Marriage counselor with a flip phone

I did it. I gave up my smartphone. In recent years more and more research has found correlations between smartphone use and marriage problems, depression, anxiety, insomnia, and emotional distance. I see it in my clients. I have counseled couples for years to be careful with their use so that the phone doesn't take away from family time. Unfortunately, I found that I was not feeling as happy, my kids would ask if I was done with my phone so they could spend time with me, and I wasted more … [Read more...]

Default or Intentional

A copy machine is designed with a default setting: push the button and it automatically makes one black and white copy. If you want something different, you must intentionally select the settings that you want: more copies, double-sided, enlarged, color. etc. This may work well with copy machines, but not so well with marriages and families. The default setting for many marriages and families is that of minimal connection, meals on the run, unplanned and heated exchanges about schedules, chores, … [Read more...]

Is Your Relationship Being Consumed?

In the world today, regardless of your socioeconomic status, there are countless things to consume and opportunities to experience. This countless array of things and experiences creates a giant magnet that can pull us away those we love and threatens relationships. The more we focus on what we individually want to consume or experience the more likely we are to see our partner as someone who is a barrier to our consumption or experiences. The more we see them as a barrier the further we are … [Read more...]

Parents: Are You Emotionally Disconnected from Your Children? (Part 2)

In the first section of this topic we discussed some basic information about how emotional disconnection might affect the individuals’ emotional wellbeing. In this second section I would like to share with you some of the most common indicators of a serious problem with emotionally absent parents: 1. Insensitivity to the emotional experiences of their children (feel like parents were not interested or had no clue of what was going on inside their children), but highly involved and invested in … [Read more...]

IQ vs EQ

IQ [intelligence quotient] has long been a standard tool for measuring our ability to acquire knowledge and make use of that knowledge to solve various problems. For Einstein it was solving the problem of relativity; for us it is solving the problems of relativity in marriage! EQ is “emotional intelligence” which has to do with our ability to understand, empathize, and basically get along with other people—critical skills in marriage! The 5 key areas of EQ are: motivation, social skills, … [Read more...]

Working Through Complex Issues in Unity

Every couple has complex issue to work through at various times in their lives together. Below are some important relationship principles to help you achieve success: 1. Each in the couple relationship freely expresses thoughts and point of view. Be sure to avoid blame or criticism, or shooting down the other person's ideas or feelings. Show respect. 2. Seek to feel constant love for your spouse while dealing with the complex issue. Take breaks if you need to. If feelings of love and … [Read more...]

Parents: Are You Emotionally Disconnected from Your Children? (Part 1)

Have you ever heard about the Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs? Let me explain a little bit more. Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs is a motivational theory in psychology including a five-tier model of human needs, often shown as hierarchical levels within a pyramid. Maslow (1943 -1954) stated that people are motivated to achieve certain needs and that some needs take priority over others. Our most basic need is for physical survival, and this will be the first thing that motivates our behavior. Once that … [Read more...]

Reach for Each Other

At this moment I sit next to my four-year-old son as he sleeps in his hospital bed. He is an incredible boy. A boy of strength, love, and character. He has endured eleven surgeries in the short 4 years of his life. Sitting with him through these painful, fear-invoking, and difficult trials in his life has had a tremendous impact on me. He didn’t ask for this. He doesn’t deserve it. But, he does ask for and deserve my hand as he reaches for it so I will hold him through his pain and never let … [Read more...]

Managing Life’s Roadblocks

There are times in our life plans when we feel like we have hit a brick wall. These types of barriers can be any obstacle, real or perceived, that prevents us from achieving a desired objective. This can occur in our personal life or in any type of relationship whether with a spouse, a family member, friend, or co-worker. We struggle to understand why the other person [whom we perceive to be the obstacle] cannot change to meet our [rational or irrational] needs. When we do approach roadblocks, … [Read more...]

The 2-Ply Marriage

Over the years we have all heard advertisements on the radio, TV and through other forms of media about one brand of paper towel or toilet paper being stronger than another. The stronger brands advertise that their product is 2-ply. I think we can all agree that 2-ply toilet paper or paper towels make cleaning up more efficient. Another definition of the word ply is “to work hard at something, to work hard at a trade or occupation, [or marriage] especially with diligence.” A 2-ply marriage … [Read more...]

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