trust in relationships

Seven Principles for Making Your Relationship Work

Hi!  I found a great summary of one of my all-time favorite relationship books, so I wanted to be sure to share it with you. 

Seven Principles of Making Your Marriage Work by John Gottman is excellent even if you're a couple who plans never to marry.  His 40+ years researching couples in everyday environments has build a critical foundation for understanding what makes love last. 

Check it out:

 

I'd love to hear what you think after watching or reading.  Pop over to my facebook page and leave a comment, or call me for a consultation to learn how to apply these principles in your own relationship.

 

Tools to Interrupt Conflict Patterns

Last week I wrote a post about conflict patterns that seems to have stirred things up for some of you.  Particularly when I talked about validation's role in resolving conflicts.  I wanted to write a little more this week to help you understand and implement validation effectively in your conflict cycles.

You can read what I wrote last week here.

Validation is not the same as agreement.  We can validate each other's perspective or experience and still disagree. 

You like anchovies on pizza and I do not is a great simple example.  If I won't validate your pizza preference I might ask you to explain why you like anchovies, or make fun of other people who like that topping, or belittle you for having that preference.  I can tell you how unreasonable it is or how I've never met anyone who really liked anchovies. 

Of course, none of that will help us order an actual pizza or feel close. Simply stating a perspective without judgmental language or interpretation can be validating.  "You prefer anchovies and I prefer cheese." Is a simple way of validating their perspective.

Although you're unlikely to take pizza choice personally, it's easy to see how we can disagree, acknowledge each other's perspective as valid at the same time. 

There are a number of ways we can validate a perspective.  Knowing these can give you options when you're feeling stuck in a conflict and want to find a way back to being connected.

Emotions

Understanding your partner's emotions is critical to connection and longevity in relationships. It's also the foundation of empathy, without which relationships cannot survive. Here are a few examples of validating emotions:

  • "You feel sad when we talk about this."
  • "I think what you're saying is, you're overwhelmed or worried about this.  Is that right?"
  • "So you're confused by this too." 
  • "Are you saying you're frustrated by ____?"

Beliefs

Everyone has opinions, and everyone is entitled to them.  But hen they become controversial in relationships it can be a real challenge to sort through and maintain connection.  Here are a few ways to validate their beliefs (even if you disagree):

  • "You absolutely have a right to your opinion."
  • "I know you have a different way of doing this."
  • "You've clearly got a solid opinion about this."
  • "I hear you've been thinking about this for a while."

Desires

Knowing your partner's wants or desires helps them feel heard and understood in conflict.  It also helps you support them in getting needs met or soothing when they're disappointed. You might say something like:

  • "You really want to go on that vacation."
  • "I know having quiet time together really matters to you."
  • "I hear you that you want more help around the house."
  • "Having more sex is important to connection for you."

Actions

All too often we overlook the specific actions and behaviors our partners take.  When we miss these they can feel unacknowledged and underappreciated and it can lead us to grow resentful.  Start taking note of specific actions to validate their experience.  Here are some options:

  • "I saw you reading. What's that book about?"
  • "You said your back hurt earlier.  How are you feeling now?"
  • "Thanks for bringing this up."
  • "I so appreciate you folding the laundry with me."

Pain

It can be super challenging to focus on our partner's pain or suffering (especially when we might have caused some of it).  Most of us work hard to avoid suffering and want to fix it right away.  However, by acknowledging the pain we can be vulnerable and deepen trust in the relationship.  Here are some examples for you to try:

  • "I can see you're hurting."
  • "I know this week has been really stressful."
  • "Honey, I'm sorry you're in pain."
  • "This has been so hard on you."

CHANGE YOUR COMMUNICATION PATTERNS

Are you inspired to change the way you communicate in conflicts?  Three ways to change your relationship to conflict for good:

  1. Lots of the information in this article draws from a great book on relationships.  Its a super quick read and a really easy listen to audiobook.  Get your copy of High Conflict Couple here (its' great even if you're not necessarily "high conflict").

  2. Download my Fight Better Guide for Couples.  Totally free.  Get it in my Relationship Resource Library right here

  3. Call me for a free consult.  Sometimes it helps to talk it through with a neutral third party to make changes that last.  I'll happily share resources or support you as a coach.  Let's talk.

SHIFT YOUR COMMUNICATION PATTERNS IN A FREE CALL

 Relationship Coach  Communication Coach

Gina Senarighi has been supporting loving couples and healthy teams for nearly twenty years. As a former couples therapist turned retreat coach, workshop facilitator, and author she's transformed partnerships, leaders and communication strategy all over the world.  

