How To Handle Your Spouse’s Unhealthy Habits

bad habits

 

A spouse who drinks too much, overeats, or smokes isn’t just harming their own health. They can also cause their partner distress by doing so.

We worry about the people we love, and it’s hard to watch them self-destruct by putting themselves at an increased risk for various diseases. But the topic of unhealthy habits is quite touchy

How can we handle it with grace and help our partner in the process?

In this article, we’ll try to answer this question and give you a few tips about the dos and don’ts of handling your spouse’s unhealthy habits.

1. Get involved Instead of criticizing

If your partner drinks or overeats after work, instead of starting an argument about it, find activities to do together. Look for things that would distract them from having another drink.

 

Consider a walk to a park, or visit a museum. Make sure you find activities that you both enjoy and keep your partner away from the means that fuel his or her unhealthy habits.

2. Don’t compare your spouse with others

One of the most hurtful things you can do is start making comparisons. Rather than comparing your partner to others, try making them excited about what they could be capable of or how their health would improve if they would just try a little harder to ditch some unhealthy habits.

Focus on their potential so that they’re more likely to open up to you and speak about what’s eating them on the inside. When you criticize and compare, instead of opening a conversation, you’ll only make your partner hide the way they feel even more.

3. Don’t get other family members involved

This tactic only leads to shaming, and it often isn’t a great motivator. Plus, your partner will feel betrayed because now you’re sharing what’s happening in your personal life with others without his or her approval.

 

If you want to have an “intervention” type of conversation, make sure you don’t get anyone else involved, because it will only damage your relationship with your spouse. It might be tempting to have other people backing you up, but in many cases, when someone has unhealthy habits, they’re aware of it. You won’t be needing someone to bring even further proof.

Wrapping up

Are you afraid your spouse’s unhealthy habits put a strain on your relationship? Contact a professional to find out what can be done to help your partner without making them feel like you aren’t putting their interests first.

3 Ways You Can Help Your Spouse Cope With Depression

depression

 

Living with a spouse suffering from depression can put a strain on your relationship. Suddenly, you feel unable to help or reach the one you love.

Plus, depression itself changes brain chemistry. A depressed individual becomes less interested in conversing or spending time with their partner.

But there are a few ways you can connect with your loved one even if they seem to be hard to reach at the moment.

Let’s take a quick look at 3 tips for helping your spouse cope with depression.

1. Stay on the same team

Depression causes sufferers to lose interest in activities that they enjoyed in the past, and it may also lead to them avoiding chores that need to be done.

Don’t just put the blame on your spouse for the negative changes in their personality. Approach your spouse’s bout with depression as you would a broken leg. You can’t expect someone with a broken leg to jump around, and you shouldn’t expect a depressed person to be cheerful and active all the time either.

2. Create a supportive environment at home

Depression also comes with a lower self-esteem, and one of the best ways to combat it is to encourage your spouse to help you out and praise their accomplishments. We all need to hear that we’re good at something from time to time, and it’s even more important for people who are highly critical of themselves.

3. Listen to your partner

We sometimes get so caught up in trying to understand those around us that we forget to actually listen to what they’re telling us.  

Often, the root of depression is obvious. It could be unemployment, being unhappy with a job, etc. All we have to do is listen and empathize. We don’t even have to come up with solutions on the spot. Our partners just want to feel understood and not judged for their shortcomings and internal struggles.

Wrapping up

Encouraging your partner to get help isn’t easy, especially when there’s so much stigma attached to mental health problems. Marriage counseling, on the other hand, involves both partners and can diminish the sense of being isolated, because now you’re both fighting for your relationship and your well-being together.

 If you’re thinking of helping you or your partner cope with depression, don’t hesitate to contact us.

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Infertility And Your Marriage

infertility

 

Infertility is a difficult burden to carry.

And unlike other traumatic events in your life, few people can understand the sense of loss that people experience when they realize they can’t build a family, at least not the way they wanted.

