Monday, December 15, 2014

Small Talk: The Art of Keeping the Conversation Going

Conversational skills are important in any relationship. In many good relationships they are easy and fluid; however, for many, especially in new relationships, they can be tough. Some people are clearly better than others; however, here are 5 tips to help with conversations.

1. Show genuine interest in the other person.

Almost everyone feels flattered if you seem interested in what is going on with them … in their job, in their day, in their family, etc.

2. Share something about yourself, especially anything that you may have in common.
It is good to establish any commonality. Look for ones that might fit and start a conversation about it. Some ideas may come to you because of the setting you are in. Others may take a bit of exploring. Exploring can be fun!

3. It is okay to talk about the weather.

Talking about simple subjects like the weather are great ice breakers. You can carry this forward with follow-up questions like “What is your favorite time of the year?” “What would you be doing today if anything were possible?”

4. Ask advice.
You don’t want to ask doctors medical advice or lawyers for legal advice .. or therapists for personal advice in social settings but it is good to ask for advice about things that you both might have in common like ”How did you decide what you wanted to do in your life?” or “What are your favorite travel spots?”

5. Have one or two topics that you know something abou
t … current events, movies or television shows, the latest technology and, if it seems to interest your conversation partner, share a little of your thoughts and opinions.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Tip of the Week

At this holiday time, remember, lower expectations lead to a higher sense of peace.

Thursday, December 4, 2014




Here are 5 tips to help you KEEP CALM and CARRY ON so that you can ENJOY THE HOLIDAYS.

It’s all in the attitude

The more that you think your way to remaining calm, the more likely it is that will happen. Much of stress is in the way that you think about it. Remember that there is a reason for the season. Keep that reason in the forefront of your mind. Enjoy your family, friends and rituals.

Planning makes a huge difference

Because this is such a stress filled time of year, it is not a time to “fly by the seat of your pants”. Rather, have a plan. Make lists. Decide what is manageable for each day and try to keep within that plan. You do not have to do it all. Life will go on if everything is not decorated perfectly or the “right” gift is not under the tree. Your enjoyment of life is far more important to you and your loved ones than a purchase or another light in the yard.


Reduce holiday stress by remembering that everything does not have to be on your list. Ask for help. Give others duties. Have pot lucks rather than fixing all of the food yourself. Work with your neighbors to help each other out. Working together can be a whole more fun and far less stressful than handling it all alone.

Deep breath

Do you know some deep breathing or meditation techniques? If not, this might be the time to learn them. You can use a simple app on your phone, practice 3 slow deep breaths in and out 3 times a day and whenever you are in stress or give yourself an early gift and take a class in meditation. More and more research is showing the benefits of meditation and mindfulness for physical and mental health.

Eat, sleep, pray, love

Take care of yourself in all ways.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Tip of the Week

"When it comes to marriage, the more you focus on the bad stuff, the more you focus on the bad stuff."
Pat Love

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Financial Infidelity: What Can I Do?

Some folks who are even in the best of marriages find that their spouse has been hiding debt, purchases, bank and credit card accounts or money from them and are devastated by uncovering the information about financial infidelity.

A first reaction is rarely the best course of action. Rather, it is recommended that you take time to calm down and clearly think through the situation so that you can make a calm decision about how to handle the knowledge of financial infidelity.

Here are some suggestions for how to handle financial infidelity in your relationship.

1. Make a date to talk with each other about your finances, goals and plans. Be sure it is in a neutral setting. Can you go out for coffee? Sit on the deck? Choose a place that promotes calm and neutrality. Never talk when either of you are upset, defensive or angry even if you believe that your partner has been financially deceptive.

2. Frame your thoughts, questions and ideas in neutral and non-judgmental ways. For example, start your conversation with phrases like:
“I think we have different philosophies about money and I would like to see if we can come up with a plan that will fit for us both”.
“There are spenders and there are savers, in this relationship, we have one of each. Let’s see if we can find a way to balance each other out.”

