Archive: Communication

August 15, 2014

Shower Your Partner with Love!

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  • How much energy do you put into your relationship?
  • How often do you make your partner a priority?
  • How does your partner make sure you feel loved and cared for?

With so many things competing for our attention, it’s easy to put your relationship on the back burner. When there are deadlines at work, wee ones tugging on your sleeve or dust bunnies the size of elephants taking over you home – showering your partner with love is often not even on your radar.

A committed relationship offers comfort and stability. It’s nice to know someone has your back. It’s nice to know that someone will be there at the end of the day. It’s nice to be a part of a team.

It’s also easy to get a bit too comfortable. It’s easy to say “I love you” as part of a routine. It’s easy to tune out when asking about your partner’s day. It’s easy to really care about each other and still get into a rut. It’s easy to go through the motions or be on auto-pilot.

Shower Your Partner with love is 3 weeks dedicated to you and your partner. Three weeks of love and attention and romance and intimacy. Three weeks to take you from comfortable to connected – from after thought to after glow.

Couples often tell me how much they miss the “honeymoon phase.” This class won’t bring you back to that time (I can’t recreate all of the love chemicals that were going off in your brain when you first got together) but it will help you look at your partner as your LOVER rather than you co-manager or roommate. I will put your attention on the love you have for each other. I will give you ideas for ways you can turn up the volume on that love and and create some tenderness or heat in your relationship.

This class is for anyone who is in a loving relationship and wants –

  • To feel more connected
  • More romance
  • To make their relationship a priority
  • More joy in their relationship
  • Greater ease with sex or talking about sex (and more pleasure, passion or connection during sex)
  • to focus on the positive in your relationship
  • Tangible ways to help your partner feel loved and for your partner to help you feel loved
  • Daily connection or shared ritual in your relationship
  • More kindness in your relationship

What we’ll cover –

  • Specific ways you feel loved and how to share them with your partner
  • Cultivating gratitude in and for your relationship
  • Creating daily connection – no more ships just passing in the night
  • Ways to interrupt negative cycles and ways to create positive ones (love begets love, passion begets passion, hope begets hope)
  • Deepening intimacy – in and out of the bedroom
  • Sex – you know I couldn’t host a class for couples without throwing sex in there!
  • Romance
  • Small things you can do to make your relationship a priority
  • Giving and Receiving
  • And More…

How it works –

You will received an email every week day from September 8th – September 26th. The emails will include video, audio, writing prompts, activities and exercises. I’ll share tangible ways you can shower your partner with love (the beautiful thing is that you partner will get the same email and be showering you right back with love!).

For 3 weeks you will receive multiple ways and ideas to cultivate love in your relationship.

It’s a tune up for your relationship. 3 weeks dedicated to your love. 3 weeks where you can really focus on each other. 3 weeks where you can feel adored and also adore your partner.

After the 3 weeks you will receive a PDF version of all the material and you can revisit it on your own at any time.

Cost

$59 per couple

This class is currently full. The PDF will be available for purchase in October.

You wouldn’t expect your garden to grow without tending it. You don’t expect your car to run without filling it with gas or changing the oil. Your relationship (and your partner) will flourish when you put some energy toward it.

There are so many things competing for your attention – give yourself and your partner the gift of 3 weeks where you both are showered with love!


February 27, 2014

An Invitation to Communicate

Julie Jeske Healthy U

I am so honored to have been invited to speak as part of Portland State University’s Healthy U Wellness Challenge. I was asked to talk about the importance of communication and sex. Yahoo!  I LOVE that sex and communication were a part of a health challenge!

They recorded my talk and it is available if you would like to learn more about the importance of sexual communication and some tips on how to talk about sex.

You can view “An Invitation to Communicate” Here.

For more help talking about sex, check out “Talking About Sex is Sexual Intimacy.”

Filed under: Communication,health,Sexuality,Video — admin @ 9:11 am

December 27, 2013

Our Relationship Challenges Help Us Grow

relationship

You know that scene in the movie where the new love-struck couple first finishes each other’s sentence and she realizes that he truly gets here and he realizes she is perfect and they are excited to live together happily ever after with lots of laughter and bliss and super hot sex??? They start doing everything together and he picks up her hobbies and she loves his hobbies and pretty soon there is no me or mine, just us and ours. He adores her quirky habits and she swoons at his goofy ways and they adore how different and similar they are.

This is where the movie usually ends. Perhaps we get a sneak peak at their future children and their children’s children and more laughter, smiles and happily ever after.

What happens when her quirky habits drive him bonkers? What about his goofy ways embarrassing her and turning her off?
Have you ever noticed that sometimes the very things that draw you to someone eventually annoy you? Remember when his lack of schedule felt fun and carefree rather than careless? Remember when her love of structure seemed responsible rather than suffocating? What changed? Him, Her, You, Both?

