Rituals of Connection in Relationship

written by – Jesse Krall MA/LAC

Relationships thrive when couples create personalized daily rituals of connection. By ritual, I mean a custom or a practice that holds deep significance for the couple.

Too often, couples come to therapy feeling disconnected from one another. As a therapist, I hear story after story of couples recounting the ways that they are like, “two ships passing in the night.”

Let’s face it, we all have demanding lives and responsibilities. The beauty, though, is that we have choices we can make. We can choose what our priorities are and where we want to focus our time and energy.

Rituals of connection in relationships offer simple yet profoundly effective ways to put your relationship at the forefront of your life. Here’s the good news: you probably already have some daily rituals that you do naturally but have never named. There is power in naming something. In saying, “This is special. This is important. This helps us. This is our ritual.”

Once we name it, we come to rely on those moments we call rituals. From my experience, the most important rituals are around transitions: hellos, goodbyes, good mornings, and goodnights.

These rituals do not have to be labor-intensive or time-consuming. They simply need to hold meaning for the couple; they need to say, “I love you. I support you. We are in this together.”

Let’s look at some of these transitions more closely.

How do you start your morning with each other?

One way we recommend in our Relationship Renovation program is to start the day with an emotional check-in. Many couples like to do this over their morning cup of coffee. Each of you gets an opportunity to share a few feeling words and be witnessed. Warning: this is not a time for problem-solving or fixing. Allow the emotions, all of them, even the difficult ones. Being witnessed and heard helps your partner to feel truly seen.

How do you say goodbye to one another if one is going to work or leaving the house?

Many couples find it essential to take the time to lean into one another. To hug and to kiss and to tell their partner that they hope they have a great day. It is the little things that make a big difference.

How do you reconnect after being apart?

My husband and I have found that stopping everything we are doing and holding each other in a long embrace before engaging in conversation is a game-changer. During that embrace, we wait for our shoulders to drop, for a deeper breath, for a settling. This pause helps us transition into the rest of the evening so much more smoothly than when we don’t take a pause.

How do you say goodnight?

Many couples say that they have two different bedtimes – one is an early-to-bed person while the other is a night owl. A solution one couple uncovered was to have the night owl tuck in his partner and cuddle until she fell asleep. This made her feel much more connected going to bed. And he was still able to stay up and do the things he wanted to do.

There are so many possibilities of small ways to connect. What rituals do you have in your relationship? What rituals would you like to create in your relationship?

If you and your partner would like to learn more practical ways to stay connected and to be your best selves in your relationship, check out Relationship Renovation at home.

Crisis Averted – Healthy Conflict Resolution

In this episode, Tarah and EJ dissect a recent conflict that they had and how they found a healthy resolution that led to increased confidence in their ability to solve problems together. They explore common pitfalls that they and many couples fall into in emotionally activated moments.

Tarah and EJ have are relationship experts who help couples understand the underlying individual issues that often lead to struggles within the relationship. They normalize the ups and downs of relationships and offer tools to support healthy communication and individual growth.

Our goal is to create a safe environment where couples explore their feelings and grow together. By establishing clear, honest, and compassionate communication, we help strengthen or rebuild the foundation of your relationship.

Click link to Access Podcast

Mindfulness Exercises for Couples

The modern world is full of distractions and obligations. This may lead to increased stress that can cause strain within your relationship with your partner. Mindfulness is a great solution for busy couples to connect with each other. The simplest definition of mindfulness is that it requires you being fully present and focusing your awareness on the moment, rather than being distracted by outside concerns.

These mindfulness exercises can help improve your sense of connection with your partner:

Meditate Together or Separately

Meditation is a great exercise for feeling more connected to the present moment. Mindfulness meditation involves focusing on your breathing and paying attention to how your body feels. You also let your mind wander without judgement of your thoughts. Thismay seem like a solitary activity, but it is energizing and rewarding to meditate with your partner.

