3 Things You’re Doing That Hurt Your Relationship

 

Photo by Brooke Winters on Unsplash

 

Relationships have their ups and downs. Which means that despite what you may have been told, relationships are actually hard work. While they shouldn’t always feel like hard work, you and your partner do have to put in the work from time to time. However, sometimes, no matter how much work you feel like you’re putting in, your efforts seem to be thwarted. Even after awhile those same efforts just don’t seem to work like they used to and you just can’t figure out why. You may be doing these 3 things unintentionally.

 

Keeping Score

While unconditional love is a little unrealistic (you should have some conditions), score keeping is a relationship killer. There are no winners or losers in love and you shouldn’t be creating that dynamic. You and your partner should be on the same team. Instead of keeping score, recognize and understand that the division of labor will never be 50/50. Choose to focus on how you’re working together as a team toward a common goal.

 

Playing the Silent Game

Staying silent about what is upsetting you isn’t conducive to a healthy, happy relationship. Silencing your self to avoid conflict or to protect your partner’s feelings isn’t doing either of you any favors. Instead of staying silent, speak from your heart. Say phrases like, “I feel” to avoid placing blame on your partner. Phrases like, “when you do x, it makes me feel __” lets them know that specific behavior is tied to a specific emotion.

 

Deprioritizing Sex

Sexual intimacy is the primary ways couples maintain and sustain a connection. Once sex falls off and becomes less of a priority the relationship begins to become a stressor point. Instead of letting sex fall to the wayside, make it a priority. Sure, there’s nothing sexy about scheduling sex on the calendar but making a set time for sex means both of you are more likely to commit to sustaining a healthy sex life, which ultimately sustains a healthy relationship.

 

Learning all the ways in which to make your partner feel loved can prove to make the relationship a better experience for both of you. Sometimes though it’s difficult to love your partner for one reason or another and you start to do things unintentionally that make them feel less than. Couples counseling can help both of you reconnect and strengthen your relationship. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

SPEAK TO US PRIVATELY

The Keys to Choosing a Good Marriage Counselor

 

relationship

 

Marriage counseling can do more than just “save your marriage.” Counseling can help prepare you for the stress of a new baby, communicate more effectively, deal with major life changes, and, of course, save your marriage. But finding a marriage counselor isn’t exactly easy because you might not be keen on asking around for recommendations, as that would mean you’d have to tell your friends and family what’s been going on. If you like to keep things private, here are a few keys to choosing a good marriage counselor.

 

1. Reputation and Recommendations

If you can’t rely on recommendations from friends and family, the Internet has tons of online reviews, discipline records, and licensing boards. A therapist who has been practicing for awhile will likely have a long list of reviews and recommendations.

 

2. Shared Values

A counselor is a person. Which means they have their own thoughts, values, and ideas. As a result, this means that those same thoughts, values, and ideas may not align with yours. Each counselor has their own approach to marriage and counseling and if that counselor’s approach does not align with your ideals of marriage, it’s okay to find a new one. Your counselor wants you to be happy and feel fulfilled in and outside of therapy.

 

3. Strategy

What makes therapy so successful is the strategy. Prior to proceeding to a long treatment, you want to ask what their strategy typically is. You can’t expect to have results without making some lifestyle changes. However, the strategy the counselor may normally use may not work for you and your partner.

 

4. Results

Finally, ask how your counselor measures your results or how you and your partner should measure your results. Often people have a poor view of counseling because both the counselor and the patient have not been monitoring and tracking results. If you don’t notice changes within a few months of treatment, it’s time to find someone else. The goal of therapy and counseling is to come out on the otherside happier, healthier, and equipped with better knowledge of yourself and your relationship.

A good marriage counselor is willing to answer all of your questions, provide you with additional information, and ensure that you and your are on track for creating a stronger marriage. If you’re curious about how marriage counseling could help you and your partner, whether you’re newly wed or 10 years in, give us a call. We can schedule an appointment and discuss how counseling can benefit you and your partner.

