Dr. Jenn’s Relationship Tips from The Talk

Yesterday, I was a guest on The Talk where I got to speak about relationship tips with Julie Chen and Aisha Tyler  and some of the other ladies from the show. We talked about important changes that you can make that will bring about immediate and dramatic improvements in thestate of your union. Here they are:

1) CHANGE HOW YOU CONNECT Do a daily check in. Put down the phone and laptop for a minimum of 20 minutes a day and take the time to see how one another are doing. Try to touch base about your thoughts and feelings as well as how your partner’s day is going. Make sure you
ask if it is a good time for both of you to connect. This connection time is like putting emotional money in the bank.

2) CHANGE HOW YOU LISTEN AND SPEAK Try reflective listening. Reflective listening is repeating back to your partner what he or she just said using your own words. Often when couples fight they are so busy constructing their next argument while their partner is talking that they don’t really listen to what the other person is saying. For example, “Let me see if I understand you correctly. When I yell at you, you find it threatening and it makes you feel hurt and scared?” Feeling heard in a relationship is vital to good communication.

When it comes to speaking, try using “I” statements. These point of these statements are for one person in the relationship to be able to express to the other one how they feel without putting their partner on the defensive. They sound like this: “When you leave your underwear on the floor. It makes me feel hurt because I feel like you don’t realize how hard I work to keep the house clean.” Doesn’t that sound much better than, “You are such a slob! Stop leaving your underwear on the floor. I can’t stand it any more!” “I” statements are not debatable because they don’t blame and they take responsibility for the speaker experience.

3) CHANGE HOW YOU DEAL WITH TENSION Take a “time out.” This calm down technique time is actually better used for adults than kids. When an argument gets too heated it ceases to be productive. Most couples can benefit from a cool down period during an argument. It is important that you establish this before taking the break so your partner doesn’t think you are simply walking away. It is helpful to say something like, “I think I need a time out right now. I am too upset to think straight and need some time to calm down. Let’s check back in an hour.” Learning to take a loving time out is a valuable skill.

4) CHANGE HOW YOU BALANCE THE POWER IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP Let your partner influence your decisions. Studies have shown that, even in the first few months of marriage, men who allow their wives to influence them have happier marriages and are less likely to want a divorce than men who resist their wives’ input. Statistically speaking, when a man is not willing to be influenced by his partner, there is an 81 percent chance that his marriage will self-destruct.

5) CHANGE THE WAY YOU THINK ABOUT SEX Just like the old Nike ad, “just do it.” We tend to think that we have to be in the mood or that the circumstances need to be perfect in order to make love but it is far more important to just “do it.” Sex begets more sex; the more we have, the more we tend to want. Sometimes you just have to say, “I’m not in the mood but I am open to letting you get me in the mood.” This willingness to be open to intimacy keeps us connected in the relationship and keeps us close to our partner.