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What a Healthy Relationship Needs to Stay Healthy

You have been in a healthy relationship for some time now and everything seems to be going great! And you are reading this because you are wondering what a healthy relationship needs to stay healthy. Good for you!

I believe that there are 7 components of a healthy relationship. Pay attention to these 7 things and safeguard your relationship from the things that can tear you apart.

#1- A healthy relationship needs good communication.

Really, there is nothing more important for a healthy relationship than good communication. Nothing.

It is important that we tell our partners when they aren’t making us feel good. It is important that we tell our partners that they are important to us. It is important that we tell our partners how much we love them.

I can’t tell you how many of my clients find it almost impossible to be honest with their partners about how they are feeling. They are scared of making themselves vulnerable and afraid of the outcome.

Just last night a client was telling me that she felt like all of the hard work that she and her husband had put into saving their marriage was slipping away because he was busy at work and she was lonely. She said she was just going to try to find interests of her own. I suggested that she tell him she was worried that the results of their hard work was slipping away. Be honest with him about how she was feeling.

She did and he got it and they made a plan for time together this weekend. Together.

#2 – A healthy relationship needs just the right amount of sex.

Every happy couple has a sex life that suits them. There is no exact formula for how much sex a couple must have to be happy. Instead, each couple needs to decide what is best for them, to talk about it and play around and meet each other’s sexual needs in a way that makes everyone excited.

I have a client whose husband wants to have sex EVERY night and, while she really likes having sex with him, every night just doesn’t work for her. She used to just rebuff his advances, which made him feel bad, but on my advice she talked to him about it. She explained how she felt, they agreed that she would be the instigator and that she would instigate often. That worked for both of them and they are happy.

So tick this one off of your list. Talk to your partner about your sex life and make a plan to make it work well for both of you.

Sounds fun, right?

#3 – A healthy relationship needs some inside jokes.

What really? How can that be? That is such a little thing.

Happy couples are like a little islands unto themselves. Sure, they have families and friends and jobs and responsibilities but they also have things that they only share with each other. Inside jokes.

Imagine this. You and your spouse are at a family BBQ. Tensions are flying over something. Politics, perhaps. And then your father in law says something, something that he ALWAYS says and that you and your spouse have whispered about in bed at night. You meet eyes as the statement is made and you just connect. You smile and nod and go on with the day with a warm feeling in your tummy.

Connection is what real love is about. And having a secret is super fun. So having an inside joke, a combination of the two, can’t be beat for keeping couples close.

#4 – A healthy relationship means keeping promises.

Promises. They are usually made with such good intentions but when they are broken there can be disastrous consequences.

Promises have to do with trust. If you make a promise and don’t keep it then trust is lost. It’s better to not make a promise that you can’t keep then continue to break ones that you do.

I have a client whose boyfriend kept promising her that she could meet his kids. And yet every time a meeting was set up there was always an excuse about why it couldn’t happen.

Eventually she stopped wanting to meet his kids, and, ultimately, she stopped wanting to be with him.

Her trust in him had been lost. And without trust what is there?

Make your promises carefully. Remember how important they are for maintaining trust. And love.

#5 – A healthy relationship means not taking each other for granted.

Let me state that one again. Don’t take anyone for granted.

When we first fall in love our attention is completely focused on that one person. But as time goes by we get distracted by life and we can start to neglect the one we love. We know they are there, and we assume that they will always be there, so we stop tending the relationship. And the consequences can again be disastrous.

This I can tell you from personal experience. My husband, no matter how awful I was to him, always promised me that he would never leave me. I didn’t mean to but because of this I took him for granted and while I planned to make changes to my behavior I never quite made it happen.

And, guess what. He left me.

So pay attention to that person in bed next to you. One day they just might be gone and where would you be then?

#6 – A healthy relationship needs quality time and shared interests.

Yes, we are all busy, with lots on our mind and all sorts of pressures. But it is important that you take the time to have quality time with your partner. Time that is spent together doing things that you both love.