TALK TO US PRIVATELY

3 Marriage Tips For Newlyweds

Photo by Caleb Ekeroth on Unsplash

 

As a newlywed couple, it’s likely that everyone and their grandma will have advice for you. While some may be good, some outdated, and some that just don’t really apply to you two at all. So, how do you know which advice and tips to take seriously and which ones to politely nod to? These 3 marriage tips will help you and your partner merge from two individuals into one happy couple.

 

1. Be Available to Each Other

Time is the world’s most precious resource. The intimate bond between husband and wife is something that only you two share with each other. Which is why it’s so important to make time to be available to each other. Being available to each other means physically, emotionally, and mentally. Carve out time each week to give each other your undivided attention and love.

 

2. Love is an Emotion and a Verb

Once the honeymoon phase wears off you might be more inclined to start finding faults in your partner. But no one is perfect. Choosing to make a conscious effort to practice gratitude in your relationship can help you cultivate loving feels towards your spouse. Learning your spouse’s love language can also help you two learn how each other expresses and receives love.

 

3. Keep Disputes Private and Praises Public

Your friends and family don’t need to know all the dirty details about unwashed dishes, socks that never get washed, and that messy financial situation you’re dealing with. However, it does help for them to know about all the great things your partner does or has accomplished. When you only talk about disputes, it’s hard for your friends and family to like your partner and while you may just be venting, you may be unintentionally painting a negative picture.

 

Embarking on a lifetime commitment is an exciting feat. However, it’s not all rainbows and butterflies. The important thing to remember is that you and your partner will fight, you will have lulls but you’ll also have highs and experience a one-of-a-kind connection with someone you love and cherish. Whether you’re 6 months in or 25 years in, marriage counseling can help you and your partner strengthen your bond. You don’t need to be dealing with an issue to benefit from counseling. You don’t only take your car in when something is wrong. Counseling is like an oil change for your marriage. Call us today to schedule an appointment and learn how counseling can benefit your relationship.

 

SPEAK TO US PRIVATELY

4 Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Say “I Do”

 

Photo by Ryan Holloway on Unsplash

 

As your big day approaches you probably have a myriad of questions to consider. Most likely in relation to the ceremony and reception. While those are important questions, a lot of couples tend to forget to ask themselves questions. Before you and your SO say, “I Do” ask yourself these 4 questions.

 

How Do I Expect My Life To Change?

It’s totally normal to go into marriage assuming that everything is going to change and holding all of these expectations about how those changes will play out. But, the truth is, your life doesn’t change all that much once you’re married. Many people expect the emotional intensity to increase which can lead to disappointment and fights. Talk to your partner about what you think will or won’t change after you’ve said your vows.

 

How Do We Weather Storms?

When you first get married you’re probably going to experience similar feelings to when you first started dating. That honeymoon phase lasts longer for some but eventually, a storm will roll in. When the storms do come will you two let it wreak havoc or will you face the storms together? Sometimes pre-martial counseling and marriage counseling can help you two learn how to become a force together to face even the toughest storms.

 

Why Am I Getting Married?

This is a question you and your partner can ask yourself and have an open and honest discussion about. Many people get married under the idea that once they’re wed they’ll live “happily ever after forever” and that can be true. But it’s not something that just “happens” it’s something that takes work. Finding out why you’re getting married and why your partner wants to marry will help you two be able to build that strong, solid foundation you need to have a long, lasting and successful marriage.

 

Who Can I Model My Marriage After?

It’s not good to do a ton of comparing because it can lead to feeling of inadequacy but it is okay to look at other people’s marriages and find things you like about theirs. Take a look at the marriages close to you and find things you like about their relationship and use that to create an individualized mold to model your marriage.

 

Getting married is an exciting time full of love and joy.  However, there are going to be some bumps in the road and that should be expected. Marriage counseling is a great way to “tune up” a marriage the same way you tune up your car. Pre-martial counseling is also a great space to have you and your partner discuss your expectations about what’s to come. Give us a call today and find out how our team of professional counselors can help prepare you and your partner for your best journey together yet!

