"Adult romantic love is an attachment bond, just like the one between mother and child." Sue Johnson Society has told us that in order to be independent, healthy adults, we need to separate ourselves from our parents, and learn to not depend on them for nurturing and comfort. However, the need to depend on one person, to know that when we call, that person will be there for us, never disappears. As psychiatrist John Bowlby said, “from the cradle to the grave,” we need to have someone to be there for us from the moment we are born until the moment we die. For this reason, romantic love is not illogical; it is, in fact, the continuation of an ordered plan for our survival. However, there is a difference: our partner doesn’t not have to be there physically. As children, we needed our caregivers in order to safe and protected. As adults, we can use mental images of our partner to call up a sense of connection. Whenever I have to do a presentation, I get anxious and nervous. What I do to calm down, is to picture my husband in mind and his encouraging words. The Laws of Love - 1

The Laws of Love – 1

"The primary and main human instinct is neither sex nor aggression. It is to seek contact and comforting connection from another being."  Sue Johnson   English psychiatrist, John Bowlby, was the first to give us an understanding of love. Bowlby suggested that all of us are designed to love a few others to keep us feeling safe and protected from birth until the time we die. Sue Johnson, in her book "Love Sense," says that "although sex may push us to mate, it is love that guarantees our existence." When we come into the world, our attachment system has been hard-wired to seek connection with another human being. If you watch a baby being born, you will notice the way the baby will reach out to connect to the person who has been carrying him or her for nine months. The brain attachment system moves us to pursue physical closeness and build interactions with a few of our closest people, beginning with our mother. Reference: Johnson, S. M. (2013). Love sense: The revolutionary new science of romantic relationships.

Do You Need Pre-Marital Counseling?

As we are preparing to enter into the “Wedding Season” of 2013, I wanted to take the opportunity to give some input and perspective into the benefits of pre-marital counseling. Some religions require for couples to go through session prior to marriage to make sure that they are embarking on this journey for the right reasons.  In lieu of any religious requirements or in addition to them, pre-marital counseling can be a great benefit to a lasting marriage. Even in the most intimate relationships, it can be difficult to discuss your hopes, dreams and expectations. While we can agree on where we will live, how we will pay the bills and whether we will have children, there are other issues that can be more easily addressed during a counseling session then in a one-on-one discussion with your fiancé. One of the biggest benefits of pre-marital counseling is the ability to learn how to communicate effectively with your partner. All relationships are based in communication. Yet often times with our most intimate relationships, we think that the other person “knows” or “understands” what we are thinking or saying. This is not the case. A counselor can give your tips and strategies to improve the communication in the relationship and make sure you understand each other’s needs. During the session, you will be asked questions to determine areas where you are compatible and non-compatible. While these differences may not be deal-breakers, by identifying them early on, you can help alleviate problems further down the road. Also, by knowing where these differences are, you can work to compromise in these areas instead of moving forward and possible causing areas of contention. Marriage is hard work. You need to [...]

By |April 16th, 2013|Categories: Blog, Counseling, Couples, Marriage, Relationships|Tags: , , , , |Comments Off on Do You Need Pre-Marital Counseling?

Try These Tips for a Long Lasting Marriage

  We all hear the statistics of how 50% of all marriages end in divorce. So if you are already married or about to get married, what can you do to avoid becoming a divorce statistic? Here are some thoughts that can increase the likelihood of making your marriage last.   Communication – This is critical to any relationship, but especially to a marriage. If you don’t talk about the good, the bad and even the ugly, your spouse is going to have no idea that something is wrong. Ask about your spouse’s day, how they are feeling. Getting comfortable with the small talk will make the “Big Talks” less stressful. Have Fun – Let’s face it, we all like to have fun. Make sure that you have fun together. Whether it is a sport, a movie, or even playing a board game, do something fun together. Make them laugh and don’t forget to laugh at yourself. Respect Their Space - We all need some “me” time. How often can vary by person and by what is going on in their life. Give your spouse that space. Whether it is letting them sleep in on a Saturday morning, going for a solo walk or drive, let them go. They will appreciate the time on their own and will love you even more for giving it to them. Forgive – No one on this Earth is perfect. We are all going to make mistakes at some point in our marriage. Learn to forgive your spouse. Holding on to past grievances is not only toxic for a marriage, but it can affect your health. Now I’m not saying you should become a doormat and let your spouse [...]

You’ve Got The Ring, So Now What?

