How To Be A Supportive Partner (And What You Gain As A Result)

Shelly Bullard writes:

Sometimes we fail to support our partners in becoming the best versions of the of themselves because we’re scared of what that means for us. What if he wants something I don’t want? What if her desire takes her away from me?

We fear if he learns to fly, he might fly away. So we hold our partners back, sometimes without even knowing it. This strategy always backfires – it ends up holding our relationships back, as well.

But there’s a way to feel safe enough to support your partner to fly, and why doing so will take your relationship to new heights of love.

Get the rest of the article here: How To Be A Supportive Partner (And What You Gain As A Result)

I love Shelly’s writing — always powerful and prescient! You can find more of her stuff here


The Secrets That Keep Happy Couples Together

Cynthia Belmer shares this:

What makes a relationship work? What can couples do to stay happy in their relationship, especially in this modern age with stress all around us?

Everyone wants to make their relationship last and everyone wants to feel loved, happy, and in harmony with their partner, but few experience it.

Harmony is about a mutual agreement of giving and receiving in the most balanced, loving and humble way, while maintaining the space needed for self-nurturing and self-love. You can realize it and live it in your relationship when you:

1. Become best friends. Understand the likes, dislikes, the fears, the pain and the gain of your partner and ask open-ended questions.

2. Explore your common vision for the future. Discuss your goals and your visions for the future. How does a great and lasting relationship look like to you? Follow through with this view and commit to realizing and nurturing it.

3. Be humble. Take responsibility of our own actions and say that you’re sorry when you mess up.

4. Be generous. Allow yourself to give with humbleness, to appreciate with love, to forgive with softness, to listen with care and to compromise while receiving your needs in return.

5. Invest in your own and constant self-growth. Follow through with your interests, your goals, your emotional needs and wants and share them with your partner.

6. Trust. Speak your truth, always and allow both of your fears to surface and share them gently together.

7. Listen and never forget. Listen very carefully to your partner and remember what interests them, what they enjoy, they dislike and most importantly, remember their stories.

8. Allow spaciousness. Give some alone time to yourself and your partner and do unique things that you enjoy and that make you feel good.

9. Get intimate. Express your love through hugging, kissing, caressing, cuddling, holding, and other forms of physical affection.

10. Have faith. Never give up on realizing the picture of a great relationship, especially when going through a big storm.

So my question to you is: If you were to make a change so you could live happily and in harmony in your relationship, what would you be doing?

via The Secrets That Keep Happy Couples Together.


Love or dependency?

Kristin Barton Cuthriell has an excellent post on codependency that I want to share with you this morning:

“Love is the ability and willingness to allow those that you care for to be what they choose for themselves without any insistence that they satisfy you.” Wayne Dyer.

Sally tells her husband, Ron, that she would like to go visit her sister for the weekend. Ron becomes upset and accuses Sally of not loving him. He gives Sally such a hard time, that even if she were to go, she would not enjoy herself. Ron tells Sally that he does not want her to go because he loves her and wants to spend all of his time with her.

Ken and Angie spend most evenings and weekends together. One Saturday, Ken is invited to go to a ballgame with the guys. When Ken asks Angie if he can go, she becomes upset and reasons that he would rather be with the guys than with her.  She feels hurt and acts angry and resentful towards Ken. Ken can’t enjoy the game because he knows that he has hurt Angie.

Cindy joins a book club that meets the first Wednesday night of each month. Ted feels threatened by Cindy leaving the house to do something without him. As much as Cindy enjoys book club, she stops going. The way Ted treats her when she does go, just isn’t worth it.

Unless the visit to the sister, the ballgame, and the book club are destructive to the individual or the couple in some way, Ron, Angie, and Ted are operating with their insecurities in the driver’s seat. They believe that they have been acting out of love. But this kind of love is about them, not their partner. What they call love is really dependency. They are not holding their partner back for the good of their partner, they are holding their partner back because they want to make themselves happy. They want to fulfill an unmet need within themselves.

When individuals function from a place of dependency rather than mature love, they are usually trying to get a childhood need for security and nurturing met. As infants, we are totally dependent on our caretakers for all of our needs. If those needs are met, we are more likely to experience mutual love in adult relationships. If those needs are not met when we are young, we do not outgrow them. Instead, we unconsciously demand that these needs be met by our partners. When this happens, our partner’s needs are often ignored and the relationship becomes more about us than about them.

A healthy parent child relationship is very different from a healthy adult relationship. In a healthy parent child relationship, the parent is to meet the child’s needs, not the other way around (Note: meeting a child’s needs is not the same as spoiling a child). The relationship is not mutual. It is about the child.

A healthy adult relationship is about mutual sharing. The adult is not enmeshed, as an infant often is with their primary caretaker. The relationship consists of a delicate balance of closeness and separateness.” If any of this resonates with you, you can read the rest of the article here: Love or dependency – Let Life in Practices.

While you’re there, signup to receive Kristin’s updates or follow her in social media! She is a continuous source of good, clear thinking on relationships and her perspective has helped me many times…


Don’t Let Them Stop You

Kristin Barton Cuthriell writes:

“Criticism is something we can avoid easily by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing. “ -Aristotle

You have a purpose.

There is work to be done.

You can do it.

There is fun to be had.

You can have it.

There are people to love.

You can love them.

There are quiet moments to enjoy.

You can enjoy them.

There is love to be received.

You can receive it.

There is life worth experiencing.

You can experience it.

