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What’s Your Communication Style: Good Things Utah

One of the biggest problems in marriage is poor communication. There’s so much emotional history and baggage, and both people have thoughts, feelings, and need that can cloud the situation, so it’s easy to miss each other. It’s important to understand three distinct communication styles and how they can hinder or help our ability to connect with each other.

The Doormat

The name says it all: an individual with a doormat style of communication often gets trampled on or simply allow others to lead. They typically favor peace over any type of conflict, so they’ll often be passive or give the silent treatment when things get difficult. This can lead to problems, as those assuming the doormat style have their relationship needs chronically neglected and do not take a stand for themselves.

The Sword

The sword is the opposite: those with this style are often very aggressive, defensive, and on edge. They may verbally lash out or blame others. For them, self-preservation is achieved through emotional manipulation or violence, but the relationship suffers the damage.

The Lantern

The lantern is the type of communication that we should all strive for. It’s illuminating and invites all into the light to see different perspectives and experiences. It is firm and secure, yet not overbearing. The lantern is a more mature style of communication, as it is rises above the tendency to be either a sword or a doormat.

If you are interested in learning more about communication styles and how to strengthen your relationships with also maintaining your own unique voice, check out my book “The Assertiveness Guide for Women.” 

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Why Communication Has a Lot to Do with a Blender

What does a blender have to do with communication you ask? Well, pull a chair up to the dining table, and I will tell you:

First, I want you to consider a scenario where someone prepared you a nice meal that you enjoyed. Envision that plate of food. What made it so enjoyable or delicious to you? How did it smell and taste? Were those sensations distinct from one another? How was it organized on the plate? Did your friend take your taste into consideration when making the dish? How much time went into preparing it?

Now, I want you to envision something entirely different. Imagine rather, that person took those same ingredients, piled them into a blender, sent them for a whirl, and poured you a nice thick glass full. As you take a big swig, can you distinguish clearly between all the ingredients? Does it slide down the throat nicely, or are your reflexes pushing it out? Are you feeling nauseous just thinking about it? What’s wrong? It’s the same ingredients, same food. Why not eat it this way?

It doesn’t take a world class chef to tell you why that wouldn’t be the same and why this concoction definitely would not be appetizing. Now, consider how communication is the exact same way as this meal. If we really want someone to digest what we are saying, we need to thoughtfully take our time, take their tastes into consideration, and plate it nicely for them. If we want someone to take in what we are feeding them, it needs to be palatable to them. Sometimes in communication, we take the haphazard route of throwing it all in the blender and serving a cup full of sludge. Then, without any consideration for the other, we can’t understand why they didn’t take in our cup of sludge.

So, does this mean for effective communication we should just serve up cake every meal? No! We all know that would lead to a sick or even dying body (or relationship). Like it or not, sometimes we need to eat things that aren’t our favorite in order to be healthy. Are you willing to take the time to find the preparation of that ingredient that tastes the most palatable for your partner, child, etc.? Some people like broccoli cooked and some like it raw. Some like it covered in butter with salt and pepper.

In my experience as a therapist, I’ve watched countless hours of couples serving one another “meals.” As they progress in the therapy process, they learn to put the blender away and begins plating beautiful meals for one another, after which no one has a problem listening or digesting.

For help putting your blenders away and plating some really nice dishes, consider making an appointment today.

Kathleen Baxter MS, LMFT

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3 Ways to Fight Fair: Good Things Utah

3 Ways to Fight Fair: Good Things Utah

Every significant relationship has times of disagreement and disconnection. Differences are a sign that your relationship is healthy and that both people feel free to bring their authentic selves. However, how you express those differences can either bring you closer together or create distance.

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5 Common Road Blocks to Couple Intimacy

couple-listening-optimizedWant more intimacy in 2015?

5 common road blocks that could be keeping you and your partner from optimal intimacy!

Environment

Work life, parenting responsibilities, maintaining a home, dishes in the sink or a bedroom overcrowded with laundry, these are just a few examples of things that contribute to shaping our environment. Is there anything present or obstacles in your environment that could interfering with opportunities to create more intimacy. Environment can play a crucial role in our ability to focus and dedicate time to growing and nurturing intimacy in our home and relationships.