Set aside time to mediate as often as you can, whether this is once a day or once a week. You can sit in the same room while you are meditating and discuss your experience afterward. Mindfulness can improve your general mental health and you can also experience benefits if you meditate separately. Meditating alone can help you achieve positivity that you can share with your partner.

Affirming Appreciation

One of the best things you can do to cultivate a healthy relationship is to express appreciation for your partner. Feeling underappreciated in a relationship can lead to arguments and resentment. By showing your appreciation for your partner you can help deepen your connection.

Affirming appreciation in a mindful way requires more than simply complimenting your partner. You should both be fully present in the moment. When you have an appreciation you wish to share, ask your partner if he or she has time to hear what you have to say. Then you should sit down together while you share what you appreciate and why it mattered to you. Adding mindfulness to the act of telling your partner something you love about them makes it much more impactful.

Mindfulness During Arguments

When you are in the middle of a confrontation, mindfulness can seem especially difficult. You get so caught up in your thoughts and emotions that you may not truly listen to what your partner is telling you. In arguments, mindfulness is about listening completely and striving to understand what the other person feels and needs.

Cultivating mindfulness in these stressful situations takes regular practice. You should always be reminding yourself to stay engaged and to stay open to your partner’s emotions. If you find yourself going back to old habits, such as prioritizing your own feelings and invalidating those of your partner, then you should acknowledge and correct this. The more you practice, the easier it will be.

If you are finding it difficult to put mindfulness into practice in your daily life, we can provide professional help. He Said She Said couples counseling sessions focus on mindfulness as we strive to help you stay more present and to connect more deeply with each other. Call us today to learn more about our programs. We offer a free consultation to ensure we are the right fit for you.

Benefits of Attending a Couples Retreat

Everyday life can get stressful for couples and sometimes you need to take time to relax, connect, and enjoy yourselves. Our couples retreat is a luxurious vacation that you can take with your partner. You get to experience a great weekend getaway while learning techniques that will improve your relationship. Spending time away together helps you connect and is also a great way for both of you to unwind.

Here are some of the benefits of attending a couples retreat:

Experience a New Location Together

In your daily life, you may spend most of your time in a small set of locations. Even yourdate nights may cycle through the same familiar places. One of the best ways to build intimacy is to try something new as a couple and to get out of your daily routine. A couples retreat is a wonderful opportunity to experience a different location together. A change in scenery helps you connect on a deeper level. When you are away from your concerns, you can appreciate the beauty around you in a different way. This aids inopening up conversations between you and your partner. A serene location far away from your everyday concerns also makes it easier to simply enjoy each other’s company.

Spend Quality Time as a Couple

Your day-to-day routine is likely packed with different activities that demand your attention. From work to kids, you have a lot on your plate. It can be hard to find intimate time to spend with your partner. When you do spend time together, it can feel rushed because you have so many other things to worry about.
A couples retreat allows you to spend time together without being distracted by other demands. You will be in an atmosphere of complete relaxation and luxury, with no obligations taking attention away from either you or your partner. This can be a wonderful way to feel closer to each other.

Learn Valuable Relationship Skills

One benefit that a couples retreat has over a standard vacation is that these retreats are created by experienced couples counselors to include workshops, couples therapy sessions, and activities to deepen your bond. A couples retreat is a great way to learn valuable communication skills without the stress of traditional marriage counseling. This gives you something tangible you can take home from your luxurious getaway in the form of relationship skills that will continue to help you grow closer to your partner. He Said She Said’s Fall into Intimacy retreat strikes the perfect balance between relationship workshops and fun times that you can spend together as a couple. This couples retreat is hosted at the gorgeous Glen House in Maine. Experience the lovely fall colors and enjoy a variety of activities from a smores bonfire to morning yoga and meditation. Contact us today to learn more about this relaxing couples retreat.

Steps to Take to Avoid a Divorce

Divorce is one of the scariest possibilities for couples to face. If you are having relationship problems, you may be worried that you are on a path to the end of your marriage. During this vulnerable time, you need to use all of the tools at your disposal to help save your relationship.

