Marriage Makeover: 3 Steps To a Better Marriage In The New Year!

Marriage Makeover: 3 Steps To a Better Marriage In The New Year!

For many people January is somewhat of a letdown. The holidays are over, it's cold outside, and we're usually left with a few extra pounds from overdoing it in December. But to me the new year means a new beginning, a fresh start, and as Oprah Winfrey cheers- "a new year and another  chance for us to get it right."

You have a golden opportunity in this brand new year to bring a spirit of positive change into your marriage. Even in these barren days of winter a new perspective can begin to blossom. 

Isn't life all about perspective? I often tell my clients that I believe life is 99.9% perspective. How we choose to see the world is how we will experience it. So,it's not a matter of overhauling your whole relationship. That can feel like a daunting challenge. Maybe it's just a matter of tweaking your perspective- just a little. Noticing, perhaps for the first time in a long while, the good that was there all along. 

It's like Dorothy's ruby slippers in the Wizard of Oz. I love that amazing scene when the Good Witch revealed to Dorothy the value of those slippers. She had been wearing them all along without realizing the power they possessed. In that moment Dorothy discovers she wasn't asking the right question. The question was not, "How do I get what I want?"  The real question was, "How do I recognize what I already have?"  

You need to polish that old gemstone and discover how beautiful and precious it really is. That gemstone of course is your spouse!

Here are 3 steps you can take right now to make the New Year's Resolution that really counts:

  •  Begin to focus on what you love about your spouse. Make a list to remind yourself. Read it often and don't forget to share these precious insights with the special person who inspires this affection. 
  • Be kind. This quote says it all. So simple, yet so powerful!

 

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  • Put yourself in the other person's shoes. Practice seeing things from your spouse's "perspective" instead of your own.  You'd be surprised how much you can learn when you adopt an attitude of curiosity rather than judgment. 


  So I guess January isn't such a letdown after all.  Ah the beauty of PERSPECTIVE!

If you would like to talk to me personally about how to have a more passionate and supportive marriage:

 click here to set up a Discovery Session with me.


HAPPY NEW YEAR!  Let's make 2016 our best year ever!!

Merry Marriage! Give Your Spouse the Best Holiday Gift!

Merry Marriage! Give Your Spouse the Best Holiday Gift!

Presents, presents, and more presents! That's what everyone's thinking about this time of year.  We're all searching for that perfect present for that special someone. 

What if that perfect present were absolutely free because you already have it to give? 

Well, look no further. That perfect present is- drum roll please... YOU. 

It's your presence.

(I couldn't resist a little holiday pun;)

 

Merry Marriage! Give Your Spouse the Best Holiday Gift!

Your presence is the greatest gift you can give your spouse this holiday season. The hustle and bustle of life pulls us in all kinds of directions all year long. 

It seems that couples have so little time to spend together and enjoy each other's company.

Why don't you decide that this year will be different?  

In my work with couples II talk a lot about the stages in a committed relationship and those of you who have worked with me know that my goal is to help couples evolve into the Conscious Love Stage. I call this the "Make it Happen" stage. So, instead of waiting and wishing that you had more time together - MAKE IT HAPPEN! When you make a decision to spend some quality time together it will happen. Need some ideas?

•    Hot Chocolate Rendezvous

Cuddle up by the fire with your favorite blanket and two steamy cups of hot chocolate. You can even roast some marshmallows or make some yummy S'mores together. Don't have a fireplace? No problem. Grab that favorite blanket, a thermos, and a picnic basket and take it to the park.

    •    Dinner for Two

Short on cash or time for a dinner date at that fancy restaurant? Then bring the restaurant to you. Light some candles, put on that romantic music, and dust off those fancy dinner plates you save for special occasions. If you love to cook you can whip up your favorite meal or just bring home some take-out and enjoy it with a romantic, elegant flare.
 

    •    Winter Wonderland Fun

If you want to have some fun burning those extra holiday calories try some fun winter sports together. Head for the slopes or the ice rink or maybe catch a hockey game together.

It just takes a little imagination and a splash of determination to spice up your relationship. So what are you waiting for?

Wishing you all a very blessed, safe and happy holiday season!

Hope you found this newsletter insightful for your marriage.

If you can think of one person who would benefit, please use the share link below to spread the word. 

Are you still struggling in your marriage? 

If you would like to talk to me personally about how to have a more passionate and supportive marriage:

 click here to set up a Discovery Session with me.

The Power of Facebook

I have a confession to make. I'm not a Facebook person. Wow, I feel un-American just saying that out loud.

I guess it's because I often hear how destructive it can be when it is misused. I have, however, come to realize that it can be a dynamic vehicle for positive change, providing inspiration, hope, and encouragement with exponential power.

So I decided to take the plunge and open a professional page.

My vision for this page has been to provide a space where people can glean creative and innovative ideas for their intimate relationships and also provide a forum to discuss what works in relationships. 

