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Relationships are messy + delicious. Learn about how Robyn D'Angelo, The Happy Couple Expert uses science to effectively help couples in Orange County, California to master the messiness of relationships while learning how to love + be loved, better.

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How Complaining, Nagging and Pouting Can Help Your Relationship.

Emily Porta

You may be thinking, “How can my partner’s complaining possibly help our relationship?” Well, there’s a lot of research that shows that complaints can actually lead to some pretty awesome connection.

Complaining is one’s way of trying to express a need of theirs that is not being met, according to Dr. John Gottman & Julie Schwartz Gottman, who’ve studied couples and their relationships for over 40 years. If you see your partner’s complaints, nagging and pouting as their struggle to communicate something to you, doing just 3 things can decrease your annoyance, frustration and anger while bringing you closer.

1. Maintain Mutual Respect.

Avoiding what Dr. Gottman refers to as the 4 Horseman of the Apocalypse helps cultivate respect between you and your partner. The 4 Horseman of the Apocalypse consists of criticism, defensiveness, contempt and stonewalling or ignoring our partners. If you can avoid doing these when your partner complains, your relationship will start to increase in closeness and conflict will not feel so heavy.

2. Check in.

Sometimes just taking a deep breath to pause and ask your partner “What’s really going on right now? Are my socks on the bathroom floor really what’s bothering you?” Your empathic checking in, provides a fantastic opportunity for the two of you to lovingly come together and discuss your partner’s true unmet need. (Which may be more like “I feel that my hard work to keep the bathroom clean goes unappreciated when socks are left on the floor.”)

3. Offer Support.

In every instance of conflict or potential conflict (i.e. complaining, nagging or pouting) there’s an opportunity to step outside your urge to get defensive, contemptuous, criticize or plain ignore your partner. In order to do this, gently and lovingly ask “What do you need right now?” This is different from “What can I do? Or How can I fix things?” When offering your partner this support, it creates an environment of emotional safety where they can start to open up and talk about their unmet need that lives just beneath their complaint. This simple question also releases you of the pressure to fix things. Win-Win!

Experiencing this is never enjoyable but it can definitely provide a moment for the two of you to deeply connect and address what’s truly going on so that you and your partner feel heard and understood.

The 3 steps are simple but they are not easy. This kind of behavior takes commitment to practicing and being gentle with yourself (and your partner) when it doesn’t always go as you expected.

Looking for one-on-one help? Call me today and let’s talk about how I can help you and your partner start connecting deeper and enjoying each other more. (714) 390-1652 or email me to set up an appointment. 

LOVE Maps ... Who Is Your Partner?

Emily Porta

People claim to know the tricks, secrets and tips to having a long lasting, loving, committed relationship.  According to Dr.s Julie and John Gottman, there's really just one thing at the foundation of an AWESOME relationship: Knowing who you're with. 

KNOWING YOUR PARTNER.

 Yep, that's it. Secret is out! Just take the time to get to know who you're with. And I mean, deeply get to know them. 

You may be wondering, how exactly do you get to know your partner more than you already do. I mean, you know that she loves cream and 3 sugars in her piping hot, french press coffee. You know he folds his pants in thirds before he puts them in the drawer, second from the bottom on the right. That's some pretty detailed stuff. But is it enough?

USE LOVE MAPS TO LEARN MORE.

Slow down and make time to have one-on-one conversations. Using love maps can be really fun. They can be shared on date nights, through playful texts, on road trips, and anytime you two have each other's attention. Love maps help you find out things like what their dreams are, their fears are, their goals are. They help you talk about what your favorite birthday was and why, who your 2 best friends are and what your current worries in life are. 

Want a sneak peak? Here are just a few

Love Map questions:

• What makes your partner feel most complete?

• What turns your partner on?

• What is their favorite meal? 

• What is their favorite was to spend the evening?

• What is their favorite color?

• What personal improvements do they want to make in their life?

• What kind of present would they like best?

• What was one of their best childhood experiences?

• What was their favorite vacation? 

• What is one of their favorite & most effective ways to be soothed when upset or sad?

One important aspect of loving your partner is to become mentally familiar with their world. Remember when you first started getting to know your partner? You would sit with them for hours and ask question after question. It is an exciting part of the courtship process. Just like with anything else, things change; old information must be replaced with new knowledge. 

Here's your chance to either update your current Love Maps or create brand new ones. What did you learn about your partner from using Love Maps? Did you create you own? How did you use them?

WANT MORE LOVE MAPS? Call me and let's work together to build or update your love maps. 714-390-1652 - I can help!