In this article, we’ll explore some of the ways in which your marriage might be tested while coping with infertility, and what you can do about it.

Don’t try to push your partner to look into adoption

In some cases, your partners will never be ready for adoption.

Many people have this deep desire to have their children that carry their DNA. As a result, adoption sounds like a weak substitute for their dream.

In this case, you need to have a talk with your partner about your future together without children and what it will look like financially and emotionally.

Lack of meaning

Many couples go through an existential crisis when they find out they can’t have children. They ask themselves what they will do with their free time while all of their friends are raising children.

What activities will add meaning to your life and a sense of satisfaction despite not having children?

Joining a cause or becoming an activist is just one the ways you and your partner can bring more meaning to your life and enjoy the time you spend together.

Don’t blame yourself for your health issues

In some cases, only one partner has fertility issues, and this often makes everything more complicated.

Questions such as “ Wouldn’t be my spouse happier with someone who can conceive?” may arise.

In this case, you have to accept that some aspects of your health can’t be controlled by you or your spouse, and in the end, you need to have a conversation with your partner about their expectations.  

Instead of being tortured about questions that threaten your self-worth, ask your partner what a family with no children means to them and whether this is a deal breaker.

Otherwise, you might be putting yourself down for nothing. There are cases where partners decide they don’t want to be in a marriage without children, but most of the time, the love is strong enough on its own and not having kids won’t damage the relationship.

Wrapping up

Is your relationship with your partner becoming more and more strained as time goes by?

Ask a professional about some of the ways you can heal together, as a couple, from the damage done by infertility.

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Setting Boundaries With In-Laws

Having issues with your partner’s parents is a delicate matter. The last thing you want to do is ask your partner to choose between you and their parents. In many cases, parents of newlyweds feel like they need to advise the new couple on important matters in life. This can be quite stressful for couples.

In this article, we’re looking at 3 ways you can set boundaries without appearing rude or damaging the relationship you have with parents or in-laws.

1. Ask for a phone call before your in-laws drop by your house

 

If you’re worried about having your in-laws interfering with your daily schedule or if you don’t like the way they try to educate your children, make sure their visits are planned.

 

Have a conversation with your spouse about your schedule and how you don’t like having someone over who might disrupt it.

 

A phone call is welcome before a visit. This way, you show your in-laws that your home is yours and they can’t just barge in at any time unless you invite them.

2. Don’t let yourself get drawn into arguments

 

If your in-laws believe that you need t make certain changes to your lifestyle, or if they believe your parenting style needs improvement, don’t start a fight.

 

Don’t even entertain the idea. Dismiss it completely. This doesn’t leave any room for arguments or for them to feel like they have power over your emotions and decision making. Don’t budge an inch, and assert yourself as an independent adult.

3. Don’t accept loans or move into their home

 

Many young couples ponder the idea of living with their parents during the first year of their marriage to save money.

 

But keep in mind that by doing so you and your spouse will most likely receive more directions than you need regarding your work and lifestyle. This happens because many parents find it hard to let go of their role as guides, even when their advice is no longer needed or is sometimes considered nagging.

Loans can also put you in a difficult spot, especially when they can be brought up during an argument and used as a way to blackmail you emotionally.

 

Final Thoughts

Having to deal with difficult in-laws sometimes drains us emotionally and can affect our marriage. If you feel that your boundaries aren’t respected and there’s a lot of pressure being put on your marriage, consider speaking with a professional. It may save your marriage from the pressure your in-laws put on it.

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Choosing The Right Partner

Photo by Ryan Holloway on Unsplash

 

Choosing the right partner is no easy endeavor. After all, many of us seem to fail miserably at it.

However, there are a few clues you can look for in order to find out if you’re on the right path.

Being in love temporarily blinds us, especially if we’re at the beginning of our relationship. This is why it’s so important to ask ourselves what traits we might be overlooking and how they can affect us in the long-run.

