• Love Skills for a Stronger Relationship | Linda Carroll | Episode 163

  • Love skills for a stronger relationship
    Strong love skills are essential for any relationship. We need them to create connection and strengthen our relationship with our teenager, and we need them to help our romantic relationship go the distance. And, one of the best ways we can help our children have a strong relationship in their adulthood is to model that now. With Valentine’s Day around the corner there’s no better time to build a stronger relationship with our partner. Also the skills we learn to do that will help us grow closer to our teen as well. Linda Carroll joins Mighty Parenting podcast host Sandy Fowler to discuss the stages of a relationship and to share skills for better communication and stronger bonds.



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    A Favorite Quote from the Show:

    Love is an inside job. The changes have to come from inside of me, not with the intention of manipulating someone else. I have to want to be the best partner or the best parent I can be.

    High Points From Our Conversation on Love Skills for a Stronger Relationship:

    A stronger relationship starts with me.Trouble in relationships is normal. Social media, tv and culture set unreal expectations. Marriage isn’t this big romantic thing every day. Marriage is like running a small, mundane, often boring non-profit business.

    Love is an inside job. The changes have to come from inside of me, not with the intention of manipulating someone else. I have to want to be the best partner or the best parent I can be.

    Learning love skills to build a stronger relationship with our partner will carry over into all of our relationships.

    There is power in the words we use. 

    Instead of trying to move the conversation in a direction you want to go, or to get them to shift their feelings, let them feel heard. Saying “tell me more” lets people feel heard.

    Our kids need to know they can do hard things. This means we need to allow them to experience these things.

    “Tell me more” lets them know we’re listening.

    Using the word “and” leaves space for the other person to share. It also makes room for a conversation.

    It allows us to have more than one feeling at the same time.

    Good marriages can have bad problems.

    The word “and” is a powerful tool to build a stronger relationship. 

    Using “and” leaves room for the good along with the imperfection. We have a great marriage but we have problems. That cancels out the good marriage. However, “We have a great marriage and we have problems”, leaves space for a good marriage to exist even in the midst of problems. 

    Mindfulness is allowing all feelings to be there.

    Love is a feeling. Loving is a skill. Loving is the path to a stronger relationship.

    There are 5 Stages to a relationship:

      1. Merge—falling in love
      2. Doubt and Denial—we wonder if we chose the wrong person
      3. Disillusionment—the dark winter where power struggles can dominate
      4. Decision—choosing whether to leave the relationship, stay without intimacy, or do the work to strengthen the relationship
      5. Whole-hearted love

    Stage 1 is mediated by hormones, chemicals, changes in brain chemistry. It’s the initial sweeping romance stage where we never want to be separated.

    In stage 2 the chemicals wear off and we fall into the power struggle. The magic subsides and we wonder what’s wrong. We may wonder if we chose the wrong person. Without the skills, a lot of hard moves happen here.

    Stage 3 is the opposite of stage 1 although this stage is also mediated by chemicals. The power struggles have become more predominant and the issues we swept under the rug are poking out. The chemicals now are from stress so we’re in fight or flight. This is when we see all that’s wrong and we hit the wall. 

    For some people the decision in stage 4 is about leaving or staying in the relationship. Others choose parallel paths and give up on intimacy. Still others choose to do the work necessary to stay and grow.

    Love is an inside job. It’s being able to accept imperfection in ourselves and the world. We need to realize it’s about becoming whole ourselves. That builds a strong relationship.

    If you’re single, dating and are in stage 1 but your kids see your partner’s flaws, don’t tell them they’re wrong. Instead, ask them to tell you what it’s like for them. Empathize with their feelings, recognize what’s hard for them. You can also acknowledge that you and they feel differently about this person. Just don’t dismiss their feelings because you are on cloud nine.

    Our kids are going to date. We need to remember they will see their partner’s differently than we do.


    Love Skills: The Key to Unlocking Lasting, Whole-Hearted Love 

    Resolving Differences | Jude Bijou | Episode 132

    Preventing Dating Violence In Your Teenager’s Life | Dr. Shalanda Moten | Episode 65

    Our Guest Linda Carroll:

    Linda Carroll talks about love skills for a stronger relationshipLinda Carroll is the author of Love Skills and Love Cycles. While she has worked as a therapist and couple’s coach for over three decades and has acquired numerous certificates and degrees along the way, she says that her own thirty-five-year marriage is the primary source of her knowledge when it comes to the cycles of love. She lives in Corvallis, Oregon.

    To learn more or connect with our guest visit https://lindaacarroll.com/.

    Support for Moms:

    Need more time? Find time for what matters most at SandyFowler.com/find-time