3. To further ward off financial infidelity, be sure that each of you does have some discretionary money on a regular basis. Each of you will be more likely to follow through with a plan if you do have some money of your own that you can spend without consulting with or “reporting” to the other.

4. Talk out loud about money differences. Respect the fact that there is more than one way to make things work and there can be a “middle” ground.

5. Agree to be open and up front about all money and debt. Hiding only brings about more hiding, feelings of betrayal and anger about financial infidelity. Acknowledge that you may see this differently and agree to talk out loud about the differences rather than hiding them.

6. Be willing to change yourself and your spending and saving habits. No one is right about everything and you do have to give in order to get.

7. Keep a positive attitude as you two talk together. Find ways to emphasize ideas like “there is a solution here, we just have to keep working toward it” or “we are a team and together we can figure this out”.
Would you like more ideas for ways to handle financial infidelity? Check out our articles on Counseling Relationships

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Financial Infidelity

Is financial infidelity affecting your relationship? Are you, or your partner, keeping secrets about money with each other?

Financial infidelity, lying to your spouse about money (assets, debts, purchases, etc.), happens in about 30% of all marriages or relationships with combined income. Disagreements and fighting about finances (financial infidelity) are a leading cause of divorce.

According to a 2014 survey by the National Endowment for Financial Education, one spouse admits to lying to his or her partner about money, in 1 out of 3 marriages. In that same survey, more than 75% noted that this financial infidelity and dishonesty has adversely affected their marriage.

Money and the control of money is crucial to many people. We all develop styles of handling finances (frugal, spendthrift, saver, etc.) from our childhoods and experiences that we have as we mature. When two halves of a couple have the same style, money is often not a problem. When styles are different, that can lead to stress and conflict or financial infidelity.

Financial Infidelity Self-Test
Answer these questions honestly about yourself and/or your partner.

1. Is it hard to talk about finances with each other?
2. Is one of you likely to become argumentative or defensive when the money is discussed?
3. Do you know each others' style or relationship with money and can you respect any differences as part of a healthy balance?
4. Do you know each others' salary and any other source of income?
5. Are any large purchases made without consulting the other?
6. Are any large purchases “hidden” from the other?
7. Are you financially naked with each other?
8. Do you know each others' passwords? Credit card information? Checking accounts?
9. Do there seem to be big gaps between income and debt?
10. Do you know how much total debt you have as a couple as well as any individual debt?

If you answer “yes” to many of these questions, you are not alone. Remember, 1 in 3 couples do have problems with money and experience financial infidelity. In future posts we will share suggestions with you.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Tip of the Week

A recent research study noted that one of the hallmarks of a successful couple is that they celebrate each other's success and are there for each other when things are going well. This seemed to be even more important than being supportive at times when things are hard.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Great Gifts for Couples

Looking for a thoughtful gift for a special couple? Want to find a way to celebrate and enhance their relationship. Here are 5 suggestions of gifts for couples … newly married, having a special anniversary or “just because”.

Gifts for Couples

A Gratitude Journal. Recognizing and feeling grateful for each other and for the relationship is a wonderful way to build up an emotional bank account and is a wonderful gift for a couple. A leather journal with a pen and candle would be a wonderful way to encourage the couple to focus on what it good and right about their relationship.

Something for a Holiday Tradition.
Rituals are important in cementing a relationship. Choosing a gifts for a couples with a special saying or photo of the couple in an ornament for a Christmas tree, a crèche set, a menorah … something special that will remind the couple every year of their history together.

Date Night Escape.
Consider what your budget will allow and choose what would be the best gift for a couple. Anything from an overnight getaway with hotel and restaurant arrangements to a basket of things to use for a date night at home would be a nice choice.

The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate
There are a lot of good books for couples. One of our favorites is Gary Chapman’s The Five Love Languages. In this book, Chapman helps couples identify their own language of love and how they can best show love to their partner.

Experiences bring opportunities for couples to grow and learn together. New experiences increase serotonin, that brain chemical that keeps interest alive.

