relationships

Forgiveness is the gift you give yourself.

Forgiveness is the gift you give yourself.

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Do you find yourself walking around angry all the time? Do you have an inner voice that always reminds you of all your partner’s wrongdoings and mistakes? Have you become the expert in your relationship in pointing out everything that your spouse is doing wrong in your relationship? If this sounds like you, it will greatly benefit you to take the advice about forgiveness you are about to read to heart.

When you choose not to forgive, it takes a toll on your physical and emotional health. It keeps you stuck in the deepest of relationship ruts. No matter how justified you are about being upset with something your partner has done, you are the one miserable by holding onto it. When you wake up each morning thinking about what s wrong, you will walk around with low-level depression. You cannot feel joy because you are too busy being angry or disappointed.

I have worked with many couples who say they want their relationship to heal. And yet, when they are given the tools to implement this healing, they just can’t move forward. Instead of finding effective ways to get beyond the blame game, these couples continue down the road of misery. They feel their partners “must pay” for their mistakes. How very sad. Even sadder are their children immersed in this tense household with parents who care more about being “right” than happy. What lessons are they learning about love?

If any of this sounds familiar, you need to realize that forgiveness is a gift you give yourself. Forgiveness isn’t a feeling; it’s a decision. Every day, you decide to view your partner with loving-kindness. To make peace. To make up. To make love. I can promise you that the benefits go far beyond anything you could ever imagine. Your decision to forgive will create a ripple effect of positive changes in your relationship and your life.

If you like this article, check out this one!

Happy Wife, Happy Life

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Did you know that over one million marriages will end in divorce this year, and two-thirds of these divorces will be filed for by women? What makes women so incredibly unhappy in their marriages?

In the earlier years of marriage, women are the primary relationship caretakers. They are the ones monitoring the relationships to make sure there are date nights, closeness, and connection.

Men, initially, are more concerned with the couple’s financial situation and make it their number one concern to provide for the new union. When a man is not responsive to a woman’s initiative to keep the romance alive in the relationship, they become extremely unhappy. This unhappiness leads them to complain about everything under the sun…things that need to be done around the house, responsibilities about the kids, how their free time is spent, and other things. However, when women nag and complain, men tend to turtle up and retreat into their shells. This retreating and lack of communication deteriorates a marriage even more.

After years of unsuccessfully trying to improve things, a woman eventually surrenders and convinces herself that changing her husband is impossible. She believes nothing that she can do will work, that she has tried everything. Or at least she thinks she has. No one has taught this couple how to communicate effectively. That’s when she begins to carefully plan and map out her only option, getting a divorce.

While planning her exit from the marriage, she stops trying altogether. She resigns herself to living a life of silence and no communication until she announces her desire to divorce. On the other hand, her husband now thinks his wife’s silence means everything is fine. Her shell-shocked partner thinks, “I had no idea you were unhappy.”

Then, even when her husband is willing to pay attention and undergo real and lasting changes, it’s often too late. The relationship is now in the danger zone. If you’re a woman who fits this description, please don’t give up. I have worked with so many men and seen them make amazing changes once they truly learned how to communicate and listen. I have worked with so many couples helping them strengthen their relationships. Give your husband another chance to get it right. Keep your family intact, together.

If you’re a man reading this and have a complaining and nagging wife, be happy! If she didn’t still care, she wouldn’t still nag.Listen before she goes on shut down mode. Spend time with her. Talk to her. Show her that she is the most important person in your life!

If you can show her that you can change and have a big and open heart, she might just give the marriage another try.

Staying connected to your teen

Staying connected to your teen

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More than ever, your teen is yearning for a deep connection, and with good reason. The uncertainty of this world has turned many teens’ lives completely upside down. The covid pandemic has caused anxiety in most if not all of this generation. At this time in their lives, the challenge is that they yearn for the security of their parents, yet they are ready and willing to start running their own lives. Most parents have a difficult time with this power shift. Parents generally want more control over their teens’ lives than teens are willing to relinquish.

This balance is quite a challenge. If you pull back too much, your teen will suffer enormously and may even lose their way, but at the same time, if your try to over-control your teen, they may never grow up and will still want to live with you well into their later years. I like to explain to the parents of my teen clients you are no longer their manager but rather acting more as a consultant.

You need to start to appreciate this new emergent adult. Your teen needs you to recognize this part of themselves and believe in them.

