Renovating – a sure fire way to put stress into your relationship.

In any relationship there are few pivotal moments that have the potential to make or break the harmony. Meeting the parents for instance or the birth of your first child or moving house.

And even worse… renovating. Renovating is a very stressful experience for any couple.

When we move in together we make do with what we have – the good or the bad, we take it as it is. Now with renovating, we are going back to the drawing board where we can freely design and decide what we want – or so we think. In reality, we have to compromise with the ideas and taste of our partner.

Decisions can cause stress, because they have major implications. Every change can potentially add thousands of dollars to the overall bill, or weeks to the schedule. When we buy the wrong t-shirt, we waste a couple of dollars. Deciding the wrong colour for the new kitchen costs us big time. The pressure is on, both on the decisions you make and on your relationship.

A big project like renovating needs someone to be responsible. Project managing a renovation adds to the workload of at least one of you in your relationship. Suddenly you are not just juggling work, life, relationship and kids, but also all the tradespeople wanting access to your home.

Things will go wrong, parts will go missing, work gets delayed and things just do not turn out the way you’ve anticipated them. To add insult to injury, your partner might blame you for the things that can go wrong, even though they are out of your control, and when you add constant noise and dirt to the mix, you have a perfect storm to derail even the most solid of relationships.

I’ve got three tips for you to avoid the stress of renovating on your relationship –

  1. Plan and start your renovation knowing that something will go wrong along the way and that it will cost at least 20% more than envisaged.
  2. Talk as often as you can and share the responsibility and workload.
  3. Go out together as often as possible, and try to leave the havoc and stress at home behind you.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me on if you would like to discuss this further.

I am not a renovation expert, but I am a relationship expert, and I can help you to stay on track in spite major renovations going on. J

How to break the silence

How to break the silence

If you’re familiar with my works or have been following my blogs for a while, you’ll have read about the three pillars in your relationship.

Quality Time, Talking and Sex.

You’ll also be familiar with my stance that ongoing communication is one of the keys to a life-long relationship. I often ask couples that have been together a long time, let’s say fifteen or twenty years – “What do you think the secret is for long-term happiness?”

And their answer is usually something like “we talk about everything”.

So what do you do when the communication has stopped between your partner and you at some stage, or worse yet, if the communication has broken down completely after an argument? How do you break the silence?

It is not easy to start a conversation when there is already a palpable distance between you and your partner, and the difficulty only intensifies the longer you are closed off to each other.

You might be thinking,

“I’m not going to be the first to give in! That would make me look desperate. Not this time, it’s always me!”

Or maybe your thoughts sound more like this –

“She/he ran away slamming doors in their wake, she/he needs to apologies first”.

And so, the inevitable happens. You both end up tiptoeing around each other and you can feel the tension and supressed aggression rising. The nerves are lying bare.

With each day that passes in silence, this whole situation becomes more surreal and fixated.

Let me tell you something I know for sure – the earlier you can break the deafening silence, the easier it will feel and the better it will be for your relationship. One of you needs to step up.

You could ask your partner the following, and try to master a normal voice –

“Could we maybe sit together for 10 minutes? I’d love to have a tea with you.”

This is a clear and open question without any threat. You are not imposing any further outcome from these 10 minutes, you just give a strong offer and show your willingness.

Your partner could reject you and say “No”.

In this case you could then ask “When would be a good time then?”

This is an open ended question – not just asking for a yes/no answer, it looks into the future and is positive. If you were to respond with “Why not?!,” you might go further down the rabbit hole of an argument or a battle of the wills.

On the other hand, your partner might be relieved and grateful that you spoke up and that the silence is broken. Your partner may be looking forward to finding time to sit together over a cup of tea.

It is crucial that you try to ensure your part of the conversation is as non-threatening as possible. Instead of revisiting the topic that brought you to this wall of silence (e.g. “We need to talk about how you did that thing that upset me…”), it is more productive and less confronting to address the fact that you haven’t been communicating in the last couple of hours, days or weeks.

Try something like “I’ve noticed we haven’t been talking much in the last couple of days and I just want to change this. What do you think?” And you take it from there.

Usually you both are relieved that the silence is broken and that you can begin to open up to each other as a loving couple again.

Please try remember that it might not be the right time to talk about the underlying issue as yet. I say this because I’ve noticed with many couples that the inevitably end up going around in circles and talking over the same issue again and again.

I see it often. There is usually one partner who feels that a particular topic had been clarified and put to rest, while the other is still holding on to it and who still finds the topic very much at the forefront of their minds.  It may be unconventional advice, but sometimes, reviewing that topic too soon might just get you back to square one and back to giving each other the silent treatment.

I see this “going around in circles” as a big challenge in many, many relationships. No matter which one of the two ‘typical partners’ you are, talking about the same topic – sometimes even with the same lines of dialog – is just frustrating for you both. And it easily results in heated arguments like “how often do I need to tell you…?” or “you’re just not listening to what I am saying…” or other phrases which are just fuelling an argument and not helping to resolve an issue.

