Category Archives for Marriage Counseling

Intentional Love: Loving Less Out of Habit

“Let all that you do be done in love.” – 1 Cor. 16:18

This month we’re focusing on what it means to be intentional. Intentional living. Intentional meal planning, and most importantly, intentional love. As we contemplate goals for how we want our year to unfold, it helps to reflect on whether we’re living out of intention, or out of habit. While familiar habits are easier and feel more comfortable, it may not give us the results we desire. intentional love

Living with intention helps us make positive changes, so we can live happier lives with less anxiety. When making lifestyle changes, ask yourself the following questions:

  • “Am I living in line with my values?”
  • “Will this bring me closer to my goals?”
  • “Is this creating more or less demands on my time and energy?”

So what about “loving” with intention? How can we love less out of habit?

Intentional love takes a little introspection, or time to look inward. This helps to see personal contributions you’re making in your relationships. Being mindful also helps us be more present and aware of personal needs and the needs of others. Whether it’s an intimate relationship, friendship, or parental role, love requires emotional awareness. It’s like making a bank deposit. When we make positive emotional deposits through kind words and actions, we add value to the quality of our relationships. Communication plays a key role in this. Listening and freely expressing cares and concerns is essential in strengthening the bonds of love. How can we do this in today’s hurried world?intentional love

Making Meaningful Connections

With social media taking over today, we are lacking meaningful connections more than ever. Social media may provide some authentic friendships, yet cannot replace the benefit of real life interactions. Studies have shown face-to-face communication to be essential for human happiness, and social interaction as the key to longevity. As humans we are not meant to be isolated. Our well-being depends on social interaction.  intentional love

One benefit of face-to-face interaction is the release of neurotransmitters. Simply giving someone a hand shake can release oxytocin (the love hormone), increasing your level of trust, reducing cortisol levels, and in turn lowering stress. Facebook may connect us to some degree, but it cannot provide the benefits of real life face-to-face connections. Therefore, to foster loving relationships, we must make intentional interactions. Take time out to meet a friend for coffee, or plan a date night. In all relationships, making meaningful connections is paramount to sustaining love. intentio

Unfortunately, our attention toward one another is limited due to the constant interruptions from electronic distractions. The world has become too busy for its own good. We are left feeling detached and being taken further from the one thing that keeps us grounded, human connection. John Gottman and his wife Julie Gottman created the Gottman Institute to promote and support meaningful relationships between couples and families.

According to the Gottman Method, “the foundation for every good relationship is friendship.” It only makes sense then that we give our time and attention to our loved ones like we would when getting to know a friend. To know and understand one another, we must spend quality time together. We must intentionally pay attention.

Happy couples know each other well. They get to know one another by spending time together, so each person can hear and be heard. Self-love is an essential aspect to this. Only by fully knowing and accepting yourself can you fully and openly allow someone to see you, and you see them. The relationship you have with yourself will dictate your relationships with others. Taking time out for self-care to get to know yourself will help you to feel whole individually, and better able to give your best to others. We give our best when we feel our best!

Consider ways to make more meaningful connections, encouraging intentional love in your relationships.

Tips for Loving with Intention:

  • Be Mindful – To be mindful is to be fully present. Presence with a loved one is the best present you can give! Face-to-face interaction promotes the release of oxytocin (the love hormone), fostering more meaningful connections and reducing stress.

 

  • Prioritize Health – To give our best to others, we need to prioritize our own well-being, making health priority. Self-care will help you feel your best, so you’ll have enough energy to give to others.

 

  • Maintain Manners – Speaking with kindness goes a long way in maintaining loving relationships. Simply saying “please” and “thank you” shows concern and appreciation for your loved ones,

 

  • Set Boundaries – Time is precious. Make it a habit to set down your phone and turn off notifications during meal times, and carve out quality time to be with loved ones. Listening with your full attention will help your loved one to feel heard and more cared for, while helping to avoid misunderstandings.

 

  • Set Intentions – Write out the way you would like to see your relationships. Questions like, “If we could be our best, what would we be thinking?… Saying?…And doing?” These kinds of questions will allow you to live out your intentions more fully.

 

Here at Makin Wellness we offer a holistic approach with consideration to the whole person, encompassing physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Our services include professional counseling, life coaching, and nutritional counseling with the use of aromatherapy to promote harmony between mind and body. Contact us today if you are looking for support with being more intentional in your relationships!

About Makin Wellness

Founded in 2017 , Makin Wellness is Pittsburgh’s premier therapy & coaching centers located in Downtown Pittsburgh and Downtown New Kensington. The company’s mission is to help people heal and become happy again.  Makin Wellness specializes in depression, anxiety, addiction, trauma, medical marijuana assited treatment and relationship counseling. 