In my marriage we divided and conquered. My ex-husband worked hard and I took care of the kids. Any free time we had we spent focused on the family. We had nothing left that was just us. As a result, we stopped being the two of us in a relationship but being two of us working parallel to each other, raising our children, managing the business of our family.

So find something that you both like to do together and do it. REGULARLY. Don’t let that love slip away in the hustle and bustle of life.

#7 – A healthy relationship means making your partner a priority.

Yes, yes, I know. There are so many important things in our lives these days. Making money is one of the first that comes to mind. Making sure our children grow into successful adults is another. And then there is exercise. And friends. And hobbies. And your phone.

And all of these are important. But one thing that you realize, when you no longer have a partner, is that none of these things really matter because you, well, you don’t have a partner.

So make your partner your priority. Every day.

Work is important but so is getting home for date night. That Saturday morning 15 mile run? Go for it but if you could instead spend the morning alone with your spouse, consider it. A movie night with the girls? Bring your husband instead. Movie negotiable. The phone? Put it down.

Consider all the good that could come from making your spouse a priority. Connection, laughter, physical affection, good will, sex, happiness. Arguably more life enhancing than the money and the muscles and the children with a perfect score on their SAT.

100 years ago the author George Sands said: There is only one happiness in this life, to love and be loved.

No truer words have ever been spoken. Love is what makes the world go round and it is important that we recognize that and take action to preserve it, no matter what. That we do what needs to be done to keep a healthy relationship healthy.

So pick up the phone, call your person, tell them you love them, make them laugh and invite them out to do something fun.

Do it now. Don’t wait!

Mitzi Bockmann is a NYC based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. Her writing has been published in The Huffington PostPrevention MagazineThe Good Man Projectamong others. She works exclusively with women to help them to be all that they want to be in this crazy world in which we live.

Looking for more ways to finding happiness? Contact me NOW and I can help!

5 Ways To Show Someone You TRULY Love Them

So you are in love. Isn’t it wonderful? Every day you share with your person is a new and wonderful day. You hope that you feel like this forever.

Unfortunately you won’t. That early, heady love is amazing but it’s not sustainable. Doctors say that if people felt forever the way they do in the first six months of a relationship it would actually kill them. Too many endorphins can damage the heart. Ironic no?

Fortunately, the next phase of love, the settling in for the long game, can be a wonderful thing too. If you do it right.

Here is my latest – 5 Ways To Show Someone You TRULY Love Them.

# 1- Love them as they want to be loved.

I truly believe that one of the best tool in a successful relationship is Gary Chapman’s 5 Love Languages. Go to Amazon right now and download it onto your Kindle.

The premise behind his book is that there are five love languages, five ways that people express and receive love.

The languages are: Quality Time, Physical Touch, Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service and Giving of Gifts.

For each person one of those things is the thing that makes them feel the most loved when they are done unto them. When a partner tries to love them using a different love language they don’t feel loved.

My love language is Quality Time – I feel loved when someone is truly present with me, listening to me, focusing on me. My ex-husbands’ love language was Physical Touch – he felt love when I was holding his hand, hugging him or, yep, that too.

Unfortunately, the language that we spoke best with each other was Acts of Service – we did things for each other, like changing the oil in the car or going to the grocery store. Stuff got done but neither of us felt loved.

Check out the 5 Love Language at www.5lovelanguages.com. There you will find a short quiz that you and your partner can both take and you can start loving each other in a way that will work.

#2 – Forgive them.

There is nothing more insidious in a relationship than not forgiving someone for a wrong. And for some reason couples who love each other are really, really good at not forgiving each other. If someone does something wrong nothing they can do will make up for that wrong. And that wrong will be played out verbally, over and over, forever.

People are only human. We do things that hurt people. Rarely do we do things to hurt someone on purpose. And yet, in relationships, we often take the thing that someone does to us so personally that we refuse to believe that they didn’t set out to hurt us. And that is unforgivable.