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Surviving the Bomb: First Steps After the Affair

Finding out that your partner has been unfaithful has the potential to be one of the most devastating experiences a person can encounter in his/her life.   A common and appropriate reaction, given the circumstances, is panic.  There is generally nothing short of a roller coaster of emotions, and as a result, many couples do unintentional damage before they can seek help.  This is to be expected as no one tells you what you should do in the immediate aftermath of an affair.

The main goal is to limit the destruction in the time between finding out and getting help.  Here are some crisis control tips to follow until you can get some additional help:

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Rekindle that spark in your Relationship

It is very common for couples to reach a point in their relationship where they start to feel more like roommates than lovers. One thing that we forget once we are past the romancing stage is that a relationship continues to take work. It is easy to get comfortable and settled with our partner to where we stop putting forth the effort to win each other over. Though there is a deep and secure love between you and your partner, when this happens, it can feel like the spark is gone, and we begin to mourn for that loss of passion.

Here are some ideas on how to get that spark back and rekindle the passion.

grateful-couple

1. Regular dates
Having kids and busy work schedules can make it tough to find time for just the two of you. Don’t let yourselves fall into the same routines. Make sure you plan time for each other and put forth the effort to plan fun dates. Your relationship is just as important as your kids and work, and it requires some attention as well. Go on dates, and get that much needed couple time together.

2. Physical touch
It is always important to make time for intimacy through sex with your partner, but there is also a lot of power in physical contact. Holding hands, rubbing your spouse’s back, raking your fingers though his hair, lingering kisses, and long hugs are great ways to ignite some passion. Touching each other more often helps us feel closer to one another.

3. Find something you both love
Finding a hobby to share with your spouse is a great way to ignite a spark. Take a class, try something new, be adventurous… When you share experiences with your spouse that you both enjoy together, you will feel a stronger connection to one another.

4. Remember the passion
Sometimes just remembering what it is that first made us fall in love with our partners can help bring some of that passion back. Try making a list of all the reasons why you love your partner. Write them down, and read them to each other. Acknowledge the things that you appreciate about the other and may be taking for granted. Besides building up your partner and making them feel good, you will also recognize all that deep love that is already there.

5. Vacation
If and when possible, go on getaways together. Even small road trips can be fun and great opportunities to talk and just focus on each other.

6. Make it a joint effort
It is not easy to rekindle the passion in your relationship if you are the only one working at it. You and your spouse need to help one another. Talk to each other and express that you are trying to make an effort to reignite the spark and that it is important to you, and hopefully you will be in on it together.

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Help Your Man Lean In To Fatherhood: Studio 5

 

Therapist Julie Hanks offers advice on how to help your man more involved in parenting. It’s a strategy that could make your whole family happier.


Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg’s book “Lean In” encourages women to step up, take risks, and lead in at work, at school, and in their communities. However, for women with children to seize leadership opportunities requires men to lean in more at home. Whether you’re a mother who is working part-time or full-time outside of the home, or you are a stay-at-home mom, there are things we can do encourage our husband’s to lean in to fatherhood. Not only is an involved father necessary for you to embrace leadership opportunities in the community, research consistently shows that your children will benefit from their father’s involvement in their lives. Here are a few of the ways children benefit from having an involved father:

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Secret Sauce To Happy Marriage: Julie Hanks Featured on Yahoo!

Secret Sauce To Happy Marriage: Julie Hanks Featured on Yahoo!

I woke up to some fun news this morning! I found out that my article about how empathy is crucial to a good marriage is featured on Yahoo! Homepage and is currently the most popular article with 3.3K Facebook shares and over 2400 comments. No. Way.

If you like the article, please share and spread the message of the importance of empathy in relationships. It is THE most important skill in marriage.

Read Empathy: The Secret Sauce To A Happy Marriage

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Can Men & Women Be Just Friends: KSL Radio Interview

Can men and women be “just friends”? Do men and women feel differently about their platonic friendships? Ethan and Alex of KSL Radio’s The Nightside Project invited me to chat with them about an article

Just friends? Guys reveal sexual interest in gal pals (MSNBC)

Listen to my KSL Nightside Project interview (9:20)

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Are We A Boring Couple? Julie Hanks quoted in Cosmopolitan

Do you ever compare yourself and your marriage to other couples who do exotic vacations, creative dates, and seem to be a lot more interesting than you and your spouse? I chatted with writer Kristina Grish, also a married woman, and gave her my thoughts on this topic for a Cosmopolitan article.

Are We Boring? (pdf download)

 

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