Learn ways to strengthen the core of your relationship in your marriage by addressing your TICs

I coined the term TICs to make it easier for couples to follow what they are strengthening and what exercises are appropriate. I love TICs, they are the core of every relationship you build with your loved ones. When working with couples, TICs are the areas that couples struggle with, simply put…they have a weak core. Cores are weakened over time, when they are not exercised. Just like sit-ups, crunches, flutters, and bicycles strengthen your physical core, so do different mental and emotional exercises strengthen your relationship core. In my private practice, I have what I call Relationship Fitness groups for couples. One session is dedicated to exercises geared toward TRUST, another session geared toward INTIMACY, and lastly, a session geared toward COMMUNICATION. Exercises may not be fun, but, honestly, I try my best to make it fun and playful…at least while we are in a group setting. But when I get couples for a private session, the fun stops! (Just kidding).

As we know, marriage is not a walk in the park, and over time, trust, intimacy, and communication change over time. We are flawed humans, it will happen. Maybe there was infidelity, maybe we dropped the ball in supporting each other through a rough period or transition, maybe a loss, a tragedy, a birth, or multiple births…let’s just say when life happens, it happens and the marriage is greatly affected by life. Many come for TIC sessions to work through an issue, to get their romance back, to start date nights, or just for preventative measures within their marriage. Either way, it doesn’t hurt to have some good freakin Abs…In the relationship, of course!


Trust Exercises: Well, we won’t do the fall back and drop into your spouse’s arms, that can get dangerous…lol. But we will do truths, answer questions, make statements to each other with good eye contact. Openly discuss when trust was built and the day trust was violated. Doing these exercises with a professional facilitating this will yield more positive results than doing it at home, especially if certain topics discussed are inflammatory.


Intimacy Exercises: This can be fun, identifying barriers to intimacy. Discussing Verbal and emotional intimacy and the healing effects of physical touch. Creating a safe place for intimacy to happen whether sharing feelings or being physically intimate. Safety is a reoccurring theme in these exercises. One must feel safe to let their guard down.


Communication Exercises: In these exercises we explore different styles of communication, discussing how communication can build up or tear down, and ways to make improvements where needed.

How can you apply some TICs within your marriage in the comfort of your own home? Well, let’s start by deciding today, that whoever is sleeping on the couch, comes back to the bedroom. Even when upset with each other, it is important to not abandon the other, because while you sleep, your pinky toe can “accidentally” touch your spouse’s leg, and thus reconciliation will start to happen even while you sleep. Always leave opportunities for reconciliation.

Another way to strengthen TICs in the comfort of your own home is by having sticky notes handy. Leaving notes in places your spouse will find them are always an exciting surprise!

And lastly, make a commitment to not argue in the same place you make love. The bedroom is a sacred place, it is not an all-purpose place. I am sure you already have a designated all-purpose place in the home anyway. Even if you are literally a step away from your bedroom, ask your spouse to meet you outside the room for a discussion that would possibly go south. These everyday and every night decisions will create a pattern and send messages to your brain that your marriage is sacred, your marriage has boundaries, and your marriage is too valuable to lose.

About the author

Danisha Reed, LPC, ACS

Published Author: “Love Letters From Ishra,” (2016) and “You Are Worth It!” (2018) both available on Amazon, Kindle, and Barnes and Nobles. I am a licensed therapist from NJ who enjoys normalizing therapy and building strong marriages and families. Starting my private practice, while being a single mother of 4 beautiful children has not been an easy journey. More than 5 years ago I started SUGAR Counseling and did not look back! S.U.G.A.R Synthesis Under God’s Authority Restored! It’s SWEET when passion meets purpose!

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