Here are some of the steps you can take to avoid a divorce:

Practice Healthy Communication

Healthy communication is one of the most essential skills in any marriage, yet not many couples know how to actually communicate in a productive way. Communication is simple in theory, but it can be difficult to put into practice. It requires daily effort to correct the common mistakes that you may be making. If you are committed to avoiding divorce, then you should be focused on improving your communication skills.

One of the best things you can do is be honest with your partner. Even when this is difficult, it helps to have your feelings in the open. You should also be doing what you can to encourage your partner to share their feelings with you. It’s okay to make mistakes and fall back into unhealthy communication, so long as you identify the regress and continuously try to keep communication channels open.

Reaffirm Your Love for Each Other

It’s easy when things get difficult to forget what made you fall in love with your partner in the first place. When divorce is on the table, you may get caught up in conflicts and resentment. It’s much easier to take the difficult steps necessary to avoid divorce when you can remind yourself what makes your marriage worth fighting for.

Try to set aside time each day to show affection and love for your partner. Even when things are difficult, this can help you maintain a lasting connection. You can also reflect back on the start of your relationship and try to actively remind yourself of what positive qualities your partner has that attracted you to them. Actively sharing these positive qualities is immensely helpful when you are worried about a divorce.

Go to Professional Couples Counseling

Sometimes, you simply can’t handle your relationship issues on your own. Unhealthy communication habits and resentment can be difficult to tackle without professional help. Couples counselors can help you look at the specific roadblocks in your marriage. This personalized approach makes it easier to pinpoint what has led you to considering a divorce and to find out how to move through this difficult time.

Having a safe and comfortable environment where you can discuss your relationship can make a huge difference. When you have professionals present, you are less tempted to revert to your old unhealthy habits. Your counselors can also facilitate discussions that you might be avoiding. It helps immensely to have skilled and passionate relationship therapists on your side.

At He Said She Said couples counseling, we take a unique approach to marriage counseling. We have a male and a female counselor present in your sessions to help create the ideal environment for both you and your partner to open up. We have helped many couples who were on the brink of divorce to renovate their relationship. In the end, this difficult time can even help you grow closer together in the long-run. Call us today to schedule a free consultation and learn how we can help your marriage thrive.

How to Increase Emotional Intimacy

When thinking about intimacy, many people only consider their physical connection with their partner. However, emotional intimacy is something you definitely want to work on. Feeling connected can help build a long-term bond between the two of you. This sense of emotional intimacy can improve your connection and get you through difficult times. This can also help your relationship grow and foster a sense of togetherness.

Here are some tips for increasing the emotional intimacy in your relationship:

Try Something New Together

Many couples have a default date night that they repeat on a regular basis. Scheduling a regular date night is a great step to take. However, going to the same place and having the same conversation does not necessarily help increase your emotional closeness. If you’re not trying anything different as a couple, then these date nights start to become routine.

A great way to build intimacy in your relationship is to try something new together. Pick something that neither of you have experienced. This doesn’t necessarily have to be a big dramatic date and can be as simple as taking a cooking class together. Doing something out of your routine opens you up to having new conversations and learning more about each other.

Encourage Honesty

Healthy romantic relationships require you to have some difficult conversations. When you create a long-term connection, you are bound to have conflicts and disagreements. However, even these difficult moments can be great opportunities to increase emotional intimacy with your partner.

Honesty is essential to intimacy. You should encourage your partner to be open with you. Make sure that you remain open to their feelings and strive to really listen to their thoughts without judgement. You should also feel like you can share your thoughts with your partner. Strive to stay emotionally connected, even when you don’t necessarily like or agree with what the other person is saying.

Couples Counseling

It is a common misconception that couples counseling is only for when you are having problems in your relationship. While counseling can definitely help when you are facing a relationship crisis, it can also be helpful for building a strong foundation. A couples counselor can help you learn the skills you need to build emotional intimacy. This is true even for couples who already feel like their relationship is strong.

