Wow, some time has passed since I have reached out to you all or “y’all” as they say in Texas. I just flew back Sunday night from Dallas and had the pleasure of meeting some really cool folks all the while getting to expand my “Treasure Box” of interventions and tools to help couples. I also took a spin by the state fair, did you know that they serve “Fried Lemonade” there! I had to consult Google to really understand it. It was a frenzy of fried food – Fried Oreos, Fried Pumpkin Pie, Fried Butter, and the list went on.
While in Dallas, I attended the Gottman Level III conference this past week and weekend put on by National Marriage Seminars. My practice continues to expand with a keen focus on couples work. I think it is because I just love, love and want to help others remember why they fell in love and help them create AMAZING relationships. So what does “Fried Lemonade” have to do with having a better relationship…trying new things of course! I mean, unless you are a Texaner I bet you have never tried Fried Lemonade either. I wanted to share with you a few fun ideas. Drs. Julie and John Gottman, the creators of the researched based “Gottman Method of Couples Therapy”, identify 3 main areas in helping couples expand their relationship. Those 3 areas are: Managing Conflict, Building on Friendship, and Creating Shared Meaning.
I personally love the “Building on Friendship” area because it fits with my fresh, fun, and clever side. Here are 10 NEW things I recommend to build on your friendship and make things FUN in a stressful world.
1. Buy a board game and have game night.
2. Grab the game Loaded Questions and just ask one another questions or text them to each other during the day. You can utilize this as a family game as well. Great way to engage those teens too! I have used this in working with teens, you get to tap into their world in a whole new way.
3. I came across this cool book written by Dr. Michele O’Mara an Indiana based therapist. She has a very focused practice working with lesbian and transgender couples. She wrote a book called, “Just Ask: 1000 Questions to Grow Your Relationship.” Here is a fun one, question #361 – “Do you have any routines or behaviors that you engage in every day that many others do not?” I know you are thinking about this right now, and your answer is…????
4. Gottman – Love Map Cards, This deck of cards helps you understand one another’s world. You can play these cards in a variety of ways. Answer them yourself, answer them about each other, or my favorite… answer them about your mate through a friendly and fun game of Pictionary. If you ever decide to enter couples counseling with me we can DEFINITELY play this, just remind me!
5. Gottman – Building Ritual of Connections and Opportunity Cards. This is a GREAT way to talk about ways to connect with your partner. For example what are your rituals when you: depart in the morning? come back together at the end of the day? are away on a trip?
6. I came across this book in the store. “What I Love About You and Me.” I just recently ordered it. It is a fill in the blank book. It will get you and your other half talking about the love you have for one another.
7. Make a bucket list together. I am adding to mine – “fly first class to a foreign country with my beloved beside me.” What is on yours?
8. Take a class together. I met a Texas based therapist, Stephanie Coker of Coker Counseling, who did a couples improv comedy class with her husband. How fun is that! I will be looking for one of those in my state.
9. Act out a love scene of a movie, over dramatize it just for fun!
10. Check out the “If…” books. Here is one, “If…On The Game of Love.” One of the questions from the book is, “If you could have a massage from anyone famous, who would it be?”
BONUS – this one comes from a really cool couple I currently work with. They introduced me to the “Heads Up” app. We actually played it at the start of a session. I love when the people I work with teach me new and cool things! They play it everywhere and anywhere.
So, I just gave you 10 FUN things to do with your beloved, friends, family, teens, anyone really, AND I made it REALLY easy for you. Even though you should probably be working just click on a hyperlink of one of the things that might interest you and if it moves you, order it and take TOTAL credit when you bring it home to your other half. Tell him or her that YOU thought of this cool and creative idea unless he or she read this blog then that won’t go over so well. Either way, I won’t be offended by you taking full credit, just email me the result of trying one of these 10 things and that will be all the reward I need… YOU having a more fulfilling relationship. See you soon!
by Katie Lemieux