Strategy 25: Nice Things to Say to People Helps Marriage Romance

Strategy 25: Nice Things to Say to People Helps Marriage Romance

Compliments are nice things to say to people, and by “people,” I am including your partner – especially if you want to keep relationship / marriage romance alive!  

Are you more likely to thank a waiter for bringing you a glass of water, or your partner?  If your answer is, I am more likely to thank them both, and I do so regularly, then you might already be off to a good start with strategy # 25.  When you have nice things to say to people, otherwise known as compliments, you are developing a habit that will pay off in your marriage romance department (or pre-marriage for that matter).  Just be sure you have nice things to say to your partner, too!

Do you ever tire of hearing, “You look great, baby,” or, “Good job, I’m so proud of you!” and, “What a great dinner – thanks for cooking,” and, “I couldn’t have picked a better partner in the entire world.” I know I don’t about you, but I don’t tire of hearing these sorts of things.  Ironically, the more we say nice things to people, the more nice things we hear.  Guess it’s true, what goes around, comes around.

Do you know the two most important ingredients to sustaining a long-lasting romance, according to researcher John Gottman?

Fondness and admiration.

When you say nice things to your partner, you are making one of the most powerful feel-good contributions you can make to your relationship on an every-day basis to create a strong foundation of fondness and admiration.  When you find multiple ways to express your fondness for your partner, and you are able to communicate your admiration, you will benefit from her feeling desired.  To keep the home fires burning, both partners need to continue feeling good about themselves.  Random, authentic, compliments to one another is a great way to fan the flames of marriage romance.  You are likely already thinking many things, the key is to start saying them OUT LOUD.

What are other nice things to say to your partner to improve your marriage romance?

  • Time with you is my favorite.
  • I always enjoy your company.
  • There is no one I would rather spend time with than you.
  • Thank you for being so good to me.
  • I love how you love me.
  • You make me laugh.
  • I have so much fun with you.
  • There’s no one I’d rather wake up to every morning than you.
  • I can’t help but smile when I see you.
  • I am a better person because of you.
  • You are so talented, I love how you…
  • I admire your ability to…
  • I am so proud to be your girl.

You can say nice things to people about their appearance, abilities, personality, behaviors, style, humor, values, what they do, how they move in the world, ways they make you feel, etc.  The list of compliments is really endless.  What nice things to say to people are you comfortable with?  (Share in comments section if you want).

Also, when you make it a habit to have nice things to say to people, it becomes second nature.   Clearly, you will not say to your friends, family and coworkers the same romantic sentiments you share with your partner, but the more you practice giving compliments to people, the easier it is to do with everyone.

Share at least one compliment a day with your partner. A compliment a day keeps the therapist away.

Healthy Relationship Goals Examples and Checklist

Five Key Areas of Relationship Success and Healthy Relationship Goals Examples


The Gottman Relationship Checkup is a 480 question, online assessment created by Dr’s John and Julie Gottman.  With 40+ years of extensive scientific research on what makes relationships succeed, the Gottman’s have created a Relationship Checkup tool to examine in detail the five key areas of relationship success, and under each category are related relationship goals examples.


The major categories of importance for a healthy relationship according to scientific Gottman-based research.  (Also, relationship goals examples)


Section 1: How strong is your friendship and intimacy?

  • We feel satisfied with our relationship.
  • We feel secure in our commitment to one another, without the fear of abandonment or being left.
  • We feel equally known by one another.
  • We share a mutual fondness and admiration for one another.
  • We show interest in one another and enjoy one another’s company.
  • We enjoy a satisfying and romantic connection.
  • We have satisfying sex and enjoy connecting sexually.
  • We connect sexually at a frequency that works well for both of us.
  • We feel a part of a team, united and do not suffer from loneliness.

Section 2: How does it feel to be in your relationship?

  • We know what to predict from one another and we feel safe in our relationship.
  • We share a mutual trust for one another and believe the other has our back.
  • We are equally committed to our relationship.
  • We are comfortable with one another’s emotions and have a shared desire to be a supportive comfort when one of us is not feeling emotionally or physically well.

Section 3: How well do you manage conflict?

  • Our conflict is something we do not fear because we know we have the skills to manage whatever disagreements arise.
  • We are capable of delaying conflicts interactions until we are in a safe and appropriate setting to properly address the concerns at hand.
  • We feel respected and heard when we experience a disagreement.  Neither of us feels overwhelmed or frozen with fear or the inability to think and speak, during a disagreement.
  • We value one another’s opinions and believe that we are heard by one another.
  • We are willing to compromise.
  • We manage our negative emotions and protect our relationship from negativity toward ourselves and one another.
  • When we experience a conflict, we find ways to understand one another and make peace with our differences of opinion.  We are able to repair our connection and let the conflict go for good.
  • We feel emotionally connected.
  • We accept that stress is a part of life, and we support one another by seeking to make life easier for each other.
  • We maintain healthy boundaries between our relationship and the relationships we share with friends, extended family, work and other relationships.
  • We appreciate the importance of our mutual independence, and we do not place limits on one another that stems from insecurity.
  • We are faithful and honest.
  • We share basic values and goals.
  • We are equitable with household chores and child responsibilities.
  • We are in agreement with our financial decisions.
  • We experience joy, laughter, and fun together.
  • Our spirituality, religion and ethics are in alignment.
  • We agree on issues related to parenthood.
  • We manage distressing events as a team, supporting one another rather than turning against one another.
  • We resolve issues rather than keeping them alive.  We accept that some differences will remain, and we allow this rather than continue working to “change,” the other.

