How To Make Your Marriage a Priority In a Blended Family

Posted by on Sep 20, 2017 in Marriage Advice | Comments Off on How To Make Your Marriage a Priority In a Blended Family

When couples have children, they make children a priority and for good reason as the child depends on you for their every need, but we often forget about our significant other, and 5 years later we wonder why our marriage is on the rocks. Making your marriage a priority is important in any family, especially with blended families. Here are some tips that will help blending your family go more smoothly: Build a healthy relationship your ex. We’re not saying you have to go on vacation or spend a lot of time together, but having the lines of communication open with former partners about pick-up times, family emergencies and money responsibilities will help to make your life easier and prevent future stress within your relationship. Plus, who wants to argue with their ex all the time? Make date night a priority. Schedule date night on a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly basis- whatever works best for your relationship. Book a babysitter and take turns planning a date for each other. This will help to keep things fresh and exciting within your relationship. Keeping a consistent date night schedule will also contribute to building trust which strengthens the relationship. Keep the date nights flowing! Spend time together as a family. Gather your blended family and go out for a pizza night, to the movies, or a weekend getaway. Establishing that you are a family unit regardless of parental status (stepparent, etc.) will help each member of the family feel like part of a unit. It will show your spouse you are committed to being a part of their child’s life, which helps to further bond your marriage. Bowling, anyone? Making your marriage a priority in a blended family is vital for the health of your relationship and family unit. Think of new and creative ways to spend time together with your spouse and family, because when each member of the family feels included, happy, and trusting it will help to strengthen the bond you have with your spouse. Always remember, love grows where you water it....

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4 Tips For Helping An Anxious Partner

Posted by on Sep 18, 2017 in Marriage Advice | Comments Off on 4 Tips For Helping An Anxious Partner

Anxiety is a mental health condition classified by ongoing feelings of worry and feeling overwhelmed; it can keep those who are suffering from living life fully because they live in fear. Living with anxiety on a daily basis is crushing. Anxiety can also impact our loved ones, our family, friends, and partner. Navigating how to support an anxious partner is confusing, and can hinder the relationship if lines of communication are not open. Four tips for helping an anxious partner: Ask them how you can help: Often we help others the way we want to be helped. Some of us like to be helped with acts of service, while others want alone time. Ask your partner how you can help them, and listen. If you partner has a panic attack ask them if they would like a hug or to be left alone. Try to accommodate their needs. This also helps to open the lines of communication and build trust in the relationship. Get them help: If they are struggling and unable to function day to day, it is time to seek help from a doctor or mental health professional. If your partner has a history of anxiety, they may know therapies or medications that worked for them in the past. Talk to them about seeing their doctor and getting in to see a therapist. Do something they love: Anxiety can become all-consuming, and managing day-to-day tasks can be daunting. Take your partner out of their daily routine and do something they love. If they enjoy movies, rent a few and watch them at home, or maybe they are a foodie- make reservations at a restaurant they’ve wanted to try. Take care of yourself: Caretakers can get burnt out quickly, make time to schedule self-care into your routine. A 10-minute walk around the neighborhood can help you de-stress. When you are taking care of yourself, you are better able to care for others. Anxiety is not something that goes away overnight, and for those who have a history of anxiety, it is a lifelong journey that may include different medications and therapies. Be patient with your partner and offer your support, kindness and love mean the world to those struggling with anxiety. Sometimes your presence alone is enough....

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Couples Conflict: Who’s right?

Posted by on Jul 24, 2017 in Marriage Advice | Comments Off on Couples Conflict: Who’s right?

Over the years I’ve noticed that a lot of the couples I see feel the need to focus on who is right and who is wrong. It’s as if the person who is right is the winner and the person who is wrong is the looser. You can’t run a successful equal partnership this way. Doing this can cause serious damage to your relationship. If you have to be right your partner will eventually move farther and farther away from you emotionally. Your emotional and sometimes physical intimacy will quickly deteriorate in the game of right v wrong. Instead of playing this game try changing your relationship by looking at different perceptions as simple differences with one not being better than the other. When your not in agreement your focus should be on how do we meet in the middle. Your relationship can survive if your willing to make some changes. I tell my couples that I could take them outside and have them observe a car wreck. One would say the red car hit the blue car and one would say the blue car hit the red car. The perceptions vary because of the viewpoint. The more important question however is are there any injuries and what immediate action should we take. When you find yourself trying to prove that you are right ask yourself whether or not being right will fix the problem. Some times we have to make a choice. Do you want to be right or do you want a meaningful...

