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A group of independent counselors serving Kingwood and Houston
Specializing in Gottman MethodTM Couples and Marriage Counseling

Posts Tagged ‘6 second kiss’

Make Communication a Priority in Your Relationship

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

At the end of every initial couples therapy session I ask the couple to tell me what they hope to achieve by coming to counseling. The number one response is to improve communication. They have become ships passing in the night, no longer talking to one another.

Prior to leaving my office we must coordinate a time for the three of us to meet again.  The simple act of scheduling an appointment becomes telling of the pecking order in their relationship. The order is typically 1) work schedules, 2) children’s activities, 3) activities with friend’s or extended family members, 4) personal obligations like salon appointments or cross-fit, and finally 5) their relationship.

What does putting your relationship last on the list communicate to your partner?

When couples tell me they have a problem communicating, I am quite sure they are referring to conversation.  But the definition of communication according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary is “the act or process of using words, sounds, signs, or behaviors to express or exchange information or to express your ideas, thoughts, feelings, etc., to someone else”.

It is true that happy couples talk more, but they also communicate caring, interest, respect and appreciation in myriad other ways throughout the week. How do they do it?

Drs. John and Julie Gottman followed up with couples who attended their Art & Science of Love Weekend Workshop. They found that successful couples reported devoting, on average, five hours per week to one another. Skills learned in the workshop taught them that little things can make a big difference. 1013774_10151678208280865_196800198_n

We all have competing obligations, but devoting five out of 168 hours is manageable for all couples once they make the health of their relationship a priority.

Here’s what happy couples do in those five hours:

1. Have a daily goodbye/parting ritual. Spend a few minutes talking about what each of you has going on that day. Being curious about what your partner has planned expresses interest in them.

2. Have a daily coming home/reunion ritual. Spend 10 minutes each communicating high and low points of the day.  Be supportive of the stressors your partner experienced and communicate warmth and understanding.

3.  Express fondness and admiration. Call, text, leave notes, or say it face-to-face, but find a few minutes each day to express what you like about your partner or what they are doing right.

4.  Be physically affectionate. Hold hands, snuggle on the couch or give a back rub. Be sure to kiss hello, goodbye, good night and good morning.  Physical affection conveys tenderness and caring.

5.  Have a weekly date.  Find time each week to devote a few hours to each other. Ask open ended questions and explore your partner’s thoughts and feelings on everything from where they want to go on vacation to what their biggest fears are.  Even if you can’t afford a sitter or expensive restaurant, sit out on the patio after the kids are in bed and devote time to one another. Dates are meant to be fun and relaxing and a way to re-connect.

6.  Process a fight or regrettable incident.  Even if it has been a rough week, don’t store up your anger and resentments by shutting down and turning away from your partner.  Process the deeper meaning of conflicts and you will be surprised by how much you learn about your partner and how you can feel more connected in the process.

The bottom line is, if you feel like you and your partner are not communicating well, expand your definition of communication and find five hours in your weekly schedule to devote to one another.

Mary Beth George, MEd, LPC

Certified Gottman Therapist

 

 

 

Rituals of Connection Strengthen Relationships

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

Sound houseThanksgiving is upon us and that warms my heart.  Over the past 20 years my husband and I have unwittingly developed  rituals around this day of gratitude.  We honor his family tradition of tamales and football and my love of Brussels sprouts and my friend Mary, who has spent 18 of the last 20 Thanksgivings with us.  When any of these things are missing from our day, it simply doesn’t feel right.

And that is how rituals go.  They are routines that create shared meaning in relationships and strengthen emotional connections.  Notice that Creating Shared Meaning is at the top of the Sound Relationship House, the model we use in Gottman Method Couples Therapy.  Rituals are important in relationships because we look forward to them  . . . they symbolize who we are as a couple or as a family.  They have the power to smooth over rough spots and transitions that we all naturally experience over the course of time.