I have a client whose partner was so late getting home one night that he missed a date they had planned. He was delayed at work and then got stuck in traffic and it was a disaster. She took it personally. If you loved me, she said, you would have gotten home on time. And she truly believed what she said.

The reality is is that he DOES love her.  He just didn’t allow enough time. And he blew it, but he does love her. And it’s important for her to understand that. And it makes it easier to forgive. He was late. He didn’t plan well. He blew it. And he does love her.

Of course another piece of forgiveness is that the wrong-doer must apologize for the hurt caused. Because therein lies the issue that will carry forth forever – the hurt. Not so much the actions but the resulting feelings.

So don’t take things personally. And apologize for the hurt. Forgive and move on.

#3 – Support their goals.

I know it has happened to all of us that our partner comes up with some pie-in-the sky idea that is the new driving force in their lives. It’s exciting and new and all they want to talk about.

And I am sure it has happened to all of us that we think our partner’s new idea is crazy.

I remember in college my soccer-playing, skiing, manly-man of a boyfriend turned to me after a dance performance and announced that he wanted to be a dancer. I actually laughed in his face. This was 30 years ago and I still remember the hurt look in his eyes. He never became a dancer.

To this day I wish I had supported him. That’s what people who love each other do for each other. He might never had become a dancer but having the person who loved him believe in him would have been such a gift. Even better would have not being on the receiving end of my derision.

So support them. No matter what.

Want help with expressing your love? Let me help!

#4 –  Don’t be critical.

You know how you feel when you go to visit your in-laws and your mother-in-law makes some passive aggressive, disparaging comment about something you did. You know how shitty that makes you feel?  And you don’t even really like your mother-in-law.

So imagine what your partner, who loves you, must feel like when you are critical of them.

I have a client whose wife gives him the one over every time they are headed out the door. She tells him if his hair is out of place or if his shirt is right or if he is carrying the right bag for the task ahead. And while she is quick to say Your pants have a hole in them she never says You are perfect today, honey. Thank you.

My client at first tried to anticipate what his wife might want but as time went on he only felt resentment towards her criticism. He actually started not only making choices that he knew would antagonize her but he ignored whatever she mentioned at the door.

So be careful not to be critical. If you have something to say, say it with love. And if it doesn’t need to be said, don’t say it. Life will go on if his hair isn’t just right.

#5 – Never show contempt.

If there is one thing that kills love it’s contempt. Do anything that you can to keep it out of your relationship.

Contempt seems to rear its ugly head when wrongs fester, when people don’t forgive, when being critical is the norm and respect is lost.  Contempt manifests itself with derisive comments about your partner, comments about who they are as a person.

My ex-husband had a really hard time getting things done around the house. I told him, over and over, that if he was my employee I would fire him. And I wouldn’t say it in a loving way. I would say it dismissively, almost with a wave of my hand. I can only imagine how it must have felt to be on the receiving end of my contempt.

Therapists say that when they see contempt in a relationship they know that it’s close to over. So if you find yourself acting contemptuously STOP, assess and figure out what needs to be done.

Don’t let contempt kill love. Because it will.

So there you go – my 5 Ways To Show Someone You TRULY Love Them.

Of course there are the obvious ways to show someone that you love them.  You hug them and kiss them and have sex with them and tell them that they are wonderful and hang out with their friends and visit their mother. All of those things are an excellent way to show you someone you love them.

But they will have a hard time accepting your love if you aren’t willing to forgive them, if you can’t support them and are constantly critical of them. Back up your kisses with words and actions and they will know that you are the one for them.

Mitzi Bockmann is a NYC based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. Her writing has been published in The Huffington PostPrevention MagazineThe Good Man Projectamong others. She works exclusively with women to help them to be all that they want to be in this crazy world in which we live.

Looking for more ways to finding happiness? Contact me NOW and I can help!

5 Ways to Keep Your Relationship Solid – Even if You Have A Lot Going On

Relationships and love. Everyone says, and, I think, truly believes, that without love the world just doesn’t go round. Love is a powerful thing that makes everything a little shinier. We all want it.

