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Downtown Raleigh

Couples, there's an app for this!

Couples there's an app for all this deep conversation I have been suggesting for your relationship in blogs here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here. An app that is designed to help you emotionally connect beyond surface topics and the daily grind. We were out to dinner with my sister and her husband at Cantina South (a great spot for a Raleigh date night by the way - amazing Guacamole, seriously so good!) and talking about how it can get hard to come up with really good conversation topics at the end of the day (or the week) when you are tired and drained from work, child-rearing or life in general. My savvy sister showed us an app (for iPhone/iPad users) on her iPhone that had amazing conversation starters, great questions to use with your spouse for thought-provoking conversations and questions to get really emotionally connected. I love it! It even has a fun spin-the-bottle feature! So all you wives who deeply desire your husbands to connect with you at an emotional level- here is one great solution: ask your husband to download the app "twoignite" and then schedule a date night. Husbands, wow your wife and download this app and then start asking her some great questions over a nice meal. Once you've settled into your table, pull the smart phone out (if it's even been put away yet), and start connecting. You'll be surprised how easy it can be to connect when you have great questions like these to get the conversation started. There's even a "couples only" section of the app that gets you talking about physical intimacy (husbands, don't start your date with these questions). :) If you are still having trouble connecting after trying several date nights with intentional questions like these, it may be time to consider some counseling together.

Always In Process

Relationships include pain; they aren't always movie-like. There is conflict, hurt, wounds and pain. There's also joy and love and blissful times too. When I'm working in counseling with individuals or couples, one partner is often on the verge of leaving. They are done with the work, done with the pain of the relationship. They are tired and wounded. I encourage them towards a bigger view of relationship. A song by The Civil Wars called "Poison and Wine" talks about the beauty and the pain of relationship. Sadly, I recently missed seeing them at The Pour House in Downtown Raleigh, but I'm hopeful they'll come back to Raleigh soon! One member of the group, Joy Williams talks about the heart behind their song. She says, "The longer you know someone - and the longer you allow someone to know you - the more the light and shadows inside each person become more vivid. This song was our attempt at being brutally honest about the dangerous and beautiful process of knowing and being known." If we choose to see the grander picture of our marriages, our relationships, then we can enjoy the "dangerous and beautiful process of knowing and being known." It can be so exciting, so reassuring to know that someone knows you that well and "always will". But all too often, one partner gets too weary of the journey and decides to end the relationship. That leaves the world with yet another divorce, more pain, and more wounded people. I encourage you to seek marriage therapy, couples counseling or individual therapy if you are getting to the place where you think of leaving more often than staying with relationship. Each of our relationships are in process and they have the capacity to turn us into deeper people if we'll see the bigger, grander view of relationship and keep walking forward.

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The Importance of Date Night

When working with couples in couples counseling or marriage therapy, I always stress the importance of a weekly date night! Think of all the focused time we put into other things- work, household chores, raising kids, etc. A weekly date night gives couples time to intentionally focus on their relationship and on each other. It provides time to reflect on your relationship, share new ideas or dreams, discuss upcoming changes, debrief about a recent fight, etc. Date night should be a time to interact together: face time, quality time. Sure going to a movie every now and then is fun and I fully support that too! But try date nights where you focus on each other and the relationship...where you get to talk to one another instead of stare at a screen. Staring at a screen together is fun, but it's shoulder time (doing something together but not interacting). Face time is actually looking at each other's faces and interacting, engaging with one another! Some fun (and cheap) ideas for a quality date night are a coffee shop, First Friday in Downtown Raleigh, and the North Carolina Museum of Art (it has a whole section you can visit for free!). The last 2 are free for the most part, so money doesn't have to be an excuse. Date nights don't have to break your budget! Work on setting aside time each week to spend getting to know your significant other more, improving and deepening your relationship. You'll certainly see the fruit of those efforts!

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