And what do you do now? Is it time to call it quits? Do you grin and bare it? Accept your lot in life or try to change your partner?

When things become challenging in a relationship most people either walk away or grudgingly move forward. What if there is another option? Certainly there are times to end a relationship. Certainly there are some challenges that are just too much. And sometimes we have skewed expectations of what relationships are “supposed to look like.” And sometimes we forget (or never learned) that challenges can be an opportunity for growth.

Numerous times in my office I have heard, “If I only lived alone, I could finally learn to _____.” (pay my bills, clean up after myself, be on time, take care of the kids, love myself, etc.) Or “Once I find a new partner I will finally be able to _______.” Or “If I was single I could ________.” And yes, sometimes that is the case and sometimes it isn’t. It’s similar to the “Next year I will finally _______.” (lose weight, go back to school, quit my job, clean my house, etc.) Here is where the opportunity for growth comes in. It may seem impossible to learn how to finally clean up after yourself when your wife does it all the time, but this is a great opportunity for you to learn. It may seem challenging to be financially responsible when your husband is so good at finances and will just do it for you, but you can both be financially responsible We love to just start fresh. Clean Slate. “If I’m on my own I HAVE to learn to clean the house.” “If I’m single, I HAVE to pay my bills on time.” Do you? Or will you be single with a messy house and late charges? You may be thinking, “But my partner won’t let me grow. He or She insists on being in charge or parenting me.” And perhaps that is the case. I also speak to a lot of partners who would love for their partner to shift and grow in the relationship. I’m not saying it’s easy. I’m not saying it won’t be challenging. But let’s be real – leaving a relationship is challenging. And if you leave so you can learn to do something on your own, it’s possible you will not learn to do that thing and then end up in another relationship with the exact same dynamic and the exact same challenges. We choose our partners for many reasons (compatibility, chemistry, connection, love, financial support, similar beliefs, etc). Sometimes we choose partners that remind us of our family or previous partners. Sometimes we choose partners that allow us to heal past wounds or show up in new ways or grow or shift or change. If you are used to chaos, it makes sense that on some level you might choose someone who is calming. It also makes sense that you might believe on some level that you will not be able to learn to be calm in this relationship (since that is your partner’s role). The truth is, you can learn to be calm even if your partner is used to being the calming one. You can learn to be organized even if your partner is the organized one. You can start being more responsible even if your partner is the responsible one.

You just need to decide how you want to address your relationship challenges. You just need to decide how and with whom you want to grow.

Filed under: Communication,Relationship — admin @ 8:05 am

November 1, 2013

Close Your Mouth and Listen

listening
  • Do you love to give advice?
  • Are you trying to spare someone from learning things the “hard way” or impart your knowledge?
  • Do you think your way is just best?

I think most advice comes from a place of love.  However, people rarely like being told what to do.

Many of us are doing the best that we can.  So unsolicited advice can feel judgmental rather than helpful.  Even when is advice is “spot on,” un-requested advice is rarely welcomed whole-heartedly.

Your advice usually has more to say about you than it does about the other person.  Are you trying to save her from a mistake you made in the past?  Do you want to control the situation?  Do you feel judgment and want to use “advice” to make someone feel a certain way?  Are you jealous?  Are you trying to change someone?

The next time you find yourself wanting to help by way of telling someone how to live, take a breath and ask yourself what it’s really about.  Perhaps you can take a moment and practice empathy, can you get some perspective by trying to understand what they are experiencing?

If you aren’t sure that you are giving advice and really feel like you are helping, notice if you start with “You SHOULD…” or “Here’s what you do…”  Helping looks more like, “How can I help?”  or  “Is there anything I can do?”  It’s OK to to ask if there is any way you can help (that is very different than telling someone what they should do).

Or just close your mouth and listen.  If someone wants your opinion or wisdom, they will surely ask.  And they will remember how great it felt when you just sat back and listened.  Listening can go a very long way!

Filed under: Communication,Support — admin @ 4:08 pm

October 9, 2013

When talking about sex becomes a chore…

communication

If you and your partner are struggling sexually, chances are talking about sex is also a struggle.

You may find that you have the same fights about sex.  You might feel as though you go round and round in circles and nothing changes.  Or perhaps you avoid the topic (and uncomfortable feelings) all together.

When sex is difficult, talking about it becomes nearly impossible.

And when we don’t talk about something, it’s hard for it to shift.  When we don’t talk about improving sex, it’s rare for it to improve on it’s own.  When couples only talk about sex to complain about unmet needs or share how disappointed they are, it can feel impossible to make sex (or talking about sex) fun.  Sex (and talking about it) can start to feel “charged” or “heavy” or “tenuous.”