TALK TO US PRIVATELY

4 Steps To De-Escalating An Argument

 

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

 

Arguments happen. They’re a totally normal part of any type of relationship. The problem with arguments is when they start to get emotional and personal. Anger is a natural emotion but when we start reacting from our emotions and not from a state of logic, that’s when feelings start to get hurt. It’s also when people start to feel like they’re not being heard. If you struggle with feeling like your arguments are productive, here are 4 steps to de-escalating an argument.

 

Do Something Different

So they’re not listening when you’re yelling at them? Maybe… try something different? Try writing them an email, a letter, or even a song if you’re feeling silly. Cook a nice, relaxing dinner and talk about the issue while you two are both in a different state of mind. Coming up with new ways to discuss your argument puts you and them in a different frame of mind. One in which you’ll both be more open and receptive to listening and understanding.

 

Don’t Stoop to Their Level

It’s hard to do in the moment but avoid stooping low and resorting to name calling or character bashing. Try to avoid any “knee-jerk” reactions. Decide beforehand that you are not going to stoop to a level that hurts the other person.

 

Take a Big Deep Breath

Often times when we’re so caught up in an argument we forget to breathe. If you feel yourself starting to get worked up, go ahead and take a big deep breath. Deep breathing helps to pull you back into your body and keeps you centered. This will help you to avoid those “knee-jerk” reactions that cause you to do or say things you don’t actually mean.

 

Take 5

There’s nothing wrong with saying, “hey this is getting heated, can we take 5?” and walking away from the argument. Taking a timeout isn’t passive aggressive or childish. Sometimes you need adequate time to collect your thoughts and form an argument that is productive. You can always come to an unfinished argument when your head is in a better space.

The art of arguing is not something many people think about. For many people, arguing is about reacting and not necessarily about resolving. Whether you’re arguing with your partner, a business partner, or a friend, learning how to argue productively can dramatically help improve your relationships. If you’re struggling with your anger management or how to argue productively, give us a call today to schedule an appointment. Our team of highly skilled counselors can help you develop the skills to manage your anger and argue effectively.

TALK TO US PRIVATELY

 

So You Had An Affair… Now What?

 

Photo by Ryan Franco on Unsplash

 

Having an affair can be one of the most traumatic events to happen within a relationship. The trust, foundation, and love that was once there can be shattered. While some couples recover from this type of event, others never do. An affair in a relationship can have extensive consequences that may spread well beyond the limits of the relationship to friends, family members, and even coworkers. There are many reasons why people choose to have an affair. But in the moment of finding out, none of those really matter. So what do you do if you’ve had an affair?

 

Tell Your Partner

The longer you keep the affair in secret, the more betrayed your partner will feel. As hard as it may feel to tell the truth, it’s better to just get it out in the air. Your partner knows you better than you think they do. So if they feel a change in behavior, they will notice and begin to collect their own data and evidence and come to their own conclusions. Wouldn’t it be better if you were just honest and told the truth?

 

Offer Answers Before They Ask

You might be tempted to give as little information as possible. Only divulging the fact that an affair happened. But your partner is going to have a lot of questions and limiting the amount of information you give is not going to minimize the damage. Recovering from an affair is more likely and effective when you release all the truth rather than letting it trickle out over time.

 

Don’t Get Defensive

Your partner is going to have a lot to say to you and it’s all going to stem from a place of pain. Remember that your partner is hurt and they are going to act out in a way that makes them feel most comfortable. This may mean yelling, crying, or isolating themselves. Whatever you do, don’t get defensive and don’t start playing the blame game. Defensiveness or avoidance may send a message to your partner that the relationship is still in danger of being lost.

 

Honesty is essential when it comes to healing from infidelity in a relationship. Honesty may not feel like the most simple solution but it is the most effective. If you and your partner are struggling with infidelity in the relationship, you two can heal. A professional marriage counselor can give you and your partner a safe space to be open and honest with each other about the future of the relationship. Schedule an appointment with us today to help get your relationship back on track and stronger than before.