Experts agree that peers can influence behavior more than parents in adolescence. We, as parents, are constantly looking at our teens’ behaviors and the long-term patterns we see emerging. However, teens live in the present moment. This is why they give you a strange look when you try and discuss patterns in their lives. You may say. “I am seeing that you are late to school every day, and you’re missing your homework assignments, “trying to point out irresponsible behavior. Your teen will feel like you are talking gibberish to them, though.

Over the next few blog posts, my goal is to guide you through specific ways to stay connected to your teen.

To explain to you how to guide your teen without them actually feeling guided by you. Your teen wants you to read between the lines and be there for them no matter how hard they try and “push” you away.

Abbe Lang is a certified Life Coach and has successfully raised and launched 3 teenage boys.

Why We Hurt In Intimate Relationships

Why We Hurt In Intimate Relationships

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When our partners hurt us in our intimate relationships, it can cut deeper than any pain imaginable. Our partners know our buttons, our weaknesses, and our pain. When they wound us, it is often because they have touched on a childhood issue. We have conflicts in our relationship when our partners hurt us. Conflict or hurt is only growth trying to happen. When we feel hurt or angry, we must recommit to our own journey of self-love and healing. In doing so, we recommit to our partner by saying, “I will stick with this uncomfortable feeling and work it out with you.” We don’t want to shove that hurt feeling down inside and let resentment build. Our next step is sharing that hurt with our partners in a constructive way. I teach my clients to use Imago Dialogue to share their feelings of hurt and disappointment. Imago Dialogue enables each partner to have a turn in talking while the other person listens, repeats, validates, and acknowledges. This is a very powerful tool in getting to the root cause of your hurt or pain.

Effective communication is crucial to a healthy relationship. Having good communication skills may not solve or resolve every problem or issue, but no problem or issue will be resolved with them!   Some days we may communicate better than other days, but we can never choose not to communicate or shut down in our intimate relationships.

We often aren’t even aware of how little we listen to our partners. They speak, and in our minds, we think, “I have heard this a million times before.”

Maybe you have heard it, but never have you really listened, repeated your partner’s feelings, validated those feeling, and then finally empathized with your partner for having these feelings in the first place. When you take the time to accurately understand what your partner says, what they mean, you will deepen your love connection and avoid unnecessary hurt and pain.

Let’s go over these steps of Conscious communication with your partner to resolve your hurt and angry feelings.

The first step is MIRRORING.

Mirroring is the process of completely listening to your partner and accurately reflecting the entire “content” of their message. Most times, repeating back the exact words that your partner is saying is most effective.

Some specific phrases for mirroring include

Let me see if I got you…

I heard you say…

Did I get that …

After repeating back your partner’s feelings, you always ask, “Is there anything else?” This enables your partner to continue to share on a deeper level. Often your partner will really get to the bottom of their hurt and angry feeling by digging deep here.

The second step is VALIDATION.

Validation is communicating to your partner that the information you are receiving and mirroring “makes sense.” It is very important that you always remember these feelings are not your own. They are your partner’s hurt and angry feelings, and you need to agree and validate them no matter how crazy they may seem.

This is crucial. Don’t let your ego get in the way here. It isn’t about winning an argument. It is about uncovering your partner’s childhood wounds.

Some typical statements of validation can include

“You make sense to me…”.

“I can understand that you feel this way given that….” 

“I can see how you would see it that way because sometimes I do….”

The final step is EMPATHY.

Empathy is recognizing the feelings that your partner is sharing.

It is the process of reflecting, imagining, and participating in how your partner is feeling. Empathy allows both partners to overcome their own individual feelings, even for just a moment, and experience a genuine meeting of the minds. This experience has tremendous healing power.

Some typical phrases for empathic communication include

“I can imagine that when that happens, you may feel…”

“I can see that you are feeling…”

at the deepest level, “I am experiencing your (feelings)….”

A relationship is like a spiral repeating the stages of love and the experience of repair and connection through conscious communication. You enter the relationship through a doorway of love, hit the hurts and power struggles, repair and work on your connection again. Your hurts and pain become lessened each time you can successfully complete the conscious communication process through the proper safe dialogue.

This is because you can truly understand what is going on for your partner and are willing to take that journey to help heal them.

First Date Tips to Make a Great Impression

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The first date is crucial to making a good impression on your potential partner.

