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Relationship Complaints Feel Like Lemons, But You Can and Should Turn Them Into Lemonade

November 6, 2017

So, here’s the thing, a lot of people see relationship complaints as sour, however in my opinion they can be positive so long as there are also a lot of positive interactions in a relationship.

To have real intimacy with a partner, they need to know not only your happy thought but also your complaints and irritations. Also, if you don’t bring up your complaints, then you are likely to develop resentments that can put a wedge between you and your partner.

When you bring up a complaint to your partner, it is telling them that you trust them and that you want to feel closer to them by fixing a problem or a concern that you have.

Likewise, when your partner brings up a complaint to you, there is an opportunity to TURN LEMON INTO LEMONADE. You take a mistake or a problem that you made, and if you resolve your partner’s concern by opening your Customer Service Counter for your relationship (what I call a Relationship Repair Counter), then you can build loyalty and trust.

Customers who have a problem with a business, if the problem is resolved effectively at customer service, they then have ten times more loyalty to that business for life! The same is true in your love relationships!

Love, trust, and loyalty can come from hearing and servicing relationship complaints even though it it is sour in the beginning.  You can turn the lemon into lemonade! If you need help with servicing relationship complaints and making lemonade, please do not hesitate to contact us for support and assistance!

True Love Is Not Found, It Is Built

November 5, 2017

There are many different ways to look at how to build love, but I believe that one of the most important is that people want to be loved by their partner even when they have a complaint or a problem.

When your partner or family member brings up a problem in the relationship, if you resolve it then you have just BUILT the kind of trust and loyalty that will help your partner to admire and LOVE you.

Keep in mind that when a business makes a mistake, and you the customer make a complaint – if it is serviced correctly, then it builds your trust and loyalty.

Ever time there is a problem in business Or in your personal life, there is a critical juncture in which trust is broken and you fall a little more “out of love.” OR better yet, when a problem or complaint is resolved then trust is built and you fall a little more “in love”

Bottom line is that when your partner, child, or anyone you are in business with brings up a complaint or problem, see it is an opportunity to build trust and loyalty.

If you need help with how to apply these ideas to your particular situation, I am here to help you build lasting love and trust in your relationships.


September 25, 2017

It’s Motivational Monday Again.  For my own motivation, I have been focusing on keeping perspective.  I give my motivational talk Make Your Life Matter, but what does that mean in my day to day life?  For me, it means trying to overcome any negative thoughts I have about my own life.  Sometimes I feel regretful about goals I have not yet reached.  Too often, I start to think about memories of traumatic situations I have been through personally and setbacks I have encountered.  As I get older, I wonder “Will I fully reach the goals I have set?”  “Will I heal fully from the traumas I have went through?”  Sometimes I feel frustrated about time I put into raising my children… but then again I only have a short time here on Earth.  During that time, I have devoted myself to my husband and children and to servicing my clients.  And if my focus is on Service to Christ and not on my own personal goals, making life matter takes on a whole new meaning.  When I tried to reach goals and encounter setbacks, then I am frustrated.  But when I am doing my best to serve Christ, then my personal setbacks are different.  Christ does not care if I am successful, and furthermore my own definition of success changes completely when I think about serving others instead of focusing on my personal goals.  Each of us has to define what it means to Make Our Own Life Matter, so that at the end of our days on Earth we can feel satisfied that we did the right thing.  And for me and most of us that means loving our family, being kind to people in our community, and working hard at whatever our profession is.  Sometimes my clients feel these daily actions are not enough, and quite frankly sometimes it feels like they are not enough for me too!  However, finding satisfaction and meaning in our day to day life is the essence of having a life that matters.  For me, I was reminded in church this past weekend, that serving Christ and laying down my life really is what matters most, and keeping perspective about the rewards of heaven is something that keeps me focused on What Matters Most in My Life on Earth.  So, if you are struggling with setbacks towards your goals, sometimes it’s good to think about whether or not your goals are goals that are in line with your spiritual beliefs?  Are they goals that will really Make Your Life Matter?  Are they goals that spread love?  Are they goals that service others?  Are they goals that will lead you to heaven?  If not, then I hope you will consider tweaking those goals as I have….

For personal coaching please contact me


Forever Friday, How To Communicate About Personality Differences

September 14, 2017

It’s Friday.   Not Sure about You, but for me Friday is Forever Friday – and the day that I write my blog for couples who are in a committed relationship Forever and Always.  Friday just seems like a relationship day in my own mind, because it’s the day I start to turn more attention from my work week back towards my husband and children.  When I talk with my awesome, hard working clients I know that this is not easy for some people.  That transition from work back to significant other is not always an easy one, especially if you are having some tension.