TALK TO US PRIVATELY

What To Consider Before An Open Relationship

 

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

 

Open relationships are becoming more popular in the mainstream media. Which is leaving a lot of couples who are struggling with their relationship to ask themselves, “should we open up our relationship?” While opening up the relationship may seem like the easiest and simplest solution, there’s a lot to consider. For many people, an open relationship is a good idea in theory but in practice, it can have serious consequences. If you and your partner are considering opening up your relationship, here are some things to consider.

 

What’s Your Communication Style?

Communication is a crucial key to any successful relationship but especially if you and your partner are considering opening up yours. If you and your partner struggle with being honest with each other or struggle communicating in general, then an open relationship is not going to solve whatever issue you think it will. Couples therapy can help you and your partner learn and practice healthy communication skills.

 

How Busy Are You?

Just because you open up your relationship doesn’t mean you get to completely write off your partner. In fact, opening up a relationship might require you to put in more quality time with your loved one. Additionally, opening up the relationship requires a lot more coordinating with each other, communicating, and discussing each other’s needs and feelings. If you’re already too busy to do any of these things in a closed relationship, an open relationship isn’t going to make these things any easier.

 

Do You Trust Your Partner?

An open relationship is all about having trust. However, if you don’t trust your partner, it’s never going to work. If you’re struggling with being able to trust your partner, couples counseling will help. Having an open relationship means trusting that they’re telling you the whole truth. If your relationship is already on shaky ground, adding a new dimension will not help.

 

Even though many couples are exploring what it means to have a successful, happy relationship with monogamy, it certainly is not for everyone. Many couples think opening the relationship will solve all their problems. However, this just isn’t the case. If you and your partner are struggling to communicate, open up to each other, and trust one another consider couples counseling.

 

Our team of highly skilled, compassionate counselors has helped dozens of couples who struggle with building on to the strong foundation that once brought them together. Give us a call and schedule an appointment today. You and your partner deserve to be happy.

TALK TO US PRIVATELY

The Importance of Learning Your Partner’s Love Language

 

Photo by Ali Yahya on Unsplash

 

You’ve probably heard the phrase “love language” before but unless you’ve read Gary Chapmans “The Five Love Languages” you probably don’t know much else about it. Your love language is not only how you express love, it’s how you receive love as well. This means that you may express your love through one language but receive it through a totally different one. The 5 love languages are: Words of Affirmations, Gifts, Acts of Service, Quality Time, and Physical Touch. You likely give and receive a combination of these and it’s also possible that your love language can change over time and even daily. But why is it so important to know your partner’s love language? How can knowing their love language help you strengthen your bond and relationship with one another?

 

Allows You to Communicate Your Needs

Direct communication in a relationship is so important but do you ever wish your partner could just instinctively know what you need from them when you need it? When your partner knows what your love language is, they can automatically satisfy your needs before you need to say anything. If you and your partner don’t know your love language yet, take the test and find out. Once you know you can start communicating with each other and letting the other one know that it makes you feel loved, appreciated, needed, etc. when they do x, y, or z.

 

You’ll Feel More Appreciated

Knowing your partner’s love language will help you discern how they show their love so you can feel more appreciated. Often times it’s not that our partner doesn’t love us, it’s that they love us only in the ways that they know how to love us. When your partner knows that you need physical touch, words of affirmation, acts of service, etc. then they can begin to show you love in the ways in which you need them to show you.

 

Enhances Thoughtfulness

If you know that your partner likes physical touch or words of affirmation, you’ll be more likely to give them those things. In turn, you and your partner will become more thoughtful and loving towards one another. Knowing each other’s love language causes you to be more conscious about what you, and what they can do, to show love to one another.

 

Learning you and your partner’s love language will have a profoundly positive effect on your marriage. Not only will you discover how you give and receive love, but you’ll know when your partner is giving you love even if it doesn’t always look like the love you “wanted” to be receiving. Acts of love in a relationship are everywhere, you just have to open your heart and receive. If you and your partner are struggling to discover your love languages and implement them into your relationship, we can help. Call us today to schedule an appointment with one of our counselors and we can help you get on the path to a happy, healthy, and loving relationship

TALK TO US PRIVATELY

3 Things to Do Before Couples Therapy Starts

 

 

Photo by Hunter Newton on Unsplash

 

So, you and your partner have finally agreed to go ahead and move forward with couples counseling? First off, congratulations for taking the first, and often the hardest step, towards working on your marriage! Many couples don’t even make it this far. So you should really give yourself a pat on the back. Even though the counseling sessions haven’t started yet, there are still some things you and your partner can do prior to coming in for your first session. Doing these 3 things will help to make the sessions go smoother and be more productive.

