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Change Your Relationship by Changing Yourself

Posted by on Jun 25, 2017 in Marriage Advice | Comments Off on Change Your Relationship by Changing Yourself

  When your relationship is in trouble it’s a common mistake to look at your partners behavior. Unfortunately, when your in conflict the last person you want pointing out your flaws is the person your having conflict with. When you tell them what they are doing wrong it’s likely to feel like criticism and blame. A far better idea is to take a look inward. I often ask couples to tell me the things “I” do that contribute to our conflict. It can be a guess or it can be something their partner already told them. It’s critical to take a look at your own behavior because you have 100% control over changing and altering your own behaviors. The next step is to offer solutions or suggestions for solutions. Ask would it help if I _____? Most importantly do not observe your partners behavior and make guesses about why they do whatever they are doing that causes you pain. People tend to jump to conclusions and make incorrect guesses that their partners behaviors are a reflection of how they feel about them. Keep in mind that your partners behaviors are more about them than their feelings for you. The only person who might know why your partner does something is your partner. If you need to know the why, you need to ask your partner and then believe them when they tell you. Even more important than the why is the what now. If you try to solve problems in your relationship by focusing on why something isn’t working your focus becomes the problem. If you truly want things to get better try focussing on the what if I. Asking What if I do _____ ? Would that help? Offering proposals for solutions is the best way to fix the problems in your...

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1st Step to Experiencing Your Spouse Positively

Posted by on Jun 5, 2017 in Marriage Advice | Comments Off on 1st Step to Experiencing Your Spouse Positively

One of the first therapeutic models I was trained in was Cognitive therapy. Cognitive therapy is based on the belief that we get our emotions from our thoughts. And that if we can recognize our negative thoughts, we can alter them therefore altering our emotions. I’ve seen this model help hundred of clients over the years. Our thought have a vital impact on our marriage. The Gottman’s talk about ‘Emotionally Healthy Marriages’. They describe an emotionally healthy marriage as a couple who keeps their negative thoughts and feelings about each other from overwhelming their positive thoughts and feelings. When I was a newlywed, I worked with seasoned therapist who once told me that every day he had to intentionally think about five things about his wife that he liked. I found it odd at the time until I left “romantic brain” in my marriage. When couples go in to conflict, as ALL of us do, you have to make a conscious choice to focus on the positive thoughts about your spouse or stay focussed on the negative things about your spouse. IF you get to the point where you see nothing but negative, your marriage is in deep trouble. I suggest you get counseling before this point. However, if you are having trouble seeing anything positive in your spouse, gently let them know ‘I would like to have a more positive experience of you. Might you be willing to do blank blank or blank (three tangible suggestions) that would feel positive to me? And most importantly ask if there is something I can do to help you experience me more positively. Chances are that if you are not experiencing your spouse positively, the feeling are...

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Discipline Strategies for the New Step Parent

Posted by on May 19, 2017 in Marriage Advice | Comments Off on Discipline Strategies for the New Step Parent

As a “bonus parent” your first job is to make friends with your partners child. Spend one on one time with them, ask about their feelings and really get to know them. Don’t make the mistake of becoming the disciplinarian before you learn what the status quo has been. The best way to do this is when your dating. When the relationship has become serious enough for you to meet the children, spend time with them in their home. Notice what the expectations and interactions are. Ask questions about the rules, the expectations, the rewards and consequences. See if you can find acceptance for the discipline and boundaries that your partner has put in place for their children. Everyone parents differently. Don’t expect your partner to totally change their parenting style just because they are now in a relationship with you. If there are things in the parenting style that directly affect you or your relationship, talk about those things by offering to find compromise and looking for solutions. Putting your partners child down or making negative predictions about who they will be if the children are allowed to do whatever will only cause resentment in your marriage. For example: 1st Observe The kids don’t pick up their dishes after dinner. 2nd Ask your partner if this has ever been an expectation and why or why not. 3rd Accept Allow your partner to continue with their style: If there has never been a different expectation and your spouse has and wants to continue to pick up after them allow them this choice. 4th Modify If their choice affects you find solutions: If your left to pick up after them tell your partner that this won’t work for you and you need their support for the two of you to tell the children that the new expectation is that they put their dishes in the dishwasher after dinner. Remember that your partners child is not a guest in your home. They are a family member. they have rights and responsibilities. Them not being allowed in their home with their parent is not an option unless there are severe circumstances and your partner is in agreement. Never make your partner choose between their child or you. It’s not only unfair, it’s also unloving and...

