Blog

Three Tips for Healthy Couple Conversations

Posted by on Apr 28, 2018 in Marriage Advice, Marriage Counseling | Comments Off on Three Tips for Healthy Couple Conversations

Getting out of sync happens in a lot of marriages and long-term relationships, we focus on our career, and sometimes the relationship becomes less of a priority. Not to worry, we’ve listed three steps towards renewing the dialogue in your marriage to help improve communication! The dialogue in your marriage needs to be a two way conversation that requires you to listen closely and speak without judgement, criticism, blame or attack. Scenario: Matt and Erin have been married for ten years. When they married each was working entry-level jobs in marketing. Their jobs paid the bills, but Erin wanted more from her career, whereas Matt was more free spirited and didn’t want to be bogged down with too many job responsibilities. He wanted a 9-5 and to be able to leave at 5 and not worry about work. In the years after they married, Erin raised up the ranks at the marketing company she was at, and she made it to the director of marketing position. She decided to take the risk of starting her own company, the risk paid off, but it left little time for Erin and Matt to spend together and plans to start a family stalled. Erin works 10, 12 sometimes 16 hour days, including weekends and Matt is feeling frustrated that Erin continues to work long hours, leaving him feeling alone in the relationship. This scenario is typical for many couples, sometimes one partner’s career takes off, and they commit to the career and don’t recognize the impact it has on the relationship, family, and children. What do you want? What do you want from your partner? Do you want them to stop working by 8 pm and spend weekends at home with the family? Whatever it may be, remember to ask in I statements and don’t point a finger, blaming them for what they have done or not done. Often, when one partner is making their career a priority, it is to better their lives, and it does take sacrifice. Keep responses open-ended If your partner is asking you to stop working by 8 pm, respond openly and resist the urge to respond with just a no or yes. For example, Matt asked Erin “I’d love it if you stopped working by 8 pm a few nights a week, so we can go out, cook dinner at home and enjoy our time together.” Erin’s response “I understand, and I want to spend more time with you too, I’ve been thinking about hiring a part-time assistant to reduce my workload, I think ending the workday by 8 pm most weeknights will be feasible once I get an assistant on board.” Through this dialogue, you can see into how Matt and Erin are feeling, Matt wants to spend more time with his wife and Erin wants the same, but she recognizes she needs help and is planning to hire an assistant to make that happen. By keeping the questions open and responses open-ended it helps avoid the “what, why and how, which can leave answers with a no or yes, leaving each partner unhappy. Express gratitude When renewing the dialogue in your marriage, it is vital to remember to express gratitude. For example, after Matt and Erin discussed ending her workday by 8 pm, Matt...

read more

Therapy, Everyone’s Doing It!

Posted by on Apr 22, 2018 in Depression, Divorce, Marriage Advice, Marriage Counseling | Comments Off on Therapy, Everyone’s Doing It!

Long gone are the days where people feel ashamed and stigmatized for going to therapy. Therapy is no longer just for people with serious emotional issues.  Your neighbor down the street, your colleagues, even your doctors go to therapy. We all face life situations that are difficult to handle alone.  Therapy is a place to explore ongoing issues in your life and a place where you can focus 100% on yourself, practice self-care and work through pressing issues related to your career, family, friends, and balancing it all. You might not know that therapists are also excellent life coaches!  If you’re just needing some direction, support or accountability, your therapist does not have to go deep into your issues if you just want coaching. Here are some thing that therapy can offer: Unbiased Support: Having a support system is vital when maintaining life and mental health balance. Let’s be honest for a moment, friends and family are biased, and we sometimes disclose information about our relationships or other issues that can become problematic later on. In therapy, you don’t need a filter, you can say what you want and talk about how your partner, mom or boss made you feel during your last conversation without it coming back to you. We’ve all been there when we disclose personal, private information to our friend about our partner and it somehow comes back to you and can cause embarrassment for you or your partner. Save those conversations for therapy! Work out some heavy stuff:  Maybe you are struggling with an eating disorder or experienced a traumatic event that you are not ready to talk about to your loved ones but know you need to work on it or talk to someone because you are struggling emotionally to keep it all in. Therapy is a safe space for you to talk about the struggles that keep you up at night and how to cope and work on them. Your therapist will be able to talk through these issues with you, suggest coping skills, ways to practice self-care and over time experience less panic, anxiety or depression related to what you were first struggling with. Therapy is a tool that used correctly can help you better deal and cope with life’s most significant challenges, but for it to be successful, you have to commit and be open to the process. Our mental and physical health are equally important, and each needs time, care and attention. We have no problem going to the doctor when we have a sprained ankle, so we should feel the same when our mental health is a little off to call up our therapist and schedule a session. There is nothing wrong with taking care of your mental health. There is no reason to be ashamed, but you don’t have to wear a sign on your forehead either.  Therapy even if you’re doing coaching with your therapist is always confidential  ...

