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Written by Nicole Elam

Relationship Coach, Nicole Elam, brings a unique perspective to her coaching practice. She’s a former divorce attorney turned certified counselor and now helps couples work through some of the toughest issues they’ve ever seen – we’re talking infidelity, finances, lack of emotional connection, blended families and more. 

During Coach Nicole’s time as a divorce lawyer, she realized people didn’t need a divorce – they needed counseling! Her unique perspective has equipped her to help people all over the country and now she’s moved her practice to online only. Her business saw a serious uptick when the global pandemic hit, and it hasn’t slowed down, as people are still spending unprecedented amounts of time together. 

Coach Nicole helps couples strengthen their foundations, which, she’s found, is typically where most problems stem from. For example, she’s recommended targeted communications exercises for when people find themselves on the receiving end of a snippy partner’s venom or when someone is personally using cross-language. Everyone wants to feel seen, heard and important. Coach Nicole gives her clients the tools to de-escalate issues, regroup, rebuild and thrive. 

Top 5 Communication Boosters:

Communication is the number one issue most couples are having trouble with during the pandemic. Using some of these exercises will help get things back on track.

·       High/Low Check-In

Every day check in with your partner and share what you enjoyed most and least about your day, and how your partner can be helpful, if relevant. Feel free to put the timer on 5-7 minutes for each partner to keep the conversation confined.

·       Weekend Check-In

Every week share with your partner by completing the following sentences:

o   Something I appreciated this week was…

o   I need support with…

o   I’d love to have fun with you and do…

o   I think we need to address…

·       Wish List Exercise

Make a “wish list” of three things you would like more or less of in your relationship. Take turns sharing your wish list. 

As you share, the speaker’s job is to speak for yourself (e.g., use I statements), express your feelings, ask for what you want, and to describe how you would feel if your wish came true. The listener’s job is to summarize what you heard and describe how your partner would feel if the wish came true.  

·       Daily Compliments

Every day give your partner at least one genuine compliment or affirmation. For example, I like it when you        ___. You are great at                .

Remember, it takes 5 positive affirmations for every 1 negative interaction. Positive affirmations include compliments, affection, showing interest in your partner’s feelings/interests/opinions, affirming body language, laughing, and expressing your partner’s love languages.

Examples of negative interactions include criticism, dismissiveness, blaming, avoidance, defensiveness, eye rolling, negative body language, and ignoring your partner’s bids for connection.

·       Daily Text

Set a time every day to text your partner, even if you’re working in the same space. Pick a time that would be easy for you to remember, like during lunch. This keeps you and your partner connected during the day.

A few text ideas could be: Thinking about you. I love you. I miss you. Can’t wait to see you later. Let’s have lunch together. I got the kids and dinner covered tonight; you just relax. If you only knew what I have in store for you tonight.

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