Tension is Not uncommon.  One thing I have learned over the years is how Complicated partnership is!  In fact, research by Gottman has found about 69% of marital disagreements are perpetual fights over the same personality differences!  I was teasing my father about this during summer vacation – he and my mother were having one of the same personality disagreements they have been having every summer for my whole life.  They are generally getting along, but there is an underlying tension because my Dad is looking for some time away to just kind of decompress and my Mom likes to focus on family bonding and connecting with the children during summer vacation.  These kinds of tension used to create distress for me when I was younger.  Because I am intuitive, I pick up on this stuff! Now I can only commiserate since I have the same kind of personality differences with my husband.  It doesn’t cause major knock down drag out fights but it does cause some underlying tension and we can definitely have words with each other.

I was supervising three younger therapist interns this week, and we were discussing a current case in which a couple’s personality differences are creating perpetual conflict.  Wait a minute – this is pretty much a part of Every. Single. Client. Situation. That I Am Servicing!  I can think of numerous couples right now in which partners improved and resolved some of their differences with my help. For example, the “organized spouse” who likes everything planned versus the “spontaneous spouse” who likes to fly by the seat of their pants. Or ever heard of the “good cop” versus “bad cop” parent? Yep, often times that is yet another personality difference becoming a perpetual fight between partners!

What is the anecdote?  It is not clear cut, but it does include discussions about the differences, some humor in the differences when possible, and both people making commitments to move towards a middle ground.  For myself and my husband, one of our differences just came out yesterday.  I usually want to take action on decisions right away and am much more decisive – he on the other hand likes to mull things over (for far too long in my meager opinion). Deep breath, tomorrow I will probably be waiting on something I am ready to take action now!  This is not easy, but I know I sometimes benefit from sleeping on things and taking my time (Even if it’s only because my husband is pushing me to slow down!)

What other steps can you take?  Ask your significant other how you can move towards a middle ground and work on it!  Push him or her to do the same!  Alternatively, look at the positive side or the strengths of your partner’s personality differences.  Try to look at the big picture, and remember you might just benefit from being less stubborn and trying to be a little more like your better half.

If you want to talk more about how perpetual problems and personality differences play out in your own relationship and how to improve communication and compromises for your particular relationship tension, please schedule an appointment for Relationship Coaching!  Also, stay tune for upcoming free webinars on how to improve communication and have more success and less drama and fighting in your relationships.  I want to help meet your goal of not only making your relationship last Forever.  But having joy and happiness in your relationship forever!

Spread JOY not Drama This Season – Stress Management Tips For the Holidays

December 21, 2016

I recently read a newsletter from another motivational speaker who I met at the DC Chapter of the National Speakers Association, Liz Fletcher Brown.  Liz came up with a very clever saying about how to spread JOY during the Holiday Season. These are some great tips!

J = Just say “No!” Or maybe it’s time to delegate. Who said you have to do it all yourself?

O = Organize around your priorities. Make sure you carve out time for the most important people and activities in your life.

Y = YOU Don’t forget to make time for yourself. No matter how busy you get, build in some down time. Otherwise you might find yourself too tired to enjoy the holidays.

Let me expand on these because I found myself being a Grinch for a few hours today.  Am I the only person who has mood swings at Christmas?  Of course not!

We love the holidays, but it’s also a lot of work preparing.  So we find ourselves having mood swings – right? I can be festive and happy and singing along with Jingle Bells on the radio.  And an hour later if I start focusing on everything I still have to do or thinking about a family relationship that I wish was happier, then poof… before you know it – I am downright grouchy.  I know you can relate…  Even with my husband helping with some of the Christmas shopping, I am still a little frantic here sprinting to the finish line!  The point is, cut yourself some slack and accept that your mood swings are a part of the season.

Have I “Just said No?”  Why, yes I have.  (Pat on my back).  I said no to buying extra gifts for certain people.  At some point, I stopped and said, “I think I am done with gift buying now.”  And I said no to a couple of holiday parties that were just too far away to drive.   And one of my favorite traditions is that most holidays I say no to doing all the cooking.  Instead, my teenagers and my husband and I – we all spend a little time in the kitchen getting the holiday brunch and dinner ready together.  I love this tradition, because for me it brings JOY to me because I am not doing all the cooking myself.  We are in the kitchen together as a family, and I love that.  What have you said no to?

