Want a Better Relationship? Update Your "Love Map"

Stephanie discusses how in every day of your relationship, you are creating a "love map" of your partner, which is essentially your understanding of them...how well you really know them. Intimacy depends on curiosity about who your partner is as a person. For this intimacy to be sustainable, these "love maps" need ongoing updates, otherwise you may lose touch with the person your partner is becoming as time passes. In a happy, long term relationship, who your partner is today is not who your partner will become in 10 or 20 years, and so on (how boring would that be if we never evolved!). 

So maybe you haven't "updated" your love map in a while? Well the good news is you can get to know your partner again and again, for who they are today. So go ahead, get to know each other better. Start by asking the questions in the "Love Map Questionnaire" on my blog post today.

Read More

Fondness & Admiration: Key (However Mushy) Ingredients for Happy Relationships

I often recommend Dr. John Gottman's most famous book, Seven Principles of Making Marriage Work, to any of my clients interested in improving their relationship, married or not. In couples therapy, I teach the skills in this book to help partners with the many difficulties related to conflict styles, communication, and strategies to heal long-term romantic relationships. 

If you're looking to build strong, sustainable, happy relationship, you have to work hard to keep liking your partner. No matter how much you love someone, if you spend enough time with them, you can grow annoyed and bored if you stop appreciating them . But this doesn't have to happen. Everyone can learn to create a healthy relationship with a culture of "fondness and admiration". 

In today's blog post, I share with you the key findings from Dr. Gottman's research on fondness and admiration, which is the second principle of making a marriage work.

Read More

Reading Between the Lines

In today's blog, Stephanie discusses the importance of more advanced listening skills, including "reading between the lines". We all communicate literally and directly sometimes, as well as figuratively and indirectly at other times. This is a skill of emotional intelligence that everyone can learn, and implement, to have healthier and happier relationships.

Read More

Want A Better Relationship? Start Turning Towards Your Partner More

Every day in your relationship, you have infinite opportunities to connect or disconnect from your partner. Dr. John Gottman calls these "sliding door" moments--getting ready for work, doing chores, cooking meals, etc. Each is an opportunity which presents you with a choice for how to respond to your partner, either towards closeness or distance. Learn how to "turn towards" your partner during these moments, to be emotionally available, rather than turning away from them, emotionally disconnecting from them. Even if your relationship has become disconnected already, learn how to start building more intimacy and closeness. 

Stephanie Cook, LCSW, therapist and writer, discusses what "turning towards your partner" is, what it looks like, and how to get help if you think too much "turning away" is happening in your relationship.


Read More

What Works: The Truth About Happy Marriages

Dr. John Gottman's most famous book is based on his 40 years of relationship research: "Seven Principles of Making Marriage Work". Stephanie Cook, LCSW, discusses some of the findings of Gottman's research, including an introduction into these principles, which she uses to help couples, married or not, with the many difficulties related to conflict, communication, intimacy, and strategies for creating happy long-term romantic relationship.

Read More

How to Stop Sabotaging Your Relationship

Stephanie discusses how to stop yourself from engaging in the types of habits that sabotage your relationship, especially when it's most difficult; when you are highly emotional, seeing red, or vulnerable to making bad decisions. We've all been there. You're hurt. You're angry. You're at risk for saying or doing something you can't un-say. Learn how to stop it.

Read More

4 Relationship-Destroying Behaviors Every Couples Therapist Looks For

Stephanie Cook, LCSW, discusses the relationship-destroying behaviors that most couples are guilty of, and that couples therapists are always looking for. Stephanie also discusses how famous researcher and psychologist, Dr. John Gottman, found that the presence of these "Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse" can predict a relationship collapse in 93% of couples.

Read More

After Infatuation: When Relationships Get Real

Stephanie Cook, LCSW, explains what happens in healthy and not-so-healthy relationships after the infatuation stage of "falling in love", when healthy relationships shed fake closeness for authentic intimacy. Stephanie is the first certified Gottman Couples Therapist in Georgia, and owner fo Couples Counseling ATL, LLC, a small private practice exclusively dedicated to helping couples find real connection and lasting happiness using the world renowned Gottman Method Couples Therapy, a research-based approach to helping couples improve their relationships and beat the odds.

Read More