book review

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.


What to Read When You're Going Through Tough Times

We all face hard times and it can be especially difficult to find connection when things are the worst.  These are my four favorite books to read in hard times.

The Impossible Will Take a Little While

If you need a reminder of possibility amid sadness that feels global this book could be the help you need.  Paul Loeb collected essays from world leaders on how to create change, dig deep, and deal with the really hard stuff.  It could help you find hope- or at least peace.

Hyperbole and a Half

I have never seen a better description of the feeling of deep depression than the images shared by Allie Brosch.  If you want to know you're not alone in feeling deeply sad, numb, and overwhelmed (and you're also open to a little humor) read this book.  

Hello Cruel World: 101 Alternatives to Suicide

Kate Bornstein write this treasure a while back for all the "teens, freaks, and other outlaws" who might be pushed to their limits.  The book lists  lots of ways to distract yourself, practice self-care, reach out, or just do anything other than kill yourself.  

With humor and charm and a multi-level rating system this book could help you in the darkest of times.

Tiny Beautiful Things

Cheryl Strayed wrote an advice column as Dear Sugar for a few years and compiled her best in this book.  The whole thing made me cry happy, sad, shameful, and compassionate tears.  Read it when you need the voice of that best friend who really sees you as whole and imperfect.

couples retreat | couples coach | relationship coach | relationship retreat

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.


Three Books to Help Heal Your Heartache

A good friend of mine wrote the other day asking for suggested reading after her recent break up from her sweetheart of years.  Breakups can be so painful, and it can help to have reliable words to lean on when you are going through difficult times.  Here are the books I recommended she read.  I hope they might help you through difficult times.

These first three are best for you if you just need to heal your heart and move on.  They can help, but the best remedy is a combination of time, friendship, good self care, and coaching (call me if you want help with that last one).

Comfortable with Uncertainty- Pema Chodron

One of the more troubling parts of a break up is the loss of an imagines future you planned to share with your loved one.  You may have felt very sure things were heading in one direction only to be surprised that they are headed down a very different path.  This fantastic book can help you work through

Happiness - Thich Nhat Hanh

One of the hardest things to get through is grief and loss surrounding a break up.  This book will guide you through daily actions you can take to re-orient yourself toward happiness without avoiding the emotions connected to your loss.

The Happiness Advantage- Shawn Achor

Its not easy to think about happiness after a big heartache.  Give yourself some time, and know that when you are ready to start rebuilding this book has some simple actions you can take to help get you there.

Remember to give it time, and focus on your feelings first.  As one of my great mentors used to say, you can't force anything good.  If you find you are trying to force yourself to move on too quickly stop, slow down, and spend a little time just being gentle with yourself.

You'll get there, I promise.

Ten Fantastic Reads for Couples

People ask me for resources on healthy relationships all the time!  Below are my top ten go-to reads for couples.  I would love to see your recommendations in the comments!

1.  The Relationship Cure- John Gottman (at Powells Books) I recommend this book more often to clients than any other.  It outlines Gottman's 35 years of research with easy-to-understand examples and is full of activities to help you build better relationships in your life.  This book is also great because it focuses on the many different partnerships we have in our lives (at school, work, or home, in families, romance, friendships) to help connect solid communities of support all around you.

2. Mastery of Love- Don Miguel Ruiz (at Powells Books).  Have you read the Four Agreements?  if not, you may want to start there.  This is a follow-up book that really applies the messages of the first book to couples.  Its beautifully written and will help you build a foundation based in shared positive values.

3. I Thought We'd Never Speak Again- Laura Davis (at Powells Books) focuses on reconciliation in families and is a great guide for forgiveness- not only the forgiveness of others, but the ways we can forgive ourselves.  Even if you don't ever want to forgive someone else, this book can help you get clarity and closure to help you move forward.

4. Attached- Rachel Heller (at Powells Books) I have to be honest, I just started reading this and I already know it will be on my regular suggestions list.  Attachment theory looks at the patterns in our relationships (dating, family, and friendship) over our lifetimes and helps us become more aware of and intentional about the patterns we choose.

5. Nonviolent Communication- Marshall Rosenberg (at Powells Books) Compassionate communication based on Marshall Rosenberg's work is the foundation of many of my couples trainings.  Reading this book will help you clarify what you want and need and make clear requests of those around you.

6.  If the Buddha Married- Charlotte Kasl (at Powells Books) At my first Vipassana retreat one of the questions I asked my teacher was how to remain unattached and completely in love.  If you have ever wondered the same this is the book for you!

7. Fierce Conversations- Susan Scott (at Powells Books) was actually written with your workplace in mind, but the thing is - if it works in your multi-million dollar business exchanges, it's going to work at home.  Things can be a bit more emotionally intense around the house but you still have many separate parties (or two) negotiating with very different agendas.  This book will help you work through these conflicts with new tools.

8. The Five Love Languages- Gary Chapman (at Powells Books) Okay, I have already written about this one a few times.  The love languages give us all better ideas on how to express and receive love in our partnerships.

9. Seven Principles for Making a Marriage Work - John Gottman (at Powells Books) Okay, you have to forgive the title - I know marriage isn't for everyone and if you choose to read this one you may have to use a filter to replace "marriage" with "relationship" throughout.  That said, this guide gives real life examples that are very easy to understand on how to be better together in lone term relationships.

10. Hold Me Tight- Sue Johnson (at Powells Books)  Last but certainly not least, Sue Johnson has been teaching couples to connect on a deeper emotional level for years.  The conversations recommended in the book will give you greater insight into the defining principles of your togetherness and can help you create an even deeper bond.