1. Practice Introspection

Therapy is a great way to an outside perspective of your situation. However, introspection can go a long way as well. Think about your relationship and your experiences within the relationship from a new perspective. Doing so can help you to empathize with your partner and help you identify where you might be falling short. Don’t be afraid to ask yourself questions. The best therapist sometimes is yourself.

 

2. Practice Self Care

It might seem counterintuitive to practice self-care when you’re trying to work together to make your marriage work and get back on track. However, self-care isn’t a selfish activity. In fact, self-care is all about choosing behaviors that nourish your body and spirit. You can’t pour from an empty cup. So, if you’re running on empty, that means you have nothing left to give within your relationship.

 

3. Prevent Further Damage

This will be different for every couple but preventing further damage prior to your first session is going to make things a whole lot easier. Further damage is typically unhealthy patterns of interaction or communication. These unhealthy patterns are the ones that are causing distress in the relationship. This can be anything from yelling to passive-aggressive behavior to even physical, emotional, or mental abuse. Try to notice and be aware when you find yourself spiraling into an unhealthy communication pattern. Take a deep breath, step back, and regroup when you have regained your composure.

 

Marriage isn’t always rainbows and butterflies. There are going to be long periods of both joy and grief which is what makes these relationships so beautiful. But sometimes during the dark days, you need a little bit of extra help. If you and your partner are struggling to communicate, we can help. Our team of highly skilled counselors can help you and your partner identify problems and teach you how to resolve issues in a healthy, effective manner. Schedule an appointment with us today.

TALK TO US PRIVATELY

 

 

The Components of a Healthy, Happy Marriage

 

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

 

There’s so many different ways to build a happy, healthy marriage. However, we’ve noticed that there are about 4 different components that help to establish that strong foundation that allows for a happy marriage. A great foundation is essential for long-term stability and growth within the relationship. Let’s take a look at the different components that make up a healthy, happy marriage.

 

Friendship Component

The friendship component is so important because it means that you and your partner genuinely enjoy each other’s company. Being able to find joy in doing activities together and engaging in conversation is key. Additionally, friendship helps you see the humor in life. When the friendship aspect is lacking, it can lead to arguments, less time spent together, and overall resentment. You and your partner can and should be the best of friends.

 

Spiritual Component

Spiritual connections that you share with your partner can help you two overcome even the most difficult of times. Couples who share a strong spiritual component in their relationship are usually able to work through rough patches and can find a greater sense of peace within their marriage. Spiritual connections help both you and your partner see the bigger picture in life. This is especially important when the little ugly details of life start to crop up.

 

Business Component

As dry and dull as this component may be, it’s extremely important. The business component is often what makes or breaks a marriage. This component involves money management, delegating duties, children rearing and caring for, and other day to day responsibilities. When you work through this component as a team, you come out stronger. This aspect is all about how you and your partner get your needs met while ensuring that these decisions are what’s best for you and your family.

 

Managing a Healthy, Happy Marriage

Some days it’s easier to manage your marriage than it is others. However, when you have a strong foundation you can see beyond a silly fight or disagreement. Establishing a strong foundation in your marriage is the key to longevity.

 

The good news is that you can always work on the foundation no matter where you are in the marriage. Working on the building blocks that make up a happy marriage can make a huge difference and increase satisfaction within your marriage.

But sometimes it takes a little extra help from an outside source. If you and your partner are needing some extra help to fill a few cracks in your foundation, we can help. Our team of counselors can assist you and your partner in strengthening your union. Give us a call today to schedule an appointment.

TALK TO US PRIVATELY

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 16