Expert Relationship Advice


Finally, some good relationship advice




You think I am giving you this expert relationship advice? God no! You guys know I am just like you and struggle on the daily. But, it’s gotten so much better. There’s no doubt in my mind my husband and I wouldn’t be married today if it weren’t for a few key people in our lives. The first person who “saved” our marriage (and my atrocious behavior) was Dr. Joseph Cilona.


But I will give you two words of advice: Sexy Spooning. Works like a charm. ;-)
But I will give you two words of advice: Sexy Spooning. Works like a charm. 😉

Survey says

Last week I did a survey to find out what you guys really wanted from my blogs. 94% of you said dating/marriage/relationship advice. Well, guys – I can fill you in on everything NOT to do in your relationship (lol), but I figured you’d like to hear from an expert who knows exactly what they’re talking about when it comes to some good relationship advice. So, I reached out to the most professional and successful psychologist I know, Dr. Joseph Cilona. And, as usual, he was ready and willing to help me out. (Truly, LOVE that my experts are always there for me!)

expert relationship advice 1


Let’s talk communication

Ugh, this gets me every time. For Doug and me, we are miserable in this category. I’m like a jack rabbit running all over the place speaking way too much of what is on my mind and Doug just sits there as silent and motionless as a slug. I asked Dr. Joseph to give us some clues on how to communicate properly. Here’s what he said (in blue).

Ahem, introducing Dr. Joseph Cilona everyone

Helloooo Doctor! ;-) He's as good looking as they come. (Hands off ladies and gentlemen, he is taken!)
Helloooo Doctor! 😉 He’s as good looking as they come. (Hands off ladies and gentlemen, he is taken!)

Love can be grand, but it’s certainly not always easy!  Here are two simple, but powerful tips to up your game when it comes to communication in your relationship. (Good communication advice = good relationship advice!)


Learn to use the simple, but extremely powerful technique called “Mirroring” in all important discussions with your spouse.  In mirroring you simply mirror (repeat) back to your spouse exactly what you heard them communicate BEFORE commenting on it or responding to it with your thoughts, opinions, or interpretations.  

Here’s a simple way to do it.  Just say:

“So, what I’m hearing is that you ___________________________.”  (fill in with what you heard your partner say)


Find YOUR Happily Ever After
Find YOUR Happily Ever After


 Be sure to ask them to confirm that your mirroring was accurate by ending with a simple “Did I hear you correctly?” or “Is that right?”

You will be endlessly surprised at how the simplest statements are heard differently by different people!  This not only dramatically improves the accuracy and quality of communication by allowing for correction of misinterpretations, but also creates of strong sense of being heard and understood in each partner.  This kind of validation allows for openness and genuine discussion/resolution of the issues at hand, rather than each person getting caught in a vicious cycle of trying to feel heard, understood, and validated.


Think about the relationship as something distinct and separate from yourself and your spouse and commit to investing a specific amount of time, on an ongoing basis, working on strengthening it, “troubleshooting,” and making it more satisfying.  Creating structure and positive rituals around this is key.   love triangle

 Separating the relationship from each other and committing to constantly working on it serves to minimize the dangers of equating problems with your partner, and also aligns couples to work together to solve problems rather than going head to head against each other. 

Create and follow a simple Agenda

Starting a weekly or monthly brunch or dinner with the intention of discussing only relationship issues is great example. 

Include these topics in your conversation:

1)  Each partner discussing some things that they appreciate or are grateful for about the other since the previous meeting;  

2)  Discussion of any new problems, challenges or difficulties such as feeling hurt, disappointed, or not appreciated;  

3)  Brainstorming as to how to solve problems, minimize them in the future, find solutions;

4)  Checking in on previous issues and how proposed solutions are working.  

"Nothing worth having comes easy."
“Nothing worth having comes easy.”

So, What do you think

I happen to love his advice. I promise you if you actually go apply this to your relationships (all of them, not just romantic ones) you will see a positive change. Good luck, guys. AND, HAVE FUN. Don’t let your relationships become “work.” You always have to work at it, but it shouldn’t always feel like work.


You guys have been so awesome! I love blogging to ya! Please let me know if you enjoyed this blog and want more (I know a few more experts who are always willing to share GREAT advice.) Do you want me to bring the MAFS recaps back? Do you want both? Or, do you prefer something entirely different? Just let me know in the comments below! Lastly, for Christmas I left you all a little present under the tree. It’s just my way to say ‘thanks’ and give you a little gift for the holidays! (Those of you with fine, thin hair – you’re going to love it.) Click HERE to find out what it is! 😀



P.S find Dr. Joseph on Social Media:



  1. This is really good advice! I am going to try it with some friendships and see if I can improve them. I enjoy watching the show and it gives me hope that I will find a good relationship in the future also, in spite of my imperfections. Thank you for sharing!

  2. Do you think you will ever change your last name or add a hyphen? Jamie Otis-Hehner?

    I really enjoyed your blog. Thank you.