read more

Have These Discussions Before You Marry

Posted by on Apr 15, 2018 in Marriage Advice, Marriage Counseling | Comments Off on Have These Discussions Before You Marry

Are you and your partner thinking about tying the knot? For couples that are engaged or thinking about getting married, it is essential to be on the same page with your partner. Listed are five questions for conversations that are necessary to have. The questions are intended to get you thinking about married life, how you envision your future, and how to handle challenges that will arise during the marriage. What do you imagine the relationship will be like down the road?   This is a loaded question that can be interpreted a few different ways, but it is important to learn about how your partner envisions their ideal marriage. Is one partner going to stay home to raise children? Do you want to have children? Do you want to buy a house? Do you both value working? For this question, provide detail of a day in the life of your ideal marriage, right down to household responsibilities and childcare- this will give you and your partner a view into your ideal marriage and life. What are your sexual expectations? For couples that have sex before marriage, this is a question that may already be worked out. Even if it is something that has worked out, it is an excellent time to talk about how often each partner would like to have sex, how sex will change with work stress, children and so on. Also, if you or your partner have some unexplored fantasies, this is a good time to talk about it! How is money going to be handled? Finances are a touchy subject for many people, part of the reason being is because a lot of people were not raised to talk about money. Going into a marriage, it is important for each partner to be aware of each other’s debts, have an idea of their salary, spending habits if they are a saver vs. spender and so on. In addition to being aware of their financial status, it is essential to talk about future money challenges- what if one spouse loses their job, or wants to start a business how will it be handled? What are your deal breakers? Going into a marriage it is vital to understand what your partner’s deal breakers are. Deal breakers may include- cheating, being irresponsible with money, and doing things that are untrustworthy. Do you share the same values and morals? This extends to religion, faith, and spirituality. If one partner wants to raise their children with a specific religion or no religion, it is important to be on the same page and be honest about your faith.   These questions are to help you understand your partner better. If you are struggling with getting on the same page about values or money before your wedding, it is a suggestion to seek couples counseling or premarital counseling. Having an outside, neutral person to help you and your partner work out these issues will help to set-up your marriage for success!  ...

read more

Put Play in Your Relationship

Posted by on Apr 8, 2018 in Marriage Advice, Marriage Counseling | Comments Off on Put Play in Your Relationship

Having a partner, you can play and share new activities with will help your relationship grow! Through play, you will each learn something new about one another and experience play through their eyes. What are you waiting for? Go play!

read more

Questions That Deepen Your Relationship

Posted by on Apr 1, 2018 in Marriage Advice, Marriage Counseling | Comments Off on Questions That Deepen Your Relationship

  When you first started dating your partner, you both were most likely full of questions; it seemed as if you would never run out of questions. As the months and years go by and the initial excitement of a new relationship settles into daily living, we stop asking questions. We get it, it is only natural as you settle into daily living.  You know your partner’s favorite foods, their quirks, and regular schedule, life becomes more routine. Questions are important; they can bring some excitement back into your relationship and further develop bonds of trust and intimacy! We know what you may be thinking, how can asking my partner questions bring excitement back to our relationship? Trust us; the following five questions are questions you most likely have not thought about asking your partner as they may provoke feelings of uneasiness. With uneasiness comes growth and a deeper connection to your partner. So what do you have to lose? Grab your partner for 10 minutes and ask them a few of the following questions! What are your needs, and how can I do a better job at meeting them? Try to get information about solutions instead of asking them to focus on what doesn’t work. Maybe you are not speaking their love language,  get specific information about what behaviors speak love to them.  In our support circle, friends family, and colleagues- who do you think has the best relationship and why? An insightful question that may elicit their wants and needs. Often, if someone in the relationship struggles with communication their needs, recognizing it in other couples is a way for them to communicate it. They may say they like that their parents are affectionate, ask them if they would like more affection. What do you love about being together? A simple, but deeply meaningful question. As time goes on, what we love about being in a relationship with our partner may change and that is okay. What keeps you awake at night that you have not shared with me? Maybe your partner has been stressed about money for a few months after the loss of a job, or they could be questioning the next steps in the relationship, or their dream of pursuing a different profession is keeping them up at night. Accept their answer or lack of one without judgement or criticism, stay open and listen. How can we improve our sex life? All healthy relationships require fun, and sex is a fun way to connect and explore fantasies with your partner and develop deeper bonds of intimacy. Maybe they want to try sex toys or role play, whatever it may be, allow them to explore their fantasies without shame.  Asking your partner questions that are meaningful can deepen your bond and develop more trust in the relationship when your partner can be 100% transparent with their answers. Stay open and listen to what your partner says when talking, their answers may surprise you!...