One of the things I always stress with my clients is listening, listening, and listening. People tend to be attracted to those with a high-interest level in them. One key phrase that can help you with your first date is to say, “I understand exactly what you’re saying” or “I can really understand how you could feel that way.” Statements like these help your potential partner really feel validated and understood.

My 5 favorite activities for a first date:

  1. Eating at your date’s favorite restaurant. By allowing your date to share with you their favorite restaurant, you are getting a sneak peek into who they are and how they were raised. Do they like authentic cuisine that reflects their cultural upbringing? When dining at a restaurant of your partner’s choice, they will feel comfortable with the menu and might share some family stories of eating certain dishes while growing up. This is a real ice breaker.
  2. I like to suggest a movie for a first date to some of my more introverted clients. A movie can take the pressure off you since you don’t need to have too much conversation initially, and then after the show, you can discuss your opinion of the movie, likes, and dislikes. This trivial conversation can be helpful for a person with a shy personality.
  3. I love suggesting touring a zoo if you are an animal lover. Women tend to melt and get happy inside when they see animals. There is plenty to discuss at the zoo just by taking a walk and hopefully holding hands!
  4. An amusement park can be an exciting first date for the thrill-seeking person. You will find out how adventurous your date is as well as having a great time. You won’t be at a loss of things to talk about since there is so much outside stimulation going on.
  5. Miniature golf can be a great first date! Golfing brings us back to our childhood and lazy summer days with our family. It’s semi-competitive but in a fun way. It’s an easy activity and doesn’t put too much pressure on face-to-face talking but still allows for an easy flow of conversation.

 

Toxic Relationships Affect your Health

Toxic Relationships Affect your Health

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We have all been around someone who might be in a bad mood, is having a hard time, or perhaps is a ‘negative nelly.’ However, for some people, this becomes more prevalent, insidious, and all-encompassing. We all have our good and bad days, but you really need to ask yourself if your relationship is toxic. Why? Because it can affect your health. Ask yourself:

  • Does this person make you feel bad about yourself?
  • Do you feel physically or emotionally drained?
  • Are you always giving without receiving anything back?
  • Does this person isolate you from family and friends?
  • Do you ever feel unsafe? Fearful?

If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions and have negative feelings about or around your significant other, spouse, or friend a majority of the time, then you may be in a toxic relationship. Is it time to ‘detox’ this person from your life? If this relationship is not serving you mentally, spiritually, emotionally, and physically, then it can be very difficult to stay healthy and thrive in your life. 

A toxic relationship can affect your health, but there are 3 things you can do about it right now:

  1. Recognize the relationship for what it is and be at peace because it is not up to you to change the other person.
  2. Create personal boundaries for yourself 
  3. If you find the relationship intolerable or feel miserable all the time, it may be time to leave. Otherwise, the circle of stress will continue to harm your health.

Deciding on the best course of action may take time, and you can help yourself make that decision by practicing meditation. As you become more ‘present’ and less stressed about possible future events, you can anchor yourself in the present and foster a positive change. 

Another great way to help release negative energy and clarify your mind and body from the inside is through regular yoga practice.  

Talk about it with someone who can give you an objective point of view, share your perspective, and help you gain more clarity. The toxic person may be willing to engage in counseling with you. Set boundaries, cultivate an inner circle of people who love and support you, and trust your intuition. 

Recommended Reading: 10 Tips for a Happier Relationship
10 Tips for a Happier Relationship

10 Tips for a Happier Relationship

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No matter how good your relationship is, there is always room for improvement. In fact, making the effort to keep things fresh is probably the best tip I have to create a happier relationship. But that can be broken down into more specific actions that will strengthen your relationship, whether you already think it’s perfect or if you feel like it needs a little help.

1. Focus on the positive.

Every day, think of one thing you really appreciate about your partner. But don’t just think about it. Tell him what it is you appreciate. “I really love how you make me a cup of coffee every morning.” “I really appreciate how you always pick up after yourself.” “It makes me happy that you always remember to say thank you when I do something, no matter how small it is.” When someone feels appreciated, they will do more things for you to appreciate!

2. Kiss and tell.

Make it a point, every time you leave or greet your partner, to kiss him and tell him you love him. And I’m not talking about a little peck on the cheek. I’m talking about a real kiss. Kissing triggers the production of oxytocin in the brain. Oxytocin is known as “the love hormone” because it works to strengthen the bond between two people.