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The Couple That Hobby’s Together, Stays Together

Posted by on Jul 23, 2017 in Marriage Advice, Marriage Counseling | Comments Off on The Couple That Hobby’s Together, Stays Together

  With the evolution of instant everything, couples can get so comfortable with each other that they forget how to communicate and be around each other. Sometimes, instead of remembering what brought them together, they will drift apart, forming separate lives while together. This drift can cause the relationship to end or give them a reason to find love again with each other. One powerful way to rekindle love can be through finding a hobby to partake in together. This can be as simple as reading books to as grand as traveling from state to state to visit different kinds of cupcake shops. As people, we often think that we must go big in order to see big change when in reality we need to K.I.S.S, keep it simple silly.

One way to work as a couple is to get back to basics and talk to each other. A tool that can be used is Gottman’s Marriage minute and using the” who Am I” exercise. Through this exercise, couples can start to remember what brought them together initially. Here are some sample questions to ask: What have you done recently to be proud of? What activities really engage you on a regular basis? What’s something important that has happened recently that i might have missed? What hobbies have you had in the past that we can do together? These are beginning questions to ask each other and it is encouraged to regularly check in with each other. Relationships are not built in a day or fixed in a day, which is why it is important to always keep the spark alive in as many ways as possible. Below are some examples of hobbies that can be done as a couple: Exercising Recreating your first date at different places Playing games (board games, videogames, card games) or having game nights. Building a collection Painting or other Art activities. Catching up on a television series. Once you start to build on your hobbies together, it will be hard to stop while also bringing fun back into the relationship. The key to any great relationship is consistency, transparency, communication and fun. Without one, a relationship can start to fall apart, but there are ways to fix it when the effort is there on both sides. By: Khadidrah Lloyd,...

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When Your Afraid Your Partner Might Leave, Let Go

Posted by on Jul 16, 2017 in Marriage Advice | Comments Off on When Your Afraid Your Partner Might Leave, Let Go

Occasionally, I see couples at the end of the marital rope. One person is seriously considering ending the relationship and their partner goes into an emotional tailspin. The person with one foot out the door finally gets the courage to say so and with that they begin to focus on themselves with much less consideration for their partner. They may begin to do things that are very uncomfortable, even unacceptable to their partner. Things like partying all night, staying out too late, being away from home more often, taking out of town trips without their partner or children. They are establishing their own sense of freedom but have not yet made a final decision to divorce. Meanwhile, the other partner is shocked and hurt. Because of the new behaviors they begin to get suspicious and fearful that their partner is leaving them. They begin to be demanding of explanations and demanding and angry about the partners behaviors. Unfortunately, this only pushes the other spouse even further away. These dynamics will almost guarantee the end of the marriage. Naturally, I would recommend getting counseling long before you consider ending a marriage but certainly if you consider ending your marriage. But, if these dynamics have begun for you, there is still hope. I call the technique “letting go”. I give the analogy that the more tightly you hang on to a person the greater need they have to break free. Letting go is a difficult thing to do, it’s counter intuitive. It means not demanding explanations, not getting angry about decisions and behaviors that may be unhealthy for the relationship or the individual. In order to this it helps tremendously to turn the situation over to a higher power and trust that God will bring you to a better place through this. You must also remember that arguing and holding on too tightly will only make the situation worse. Most importantly, if the pain becomes too great you have the right to end the relationship at any time. I would never suggest letting go long term. If you are able to let go and be at peace temporarily (one to six months), what can happen is that the spouse who is breaking away will have time to decide if that freedom is really what they want and may be able to return to the relationship. At that point it is critical to talk about the new expectations and boundaries in the relationship. You will also need to reestablish the commitment to the relationship and fix whatever issues lead to the person needing to break free. This is a difficult situation to recover from but with time, patience and help, your relationship can get to a better place than it has ever been. Call Now! (817)...

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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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