All too often we focus on what isn't working in our relationships and, unfortunately, we usually get more of the same coming into our lives. My philosophy is "what you focus on expands" - you need to focus on what you want, not on what you don't want. I also believe that the seed of the solution is within every one of us.

I invite you to visit my Facebook page - (www.facebook.com/ChristineWilke.Marriage) and share some of your own pearls of wisdom with others. You can share informative, relationship-based articles or quotes that you find especially inspiring, or even just ideas you've come up with in the shower. I'd like this to be a collaborative effort to make the world a more loving place to live.

Once a week, on Wisdom Wednesday, I post a though-provoking message or question for you to respond to. I'd love to hear any suggestions you may have to make this a fun experience for everyone. And get your friends and family on board - the more positive energy, the better.

Relationships can have their challenging moments. It can feel lonely at times when you feel like there's no hope for resolution. But there are also times when growth and healing happen...so jump right in and share your insights, triumphs and victories with others. Who knows, you could be sharing just what someone else needs to hear!

A special note about confidentiality: Please don't share anything that you feel is private or confidential. I honor and respect your privacy and do not want that compromised in any way. If you have a concern that you want to discuss with me privately, feel free to private message me or contact me via my website and I would be happy to speak with you about it.

So if you're up for the challenge, follow me on Facebook and, as they say in Imago, let's start "transforming the world one relationship at a time."

I contributed to an interesting article for the the Huffington Post regarding couples and Facebook. Check it out here


If you would like to talk to me personally about how to have a more passionate and supportive marriage click here to set up a Discovery Session with me.

Are you Letting Your Marriage Get Lost in the Shuffle?

Life can really get crazy.

Two jobs, the kids soccer practices, back to school night, PTA meetings – and on it goes…

It’s a whirlwind of “to-dos.”  But where does your marriage fit into all of that? How much time do you make for your relationship? Is it even on the calendar?

With all these other commitments competing for attention, your marriage can end up forgotten, like the summer vacation pictures at the back of the junk drawer – LOST.

It usually doesn’t get much attention until the signs of neglect become too hard to ignore. You begin to feel like those “two ships,” as if you’re roommates instead of the loving partners you once were.

It’s no wonder. Neither of you is getting what you need and your marriage is certainly not getting what it needs to thrive.

Let’s make sure your marriage doesn’t get lost in the shuffle. You can plan to do things differently. When you get those calendars out to schedule those basketball practices and business meetings, block some time in your schedule for your marriage. This could mean a Friday evening date night, a walk together around the neighborhood, or just some quiet time on the patio with no distractions.

Just like anything else that’s important in your life, the effort you expend morphs into meaningful rewards. Nothing beats that feeling of closeness and connection with your significant other. But this is built over time and nurtured with every loving encounter.

So get your marriage on the top of that list and start reaping the rewards of a healthy and vibrant relationship.

If you would like to talk to me personally about how to have a more passionate and supportive marriage click here to set up a Discovery Session with me.

 

Can Your Marriage Help You Heal An Unhealthy Childhood?

I tend to prefer to guide my clients toward a more hopeful future with little patience for delving too deeply into the past. Why stay stuck in the past when we can make positive changes to create a better future right now? That being said, sometimes we need to examine where we’ve been in order to know where we’re going.

My training in Imago Relationship Therapy provides a paradigm that blends forward-leaning thinking with an examination of the past that doesn’t leave you stuck there – thus transforming past problems into future possibilities. Surprisingly, the key ingredient, or linchpin, to all this is your marriage. Imago therapy teaches that your marriage is the powerful catalyst that heals the wounds of childhood by transforming worn-out and oftenpainful relationship patterns into new and exciting ways of connecting.

Imago” is the Latin term for image. One of the core precepts of the Imago Process is that each of us carries, deep inside, an unconscious image of our ideal partner. This image develops in childhood and powerfully influences the type of partner we select as adults. It also impacts how we relate to that partner.

We constructed the blueprint of our “Imago” by combining all the positive and negative traits of our parents. It is this blueprint we use in our search for a mate, and it’s familiar and comfortable, but not always healthy. However, it compels us to choose the kind of partner we need in a committed, intimate relationship in order to heal and grow.

Wouldn’t it seem logical, though, that we would choose partners who don’t have the negative attributes of our parents? Why would we search for the very traits that wounded us and caused us so much pain? Because it is the pain from those old wounds that we now seek to heal. Our subconscious is trying to replicate the environment of our upbringing in order to correct it.

When we are physically wounded, our bodies instinctively go into healing mode. Our psyches respond in much the same way. When we look for a mate we are subliminally trying to recreate those same patterns from childhood in order to grow and heal. As these familiar patterns replay in our marriage and those old wounds are reopened, we can work with our partner to change the script of our story from a painful one to a healing one. We can do it differently now. As we grow in our marriage we can respond with the love, compassion and empathy that we so wanted and needed as a child. We can begin to leave those wounds behind by co-creating a healthier reality with our spouse.

If you would like to talk to me personally about how to have a more passionate and supportive marriage click here to set up a Discovery Session with me.