Her uniquely non-judgmental, inclusive approach to couples work puts even the most concerned participants at ease.  She's not your average sit-and-nod supporter- she'll hold hope even when it's hard and always help you grow. 

Call for a consultation to see how she can help you deepen connection, communicate effectively, and passionately reignite your relationship.

Three Questions to Ask Your Partner This Week

Thank you to Danielle LaPorte for this week's questions.  If you don't know her already, Danielle wrote the Desire Map years ago and it became a foundation for the couples work I do to this day.  In it she helps people re-orient their days around what they want most in life. 

I've now walked hundreds of clients through her process to help them reconnect with their core values, clarify intentions, and take meaningful action individually and in partnership.  Check it out here.

She's about to launch a new podcast and I'm really excited about it.  Even before it launches (next week) she gave a sneak peek on itunes.  In the preview, she asks three questions, and while I heard them I thought of all of you. 

You know I send out juicy questions to bring couples closer every week.  This week, try hers:

  1. Whats the drag in your life?

  2. What do you love?

  3. What do you crave?

  4. What do you want?

  5. How do you think I can help with that?



Gina Senarighi Love Coach | Couples Retreats | Relationship Coach

Gina Senarighi has been supporting loving couples and healthy teams for nearly twenty years. As a former couples therapist turned retreat coach, workshop facilitator, and author she's transformed partnerships, leaders and communication strategy all over the world.  

Her uniquely non-judgmental, inclusive approach to couples work puts even the most concerned participants at ease.  She's not your average sit-and-nod supporter- she'll hold hope even when it's hard and always help you grow. 

Call for a consultation to see how she can help you deepen connection, communicate effectively, and passionately reignite your relationship.

Four Powerful Relationship Tips from Esther Perel's SXSW Keynote

"The quality of your relationships is what determines the quality of your life."

- Esther Perel, SXSW 2018

 

As you know I hold a deep love and respect for the work of Esther Perel.  So I was very excited to hear she was speaking at this year's South by Southwest event. 

As usual, her talk was provocative and incredibly informative.  I'm outlining a few of my favorite takeaways for you below.  I'd love to talk with you more about it if you're interested give me a call.

 

Conversations are the heart of relationships.

But most of us are shying away from direct communication, complex conversations, and fully present connections.  We text instead of call, we back out instead of showing up, and we dive into distraction every chance we get.

If we want to combat the epidemic of loneliness our culture is facing we need to start showing up more courageously in meaningful conversations.

 

The tension between change and stability is key to relationship success

Thriving relationships can reconcile these two fundamentally different needs (security and safety vs exploration and adventure).  Some of us emerge from families needing more autonomy and some needing more safety.  Which leads to one of us more afraid of losing the other and the other more afraid of losing themselves.

The more we can name and work through this tension together, the closer we become.  Couples and partnerships who can hold this tension and carefully balance it (not too much of either end of the spectrum of autonomy vs connection) build more fulfilling relationships.

 

"Soulmate" is a new concept

How do I know I have found the one?  My one and only.  We want one person to meet the needs that a whole village used to provide.  Soulmate used to be god, and many of us have replaced religion with expectations on a partner.  

 

When we listen deeply to the experiences of another we end up standing in front of a mirror.

And we get inspiration for the kinds of courage we need to have in our own lives. Prioritize relationship work, intimacy, and repair in order to combat loneliness.

We need complex and nuanced conversations to transform the nature of relationships.  To modernize relationship structures as we have outgrown the old paradigms of binary gender. Shifting the roles of men and supporting their complex emotional experiences will create opportunities for wholeness in relationships.

And in order to change the future of intimacy and connection in our society, we all need to courageously tend and show up in more of our relationships.

 

Watch the full talk below:

Please participate with the blindfold activity by closing your eyes.  


Gina Senarighi | Couples Retreats | Communication Workshop | Relationship Coach

Gina Senarighi has been supporting loving couples and healthy teams for nearly twenty years. As a former couples therapist turned retreat coach, workshop facilitator, and author she's transformed partnerships, leaders and communication strategy all over the world.  

Her uniquely non-judgmental, inclusive approach to couples work puts even the most concerned participants at ease.  She's not your average sit-and-nod supporter- she'll hold hope even when it's hard and always help you grow. 

Call for a consultation to see how she can help you deepen connection, communicate effectively, and passionately reignite your relationship.

Closer Relationships in Five Sentences

Every week I send out conversation starters for more meaningful connected relationships.  If you'd like to receive them enter your information here.