read more

Small Gestures Show You Care

Posted by on Mar 24, 2018 in Marriage Advice, Marriage Counseling | Comments Off on Small Gestures Show You Care

  When you first started dating your partner, you most likely showered them with gifts, attention, and dinners out. As time goes on, you move in together, get married, have kids, and work keeps you busy. The initial excitement of dating, and showing your partner you care about them through small gestures can take a backseat. Small gestures not only show someone you care about them, but it is also an opportunity to speak their love language. Before we jump into a few gestures, it is important to understand your partner’s love language as this will help you select which gesture will mean the most to your partner. Does your partner like to spend time together just the two of you? Is your partner into meaningful gifts? Does your partner enjoy physical touch? If you are unsure of what a love language is, you can learn more here. Small gestures to show you care: Do something they have been talking about: Has your partner wanted to try the new Asian restaurant in town, or have they wanted to try a new workout class at your gym? Focus in on an activity they have been talking about and book it for them, or for you to do as a couple. Gift giving: Thoughtful gifts go a long way to show you care. Picking up your partner’s favorite latte, flowers, or a baked treat shows them you are thinking about them. Tell them how you feel and how much you care for them: We often get wrapped up in the day to day that we forget to show our gratitude for one another. Take a moment to tell your partner how much they mean to you. If you are not much of a talker, you can always write out your gratitude in a nice card. Act of service: Has your partner been asking you to clean the sheets or take out the trash on a weekly basis? Do an act of service without them asking and leave them a note saying you took care of the task. Do something for someone your partner cares about: This is an extra step but is greatly meaningful to your partner and the person they care about. If you live in a different area from your in-laws, send them specialty chocolate, something made in your state, or a homemade treat.     Tags: couples, relationships, love language, gesture, giving  ...

read more

Make Goals for Your Relationship

Posted by on Mar 18, 2018 in Marriage Advice | Comments Off on Make Goals for Your Relationship

A lot of us tend to make personal goals when it comes to our careers and health. Have you thought about making goals with your partner to help improve your relationship? Maybe you both are struggling with spending time together because the day keeps you so busy, or you both are looking to add more fun to your relationship. Goal Ideas: Unplug:   So you both are finding it hard to spend time together, but every night you both scroll through Facebook, Instagram, the news, and shop while you are unwinding before bed. Our smartphones can create a barrier and distance in relationships when they are used too much.  Make your bedroom a technology-free zone – no smartphones or computers, place your tablets and phones in a basket before spending time with your partner. Over time it will become a habit, and you and your partner will enjoy the technology-free quality time together. Eat Together:  If your goal as a couple is to order less take-out and cook and eat together; pick a few nights a week that work for each other’s schedule. Plan the meals you would like to make and buy all the groceries in advance. It is easy to slip into old habits and order take-out when you don’t have all the ingredients needed for your meals, so food prep will come in handy for couples that are not regular cooks. Financial Goal:  As a couple, are you working towards buying a home, car, or purchase new furniture? If saving money is a challenge for one partner, one idea is to send a certain percentage of their paycheck to a joint checking account that is reserved for the specific financial goal. At the end of the month, review your saved funds to see if you can make little adjustments to get your financial goal faster. Make Fun A Goal:  A favorite goal I like to see my couples accomplish is scheduling a time to just hang out,  talk, and work on their friendship.  It’s important to pull out the calendar and get times and dates confirmed.  If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.  Try to find ways to laugh and enjoy each other.  Take turns planning a new activity.  Find jokes and funny stories to tell each other.  Or blow bubbles, play with the kids toys together and just be...

read more

Surviving An Affair

Posted by on Mar 12, 2018 in Marriage Advice | Comments Off on Surviving An Affair

