Dr. Barbara Fontana, PhD
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"Relationships & How to Make Them Work"

Barbara Fontana, Ph.D
45 Route 25A
Shoreham, NY 11786
Ph: 631-821-1880

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the Week
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Barbara Fontana, PhD - Psychologist & Imago Relationship Therapist
Suffolk County, Long Island, New York - Couples Therapy

Tips of the Week for Couples

  • Take turns planning a weekly date night.

Be creative, it doesn't have to cost a penny. You can have a quiet dinner at home after the children are in bed. You can dance in your kitchen. You can give each other back rubs or play a board game or whatever you like.

  • Sexual intimacy is an important part of a relationship.

If you find you are too busy or too tired for sex, planning a date for sex can help. It gives you something to look forward to and prepare for. Take turns planning the date in whatever ways you both find romantic and sexual.

  • Move from negativity to problem solving.

Negativity pushes the other person away. Problem solving is cooperative, how can we solve this so we both feel okay.

  • Differentiation and togetherness are both important in a relationship.

You need time as a couple and you need time as an individual. There will be activities you do together and ones you do separately. There will be values you share and values that are important to one of you but not the other. Learn to accept and respect both.

  • Poet John Donohue said "bless the space between us."

Think of your relationship as living in the space between you and remember to take care of that space. Everything you say and everything you do affects the space (your relationship): the way you look at each other, the tone of voice you use, the words you speak, the way you touch each other, if you smile, if you roll your eyes, and everything else.

  • Do one nice thing for your partner each day; one act of kindness or thoughtfulness.

Do it as a "gift" to him or her without expecting anything in return.

  • Give up criticism.

When we criticize we say something negative about the other person: you are lazy, you are a slob, you are a nag. These remarks are hurtful and often trigger the other person becoming angry and defensive. See next week's tip for an alternative approach.

  • Use sentences that start with "I" rather than "you."

For example, I feel invisible when I come home and you ignore me; I feel angry when I see your clothes on the floor; I would appreciate it if you would call me if you are going to be late so I don't worry about you.

Psychologist Shoreham, Long Island | (631) 821-1880