Vulnerability is the key to closeness in intimate relationships.  Most of us feel deeply connected to partners when they show us their most authentic selves.  We love the courage it takes to get real.

But most of us fear showing that same truth to others. My mentor, Brene Brown says "vulnerability is the first thing I look for in you, and the last thing I am willing to show in myself."  We fear sharing these pieces of ourselves because most of us have had bad experiences sharing them in unsafe environments. 

In order to create safer environments to show up authentically, we need to talk about vulnerability and support with specifics.  Getting more clarity will help you and the people around you show up authentically with greater safety.  

Finish the sentence stems below on your own and share responses with someone you care about this week.  I'd love to hear how it goes on my facebook page. 

I use these sentence stems not only with the romantic partners I support, but also in my work with business leaders and teams.  Vulnerability is the key to connection- and also invites space for innovation and growth.  you can use them in your workplace to cultivate greater authenticity too.

If you'd like support working through these in your partnership or on your team give me a call.  I'm here for you!

Finish these five sentences to bring you closer this week:

-       To me vulnerability is…

-       Vulnerability feels like…

-       I feel safer being vulnerable when…

-       What I learned about vulnerability growing up was…

-       To support me when I’m vulnerable you can…

 


Gina Senarighi | Relationship Coach | Couples Retreats | Team Facilitator

Gina Senarighi has been supporting loving couples and healthy teams for nearly twenty years. As a former couples therapist turned retreat coach, workshop facilitator, and author she's transformed partnerships, leaders and communication strategy all over the world.  

Her uniquely non-judgmental, inclusive approach to couples work puts even the most concerned participants at ease.  She's not your average sit-and-nod supporter- she'll hold hope even when it's hard and always help you grow. 

Call for a consultation to see how she can help you deepen connection, communicate effectively, and passionately reignite your relationship.

Seven Critical Elements of Trust

Trust means far more than honesty.  If you're looking to build trust with a partner getting specific about which areas of trust you want to work on is key.  Ise the infographic below to identify your strengths and where you want to focus attention and grow.  

As always, if you want to talk more about trust in relationships give me a call, I'd love to chat with you.  

 Seven Elements of rust PDF - Brene Brown Worksheet - Couples Worksheet

Authenticity in Relationships

Way back when I first moved to Portland and was re-starting my private practice, I watched Brene Brown's talk on authenticity and self-worth and it fundamentally shifted my life and my work with clients. 

I felt validated in my work and life's purpose like I had never experienced before.  Her speech talks about vulnerability, truth, and our deep longing for connection in relationships.  I'd been wrestling with all three in my own life- and had been helping others with those for years but had never heard them connected to shame before. 

I watched this video and dove headfirst into a new identity as a shameslayer- helping clients, friends, and myself show up and be seen in the world with authenticity and courage.  I trained with Brene that spring and have been bringing her work to retreats, groups, and clients ever since. 

If you're thinking about working with me, you're going to want to watch this video to help understand some of the foudnations of my work with clients.  

I have a few openings for new clients at the end of this month.  Let me know what you think of the video in a free consultation.  I'd love to chat with you!

WATCH HERE:


 relationship coach | portland healthy relationships | positive psychology and relationships | happy marriage

Gina Senarighi, MA, MS, CPC is a retired couples counselor and sex therapist, now full-time retreat coach, workshop facilitator, and author.  Her twenty years working in communication and positive psychology she has transformed diverse relationships across the country. 

Her uniquely non-judgmental, inclusive approach to couples work puts even the most concerned participants at ease.  She's not your average sit-and-nod supporter- she'll hold hope even when it's hard and always help you grow.

Call for a consultation to see how she can help you deepen connection, communicate effectively, and passionately reignite your relationship.

Getting the Love You Want in Relationships: Clear Requests & Meaningful Support

One of the biggest complaints new clients come to me with is a need for more support in their relationship.  Most folks tell me they've asked and asked (maybe a thousand times) for support but just don't feel like they're getting it.  

Usually, when we talk with their partner the other side of the story includes just as many attempts at support as requests.  And on their side, these attempts are as overlooked or missed as the initial requests.  

So how do you meet in the middle?  It can help to shift the conversation by getting specific right from the beginning. While you might think you're being clear in asking for more support or telling them you feel unsupported, getting more clear will help them learn to meet your needs.

In sessions, we work to identify what meaningful support looks like to each partner- and often in each situation.  For those of you who can't make it in, I've outlined key themes in support and given examples of each on this worksheet to help you in identifying your unique support needs.  

With greater awareness and specificity you can make clear requests and your partner can more easily work to meet you where you need them most.  