If you want to shift sex, also look at shifting how you talk about sex.

It can feel risky or vulnerable (you know vulnerability can be a good thing, right?) to change the conversation.  It can also bring wonderful things into your sex life.  Instead of the same old complaints or disappointments, what about sharing some things that are working?  What about sharing things that excite you?  What about sharing what turns you on (especially the ways your partner turns you on)?  Make some time to communicate about sex in a positive way. Have a romantic date and talk about sex in a playful or flirty manner.  If you like structure, pencil in some time to talk about what makes sex fun.  Train yourself to have a different kind of conversation about sex.  As you change the way you talk about sex, you can change the way you  have sex. As you find a new way to communicate, you can remove some of the tension that is built up around sex and come together in a more connected way!

If you would like some help with conversations starters, check out this post  – Talking about sex IS sexual intimacy.

Filed under: Communication,Pleasure,Relationship,Sexuality — admin @ 9:35 am

September 25, 2013

A sincere apology

apology

“I’m sorry you feel that way, but _____.”

How skilled are you at offering a sincere apology?

What does one even look like?

To start you can simply say, “I’m sorry.”

I’m sorry works when you are offering sympathy – you aren’t apologizing for something you’ve done, but you do feel badly.  If someone you know is grieving or struggling or having a hard time, “I’m sorry” can be very meaningful.  “I’m sorry you are struggling.”  “I’m sorry you lost your job.”  “I’m sorry about your mom.”  All of those can be meaningful and they are different than an apology.

If you’ve hurt someone, broken trust or let him down; “I’m sorry” is also fitting.  A simple, “I’m sorry” can go a very long way.  Saying you are sorry and then naming the behavior offers an apology and also shows you are taking accountability of your actions. “I’m sorry I hurt you.”  “I’m sorry I lied.”  I’m sorry I messed up.”  “I’m sorry I was so controlling.”

Here is where I think people trip up.

  • “I’m sorry I hurt you, but I was really unhappy.”  Or “I’m sorry, but you know, you were really mean to me too.”  Is that an apology?  Half of an apology?  Adding but to the statement negates part of the apology.  It makes excuses for the hurtful behavior.  It keeps you from taking full responsibility or allows you to be defensive.
  • “I’m sorry you feel sad.”  “I’m sorry you are disappointed.”  Both these things may be true, but they are not an apology – these statements offer sympathy.

Some people have a really hard time apologizing.  Some people view it as a sign of weakness.  Some people don’t want to have to accept ownership or “blame.”  When you’ve done something, saying you are sorry is important!

Taking ownership for your actions is strong/brave, not weak.  Your apology might not erase all of the pain, but it could create the first step in a healing process.

Filed under: Communication,Emotions,Relationship — admin @ 3:15 pm

May 15, 2013

Breaking up in the age of Social Media

Breaking up is hard to do!  And in the age of social media, it can be even more complicated (and public!).  When you relationship status goes from “in a relationship” to “it’s complicated” or “single” you are opening yourself up to a lot of questions or feedback.  You also have to decide if you still want to be friends (facebook friends, that is).

I was recently interviewed by KGW for a story about some apps geared toward break ups and social media.  You can watch the segment here.

Whether you decide to stay friends or erase your ex from your life, breaking up can be really hard.  Here are some resources for mending your heart and getting on with your life.

Life after a break up.

Recovering from a break up.

My May newsletter is about dating in the digital age.  You can view it here.  What to get future newsletters directly in your inbox?  Subscribe here.

Filed under: Communication,Dating,Newsletter,Self-care — admin @ 10:04 am

April 11, 2013

Saying Goodbye

saying goodbye to dad

After a couple year battle with cancer (with many ups and downs) my father passed away in March.  It’s a strange thing, knowing someone is dying.  I mean, we are all moving toward the end of our lives…but having a terminal illness puts the imminence of death, right in the forefront.  After his diagnosis, I was able to head back to the Midwest and visit many times.  I had time to create new memories with my dad.  I’m thrilled that my dad and my daughter were able to spend a little time together, since he died 7 months after her birth.  I’ve had time to question, journal, talk about my feelings and grieve (even before his death…kind of a pre-grieving).

I’m so grateful for the time we had.

I’m most grateful that I was able to say goodbye.

Saying goodbye to someone you love, is so hard.  It’s not something I’ve had experience with.  Saying goodbye isn’t something that is talked about in polite circles.  In some cases, we avoid saying goodbye.  I’m writing more about this topic in my April Newsletter (subscribe here)…not just about death, but saying goodbye to friends we’ve outgrown or a lover we no longer love…saying goodbye can be tough.

