Zach's Posts

Commitment

Zach Brittle, LMHC  //  

If trust is something that you feel, commitment is something that you do. It’s taking your partner with you wherever you go.

Trust

Zach Brittle, LMHC  //  

There are two pillars that make up the “weight bearing walls” of the Sound Relationship House. These two qualities form the basis for the overall stability of a relationship.

Create Shared Meaning

Zach Brittle, LMHC  //  

Dr. Gottman suggests that couples Create Shared Meaning through the use of rituals, roles, goals, and symbols.

Make Life Dreams Come True

Zach Brittle, LMHC  //  

Begin investing in the future of your relationship by exploring what it means to Make Life Dreams Come True.

Manage Conflict – Part 4

Zach Brittle, LMHC  //  

Managing conflict isn’t simply about being aware of and intentional about your thoughts and your words.

Manage Conflict – Part 3

Zach Brittle, LMHC  //  

Once you accept that 2/3 of marital issues are about perpetual problems, you can turn your attention toward the next essential skill in conflict management: learning to Dialogue About Problems.

Manage Conflict – Part 2

Zach Brittle, LMHC  //  

When it comes to relationships, if one partner is “winning,” then both partners are losing.

Manage Conflict – Part 1

Zach Brittle, LMHC  //  

The real symbol of your relationship health isn’t how perfect your wedding day is. It’s how well you handle the inevitable problems you will face in your marriage.

Turn Towards Instead of Away

Zach Brittle, LMHC  //  

State your needs, be aware of bids for connection, and turn towards them.

Share Fondness and Admiration

Zach Brittle, LMHC  //  

Sharing fondness and admiration is the antidote to contempt and, more importantly, it increases the amount of affection and respect in a relationship.

Build Love Maps

Zach Brittle, LMHC  //  

Dr. Gottman’s term for getting to know your partner’s world is called Build Love Maps.

Z is for Zed

Zach Brittle, LMHC  //  

Here we are at Zed - the end of the alphabet. It’s been a pretty incredible experience working through these 26 topics and exploring a little bit of what I tend to think about relationships.

Y is for Yes

Zach Brittle, LMHC  //  

Yes is a word that does more than answer a question. It creates opportunity and invites possibility. 

X is for X-Rated

Zach Brittle, LMHC  //  

My first exposure to pornography was over 30 years ago. It was in the basement of my childhood home where my dad stored a dusty stack of Playboy magazines.

W is for Wednesday

Zach Brittle, LMHC  //  

What would you guess is the most common reason couples come into therapy? The lady who cuts my hair thinks it’s “affairs.” My neighbor thinks it’s “empty nest syndrome.” 

V is for Violence

Zach Brittle, LMHC  //  

In case you missed it, October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. I’m not really sure how you could have missed it, however. 

U is for Understanding

Zach Brittle, LMHC  //  

There are about a half-dozen primary sound bites that frame Gottman Method Couples Therapy. One is Small Things Often

T is for Turning

Zach Brittle, LMHC  //  

I’ve already stated that Repair is my favorite concept in the Gottman lexicon. My second favorite concept is Turning.

S is for Sex

Zach Brittle, LMHC  //  

Here are some thoughts on actual, real life lovemaking.

R is for Repair

Zach Brittle, LMHC  //  

In relational terms, repair is less about fixing what is broken and more about getting back on track.

Q is for Questions

Zach Brittle, LMHC  //  

I have to confess, when I opened up my column to your questions, I was really hoping to get a bunch of benign inquiries like: What’s your favorite novel?

P is for Problems

Zach Brittle, LMHC  //  

John Gottman’s research revealed that about ⅔ of relationship problems are unsolvable. One of my favorite questions for couples is whether that statistic is discouraging orencouraging. 

O is for Opportunity

Zach Brittle, LMHC  //  

Whenever I work with pre-marital couples, we spend a fair bit of time pondering whatever a marriage actually is. Is it a social contract? A political statement?

N is for Newlyweds

Zach Brittle, LMHC  //  

In my last post, I suggested an imaginary list of "Top 5 Regrets from the First Year of Marriage." There are at least five things I’d do differently, but I’m not actually sure “regrets” is the right word. 

M is for Money

Zach Brittle, LMHC  //  

Usually, when two people get married, they stand up in front of their friends and family and they make a promise to stick together, no matter what. For better and for worse.

L is for Love & Like

Zach Brittle, LMHC  //  

"Love" is the obvious word here. But with all due respect to love, it’s probably a little too obvious for my tastes. Don’t get me wrong, I love love, but it often clouds the real issue at the heart of a relationship.

K is for Kissing

Zach Brittle, LMHC  //  

My first kiss was with an older woman. Older at least in the sense that she could drive and I couldn’t. It was after a football game one Friday night. 

J is for Judgment

Zach Brittle, LMHC  //  

J is an eight-point Scrabble letter. Only Q and Z are worth more. Turns out there simply aren’t a lot of words that start with J. 

I is for Imagination

Zach Brittle, LMHC  //  

Initially, I planned to write about Integrity. The word gets thrown around a lot in conversations about good behavior. 

H is for Humor

Zach Brittle, LMHC  //  

When I was in the ninth grade, I saw Who Framed Roger Rabbit six times in the movie theater. I have probably watched it at least once a year since then.

G is for Gratitude

Zach Brittle, LMHC  //  

Do you “give thanks” before meals? If so, to whom? Or to what? Does it matter? If you don’t give thanks, why not?

F is for Friendship

Zach Brittle, LMHC  //  

I was in a job interview a while back when the interviewer asked me, “What three words would your best friend use to describe you.” I like the question, but it took me a moment or two to respond.

E is for Empathy

Zach Brittle, LMHC  //  

E is for Empathy. I’m obsessed with empathy lately. It’s hard to define exactly what “lately” is, but it’s been floating around my mind for a better part of a year. 

D is for Defensiveness

Zach Brittle, LMHC  //  

Down-regulating one’s own defensiveness is the “work” in Making Relationships Work.

C is for Contempt & Criticism

Zach Brittle, LMHC  //  

Contempt and Criticism. The first two of Dr. John Gottman’s Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse - at least alphabetically.

B is for Betrayal

Zach Brittle, LMHC  //  

There’s a sentence in the introduction of Dr. John Gottman’s book, What Makes Love Last?, that is a little bit crazy making. The sentence: “Betrayal is the secret that lies at the heart ofevery failing relationship - it is there even if the couple is unaware of it.