Start by asking yourself, what would meaningful support look like in this situation?  What specific behaviors would help before, during, and after the situation I'm working on?  If you need inspiration download this guide for help.  

I hope this framework can help you get clearer about what you need from your sweetie- and can help them better meet you.  Let me know if you'd like my support in this conversation, I'm here for you.  

 Support in Relationships | Supportive Partner | How to be supportive

A Month of Kindness for Couples

So many incredible couples reach out to me to help them reconnect with each other.  While there are lots of ways to get there, starting on the path of reconnection can be easier than you think.

The biggest challenge is shifting your patterns to take tiny daily actions that move you towards more meaningful connection in the smallest of ways.  Most long-term couples need a reminder and a serious commitment to change in order to re-establish these smallest connections.  

So I created a little calendar to help you two commit to daily action.  Click the image to download a copy to give it a try this month.  

As always, if you'd like help nurturing the connection between you, I'm happy to support you. Give me a call. 

Relationship Advice: Keep Your Conversation Fresh

One of the most important things we can do in a couple is continue to learn about one another.  When we stop being curious and start making assumptions about the people in our lives we start running into problems.  

Take some time over the weekend to get to know this person in a new way by asking these ten simple questions.

Even if you think you know their answer, ask and see if their response has changed or grown since you last checked in.  Try to accept their answers with warmth (the goal is to create openness for more sharing).  

It might be exciting to learn how your partner has changed over time.  These work well on a first date too!

Ask your sweetie:

1.  Do you look more like your mother or father?  How?

2.  Which of your parents are you closer to?

3.  Whats the most important lesson your parents taught you?

4.  What qualities make a good parent?

5.  Do you wish anything were different about your relationship with your parents?

6.  Who mentored you as a child?

7. Who was your hero growing up?

8. What influence should our families have in our relationship?

9.  What values have you held onto from your upbringing?

10.  If you could change anything about your childhood, would you?  What would you change?

(Check out previous conversation starters here)

I am so excited to hear from you about the conversations these ignite.  Leave a comment below and let me know!

Twenty Ways to Build Trust Today

 TRUST IN RELATIONSHIPS | RELATIONSHIP COACH | POSITIVE PSYCHOLOGY | HAPPY COUPLES

"Trust is built in the smallest of moments." - John Gottman, one of the greatest relationship researchers has cracked the code on trust building in relationships.  And consistently his data shows that trust is built (and broken) not in the biggest incidents we share with others, but in the tiniest of day to day actions.  

Here are twenty quick examples of ways you can start building trust by being more trustworthy right now.  The trick is, trust takes courage.  If you need help building trust or courage give me a call.  I'm here to help.

  1. Call your friend who is struggling and just listen
  2. Write a thank you note and send it
  3. Apologize for a time you misunderstood someone
  4. Honor someone's courage
  5. Give someone the benefit of the doubt
  6. Stop yourself from gossiping
  7. Share specific gratitude with a colleague
  8. Use impeccable honesty
  9. Ask deeper questions of your coworkers
  10. Tell your partner why you love them (get specific)
  11. Show up when you say you will
  12. Send an encouraging text to a friend doing something hard
  13. Offer to help someone with a specific task
  14. Ask for help from someone 
  15. Apologize for a time you were late
  16. Suspend judgment and create a loving narrative
  17. Send a gratitude email
  18. Acknowledge the impact you have on another 
  19. Think of one way you can make your partner's life easier and do it
  20. Say no to anything you can't be absolutely certain you will complete

 


 trust in relationships  healthy relationships | relationship coach | communication help for couples

Gina Senarighi, MA, MS, CPC is a retired couples counselor and sex therapist, now full-time retreat coach, workshop facilitator, and author.  Her twenty years working in communication and positive psychology she has transformed diverse relationships across the country. 

Her uniquely non-judgmental, inclusive approach to couples work puts even the most concerned participants at ease.  She's not your average sit-and-nod supporter- she'll hold hope even when it's hard and always help you grow.

Call for a consultation to see how she can help you deepen connection, communicate effectively, and passionately reignite your relationship.

Four Great Articles on Boundaries in Relationships

Every week I read (often saving and re-reading) great materials from others about healthy relationships and strong relationship boundaries.  Here's a quick list of four of my all-time favorites.

Six Steps to Setting Boundaries in Relationships by Jennifer Twardowski

For all of you wanting a step-by-step guide to making boundaries work this is the basic primer for you.  Jennifer spells it out in six easy steps to get clear and ask for what you need.