To prioritize and help reduce overwhelm – Every year I do my Christmas gift buying for the kids first, then other gifts and sending out Christmas cards second, and then I tell myself if I have time I will do some baking before finishing with planning and a menu and buying groceries for the holiday itself.  The problem is I never have time to the baking!  But then I was pushed to do baking, because my son is gluten free and his kindergarten classroom is having gingerbread cookies, so I am trying to now make gluten free gingerbread cookies.  Last night,  I finally made the gingerbread dough but I am out of time in the calendar to actually cut out and bake the cookies.   I may just have to re prioritize something tomorrow to get this last thing checked off my list.

I admit to feeling more than a little frazzled, so I may just have to work in a quick trip to the nail salon tomorrow instead of I don’t know what just yet and crash tonight to get a few extra Zzzz’s!  And… I hope you take some time for yourself as well.  So, you can remain festive and peaceful and not bite someone’s head off on Christmas day!  Because you know that would start drama.  And we want less drama people.  Less Drama.  More Success.  Let’s finish this season spreading JOY, not drama.

If you need some extra support managing stress and family problems during the holidays, please listen to my Radio Show or call in for advice.  Or Contact Us to book an appointment.

Do you have the Holiday Blues Instead of Holiday Cheer?

December 14, 2016

Not everyone likes the holiday season.  In fact, as a therapist, I am very aware of the many people who are stressed and unhappy this time of year.  Just today I spoke with several clients who are grieving the death of a loved one, a heartbreak, or a divorce.  Some of my clients are not having good childhood holiday memories because they have not resolved memories of child abuse.  Maybe you are struggling this year…

I can think back on holidays in my own life that were sad.  In my own childhood, I was very aware that the Christmas when I was nine years old was not the same as other holidays.  My parents were broke and my mother was sick.  The tree was put up the day before Christmas instead of weeks in advance and the presents under the tree were different, more necessities than toys.  I distinctly remember being disappointed that one of my presents was a pair of snow boots, not that I would have ever complained.  Another year I recall going through a terrible heartbreak during the holidays, and spending time with friends who fortunately took me in.  My heart was a mess. Another year, I was devastated and grieving my son’s health diagnosis.

We all desperately want to have good cheer during the holidays.  Thank goodness some years have more joy and peace on earth than others.  But it’s not always like that.  And, if this is one of those years for you, please keep this in mind:

  • Take solace in knowing that you are not alone.  Millions of other Americans are stressed because they wish they had more money to provide a better Christmas – or they are grieving a loss.  Or they are suffering through a health problem or a divorce or they are dreading seeing that family member they have conflict with.
  • Identify who your support system is in advance.  If you need support here, we have room for urgent same day appointments and phone consultations during the holiday season.
  • Balance out time for your grieving and your holiday gatherings.  It’s important to still go to holiday parties and gatherings, however it is also completely fine to give yourself permission to not stay as long.  Social isolation will not help your grief so it’s important to not skip the holidays altogether.  However, it’s good to drive separately and have exit strategies to take breaks or walks or to leave early if you feel that you need to.
  • Talk to an objective friend or therapist about relationship conflicts going on during the holidays.  These can be particularly difficult given that we all want to have merry and bright during the holidays – not fighting and problems – but sometimes the latter is true … so reach out for help and support as needed.

This Friday on my Radio Show, you can call with any relationship advice questions, including questions about how to cope during the holidays with a particular problem.  Or you can call in just for emotional support.  Remember, if you are grieving and feel trapped and terrible during the holidays, you are not alone.  Please Contact Us for more support and guidance during the upcoming days and weeks.


Holiday Relationships – How to Cope with Stress and Get Free Advice

December 9, 2016

Just this week, I had two personal family members and friends call me up for advice on family problems they are dreading during the holidays! This got me thinking that I should devote my Relationship Repair Shop radio shows on December 16 and Dec 23 to holiday advice questions or to just being able to  share feelings you are having during this holiday season – good or bad.  I invite you to call in to my Radio Show and share your good will or your grief during this time of year which definitely brings up strong emotions for everyone!