3. Keep learning.

You may think you know everything about the person you married, but I bet there’s still a lot you don’t know. Deepen your relationship by asking open-ended questions. Ask his opinion, not something that can just be answered with a yes or no. Who knows? He may even learn a thing or two about himself.

4. Don’t stop dreaming.

Everyone has dreams. Don’t forget them when you get caught up in the everyday routine of making ends meet. Spend some time relaxing and ask, “If you could do/have/make/experience anything, what would it be?” Spend some time day dreaming about things you both would like to do or accomplish and maybe even brain storm ways to make those things happen. Then offer your support because when you support each other’s dreams, you become closer and stronger as a couple.

5. Never stop dating.

Set aside one night a week to just dress up and have a good time. Do the things you used to do before you got married. Remember what made you fall in love and re-live those things. There is only one rule: You can’t talk about bills, kids, work or anything else that is part of your mundane day-to-day life. If you struggle with this, it’s a sign that you need to work on it more. Don’t give up! Your relationship is worth the effort.

6. Use the power of touch.

Touch connects us physically, but looking for opportunities to touch will create a stronger emotional bond as well. Hold his hand, rub his shoulders or let your thigh rest against his while you sit next to each other. Just like kissing, touch releases hormones in the brain that build your emotional bond.

7. Find a common ground.

We can’t always agree on everything, but at least make the effort to meet in the middle. In many relationships, one person is always the one to give in. But in strong relationships, partners care about each other enough to not always have to get their own way. Keep it fair for both of you.

8. Seek out the positive.

If you need to bring up something negative, make sure to wrap it in plenty of positives. “I love watching movies with you but I have a hard time with the volume being so loud. If you turn it down just a bit, I can still enjoy the funny comments you make during the movie.”

9. Live in the moment.

When you focus on now, you’re less likely to obsess about the past or stress over the future. Certainly it’s important to make future plans, but focusing on the now will bring more joy to your relationship.

10. Keep it real.

Don’t exaggerate faults or use terms like “You always…” and “You never…” when you have disagreements. Don’t bring up issues that don’t relate to the situation you are discussing. Focus on what’s really happening and discuss your feelings instead of blaming him for how you feel. After all, no one can make you feel something. Your feelings and how you respond to them are your choice, so own them.
These are just a few tips that will strengthen your relationship and make it more solid every day. When you keep these tips in mind, you’ll find yourself falling more and more in love. Your man will feel that growing love and his love for you will grow more, too. You’ll have a relationship that most people only dream about!
Want to learn more? My Relationship Bundle has a much more in-depth look on how to meet and land a real catch, how to keep him interested, as well as a unique perspective about how men perceive us.

Meet and Marry the Perfect Guy

Meet and Marry the Perfect Guy

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Ladies are you single and frustrated with the dating scene? Are you losing any hope on meeting and marrying the perfect guy? Well let me assure you there are plenty of great guys out there just waiting to meet their perfect woman! (PS- Is he married already? If so, RUN AWAY!) And when I say perfect I don’t mean a guy with simply a perfect face, a chiseled body, and zero personality! I’m talking about meeting a guy who is perfect for YOU. Men are looking to meet a woman who is comfortable with her self. A woman who is self assured, sexy and has confidence. Have you ever looked at a woman and wondered, “How did she land such a perfect guy?” I know I did! I married my husband 7 years ago and he is 14 years younger than me. He chased me for a solid year straight before I even said yes to a date. He knew I was divorced and had 3 children but none of that mattered because of the way I carried myself.

My Story

I was convinced from the moment I divorced that I would meet and marry the perfect guy. I actually kept a piece of paper in my pocket every day that had the attributes that I expected to attract when looking for that perfect guy to meet and date.
I must admit, when I was going through my divorce I dated a lot of really great guys. Everyone used to ask how come I could meet so many nice men and they were having trouble doing so. I think one of the things I noticed that my other separated or divorce girlfriends were doing was that they were acting very cynical. It was almost like they hated all men. They wanted to meet this great guy but were putting out an attitude each and every time they were out and about or even on their dates.
When I met my husband Joe, he seemed like a nice guy and we became friends. I have to admit he wanted to date me from the start but I didn’t see a love connection since he was so much younger than me. However, I saw a really nice person and we connected and allowed our friendship to grow. After a whole year of Joe asking me out on dates (he asked me out every single Monday for a year!) I finally agreed and said yes. We met that week and had our first kiss, and we were pretty much inseparable after that! I’ll be honest, I probably didn’t actively follow every piece of advice I’ve outlined in my previous blog posts, but keep reading! Even if you only apply 25% of my advice, you are guaranteed to see results!