  3. I love the mirroring advice. After 16+ years of marriage, my hubby and I are still trying to perfect this one. So many times we hear each other’s words but misinterpret the meaning of what the other is trying to say. When I feel like a fight is coming on, I try to say what I think he is trying to say to me in my own words. It is amazing how differently words can be interpreted. It has stopped more arguments than I can count. The key is to stop and ask the other to explain what they heard. We are so much better about it now than even 5 years ago, but as with everything it’s a work in progress.
    I love getting advice from the experts from MAFS. Thanks for making this a part of the blog and keep them coming 🙂

  4. I love the mirroring advice. 16+ years of marriage later and my hubby and I still hear each other’s words but misinterpret the meaning of what the other is trying to say. When I feel a fight coming on, I try to repeat to him in my own words what I think he is trying to say to me. I almost always have gotten it wrong and that is why it’s getting heated. If I think he hasn’t understood me I ask him to explain to me what I am saying.

  5. Great advice! My husband and I have “talk night” every Tuesday. We have been doing this for the past 25 years. Even if you don’t have any relationship issues – just talk. Talk about the weather if you have to but talk. Even though we have been married for 25 years sometimes when we have talk night we still learn things about each other. A few weeks ago I found out my husband absolutely hates green beans but he still eats them. Even the silly things help build a cohesive and loving relationship. There have been nights were we have hashed out issues for hours but in the end we both come out winners for dealing with our issues. Just carve out that time!

  6. I Loved it My boyfriend and I just recently got back together after a little break and communication and quality time were our two main issues. Thank you so much for this blog they are so fun to read:)

  7. Dearest Jamie! This is why I love reading your blog! You always hit the nail on the head! The fact that you are being so honest about everything makes it even better! So keep writing because I like it! A lot!! I also would like to say thanks for the holiday e-card I got last week! I think that you and Doug are very sweet! I mean, you take the time to send it to so many people all over the world and that really shows how down to earth and caring you 2 are! Btw, I guess your book wont be published in Sweden and that’s totally fine! But I really would want one and I dont mind reading it in english! Is there any chance of buying it directly from you? Through your shop maybe? Would make my 2016!
    Hope you’ve had a great Christmas and I wish you and Doug a Happy New Year!

    PS. We finally have snow in Sweden now! Wohooo! ❄

    1. aww, I would NEVER charge for a holiday card! That is just nutso! Unfortunately, when we are out, we are out. BUT, make sure to update your profile to include both your first and last name along with you mailing address. You may get a nice little surprise come Valentine’s day! 🙂 xoxo Enjoy the SNOW (we don’t have any yet here in New Jersey – none in NYC either!)

  8. Thanks for the helpful advice! Please bring back the MAFS Recaps and possibly even some bachelor recaps for Ben’s season!! 🙂

  9. Hi Jamie! Loved this blog entry!! My husband thinks I’m pretty ridiculous for watching this show every week and last week asked me why I watched “that reality garbage”. *gasp* I calmly told him that I’ve learned quite a bit of relationship and marriage advice from watching. He asked me to tell him one thing and I told him that I learned that I have to show him how much I value and appreciate him more often. I learned that from watching you and Doug and how your relationship has evolved and all the advice you’ve gotten. He agreed with me that this was a good thing, and that I have been doing that a lot more and a lot better lately, so he finally shut up and let’s me watch! This latest round of advice is incredibly helpful as I think most of our communication problems is also because we are hearing and interpreting things differently than intended. I’m definitely going to try the mirroring technique soon! Thanks again for being so open and an inspiration!! I wish you both nothing but pure joy in 2016!! Keep up the great blogs (and I, too, would love MAFS recaps with your thoughts each week!). xoxo

    1. I bet he agreed with you! lol 😀 SO good to hear that us living our lives so the world can see is actually helping others. Feels so good to know I am not alone in my troubled relationship ways. 🙂 I will definitely keep the recaps coming! Seems like you guys really like them! 🙂 THanks!!! Good luck with your BF, Jen! xoxo

  10. Great advice from Dr. Joseph & I’m glad to hear you will feature Doug’s corner on your blog. I’m sure it will filled with lots of humor. Also, I love your blog too.

  11. You are doing such a great job.. Ive learned a lot from your relationship. I feel you can teach us a lot with relationship tips that u have learned in the process.

  12. Hi
    This was helpful to me because I accepted a call from a teenage boyfriend, after 30 some years
    and sad to say he’s in prison. After talking to him I fell in love from just listening to him express how he loves me. He even asked me to marry him and of course I said YES.

  13. Love hearing from you, love reading your blogs and following you and Doug on social media. (hope that does not sound weird.) LOL Keep it coming.

    1. not weird at all. thanks for keeping in touch with us! 🙂 PS Doug is going to have his own “corner” on my site. He kinda demanded it. lol 🙂

  14. Thanks for the info and advice from Dr. Cilona! I prefer both – the advice from the experts, and the MAFS recaps. Got your Christmas card in the mail on Christmas Eve. It made my day to get a card from famous people! I’m at home recovering from a mini stroke and luckily my husband of 17 years is the most supportive person ever. Your card really cheered me up!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like

Ep 10: Questions for Doug Part 1

Today’s show is going to be a little different! Instead of having guests, Doug will take today’s episode to answer listeners’ questions. He invited these questions on social media before…