“Marriage with virtually no training?  What a fabulous idea!  Yes!  Sign us up for that!”

Rich and I have been together for nearly 30 years.  We’ve seen some shit.
We currently have a relationship that we can be proud of, but that’s because it’s entirely based on a single, 24-hour practice of doing simple things like being nice to one another.  I do annoying things, like use thirty cups in a day for single sips of water.  He does annoying things like insisting on playing 80’s music in every room, or blasting through laundry I just spent hours folding.  And these are just the “cute” things. There have been homicide-worthy things too, but we’ve not only survived…we’ve thrived.  So far.

So here are some fast tips for creating solid, loving relationships, forged from the hard-won trials of married life.  I’d love to take credit for inventing these myself, but John Gottman is the genius behind dolling out the solid tips for creating loving and bonded marriages for thousands of couples.  This post will be a hodge-podge of several sources, but let’s begin with some of my favorite tips for creating daily, loving relationships with your shnookie-wookums.

“Successful Couples seem to do two things well: they behave like good friends, and they handle conflict in gentle, respectful ways.”

  1. Definitely come up with a pet name, like “Shnookie-Wookums“, and be sure to use it in front of their most macho buddies.  Kidding.  Sort of.
  2. But not really.  Humor is one of the major glues that have held things together in the worst moments.  Having a ridiculous pet name is the stuff of genius.
  3. Give a daily, six-second hug.  Make it last, and stick to each other like two globs of silly puddy for the whole six seconds.
  4. Do not settle for a relationship where you cannot safely share your emotions with full-on vulnerability.  Successful couples can tell each other about anything without fear of shaming.
  5. Understand and respect what your partners dreams are, and be all about understanding them, even if they aren’t yours too.
  6. Successful couples lean into each other during conflict, not away.  Again, every problem is an opportunity to turn towards your partner, not away.  Try hard to understand your partner’s point of view, by repeating it back to them neutrally.  I.e., instead of yelling “&%^$## that ‘effing noise #*$&%^“, you might want to try “when one plays the tuba at 3am, it can be very difficult to get a good night’s sleep and wake up chipper.”  Or something like that.  Express yourself without using words like “you, me, they, I, we”.  Good luck.
  7. Connect throughout the day in small ways, including short texts, heart emojis, or jokes that convey a lighthearted touch.  Successful couples take advantage of even the smallest ways to bond.
  8. Be your partners greatest defender and best friend at the playground.  Too many marriages forget the simple principle that you have married the person that is supposed to completely have your back emotionally, physically, and spiritually.


Clearly, this picture was taken prior to learning Stan leaves his socks on the floor…

People will often buy a car with more inspection than they will enter into a life-long pairing with another human.  This is one, hugely obvious mistake that I think our culture makes through encouraging ridiculous notions like “love at first sight” in film and television, without putting any emphasis on the actual complications of sharing space with others for decades or more.

Fortunately, we now live in the Information Age, and tools are readily available to literally learn anything and everything…if you’re both willing.

There are relationship workshops available, both on-line and in person throughout the country.  Why not treat yourself to one of them, and invest in gaining the skills to be successful at one of the most important things that you can ever do as a human?

Click the link below to look into just one of the many options out there. 



What does any of this have to do with Wellness Consulting and Bodywork?
A whole lot.
Your body is a little sponge for memories, both positive and negative.  Learning how to build a loving relationship with your life partner only helps you get that much closer to actually enjoying the body you are blessed with.
Don’t blow it.  Work on it.