At He Said She Said, we take a unique approach to couples counseling. We are a married couple that works as a team to provide both a male and a female perspective during your counseling sessions. We are experts in helping couples increase their emotional intimacy and will help you find intimacy-building strategies that you can use in your day-to-day life.

We offer a variety of programs from pre-marriage counseling to couples retreats specifically focused on strengthening your intimate connection. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation to determine which program is right for you.

5 Tips on Building a Long-Term Relationship

When we meet that special person they make us feel attractive, loved and unique and we feel like we’ve discovered true love. Sparks are flying between you and that special someone, and the intimate bond seems inseparable. However, as your relationship matures, the reality of long-term relationships is that it takes work to transition from the infatuation of new love into a mature long term relationship. This process necessitates a deeper understanding of both yourself and your partner. The honeymoon phase doesn’t last, and by understanding yourself and your partner more deeply, you create the foundation of a resilient and long-lasting relationship. So how does one continue to maintain a healthy, intimate, loving relationship with their partner?

Here are five tips to keep in mind of building a long-lasting relationship

1. Developing goals for your ideal long-term relationship:

When getting into a relationship, it is essential for couples to evaluate what they seek in a long-term relationship. Whether it be values or goals, it is crucial that you and your partner are on the same page. By gaining a deeper understanding of each other’s core values, you begin to understand how you can support each other in achieving the goals which provide the meaning in life.

2. Mindfulness in a relationship:

The process of mindfulness allows couples to become less instinctual in their responses to one another. Some of the worst words and actions are expressed in moments of fight/flight/freeze. Mindfulness allows couples to stay aware of negative patterns of thoughts, communication, and action to treat each other with empathy even in times of emotional stress.

3. Establishing and maintaining a respectful communication style:

Communication is at the foundation of healthy relationships. Developing the ability to be kind and honest while discussing complicated subject matter increases the likelihood of healthy conflict resolution. As partners, you should be able to communicate with one another about issues and conflicts that arise in the relationship. Everyone has their style of communication, and it is vital to establish and maintain a form of communication that works well for both.

4. Learning to express feelings, needs, and expectations in a healthy manner:

Often couples become stuck in patterns of re-stating their perspectives in the hopes to convince their partner to agree with them. When couples develop the ability to identify and healthily express their feelings and needs, they increase the likelihood of being heard. By helping your partner understand how you are feeling without blaming them, you create an environment of compassion and love that transcends perspective.

5. Consistent Conflict Resolution:

Every couple has their fights disagreements are both natural and needed in a healthy relationship. The key is to have the tools to resolve conflict healthily. When couples find themselves arguing about the same topic over and over without resolution, resentment quickly builds. By understanding you and your partner’s conflict resolution style, you can avoid repetitive arguments which pull you apart.

The beginning of relationships is filled with the excitement of new love; with awareness and intentional effort, couples can make the transition to a mature and long-lasting relationship. When you find the person you want to be with it is crucial that you put the time and effort into gaining a deep understanding of each other. Your relationship can be a source of immense love and also help you in becoming your best selves for each other.

Top 3 Tips to Create Healthy Communication Channels

Where does a relationship start?
Most relationships begin with a certain sense of mystery. While the start of a relationship is exciting and fun, they’re also the time when you feel out your significant other, with the goal of truly learning about who they are. As you start to get deeper in a relationship, it becomes more likely that you end up having issues. This occurs because you and your significant other become used to each other so you feel like you don’t have to try, the sun fades away and the cloudy grey skies arise. However, you can make it so your relationship remains as wonderful as it was in the beginning, with a little bit of work and communication skills.