Healthy Relationships: Setting Boundaries from Love is Respect

Love is respect is FULL of great resources on healthy relationships.  I strongly recommend checking out just about everything on their site.  If you want one easy to read starting place this article is great for outlining the kinds of spaces to consider boundaries (in-person and online in particular).  Start here and then use the rest of their site to dive deeper in relationship 101. 

How to Set Healthy Boundaries: 3 Critical First Stepsfrom Tiny Buddha

Tiny Buddha is always a great resource for personal narratives and self-reflection.  I love this post because it outlines three great ways to get clear internally and do a little self-assessment when considering boundaries with other people.

Boundaries in Relationships from Life Esteem

Life esteem may not be the prettiest site out there, but for all of you wondering why setting boundaries is so dang hard, this article literally spells it out.  If you keep wondering why boundaries are tripping you up, there might be some useful tips in here.

If you want help setting and maintaining boundaries that work for you in relationships give me a call for a free consultation.  I'm happy to support you in creating healthy boundaries that work for you and your loved ones.


 positive psychology | life coach | relationship coach | couples coach | couples retreats

Gina Senarighi, MS, MA, CPC has helped thousands of couples review their growth together, and renew their connection moving forward. 

For nearly 15 years she's specialized in strengths-focused, positive psychology-based relationship advice and coaching to nurture lasting joy and and resilience in her client's relationships.  

She will help you:

  • develop a shared vision and goals- and create actionable steps to move in that direction
  • overcome outdated patterns and establish new intentional, healthy ones
  • strengthen trust or repair it after infidelity or dishonesty
  • connect in meaningful ways during and well after life transitions
  • design rituals of connection that will keep you close for many years
  • break stale or unhealthy communication patterns and learn new skills 

Contact her for a free consultation to see if working with her is right for you.

Couples Conversation Starters: Face Your Fears

One of the most important things we can do in a couple is continue to learn about one another.  When we stop being curious and start making assumptions about the people in our lives we start running into problems.  Take some time over the weekend to get to know this person in a new way by asking these ten simple questions.

Even if you think you know their answer, ask and see if their response has changed or grown since you last checked in.  Try to accept their answers with warmth (the goal is to create openness for more sharing).  It might be exciting to learn how your partner has changed over time.

Ask your sweetie:

1.  Whats your biggest irrational fear?

2.  When have you successfully faced your fear?

3.  How do you feel about roller coasters?

4.  How do you feel about roller snakes?

5.  Are you afraid of the dark?

6.  Would you ever go skydiving?  

7.  Do you believe in ghosts or haunted houses?

8.  Do you believe in any superstitions?

9.  How do your faith beliefs intersect with your fears?

10.  What do you do to calm yourself when you are afraid?

(Check out previous conversation starters here)

I am so excited to hear from you about the conversations these ignite.  Leave a comment below and let me know!

Couples Conversation Starters: Fascinate Your Sweetheart

One of the most important things we can do in a couple is continue to learn about one another.  When we stop being curious and start making assumptions about the people in our lives we start running into problems.  Take some time each weekend to get to know this person in a new way.  Even if you think you know their answer, ask and see if their response has changed or grown since you last checked in.  It might be exciting to learn how your partner has changed over time.

These work well on a first date too!

1.  What is the most impulsive thing you've ever done?

2.  What is the largest purchase you ever made?

3.  What is the best thing about your hometown?

4.  What is the most memorable gift you've ever received?

5.  How do you define the word "relationship"?

I recently changed these posts to Thursdays for all of you who start Friday dates early in the day and am so excited to hear from you about the conversations these ignite.  Leave a comment below and let me know!

Relationship Advice: Keep Your Conversation Fresh

One of the most important things we can do in a couple is continue to learn about one another.  When we stop being curious and start making assumptions about the people in our lives we start running into problems.  Take some time over the weekend to get to know this person in a new way by asking these ten simple questions.

Even if you think you know their answer, ask and see if their response has changed or grown since you last checked in.  Try to accept their answers with warmth (the goal is to create openness for more sharing).  It might be exciting to learn how your partner has changed over time.  These work well on a first date too!

Ask your sweetie:

1.  Do you look more like your mother or father?  How?

2.  Which of your parents are you closer to?

3.  Whats the most important lesson your parents taught you?

4.  What qualities make a good parent?

5.  Do you wish anything were different about your relationship with your parents?

6.  Who mentored you as a child?

7. Who was your hero growing up?

8. What influence should our families have in our relationship?

9.  What values have you held onto from your upbringing?

10.  If you could change anything about your childhood, would you?  What would you change?

(Check out previous conversation starters here)

I am so excited to hear from you about the conversations these ignite.  Leave a comment below and let me know!