Couples Counseling of
Counseling Relationships

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Tip of the Week

Make sure to spend as much time with your spouse and family as you do with all of your hobbies.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Dating Advice: Questions to Ask as a Relationship Deepens

Should I stay in this dating relationship?

There are lots of things to consider before deciding whether or not you want to deepen a relationship.

While at this point in any relationship, you SHOULD NOT be ready to plan for marriage, even if you believe that you have found your soul mate; however, you do want to find out more about this person and whether or not he or she is capable of a healthy relationship.

You will want to assess for maturity and the ability to form an intimate partnership. You will want someone who can work through disagreements with you and someone who can be trusted.

Here are some to the questions to ask yourself.

* How does he or she handle anger?
* Can we have a disagreement about something?
* Can he/she stay in the discussion or come back later to talk it through?
* What is my gut telling me about this person and this relationship?
* Are there yellow or red flags here and, if so, are they familiar ones to me?

Write a list of the top 10 things that are important to you in a healthy dating relationship and keep that list close at hand. Ask yourself, does this relationship meet that criteria?

Here are some of the questions to ask your partner.
Questions about stability and maturity.
* About employment: How do you like your job?
* What are the positives and negatives?
* How long have you worked at this job?
* What made you decide to change?
* What is your ideal job?
* What would it take for you to get it?

Questions for emotional stability.

* How do you pick yourself up when you are down?
* How do you calm yourself down when you need to?

Questions about the ability to have an intimate relationship.

* About prior relationships: Tell me about other important romantic relationships in your life.
* How did they end?
* How did you heal from the ending?
* What did you learn about yourself from them?
* What did you learn about making choices in a relationship?

About friends and family: Tell me about your family.
If they are cut off from their family or only see them on a very limited plan, learn about
that and what makes their family toxic.

Counseling Relationships Online
Couples Counseling of Louisville

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Dating Advice: Getting to Know More About You Questions

Important dating advice to remember is that it can help a lot to find out more about your new friend before deepening any connection and devoting more emotional energy and time to a new relationship.

Here are some suggestions for questions to ask a potential new partner in a dating relationship:

Getting to know about someone’s family can be a good indicator of his or her ability to be a healthy part of a relationship. This does NOT mean, of course, that someone who grew up in a difficult or abusive family cannot or has not
learned how to relate effectively. It may, however, help you evaluate whether or not to take the relationship past the introductory phase. (And for those of you with “rescuer” tattooed on your forehead, please examine this aspect carefully.)

When you are just getting to know someone, you must be respectful of their desire to talk, or not to talk, about private or personal matters. Choosing to wait before opening up can be a good sign about respecting boundaries so keep the questions light and playful and be sure to share some of the same information about yourself.

. Tell me about your family.
. Who are you closest to in your family?
. What are some of your favorite memories as a child?
. How did you celebrate holidays?
. What did you do for vacations?
. What would your parents say was the most daring thing that you did as a child?
. What did your family see as your strengths or things that you did really well?
. Was there any special role that you held in your family? Were you the peacemaker, the responsible one, the high achiever, the one who made everyone laugh?

As you listen to your friend's responses, do some "gut checks". Find some quiet time and a little distance to ask yourself these questions.

Questions to ask yourself
in dating relationships.

. What is my “gut reaction” or what is my intuition telling me about this person?
. Are there any caution or red flags floating? If so, are they familiar ones for me in past relationships?
. How well does this person answer my list of the top 10 characteristics in a healthy relationship?

Have any other thoughts or ideas about this? We would love to see them in the comments section.

Counseling Relationships
Couples Counseling of

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Dating Advice ... Questions for Couples: Getting to Know You

Dating Advice: “Getting to know you” questions for relationships

Dating is about having fun and getting to know different people. Many also have an “end goal” in mind, to find someone special with whom to develop an intimate, loving and eventually permanent relationship.

In dating, some think that they need to do a “sales job” to convince the other person that they are interesting, attractive and a good catch. Here is some very important dating advice. Dating should not about finding someone who likes you nearly as much as it should be about finding someone who is a good fit for YOU. This involves sharing about yourself but it also means finding out about the other person.

