Romance


John and Julie Gottman, through their working with couples for over 40 years, have found that couples who have shared rituals have stronger relationships. Planning fun events together as a couple creates shared meaning.  Intentionally looking for things that you both enjoy and then following through with planning and doing them helps focus on the positive and creates the opportunity to connect. One of the rituals that my husband and I do, after work, is set in our spa and share about our day.  We feel relaxed when we get out and then enjoy dinner together.  It helps set the stage for a nice evening. Another ritual we have is going to a small little town in Northern California for our anniversary almost every year.  We take our bikes and enjoy the weekend eating out and enjoying the beautiful scenery. Those are just two of our rituals for connection. What rituals of connection do you share with your spouse and family?  If you do not have any, then talk about rituals you can create to look forward to and connect.  If you are a young family, decide what rituals you want to create that are unique for just your family.  Do you have traditions around the holidays that you want to pass on to your children and what knew ones do you want to incorporate with the old. Looking forward to a planned event keeps your relationship moving forward in a positive direction.  Plan vacations together or just spending an evening together with friends or alone is important in keeping the vitality of your relationship healthy.  Be creative in thinking about different fun things you can do together.  Geocaching is a great way to get outside and enjoy the nice weather, you can download the app and learn how to play, if you haven’t already. For more ideas on how to create rituals in your relationship go to Gottman Institute and check out their web site.  They have great tools to help connect as a couple or as a family. Enjoy. Vickie Parker, MFT vickiemft.com...

Read More

Do you know what makes you happy? Do you know what makes your spouse happy? My husband and I attended a couples seminar yesterday, sponsored by our church. The speaker was a man named Mark Gungor.  The title of the seminar was “Laugh Your Way” to a Better Marriage and he was hilarious. My husband and I have been intentional about attending couple’s seminars whenever we can, because it keeps our relationship fresh. It is like hitting the reset button in our marriage. It is a reminder to do the things we need to do, to make our marriage happy, and not do the things that make it unhappy. Mark reminded us that if we are living a life that gives us purpose and meaning, we will be happy.  It is also important for us to know what makes our spouse happy. If we do not, we cannot be supportive of what their dreams are.  By knowing our spouse’s dreams, it gives us insight on why they do the things they do.  It may not make sense to us, but it does to them.  I always say, “Knowledge is Power” and the more we know about our spouse, the more we understand what makes them happy. Do you know what makes your spouse happy? Mark Gungor, has a “Flag Page” on his web site, www.flagpage.com, that allows you to see what you are good at and what words you need to hear from your spouse that will make you happy. There are 56 positive traits that you can choose from, that most describe who you are. It was fun to do and it was accurate on describing me. If you would like to check out Mark Gungor’s Flag Page and discover what makes you happy in your life and also your spouse’s, go to www.flagpage.com.  It will be a lot of fun. Do it together. Vickie Parker,...

Read More

Tomorrow my husband and I celebrate our 32nd wedding anniversary. Through those years, we have had some really great times and some really bad times. We raised three children and they have been such a joy for us.  They have given us eleven grand children and we love them all.  They range from 2 months to 23 years old. We have moved twelve times and had numerous jobs. We have been without and we have had abundance.  We lost our retirement during the recession and will probably have to work until we die. We have been blessed with good health and we love to bike on the weekends and enjoy the outdoors. We spend time together and  find things we like to do together. God has always been a big part of our lives and we would not be together today if it was not for Him. We have had two years of counseling to help us work through our stuff and figure out how to adapt and accept each other. We have both changed and grown in a positive direction. This last weekend we went to a couples retreat with 7 other great couples and had a wonderful time. We all had a chance to tell our stories of how we met and we laughed as each story was unique and special. I would say that we all bonded before the weekend was over. We went Geocaching one afternoon and took a walk to some beautiful falls on the McCloud River one morning. Staying connected to others has been a vital part in keeping our relationship on track. Couples that isolate themselves have a higher rate of divorce, because they do not have anyone to help them when times are tough and we all experience hard times.  We need people to reach out to and to reach out to us. Staying in love is a choice and in order to do that we need to always turn toward our spouses emotionally even when we do not feel like it.  If we do not, walls get built up and we turn toward other things and people to meet our needs for love and validation. Being married is hard work, but the rewards of doing the work and putting our own ego aside and thinking about the other person helps the relationship stay healthy and safe.  We are responsible for building the safety in our relationship and what we say and what we do when times are hard has a huge impact on how the other person responds to us. We need to be kind and thoughtful and guard our...

Read More