And yet, ironically, it is relationships that are usually the first thing to be set aside as we live these chaotic, jam packed and exhausting lives. Work, kids, exercise, all come first, leaving love sitting on the sidelines, lonely and neglected.

Doing the work that I have done for years with clients, and living my life, has given me a tremendous amount of insight into the damage we do, more often than not unwittingly. I want to share that insight with you today.

Here is my latest, 5 Ways to Keep Your Relationship Solid – Even if You Have A Lot Going On.

#1 – Keep your promises.

Promises. They are usually made with such good intentions but when they are broken there can be disastrous consequences.

Promises have to do with trust. If you make a promise and don’t keep it then trust is lost. It’s better to not make a promise that you can’t keep then continue to break ones that you do.

I have a client whose boyfriend kept promising her that she could meet his kids. And yet every time a meeting was set up there was always an excuse about why it couldn’t happen.  Eventually she stopped wanting to meet his kids, and, ultimately, she stopped wanting to be with him.

Her trust in him had been lost. And without trust what is there?

Make your promises carefully. Remember how important they are for maintaining trust. And love.

#2 – Make your limited time quality time.

Yes, we are all busy, with lots on our mind and all sorts of pressures. But it is important to take a few minutes to really connect with your partner. Not a quick phone call between meetings, talking about yourself and your worries, but real connection.

Next time you are together, take a moment and look at your partner and ask them how they are doing. Listen to them without interrupting. Don’t try to fix anything, just listen.

Listening without judgment is very powerful. Letting your partner know they are cared about, and being heard, is a powerful way to express love. And knowing how your partner is doing will only make you feel closer.

#3 – Use your words.

How many times has a client said to me “I don’t have to tell him I love him. He knows.”

Thousands, I am afraid.

Think back to the last time that your partner told you that you were beautiful, or sexy, or that they loved your laugh. Even if you have heard it from them a million times didn’t it make you feel great?

Words are very powerful. Use them for good. And for love.

#4 – Touch, touch, touch, touch.

One cannot underestimate the importance of the power of touch. I am not talking about sexual touch (although it’s power should not be discounted) but simple affectionate touch.

A hug, holding hands, a kiss, a light pat on the butt. These are all examples of physical affection that can keep you bonded to your partner every day.

Did you know that a hug produces oxytocin, a chemical known to enhance mood? That a pat on the butt can make someone feel sexy and wanted? That holding hands as you walk down the street makes you feel like you can take on the world? Don’t even get me started on kissing…

So reach out and touch your partner today. Don’t make them ask for it. It’s quick, easy and fun, with huge payoffs.

#5 – Don’t take anyone for granted.

Let me state that one again. Don’t take anyone for granted.

When we first fall in love our attention is completely focused on that one person. But as time goes by we get distracted by life and we can start to neglect the one we love. We know they are there, and we assume that they will always be there, so we stop tending the relationship. And the consequences can again be disastrous.

This I can tell you from personal experience. My husband, no matter how awful I was to him, always promised me that he would never leave me. I didn’t mean to but because of this I took him for granted and while I planned to make changes to my behavior I never quite made it happen.

And, guess what. He left me.

So pay attention to that person in bed next to you. One day they just might be gone and where would you be then?

There you go, my 5 Ways to Keep Your Relationship Solid.

“There is only one happiness in this life, to love and be loved,” said George Sands 100 years ago. And nothing today has changed. We can have success in our careers, be as fit as a 20 year old and have the perfect golf game but without love what does it all matter?

I know that if I had followed my own advice (if I had known it then) my marriage might have had a chance. I certainly regret not working harder at changing those behaviors.

So don’t let love live on the sidelines. Bring it out to center field, into the sunshine, where it can be all that it can be. You can do it.

Look for more help tending your relationship? Contact me and I can help.

 

Mitzi Bockmann is a NYC based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. Her writing has been published in The Huffington PostPrevention MagazineThe Good Man Projectamong others. She works exclusively with women to help them to be all that they want to be in this crazy world in which we live.