Please remember that a relationship between two loving people living together is a constant negotiation and a mix of compromises. It can be just as unhealthy to fixate on an argument as it can be to totally ignore it.

The biggest danger in any relationship surfaces when we let an unresolved argument hang between you for days or even weeks, inviting an awful silence between us that leaves us feeling disconnected and distant.  This disconnection can be threat to the very core of your relationship. That’s why I recommend to all couple never to go to bed with an unresolved argument.

If you are in the situation right now and you and your partner are tiptoeing around each other, or are trying to stare each other down like in the old western movies, please take the first step and call or text your partner and ask for some time over a cup of tea and break the silence.

If you want to discuss this further with me, why not book yourself an obligation free call with me.

Technology poisoning our relationship

Technology poisoning our relationship

Is technology slowly poisoning our relationship?

“You must be kidding?” – That’s what is probably going through your mind right now.

You are reading this blog-article on your computer, tablet or smartphone. Without our great technology, these lines wouldn’t reach you. And while it is true that we all love and embrace modern technology, I would be lying if I said I hadn’t seen the effects it has on the relationships of the couples I talk to.

It starts with the television being present at the dinner table.

Your smartphone always in reach.

The incoming text from one of your friends that immediately turns your attention to the phone, away from anything else you were doing at that moment.

I see parents with their young children on the way to school having a cappuccino and a baby-chino together to start the day. The child is half asleep and daydreaming whilst their parents are frantically trying to catch up with all of their emails, social media posts and admin. Precious bonding time with their child is missed because of the pull of technology.

Have you ever seen a couple in a restaurant where both individuals are connecting to the world through their mobile phones instead of with each other, the person sitting just across the table?

What about when you’ve been in a deep meaningful conversation with your best friend? She might want to get some help or advice or just an empathic response, but in the middle of her story, your phone rings. Or you receive a text from your partner. What do you do? Would you answer it?

You see, it’s almost a silent agreement that we collectively can’t stand a ringing phone. We just can’t let it ring. It is so distracting and so demanding that we pick it up with an apologetic expression on our faces, knowing we are breaking the conversation or attention we should be affording elsewhere. We just have to respond to the phone.

My question is: why is the incoming call or the incoming text more important than the person you are with right now?

Sure, there are situations where you want to be available and you want to be answering the phone, because you are desperately waiting for a call or news. The fantastic thing about our technology is, that we can be available 24/7.

Still I challenge you and question: how often do you really need to be available?

If your partner was constantly texting on their phone, or playing on the xBox, or watching TV around the clock, how would/does that make you feel?

I don’t know about you, but I feel disrespected in those situations, like when my son texts constantly during our precious family-dinner time. I would feel disrespected if my wife were to pick up the phone whilst I was telling her about my latest win at the office. I would feel disrespected if the person I have coffee with insisted on checking their Snapchat-, Pinterest-, Facebook- or Instagram-account all the time.

How is this relevant for you?

Literally every couple that contacts me for help with their relationship is worried about the ‘loss of connection’ within their relationship.

Isn’t that peculiar? In spite of all the technology at our disposal, in spite of being available 24/7, in spite of never leaving your mobile phone out of reach, we are losing the connection to the person we love the most!

What you can do…

  1. Agree on technology free zones and times at home with you partner.
  2. Ban the phone, tablet, computer and television from your bedroom.
  3. Disconnect from technology for several hours and reconnect with yourself.
  4. Do the Relationship Performance test and find out the actual state of your relationship:


  1. Register for my next webinar and learn more
How to keep it exciting…

How to keep it exciting…

How Do You Keep Your Relationship Exciting?

In my Relationship Performance Indicator test my contacts can ask me any questions anonymously at the end of the quiz. The above question was posted there recently.

I love this question, because it is so close to the reason why I even started Inspiring Relationships and started to help couples to take an honest look at their relationship and improve it.

People go into relationships for love and affection. They love the closeness, the intimacy and the others person company. We all do. We are searching for belonging in one way or another. And to give and receive sex is an exciting part of this whole puzzle.

Now fast forward this by five years and you have a loving, intimate and respectful relationship living together in harmony. There might be young children around. And everything that has to be said about oneself has been said. Every nuance of history and secret might have been revealed. You know each other. You are comfortable with each other. You rely on each other.

And after a while, it can begin to feel like you are at a bit of a standstill. Where is the change coming from? Where is this little bit of uncertainty coming from we all want to spice our lives? Well, there is a new government. There are new neighbours and the kids are in a new school. You have a new boss at work. But at home, everything stays the same. The conversations are predictable. The routine, repetitive. You have sex every so often and while it is nice, it is not that new anymore.

To some, this can be perceived as secure; to others, it can feel just plain boring.

If we fast forward this another ten or fifteen years. we might find that the standstill is even more prevalent. And you look at each other thinking ~ ‘Where has the excitement gone? Where is the spark, the flame the heat we had in the first years?’.

