Stop the Relationship Wrestling

Take down–two points. Reversal–two points. Pin–for the win. These are all things I witnessed at my son’s most recent wrestling tournament. As I sat and watched my son wrestle, I couldn’t help but think that I see a similar pattern of verbal and emotional behavior from many of the couples I have seen in my office. Each of these couples seem more concerned with taking down their partner or finding a reversal of a comeback. While some partners some partners will go to great lengths to get the pin … [Read more...]

Create a Magical Couple Relationship

When I was a little boy, I would lay awake anticipating what presents Santa Claus was going to bring me. In spite of fact that Santa Claus never gave me what I had asked for, year after year I would experience the wonder and excitement of anticipating what Santa would bring me. I believe my childhood anticipation was a gift that made this time of year “magical” for me. As I think about other “magical” moments in my life that I have awaited with excited anticipation, I think about, the time I … [Read more...]

Family First

We live in a world driven by aspirations, public opinion, and striving to be the best. Why do we do this? The short and blunt answer might be: image management. At what cost? The short and blunt answer might be: our families. I have been one who has always strived to excel. I worked hard as a child to live up to my potential. I secured a scholarship to college, attended the best graduate programs in my field, ran for public office, sat on advisory boards, developed a successful business that … [Read more...]

In Which Category Do Your Relationship Problems Fall?

In my office I frequently hear couples say, “When a couple can’t agree on things like sex and money and can’t communicate, they end up getting divorced…Right?” These may be perceived reasons that cause divorce, but I suggest that there are three categories where the majority of relationship problems land. May I suggest that it is the beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors, that are at the root of each of the three categories below, that leads to relationship problems and ultimately leads to … [Read more...]

Can our marriage be saved?

A common question I receive at first appointments from couples is: Can our marriage be saved? This is a good question. One that can help you determine if you should or should not try to work through things in counseling. If you ever find yourself asking this question, consider these thoughts: Do you love your spouse? Are you willing to improve with out needing to wait to see if your spouse improves first? Are you willing to work on strengthening your friendship with and commitment … [Read more...]

Venting Leads to Relationship Suffocation

If you carefully read the label of many cleaners, glues, paints, or anything else that it potentially toxic, it will tell you to use the product in a well ventilated area. In these instances, proper ventilation helps us to minimize the effects that toxic fumes may have on our minds and bodies. However, when it comes to building a stronger relationship, venting to others about your spouse/partner can cause the relationship to suffocate. You may have assumed that venting to family and friends … [Read more...]

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...]

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...]

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