The Don't Sweat Guide for Couples: Ways to Be More Intimate, Loving and Stress-Free in Your Relationship

The Don't Sweat Guide for Couples: Ways to Be More Intimate, Loving and Stress-Free in Your Relationship

by Richard Carlson

Paperback(1 ED)

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780786887200
Publisher: Hachette Books
Publication date: 10/17/2001
Edition description: 1 ED
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 1,222,825
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 6.50(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range: 13 - 18 Years

About the Author

Richard Carlson, Ph.D., was the author of the bestselling Don't Sweat the Small Stuff series. He passed away in 2006.

Kristine Carlson has a gift for creating lifelong relationships and is very dedicated to her family, friendships, and personal growth. She loves riding horses, running, and solitude. Richard and Kris were married for over 21 years. She lives in Northern California.

Hometown:

Northern California

Place of Birth:

Northern California

Education:

San Jose State University, Pepperdine University; Ph.D., Sierra University

Read an Excerpt

Being part of a couple, in a committed relationship, is one of life's greatest treasures. That is, if it's a good one! All kidding aside, being a couple is a true gift. It provides the opportunity for love, companionship, friendship, family, and security. But, no matter how great your relationship may be, there is probably going to be at least some stress associated with it. The very fact that two people are together lends itself to some inherent issues — the need to compromise, forgive, accept differences, and sacrifice. Sometimes you disagree or have different wants, needs, and desires. You may have different goals and priorities, and must deal with each other's issues and moods.

The editors of Don't Sweat Press have done a beautiful job in creating a guide to overcome much of the stress usually associated with being a couple. The Don't Sweat Guide for Couples is a simple, practical collection of strategies designed to give you and your partner tools to work together better, let go of things easier, and focus your attention on the love you have for each other. Often in our relationships, we use our minds in self-defeating or negative ways that encourage our love to drift away. Becoming aware of this tendency and the power of our own thinking — is a magical tool for enhancing the love we have for our partners. It helps us eliminate any negative habits that may have crept into our relationships.

I encourage you to read this book alone, or side by side with your partner. Either way, I'm guessing you're going to learn some very helpful tools.

My relationship with my wife, Kris, is such an important part of my life. The two of us are committed to doing all we can to enhance the quality of our own relationship. Many of the ideas in this book resonated in our hearts, as I hope they will in yours.

Thank you for being committed to the quality of your relationship. I hope this book is of tremendous service to you and to your partner.

Treasure the Gift of Love,
Richard Carlson

Pleasant Hill, CA, June 2001

1.
Remember the One That You Fell For

There is a period close to the beginning of most long-term relationships when we're so swept up in the excitement of the chemistry of being in love that we don't mind the things in our partners that will later become ingredients for stress. Most of us eventually get over this rosy view. But in the process of descending from the heights of infatuation, we can sometimes move too far in the opposite direction. We are no longer blinded by love, and have to grapple with the reality of another flesh-and-blood person. It's a natural, necessary, and healthy part of love, but it feels like a loss, and it causes pain.

There's no easy cure for the stresses of life as a couple. But your view of the person with whom you share those stresses can go a long way toward affecting how important you allow the stresses to become. When you remember the hows, whys, and wherefores of falling in love with your partner, you maintain a sympathetic, appreciative perspective of that person.

The process of remembering the one that you fell for starts within you. Think back to your first glimpse of your partner. Remember the details of your partner's personality, appearance, preferences, and habits. Think about how those aspects affected you when they were all new to you, and remember what you found attractive.

Remembering the one that you fell for can also be a two-way street. Take walks with your partner down "Memory Lane." In the early days of romance, you shared some powerful emotions and exciting times. Recalling them together can bring them back into focus and even spark new life in the here and now. Celebrate special occasions by returning to old haunts that have significance for you as a couple. Pull out old photographs, laugh about happy times, and plan activities that you used to enjoy doing together. Don't seek to recreate the past, but let it feed a richer experience in the present.

In short, make your shared history a powerful tool for a happier, more satisfying life with your partner. In the process, you'll free up room for a love that continues to grow and deepen.

2.
Read the Same Book

It takes time for people to grow apart. It is the culmination of hundreds of separate choices made without reference to the health of the relationship. The partners go their own ways in activities that are most engaging, and save the mundane things for togetherness. The relationship can become associated with boredom and tedium.

In the same way, it takes time for people to build a strong foundation of mutual growth and vitality. This is meaningful time that a couple chooses to spend together in pursuits that are stimulating and challenging. Growing together instead of apart requires that you share life's learning curves with your partner, day after day, in a variety of ways.

Perhaps your partner plays golf, runs, skis, or boats. You may not have any background in these activities, but you can certainly learn. You may not have the physical ability or find that an activity doesn't grow on you. But you can appreciate what it takes, and be an active supporter in a variety of ways. Your partner's area of strength may be intellectual; it may be artistic; it may lie in home maintenance. Just participating alongside your partner gives you the opportunity to learn new skills and appreciate more about your loved one.

By the same token, share your own strengths. It may seem easier and more efficient to avoid the explanations and coaching time involved in sharing your strengths with your partner, but ease and efficiency don't necessarily feed mutual growth.

If you're both readers, read the same book, either separately or aloud to one another. Talk about your reactions to it. The content of the book becomes a shared experience that draws you together. Take up a new activity that neither of you has tried or mastered already. Sign up for dancing lessons or join a bicycling group. If you enjoy travel and have the means, plan trips to places neither of you have visited. If you're social types, make new friends in common.