Here are some tips on how to create healthy communication channels with your significant other:

Talk in person:
Being in a relationship, both partners should strive to properly communicate with one another. When things get serious, it sometimes makes one person in the relationship scared to confront the problem. This results in the issues you are having being held in or being confronted over a phone or through text. By keeping your issues inside, the problem will continue to be there and no closure or changes will be made to the situation. By talking about a serious issue via some roundabout method such as texting, the messages you are trying to get across to your significant other can be interpreted wrong, and the lack of face-to-face give the entire conversation much less impact. Thus, it can result in having an even greater setback with the resolution of your issues. However, if you talk in person, you are able to talk slow, see facial expressions, and truly understand the nuances of communication. It can no doubt be challenging sometimes, to confront an issue in person. If you are nervous about the upcoming conversation, then it is recommended that you write down a list of things you want to say. This way, you will have a guide and be less anxious during the conversation. It’s also possible that you will end up becoming emotional, something that you will need to accept if you truly want to work out your issues. In the end, you will end up becoming closer and happier with your partner.

Be Honest:
Being honest can be difficult at times because sometimes, the truth can hurt, especially those whom you care about most. However, being truthful is much kinder than lying. When you are truthful, you can prevent things such as your significant other finding out the truth at a later time, something that will undoubtedly be even more damaging in the end. By being up front, you allow your partner to have more faith in not only you but the relationship that you two share. Remember that it is ok to be wrong. No one is perfect, and everyone makes mistakes every now and then. When you mess up, be honest and admit to it. Apologize for your mistakes and wrong doings. When you make excuses for your mistakes, it only makes it worse. By apologizing you are showing you understand what you did and you are ready to take steps that can allow wrongdoingsto hopefully move forward.

48-Hour Rule:
With every relationship, it is inevitable to fight and argue. However, in some occasions, a fight can be stopped by taking a deep breathe in. When you are upset, the only person that will know is you, unless you come up and say something to their face. Sometimes, people in relationships get upset for things that they shouldn’t get upset about. When this occurs, you should try and keep calm and wait a couple of days before jumping into a fight. By waiting and cooling off, the thing you were once super upset about might be nothing a day later. However, if you wait and are still upset then it is now clear that the thing you were upset about is something that truly needs to be addressed. At this moment, you should tell your significant other what is making you upset. Be confident in what you are saying and let your partner ask you questions if they are confused. Once your partner understands the situation, you can hopefully move forward with solutions.

What can you do to keep your relationship good?
Relationships are beautiful things, and for many, the most important aspect of their life. However, it is important to know how to deal with the ugly parts. At He Said She Said, we are committed to helping you prosper in a safe environment where you can talk about your feelings.
Please don’t be afraid to stop in.

Contact Us at 520.955.1876 or email us at hesaidshesaidcounseling@gmail.com.

We look forward to hearing from you soon!

Rebuilding your Relationship after Cheating

A relationship cannot exist without trust, and nothing breaks trust faster than cheating. When trust is violated and a person cheats in a relationship, it shatters it, turning it into something much different then it was before. Although you may not be able to see a future, it is possible for a couple to overcome cheating, should both parties wish to do so. That being said, it is not that easy to repair a relationship. It talks a lot of mental, emotional, and psychological work to repair your relationship.

Re-establishing and maintaining trust in a relationship after infidelity has occurred is one of the hardest hurdles to overcome, and it is the first one. When a relationship is built on trust and then that trust is taken away many find it the most difficult to regain that. Along with trust, the ability to forgive is in your favor when working to rebuild your relationship after cheating. Forgiving your partner after doing something such as cheating is an important step. If you plan on working on your relationship and making it strong again and you continue to hold a grudge or doubt, you will be unable to get the results you want. At the same time however, the person who has cheated must strive to remain honest, and must be willing to work hard to prove that they are worthy of this trust again. This is extremely hard work, and it must be understood that forgiveness does not come easy in these situations. Stay honest, communicate, and keep your promises. Only after this, time, and work can you expect to be forgiven.

When working to overcome infidelity it is important to identify the problem, and then work to resolve it. When it comes to identifying the issue, you and your partner must identify the reason why your relationship led to cheating. This step takes honesty, it is hard to admit what went wrong in your relationship which led to this. Some examples include loss of interest, emotional abandonment, attraction to someone else, and even something that could have happened in the past. This is a very important step for moving forward and repairing your relationship, and may reveal harsh truths about one or both members of a partnership. It is of course only the beginning to find these issues, the next step is to resolve them.