When you are just getting to know someone, it’s flattering to ask them a lot about themselves. Most people love to talk about themselves so don’t pound them with questions but feel free to ask away as you get to know them.

Your main goal at the beginning stage of any relationship is to find out if you have enough in common to explore a friendship with the possibility of deepening the relationship.

Another piece of important dating advice is that you also want to have some idea of whether or not this person is someone that you can trust and with whom you want to spend your valuable time.

Certainly, questions are not the only way to get to know someone. Experiences and activities together can also give you lots of clues. In this article we just want to give you some ideas of things to talk about to start the ball rolling.

Dating Advice Questions

Here are some good “getting to know you” questions.

1. What is your favorite thing to do in your spare time?
2. When you have a wide open day in front of you, what do you like to do … schedule lots of different and interesting things or just leave it open and let it evolve?
3. Tell me about the music that you like and what makes you connect to that style and those
4. What would your friends say is your best quality?
5. Tell me about your job. What do you like most and least about it?
6. What makes you laugh?
7. Tell me about your favorite movie (or book) of all time and what makes you choose that one?

Check back here for more dating advice and questions for couples.

Counseling Relationships Online
Couples Counseling of Louisville

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Tip of the Week

One advantage of marriage is that, when you fall out of love with him or he falls out of love with you, it keeps you together until you fall in again.
Judith Viorst

Thursday, April 24, 2014

5 Tips for Spring Cleaning and Renewing Your Relationship

There is never a bad time for renewing your marriage; however, spring is a particularly good time to renew and revive your relationship.

Here are 5 tips for renewing your relationship:

1. Talk together to see if there are any unresolved conflicts or disagreements that need to be resolved?

Most couples do have common areas of disagreement. Unresolved conflict can lead to distance in a marriage. Talk together about whether or not the issues that have not been resolved need to be worked through. Can you do it together or would it be helpful to engage a consultant, coach or marriage counselor?

2. Are either of you harboring any resentments that have not been dealt with?

If you don’t talk about and resolve differences, it can lead to a build up of resentment that comes from feeling hurt, disappointed, diminished, angry, etc.. All of these negative feelings can block intimacy and connection in your relationship.

Many people believe that they are protecting their spouse by avoiding conflict; however, the repercussions to the relationship can be very destructive.

3. Forgive what can be forgiven. Accept what has happened in the past, even if might be unforgivable.

Many couples do want to save their marriage in spite of hurts and betrayals. It is important to find ways to work through these experiences together; however, even if they are not worked through, it never helps to hold on to negative thoughts and feelings.

Can you forgive what has happened? If forgiveness is not possible, are you able to accept that it happened in the past and yet, your partner and your relationship, have changed and you are in a much different space than before?

Tom had an affair early in their marriage, 12 years ago. Sandy learned about the affair and Tom stopped it shortly after. It was such a painful event for Sandy that she was certain that she could never forgive and definitely never forget about the betrayal. What did happen; however, is that Tom changed in many ways in the marriage. He was much more loving and respectful and they found new ways to connect. Eventually she found that she was able to accept that the affair had happened but Tom was different now, the trust was back in their marriage and they truly enjoyed being with each other.

4. Learn to live in the present.

Living in the past or worrying about tomorrow robs people of their ability to enjoy life now. Find ways to let go of the past, calm anxious worries and enjoy your present.

5. Focus on the goodness in your partner and in your relationship.

It is a much better place to be in when you can be grateful for the goodness in your relationship and in your partner than to think about what is wrong. This might be a time for the two of you to start a gratitude ritual or even a gratitude journal in which you share 3 things that day that you appreciate, like and love about your spouse and your relationship.

Counseling Relationships

Couples Counseling of Louisville

Monday, March 17, 2014

A hero is someone who can keep his mouth shut when he is right.

~ Yiddish Proverb

Friday, February 28, 2014

Addressing Issues Head-On: Where to Go for Help

Where can I get help when I or we need it?