The trick is to move the goal post. What do I mean by that? We humans love to set ourselves goals and go after them. We want to meet the girl of our dreams or the boy from our fantasy. We found them – hurray! Now we want to spend as much time and we want to move together. We did this, we are under the same roof – yeah! Now we want kids – and they are cute, adorable and a handful.

Where is the next goal post? And the one after that?

Studies have actually shown that you need to have a goal after the goal. Meaning you need to already think about the goal you want to achieve once you have reached your current goal. Otherwise you fall into a trough of satisfaction which could easily see you becoming or feeling complacent.

This notion of moving your goalpost is true for all of us, especially in our relationships. In short, to keep your relationship exciting, you constantly need to move the goal post and the best way of doing this is together.

Sit down with your partner and map out what you want to achieve in the next ten years, or maybe five years. Give yourselves permission to dream and put some exciting goals out there. You want to keep in mind two factors here:

a) Things we put down on paper, be it visual with a picture or with words, are ten times more likely to happen than those things we only speak and think of.
b) We all underestimate what we can achieve in ten years and we overestimate what we can achieve in the next 12 months. In other words, it’s not uncommon to be overly ambitious in the short term and we get knocked back by not being able to achieve them. At the same time, we often play it small when thinking of the next ten years.

How do you keep your relationship exciting?

By doing exciting things together and constantly moving the goal post.

If you want to find out the state of your relationship, I invite you to complete my RPI quiz. [RPI = Relationship Performance Index]. (

Relationship Overwhelm

Relationship Overwhelm

Close to home ~ How to Avoid Relationship Overwhelm After the Arrival of your Baby

In my neighbourhood lives a young couple who have recently welcomed their first child. The other day I was talking to them and their story struck a chord with me. It isn’t an uncommon scenario.

Before the baby, Mum was the major bread winner, with a job that paid well. Dad’s income was considerably lower but they were comfortable and happy. They’ve been together for almost four years now and so far it all worked out fine.

Since their beautiful and much-loved baby was born, their situation has changed quite dramatically. They hadn’t planned their finances and were struggling to make ends meet on just one income. After many discussions, they agreed that she would return to work part-time as they both believed this arrangement would provide a decent work/life balance.

The plan worked on paper, but in real-life, their story was much different.

Mum and Dad are both stressed out. The baby is not sleeping through and they are all exhausted. His job is interesting but does not pay enough to support everyone long-term. Her job is fulfilling, but because of the expenses of child care, there is not much to show for it at the end of the day. They are also still trying to find their way around their new roles as parents. Needless to say, their loving relationship has taken a back seat and is no longer the focus for either of them.

It’s a recipe for disaster.

Tried, stressed, busy with the baby, financial worry and the realisation that parenting is not always easy – this young couple are just barely making it through each day, let alone enjoying their journey together. They would like more quality time, more moments to share, and more energy for sex as well.

My hope for them is that in time, they will be able to step back from the chaos a little, just enough to re-assess the situation in new light.

Are you a new parent in the midst of your new, crazy-busy life? Are you concerned that there is no time left at the end of the day to really connect with your partner? What could you take away from this story?

A new born baby can be disruptive to your sleep, to your intimacy, to your finances and to your freedom. Be aware and discuss this openly with your partner. There are no wrong answers here and worrying about the lifestyle changes you are making in no way indicates you love your baby any less than you do. It is a natural transition, and it can be scary, so sharing your insights together will at the very least allow you both to acknowledge each other’s feelings and handle the challenge together.
Children are very resilient. You need to make sure that you are happy first. I’m sure you’ve heard the analogy about putting on your own oxygen mask first in the case of an emergency before tending to others. It rings true here. If you are not happy with your situation, talk to your partner about it and discuss it together. Perhaps introduce some Me-Time each week where you take turns taking the baby for a walk so the other can enjoy a hot cup of tea or a long shower. Get in to bed early together. Enlist the help of a parent or trusted friend to help around the house or to take care of the baby while you both share a meal. Outsource tasks if you can so that you can focus on yourself and each other.
Plan your finances ahead of time with your partner. Revisit your budget and financial plan regularly so that there are no shocks and that you are not left feeling like you are ‘working for nothing’.
Lack of sleep, lack of money and increasing stress can inhibit your ability for good decision making. Discuss any matters that require action together with your partner in a calm and respectful manner and take your time.
If you want to engage the help of your parents on a regular basis, talk it through with your partner. You need to set boundaries of what you both want for yourself, for your relationship and for your baby.
It may be easier said than done but try not to put unnecessary pressure on yourself or your partner. You are in this together, and you are doing the best job you can for your baby. Be kind to yourself.

I help couples who have hit a rough patch in their lives to get back on track without them needing to ‘air dirty laundry’. If you’d like to learn more, you might want to register for my next webinar, which are free, fun and completely anonymous.