5 Tips to Strengthen your Marriage

Posted by on Oct 21, 2017 in Marriage Advice, Marriage Counseling | Comments Off on 5 Tips to Strengthen your Marriage

  Relationships are not easy; they require a lot of work and dedication. When we are on the same page as our partner, efficiently communicating and making our relationship a priority, our relationships tend to run smoothly and don’t succumb to life’s ebbs and flows. To strengthen your relationship, try integrating these 5 tips.  Listen and don’t interrupt: When your partner is talking about something important to them or discussing something that is not working for them in the relationship, listen. We often get wrapped up in what we want to say and interrupt which can provoke feelings of anger or sadness in our partner as they don’t feel like what they are saying is valid due to interruptions. Take the time to listen, and try your best not to interrupt. Have a weekly date night: Do something special once a week with your partner to reconnect. We all get so busy with work, kids and responsibilities we often forget to connect with our partners. Schedule a date once a week and make a regular appointment for it- go to the movies, make a special dinner, whatever it is, keep the date consistent. It will help strengthen your relationship and bond with your partner. Go to therapy: Couples therapy isn’t just for couples who are considering divorce or when the relationship is in a difficult place. Couples therapy is also there to help you work on things, develop new coping skills, and it acts as a safe space to talk through issues. Learn to focus on the positive: When we disagree with our partner, we tend to harp on the negative and think about other things they do that bother us. In the moments after a disagreement, take a moment to breathe and think about why you are together with your partner and the positive attributes you love about your partner. This practice will help you refocus and bring you out of a negative moment. Do something challenging: Nothing bonds us more than when we have to work together as a team. Check out a local escape room or build a piece of furniture together. Navigating challenging tasks and projects helps us to bond with each other as we have to figure out who does what job. Use the experience as a way to learn more about your relationship and how you communicate during challenging tasks. How have you strengthened your relationship or marriage? We would love to hear your story. Send us an...

read more

Keep Stress From Impacting Your Sex Life

Posted by on Oct 13, 2017 in Marriage Advice, Marriage Counseling | Comments Off on Keep Stress From Impacting Your Sex Life

We all know stress impacts our sleep, work, eating habits and so on. Did you know stress can also impact your sex life? It does! Stress can lead to unhealthy habits including excessive drinking and negative body image which can also decrease our sex drive. Don’t let stress get in the way of your sex life! De-stressing Tips: Leave work at work: It’s important to purposefully switch gears mentally to leave work at work when you clock out. In the age of technology, it is so easy to answer work emails during dinner or hanging out with friends. When you walk through the door at home, don’t think about your project deadline or an upcoming meeting you are dreading, as that will only stress you out more and take time away from spending with your loved ones. Unwind from the day: When you get home, have a daily routine that will help you unwind from the workday. An unwind routine may include preparing dinner with your partner, eating dinner together and taking an after dinner walk, or it could be as simple as a 20-minute meditation session. Whatever works for you, stick to it so your body and mind will become accustom to de-stressing when arriving home. Establish boundaries: For those of us who say yes to everything- extra work projects, PTA, and socializing with friends, it is essential to understand your limitations as saying yes to everything will continue to stress you out and take away time from your relationship. It is okay to say no. Schedule sex dates: If you and your partner are struggling to connect and have sex, schedule it. It may seem less romantic than spontaneous sex, but it will ultimately help you connect. Navigating relationships in a demanding world full of work, social media and email can be difficult. At the end of the day, it is essential to prioritize your relationship and continue to connect and build your relationship with your partner. Managing stress so it doesn’t affect your sex life is an important part of self care and relational...

read more

Tips for supporting a partner with depression

Posted by on Oct 8, 2017 in Marriage Advice, Marriage Counseling | Comments Off on Tips for supporting a partner with depression

