Relationships Advent Calendar Day 19 . Admit When You’re Wrong

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This post follows on from yesterday’s, where I dared to suggest you just might be wrong sometimes (surely not!?) .. relationships thrive where both partners can give a little ground sometimes, and let’s face it, who doesn’t like to be right?

Today your task is to find something your sweetie is right about, give them a big beaming smile and let them know, with grace and love ..

Some of the most powerful words in your relationship may well be “Yes, you’re right.”

Afterwards spend some time thinking about how easy or difficult it was to do that, and how your partner reacted .. what did you learn?

Relationships Advent Calendar Day 18 . Who’s in your Corner?

Christmas and New Year is traditionally a time for partying and family, and also a time for reflection and taking stock, making plans and starting afresh ..

Today take some time to think about which of your friends and family support you in your relationship: who listens to you without judgement when you need to talk; who refuses to take sides; and who’s not afraid to tell you gently when you might just (gulp) be in the wrong .. cultivate these people and pledge to do the same for them in your turn ..

It takes two to make love, and a whole community to keep the flame alive ..

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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 ..

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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 ..

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Relationships Advent Calendar Day 14 . Fix it!

Healthy couple relationships don’t happen by accident, they’re the result of both partners putting time and attention into what feeds the relationship each day, like making small deposits into a bank account that we can draw on when we need it.

Today I invite you to pay into your relationship bank account by finding something to fix around the home. Especially things that would make a difference to your loved ones.

Maybe you could hang a picture that’s been leaning up against the wall for a year; sew those pesky trouser hems up; back up your spouse’s computer; oil that squeaky door or check your honey’s car is all ready for the cold weather, with de-icer, screenwash, a shovel, snacks, water and an extra warm blanket in case of getting stuck in a traffic jam.

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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 ..

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Relationships Advent Calendar . Day 10 . Treat Yourself

Today’s a reminder that this relationship is not all about pleasing your other half .. it’s important to take care of ourselves so that we have enough left over to meet our partner half way.

So schedule some time out today, buy yourself something lush, just stop for ten minutes and have a cup of tea, or luxuriate in the bath with some bubbles ..

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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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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

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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 ..

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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!

School holiday-proof your relationship

do216genres-relationships1200The kids have broken up and we’re heading of on that holiday we’ve been slogging towards since Christmas. We’re looking forward to a rest, being with family and long hot lazy days.

But the reality for most of us is that often we work harder in that last week before a break, the weather will be unpredictable, travel will be problematic, kids will whinge, getting out of our routine is stressful and drinking more alcohol than usual can make us more reactive and more tired and grumpy the next day.

Holidays are great for kids, who grow both physically and emotionally over the long summer holidays, but what about us?

It may be first time you’ve been with your spouse for a while, particularly if you work shifts or on a rota. Take a tip from school teachers, who often take the first week of the holidays to flake out and depressurize. That two week holiday abroad might look restful on the brochure, but how about taking a week at home, with nothing planned, to get to know each other again and destress, before heading out on a shorter adventure?

For those of us who parent with an ex partner the school holidays can feel even more stressful and it’s worth starting to negotiate your child’s schedule as soon as possible. Some parents might have a tried and tested formula for holidays, but remember as your child grows what you agreed for them at three years old might not work at age 13. As kids grow their peers become more important, so taking this into account and building in time to catch up with friends can be really helpful.

Whatever you choose to do this summer, be thoughtful, curious and kind to yourselves, and enjoy this wonderful season.