Monthly Archives: February 2009

Building a Healthy Relationship that Will Last

One of the most frequently asked questions I hear is, “How do I choose the right mate and build a healthy, loving and lasting relationship?”

Most of us find ourselves without personal experience or good models of healthy relationships and we feel inadequate or unsure about how to build a healthy, lasting committed relationship.

In building a healthy relationship…

  • Each partner values the open sharing of thoughts and feelings;
  • There is a routine or regularity to events.
  • Conflict occurs and each partner works to resolve disagreements, upsets and hurts by talking it out together.
  • Partners communicate clearly; they say what they mean and mean what they say.
  • Partners care about how each other and how they feel; they are responsive to the feelings and needs of each other.
  • Each partner sets boundaries, both physically and emotionally.
  • Each partner interacts with and is involved in the larger world.

Making and keeping agreements and commitments is one of the ways couples make that happen.  It is vital that partners know in the deepest part of their being that they can count on the promises and assurances offered by their beloved.


In a long-term, primary, monogamous love relationship we make agreements and commitments to each other AND to the relationship.

Remember, only You can make it happen!


It’s almost Valentine’s Day

Is this a day you are looking forward to?  Or dreading?

In my experience, women are more triggered by Valentine’s Day forgetfulness or inattention than men.  So, in the spirit of averting a Valentine’s Day disaster in your relationship, these tips are for the ladies!

Are you excited about showing your love and affection; and letting that special man in your life know how much he means to you?

Do you find yourself worrying that your Honey might forget to plan ahead and not send you flowers, buy Godiva Chocolate or that tennis bracelet you’ve been hinting you really want to have?

Check out your expectations about "being remembered" and the meaning you make related to certain behaviors.

For example:

·         He bought me beautiful flowers:  He loves me.  He is so thoughtful.

·         He gave me a very sweet card:  He loves me so much and thinks I am special.

·         He sent me a card from the kids:  He is so wonderful and I am so important to him.

·         He didn’t even go to the grocery store and buy flowers:  He is so uncaring and unappreciative about everything I do.

·         He didn’t even get me a simple card:  He’s so thoughtless and doesn’t appreciate me.

Heads up, ladies!

Valentine’s Day is not the designated day of the year that your partner is tasked with proving to you that he loves you and that you are special and the center of his world.

Valentine’s Day is just like every other day!  It is another rich opportunity for emotionally intelligent partners to co-create the celebration that matches their love, commitment and joy of being together.

If you are looking for evidence that you are special or loved, you and your relationship are in trouble!

Emotionally intelligent partners bring their energy, sentimentality, and creativity to the table and together, they plan exactly how to celebrate their love and each other on Valentine’s Day.

So if you want beautiful flowers in the house put them on your list so you can have them there. If you want to receive a romantic card you probably enjoy giving romantic cards so set up a trip to a beautiful card store that has a wide array of choices and buy each other cards together.  The surprise will be reading the cards together on Valentine’s Day, not getting the card.

One of the essential relationship success skills is the willingness and ability to be vulnerable and ask for what we need and want.  That your man goes out on his own and buys a card or orders flowers means… that he went out and bought a card or ordered flowers.  Those behaviors alone do not mean that he loves and values you.  He may love and value you!  We hope he does; AND those behaviors are not the behaviors that are the true indicators of his love and valuing.

So, this Valentine’s Day sit down together and plan the way you are going to celebrate your love and your gratitude for being in each other’s life.

Avoid the trap of Valentine’s Day.  Instead, use it as one more rich opportunity to take the time to care for each other and your relationship together, in ways that are meaningful to both of you!

A word to men and women if you are dating:

Don’t be pressured or guilted into acting like you care or care more than you do.  Valentine’s Day is a set up for disappointment; encourages disillusionment and offers false messages.

Resist all of that.  Be sure you only do/say what is in your heart to do and say.  Be congruent: Make sure your thoughts, feelings, actions and beliefs match.

If you are dating someone you really think is worthy of special attention be sure you take advantage of the opportunity to say:  You’re special to me!"  "We are so lucky to be in each other’s lives."

Remember, only YOU can make it happen!


Dr Jackie Black Newsletter

Hello. I am Dr. Jackie Black, your Couples in Trouble Expert. Since 1999, I have guided many formerly frustrated and desperately unhappy Couples in Trouble to happiness, closeness and having more fun together than they ever imagined. My years of experience combined with your commitment to your personal growth will enable you to welcome the results you have always wanted and never believed were possible in your marriage.

Learn more at