We tend to think of rituals on holidays, especially ones that honor cultural heritage, faith or family values.  But rituals on a smaller scale are equally important.  How couple and families routinely come together creates a sense of belonging.  Rituals demonstrate that we take time out of our busy schedules to make one another a priority.

Here are some examples of rituals from my own family, as well as ones I have heard from other couples and families:

  • Six second kiss when you wake up, when you say goodnight, and when you come and go
  • Family dinnertime where everyone talks about their day
  • Walking the dog every evening
  • Making a cheesecake for your partner on their birthday because it is their favorite dessert
  • Going for pancakes every Saturday morning
  • Weekly date night
  • Returning to your honeymoon destination every year on your anniversary
  • Leaving love notes by the coffee maker for your partner to find every morning
  • Training for a distance bike ride together
  • Watching a favorite TV show together
  • How you approach your partner for sex
  • Family game night
  • Going to Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve
  • Snuggling for 10 minutes every morning after the alarm goes off
  • Parents and kids volunteering once per month at an animal shelter
  • Planting a vegetable garden every year
  • And my son’s favorite . . . serving his “lucky” foods (Starbucks Caramel Frappuccino and shrimp cocktail) before he plays a football game

Rituals create positive memories and are like glue in relationships . . . they keep you connected. What are the rituals in your relationships?

Mary Beth George, MEd, LPC, RD/LD

Certified Gottman Therapist

 

 

 

Doing Small Things Often: How to Build Trust in Relationships

Saturday, June 29th, 2013

Little things can make a big difference . . .

Truer words have not been spoken when we are talking about building trust in relationships.

If your relationship is off kilter, feeling a little distant or has suffered some major setbacks, lack of trust may be part of the problem.  Even if your relationship is brand new, full of plenty of positive feelings, building trust needs to occur in order for the relationship to make it in the long haul.

In any relationship, trust is built little by little over time.  In Gottman Method Couples Therapy we focus on building an Emotional Bank Account.  Every time we say or do something positive, the relationship gains interest in both trust and commitment.

Watch the brief video above for some suggestions on you can do small things that will make a big difference in your relationship.

 

Mary Beth George, MEd, LPC, RD/LD

Certified Gottman Therapist

The Six Second Kiss

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

The other day we met some friends for lunch. They are a happily married couple who work hard at staying that way.  They recently attended the Art & Science of Love Weekend Workshop, a couples’ retreat taught by Certified Gottman Therapists. My friends said the “six second kiss” was one of the most enlightening things they got out of the weekend.

The six second kiss is a technique used by Gottman trained therapists to help couples feel closer and more connected. Emotional distance is one of the biggest complaints that couples experience over time. Hectic schedules, focus on children and work stress have a tendency to creep into marriages and reduce intimate interactions to just a passing peck on the cheek as one runs out the door.

The six second kiss is a way to communicate caring and your willingness to devote time to the relationship. Kiss when you wake up, when you leave each other, when you return, when you want to express appreciation, when you feel affectionate, when you make up from a disagreement and at bedtime. There are many opportunities throughout the day to work on your intimate connection and a brief kiss is a simple ritual that brings you back to that point very quickly.

My husband and I love the 6 second kiss.  Some kisses are silly. Some are romantic. Some are inconvenient. We agreed to forego a kiss in front of my son’s football team, but decided that we could have a 12 second kiss later in the day. It’s  playful and sweet and it’s a way to feel more connected throughout the day.

We average about six kisses per day. That’s an extra 36 seconds per day, over 4 minutes in a week and 18 minutes per month. That’s an extra 18 minutes we would not have otherwise spent on an intimate connection. It’s a small time investment with a big payoff.

Now go find your partner and pucker up.

Mary Beth George, MED, LPC, RD/LD


Couples Counseling and Psychotherapy Associates provides service to Kingwood, Humble, Atascocita, Porter, Fall Creek, Summerwood, North Houston and surrounding areas.

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2330 Timber Shadows Drive
Suite 106
Kingwood, Texas 77339
Ph: 281-812-7529

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