Most people during the holidays feel a sense of holiday cheer and most people look forward to spending more time with family and loved ones.  However, nearly half of all Americans also have more stress regarding family relationships.   Research shows, in particular, women feel more stressed around the holidays not only because of additional holiday responsibilities such as gift buying, party hosting,  and cookie baking but because women want to have good relationship connections.  Yet, many people around the holidays still have conflict and repair problems.  There are also years when people are simply not feeling as happy during the holiday season because they are grieving a loss or wish they could provide a better Christmas financially.  My Radio Show here in Maryland provides free opportunities for Psychotherapy Baltimore on the air.

Here are a few tips for this holiday season to help you have less drama and avoid Jerry Springer moments during your family gatherings!

  1. If you are having stress about a particular relationship, get objective advice and talk about it before the holiday. If you hold in your frustrations – they are more likely to come unbottled during an inopportune moment (like Christmas Day with the family).  Instead find a friend, coworker, or even a hairdresser to talk to.  And of course, you can call into my Radio Show or Schedule an Appointment for Psychotherapy Baltimore.
  2. Try some Relationship Repair before the holiday arrives.  If you are having tension with your significant other or your parent or adult child, ask them if it’s possible to sit down and try to resolve it before the holidays.  Just think of how much happier (and less tense) your holiday will be if your Relationship Repair Counters were open and you found that ideal resolution before you started family time.
  3. If you are grieving during the holidays, find a grief counselor you can talk to.   You can go to Psychology Today or Breakthrough to find in-person or online counselors in your area.  Trust me when I tell you that you are not alone.  The holidays are not a happy time for everyone,  but it’s good to have support people in your life because most people feel they do not want to burden family or friends during holiday gatherings with their grief, and yet it’s hard to go to holiday gatherings and not feel your grief – so make sure that you find a counselor or a good friend to talk with regularly during the next couple months.
  4. Ask your significant other or family members what will make the holiday most special for them.  Focus on what they ask for, not on whatever your preconceived ideas are about what your relationship should like like during the holidays.  Often times we can stress ourselves out creating a work-intensive menu or purchasing more gifts when  our family member really would just like to take a hike in the woods and then have some chili soup by the fire.  Listen to what would really make your holiday time off special and plan accordingly – especially if the plan is actually less stressful!
  5. Last but not least, focus on telling everyone you love how much they mean to you and show appreciation for the talents and strengths of each person in your life.  Doing this can ease tension and negativity, and make the holidays truly a time of good will and holiday cheer!

For more information about my Relationship Repair Shop or to Book an Appointment for Psychotherapy Baltimore, please Contact Us Today!


#Thankful For Marriage

December 5, 2016

rsz_holding-hands-1149411_960_720National Marriage Week is coming in February and here at the Relationship Repair Shop, we are focusing on a #Thankful For Marriage challenge.  The challenge is this – when you are about to say something critical, sarcastic, or negative to your significant other – bite your tongue!  Instead say something kind or thank your partner for something you are appreciative of. Try to do this at least twice per day and notice the changes in your relationship.

You know that I am the Relationship Repair Counter lady and of course, I encourage you to file complaints at the Relationship Repair Counter – but only sometimes and only important complaints.  If you start complaining and becoming too negative that creates its own set of problems.  There is a careful balance in relationships which requires a certain amount of positive interaction.  If things get too negative in a relationship, Dr John Gottman, a prominent marriage researcher, calls this negative sentiment override.  Early family and marriage therapists used the term negative feedback loop to describe a troubled relationship cycle.

On the other hand, if couples are avoidant of problems and never share complaints or resolve issues then they lose intimacy and closeness.  After all, how do you really know your partner if you do not know at least some of their complaints and what gets on their nerves!  So, we all have to find a balance – a ratio of positive to negative.  Most of us can benefit from biting our tongue a little more and expressing appreciation in our relationships a lot more, so that is my challenge to you!

When I think of #Thankful for Marriage, I think of how my husband Brendan supports my service to you, my private practice, and developing my Radio Show – which I hope to have on a larger AM Talk Radio Station very soon!  Now, you may not know this but my husband is a sales manager for a large steel company selling and designing large commercial steel buildings.  You should know that in the background… my own partner has been doing more to support the effort to help you and your relationships move forward. Brendan has been helping more with taking kids to doctor’s appointments, and even scrubbing the floor occasionally – getting it done even while he was District Sales Manager of the Year in 2016 for his company and has had his Best. Sales. Year. Ever!  When your partner is your helpmate and your teammate, you can get a lot done!  Especially when there are quick repairs for those inevitable moments when you hurt each other’s feelings or mess up the schedule- a quick “I am sorry” or “how can I fix that?” or “How can I make that up to you?” can help to reduce time and energy spent on drama and increase the time spent having fun and serving others – and apparently selling more steel!  Yes, folks, I am #Thankful for Marriage.