 

Laura Stewart, BA, CHN Makin Wellness

Laura Stewart, BA, CHN Makin Wellness

How to Communicate Effectively in Relationships

Communication is essential in a relationship because it can either hinder the relationship or make the relationship stronger. However, most people actually do not know how to communicate effectively. A lot of people confuse communication for chatting or just simply getting ideas across. In fact, communication in relationships is about connecting, letting your significant other know that you care, forming a stronger bond and fulfilling each others physical and psychological needs. (https://www.tonyrobbins.com/ultimate-relationship-guide/key-communication-relationships/) communication

Before talking about tips on how to build a satisfying relationship between you and your partner, let’s first take a look at what unhealthy communication looks like: full of negative thoughts and difficult emotion; bad listening skills; lack of understanding of what is going on in your partner’s life. And these poor communication skills can lead to break down of intimacy and trust. It usually happens when all the passion between each other has gone away and you start to pick at their mistakes, which you likely already know. Some harmful communication also happens when you expect your partner to change and they are hoping the same as well. However, these are all better than zero communication. Silence kills whatever relationships it wants, because how can you know what your partner is thinking about when you are not even trying to talk to him or her? https://positivepsychologyprogram.com/communication-in-relationships/#improve communication

 

So, how can you foster healthy communication in your relationship? Here is some advice: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-couch/201501/6-surprising-ways-communicate-better-your-partner

 

➜ Let your partner know that you care about what he or she has to say, which means that you have to put your whole mind into the conversation and listen actively. Listening actively is more than listening with concentration, it actually means interacting and clarifying without acting rude or judgemental.

 

➜ Make sure both sides get a chance to talk. You want to make sure you are not the one who dominates the conversation. Trying to find a balance between talking and listening can ensure a healthy relationship.

 

➜ Share some common memories. Study has showed that couples actually feel closer to each other when they are talking about their common experiences. So, talk about some pleasant or lovey moments you have with you partner and enjoy that moment.

 

➜Give your partner more appreciation, value, and love. Tell them they look pretty and compliment some nice little things they have done for you. Who does not like being respected and praised? But do not overdo it, otherwise you may lose trust from your partner and be labeled as a hypocrite.

https://positivepsychologyprogram.com/communication-in-relationships/#improve

 

➜ Pay attention to your pitch and volume. High pitch sounds anxious and immature and loud volume may scare your partner away, especially in an argument. So, next time, try to talk calmly and be mindful of your pitch and volume.

https://www.tonyrobbins.com/ultimate-relationship-guide/key-communication-relationships/ communication

 

➜ Touch. A study conducted by Alberto Gallace and Charles Spence (2010) have found that touching can make people feel being loved and wanted and bring more positive outcomes. That is to say, while communicating with your partner, having some physical contact can sometimes ease the argument and send positive signals.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/in-the-name-love/201405/why-lovers-touch-is-so-powerful

 

Finally, let me end this with a quote from Shannon L. Alder: “When you give yourself permission to communicate what matters to you in every situation you will have peace despite rejection or disapproval. Putting a voice to your soul helps you to let go of the negative energy of fear and regret.”

communication

Xinyu (Lydia) Lu

Pittsburgh Couples Counseling & Marriage Therapy

Ways to Improve Your Relationship Pittsburgh Couples Counseling & Marriage Therapy

We can get to a place  in our relationship or marriage where things can seem hopeless or as if the love is lost. The question is how to we turn things around and ignite love and the spark back into our relationship? How can we do this when we are feeling angry, resentful, hurt , frustrated or bored? The most important thing to address first is to understand is that this is normal. In order to improve your relationship, both members must make the decision to act in order to move forward and heal. Below are some ways , shared by Makin Wellness Pittsburgh Counseling, to help you start to work on your relationship.Pittsburgh Couples Counseling

Communicate openly

If you and your partner struggle to communicate, you will have a hard time moving forward. Conversing with your significant other openly and honestly will help you both regain trust in one another. Be careful to not judge your partner when they share their feelings. Make your best effort at putting yourself in their situation and look at things from their perspective. It can be very challenging and painful to put yourself in their shoes, but it can give you valuable insight and help you understand where they are coming from.Pittsburgh Couples Counseling

 Show you are serious

Just talking about what you are thinking and feeling is not enough; you must show you are serious by acting and making changes. Once you and your love figured out what areas you want to work on in your relationship, you both will need to take some sort of action to start working on those issues. Brainstorm different things you both can change , express these to one another and start making adjustments.Pittsburgh Couples Counseling

Be patient

Just like it took time for your relationship to go downhill, it will take some time for it to improve. There are no instant or overnight fixes. Also, do not get discouraged if there are some backwards steps throughout this process. Your relationship is a journey with peaks and valleys as you are move forward.

Consistency is key

You both are now at a place where you are working diligently to save your relationship or marriage. This is not a time or place where you can use the “poke it with a stick method”, or put in a lot of time and effort one day , but not work on it for a few weeks or months. Being consistent is important and sticking with your plan is key in order for your relationship to improve.Pittsburgh Couples Counseling

Gratitude

Once you start identifying what areas in your relationship are not working, be sure to focus on and share what is working. Perhaps you struggle to communicate, but make time for date night once a week. Share how important this is with your partner and let them know what they do well in your marriage. Expressing gratitude will not only make your spouse feel great, but will help elevate your mood as well. Looking for what does work and expanding on that renews hope in your marriage and will help you continue to evolve as  a couple.Pittsburgh Couples Counseling

 

If you are struggling with your marriage or relationship , please schedule a free consultation today to get connected with Pittsburgh’s best therapists!

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About Makin WellnessFounded in 2017 , Makin Wellness is Pittsburgh’s premier therapy and coaching centers located in Downtown , Pittsburgh and New Kensington, PA. The company’s mission is to help people heal and become happy again. Makin Wellness specializes in depression, anxiety, addiction and relationship counseling . MPittsburgh Couples Counseling

Sara Makin Makin Wellness

Sara Makin, M.S.Ed, LPC, NCC