Some times couples find that they are really stuck in unhealthy patterns and cannot find their way out. It is good when both acknowledge that they want to do something differently because changes can happen much more quickly and cleanly when both are willing to make changes.

Here are a few suggestion for places to go to begin the process of addressing issues head-on.

Books and websites

John Gottman is the premier researcher on healthy marriages. From his research, he has written several books. The books have exercises and information for couples to build the skills to develop healthy relationships.

Check out his website for the list of his books and tools to begin changing your relationship.

The Divorce Remedy
by Michele Weiner Davis is a great book for one person who wants to make a change in the marriage, even if his or her partner is not in the same place.

How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It by Patricia Love and Steve Stosny is a very good book to help you develop a better understanding of your partner. Women often want their men to talk more and men want their partners to do or be more. Neither is wrong or right. Just different. This book helps couples learn how to connect more so that both feel better about the relationship.

Friends or mentoring couples

Are there other couples that you know who have a relationship that you like and admire? What can you learn from them, both by observation and maybe even from conversation. Talk it over with your spouse to see if there are things that you recognize in those other couples that would be good to try yourselves.

Some churches also offer the opportunity to meet with couples who have been successful. Retrovaille is a group weekend setting that offers this in a more formal way. Couples who have been in a very tough spot in their relationship share their experiences, both about their problems and how they found their way to a healthier place.

Professional counseling

Don’t wait the average 6 years between the time that problems start and you ask for help. Get help before it is too late. Talk with your doctor or a trusted friend for a recommendation for a therapist who specializes in relationship work.

Using the internet, start with therapists who are listed on the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy website. Any of the therapists listed here have specific training in working with relationships.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Effective Ways to Address Relationship Issues

When you decide that there is an issue that needs to be addressed, it is better to do so sooner rather than later. It is generally not best to address things head on when you or your partner are emotional (hurt, sad, angry, etc.) because strong emotions tend to overwhelm good thinking and keep a healthy conversation from ensuing.

Here are 7 guidelines for ways to address issues head on.

1. Choose times when you are calm.

If at all possible, look for times to address issues when you are both in a calm place. Handling conflict can be hard enough. Starting to address an issue when one or both of you are flooded is a sure-fire way to lead to a disastrous conversation. Being angry, upset and flooded leads to the fight or flight pattern.

Find a calm and loving way and time to introduce any complaints or issues.

2. Find ways to be alone and uninterrupted.

Turn off technology. Make sure that the children are or entertained. Agree to hang in with each other for a specified amount of time.

3. Begin complaints softly.

Make sure that you are calm yourself. Find ways to begin in loving ways and keep you tone and words to ones that say to your spouse “You are someone that I love very much.”

4. Hear each other out and really listen rather than building arguments.

It can be hard to listen to complaints fully rather than spend time building your argument. For effective communication, you must listen to your partner and really understand what they are saying before sharing your thoughts, opinions and differences.

5. If one of you becomes flooded, take a break but make a commitment to get back together.

When disagreeing, most people get flooded. Some are able to stay calmer longer than others; however, when one person becomes flooded, the other often does as well.

As hard as it may be, the wise thing to do is to take a break .. A time out … until both of you are calm and able to talk clearly about the issue.

6. Make a plan to get back together and talk again.

Experts say that it takes 30 days for a change to become a habit. Some plans also need to be changed or renegotiated. Plan to get back together and evaluate how well things are going when there is an issue on the table that needs to be addressed.

7. Find some way to reconnect and repair any damage to the relationship.

After the discussion, make sure to find ways to tell each other that you appreciate the conversation. Look for ways to connect that are positive and loving. Recognize that “winning” an argument is not worth losing the friendship.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Addressing Issues Head On When They Are Affecting Your Relationship: When To Do It and When To Get Help

Letting problems pile up is never a good thing. When you do that, you tend to either
build resentment which leads to distance or blow up about something in a way that is totally unhealthy and unhelpful. It is important to find ways to address issues when they are important and affecting your relationship.

