Strategy 14: Gottman Institute – Lesbian Couples Turn Toward Each Other

Strategy 14: Gottman Institute – Lesbian Couples Turn Toward Each Other

Happy Lesbian Couples Turn Toward Each Other according to Gottman Institute

lesbian couple, gottman method, turn toward, gottman instituteJohn Gottman founder of the Gottman Institute, has studied relationships extensively.  According to the Gottman method, there are three options when it comes to responding to your partner’s wish for your attention (called a bid for attention). While most of his research is on heterosexual couples, it certainly applies also to lesbian couples.

When your partner attempts to communicate with you, either verbally or physically, you have three options, according the the Gottman method:

  1. Turn away from her, ignore, or pacify her with a response of indifference.
  2. Turn against her and actually express outright frustration or anger at her for the interruption or her need for your attention.
  3. Turn toward her and acknowledge your partner’s attempt to connect with you, by either engaging them in the moment or affirming your interest and offering an alternate time when you will be more available to engage with her.

The Gottman Institute says we will produce the best results when we Turn Toward our partner! Consciously turn toward your partner every day.

Schedule couples counseling for your
gay, lesbian or heterosexual relationship

Strategy 13 – A Happy Relationship is a Team

Strategy 13 – A Happy Relationship is a Team

Is your relationship happy?  Is it a team sport?

Just like any successful team, a happy relationship is a team sport.  A happy relationship requires that each partner function as a team.  This means that each partner has to take care of her
self and develop personal skills and abilities to continually make meaningful contributions to the team. happy, relationship, team

When you partner in life, you are teaming up with another person to achieve a very important goal. Your relationship team’s goal is simple: to help yourself, and your partner, become your best selves possible.

When you decide to invest yourself with another in a shared, intangible entity called a relationship, both you and your partner are impacted by the choices you each make. Just as a team either wins or loses, one partner can not win if the other loses, so the goal is not “who is going to win,” in a happy lesbian relationship, the goal is, “how are we both going to win?”

Schedule Lesbian, Gay, or Heterosexual Couples Counseling Here

Strategy 12 – Happy Lesbian Couples Communicate Feelings

Strategy 12 – Happy Lesbian Couples Communicate Feelings

Happy lesbian couples communicate feelings, observations and insights on a regular basis?

I recommend every lesbian couple set aside a minimum of thirty minutes each week to communicate feelings.  I call this a “check-in.”  This is a process where you consciously intend to share your feelings, observations and insights to one another.  Though there ihappy, lesbian, couples, communicate, feelingss no “right” way to engage in this structured time to communicate your feelings.

Here are guidelines to help you be among the happy lesbian couples who communicate feelings:

  1. Summarize your feelings about how you experienced the previous week, and then communicate your feelings to your partner. For example, “I feel like we’ve had
    a great week and I feel connected to you.”
  2. Communicate your observations — both the good and the frustrating —about how things unfolded. For example, “I noticed that we were both taking more time to talk together and I think that really helped me feel more connected to you.”
  3. Communicate your insights about how you can use this as information to continue improving your relationship. For example, “I think it would be a great idea for us really to commit to spending more time just talking because I really want to feel connected to you on a regular basis.

Switch.  Your Partner’s Turn Now. Once you complete steps 1-3, then your partner shares her observations. Similar to heterosexual couples, often lesbian couples have one partner who is more apt to communicate feelings with greater ease than the other.  This is not a competition, and engaging in this structured process can help the partner who is less comfortable to communicate their thoughts and feelings do so with greater ease over time.

To wrap up your 3o minute check-in, discuss any differences in your observations. This check-in is simply designed to assist you in observing how you are doing as a couple, what you like about how things are going, and what you would like to see be different.

This time is NOT about the following:

  1. problem solving
  2. being defensive or sensitive
  3. criticizing or attacking

This exercise is designed to create a much more conscious relationship by being as aware as possible about the influences on your connection with one another and on your relationship’s happiness.  Happy lesbian couples communicate feelings.

Schedule with Michele for lesbian couples therapy (or heterosexual couples)

Happy Lesbian Couples Strategy 11:  Show Respect Lesbian Couples

Happy Lesbian Couples Strategy 11: Show Respect Lesbian Couples

Happy Lesbian Couples show respect to their partners.

Respect is a fundamental ingredient in all happy relationships.

To show respect is the ultimate form of gratitude. Respecting your partner at all times is an act of love and gratitude. Respect is honoring your partner at all times—not just when you feel good about her.show respect

Respect shows up in happy lesbian couples when you appreciation, it says, “I admire you,” a
ou matter, and you are worth a lot to me.”

Respect is doing what you say you are going to do.  Happy lesbian couples  behave the same way in their partner’s presence as she does in her absence.  They are consistent, reliable, accountable to one another, and happy lesbian couples know that their love will only grow from truth, kindness and understanding.

Respect says, you are worthy, just as you are and I don’t need you to change a thing.  It says, I have your back, and I am grateful and honored to choose you, and to be chosen by you.

Happy Lesbian Couples Strategy 12:  Regular Relationship Check-in

Happy Lesbian Couples Strategy 12: Regular Relationship Check-in

Do you engage in regular and simple relationship check-ins?

