Thursday, February 14, 2019

How Do You Say “I Love You”?

Love LanguagesWalk into any variety store and it will be obvious that Valentine’s Day has become a commercial extravaganza. Red cards, boxes and candies are everywhere! Love is in the air, along with high expectations and, to be candid, a real possibility of disappointment if the message of love isn’t sent effectively.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Are You “Spooked” About Getting Married? (Maybe you should be!)

Spooked about marriageFor most people, getting married and establishing a life with that special someone is one of our greatest desires. And it’s not surprising, considering that we are social beings with a need for secure attachment. Being securely attached to someone in a committed relationship is a vital source of stability, safety and contentment – or at least that’s what we want!

Unfortunately, we can be blinded by those desires and overlook some important red flags. I recently created this list that will help you understand when you should get “spooked” about getting married and slow down… or even run!

Before You Say, “I Do”… Consider These Cautions

Marriage, in its original design, is a sacred commitment that promises fulfillment, stability, partnership and purpose. But it only works well if it is based on a firm foundation. Be very cautious, or avoid the altar altogether if…

1. Your partner doesn’t share your strongly held faith and spiritual beliefs.
2. You have a high conflict relationship and issues rarely get resolved.
3. You feel compelled to rescue or fix your partner and you believe marriage will change them for the better.
4. You are afraid that no one else will ever love you or that you are getting too old to have better options.
5. You want to escape your current living arrangements.
6. Your primary motivation is to have children.
7. You want a father or mother for your child.
8. You want to “make it right in God’s eyes” because you’ve been sexually intimate.
9. Your only real connection is that you became pregnant together.
10. Your primary motivation is financial security.
11. Your family and friends are not supportive of your relationship.
12. You are in a relationship that began as an affair.
13. Your partner has a history

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Are You Together or Unified?

UnifiedYou can certainly notice when a sports or business team is unified because they tend to experience a great deal of success. Each player focuses on their role in creating a well-coordinated effort to win as a team.

The same is true for marriages. In my work with couples I find that one of the major contributing factors to relationship dissatisfaction has to do with the fact that they are together but not truly unified.

Many couples are together in that they live in the same home, share the same financial resources, sleep in the same bed, attend their kids’ Saturday soccer games and go out on an occasional date. These things are good, but they don’t necessarily reflect unity. Let me explain.

Unity is defined as the state or fact of being united or combined into one, as of the parts of a whole. This definition applies so perfectly to marriage! It goes deeper than simply being in proximity to one another. Unity in marriage is characterized by several key qualities:

Shared relationship goals: Are you both “all in” to make your marriage the best it can be? Working diligently toward growing together will result in both partners experiencing greater satisfaction. If either partner is more interested in meeting their individual needs rather than prioritizing the relationship, the marriage will be unsatisfying for both partners.

Joint participation in parenting, financial management and general decision making: After the dream wedding, life starts to get real. Practical, everyday responsibilities and opportunities occur for every couple, and they can’t be addressed by romantically gazing into each other’s eyes. Successful marriage is accomplished through cooperation, compromise, and willingness to work together.

Mutual loyalty, support and encouragement: Many of the couples I have worked with seemed to have forgotten the important principle that

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Is Your Opposite-Sex Friendship a Threat to Your Marriage?

Opposite-Sex FriendshipsMarriage isn’t easy. If you’re married, that is not news to you. While being committed and bonded to someone can be the most satisfying human relationship, sometimes it takes grit and determination to get past the challenges brought on by stressors like money, sex, conflict, parenting, illness, exhaustion and even an opposite-sex friendship.

Sometimes the challenges are beyond your control or happen in spite of your best effort to maintain your marital satisfaction. But at other times, they are avoidable. One issue that troubles a lot of marriages is one partner having a close friend of the opposite sex. While many such friendships are positive, I have created a list of 20 questions you should ask yourself to make sure you haven’t crossed a line.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

How to Be a Person of Influence – Part II

InfluenceLast week I shared the first 5 tips for how to be a person of influence, so here are the 5 remaining tips. I encourage and challenge you to review all 10 tips frequently so that you will become a person of influence who makes a positive difference in the lives of those around you.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Can You Guess What The Foundation of a Happy Marriage Is?

Happy MarriageWith Valentine’s Day upon us, our minds turn to love and romantic relationships. What do you think is the foundation of a happy marriage? Many people would guess that it is good communication, the ability to resolve conflicts, mutual respect, or martial commitment. Although these things are very important recent research shows that the best predictor of marital happiness is friendship.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

10 Things That Turn Women Off

WomenIn most healthy marriages, both the husband and wife enjoy physical intimacy. There was a time when women were taught to “endure” their husbands’ advances, but thankfully we have grown past that archaic mindset and into the realization that God designed sex in marriage to be pleasing to both spouses.

And yet, a lot of men still complain about their wives’ lack of interest in physical affection and sexual intimacy. What’s the problem? I have found that many men simply do not understand how they might influence this indifference or lack of desire.

As a psychologist, I have spoken a great deal with men and women on the subject of marital intimacy, so I hear both sides of the story. It is rare that someone’s marriage is affected by all ten of these turn-offs, but they are common enough that you might recognize yours in one or two of them.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Keep Conflict from Derailing Your Marriage

Conflict

In his book, The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, Dr. John Gottman introduces the concept of “repair attempts” to keep conflict from derailing your marriage. According to Gottman, the success or failure of a couple’s repair attempts is one of the primary factors in whether their marriage flourishes or flounders. Along with Dr. Gottman’s principles, I’ve included my own practical applications for your marriage. Practice these reparative strategies regularly and watch your friendship grow.

A repair attempt is defined as any statement or action—silly or otherwise—that prevents negativity from escalating. Here are a few examples of phrases that can be effective repair attempts. Keep in mind that the absence of repair attempts is a strong predictor of marital failure.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Escape from Groundhog Day

Ground Hog DayHave you seen the movie Groundhog Day? It features Bill Murray as Phil, a weatherman with a bad attitude who finds himself reliving February 2nd, Groundhog Day, over and over again with all of its petty frustrations, seemingly pointless activity and irritation. Do you ever feel as though you’re like Phil?

We have all heard the folk wisdom that says the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, yet expecting different results. While that definition doesn’t quite cover the whole concept, it does capture a part of it. It is definitely not “sane” (rational, logical) to expect things to change if you don’t do something to interrupt an unhealthy pattern in order to improve your situation. In other words, if you want something to change, you have to take the initiative to change it.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

WORDS: Key to Home Improvement

WordsWords are vital to the expression of who you are, what you think and feel and how you relate to others. They are truly one of the most powerful building blocks of our relationships. When we talk to people, the words we choose can build walls, pedestals, bridges or fortresses. The same tools can be used for demolition if we’re not careful, so use caution when speaking to others.

While this is true of all of our conversations with anyone, nowhere is it more evident than in our own homes. The way we talk to those closest to us will shape the design and structure of our family relationships. What type of structure are you building with your family? Let’s look at some of the ways our words affect our closest loved ones.