What are you thankful for?  Tell your partner more of what you appreciate, bite your tongue more when you are having negative and critical thoughts (we all have them when our significant other gets on our nerves), and make quick Repairs at the Relationship Repair Counter.  Get Involved in the #Thankful for Marriage Challenge this holiday season culminating in National Marriage Week in February.  You can do this!

Counseling and Relationship Therapy – How to Save Your Marriage

November 29, 2016

Marriage counseling, which originated in the 1920s, has gained a lot of popularity because of its potential to save marriages that are on the brink of collapse. Couples who were facing psychological and relationship issues have found ways to put aside their differences after marriage counseling. Counseling has become quite common among couples who are looking to marry, or who are going through a troublesome marriage.

How does a marriage counselor help save a marriage?

A marriage counselor approaches problems that a couple might have from a different angle. The counselor conducts a number of sessions (prearranged with the couple) and discusses the issues with the couple together and individually. After having carefully analyzed both sides of the problem, the counselor offers solutions to help stabilize the marriage or solidify the commitment between the two people. Marriages counseling in places like Baltimore or Columbia, including at Dr. Stephanie’s Relationship Repair Shop offer comprehensive therapy solutions for couples.

Relationship therapy

Relationship therapy is a subset of relationship counseling, also known as couple therapy. It is an advanced version of relationship counseling that makes an effort to recognize and to manage troublesome differences and repeating patterns of stress upon the relationship.

Solution focused relationship therapy

There are many reasons why problems might crop up between couples. The most predominant one is emotional stress and symptoms of withdrawal from communication and responsibilities. Solution-focused therapy is one of the therapy methods that offers a brief set of sessions that focuses on reaching the solution for a particular problem. Relationship therapy clearly points out what the problems are, and offers resolutions and different strategies for coping and reducing emotional reactivity.

Why does anyone need relationship therapy?

A relationship therapist is many times able to salvage a relationship that is having intractable problems by helping each person understand the other’s perspective. Therapy focuses on the history of the relationship, previous problems the couple might have had (including those that seem insignificant individually but are enormous collectively) and the emotions one person has towards the other. The careful analysis of all history, problems, and emotional connection help the relationship therapist to suggest resolutions that will work for both the people involved.

Specialists like Dr. Stephanie solve the issues and give open, clear solutions to the main problems through relationship therapy.

For more information about Baltimore marriage counseling Columbia couples therapy, please Contact Us today!

Repair Relationships and Resolve Conflicts by Getting Expert Psychotherapy Service

November 3, 2016

Man is a social animal. The foundation of a happy family and a strong society lies on the bedrock of maintaining harmonious inter-personal relationships. This calls for people to have specific level of maturity, commitment to the welfare of others, faith and respect of others as well as good personality traits. Be it experiencing the marital bliss in conjugal relationship or maintaining harmonious relationship with your parents and other relatives, getting free relationship advice Baltimore from a certified and couples therapist will go a long way in realizing your goals.

Dr. Stephanie Weiland Knarr is a reputed and experienced psychotherapist and couples therapist who specializes in conflict resolution both at homes and workplaces. She has over 15 years of experience in resolving disputes and repairing relationships at workplaces and in homes in Metropolitan Baltimore Washington D.C. Region. Having received 2014 and 2013 Best of Laurel Award for her Small Business Success and Marketing Strategies and being interviewed by Business Innovators Magazine in 2015, she is the most professional and competent person to seek for getting pre marriage counseling Baltimore.

Besides providing pre-marriage counseling and couples therapy the expert psychotherapist also provides child and adolescent therapy Baltimore that would help resolve mental problems in your child like depression, anxiety, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and other related problems.

If your marital relationship has stuck the bottom and you are seeking professional marriage counseling Baltimore MD then you can count on the expertise and experience of certified couples therapist Dr. Stephanie. She will get to the root of the problem in no time and will conduct a well planned schedule of sessions that will resolve all the problems and will motivate the couple to achieve common goals. She has pioneered the concept of having a Relationship Repair Counter for workplace, marriage, and family relationships. Her passion and commitment to providing the best solution as well as her down-to-earth approach makes her the most loved among her clients. Interested to contact her for getting the expert suggestions and psychotherapy services? Get in touch with her on phone 1-301-490-1011 or visit us online at

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Dr. Stephanie's Relationship Repair Shop
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