Section 4:  Are you headed in the same direction?

  • We have rituals that help us stay connected.
  • We respect one another’s personal and life goals and desire to assist one another in reaching them, while also nurturing our shared goals.

Section 5: Individual Areas of Concern

  • Neither of us abuse drugs or alcohol
  • We are emotionally stable and free of any self-harming thoughts.
  • We are safe with one another, both physically and emotionally.
  • We feel a sense of personal freedom without the threat of emotional or physical threat or harm.
  • We feel supported and encouraged, not degraded or criticized.
  • Sex is a positive thing in our relationship.
  • We do not experience any property damage when we disagree.
  • We are physically healthy and free of chronic health concerns.
  • We experience positive thoughts and feelings about one another and our relationship.
  • We are confident in ourselves and secure that we are viewed positively and well by others.
  • We are emotionally stable and at peace in our skin.
  • We are free of anxiety, depression, and anger.
  • We do not experience disabling fears or phobias.
  • Fears and Phobias
  • Do You Worry about What Others Think?
  • Our thoughts are clear and helpful.
  • We have normal appetites, neither over or under-eating.
  • We fall asleep easily, sleep well, and awake easily in the morning.
  • We are not focused on death or dying.
  • We are free of guilt


How do you rate with these relationship goals examples and checklist? To do the thorough Relationship Checkup and receive a detailed report with suggestions about how to improve the health of your relationship go here.


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Strategy 24:  The Glass Half Full Relationship

Strategy 24: The Glass Half Full Relationship

The Glass Half Full Relationship


A relationship is a lot like a glass.

  • They are both containers.
  • They are nothing but a shell, unless something is added.
  • Relationships don’t care what’s put inside, they will carry whatever they are given, good or bad.
  • You determine how full it will be.
  • You decide whether it is a glass half full or half empty.

When it comes to how we view our relationship, it is your thoughts that what give meaning to the experiences you have in life.

How you view any given situation will determine the feelings you have about it.

“A shoe factory sends two marketing scouts to a region of Africa to study the prospects for expanding business. One sends back a telegram saying, SITUATION HOPELESS – STOP. NO ONE WEARS SHOES.

The other writes back triumphantly, GLORIOUS BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY – STOP. THEY HAVE NO SHOES.”

– Benjamin Zander and Rosamund Stone Zander – The Art of Possibility

You are in complete control of how you interpret your life experiences.

You are not, however, always in charge of the circumstances that life presents you. What you have control over is the meaning you give them, and how your respond. You determine whether you are looking at a glass half full or a glass half empty.

Everything we experience is defined by the filters we use to interpret them.  Because our brain is designed to look for signs of danger as a way of keeping us alive, we are inclined to look for potential harm (emotional or physical) in our life situations.

In relationships, it is common for our feelings to get hurt, believing that our partner did not consider us, was insensitive in her remarks, does not prioritize us, or finds criticism in everything we do.  (Glass half empty). Much of these interpretations are rooted in fear, not reality.  When we take the time to understand the whole story, the thoughts and fears our partner has that motivate her actions, we soon discover that she likely was acting in defense of her own hurt feelings, and her actions were not directed at harming us at all. (Glass half full).

OUTstanding couples develop the ability to give the very best meaning possible to the situations they encounter in their life and their relationship.  

Outstanding couples stay curious and open.  They work hard to notice facts and respond to what is, rather than make stories up about what might be going on, and reacting to the fears that come from the “what if’s.”

For example, when your partner is late coming home from work, you have the option to view that situation in many different ways. Through a lens of fear, you might think that she has been in an accident. Through the lens of insecurity, you might think she is being unfaithful. Through the lens of anger, you may think she’s being disrespectful. Through the lens of love, you may think that there are numerous reasons for her running late, none of which have to do with her love for you. Given the choice, which thought will lead to the most peaceful outcome?  You get to decide:  glass half full, glass half empty?

Creating the best meaning possible for the events in our life does not mean that you ignore facts and naively pretend that all is well when it is half full

Interpreting the best meaning possible requires honesty and openness.

If your partner is late from work every night and it is getting to be a pattern, then you have to work within the framework of the facts. These facts may suggest that your partner has poor discipline when it comes to managing time, or she is unaware of the impact her tardiness is having on you and your relationship. The point is not to create negative meanings in the absence of facts. If all of the data before you leads you to a conclusion that you don’t want to see, it is important to see it anyway!

Lastly, the best way to insure that your relationship glass is always half full, is to be sure that you are always contributing the very best of yourself, as fully as possible, so that there is always a half-full cup of goodness in your relationship.

That, my friends, is fail-proof.