 

Here are a few mistakes even the best of us make when choosing a partner, as well as how we can correct them!

1. Don’t treat your partner as someone who needs saving

We can’t love what someone may become. There are many ways in which we can delude ourselves about our partners, especially if everything seems to be in place but one thing is missing. In many cases, the missing element is the capacity of the partner to commit to a long-term relationship or quitting a bad habit.

 

We must understand that a partner, no matter how special, can’t change the mindset of someone else. People aren’t serial cheaters or addicted to substances because they haven’t found the right person to love them, despite what they may say.

 

We have to be careful not to be fooled into believing that people can be easily changed by their partners. In the end, we might get hurt believing we weren’t good enough to change them, when in fact nobody can.

2. Make sure they’re interested in your well-being

Many people ignore this warning sign. Loving partners inquire about our days, try to lift us up when we’re feeling down, or are constantly looking for new ways to connect with us.

 

At the other end of the spectrum, there are partners who don’t seem to have much interest in our daily lives, partners who rarely ask what’s wrong with us and who rarely show interest in the things we love.

3. Negative traits shouldn’t outweigh positive ones

Before we move to the next phase in our relationships, we have to ask ourselves if someone’s pros outweigh their cons.

 

It may help if you write down the qualities and flaws of your partner in two separate columns before you make the decision.

Couples Therapy

No partner is perfect, but there are a few ways we can get better at picking who we allow into our lives. And once we do, we may still a little help along the way. Schedule appointment with one of our couple therapy specialists and ensure that your new relationship gets off on the right foot.

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The 3 Questions You Should Ask Your Partner Before You Get Married

partner

Sometimes the main cause of arguments and fights is not knowing the values of your partner, how they see life, and what their deal breakers are.Even after you get married, the short list of question we put together will help you get better at navigating through conflicts and solving issues as a couple.

If you want to communicate better and avoid conflict, ask your partner the following questions.

What are are your deal breakers?

You have deal breakers too, so it’s important to find out what’s acceptable for your partner and what isn’t. For some people, children aren’t a priority but career is. Is this a deal breaker for you?

Down the road, you may become frustrated with your spouse working overtime while failing to understand why spending time together isn’t near the top of their list of priorities. A simple question about their deal breakers can reveal a lot about the things you should avoid doing, and it can also help you determine whether you share the same deal breakers or not.

What values do you have?

Knowing from day one how important religion, family, and career are to your partner can save you from years of arguments and misunderstandings.

For example, you may engage in fights in the future about what kind of education your children will receive, or what schools they’ll attend. All of this can be avoided if you know what values they have from day 1.

People with different values can stay together and make things work, but when they don’t see eye to eye on the most important values, it’s hard for them to have empathy for each other because each of them thinks they’re right and their partner is wrong.

What goals do you have for the future?

This question will help you find out what kind of life your partner envisions for both of you. Does your partner want to stay at home and take care of the children, or is your partner a workaholic with dreams of becoming an executive?

You have to know from the beginning whether your hopes and dreams contradict each other’s, and if they do, you need to find out if it’s manageable.

Still confused?

Keep in mind that just because your partner doesn’t have the “right” answers to all of your questions doesn’t mean your relationship is lost.

If you want to get more insight into what you can do better to understand your partner and yourself, contact us with your questions here.

 

 

How Do I Know If I Need Marriage Counseling?

Photo by Caleb Ekeroth on Unsplash

 

Are you constantly worried about the health of your marriage? We all go through rough patches, but it’s important for you to figure out if your spouse is happy with what you’ve built together. The best way to treat an illness is with prevention.

 While a marriage isn’t always a bed of roses, there are a few warning signs that, if ignored, could lead to the destruction of your relationship. Read on to find out what they are.

1. You’re constantly afraid of saying the wrong things

 Being considerate of your partner’s feelings is a good thing, but what happens if you’re always walking on eggshells?

