Dr. Julie's Blog

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7 Overlooked Ways to Strengthen Your Relationship Over the Holidays

A holiday can be a welcome break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. It can also be a great opportunity to spend quality time with your partner and reconnect on a deeper level. Let’s celebrate your relationships. 

From pumpkin picking to attending holiday parties, there are endless opportunities for couples to enjoy each other's company and strengthen their bond. 

Here are just a few ways holiday time can be the perfect time to strengthen your relationship:

It helps you to appreciate each other more.

Taking your partner for granted can be easy when you're stuck in the daily grind. But spending time together during the holidays can help you to remember all the things you love about them. Take time to talk, laugh and enjoy each other's company, which can help you to appreciate each other more.

It gives you a chance to relax and recharge.

The holiday season can be hectic, but it can also be a great opportunity to relax and recharge. Spending time together...

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Do you know your partner's love language?

We all express and receive love in different ways, and those variations may be the reason why sometimes feelings and good intentions are misunderstood.

For instance, you might spend weeks searching for the most incredible gift for your partner, only to hear them say on their birthday, "I would've been happy just cuddling up on the couch together."

It's not that they're unappreciative or you made a mistake. It's because they speak different love languages or communicate their love differently.

The five love languages were first introduced in 1992 by marriage counselor Dr. Gary Chapman in his book "The 5 Love Languages."  He noticed there was often a discrepancy in how each person in a marriage felt loved. If one person only felt love when they received a gift but their partner rarely bought them gifts, they felt as if their partner didn’t love them. 

Knowing what your love language is and learning what your partner’s love language is will help you create an...

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New Year's Resolutions: Make them easier with these tips

 

For those of us who make New Year's Resolutions, we are connecting with a sense of hope that things can be different. It's part acknowledgement that things could be better and hope that we can engineer that improvement in our lives. Really, the hopefulness we feel is a love affair with the potential of what could be.

But, if you're more connected with the hopelessness of setting New Year's Resolutions because you haven't realized the potential of past resolutions or have seen too many others fail to realize theirs, it's okay. Being in touch with the problem of your current situation is often troubling and disempowering because you might not know how you got here or how to effectively change it.

Keep in mind though that the idea, "Things could (should) be better" is the first step in making a change. You have to identify a problem before you can fix it.

If you'd like to be in touch with the hopefulness of a better version of you in 2022 (or if you're already hopeful), here are...

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💕 3 Communication Tips for an Easier Holiday Season

I recently posed the question, “What’s a positive change you want to make in your relationship?” All the responses I got were focused on communication, everybody wanted to communicate better. As it turns out faulty communication is a top relationship problem.

I couldn’t think of a better topic to address during the holidays. What can be more stressful than arguing during a time when everyone is expected to be bright and cheery?

Here are 3 tips for making your romantic relationship a little less stressful and a little more romantic this holiday season.

  1. Listen more and talk less. Listening is something we think we do easily, but we are rarely actually listening. Instead, we are usually thinking of what we are going to say next. To help you listen better challenge yourself to ask a follow-up question about what your partner just said before you add anything to conversation. Another tip for being a better listener is to focus on how your partner is feeling,...
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Handling Holiday Stress 💥 If You Are A People Pleaser

Holidays are a magical time of year AND an incredibly stressful time of year. Many of us look forward to our family traditions, holiday parties, decorating, and gift giving. But, in order to do all these things, we feel like we have to squeeze them into our normally hectic, busy schedules AND get it all done with ease and grace. Except, ease and grace are often forgotten in the hustle, leaving us to wonder “Where is all the magic I’m supposed to be feeling?”

This is especially true if you are a people-pleaser and over-giver. You know what I’m talking about. You try so hard to get everything perfect so other people feel at ease and have a good time and you’re left with a few moments of fun and a big mess to clean up.

It doesn’t have to be this way. You can have more ease and grace in your holidays so they feel magical today and in the years to come. It just takes a little planning.

Acknowledge your tendency for high expectations. If you are a...

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One Thing That Makes it Hard to Avoid Toxic Relationships

Everyone I’ve worked with who finds themselves in a toxic relationship has problems with setting and maintaining healthy boundaries. It’s one of the reasons people end up in toxic relationships and then have a hard time leaving.

What is a toxic relationship?

It’s a relationship where one person violates the other person’s boundaries, values, and identity on a regular basis. These relationships are verbally, emotionally, and sometimes physically abusive.

When I talk with people who are in toxic relationships common themes emerge.

  • They believe they are responsible for how their partner treats them
  • They try to anticipate their partner’s response to situations to avoid fights
  • They rearrange their social time to avoid upsetting their partner
  • They lose contact with friends and family because their partner doesn’t like them
  • They feel confused as to why their partner gets upset with them when they are trying so hard to be loving and give their partner...
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19 Things Emotionally Resilient People Do

One afternoon in late November, my husband and I were sitting in an exam room waiting for the neurologist to return. Fred had already had an extensive neurological exam and, sitting there in silence, I could see the worry and fear on my husband’s face.

Eighteen months earlier he had started having muscle twitches in his arms and chest, but the neurologist at the time couldn’t find anything else wrong and diagnosed him with “benign muscle fasciculations.” Likely temporary, minor muscle twitches — nothing to worry about.

Now Fred was having problems enunciating words. Whatever was wrong must be serious. As I watched the neurological exam, I could tell that my formerly strong husband was having significant problems with his arms, hands, and tongue. What could be going on?

It took about 15 minutes before the neurologist returned, this time with another neurologist who started doing more neurological testing. After about 10 minutes they both sat down and the...

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