Mid-December my father’s doctors said they didn’t think he had much time left.  I went back to the Midwest to celebrate my daughter’s first Christmas and my father’s last Christmas.  My family assured me they didn’t expect me to come since I was just there in the fall, but I knew I needed to say goodbye.  When I arrived my dad looked great!  He was climbing on a stepladder and decorating the tree.  He was laughing and playing with his grandkids.  I have to admit, my “say goodbye plan” started to teeter a little bit as I began to doubt my dad’s prognosis.  How do you say goodbye to someone who looks healthy and happy?

The trip was grand. Sweet and bitter. Full of holiday traditions, sharing past memories and creating new ones.  The hardest part was trying to figure out when and how to say goodbye.  On the last day of my trip my dad and I planned to sit down and talk after a nurse made a visit to our home.  We were going to talk about logistics, final wishes and I wanted to say goodbye.  That changed when the appointment didn’t go as planned and dad had to go to the hospital.  He assured me he would be back before I had to leave, but that changed too, when he got to the hospital and was admitted.  I wish I could accurately describe the emotion and panic I felt. We had to leave for the airport in one hour, the baby was sleeping and I had a deep need to say goodbye.  I almost talked myself out of that need.  I knew he loved me.  I knew he felt supported and loved by me.  And if I really listened, I knew that I needed to say goodbye.  I felt anxious as my mom drove us to the hospital.  I really didn’t even know what I needed to say.  I didn’t know the exact words.  My dad was quite surprised when we burst into his hospital room.  I was given some time alone with my dad and ended up having the last conversation I will ever have with him (other than a jumbled text message that I saved).

I can’t quite describe what took place.  We talked about death, we talked about living, and we talked about love.  I said goodbye.  I told him how sad I am that he won’t know my daughter and she won’t know him.  There were tears.  There were hugs.  And I said goodbye.  As I think about it or write about that moment, I am still filled with emotion.  It was so powerful.  And then I walked into the brightly lit hospital corridor and I felt lighter.  I felt so content.  I felt such peace.  Still sad, but so present and open and serene.  So right.

Shortly after my dad’s death I was asked if there was anything else I wished I had said.  I am so happy that I can say I feel completely confident and truly resolved about our last moment together. I miss him.  I get sad when I think about the next time I’m with my mom, my siblings, and our kids; and dad isn’t there.  I am also so grateful that I was able to say goodbye.

Filed under: Communication,Family,Grief,Love,Relationship — admin @ 1:32 pm

November 5, 2012

Are Politics Causing Tension in Your Relationship?

Can you partner with someone who has different political beliefs?  Is that a deal breaker?

With the election right around the corner, I’m hearing from a lot of people who are eager to see an end to election season and the stress that can come with it.

Having similar views as your mate (on all “hot button” topics) can certainly help keep the peace in your relationship.  But is it essential?

There are certainly Republicans and Democrats who partner.  There are Catholics who marry atheists.  There are partners who have differing views on abortion, gun control, legalizing marijuana, religion, etc.  These differences don’t have to be deal breakers…as long as you can still treat each other with respect.  It’s OK to disagree…notice how you treat your partner and his or her belief.  Can you disagree with the idea and still love your partner?  Watch out for name calling or labeling different beliefs as “stupid, greedy, short-sighted, etc.”

It’s OK to have a difference of opinion, as long as your partner’s opinion doesn’t turn you off completely.  Some people hold their beliefs so strongly that partnering with someone who holds a different belief might feel incongruent.

It’s also important to remember that you probably can’t change your partner’s mind (just like he or she probably can’t change yours).  Arguing about hot button topics, lecturing your partner or trying to “convince” him or her is not likely to work.  In fact, those behaviors usually create more conflict.

Different values or beliefs often come up in our families.  The same rules apply.  Is it more important to “convince your family that you are right” or to treat each other with love and respect?  Tempers can fly around this time of year (and around the upcoming holidays).  Remind yourself that differences don’t have to be dealbreakers.  Be mindful of how you share your ideas and values.  And remember how much you value your loved one who differs from you.

Filed under: Communication,Relationship — admin @ 10:19 pm

September 15, 2012

Learning Your Partner’s Love Language

Do you feel loved and appreciated in your relationship?

How do you show your partner love?

It’s not uncommon for people to express love differently.

For example – Eddie might feel loved when Susan plans a date night or an overnight get-away.  Susan might feel loved when Eddie compliments her or tells her how much she means to him.  At times they might feel like they aren’t loved or it might feel like they are disconnected.  Knowing how you feel love and how your partner experiences (and expresses) love can really help you both feel satisfied.

Watch this video from one of my appearances on Studio6 to learn more about the different languages of love.  (I even explain a fun exercise that you can do at home to help you and your partner feel loved and appreciated).

Filed under: Communication,Love,Relationship,Video — admin @ 4:22 pm

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