I recommend that every couple set aside a minimum of thirty minutes each week to do what I call a regular relationship check-in.  This is an important opportunity to remain mindful and aware of how your relationship is going.  When you allow life to fill up your schedule, and you cease to make time to connect with your partner, it is easy for the months to accumulate and to find yourself so far down the road that you don’t know how you got there.  Routine check-ins will help prevent this from happening.

Though there is no “right” way to do your check-ins, here are some guidelines to help you in the process of your regular relationship check-in.:

  1. Summarize your feelings about how you experienced the previous week. For example, “I feel like we’ve had a great week and I feel really connected to you.”
  2. Share your observations—both the good and the frustrating experiences in your relationship—about how things unfolded. For example, “I noticed that we were both taking more time to talk together and I think that really helped me feel more connected to you.”
  3. Communicate your insights about how you can use this as information to continue improving your relationship. For example, “I think it would be a great idea for us really to commit to spending more time just talking because I really want to feel connected to you on a regular basis.”

Your Partner’s Turn Now. Once you complete steps 1-3, then your partner shares her observations. Discuss any differences in your observations. This is simply a time where you literally observe how you are doing as a couple and what you like about how things are going and what you would like to see be different.  To make this a regular relationship check-in, it is essential to do this regularly, ideally on a monthly basis.

Helpful Guidelines

This time is NOT about:

  1. regular relationship check inproblem solving
  2. being defensive or sensitive
  3. criticizing or attacking

If you find yourself engaged in any of the above, chances are you have not selected the right time to do your regular relationship check-in, or, you have allowed too many issues to accumulate and not enough time to address them until now.  If you can not find a way to engage in a routine check-in, you may want to seek some support to help you over the hump.
This exercise is designed to create a much more conscious relationship by being as aware as possible about the influences on your connection with one another and on your relationship’s happiness.

Happy Lesbian Relationship Strategy 10:  Respond to Your Partner’s Feedback

Happy Lesbian Relationship Strategy 10: Respond to Your Partner’s Feedback

How often do you respond to your partner’s feedback?

Oh how I wish I had a dollar for every partner I have heard say to the other, “You knew I was this way when we got together.” Here’s the deal. Committing to a relationship is not an agreement to stop growing. Happy lesbian couples realize that each partner is expected to continue developing as a human being and improving as a partner.  It’s how we humans are built.  We learn and grow as we experience life.

Securing a relationship is not an invitation to stop growing. In fact, you might find yourself kicked to the curb if you are more attached to remaining the same than you are attached to becoming the best version of yourself possible.

When you fall in love, you fall in love with both the person you see in the here and now, as well as the vision you have for who that person will become. You are making an investment in your future, feeling solid about the person you are committing to today, yet anticipating that your relationship investment will grow.

Two key ingredients affect how you grow in the context of your relationship. The first key to personal growth stems from the personal observations, insights, lessons, experiences you have, and the work that you do to grow yourself. This might occur through intentional efforts such as completing a degree, advancing your career, staying physically fit, learning new hobbies, engaging in personal growth activities such as reading, journaling, or therapy. The choices you have to enhance your life are endless!

The second key to personal growth in the context of your relationship is through the observations, insights, lessons, experiences and the work that your partner invests in herself to grow.

Often, your partner will observe in you characteristics with which you are not comfortable. You may reject her observations and actually accuse her of being mean or insensitive. If you reject your partner’s observations and feedback, you are rejecting one of the most valuable gifts your relationship has to offer you.

Your partner has the capacity to see you in ways that no one else can. And when she communicates her observations, you have the choice to respond to your partner’s feedback and grow.  Because of this front-row view into your life, your partner is able to mirror for you, parts of yourself that you do not always want to see. You may hear complaints such as: “you are too generous,” “you work too much,” “you need to stop drinking so much,” “you are sleeping too much,” but in reality, these observations are invitations to improve your life.  When you respond to your partner’s feedback, you are accepting an invitation to grow.  respond to your partners feedback

These invitations don’t always come in nice envelopes; sometimes they are wrapped in emotions such as anger, frustration, and disappointment. If the delivery of this feedback is insensitive, it can be hurtful. Though the facts usually remain, there are areas of your life that are in dire need of improvement. You can resist out of spite, hurt, or anger; or you can grab a hold of this gift, the gift of honest feedback, and use it to improve your life.

The question I encourage you to ask yourself, when your partner makes a request of you, is this: “Will doing this add to, or take away from my life?” If the answer is “add to” then it seems like a win-win. What do you have to lose?

If you are struggling with the concept of what “taking away” from you means, you can ask yourself this question: “If I honor this request, you are accepting an invitation to grow and work to change in the ways my partner is asking me to, am I compromising a core value that defines who I am and what I am about?” This helps separate the things that you simply don’t want to do—like clean the house or take out the trash—from things that take away from your core values or your core sense of self, such as asking you to change your religion to hers.

Be sure to clarify the difference between something that doesn’t feel good, and something that is not good for you. If you choose to respond to your partner’s feedback, you are accepting an invitation to grow.  changing because it is no fun or you don’t like to do something, then you are likely rejecting an important opportunity to become a better version of yourself!