How YOU can Meet and Marry the Perfect Guy!

One of the first things you need to do before meeting the perfect guy is to work on yourself. Look your best! The better you feel and look, the more you will attract the perfect guy. You can find numerous tips on eating healthy in my eBooks. When you eat healthy and work out you will feel better.
You truly need to carry yourself like you are a prize. A prize that any man would want to pursue, date and marry. In order to do that you don’t need to be a beauty queen. It’s the way you carry yourself. You smile, you are self-assured, your hair and makeup are on point, you keep up with current events, you don’t settle and most of all you never chase a guy. Any guy you need to chase, is not worth having, trust me.
Once you are out on a date you never show that getting married and making babies are foremost on your mind. You need to show up on your date as your most charming self, not cynical or jaded. You need to know that the only thing that matters is that you are relaxed and self-assured. He will either love your or not. It’s never your fault if he doesn’t call. You shake it off. It’s his loss.
Men like a challenge. They like to be left with wanting some more. Keep your date short and sweet and end the date before he does no matter how good it is going.
If you begin to date the same great guy steadily remember to keep your cool. Allow him to text or call you first always. Be sure he is always trying harder than you are to make plans and get together. Learn his love languages, and teach him yours. If you remain a challenge to him until the very end he will know the only way to “have” you, to “have” all of you is to propose.
All of this, and much, much more is outlined in my eBook How to Meet & Marry a Great Man, which gives you a ton of practical, no-BS advice for less than the cost of two Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Lattes!
Keeping your engagement and marriage spicy comes next!

Choose Happiness in your Intimate Relationships

Choose Happiness in your Intimate Relationships

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Speed bumps are common in relationships. Fights happen and expectations can’t always be met but that shouldn’t deter a couple from giving a peaceful relationship. Yes, it takes work but the effort will always be worth it.

Here are some things to remember in order to have a sound relationship with one’s significant other:
Give the Other Person the Benefit of the Doubt. Sometimes it helps to think that your significant other hadn’t really meant to hurt you. Put yourself in their shoes and try to rationalize the situation from their point of view.

Don’t Play the Blame Game. Sometimes when we feel inadequate about ourselves, we blame the other person. Look inwards and determine the root of your negative emotion. Sometimes, the problem can be found within us. The solution will be obvious thereafter.

Don’t Act when you are Emotional. Strong emotions such as hurt, frustration, and anger can lead to irrational reactions and decisions. Acting on emotion can lead to regret in the end so try to calm down first before trying to do anything.
Choose Your Battles Wisely. Not everything should be turned into a fight. Confrontations are healthy in a relationship but fighting doesn’t solve anything all the time. Don’t let everything bother you.

Take care of Yourself. Some lose themselves in a relationship so much that they forget that they are an individual that needs constant nurturing. Channel some of that TLC towards yourself. Remember that you cannot love another person fully if you do not love yourself.

Keeping Anger Out Of Intimate Relationships

Keeping Anger Out Of Intimate Relationships

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Anger is normal under any circumstance, even in relationships, so keeping anger out of intimate relationships is even more important than ever. People get upset over things or even with their partners. More often than not, the problem lies not on anger per se but on the way a couple manages this situation. Anger doesn’t kill a relationship but holding on to it does. Here are some tips to deal with anger for couples:

*Address anger right away. Never leave your significant other with his or her rage because doing so will only make matters worse. Acknowledge your partner’s feelings and understand what he or she is upset about. Listen well so that you can both work towards solving the problem at hand.

*Share your feelings too. Avoid passive aggression at all costs. Express your anger, nervousness, or frustration. Open communication is vital when it comes to dealing with anger in a relationship.

*Recognize the fact that sometimes, you are not really angry with your partner but rather on the situation. More often than not, it’s not the person that really causes the negative feelings but what he or she did or failed to do.

*Let anger go. There are things that are not really worth getting upset over and it is important to recognize that harmonious relationships only happen when both parties are willing to accept certain things.