You Are Complex: Meet Marriage & Relationship Coach Denise Fitzpatrick
Here at Vibrant Health, we believe health is an inside job, unique to you. After all, you’re one-of-a-kind and your needs are complex – that’s why your supplements should be too.
To celebrate all of the beautiful complexities of our lives, each month we’ve been highlighting individuals in our community – taking a peek into the behind-the-scenes of their work life, wellness routines, and all the wonderful things that make them who they are.
In honor of Relationship Wellness Month, this February on the Vibrant Health blog we got to chat with Marriage & Relationship Coach Denise Fitzpatrick. Offering coaching programs for women, couples and through her new Happy Marriage Academy (coming soon), she’s passionate about helping couples have happy, healthy, thriving relationships.
In this informative interview, we got to chat with Denise about why respecting one another’s differences is key to a healthy relationship, how couples can prioritize their relationship daily (not just on Valentine’s Day), and how she stays active throughout the workweek (aiming to log 10,000 steps a day)! We hope you enjoy our series…and remember, keep being you.
How would you describe yourself in three words?
Fun, Caring, Grounded
What does a typical day in the life as a Marriage & Relationship Coach look like?
I start my day by working out. Moving my body first thing in the morning really helps me feel energized for my day.
I typically write some kind of content for my audience on social media or email my list.
I love sharing relationship tips with women because I know sometimes all it takes is one sentence, one shift in perspective, to make a difference in someone's life.
I coach clients on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. Some of my clients are local and come to meet with me in person at my office. Others I meet with over zoom.
February is Relationship Wellness Month — encouraging people to build & maintain healthy relationships. What would you say is the foundation for a healthy relationship? Any common misconceptions you see?
I would say the foundation for a healthy relationship is respect for each other's differences.
When couples first get together and fall in love they naturally focus on all the ways they are similar. This is what draws couples to each other.
And in those beginning stages, it's common to overlook differences or flaws in the other. But after years of being together, those differences become more apparent. Differences in the way they think about things. This could be anything from politics to the way they deal with their in-laws. They may discover that what's important to one person is not important to the other. After kids, they may find themselves arguing about different parenting styles.
All of these things are very common. Differences are a part of every healthy relationship. Too often couples struggle to navigate these differences in a supportive loving way, which can cause a breakdown in the relationship.
The misconception is that differences threaten the relationship; that these differences mean something about them as a couple like maybe we don't belong together or it shouldn't be this hard.
The truth is, relationships are hard. The problem is people either stop trying or just give up when things get hard. When you can learn to accept and respect that your partner is a separate person from you with different thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and desires and at the same time hold onto your own perspective, you have won the lottery.
With Valentine’s Day coming up, how can couples prioritize their relationship this month and beyond?
I wish couples not to see Valentine's Day as the only day to prioritize their relationship. Remember, It's only one day. While I think Valentine's Day is a fun "holiday,” I'd encourage couples to not put so much pressure on themselves to make this THE day.
It's more important to prioritize your relationship, in some way, on a daily basis. One of the ways couples can do this is to have rituals of connection. This could look like a kiss or hug goodbye when they leave for work, a warm greeting at the end of the day when they come back together, a quick text during the day to just say “I'm thinking of you,” and make time to be together. For instance, a nightly show you watch together, a morning coffee ritual, or date nights. It depends on what you like to do!
If you're not in the practice doing this that's OK. You can start today! You and your partner can come up with a few ideas for each, of the things you like to do together and create a schedule of when you'll make time to be together. The crucial piece is that you commit to doing it. You put it in your calendar just like you would an important work meeting. Most of us would never consider skipping an important work meeting, right?
I know it's easy to get complacent and feel like you see each other every day anyway.
But what I'm talking about is time to BE with each other with nothing else going on.
Any advice for single readers not yet in a relationship — looking to build a healthy connection?
If you're single and looking for a relationship, first be very clear about what it is you want in a partner and what your ideal relationship looks like. What qualities and characteristics are you looking for in a partner?
It's easy to get swept up in the romantic feelings of a new relationship even if we know they don't have the qualities you're looking for. Be discerning. Ask the pointed questions in the first couple of dates so you know rather quickly if you want to continue dating this person or not.
Date as many people as you have to in order to find the person that you could truly see yourself with in the future. Don't settle! There are 7 billion people on the planet.
What’s your go-to healthy snack or meal to fuel your body during the workday?
I'm someone that has to eat every couple of hours so I've got lots of great healthy snack ideas:
- Banana with peanut butter
- Plain yogurt with honey and granola
- Rice cake with peanut butter
- Almonds and a cheese stick
- Plain yogurt with fresh strawberries
- Smoothies with frozen banana, strawberry, acai, and protein powder
Do you have any wellness rituals you want to share?
I love to work out four to five times a week. I aim for 10,000 steps each day. And stretching… lots of stretching. I tend to sit a lot because of the work I do so I like to move every couple of hours — even if it's just walking up and down the steps a few times. I foam roll once in a while, mostly when I have tight muscles from a workout. I'd like to make this a regular part of my routine.
What does wellness look like for you?
Wellness for me looks like taking care of the body and mind. Taking care of my body by exercising and eating a healthy diet. Keeping my mind focused in a positive direction. Cultivating feelings of gratitude and abundance in my life is so important to my mental health. This is a daily practice. Because as humans our brains love to go to the negative. It takes time, practice and patience to create these healthy habits.
When I take good care of myself, it's so much easier to show up to my work, my family, my friends, and other relationships as the best version of myself. I prioritize taking care of myself daily. I have healthy boundaries around what I say yes to and where I spend my time. I've become very discerning about where and with whom I spend my time. I no longer spend time engaging in activities or with people that don't feel good for me.