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

Posts Tagged ‘affirmations’

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




Self-Esteem Boosters for Kids and Teens

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

Positive affirmations are simple little sayings we can tell ourselves to build self-esteem.  They are positive statements about our traits, abilities and qualities.  Recognizing our value on this planet and having a strong sense of who we are helps to develop a positive “can do” attitude.

Most of us develop the bad habit of beating ourselves up over our mistakes and failures.  And we tend to listen to the teacher, coach or parent who belittles and criticizes us.  Often before we reach adulthood our self-esteem can be quite damaged and we find that all of our doubts and feelings of inferiority cast a dark spell on our confidence and identity.

The ideal time to begin affirmations is in childhood and the teen years.   Children need to be taught to be kind and loving towards themselves.  Adolescents are especially vulnerable to negativity and criticism because they are forming their identity.  Teaching them to do affirmations can help them better weather the storm of this confusing time.

Affirmations should be short and to the point, easily remembered and in the present tense.  Affirmations should start with “I am” and end with what you want to have in your life I am healthy.  I am creative and have a never ending supply of ideas.  I am capable of great things.  While these statements may sound vain, it is actually healthy to talk to yourself in this manner.  We tend to bring about in our life what we think about, so it’s best to set the stage for positive scenarios rather than negative ones.

Teens spend a lot of time in front of the mirror, either admiring themselves  or looking for  flaws.  This is the perfect setting for having them read and repeat affirmations.  I have come up with a way to help my pre-teen repeat affirmations.  I wrote out 30 affirmation cards, each with 3 different sayings.  Some reflected on physical or intellectual abilities, some were spiritual in nature and some IMG_0499were just plain fun.  I placed them on a memo holder and put it on the bathroom counter, surely to be found next time he was looking for a zit or admiring his smile.  Sticky notes would also work well but I like the reusable nature of the cards.

Once you have finished your affirmation cards for your child repeat the following:  I am a good parent.  I am boosting my child’s self-esteem.  I am loving.


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.

Couples Counseling & Psychotherapy Associates

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


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