Depression is a mental health condition characterized by an ongoing depressed mood in which an individual loses interest in activities that impact everyday life. Depression is a serious mental health condition. If your partner is experiencing depression, it important they seek medical and mental health services. Navigating a relationship with a partner that is depressed or going through a depressive episode is challenging, at the same time it is important to remember your partner is still the same person regardless of a diagnosis. Tips for supporting a partner with depression: Research and learn: If you have not experienced depression interpersonally, it may be hard for you to understand what your partner is going through. Take the time to research and read stories from others who have experienced depression; it will help you better understand what your partner is going through. The stories and research may also offer tips for supporting your loved one. Do something they enjoy: Schedule a date night that your partner would enjoy, go to the movies, out to dinner, or a museum. Taking them out of the day-to-day may help to lift their mood, even for just a few hours. Ask them how they want to be helped: Before a depressive episode sets in, it is important to talk about how you can help your partner. If you didn’t prepare in advance, talk to your partner about how you can help. Sometimes people want time alone with a book, or they may prefer spending time with other people, so they don’t feel alone. Take care of you: Caring for someone with depression can be challenging. To avoid burnout, make sure to schedule time for yourself. Going for a walk, calling a trusted friend, or visiting your favorite coffee shop can help you de-stress. Navigating challenges in a relationship is not easy. Just remember, you are not alone and if you need additional support for how to help your partner with depression, reach out and seek services from a mental health professional....

read more

What Are The 5 Love Languages?

Posted by on Sep 30, 2017 in Marriage Advice | Comments Off on What Are The 5 Love Languages?

We’ve all heard about the 5 love languages in magazines, on TV and from your neighbor down the street. Do you know what they are and how they relate to you and your relationship? We’re breaking down the 5 love languages and how you can integrate them into your relationship. Words of Affirmation: This love language is all about using words to affirm your partner. Sayings like- “You mean the world to me,” “You are doing a great job balancing everything” and “I appreciate you” are all affirmations that can be used if your partner’s love language is words of affirmation. Acts of Service: Actions speak louder than words for those whose love language is acts of service. Taking out the garbage, bringing the car for an oil change, or picking up the dry cleaning are all acts of service. Receiving Gifts: We’re not talking about a new car or expensive shoes, though those are nice. Gifting is more about meaningful gifts that are unique to your partner. Example, last week your wife was talking about this book her friends were raving about at brunch. Purchase the book for your wife with a sweet note about how you remembered her talking about it. Quality Time: It does not mean spending an evening together watching TV with both of you on your phone, it is all about undivided attention. If your significant other’s love language is quality time, schedule some time with them that will be uninterrupted, maybe a date night at home, or a nature walk. Physical Touch: This one is pretty straightforward, some people require more physical contact than others. Physical touch can be  simple like holding your partner’s hand at dinner or giving a back massage. With this love language, it is about appropriate touch when wanted- it does not mean making out in the middle of a mall, nor explicit touch that may make your partner comfortable. If you are unsure, ask your partner for consent before touching them. The 5 love languages are important to understand as we tend to show our love language to our partner, but sometimes fail to accommodate to their love language, which can lead to a disconnection in the relationship. To take your relationship to the next level, start practicing your partner’s love language, it will help to strengthen your bond together!...

read more

The Grass is Greener Where You Water It

Posted by on Sep 23, 2017 in Marriage Advice | Comments Off on The Grass is Greener Where You Water It

You and your partner disagree on something, maybe it is a recurring disagreement, and you feel your partner is not getting it. You feel your partner does not hear you and you’re so frustrated that you are starting to think your life would be better if you were single or with someone else. Hit the brakes for a moment. In times of  frustration and uneasiness we often feel like throwing our hands up and giving up. At this moment, take a deep breath and pause before responding or saying something you will later regret. Reframe your reaction. Instead of giving in to knee-jerk reactions such as wanting to give up, think about the good instead of the negative. Think about the good times you and your partner share together. Think about the bonding memories you two have made together- your wedding, the birth of a child, college graduation, something that brings happy memories will help you recenter in the moment. Make change. If you are having a revolving disagreement or feel your partner is not understanding you, treat the situation as a way to learn and grow. Take time when both of you have cooled off and talk about how the disagreement made you feel, but remember never blame your partner as this will only add fuel to the fire. If you and your partner are struggling to see eye to eye after trying to discuss among yourselves, it may be time to bring in a relationship/marriage counselor. A relationship/marriage counselor is a neutral party that will help you see things differently and offer coping and resolution tips for when disagreements come up in the future. Relationships take communication, work, patience, love, and understanding. Take time to check in with your partner weekly to see how they are feeling.  Talk about what is working and not working in the relationship, and how you can be there to support one another. Without work, relationships dissolve. Remember, the grass is greener where you water it....

read more

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....

read more

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....

read more

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...

read more

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,...

read more

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)...

read more