Healthy Communication

Communication is a skill we use every single day. Preparing for my upcoming wedding and attending Precana this past weekend has me thinking a lot about communication, arguably the number one most important factor in a relationship. To me, healthy communication is the ability to clearly express how we feel. While it sounds so easy, when emotions and different opinions are added into the mix, effective communication becomes quite challenging. I know I’ve gotten pretty darn good at the silent treatment, but it really doesn’t get me anywhere near a resolution…so, I’m committing to be less silent and more communicative. Who’s with me?!

Couple Holding Hands With the new season starting, it’s the perfect time to identify some personal goals and things to work on; communication is a great place to start. Whether you’ve been married for 50 years, you’re in a new relationship, or you just want to get along better with friends and family, communication is something we can all strengthen. Here are some tips on healthy communication and constructive arguments (adapted from A Decision to Love by John and Susan Midgley.)

1. Focus on you. We can’t change others, we can only change ourselves. Instead of “you always/never do this,” use “I wish you would/wouldn’t ___ because it makes me feel ____.

2. Focus on your feelings instead of what others are doing wrong. Feelings aren’t debatable, we all feel how we feel and have the right to express them. Understand that arguing should be an opportunity to share and validate your feelings, not to prove right vs. wrong.

3. Deep breaths. Take a breath and a moment to collect yourself in order to remain calm. As soon as we lose our cool and get heated, that’s when things turn for the worst and communication becomes unhealthy and ineffective.

4. Take turns. Instead of a screaming match where nothing is heard because you’re both going at it at once, allow each other to finish the thought and then respond. It’s much cleaner that way.

5. Maintain eye contact throughout the conversation. This will keep your attention and show respect. Looking at the person will also help to remind you that you’re upset about the disagreement, but that your feelings for the other person have not changed.

6. Keep it simple and focused. Argue about what you’re arguing about instead of bringing up past issues or other topics. Being direct can solve the problem at hand instead of leading into a blow-out fight where neither participant even knows why you’re fighting.

7. Remain respectful. Don’t bring up sensitive spots that don’t even relate just to knock the other person down. An argument can only be healthy when there’s a level of mutual respect. Cheap shots don’t get anyone anywhere.

8. Last but definitely not least: LISTEN. Yes, share your part, but really listen to what the other person has to say. They may just tell you something you didn’t know or change your perspective on the issue at hand. If nothing else, they deserve your attention when expressing their feelings and vice versa. Learning occurs through listening.

One Healthy Breakdown: Arguing is healthy, normal, and inevitable. We all do it. But is it constructive or destructive? Healthy or unhealthy?

BIG HUGE NEWS! I’m Engaged!

I got engaged this past Friday to my boyfriend, (*fiancé*) Nick, who is the reason I’m here in the Hamptons in the first place. Growing up in Boston, I rarely ventured to the big apple and had never even been to the Hamptons until my first time visiting Nick early December, 2010. Between the Christmas lights around Southampton, the breath-taking beaches, adorable villages, and of course, meeting Nick’s amazingly fun, loving family made me fall in love with all things Hamptons. (If you can’t tell, I’m kind of obsessed with it here.) Anyway, I up and moved that May, (just in time for my first Hamptons summer!) and never looked back.

happyFriday, one of those beautiful beaches became the setting of our perfect engagement…after quite a crazy sequence of events. I have been known to send Nick on scavenger hunts to get his birthday presents in past years. Well, you know what they say about payback. The boy made me work for that bling, that’s for sure!

I got home Friday afternoon to find an envelope with clue #1 on our door saying to get my party dress on. Clue #2 stated to be ready (on time, not my strong suit) to set sail at 5:30.

hunthint1About 15 outfit-changes later and no boyfriend in sight, I arrived solo at the dock to find not Nick, but his Captain Aunt Linda on-board, to hand me clue #3.

lindaI was totally confused as I followed my next clue to the Wolffer wine stand, texting Nick that he had better be there (preferably with wine in hand.) After driving in Friday traffic to arrive at the overcrowded wine stand and parking what seemed like a mile away, I could have used something stronger than wine. Instead of Nick, two of my other favorite people approached me, Nick’s sister Danielle, and little Skye, clue in-hand.

#4I trudged back to my car and headed back out to face the traffic. Clue #4 sent me to our regular spot, Bobby Vans, where our favorite hostess handed me my next clue and sent me on my way.

BVsI got back on the road, back to the bumper-to-bumper, and headed towards the back bar at the Driver’s Seat. (Finally, I thought: my chance for that much-needed drink!) But, by the time I got there, I was so excited to get my final clue that I rushed through the restaurant, not hesitating to ask all of the hostesses “do you have a clue???” (they were just a bit confused to say the least.) I finally found Rob (Nick’s mom’s boyfriend) at the bar, having drinks with some friends he had made over the course of the hour before my arrival. Lucky for me, he had already had enough drinks for the both of us, so I carried on.

robAfter what I could only describe as a wild goose chase, I had finally gotten my last clue to head to Gin Lane, where the sea meets the land. Just as I drove towards the beach wondering where on earth to turn and park, I saw Nick’s cousin, Tyler, directing traffic. Thank goodness for this little one, I knew I was headed in the right direction, in more ways than one.

photo 4I kicked off my shoes and starting walking the beach when I finally heard Nick call my name. It was there, on Coopers Beach, with the sand between our toes, that we agreed to spend the rest of our lives together.

photo 2After a crazy few hours spent here, there, and everywhere, and a rush of emotions, I couldn’t wait another second to say yes. I am one lucky girl. I have the man of my dreams, the ring of my dreams, the job of my dreams, the best family in the world, and I finally got that much-needed glass of champagne…in the most beautiful place on earth.

photo 1Even better, my family surprised me from Boston and our two families got to celebrate together all weekend long.

photo 3And celebrate we did.

photo 1

A lot.

partyOne Healthy Breakdown: One of the best weekends of all time, absolutely perfect in every way. He put a ring on it.