No matter what you do, there may always be someone out there who finds fault in you.

The truth is… we all have faults.

The truth is… we can always find a critic.

Are you going to allow those critics or the critic that lives within you, hold you back from living your best life?

Work hard, play hard, take time to rest, pray, and let life in.

When you live with integrity, you can ignore the critic.

Related articles

via Don’t Let Them Stop You.


The best of @toddlohenry for 7/17/2012

  1. “My life has been filled with misfortunes, most of which never happened.”- Mark Twain

    Sat, Jul 14 2012 15:18:31
  2. Todd’s tweets…

  3. toddlohenry
    “5 Reasons You Can’t Tell When You Are Being Lied To”
    Tue, Jul 17 2012 09:02:55
  4. toddlohenry
    25 Animals Who Are Genuinely Interested In What You Have To Say
    Mon, Jul 16 2012 17:00:42
  5. toddlohenry
    Wow. Even LinkedIn is getting a major overhaul… With Sights Set on Engagement, LinkedIn Launche…
    Mon, Jul 16 2012 16:50:15

Connecting some dots on ‘boundaries’

  1. Everything I’ve ever curated on ‘boundaries’…

Healthy Boundaries: A Good Practice

English: Slate fencing marking field boundarie...

Kristin Barton Cuthriell writes:

“Boundaries are those invisible lines that separate you from other people. When children grow up in families that practice healthy boundaries, these boundaries are typically passed down through generations. The same is true when individuals are raised in dysfunctional families that have no sense of healthy boundaries. These poor boundaries, too, are often passed down the generational line.

Poor boundaries are usually too rigid or too loose. Like a concrete wall, rigid boundaries keep people out. When a person is closed off with rigid boundaries, they do not allow themselves to become vulnerable, which makes true intimacy impossible.

People with loose boundaries have little fence or no fence at all. The separation between self and others is blurred. Individuals with loose boundaries do not have a clear sense of self. These people trust easily, disclose too much, have a difficult time setting limits, and often become enmeshed with others.

Healthy relationships require healthy boundaries. If you are aware that your personal boundaries are either too loose or too rigid, you can learn healthy boundaries.

The first step to change is recognizing that change is needed.  What you do not acknowledge, you do not change.

What is a healthy boundary? Take a look.” Get more here: Healthy Boundaries: A Good Practice – Let Life in Practices.


Does Gratitude Matter in Marriage?

Susan Heitler, Ph.D. writes:

“Please” and “thank you” often come out of our mouths automatically. How can we use true gratitude and thankfulness to cultivate healthy relationships?

Gratitude is “the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.”

As children we’re taught to say “thank you” automatically in return for a favor. On this surface level, we are taught that gratitude is an appropriate social response.

At the same time, on a more complex level, gratitude is a way of being. When we truly feel gratitude, we experience heartfelt awe and appreciation for the goodness of something outside ourselves. Having gratitude towards someone or something means respecting its value and treasuring how unique, beautiful, or indispensable it is.

New studies support the idea that gratitude is an integral part of healthy relationships. As marriages move past the honeymoon stage, couples go from appreciating and loving every little detail about each other to taking each other for granted. Amie Gordon, a psychologist from U.C. Berkeley, blames this for the downfall of many relationships: ”You get used to having [your spouse] in your life and forget why you chose to be with them.” We become deadened to our spouse’s special qualities and instead focus on things that annoy us about them. These doldrums leave couples confused and discouraged: “Maybe the man they married isn’t so great after all…What happened to the spark in our relationship?…What do we do now?”

Dr. Gordon’s study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology explores the role of gratitude and appreciation in maintaining long and healthy relationships. In the study, 50 committed couples were given a week to fill out appreciation journals. On days when one partner reported feeling more appreciated, he or she tended to appreciate his or her partner more the next day.

Couples who had ongoing reciprocal appreciation were less likely to break up in the next nine months and even reported being more committed at the end of that time. The researchers concluded that a nourishing cycle of encouragement and appreciation provides extra incentive to maintain our relationships. In other words, when we appreciate our partners, we develop trust and respect. When we feel appreciated, we feel needed and encouraged.

In the second part of the study, Gordon’s researchers observed how couples of all ages–from 18 to 60–communicated appreciation. The team noticed that “highly appreciative” pairs tended to use body language and response skills to show that they valued their spouses. Foremost of these was a Power of Two favorite skill: active listening. When their partner spoke, appreciative spouses leaned in, made eye contact, and responded thoughtfully to what they were saying. They made it clear that they were listening to and digesting what their spouse said, thereby showing that they valued their spouse’s opinion. Appreciative couples also used touch and physical encouragement such as handholding or an encouraging pat on the leg.

This study observed the healthy relationships benefits of naturally appreciate couples. The flipside is that some couples are not naturally appreciative. It can be incredibly discouraging to not feel appreciated–you may even feel like your marriage is over. Luckily, our behavior and thoughts are malleable; just as we fell out of patterns of love and gratitude, we can grow back into them.

The key to sparking healthy relationships with gratitude is to take the initiative: “Instead of just waiting for the other person to make you feel good, you can jumpstart that cycle and take it into your own hands by focusing on what’s good in your relationship,” says Dr. Gordon. Start with small and easily achievable goals, such as giving your spouse five compliments a day, or simply smiling at her more often.

Gratitude is a skill that you cultivate—nurture it in yourself, and soon your will see positivity radiate back at you.

Source: Does Gratitude Matter in Marriage? | Psychology Today