Here are tips for deciding when to address issues. In later days we will discuss how to address them and signals or signs that you may need more help.

When is it important to address issues in my relationship?

It can be a challenge to know when something is an issue that affects your relationship and when it is just “your” problem and something that you need to accept about your partner and learn to let it go.

The following guidelines give some ideas for how to make the choices about when to address issues.

Address issues head on in your relationship:

1. When there is physical harm to someone in the family.

Issues must, of course, be addressed at the first sign of any physical harm. Situations often do not improve for the long term. While there may be a “honeymoon” phase, these changes do not always last.

It may be that your spouse is not the place to start the conversation since it may increase the chances of harm. Consider steps carefully.

2. When there is emotional or verbal harm to someone in the family.

Respect and loving communication are crucial in a healthy marriage. If they are not present, 100% of the time, the issue must be addressed. If you do not feel that you and your ideas are respected, address the issue head on.

3. When the financial livelihood of the family is affected.

Money is one of the top 3 issues about which couples often disagree.
Money is loaded with so many different psychological aspects. For some it symbolizes power. For others, the meaning may be related to childhood experiences. Open and honest communication about money is important in a couple’s relationship.

4. When distance has grown and you are feeling lonely.

Day-to-day living with jobs, children and activities can lead to distance and loneliness in a relationship. The inability to resolve conflict can do the same. If you are feeling lonely in your marriage … talk to your spouse. Be sure to confide in him or her rather than someone else (especially of the opposite sex).

5. When concerns or issues are not resolved in a way that is ok with you both a great deal of the time.

Avoiding conflict is a style of relating that fits for many people. It rarely helps a relationship. Talk with and listen to each other about the issues.

If you feel that you are not okay with how things are resolved most of the time, it is important to address that as well. Find a way to talk about it before the resentment builds.

6. When you suspect an affair.

Turning away from a suspected affair can sanction and give permission for an unfaithful relationship to grow. If you are concerned about a friendship that your spouse is having, talk about it out loud, as calmly as possible.

7. If your resentment has grown so strong that you are having problems dealing with it.

Some things are not worth talking about. Others must be addressed. If you find that resentment is building, that is a sign that something is missing in your communication. Do what you can to identify what is bothering you and find a way to talk about it.

8. When the negativity in your marriage far outweighs the positivity.

Is there an environment of positivity in your marriage … or has it slipped to negativity? Research shows that a ratio of 5 positives for every one negative is present in healthy marriages. If you are not at that place address that head on.

9. When there is a lack of intimacy inside or outside of the bedroom.

Woman often want intimacy outside of the bedroom before feeling ready to be intimate in the bedroom. For men it is often just the opposite. If you are missing intimacy in either place, talk about it.

10. When all communication seems either non-existent or you two are just misunderstanding much of what the other is saying or trying to communicate.

Talk about talking with each other. Share your sadness and disappointment about your lack of communication and find a way to talk more with each other. Share what you think and feel and hear what your partner needs and wants.

Counseling Relationships
Couples Counseling of

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

How To Be A Good Valentine

Do you know how to be a good valentine?

Flowers, candy and presents are nice on Valentine’s Day … but that alone does not make a good Valentine, especially if nice things are only done once a year.

Here are some of our suggestions for how to be a good Valentine every day.

Show your spouse that you love him or her every day. Obvious, right? Most forget to do this and it can be so simple. Little acts of love in secret places … for only her to find, frequently will help keep the romance and “special-ness” alive.
Flirt, flirt, flirt. “Heart” him in short text messages. Give lots of good eye contact and laugh at her jokes.
Keep the romance alive all year long. Develop rituals (the 14th of every month is V-Day or all Friday nights involve soft music and a candle for 20 minutes after the children are in bed). Be creative. Simple is fine.

What ideas do you have to add to our list? We would love to hear about how you or your partner have learned to be a good valentine.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

10 Myths About Marriage, Part 2

Here are 5 more myths about marriage … debunked.

