Conflict Recovery Conversations

Couples Weekly Challenge

Think of one small gesture or thing that you can do for your partner each day that will make his or her life easier. If you are not sure what your partner would like or what would make him or her feel cared for, think back to things that you used to do for one another when you were newly together or ask him what he would like, what would make her day better. Try doing this all week and beyond to make this become a habit and you might be surprised at how little gestures can easily make your partner feel more loved, valued and appreciated.

A few examples are-Bring a cup of coffee to her in bed, make her breakfast, ask if you can stop by the store for her on the way home from work, watch her favorite chick flick with her
Wash his car for him, make dinner together, do the dishes together after dinner, comment on his appearance (In a good way of course)
Fill up her gas tank, do an extra chore or two as a surprise, have lunch sent to her office on a hectic day when she likely isn’t going to get lunch
Cuddle on the couch to his favorite show, meet for lunch, offer support if he is stressed, take extra care of him when he has a cold
Take the kids for an outing to give her some quiet time or leave a loving note on the seat of her car in the morning, truly listen to what she has to say

Increasing Respect and Admiration in Your Relationship

Couples Weekly Challenge

Each morning for the next week, please think about and jot it down in your smart phone or on paper where you can save your thoughts to a response to an admiration thought starter. The underlined parts of the examples are samples of what you could fill in the blank with should it apply to your partner.

My partner is a really good person, he is so kind to other people who need help.
Think about one of your favorite moments with your partner when he did something kind for you.
Think of a time when your partner was very supportive to you.
Think about when you first met and what you thought of him.
Describe a goal that you set together and reached together.
I am proud of my partner when I see how great of a mother she is to our children.
I remember why I love my husband every time he tells me how beautiful he thinks that I am.
Think of at least one benefit of being with your partner.
One of my favorite things to talk about with my partner is our dream trip that we plan to take one day.
One of my favorite things to do with my partner is to take a long walk on the beach.
We are very different people, I like that we are different. One of the differences that I have learned to appreciate is that he is less bothered with making it to places on time than I am.
Think of a difficult time that you weathered together and appreciate the fact that you had one another for support.
My partner is a very interesting person. I love that he is interested in reading and always seems to be starting a new book.
I truly enjoy laughing at funny movies with my partner, seeing her smile makes me smile.
Be your partner’s biggest fan, let her know why you are and remind yourself of at least one thing that you love about her.

Getting What You Want In Your Relationship

Couples Weekly Challenge

Defining Your Relationship (Please note there is a Case Example for your review on pages 42-48 of my book, In The Pink, Developing Healthy Relationships)

Answer the following questions on your own and share with your partner in a comfortable spot and from a useful perspective to learn what each of you needs.

If you could create the ideal partner for you, what qualities would that person have? 

 Describe what an ideal relationship for you would look like…


Is your current relationship what you hoped it would be? Please elaborate, if so, in what ways, if not, what is missing?

Describe your relationship.

What initially attracted you to your partner?

What continues to keep you attracted to your partner?

How often do you go out as a couple?
Once in a week
Once in fifteen days
Once in a month
Other(please indicate) 

What do you do when you go out together? 
What types of things would you like to do with your partner?

What types of things did you used to do together when you first met?

What goals would you like to set together, for the relationship and for the life you are building together?

How often do you have sex?
6-7 times Per Week
5-6 times Per Week
4-5 times Per Week
3-4 times Per Week
1-2 times Per Week
Once in fifteen days
Once in a month
Other(please indicate) 

Is your sex life satisfying to you?     Yes      No

Do you think that you are a giving sexual partner?     Yes      No

Elaborate on the ways that your sex life is good.

Elaborate on the ways that you would like to see your sex life improve. 

What changes would you like to make within your relationship at this time?

If you could create a scene or fantasy that you and your partner could live out, what would the script of that scene look like? 