Many couples strive to return back to “normal” after infidelity. This can be toxic to the relationship especially since somewhere in the normalcy of the relationship in the first place, the infidelity occurred. It is important for the couple to evaluate what their “normal” looked like and identify that it may have been a problem and work to resolve those issues. This is harder said than done but can be easier with the help of counseling or a workshop. Keep in mind that simply ignoring the infidelity, or pretending it didn’t happen is also a sure path to a doomed relationships as well. The repair of trust is something that requires hard work, and a true desire from both parties.

After a partner cheats it can be a very dark time, the feeling of being betrayed by the one you love is a heartbreaking feeling. You can make it through and repair your relationship, should that be something you desire. Many have said that they have come out of something like this with an even stronger relationship, fighting through a problem that many never recover from. You can use the tips listed above, though you may find yourself needing some outside help.

It is challenging repairing a relationship on your own, with the help of a couples counselor it will make repairing your relationship that much easier. It is okay to ask for help. Here at He Said She Said we have many different kinds of relationship counseling programs, from premarital counseling to marriage counseling, available to suit the needs of any couple. Give our programs a look, and give us a call at (520) 955-1876 for help rebuilding your relationship with the one you love.

Couples Counseling Before Marriage

There is nothing more exciting than finding the person that you know is the one, the person who you want to spend the rest of your life with. Don’t let your excitement get the better of you, however! Make sure that before you tie the knot, you’ve taken the time to have some sessions of premarital counseling. It might seem wrong to get couples counseling before there have been any serious issues, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Premarital couples counseling with a couples therapist is an excellent way to set up your future marriage for success, taking care of issues before they even happen by preparing with strong communication for a stable and healthy relationship. If you’re still on the fence about the idea, consider these three important issues that are worth discussing before marriage, issues that can be handled best with assistance from a marriage counselor.

1. Having Children
The topic of kids has ended more than a few marriages when the couple doesn’t see eye on how to handle the idea of eventually raising them. Sometimes people want to have children right away, excited to be a mother or a father as soon as possible. Others also want kids, but only after having had some time to enjoy adult life without them. And of course, there are people who would be satisfied never having children at all. Just knowing about whether or not you want children out of your life isn’t quite enough either. It’s very important to discuss how you will raise your children, should you want them of course. Agreeing on parenting style is very important to stop future arguments and ensure that your children will grow up in a stable and united home, with quality role models in you and your spouse.

2. Finances
Money is rarely an easy topic to discuss at the best of times. It’s even harder to discuss as a series of hypotheticals, the actions that you as a couple will take through the twists and turns of the future. What is your future career path? How about your spouse’s? What will you both do if one or the other’s doesn’t work out? Are you both planning to buy a house? How will you together handle an expensive emergency, like the loss of a car? How about a medical emergency? Not making a plan is a plan to fail, and having considered these sorts of money-related issues in advance will make it so much easier should one come to pass. Nobody likes discussing the possibility of failure, but doing so will make you happier, healthier, and safer in your relationship in the future.

3. Addressing Confrontations
Even the most laid back couple will inevitably find themselves in an argument. It’s unavoidable. Alternatively, you and your fiance may be the sort of fiery personalities that have arguments all the time. Either way, it’s a good idea to work out strategies and develop communication skills that can help prevent disagreements from dealing lasting damage to your marriage. Conflict resolution skills are something that everyone can benefit from, and there’s no better way to learn them than under the tutelage of a skilled relationship counselor.

Although it is, of course, possible to have these sorts of conversations without the aid of a counselor, having one to help mediate the discussion about such issues can be incredibly important in ensuring that everything necessary is discussed, with a neutral arbitrator to help prevent tempers from flaring. Here at He Said She Said we have many different kinds of relationship counseling programs, from premarital counseling to marriage counseling, available to suit the needs of any couple. Give our programs a look, and give us a call at (520) 955-1876 if you are ready to set up your future marriage for success.