier to you becoming happy. It is your attitude about those unpleasant problems.

Delayed Gratification

Here’s something crazy to think about. Do you realize that the surest way to be unhappy is to attempt to be happy now at all costs? Imagine what your life would be like if you only thought about making yourself happy for the moment.

For example, if you thought that eating pizza was the chief means by which you could be happy, what would happen? You could wind up very overweight, rack up large dining expenses, experience high blood pressure and lower your life expectancy.

One of the reasons we struggle so much to find happiness is that we often reach for what we think will fulfill us now instead of keeping long-term happiness in mind. This could be seen in someone who quits a job after a bad day even though the job was a good fit for them. Sometimes people seek out romantic happiness at the expense of a committed relationship. True happiness is much more than what we think will make us happy now. A truly fulfilling and happy life means aiming for long-term goals that will make us happy, too.

Wrapping It Up

Another quick way to boost your happiness is to seek the happiness of others. This could mean helping someone out who is struggling financially, offering a sincere compliment, refraining from anger with your child or staying committed to the one you love. There is nothing more like an air-tight casket than a life that helps only itself. If you make a positive difference in the life of someone else, you will find deep fulfillment!

Let us help. Schedule your appointment online using our online scheduling tool, call us at (949) 220-3211, or text us.

Is Your Partner the Marrying Type?

Interested in marriage but unsure if your partner will make a good marriage partner? It’s always wise to find out the answer to that question sooner than later. Bad marriages can often be avoided by doing some homework first. This will also give you greater confidence if you decide that you have a long-term keeper. Advice abounds on this topic but here are a few quick tips to help you decide if your partner is the marrying type.

Ask Your Friends

You can find out a lot by asking a friend about whether your partner is marriage material. Infatuation within a relationship is a wonderful feeling but can blind you to the truth about your partner, especially early on. The “in love feeling” can cause you to easily overlook large faults in your significant other.

Your friends live outside of these feelings and will be able to give you an honest assessment of your relationship. Whether they say “yes” or “no” to the marrying type question, listen carefully to them. It may be painful if they say “no” but it could save you from even greater pain down the road. Just remember, if they give you the thumbs down it isn’t because they are rejecting you. It’s because they care about you. They know that you have many lovable qualities and that you deserve better.

You Can’t Be Yourself

Although dating often means putting our best foot forward, it isn’t always a realistic depiction of one’s true self. Couples sometimes hold back their negative emotions and act more positive than they normally would. Those in a relationship want to give their partner every reason to like them. This can reach unhealthy levels, though.

If your partner is always trying to get you to look different, wear different clothes or change your personality to suit their desires, this is a problem. Although everyone has the need to become a better person, some partners try to change things about their significant other that aren’t bad. If your partner can’t accept you for who you are as a person, it’s a good indicator that they won’t be happy with you in a marriage relationship.

Trust Issues

If you consistently have valid trust concerns about your significant other, it may be a good idea to put the brakes on. Do you find that your partner is flirty with others besides you, keeps in contact with old flames, or has been caught in physical relationships with others while you’ve been dating? Getting married won’t fix that problem and will likely make it worse. Have an honest discussion with the one you love about these concerns. Marriage relationships can’t survive without trust. If you can trust your partner, you may have a keeper!

In this process, it’s important to remember that sometimes even partners who are the marrying type sometimes don’t want to get married at first. It can take some time to work up to that level of commitment. In contrast, just because your partner is eager to get married, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are marriage material. If you’ve read this far, it shows that you’re serious about your relationship. That’s exactly what you need to be successful!

Let us help. Schedule your appointment online using our online scheduling tool, call us at (949) 220-3211, or text us.

Creative Romantic Gift Ideas For The One You Love

Having a tough time deciding on a gift for that special someone? Coming up with something creative, unique and meaningful isn’t always easy. But the perfect idea is somewhere out there waiting for you. You just need to find it. With a little brainstorming and ingenuity, you’ll come through in a big way. Here are five romantic gift ideas to get the wheels turning.

Festival Fun

There’s nothing wrong with buying a gift for your significant other that’s been mass produced from Amazon or Target, for example. If you want something truly unique, though, check out a seasonal festival in your area. These events in and of themselves make for a wonderful gift since you’ll experience live music, craft stands, food and quality time together.

There usually are plenty of handcrafted items that you couldn’t buy in a store such as wood- carved pieces, pottery and jewelry. Pay extra attention to the item that catches your love’s interest more than any other and buy it for them on the spot. Better yet, secretly buy their prize and give it to them later. Your significant other will be thrilled, to say the least. This gift will not only be special because it is highly unique. It’ll be a reminder of a great memory that you shared.

Date Jar

Are you stuck in a rut when it comes to going on dates? Make up a “date jar” and give it as a gift. Write date ideas down on small pieces of paper or popsicle sticks and place them inside the jar. Be sure to include not only ideas that you would find fun, but ones that your significant other would enjoy. You can color code your date options by approximate cost. One night, you can choose a “green date” which could be your color for free dates. Perhaps “blue dates” could be in the fifty-dollar range. This gift doesn’t cost much money, shows unique interest in strengthening your relationship and will keep giving all year long.

Best Memories List

Even if you’ve only been together for a short while, you likely have built some unforgettable memories. Write down as many memories as you can think of that you enjoyed with your significant other and give your results as a gift. You can simply type or freehand them. If you want to take things to the next level, make up a photo book of your adventures together. Read your memories to your significant other for plenty of laughs and fun-filled conversation.

Sports Surprise

Does your special friend love sports? If so, make sure that your significant other has the evening, day or weekend free. Without telling them where the two of you are going, hop in your vehicle and drive to their favorite sporting event. Whether this includes football, baseball, basketball or more, you’re sure to impress the one you love. This element of surprise also works equally well for rock concerts, musicals or a trip to your favorite restaurant.

Just Because

Do you really want to surprise the one you love? Try giving them a gift that doesn’t fall on a special day such as an anniversary, Christmas, birthday or Valentine’s Day. It’s considered highly romantic to do so. This spontaneity will your shock your special friend, making them feel loved. Even something as simple as a pack of their favorite gum, some chocolates or a piece of survival camping gear such as a compass could work wonders.

Summing It Up

Ok, one last word of advice. Don’t procrastinate! The closer you get to your “deadline,” the less time that you’ll have to do something truly creative for the one you love. Start planning now so you don’t have to freak out later. If it’s too late and you’re already freaking out, don’t worry. Many lovers have come through with the perfect gift in clutch situations just like yours.

Let us help. Schedule your appointment online using our online scheduling tool, call us at (949) 220-3211, or text us.