Relationships Advent Calendar . Day 9 . Write it down

Words mean a lot to some people and less to others.

If words are important to your love why not write your sweetie a note to let them know how you feel .. or if you have writer’s block pop into a card shop and find the perfect message

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Relationships Advent Calendar . Day 8 . Be Happy

Have you ever tried walking round smiling all day? Smiling at strangers? As well as people thinking you’re slightly unhinged I’m sure others will have smiled back, because smiling is infectious!!

So when you see your baby tonight SMILE :-)))))))))) and see them catch it off you ..

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Relationships Advent Calendar . Day 7 . Surprise Surprise

It’s good to be shifted out of our routines .. when you first met you’ll have talked and laughed and tried new things together, but once the relationship matures it’s easy to do the same things day to day. Research shows doing new things together stimulates us to feel affection and encourages us to communicate more.

So surprise your sweetie today .. with breakfast in bed, do a chore for them, a surprise gift, a special night out/in ..

Relationships Advent Calendar . Day 6 . Tell All

The number one thing couples ask for when I meet them for the first time is improved communication. What they often mean is how to disagree in a more graceful way, but also when a relationship goes wrong what is missing is a sense of appreciation for each other.

Research shows that 5 positive interactions to every 1 more difficult interaction serve to strengthen our bond and make disagreements easier to manage.

So get into good habits .. Tell your beloved what they did to make you happy today.

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Relationships Advent Calendar . Day 5 . Get physical ..

Touch is sooo important in feeling connected, holding hands, being close, a hug .. and all too often I hear couples saying they don’t touch in affectionate ways any more because one of them is nervous it might be seen as a bid for sex.

Treat your sweetie to a shoulder rub today, and if this is an issue for your couple make it clear in advance that a shoulder rub MEANS just that, nothing more.

Or ju

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Relationships Advent Calendar . Day 4 . Get texting

Maybe you text your sweetie all the time, but how many of those messages are about your relationship, especially if you’re managing a family together. Using all the opportunities to communicate our love and appreciation is vital in order to stay connected in the face of multiple responsibilities.

Text your sweetie you miss them today, even if it’s just from the shed!

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Relationships Advent Calendar . Day 3 . Be Complimentary

It’s lovely to hear something nice about ourselves .. and how much nicer when it’s coming from someone we love. Find a reason to compliment your beloved today, whether it’s how they look, what they do or how they do it.

#adventcalendar #relationships #relate

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Relationships Advent Calendar . Day 2 . Give thanks

Sharing gratitude is so important in our relationships and it’s such a shame that it so often gets lost in the busyness of our everyday lives. Stop and think how you might feel if someone thanked you for something you do every day at work for example .. now .. does it feel good?

Your challenge is to give your partner the gift of gratitude today .. Thank your sweetie for something they do for you today, or simply for being who they are.

Notice the difference that one small action makes, and consider making gratitude a bigger part of your relationships.

#adventcalendar #relationships #marriage #couples

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Back to the daily grind? Or another step forwards?

It’s that time of year again, the air seems fresher, the holiday clothes and suitcases are being packed away, school uniforms bought. In the words of the great Don Henley ‘The summer’s out of reach ..’

I hope you made the most of the long hot summer days (and the rainy ones too) to make the most of being outdoors and late nights with your loved ones.

Some of you might be looking forward to the kids going back so you can finally take some holiday and spend time together. But eventually we get home, and wouldn’t it be nice to hold on to some of that connection, to slow things down the rest of the year.

I was thinking about this for myself. Spending time away from work has been great for family relationships, so I put together some ideas about how to continue this for the rest of the year. Here are some of the ideas I came up with, some of which I do already and some I’m going to try out.

  • Booking at least one full day every month and clearing it as couple or family time.
  • Trying something completely new as a couple or family once a month
  • Putting phones away as much as possible
  • Getting outdoors whatever the weather
  • Being a ‘tourist at home’ and exploring your local area
  • Starting conversations with strangers and friends about what’s fun to do in your local area

Which of these ideas are catching your eye?

Would they be easy or difficult to do, and why?

Could you commit to trying just one of these and letting me know how you get on?

It’s the thingamyjob!!

When I was a kid my big brother was fascinated by how things worked. Through his open bedroom door I’d see the floor covered in bits of radio, and later on he’d fill the garage with bits of cars and motorbike. He needed to see the component parts and how they worked together in order to understand them properly.

I was the reader in the family, nose always in a book, to the point where my sister and mum would joke they had to remove all reading materials if they wanted my full attention.

Recently I’ve been wondering if we were really that different after all. The way I work is very visual, I use questions to work out how things are working and not working for a couple or in a family and I draw it out in a ‘geneogram’ to get a visual representation of what’s going on and what needs to change. It’s called systemic therapy.

One of my amazing teachers once described the idea of systems theory to me in a way that really helped .. she said:

‘Think of a central heating system. It works great, keeps everyone warm until the day it breaks. We don’t assume the whole thing is broken, we track and check to find which bit of the system isn’t working, and once that’s fixed the whole thing starts running properly again.’

So in a way I’m continuing the good work my brother started, staying curious about how things work, and how to make them work better.

How are you continuing family ways of doing things? How are you different and the same to your siblings?