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Build Emotionally Healthy Step children

Posted by on May 12, 2017 in Marriage Advice | Comments Off on Build Emotionally Healthy Step children

  Your life will be interrupted and enriched by your partners children. Childrens needs seldom coincide with a parenting schedule. You, your partner and their ex are trying to raise children between two homes. This means you must work as a team. When the ex makes a request of your partner, the first consideration should be what the impact on the children will be. Maybe you and your partner are willing to be flexible but the ex, not so much. Do it anyway, even if it sometimes interrupts your plans. It’s not for the ex, it’s for the children. Children needs will and should very often come before your own. It’s ok to set healthy boundaries with the children and the ex but remember that the kids didn’t ask for their parents marriage to end. Participate with your partner in making decisions that are emotionally healthy for the children. Be the grown up. Their children’s long term emotional health can and will affect your marriage long term. When you are in a relationship with someone who has children, the expectation is that they will grow up and be less of a part of their life and yours. The reality is that even grown children will always be an important part of your partners life. If they are emotionally healthy they will indeed build their own lives away from their parents. When children are emotionally damaged there is great potential for them to become emotionally unhealthy, dependent adults who are unable to function on their own. This can mean all kinds of turmoil in your partners life and yours. The choice for you is to put the children first in the hope that they will become healthy functional adults or put your foot down about what you want, contribute to building an unhealthy emotional environment and face a life of dealing with unhealthy children who become unhealthy adults who are constantly in need of some kind of assistance from their...

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Coping with your partners ex

Posted by on May 5, 2017 in Marriage Advice | Comments Off on Coping with your partners ex

  Getting into a relationship with someone with children can be rewarding and difficult. Particularly, if you have never had children of your own. No matter how much you love your partner there will be difficulties participating in raising children who are not your own. Your best chance for success at having a healthy relationship is to have a healthy mind set regarding raising your partners children with them. The first thing you will have to accept is that your partner will always have a relationship (hopefully a good one) with their child’s other parent. Be ready to accept this reality. The best thing you can do for your partner is support their relationship with their ex. If they have a bad relationship help them find ways to make peace. When your partner is at peace, your marriage will be at peace, the children will be healthier, which will hopefully keep the stress of emotionally damaged children from damaging your marriage. If they have a good relationship, be grateful that your life will have less drama and less negative energy. It is important that you have full trust in your partner regarding the ex and their relationship. You can build this by being specific about behaviors that make you feel secure or insecure. As long as your partner hears these concerns and is willing to act on them, you can be comfortable with them having a p positive relationship. It is however, important that their relationship is just about the children. If their relationship continues to be personal, about their relationship, friendship or personal lives that is a potential issue for concern and further...

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Make Marriage The Priority

Posted by on Apr 29, 2017 in Marriage Counseling | Comments Off on Make Marriage The Priority

I’m very proud to announce the completion of my training with Marriage on the Rock an receiving my certificate of completion for the course. I love what Pastor Jimmy Evans calls the Four Foundational Laws of Marriage. The first law is the Law of priority. PastorJimmy says that “God designed Marriage to Operate as Your #1 Priority, Except for God. It Won’t function in any other position. This could not be truer or better said. So many of the core issues I see are about prioritizing your relationship. I see couples who make every thing in their lives more important than their partner. It’s amazing what people come up with to not spend time or interact. In my many years in the counseling profession I’ve seen priorities take a dramatic change. With technology it’s now possible to work around the clock. With children being so over schedule it’s common for couples to barely see each other. With so much focus on the self it seems acceptable for people to do what makes me happy instead of making my partner or my marriage a priority. All of these things seem important, but if they become more important than your partner or your marriage they are useless temporary distractions. When your primary relationship suffers or fails, it can be life altering. According to Marriage on the Rock, four actions that prove our marriage is a priority are through sacrifice: giving something up, time, energy, and attitude, being interested, positive and affirming. If you can show your partner that they are a priority in these ways you’ll have a key ingredient to a healthy...