With each choice to learn and grow together, you build a history of mutual support and an inventory of engaging activities that bond you and make you interesting to one another. By comparison, the things that lead to stress and friction will be boring. You won't want to expend any energy on them.

3.
Be a Friend

Life partners do not necessarily treat one another as the friends they could or should be. There can be many reasons for this, but the net result is that these people have better friendships outside of their relationship than they do with their loved one.

It need not be this way. You can change an unsatisfying status quo. To begin, be the kind of friend to your partner that you would like to have. Stand close in support when times are tough, lend a shoulder to cry on in circumstances of sorrow, and offer a sympathetic ear when life is confusing. Congratulate your partner on success, and extend the benefit of a doubt when you don't understand what's going on. Maintain and express your confidence in your partner. In the act of being a friend, you will earn the right to have a friend in your partner.

You must also teach your partner how to be your friend in romance. Find a non-accusatory a way of communicating. Rather than expressing yourself in terms of "You never . . . " or "I wish you would . . ." focus on "It would mean a lot to me if . . ." or "One of the needs I have is . . ." In this way, you acknowledge that the needs are yours, and you allow your partner to make a gift of friendship to you.

When you extend friendship to your partner and you are rebuffed, you may want to take another look at your act of friendship. Are you focusing on what is important to your partner, or are you stubbornly offering only what you feel like offering? Are you treating your partner the way that you treat other close friends? Finally, have you taken into consideration any anger or pain that may be getting in the way? Sometimes the forward motion of a friendship is stalled because some necessary apologies were never made.

There's little in life that adds as much joy as a solid, supportive friendship with the person you've chosen as a partner. If you express what friendship means to you and pursue it explicitly in the context of friendship, you can move past the petty reactions that have grown out of wishing for it. Concentrate on attacking the problem at the source of the trouble, and the symptoms will take care of themselves.

Copyright © 2001 Carlson, LLC

Table of Contents

Foreword11
1.Remember the One That You Fell For15
2.Read the Same Book17
3.Be a Friend19
4.Sing in the Shower21
5.Turn Ruts into Rituals23
6.Wait for the End of the Sentence25
7.Learn Sign Language27
8.Practice Praise29
9.Share the Sandbox31
10.Remember That Pigeonholes Are for the Birds!33
11.Expect Surprises35
12.Appreciate the Benefits of a Doubt37
13.Study the "Who's Who" of Living Together39
14.Find a Room of Your Own41
15.Lose the Laundry List43
16.Appreciate the Present45
17.Expect to Learn47
18.Speak Your Mind--No One Will Read It49
19.Be the Bright Spot in Your Partner's Day51
20.Know Your Limits53
21.Have an Adventure Together55
22.Give When It's Least Expected57
23.Turn Differences into Complements59
24.Lengthen Your Fuse61
25.Love with an Open Hand63
26.Cherish the Child in Your Partner65
27.Try on a Different Pair of Shoes67
28.Live the Life That You Always Hoped to Have69
29.Build Bridges Instead of Walls71
30.Emphasize the Estimable73
31.Fly in Formation75
32.Choose Where You Are77
33.Forget to Keep Score79
34.Make the First Move81
35.Learn to Breathe83
36.Think with Your Heart, Feel with Your Head85
37.Aim for the Extraordinary87
38.Extend Your Reach89
39.Know Who You Are91
40.Be a Cheerleader Instead of a Critic93
41.Assume Nothing but the Best95
42.Create an Atmosphere of Tolerance97
43.Don't Pick the Scabs99
44.Laugh Easily101
45.Learn the Art of the Strategic Retreat103
46.Lend a Hand Once a Day105
47.Be the Partner That You'd Like to Have107
48.Find Reasons to Say Thank You109
49.Bend When the Wind Blows111
50.Savor Every Bite113
51.Take No Prisoners115
52.Divide the Labor117
53.Take a Break119
54.Change the Scenery121
55.Give More Than Necessary123
56.Banish the Bogeymen125
57.Be Your Own Best Friend127
58.Honor Your Secret Knowledge129
59.Throw a Snowball131
60.Renew Your Promises133
61.Define Common Space135
62.Take a Bird's-Eye View137
63.Plant a Tree139
64.Retrain the Knee-Jerk Reactions141
65.Be a Haven143
66.Keep the Back Door Open145
67.Talk with Your Hands147
68.Don't Sweat the Tides149
69.Do What You Love151
70.Honor Your Partner's Roots153
71.Turn Down the Volume155
72.Admit It!157
73.Delete "Failure" from Your Vocabulary159
74.Listen with Your Other Ears161
75.Tend to Your Business163
76.Institute the "Time-Out" Strategy165
77.Be Ready for Bright Ideas167
78.Nuture Your Body169
79.Nourish Your Spirit171
80.Exercise Your Intellect173
81.Share Your Offspring175
82.Honor Your Own Roots177
83.Maintain Some Mystery179
84.Promote Pillow Talk181
85.Make Meals into Dates183
86.Once a Month, Trade Jobs185
87.Volunteer Together187
88.Sort, Dispose, and Donate189
89.When in Doubt, Make Up191
90.Listen Between the Lines193
91.Test Your Judgment195
92.Articulate Your "Ouches"197
93.Resist Humor at Your Partner's Expense199
94.Remember Love201
95.Believe in the Power of One203
96.Go Mountain Climbing205
97.Delete the Negative207

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