Marriage advice

Put Those Phones Down: Strengthen Your Commitment Outside the Device

Strengthen Your Committment Outside the Device Your tablet, smartphone, laptop, etc., may be your best friend, but it doesn’t have your best interests at heart when it comes to your relationship. It’s great for connecting with friends, sharing videos of your toddler’s adorable first steps, posting and pinning photos of the cute dress you just bought, or even getting some serious work done. It’s not so great for communicating with your partner. But with these 3 tips, you can learn to put your relationship with your spouse before your relationship with your device, without sacrificing your social life.

  1. Specify a Time for Both Commitments

It’s all too easy to pick up the device as you roll out of bed, then find yourself crawling back at night without ever having put it down. Set aside time every day to spend with your partner sans technology, even if it just means enjoying a cup of coffee together before work or taking an hour to talk about your day before dinner. Similarly, allow yourself a set amount of time for socializing online, and don’t try to multitask during this time.

  1. Dedicate Two Days a Month to Your Partner

Two days a month without the device, or once every other week, isn’t too difficult to start. On those two days, do something fun with your partner, preferably something that involves physical activity like playing tennis, taking a long walk, or going dancing. You don’t have to turn the phone off, but only answer a call if it’s a work emergency or family crisis — Facebook can wait until tomorrow. Once you’ve gotten in the habit, up it to once a week.

  1. Tune in to the Real Conversation

Far too many conversations between partners consist of the odd remark about something you found online, a few laughs over a funny video, then awkward silence as you both delve back into your respective virtual worlds. Next time you forsee one of those awkward silences, make an effort to start a mini-conversation that will pull you both into the time you are spending together for more than just a few minutes. It doesn’t have to be serious or deep, but it will help you connect on a deeper level no matter what the subject.

These three tips are simple, actionable, and effective at strengthening your relationship when you spend most of your time in the same room but worlds apart. Like everything that’s worth having, a strong relationship requires intention to develop, so start intentionally engaging with your partner today.

5 Tips to Communicate Successfully with Your Partner When Stressed

communication when stressedWe all go through difficult and stressful times in our lives and relationships. It’s normal and expected. However, it can also place a strain on our relationships – even if it’s something like work, school, or other life-changes causing the stress.

Whatever the reason you’re feeling stressed, it’s important to maintain healthy communication with your partner. Start with these 5 tips to get you started:

  1. Be aware of your stress. As adults, we’ve lived with ourselves for at least two decades now. We know how our bodies react to stress and what tips us over the edge. When you feel yourself becoming stressed, let your partner know. If you are both aware of it, you can support each other by making a point not to take stress out on one another and/or not take it personally if our partner slips up and says something unhelpful.
  2. Embrace empathy. Empathy is difficult sometimes, especially if we don’t understand why someone is reacting a certain way. If your partner is stressed out, let them know you have empathy and are there to support them – even if you don’t get it. Offer to listen to their stressors, emotions, and heartache non-judgmentally. Afterwards, ask what they need from you.
  3. Apologize. Stress can make us snippy, mean, and unhappy. If you find yourself making verbal swipes at your partner, check yourself and your communication style. If you say something mean or unsupportive, apologize. Let your partner know you appreciate your support.
  4. Reduce the stress. Take a deep breath before your communicate with your partner in order to manage your stress and emotions in the short term. In the long term, find a way to manage your stress effectively. Not only will this help your physical, mental, and emotional health, but it will also strengthen your relationship.
  5. Practice healthy communication. By practicing healthy communication with your partner on a daily basis, it will be easier to communicate in difficult situations when you are experiencing stress. Rather than falling back on bad habits, you’ll be able to fall back on healthy habits that keep your relationship strong!

Contact us at Albuquerque Family Counseling to help keep your relationship strong!

7 Ways Social Media Can Be Good for Your Mental Health

Social Media and RelationshipWe often hear only about the negatives of social media, but here are just some of the benefits thoughtful engagement can provide.

Many people use the internet as a primary way of communicating and learning. The internet has become a source of valuable information and inspiration that if used as a resource for good it can actually improve your mental health.

Social media allows you to interact with the world. Social sites have been able to serve as wonderful tools that can aid in helping you to learn more about yourself and the world around you. It’s a platform for expanding into areas you are curious and passionate about and with good content readily available, it allows you to gravitate towards what inspires you – things you need for a healthy mind, body, and spirit, and things that will allow you to reach a place of greater awareness. Here’s how:

1. Sharing personal information on social media is satisfying. Researchers at Harvard University recently learned through a study that the act of disclosing information about oneself on social media activates the same part of the brain that is associated with the sensation of pleasure; the same pleasure we get from eating food, getting money or even having sex. This would explain why some people are so engaged on social media and really find pleasure in exposing their lives to others. I call it the “live to post” syndrome.

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