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Committing To be Married

Posted by on Apr 22, 2017 in Marriage Advice | Comments Off on Committing To be Married

I’ve been thinking lately about cohabitation. Pastor Jimmy Evans believes that it’s on the rise because people are trying to avoid problems they’ve seen in other relationships. I agree with this but I also see a fear of making a real commitment. People are leaving themselves an out just in case things don’t work. Marriage is a legal contract designed to protect my rights as a spouse financially. It’s designed to protect children and uphold monogamy. All of these things seem like benefits to me. When I see cohabiting couples they’re often having the same conflicts as married couples but they don’t have the legal rights and commitments that come with marriage under the law. One of the first things you should look at if your living together is the true level of commitment you both have in the relationship. Are you both 100% committed to working thing out? Are you the chicken or the pig? The chicken participates in breakfast, the pig really commits. Rest assured if you are living with another person, there will be conflict. If your living together so you will have a way out, you may not have to go through a legal process but nothing can protect you from the emotional consequences of the end of a serious relationship. If you happen to be christians marriage also gives you a blood covenant which makes your marriage a permanent sacrificial relationship. A lot of people don’t understand that relationships are based on giving to one another. The more you give to your partner, the more you will receive from them. There is no greater way to give than sacrificial love. Really giving up what you want because your love for the other person is so great. Thats a big concept for us mere mortals. Lucky for us theres a book about how to do that. John 3:16 “For Christ so loved the world that he gave his only begotten...

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The Source of Joy In a Christian Marriage

Posted by on Apr 17, 2017 in Marriage Advice | Comments Off on The Source of Joy In a Christian Marriage

A couple of weeks ago I had the honor of attending a Marriage on the Rock conference. Its based on the book Marriage on the Rock, Gods Design for your Dream Marriage. As a Christian counselor I’ve always know that God is the true healer and that marriages centered on God were healthier and more committed. As I heard Pastor Jimmy Evans talk about biblical principles of marriage I began to formulate even more strongly how God sees marriage. Too often people expect their partners to be the source of their happiness and well being. The reality however is that people will fail you just because they are imperfect. The clients I see are often disappointed that their spouse does not ‘make them happy’ or ‘meet their needs’. I don’t know where we ever got the idea that someone else makings happy was the purpose of marriage. Perhaps thats from the fairy tales of ‘happily ever after’. The reality is Jer 17:5 “Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind and makes flesh his strength…” I’ve often told couples that our happiness can’t come from people, it has to come from with in us. Most importantly, true peace and joy can only come from the supernatural source of the Holy Spirit of Christ with in us. When we grasp this concept, we no longer expect our partner to be the source of our well being. I believe that when we have self esteem in Christ we have a foundation of joy, thats our cake. When we have a spouse to share our joys and burdens, thats the icing. The first step in repairing your marriage is to stop expecting you spouse or any other person or earthly thing to be your source. Let your source come from your Heavenly father. Once you let Him be the source of your well being, He will fill you with the ability to love, forgive and minister to your spouse and they will be able to do the same for you. Your personal relationship with your source is one of the best gifts you can give your...

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Radio Interview: Work on Your Marriage

Posted by on Apr 2, 2017 in Marriage Advice | Comments Off on Radio Interview: Work on Your Marriage

http://counselingtexas.com/wp-content/uploads/Linda-Miller-deBerard-3-10-17-Counselor-Stephanie.mp3 In this radio interview with Stephanie Mitchell we talk about my hope being to help relationships stronger deeper and safer. We talk about childhood wiring and how what we learn and experience in our childhood home affects our current relationships. Stephanie talks about finding fairy tale love and I share that I’m the most unromantic therapist you’ll ever meet. The romantic part of the relationship is wonderful but more important is what we do when we go into conflict. Its important to learn to have conflict in ways that are not damaging.I give a simple formula for having a conversation about something you need in a relationship. I take a call from someone who’s having conflict with her partner over the use of social media. I talk with her about being able to address this in a way that won’t make her partner feel attacked. A second call was from a lady struggling with anxiety. I discussed the use of cognitive therapy and the reason I do divorce mediation. Stephanie and I also talked about what marriage is and the importance of working on...

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Christian Counseling & ReBuilding Trust in a Relationship

Posted by on Mar 27, 2017 in Marriage Advice | Comments Off on Christian Counseling & ReBuilding Trust in a Relationship

  Linda Miller deBerard-2 17 17 Counselor   In this show we discussed how Christian counseling helps couples because of sharing beliefs and knowing that God is the true healer. But it’s important to respect the beliefs of others. Being a Christian counselor means I run my life and my business in accordance with Biblical truths and principles. We talk about the reality that all relationships go into conflict and how the kind of conflict we have and the resolution of conflict can make or break a relationship. As well as what romantic brain is and that it is short lived. We talk about my preference to see clients face to face but that I am willing to do sessions online or on the phone and why I work the late hours that I have. In the second half of the show we talk about the origin of anxiety and a simple technique to help children overcome anxiety. I take a call from a caller dealing with trust issues and have a discussion about a therapeutic separation. I also talk with a caller who asks about the possibility of getting benefit from one session and dealing with a family member with long term emotional issues.  ...

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