6. Marriage Myth: Conflict and disagreements destroy a relationship

Fact: Lack of resolving conflict can move couples apart and toward distance and loneliness. Feeling unheard, misunderstood or disrespected because of your thoughts and opinions can lead to pulling away.
Disagreements are normal. Learn how to talk about them respectfully.

7. Marriage Myth: If you no longer find yourself sexually attracted to your partner, that is a sign that the marriage is in trouble.

Fact: Sexual interest and attraction waxes and wanes in relationships. There are clearly times when couples (or half of a couple) are more interested than others. Feeling an attraction for someone different also affects attraction for a long-term partner.
Learn ways to “heat up” your marriage.

8. Marriage Myth: It is unrealistic to think that someone can stay in a marriage for a lifetime as in the past because we live so much longer today.

Fact: There are many successful long-term marriages. Couples in those successful marriages learn ways to be skillful, playful and mature through time. They also have an attitude and belief that they WILL make it, that their marriage will survive.

9. Marriage Myth: Having children usually brings a couple closer together and increases happiness in their marriage.

Having children usually brings more stress, activities, less sleep and less time for individual and relationship pursuits and attention.

10. Marriage Myth: Two people in a good marriage automatically grow closer with time.

Fact: Very little in marriage happens automatically. Couples develop common interests, talk a lot about themselves and develop a history that can bring them closer. This requires setting priorities and devoting time and attention to the relationship and to their partner.

Couples Counseling of
Counseling Relationships

Thursday, January 23, 2014

10 Myths About Marriage

In our next two postings, we want to share with you some of the most common myths about marriage. We will be interested in your thoughts and feedback.

Here are 10 of the most common myths about marriage.

1. Marriage Myth: You shouldn’t have to work at a good relationship, it should just come easily.
Fact: Couples have to make their marriage a priority. If they do not, it is easy to grow apart. Growing apart leads to loneliness and can often pave the way for an affair.
A better word or phrase than “work” might be “focus” or “prioritize” your marriage.

2. Marriage Myth: Sometimes you just have to “settle” for your spouse and your marriage because no marriage is perfect.
Fact: Part of this is true. No marriage is perfect. Acceptance is also important in a marriage. At the same time, “settling” implies giving up on change or improvement. Everyone can change. Healthy conversation and taking risks can improve many relationships.

3. Marriage Myth: You only need to stay in your marriage if it makes you happy.
Fact: Do not look for any relationship to make you happy. You have to learn how to make yourself happy. Many people give up on perfectly good marriages that have become stale from lack of attention.
Change yourself. Find ways to increase your own happiness and see what happens to how you think about and how you act in your marriage.

4. Marriage Myth: After 3 (or 5 or 10 or 20) years, you should not have to tell your partner what you need to make you happy. He or she should just know.
Fact: Really? Do you really think that anyone can really read your mind?

5. Marriage Myth: Marriage partners can fill the gaps in one another's makeup.
Fact: We are all affected by our life experiences. Some of us have healthier and happier ones than others. For those who were affected by painful childhoods or traumatic events, they need to find ways to accept and mourn those losses rather than look for another person to meet those needs.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Rebuilding the Friendship After an Affair

Because we specialize in relationships, we meet with a lot of couples. Many of those couples come to us because of infidelity.

The fallout and pain that come from an affair are many. Because of that, recovery from an affair is often more like a roller coaster with a lot of ups and downs than like an escalator with steady upward growth.

The hard work of recovery cannot be completed from a well of feelings full of anger and upset. Much of it must come from connection through love and a genuine desire to understand and repair damage to the relationship both during and before the affair.

We often encourage couples to find times to talk, question and share feelings about the betrayal on a regular basis but to limit that time to only a small percentage of their waking time together.

We help them to find ways to rebuild the friendship that brought them together so that the friendship can help them through the long talks about the affair and the relationship struggles.

Have dates. Take walks. Watch movies. Remember the good times in the past. Work together on household tasks. Plan weekends together. Spend time with friends … all ways to nurture the friendship as a foundation to guide the hard work through recovering from the affair.

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Healing from Affairs