Healthy Relationship? Try the Gottman Relationship Checkup

Healthy Relationship? Try the Gottman Relationship Checkup

The Gottman Relationship Checkup




The Gottman Relationship Checkup, relationship assessment scale, couple checkup, healthy relationship

The Gottman Relationship Checkup is an online healthy relationship assessment scale  that is comprised of 480 questions which cover five categories of importance to healthy and satisfying relationships. Each partner is provided a private (and separate) link to the Relationship Checkup, and once each partner has completed the questions, a report is generated with the results of your current relationship health. This report is sent to the verified therapist with whom you are working (in this case, me).  The verified therapist will then provide the results of your assessment.  




All couples can benefit from the Gottman Relationship Checkup. This relationship assessment scale does not replace therapy, and it is designed to assist functional couples (not couples in crisis), in deepening their understanding of existing relationships strengths and challenges.

  • Healthy couples who are hoping to stay that way.  This option is for healthy couples such as those considering a commitment or marriage, or couples who feel good about life together, but know that it’s important to continue to prevent issues from surfacing. This path is designed to offer couples a basic couple checkup.  You can validate that “Yes! Our relationship is strong and on the right track!” And, like most healthy couples, you will learn more about what could make your already good relationship even better.
  • For couples struggling with the connection, communication, specific issues such as family or origin boundaries, relationships with ex’s, constant conflicts and misunderstandings, etc… This is a great tool to help you access the heart of your relationship issues quickly and effectively. You can expedite the counseling process, or possibly gain the insights and strategies you need to begin working on your relationship without pursuing professional assistance. The Gottman Relationship Checkup is a great way to get a very detailed overview of your relationship, as well as a detailed roadmap of where to begin focusing your efforts to improve your relational skills.  You will receive separate (private) reports for each partner with specific steps to get you moving in the direction of a “better us,” as well as a relationship overview for you to explore as a couple.



The cost of the Relationship Checkup with Michele O’Mara, PhD is $145.00.  This cost includes one relationship overview report and two separate and private individual Relationship Checkup Reports for each partner. One report will provide a general relationship overview and interpretation of the assessment results. This will include specific observations about what is working and what needs attention, as well as suggestions and strategies for how to begin doing that work together.  Separately, each partner will receive a second report (both pdf files) about his or her individual strengths and challenges, along with specific suggestions to assist each partner in taking personal steps toward healthier behaviors in your partnership.



Depending on the complexity of your relationship issues, and whether or not you choose to provide additional comments, this typically takes from one to two hours to complete.



You can log in multiple times to complete your survey.  The program will save your confidential information in your password-protected login area.



No.  You will not have access to one another’s answers unless you decide to share your passwords.  This is discouraged, however, because it can diminish the effectiveness of the relationship assessment scale.  (It’s important that you answer the questions knowing that no one but you and the therapist will see them).



Yes.  There are also areas for additional comment if you wish to expand on your answer.



Dr. John Gottman and Julie Gottman.  Dr. John Gottman is a clinical psychologist who has completed more than 40 years of research on couples. Dr. Julie Gottman is a clinical psychologist who has been practicing these techniques with couples in various settings.


Wonder what a healthy partnership in love is? Read about it here. Or, lesbian couples can take the Healthy Relationship Quiz here.

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Happy Lesbian Couples Strategy 23 – Choose Love

Happy Lesbian Couples Strategy 23 – Choose Love

Strategy 23:  Choose Love

choose love, lesbian photo

We choose love, because unlike attractions, love is a choice. For gays and lesbians, the word “choice” can mean a couple of things.  Let me clarify that in this context; I am not referring to the concept that you have a choice as to whom you are attracted, rather you have a choice as to how you nurture that attraction once it presents itself.

A commitment is a choice. The choice does not stop with the commitment. The commitment is the foundation for all of the choices that you continue to make each day. Everyday you have a choice about love, and a choice as to how you communicate your love for your partner.

To love is a decision, a choice; just as you can choose love, you can also choose to not love. Love is a verb.  Remember this, when, in the midst of your long-term relationship, you unexpectedly find the new girl at work quite attractive, and she is flirting with you everyday. When you entertain thoughts of starting fresh, and flirting back, know that these are choices you make. An affair is not an accident. Infidelity is a choice. The decisions you make to be faithful are rooted in the same ability you have to make the decision to be unfaithful. Choose the behaviors that support the person you want to be, and the relationship you want to have.  Choose love.  I think when Sara Bareilles says, “I choose you,” she is choosing love.  If only I could write blogs that sound like this….

I Choose You
Sara Bareilles
Let the bough break, let it come down crashing
Let the sun fade out to a dark sky
I can’t say I’d even notice it was absent
‘Cause I could live by the light in your eyes
I’ll unfold before you
Would have strung together
The very first words of a lifelong love letter
Tell the world that we finally got it all right
I choose
I will become yours and you will become mine
I choose
I choose
You, yeah
There was a time when I would have believed them
If they told me that you could not come true
Just love’s illusion
But then you found me
And everything changed
And I believe in something again
My whole heart
Will be yours forever
This is a beautiful start
To a lifelong love letter
Tell the world that we finally got it all right
I choose
I will