How Depression, Anxiety and Other Mental Health Issues Can Impact Your Relationship
Couples Weekly Challenge

The Couples Weekly Challenge this week encourages compassion, understanding and support within your relationship. One of the most helpful things you can do to show to become more compassionate, more understanding, more supportive and more empathic is to validate your partner’s feelings. When your partner shares feelings with you, value what he or she shared, without offering solutions or unsolicited advice. Really listen and let your partner know that you are hearing and understanding what he or she is feeling to validate his or her feelings.

Being a supportive partner can make a big difference to anyone with depression and anxiety and for your relationship. As a partner, offering understanding, compassion and empathy is helpful. In addition, validating your partner’s feelings offers even more support. Validating your partner’s feelings means placing value on what he or she is feeling and expressing by providing support and care to your partner. When your partner is telling you how they feel, you listen without analysis or judgment of the feelings being shared. Even if you would not feel the same way, simply listen and offer support, not resolution to an issue or even agreeing, just support. Have you ever heard that your wife doesn’t want you to solve her problem for her, she just wants you to listen? Well, I would take that one step further and say that she just wants you to listen and express that you hear how she feels which validates her feelings.

Let me give you an example of what I mean: Jay and Kate had difficulty validating each other’s feelings.  Their attempts to communicate with each other usually followed a predictable pattern of failure.  When Kate shared anger, worry, or sadness, Jay tried to help her by offering advice on how to solve or prevent the situation that caused those negative feelings.  But Kate just wanted to feel understood. Whenever Jay gave her unsolicited advice, she became upset with him. Jay, in turn, felt upset that she didn’t appreciate his genuine desire to help with her problem and began to withdraw emotionally.  Kate felt his detachment and began to resent and criticize his emotional insensitivity and shared her feelings again only with reluctance.   Fortunately they broke this negative cycle by learning to validate each other’s feelings.  Jay began to validate Kate by saying, “I can see how upsetting that was for you.  Is there anything that I can do to help you now?” Jay is not trying to solve her problems, but he is letting her know that he hears her, understands what she is saying and is there for her.

How Setting Goals as a Couple 
Couples Weekly Challenge

The Couples Weekly Challenge this week is to set 1 goal together, write out the steps for reaching your goal making sure that you use the SMART acronym, so you are easily reminded of the characteristics of a well written goal. Remember goals need to be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-Sensitive. 
Using the S.M.A.R.T. acronym, you are easily reminded of the characteristics of a well written goal.

Map-out your goals to pass the time-tested S.M.A.R.T. test. Are your goals Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time Sensitive? If not, revise the goal and/or plan until it meets these criteria.

Here is an example:

The plan should list the steps that you will take like..
If we set a goal together to create a flower garden together, the steps could include:
1. Determine what type of flower garden we want to plant-We want to plant a garden that attracts butterflies (Specific)
2. Determine where we will plant the garden-We will place the garden on the left side of the pool (Specific)
3. Determine how many plants are needed to fill the garden-We will plant 30 plants (Measurable, Achievable, Realistic)
4. Determine when the project will start and end-We will begin the project Memorial Day weekend and finish within the week (Time-Sensitive) 

Write your goals down, be flexible and celebrate your progress together!

How to Maximize Positive Influences and Minimize Negative Influences to Protect Your Relationship
Couples Weekly Challenge

The Couple's Weekly Challenge this week is to Set better boundaries with negative influences in your relationship.
Sit down with your partner and discuss areas that you would like to make a minor change in, like extended family involvement, time with friends, amount of time dedicated to work and family or any external influence that has been cause of tension in your relationship that you have been unable to resolve. After you have named at least one or a few, choose one and write it down. Then decide at least one way that the two of you could make a slight shift to reduce the amount of stress from that influence.

For example-If the amount of time spent at work is a consistent stressor for you and your partner, set a limit to how many nights a week you will stay late and to what time, then enact that. 



Couples Weekly Challenges

Karen Collins