Is it possible to trust your partner after they have had an affair? This is a loaded question, after an affair, the partner that was cheated on is confused, upset, angry, and betrayed.  With work, communication, and commitment a relationship can survive an affair. Steps a couple needs to take to survive an affair: Stop the affair– This seems like a simple one, but often after the physical part of an affair is over, people will continue to communicate. The partner that is having an affair needs to stop the affair immediately. This includes all phone calls, texts, emails, and connection on social media- if they are friends with the person they are having the affair with on social media, it is best to remove them from all accounts. It also helps to refer to that person as the affair partner or AP Answer questions– The partner that had the affair must be open to answering questions from their partner. The betrayed partner might feel like they need all the details.  It’s important that they ask themselves how or if some the details will help them or cause longer term pain. Ignoring it will only create more distance and won’t allow for emotional healing. Schedule times to talk.  Discussing it 24/7 will only exhaust both of you. Be realistic– The partner that cheated needs to understand that it takes time to heal from an affair. There is no set time on the healing process, and it may take 2 months, 1 year, or two years for the partner that was cheated on to move forward.  It’s a process that will require long term reassurance and honesty to get through. Talk about your feelings– It is essential for the partner that was cheated on to express their opinions about the affair- disappointment, anger, rage, and doubt are a range of emotions those who have been cheated on feel.  It is vital towards moving forward to express how you are feeling. However, there is a point that they must try to express those feelings without attacking if they want the partner who cheated to stay tuned in and be able to hear and help them. Get help– Often after an affair the partner that was cheated on struggles with trust, communication, and anger. If they  want to move forward with working on the relationship, seeking help from a couples counselor will help the couple towards moving forward. The couples counselor will work with the couple on how to build trust and communicate more effectively Rebuilding trust after an affair is possible if each person in the relationship is willing to put in the work. It is not easy, but to survive an affair, it is vital to the relationship for each person to be honest, transparent and communicate effectively.    ...

read more

You Can Be The Change In Your Relationship

Posted by on Feb 24, 2018 in Marriage Advice | Comments Off on You Can Be The Change In Your Relationship

Change starts with you:

If you want to see your relationship improve and better communicate with your partner, take a close look at what you are doing and how you can improve the relationship from your end. Does your partner say you tend to tell them things last minute and that makes them frustrated? If so, take more initiative by communicating dinner plans, work outings and so on with your partner when you find out.

read more

Being On Your Loved Ones Side

Posted by on Feb 18, 2018 in Depression, Marriage Advice, Marriage Counseling | Comments Off on Being On Your Loved Ones Side

  We all know the sinking feeling when someone does not support us, be it a friend, family member or partner. It is tough navigating a relationship when your partner is not on your side, it can leave us with hurt feelings, and ultimately, it can cause the relationship to end by making your partner shut down and loose trust.  Are you a supportive partner and take your partner’s side, or are you quick to blame and defend the source of pain for your partner? Granted, there are times when our partner’s choices may challenge us and our thinking, but having a healthy relationship means it is full of love, communication, and support. You don’t have to agree with your partner to be on their side. For example, someone you love is hurt by someone else that you love.  Do you defend the other person when your loved one shares their pain? Or do you validate their emotions and show empathy for their pain? Are you willing to show love by taking small actions to help them? It’s the difference between being on your partners side and having your loved ones back or making them feel unsupported, alone and defensive.. Another  example might be: your partner would like to purchase a new computer that is expensive and the repairs are more costly if it breaks. You suggest a computer that is a fraction of the price as you think it is smarter to put the extra money towards something else. The less expensive computer may not have all the bells and whistles, but it may not functions the way your partner needs it to. You partner goes ahead and purchases the expensive computer, and after using it for a month, the computer crashes and needs repairs. In this situation do you point the finger and say “I told you so” or do you offer a lending ear and listen to what your partner needs? Your response to this situation will tell your partner if you are supportive of them or willing to be on their side.. It is entirely understandable if you are upset  that your partner spent extra money on a computer.  At the same time being in a relationship means we need to sometimes put our opinions aside and listen and help people we love. If you tend to point fingers and say- “I told you so” this will automatically put your partner in a place of defensiveness. Over time your partner will learn not to come to you when they are experiencing challenges which can lead to a lack of trust and intimacy. Next time your partner comes to you with a challenge they are experiencing, listen to what they have to say and be conscious of your reaction- Do you show love to your partner by being on their side? If you and your partner are struggling to understand each other’s perspective, it may be time to go to couples counseling. In counseling, the therapist will help you and your partner to understand how better to support each other and, ultimately, be on your partner’s side.  ...

read more