Relationships Advent Calendar . Day 23 . Make an Inventory

So as we know from the kids’ nativity Mary and Joseph went to Bethlehem for the census .. and today I’d like you to start a mental tally chart of the good things in your life, and how many are possible because of the love and support of your partner.

Keep adding whenever you think of one and watch that list grow .. find a beautiful notebook and start a gratitude journal if that’s how you roll .. notice how it feels to know you’re not dependent on or independent of each other .. but inter-dependent, two people who support and appreciate each other.

advent

Relationships Advent Calendar . Day 16 . High 5 Your Sweetie

Sometimes it’s tempting to take the good things for granted and only focus on the things your honey does wrong .. they know you love them right??

Wrong .. research shows that to feel positive in their relationship couples need an average ratio of five positive for every one negative interaction .. that means in order for your relationship to thrive you need to get working on those positives .. so notice your partner’s successes, and those of the two of you, and take time to celebrate them today ..

christmas-lights

Relationships Advent Calendar Day 15 . Express your Gratitude

Yeah yeah, been there done that .. but gratitude and appreciation are one of the single most important indicators of a relationship’s success ..

So today your task is to think of all the things you’re grateful to your sweetie for .. then pick one and make sure you let them know ..

christmas-lights

Relationships Advent Calendar . Day 13 . Write it Out

Nothing is more meaningful than when we take the time to write something out .. so today write your sweetie exactly how you feel and put it somewhere they’ll find it later .. in the fridge, stuck to their toothbrush or maybe on the remote!

Get creative, and spread the love ..

celebrationcolour

Relationships Advent Calendar . Day 12 . Share a 6 Second Kiss

A six second kiss every day is a proven way to maintain a loving relationship.

Take just six seconds today to share a kiss or a hug with your sweetie today .. and consider doing this every day .. the 6 seconds that will bring you closer and help to grow your love are highlighted by the Gottman Institute as something that can increase closeness and make you more mindful of your honey

christmas-lights

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.

celebrationcolour

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

starlights

Christmas-proof your relationship

“Advent is the perfect time to clear and prepare the Way. Advent is a winter training camp for those who desire peace.” – Edward Hays

xmasdisaster

Tomorrow is the first day of December, and it’s so easy at this very special time of year to get caught up with the chores of Christmas: the cards, the gifts, the cooking .. and put our couple relationship on the back burner until the New Year.

Christmas is a wonderful time, but sometimes the stress can take its toll on our relationships, with many couples seeking counselling from me after the holiday season, when stress, the family, disappointed expectations (and one too many Baileys) have resulted in relationship melt-down.

December is a great time to take stock of our relationships, and to make sure loving each other is part of the run up to Christmas. Those of you who read my posts regularly will know I’m a firm believer in the power of small sustained actions to build and sustain loving relationships.

So for the third year in a row I invite you to follow my new and improved Relationship Advent Calendar Challenge, a great way to build acts of love into each day from December 1st, as my seasonal gift to you.

And if you haven’t met your sweetie yet .. you’re still warmly invited to take part .. use this time to practise the actions I suggest on your friends and family.

So, what’s a “Relationship Advent Calendar?

A lot of advent calendars are about getting, but this one’s all about giving, because in a relationship we give to receive. Every day in December until Christmas, I’ll reveal a new action to build and sustain your couple relationship.

Subscribe to the blog, follow me on Twitter or Facebook and & get 25 acts of love delivered to your inbox each day, starting on December 1!

I’ll be doing all of these right along with you .. I’d love to hear how you get on ..

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Are you excited about this advent project? Get in touch using the Comments box below or my Contacts details to the right of your screen .. happy adventing!

Online Digital Counselling

I’ve been spending this summer honing my skills in online counselling, working on the Relate Live Chat service. It offers 30 minute chats with highly qualified and experienced relationship counsellors.

digitalcounselling

It’s been a while since I’ve had to type quite so much, and fast, and it’s also been incredibly motivating! Often I’ve been able to help people who would never book a traditional face to face counselling appointment because of isolation, or mobility issues, or sometimes because of the nature of what they’ve wanted help with.

Online counselling, in the form of web chat or email counselling, can be a godsend for new parents, airline crew or anyone working shifts because it’s on demand and people can engage when and how they want to. I’ve spoken with many more young adults than I would when I’m in my counselling room and they’ve told me that our chats have been helpful.

I’m so excited about adding online counselling to the ways I can connect with people because of the frustrations I’ve had in the past in not being able to provide a service for people who can’t turn up to a face to face session regularly. We have a lot of people here in the North East who work offshore so I’ve had many conversations about different ways to access support and this feels like a big step forward.

And of course it’s good for me to keep fresh and challenged, to continue to grow just as I encourage my clients to do!

Are you due a Relationship MOT?

I like the idea of harnessing routine in a relationship, the power of making small regular deposits into the relationship ‘bank account’ that over time serve to build a strong foundation: when I say goodbye to my clients at a final session I often suggest they choose a future date in their diary to review what progress they’ve made and stay aware of any small issues that threaten to grow.

So making a yearly date to sit down  to look at your relationship makes sense: often we’re so caught up with work, kids, family, friends that focussing on where our relationship is just doesn’t get a look in. Looking back on an average year for me I could assure you that enough will have happened that’s been completely out of my control that a bit of time out to thrash things out and make sense of things with my partner is usually long overdue.

If you’re single you could do this with a good friend, and return the favour, or of course make use of an experienced and qualified relationship counsellor (try www.counselling-directory.org.uk “.. a comprehensive database of UK counsellors and psychotherapists, with information on their training and experience, fees and contact details.”)

Some questions to ask might be:

What’s important to me in this relationship?

Is this being honoured at present?

Am I being the person I want to be currently in this relationship? If not, why?

If I am, what could I do more of?

What would my partner like less / more of?

Can we talk openly and honestly, even when the subject is sensitive?

How is our sex life?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the idea of a relationship MOT .. message me below or get in touch on Twitter or email me.