Looking for more ways to finding happiness? Contact me NOW and I can help!

The 5 Love Languages – How To Love and Be Loved

This blog is almost entirely about someone else’s brilliant idea, but it’s an idea so brilliant that I want to share it with all of my readers!

Gary Chapman’s book The 5 Love Languages created a whole movement around the concept of there being 5 languages of love, and thus 5 ways to express love to your partner.

Expressing love seems straightforward, no? Well, not so much.

It seems that most of us express love in ways that WE want to be loved – as opposed to in ways our partner wants to be loved.

We might feel loved when we get a piece of jewelry as an expression of affection but our partner might feel loved by getting to spend a full day together, just the two of you. We might feel loved when we get a hug but our partner might feel loved if we take out the trash.

The key is learning what it is that your partner needs to feel loved. When you learn what that is and express your love using those actions, your partner will truly feel loved.

And it’s easy to love if you feel love in return. And isn’t that what we all want. To love and be loved?

Without further ado, the 5 Languages of Love, transcribed exactly from Gary’s Chapman’s website www.5lovelanguages.com.

#1 – Quality Time

Nothing says “I love you” like full, undivided attention. Being there for this type of person is critical, but really being there—with the TV off, fork and knife down, and all chores and tasks on standby—makes you feel truly special and loved. Distractions, postponed activities, or the failure to listen can be especially hurtful. Whether itʼs spending uninterrupted time talking with someone else or doing activities together, you deepen your connection with others through sharing time.

#2 – Words of Affirmation

Actions don’t always speak louder than words. If this is your love language, unsolicited compliments mean the world to you. Hearing the words, “I love you,” are important— hearing the reasons behind that love sends your spirits skyward. Insults can leave you shattered and are not easily forgotten. You thrive on hearing kind and encouraging words that build you up.

#3 – Physical Touch

A person whose primary language is Physical Touch is, not surprisingly, very touchy. Hugs, pats on the back, and thoughtful touches on the arm—they can all be ways to show excitement, concern, care, and love. Physical presence and accessibility are crucial, while neglect or abuse can be unforgivable and destructive. Appropriate and timely touches communicate warmth, safety, and love to you.

#4 – Acts of Service

Can helping with homework really be an expression of love? Absolutely! Anything you do to ease the burden of responsibilities weighing on an “Acts of Service” person will speak volumes. The words he or she most wants to hear: “Let me do that for you.” Laziness, broken commitments, and making more work for them tell speakers of this language their feelings don’t matter. When others serve you out of love (and not obligation), you feel truly valued and loved.

#5 – Receiving Gifts

Don’t mistake this love language for materialism; the receiver of gifts thrives on the love, thoughtfulness, and effort behind the gift. If you speak this language, the perfect gift or gesture shows that you are known, you are cared for, and you are prized above whatever was sacrificed to bring the gift to you. A missed birthday or a hasty, thoughtless gift would be disastrous—so would the absence of everyday gestures. Gifts are heartfelt symbols to you of someone else’s love and affection for you.

So now you are familiar the 5 Love Languages. What to do next?

Go to Gary Chapman’s website, www.5lovelanguages.com and, along with your partner, take the assessment. You will learn which of the love languages are yours and your partner will learn which ones are theirs.

Once you both know each others’ love languages you can stop stabbing blindly in the dark and tell your partner you love them in a language they will understand.

The result? Loving and being loved. One of the keys to happiness and an essential part of living the life of your dreams.

Want more ideas about how to connect with your partner? I can help! Contact me now and let’s get you started on the path to the relationship of your dreams.

Mitzi Bockmann is a NYC based Certified Life Coach and mental health advocate. Her writing has been published in The Huffington PostPrevention MagazineThe Good Man Projectamong others. She works exclusively with women to help them to be all that they want to be in this crazy world in which we live.

Looking for more ways to finding happiness? Contact me NOW and I can help!