How To Fight Fair in Your Marriage

Being a Marriage and Family Therapist and being married can be a double-edged sword. You have access to cutting edge tools and techniques and you are expected to always use them faithfully.

Well, things don’t always run as smoothly as they should. Especially in situations like the one that happened last night…

 

My husband and I were having a “discussion” about a heated issue and I felt myself becoming really angry with him. Did I immediately use one of the techniques I teach my couples?

Uhh, no. All I could think of were the many reasons why I had the right to be angry. I felt totally justified. To top it off, when we were “discussing” the situation, I heard myself uttering those dreaded words I tell my couples never to use - “always” and“never.”

That fight or flight response was in full gear. I was stuck in my immediate reaction and struck by the realization that, in that very moment, I was doing none of the things I teach my clients to do – things I know really work.

This was a very humbling experience, of course, and it was yet another reminder of how very challenging it can be to have a great marriage. I suddenly felt an even more profound admiration and respect for my clients as they diligently work to make their marriages thrive.

My “Aha!” moment came when I realized I have a choice. I didn’t have to stumble down that rocky road of anger and unhappiness, AND I have a reservoir of tools I teach my clients that I can use right here and right now.

“The point of power is always in the present moment.” – that’s what I teach in my workshop. I know that the tools I give my clients to use really work. The challenging part is putting them to work when it matters the most, like when your emotions are running high and it’s so hard to think clearly.

I stepped back from the situation because I realized that what I was doing wasn’t getting me what I wanted. Then I gave myself that all-important time out. This respite gave me the opportunity to settle my mind and think more clearly about the situation, thus creating that crucial pause between the situation and my reaction to it.

This is the fertile ground from which choice emerges.

As my mind started to settle I began thinking about these tools and how they could help me in this situation. The first thing that came to mind was, “Take responsibility for your steps in the dance.”- one of my many mantras. So I began to examine the destructive behavior patterns that I might be bringing into the situation.

It was quite sobering to recognize my role in this pattern, yet also immensely empowering to realize that this pattern was precisely what I have the power to change.

My choices can change the whole direction in this interaction. When we get stuck in our fight or flight mode, we see only those two choices. As I reflected on this during my quiet time I realized there were so many other choices available to me – opportunities to be the loving spouse I know I can be.

This put me in the driver’s seat, actively participating in changing the direction of this encounter. After 27 years of marriage the road can get bumpy at times, but it continues to be an exciting and healing journey.

If you would like to talk to me personally about how to have a more passionate and supportive marriage:

 click here to set up a Discovery Session with me.

Making Marriage Work: The Power of Love

“I love you.” Simple, but oh so powerful. How often do you express your love and appreciation to your partner?

It doesn’t always have to be in words. It can be in the loving things you do - like putting on the coffee in the morning, calling during the day just to check in, or even a loving glance can make all the difference. 

John Gottman, the nation’s top marriage expert, found that happy, stable, long-term relationships had one thing in common: there was a constant ratio of five positive behaviors for every one negative. We need to flood each other with positive, caring behaviors for our relationships to thrive.

What we focus on expands. If you focus on what you love in the relationship, you will experience your partner more positively.

So take some time this week to focus on the things you love about your partner and what’s right about the relationship. Make sure you let them know (and not just in words). 

If you would like to talk to me personally about how to have a more passionate and supportive marriage click here to set up a Discovery Session with me.

The #1 Way To Say "I love you."

It's that time of year again, when the candy, flowers, and teddy bears come out of hiding.

It's the Hallmark holiday that reminds you to tell that special someone you love them.

 There are many ways to say “I love you” and one of the most important ways is by listening.

This focused attention helps your partner feel valued and loved. And it's easier than you think. You don’t have to fix or defend anything. You don’t even have to agree. You just have to listen. If this doesn’t feel natural to you, no worries! Studies show that this is a skill that can be learned. 

Listening is one of the key ingredients in a healthy relationship.  One of the skills I teach my couples is called mirroring.

Mirroring is accurately reflecting back the content of your partner’s message followed by checking in for clarity. Since communication always involves two perspectives, it’s important to try and understand your partner’s world with attention and care.

Mirroring might go something like this:  Your partner expresses something important. Rather than jumping in with how that makes YOU feel, try saying, “So what you’re saying is…” or “Let me see if I understand you…” Then you check in asking, “Did I get you?” or “Is there more you want to say about that?”

It’s a curious, focused attention, a willingness to suspend your own perception for just a moment and be fully part of your partner’s world.

 Mirroring does a couple of important things. It cultivates a safe connection between you and your partner. When we feel safe, we want to do the fun stuff like nurture, play and mate. Secondly, this skill virtually obliterates misunderstanding because you’re reflecting and checking in to make sure you heard the message.

It’s fool proof. So the next time you’re tempted to give your partner that brilliant piece of insight into their problem, try a little mirroring. You might be surprised at how well you connect!

If you would like to talk to me personally about how to have a more passionate and supportive marriage click here to set up a Discovery Session with me.