Starting Off the New Year as the Best Partner You Can Be

Most of us want to be the best partner we can be. But often we get caught up in work and attending to day-to-day responsibilities. We get caught up in the continuous buzzing of our own worries and what-ifs.

“We go, go, go until something requires us to stop,” said Robyn D’Angelo, a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice in Laguna Hills, Calif. You might stop because of a fight with your partner, colleague or family member. You might stop because of your own illness or someone else’s. Or you might stop because of a major loss -- everything from your job to a loved one.
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Grief and Loss

The Top 7 Ways You Can Make Your Pain Work for You

Grief can be the garden of compassion. -- Rumi
Have you ever had lower back pain? I once wrenched my back and walked at snail’s pace for weeks, crippled by pain. Lower back pain troubled me for years, until I found an exercise that reliably switches off the pain.

Have you ever lost a loved one? The anguish can seem unbearable.

Abolishing pain might seem a good idea, but please pause to consider this story.

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Keeping the Spark Alive in Marriage

A widely believed myth is that marriage gets boring and stays that way. This is only true when things get too familiar and predictable. Granted, we like routines and it’s nice to know that we can count on our spouse being there when we go to bed and wake up. But this doesn’t mean that after you realize he’s (or she’s) the one that the fun has to end.

It means to notice when it’s time to add excitement to your marriage. When an activity you used to enjoy on your own or as a couple no longer lights you up, it’s time to try something new -- on your own or together.

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Marriage and Divorce

Chemistry Counts in Relationships — But How Much?

When it comes to romantic relationships, chemistry is a loaded word. Does one of these beliefs pop into your mind when you hear it?

For a good relationship, chemistry needs to be there right away
Chemistry might not be felt initially but can develop later
Love at first sight, or a variation of this, predicts a good long-term relationship
Chemistry can come and go, depending on other factors
Chemistry is not essential for a good marriage
Chemistry can attract you to the “wrong”...
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Anxiety and Panic

Psychology Around the Net: December 19, 2015

Happy Holiday, Psych Central readers!

OK, so we're technically still in the throes of the holiday season, for those of you who celebrate, but you won't get another Psychology Around the Net until after Christmas -- which means, you need lots of goodies to read until then, right?

Fortunately, we have them for you!

Keep reading to learn about how small talk helps us bond with others, the research related to mental health courts, the one trick to a happy and successful relationship, and more!

See you next week!

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5 Ways to Stay Connected to Your Spouse after Baby

If you’re a new or expectant parent, you’re probably relishing all of the joy, excitement and memories your new baby will bring. You’re also probably fretting over the changes and challenges that will occur, too.

No one prepares us for the relationship struggles that happen after a baby arrives. We don’t realize how taxing sleep deprivation, uncertain parenting roles, money worries and everyday stressors can be on our marriage. You soon realize that your precious arrival has set off a bigger cascade of problems between you and your spouse than you ever knew possible.

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7 Signs that Stress is Affecting Your Relationship

In the chaos that is life, we often get bogged down with situations both in and beyond our control. While stress can hurt us physically by making us sick, exhausted, and generally worn down, it also is a difference maker in our relationships and marriages.

In order to reach optimal marriage fitness, we have to figure out how to reduce stress in our lives. It may mean getting more physical and exerting some pent-up energy through exercise, centering ourselves through yoga or meditation, or catching a comedy show and laughing to reduce stress. Find whatever that outlet may be to regain your balance and health and strengthen your relationship. Here are some signs that maybe things are getting a little intense.

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Smart Spouses Avoid Three Relationship Traps

Road signs alert drivers to prepare for what’s ahead: pedestrians crossing, a curve, or a hairpin turn. Signals also exist that warn us of possible relationship hazards that are easy to miss. So watch out for these three relationship traps:

Trap #1: I’m Right -- You’re Wrong
This attitude means that one of you is not respecting the other’s right to be herself or himself. Many people new to therapy label some of their partner’s beliefs, feelings, and behaviors as “wrong.” I tell them that right and wrong are terms that apply in religious teachings and legal procedures.

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Brain and Behavior

Men: How to Awaken Passion in Your Wife

For men, it’s easy. Your wife gives you a glance, a naughty side-turn or wears some sexy lingerie and you’re rearing to go. For women, foreplay is a bit more complicated.

Sex and intimacy are essential ingredients to remaining close and connected to your spouse, but often, it’s the first thing to go. Not only do you battle with the stress of everyday life, lack of sleep from demanding kids or just feeling plain old “not into it,” you also have to worry about setting the stage precisely. Otherwise it loses steam.

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Now that I’m Married, How Do I Talk to My Spouse?

A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person. -- Mignon McLaughlin
Can you imagine your partner and yourself holding a weekly formal meeting? The idea might intrigue you, but what if it turns into a gripe session or a series of demands?

Knowledge is power, so it’s best to learn how to hold a successful meeting with your spouse before actually trying one. I wrote Marriage Meetings for Lasting Love: 30 Minutes a Week to the Relationship You’ve Always Wanted to provide this information.

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Getting the Most out of Imago Couples Therapy: Reframe, Remember, Resolve

Couples therapy is a time for learning and growing as a couple. It’s a time to take a moment to sit down in this fast-paced world and really listen to what your partner is saying. Whether you’ve been going to couples therapy for years or are about to have your first appointment, these tips can help you make the most of marriage counseling.

Reframe your belief about couples therapy.

It is not a sentence for bad behavior. It is an opportunity for educational growth. It helps you to become more conscious and learn about yourself, your partner and what is really going on in your relationship.
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How to Make Your Relationship Run Smoothly

In order to make your relationship run smoothly, you need to know what you need and want. Since your partner is not a mind-reader, it's important to express your deepest desires instead of avoiding them. But communicate your feelings and thoughts in a mature and productive way in order to avoid a big argument. The following suggestions will lay the groundwork for effectively maneuvering through those triggering times:
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