 There has to be a balance between avoiding certain topics and always being on defense or worrying that what you say will upset your partner.

Some people have a hard time opening up. Maybe your partner is dealing with some inner struggles that are uncomfortable to talk about.

In time, this can cause resentment to build up as well, especially if you always have to make a compromise, and this leads to both sides being unhappy.

 The nature of your partner’s day-to-day life can also play a factor in their response to stress or mood changes. Instead of fearing confrontation, ask your partner genuine questions about what’s responsible for their stress. It could be stress at work, too much responsibility, or money issues.

2. Spending time together is never a priority

 Highly-demanding jobs are usually to blame for this, but many people are often trapped in jobs they can’t escape without risking a financial disaster.

The problem isn’t when your partner doesn’t have any choice other than to keep their job and make ends meet. The problem arises when there’s enough financial stability and your relationship still isn’t a priority.

It’s also understandable if your partner wants to go out a few nights with his or her friends, but if they spend more time with their friends than they do with you, you’re dealing with a huge red flag.

Ask yourself when this started. When did your partner begin to prioritize other activities? Is there something that could’ve have affected the relationship that you’re to blame for?

3. Hurtful words are thrown around in fights too often

Hurtful words still linger even after the fight is over. Plus, hearing insults from the one you love only leads to resentment in the long term.  

Nobody wants to be disrespected, especially not by the person they live with under the same roof, and it’s important to do everything in your power to stop fights before hurtful words are exchanged.

What should you do if you experience one of these warning signs in your marriage? 

First, you must realize that no marriage or relationship is 100% perfect. Having one or all three of these signs doesn’t mean you’re on your way to a divorce. It just means you and your partner have to work on knowing each other.

If you want to find out whether your marriage can be helped by counseling or whether we’re a good fit for you, don’t hesitate to contact us!

 

 

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3 Financial Strategies For A Stress Free Marriage

marriage and money

 

Fights over money are one of the leading causes of divorce, but all money-related fights can be avoided if both partners make an effort to communicate their needs and expectations. 

The biggest fights over money happen when one partner starts making financial decisions or hides a financial leaking bucket from the other. But if you want to live a stress-free life when it comes to financial planning, start an honest conversation about these 3 financial strategies and find out which suits your lifestyle.

1. Earn more vs save more

Before you make a decision on whether you’ll invest more hours and effort into chasing a better paying job or cut down on costs, you need to have a conversation with your partner about your common goals.

This starts with understanding your spouse’s views on money. What does he or she value more, working harder to earn more money or cutting costs and working less? How important is having extra free time in the next 5-10 years as opposed to a bigger house, a more expensive car, and exotic vacations?

When discussing your goals, you also have to ask yourselves what your motivations are for a certain lifestyle. Is earning more a form of compensation or a way to keep up with the Joneses, or was affording certain things always a goal?

The answers to these questions will determine what kind of financial strategy you should adopt.

2. Become a minimalist

Not everyone is minimalist material, but if you hate cleaning or having closets cluttered with items you barely use, this lifestyle might suit you. 

Minimalism isn’t only for people who want to live in half-empty homes and own just a few clothing items. This trend focuses on you purchasing items you like and plan to use on a constant basis. As a result, you may end up cutting expenses simply by buying items you truly need.

3. Use a budgeting software

Keeping track of expenses is harder than you may think. One chewing gum here, a blouse there, and at the end of the month you end up asking yourself what happened with that extra $100.

This can be easily avoided by becoming more aware of where your money goes. Budgeting softwares like Mint can help you track the money you spend on bills, and it also allows you to create budgets and receive tips on how to improve your credit score.

At Northbrooklyn Marriage & Family, we can help you navigate how to keep your marriage in-tact while dealing with normal daily issues like money, that can cause extra added stress. Schedule an appointment today with one of our professionals.

