Partnership Pointers:

New ideas for keeping your relationships fresh, fun, and functional.


Something Silly

Sometimes it helps to be silly with our partners for a moment, even when we are dealing with tough issues. It reminds us of the spirit that brought us together in the first place, and can do wonders for releasing stress and setting a positive tone between two

To make this point, PC&CC's Stacy Notaras Murphy often assigns silly tasks to her couples in between sessions - such as having a staring contest, playing hide and seek, or making up a cheer they can perform together. "My favorite is to ask them to come up with a secret handshake," she says. "I've seen couples make variations on their childhood handshakes, add dance moves, sing little songs. Some of them are very subtle and they make a habit of doing the handshake when they're out with other people - as a way to give the signal that they are together and have an intimate secret. It's a great way for them to be creative together, which is part of what we're doing in our sessions - working together, creatively, to heal rifts and make it safe to be close once again."


Romantic Drives the Key to Relationship Restoration?

For a couple, a back-country road can be restorative in ways that are tough to quantify.

“If you're working on a project together, like scaling a mountain or eve n gardening, it's a project with an objective and an end date,” says Stacy Notaras Murphy, a couples counselor with Pastoral Counseling and Consultation Centers of Greater Washington. “But if you're spending that time together taking things in passively, you can really focus on the connection between you and the person, so the project is your relationship, rather than the garden or the scaled mountainside.”

After racing between commitments for months, my husband and I realized our relationship was a little ragged around the edges . . . . Slowing things down during a romantic drive lets you be in the moment, whether you're finding a picnic spot or deciding which back road you'll explore next. “In the smaller moments,” Murphy says, “we remember why we made this relationship in the first place.”

-From Christie Findlay, “Roads to Love: Looking for an Inspiring Getaway?" The Washington Post, September 16, 2007

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