Relate Well! Blog

Addressing the all-important and often perplexing topics and issues related to enhancing your personal growth and professional development

4 Keys to a Strong Marriage

I am always encouraged when a couple seeks counseling to work on a problem in their marriage. It seems so easy today to throw in the towel as soon as one or both people feel unhappy, misunderstood or disrespected. But in most cases there are a few simple (not necessarily easy) things that can produce life-changing results. 

In my work with couples, I have discovered four key elements that must be consistently present in order to have a strong and fulfilling marriage.

Put each other first.

As simple as this sounds, it may be the hardest thing you will ever do. Our inner instinct is naturally “Me first.” “What do I want?” “What makes ME feel good – or bad?” “How is my spouse failing to meet MY needs?” Putting someone else above ME is an act of the will and takes practice. But all couples can experience intimacy and satisfaction when both partners are willing to cultivate an attitude of humility and giving. It may seem awkward...

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10 Tips to Help You Stop Interrupting

In a recent coaching session, a client asked if I could help him break the habit of interrupting. He told me that several team members had confronted him about frequently talking over them – interrupting. They were honest enough to tell him just how much it had become a consistent source of frustration for them.  In collaboration with my client, we came up with several strategies that ultimately helped him to virtually eliminate his “communication destroyer” habit.

One of the quickest ways to shut down communication is to interrupt.  When someone repeatedly interrupts others it not only derails communication, but it also diminishes the trust and respect people have for them.

If your relationships are compromised due to a habit of interrupting I encourage you to read and practice the 10 Tips to Help You Stop Interrupting below.

Live, Work and Relate Well!

Dr. Todd

1.  Write your thoughts down so you...

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10 Resolutions for Building a Strong Family

Building and maintaining a strong and loving family in today's culture takes a determined will and a conscious and sustained effort on the part of every family member. With so many things competing for our time and attention it is easy to lose sight of the value and significance of the close, loving relationships our families can provide. 

It's often been said that when a person comes to the end of their life they realize that the only things that really matter are the loving relationships that were established and cultivated throughout the years - especially those with family. 

If you want to build a firm foundation of love and support for your family that will stand the test of time and weather the storms of difficult life circumstances, we encourage you to embrace these ten resolutions for building a strong family. 

As a family, we commit to...

  1. Live our lives according to what we value and believe - 
    even when it isn't popular!
  2. Respond to each other with...
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Keys to Talking with Your Teen

Knowing how to engage in constructive dialogue with your teenager is one of the most important skills a parent can possess, but it is also one of the most challenging things to pull off well. Generally speaking, teens are not always eager to participate in a “serious” conversation with their parent(s). Nevertheless, by understanding how to effectively talk with your kids you can decrease the occurrence of destructive conflict and increase the likelihood of sending the message to your child that they have been heard and that they are valued and respected.

Your teens face important issues every day. Their ability to make good decisions about drugs and alcohol, sex, friendships and school performance is significantly enhanced by open, honest and direct communication about these issues with you. The stakes are high – one bad decision can literally affect a teenager for the rest of his or her life. When you have constructive dialogue with your teen you are also modeling...

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Relationships Under Construction

For many of us, few things are as irritating as having a road you frequently travel come under construction. You often have to deal with dust, delays, bumps and detours for many months. The upside to having to endure the challenges of construction is that if the job is well done it will make your future travel much easier and enjoyable – the same is true for relationships under construction.

Like roadwork, successful relationships, whether at home or work, require a process of assessment, planning, and construction. Whether you are building a new relationship or attempting to improve an existing one, if you fail to adequately prepare and build you will not be able to effectively meet the demands that come your way.

Assessment

Building or improving a relationship begins where you are right now. What values need to be in place? Is your foundation set on honesty and trust?

Planning

Talking about shared interests and things you have in common can draw you closer to someone....

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Recovering from a Broken Friendship

Relationships… we were created to desire, seek and be enriched by them. When they thrive, the joy is intense. When they break, the pain is devastating.  But as difficult as it is, there are steps you can take to get over – and get through – a broken friendship.

Let me introduce you to Cindy and Lisa, who met each other at work and soon began developing a very close friendship. They spent time together on the telephone, hiking, taking their children on outings, and playing tennis. They encouraged, advised and comforted each other and trusted one another with their greatest hopes, dreams and fears.  

Five years into the friendship, Cindy sensed that Lisa was beginning to pull away. The telephone calls decreased, invitations to dinner became infrequent and the usual warm greeting exchanged in the office began to feel awkward and forced.

At first, Cindy shrugged it off by telling herself that Lisa was just busy with her family and other commitments....

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The Advantages of Teamwork

Times are changing in the world of work these days. Technology has made it easier, more efficient and more cost-effective for a lot of people to work remotely from home (or anywhere). There are tremendous benefits for people who require flexibility in their work schedule due to childcare, eldercare or their own physical or mental health concerns. Besides, it’s amazing to be able to do your job while lounging on the beach or sitting in a coffee shop!

But as helpful as it is for some people to telecommute, it can also lead to isolation and loss of focus if not managed well. Your success and satisfaction in your job may depend on making it a priority to spend time regularly with others in your workforce.

So, for those of you who are spending a lot of time away from the office and for everyone who is working in a company facility with co-workers, I want to share some of the advantages of teamwork.

Two (or more) heads are better than one

Have you ever noticed how one idea...

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Self-Talk: What Are You Saying?

Self-talk is what psychologists refer to as the continual mental dialog you have with yourself. It can serve many purposes. It helps to release stress, evaluate potential threats, solve problems, make decisions, form objective judgments, generate positive emotions and behaviors, and construct and reinforce realistic self-beliefs. Simply stated, sometimes talking to yourself (either silently or out loud) can help you work things out.

“The most influential and frequent voice you hear is your inner-voice. It can work in your favor or against you, depending on what you listen to and act upon.” –Maddy Malhotra

Unfortunately, for many people, their self-talk is fueled by the internal voice of a brutal critic or what psychologist Eugene Sagan calls the pathological critic – the negative inner voice that attacks and judges you. It might sound like your own voice or your mother, father or other influential person in your life. It’s a voice you are...

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Do You THINK Before You Speak?

The way you communicate can make or break your relationships. It can gain or lose you a job. It can hurt or heal. It can affect whether you are successful or not. We are communicating more often than ever because the internet has made it easier to shoot out a meme, share a post or comment on someone else’s thoughts. The ease of communication is both amazing and deadly.

We all need to be reminded of the basics occasionally, so here’s a simple way to THINK about what to say, either in person or electronically.

T – Is what I am about to say Thoughtful? Have I considered the way people will see me once the words are out? Or how they will reflect on someone else? Do I have all the facts?

H – Is what I am about to say Helpful? Will my words add or detract from the purpose or value of the conversation? Is someone’s life or situation likely to improve because of what I say?

I – Is what I am about to say Inspiring? Will...

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How to Respond to a Complainer

Ask some folks how they’re doing, and they’ll tell you they’re sick and tired of being sick and tired. This can be a completely reasonable answer because we all have times when we feel the same way. However, some have a pattern of going on and on about their problems every time you see them.

We’ve all met people who complain constantly about physical problems or other things going wrong in their lives. They seem to believe they’re magnets for misfortune and nothing is ever positive. How should you handle it when someone has a habit of complaining to you?

First, practice compassion. As annoyed or impatient as you may feel, try to remember that the grumbling is an expression of pain. Even if the complaint seems unimportant to you, or even if it’s the complainer’s own fault, the pain is real to them. To set an appropriate boundary, kindly tell the person how much time you can spend with them and then do your best to compassionately...

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