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How to Make the Most Out of Marriage Counseling

 

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

 

Marriage counseling isn’t a guarantee that your marriage will be saved. However, you will come out of it knowing both yourself and your relationship with your partner if you know how to make counseling work for you. With the help of a trained and highly skilled marriage counselor, you and your partner can see success for both of you. Here’s how!

 

Set Goals for Yourself

Remember, it takes two in a relationship. While many people go into counseling wanting their partner to change one thing or another about them, it’s also important to be mindful of your own shortcomings. How are your attitudes and behaviors impacting the current environment in your relationship? And how can you better manage those to better communicate your feelings?

 

Don’t Be Afraid to Open Up

When you’re in counseling, you’re there to do work. No one is there to judge you. It’s your time to really be vulnerable and do the inner work that needs to be done. Your counselor is only able to take you as far as you will let them. Opening up and doing the work can save you and your partner months in therapy. This is your safe space to really reveal your feelings to your partner.

 

Put in the Time

You can’t expect to be great at something if you never put in any time or effort. Just like you can’t expect the counseling sessions to work for you if you never make time for them. Everyone is busy, but where are your priorities? Is it your priority to save your marriage? There’s no harm in admitting that maybe it’s not. But, therapy can help you determine your priorities and help you see where you need to be putting your time in at.

 

Find Your Independence

Many couples come in because they feel as if they’ve already lost their other half. But what you fail to remember is that you were a whole person prior to them coming into yourself and you’re still a whole person. Find and regain some of your independence so you’re not asking your partner to be your entire support system. Therapy can help both of you remember what it was like to have a bit of independence before becoming a partner.

If you and your partner are struggling with communication or feeling like the marriage is over. We specialize in working with couples at all stages of relationships. Whether you’ve been married for six months or 6+ years, there’s no wrong time to seek counseling.

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New Parent? Make The Transition Easier

Photo by Simon Matzinger on Unsplash

 

Becoming a new parent comes with a lot of new changes and challenges for couples. New sleeping schedules, feeding schedules, and less time to spend with each other can make for a difficult transition. In one day your whole world changes and that’s not easy for anyone. Even though introducing a new baby into your family and life is a beautiful and fulfilling experience, it does come with some difficulties. Here are some challenges and tests you might face as a new parent.

Your Partner Bond Will be Tested

Long days, little sleep, and the introduction of a whole host of new responsibilities means conflict is more likely to occur. The “who does what” of the relationship becomes strained thanks to these new responsibilities. Additionally, intimacy and your sex life may taper off because of the high-stress. Becoming a parent only amplifies any previous difficulties your relationship had prior to the baby being born. Remember, you’re a team working with each other not against each other.

Your Social Ties Will be Tested

Unfortunately, not everyone is as happy or excited as you about your baby. Everyone is at different stages of their life and some people struggle to reconcile with that. This means some people may not want to hang out with you as much or ever. Your friends, and especially family, will likely have tons of advice for you. This can put a strain on you because you want to do what’s best for your new baby but may not always feel like their advice is right for you.

Your Intuition Will be Tested

Everyone thinks they know what’s best. Especially those with previous child-rearing experience. With so many people in your ear, it’s going to be hard to tune in and listen to your gut. While many of these individuals do have you and your child’s best interest in mind, ultimately your intuition should guide you to decide what is right for you and your baby.

Find Connection and Support with Us

Becoming a new parent comes with a lot of changes for couples. Please join us for a 6-week therapeutic support group that focuses on the emotional side of new parenthood. Led by North Brooklyn Marriage & Family Therapy therapists, we will in engage in such topics as managing anxiety and stress, relational issues between partners, attachment parenting, and managing the expectations of family and friends. This group is recommended for couples with children under the age of 2yo and will run Sunday, October 14th through Sunday, November 18th in our Williamsburg offices. Please don’t hesitate to call us for additional information 718-785-9718 or email Jen at northbrooklynmft.com.  

The cost for the 6-week therapeutic support group will be $300 per couple for the series of six meetings.

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