You and your honey have been together for a while now, you know that he is the one and now he has finally popped the question and given you a ring. You are both happy and have been sharing your news with friends and family. Everyone has been asking “When is the big day?” and you have no idea. We all anticipate that getting married is something that we will only do once, so planning a wedding can be a daunting task. Wedding planning doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Here are some basic tips to get you off to a good start. Determine a Date Range – While you can’t nail down an exact date right away, you need to decide on a date range. This could be an entire month or a few weekends. This will also help you in determining your budget.    Who’s Paying? – Gone are the days when the bride’s parents would pay for the wedding and the groom’s parents would pay for the rehearsal dinner. Many couples are waiting longer to get married and are more financially able to foot the bill for their wedding. Everyone’s situation is unique so work with both sets of parents to come up with a solution that works for everyone. Keep in mind, that if either set of parents is paying for a portion or all of the wedding, they will expect to have some say in how things are done.    Set a Budget and Stick to It – Now that you know who responsible for paying, make sure and set a budget…. And STICK TO IT!!  You don’t want to start off your life together surrounded by a mountain of debt. Furthermore, [...]

5 Tips To Show Your Love After Valentine’s Day

As the candles have been blown out, the romantic dinners had, gifts exchanged, and memories created, what do you do now to keep the love moving forward? Just because Valentines Day is over does not mean you have to stop showing the love that you have for someone. Love should not require us to show our significant others the love that they deserve just once a year, but instead daily. Love is something that, given enough tenderness, will grow deeper than you can imagine. Many people have this thought that once Valentines Day is over, that’s it. No need to be extra romantic or extra special towards the one you care for. However, it is even more important to show your significant other after the holiday to remind them what a major factor they are in your life. Here are some simple things to do to keep that romance alive through the year: 1. Flowers – Girls love flowers. Even better, your girl loves flowers sent to her job with a secret little note reminding her of how incredible she is to you. It makes everyone around her jealous and makes her blush and feel important. 2. Dinner – Don’t let going out or cooking for your significant other happen once a year. Make it a romantic occasion at least once a month. Find their favorite recipe, light some candles, put on some romantic music, and when they walk in the door, sweep them off their feet. It’s not every day that someone will sweep his or her significant other off the floor by going above and beyond. Who knows, you might have the romantic evening returned one day! 3. Baths – Really. After a [...]

5 Hot Date Night Ideas He’ll Love

Everyone knows that guys take girls out all the time on dates. However, in this modern society, it’s becoming socially acceptable for women to take their men out too. What is it that you do though with the man that you are spending time with getting to know? There are so many suggestions and ideas out there that sometimes it can get all too overwhelming. Here are some places to start that we hope will help! 1. Your man enjoys the craftier things in life… Craft beer that is. If your man is like most and enjoys beer, you might want to see if he is into craft beers and IPA’s. You might even recommended going to a few of the local breweries around town and watch him light up. The other nice thing is there are generally a few bars or restaurants you can go to that have some really nice wine or appetizers that you could get to enjoy so you’re not left out! 2. Does your man scream and yell… as his team scores the winning point? The one thing men can’t seem to get enough of is their sports. While this may seem the norm for some people, you would be surprised how many women floor their man by purchasing great floor seats to a basketball game, seats above the dugout, or right by the penalty box. Men like to see that you have the same interests as them so if you happen to like a sport he does, surprise him with tickets one day. Even better, ask if you can wear one of his jersey’s when you go to the game together, cheer extra loud for his team, and enjoy [...]

5 Original Date Night Ideas You’ll Both Love

    With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, most couples are planning a night out that includes dinner, flowers and candy. Instead of the same old, same old, why not take it up a notch or two this year? Try out one of these unique ideas listed below: Go on a “first date” – Take your sweetie to the place you went on your first date. Now that you have been together for a while, it will be less stressful than that first time, but still sentimental and romantic. Heads or Tails – Get your honey and get in the car. At each intersection, flip a coin to decide which direction you will take. You never know just where you will end up! Relive Your Childhood – Head out to the batting cage, go-kart track, bowling alley or roller rink. Share some time together just having fun and pretending to be kid and letting go of your worries. Be a Tourist in Your Town - Take your date to the art museum, history museum or aquarium in your town. Schedule in dinner at a local restaurant and make sure and hit the hippest hotspot in town. Stay In – Nothing can show your love like a home cooked meal. Try out a new recipe or whip up their favorite dish. Can’t cook? No worries. Order in. Add in some music and candles and you have the perfect night at a fraction of the cost to go out. We all get complacent at times in our relationships especially those with a spouse or significant other. These ideas can add some creativity to your relationship and remind you why you fell in love in the first [...]

4 Tips to Not Sacrifice Yourself in a Relationship

 Why change who you are to who you aren’t? Remember that first date you went on with your significant other? Yea, the night that you guys went out, shared a meal (or a movie), maybe held hands, possibly kissed? What was it about them that made you fall for them? A good amount of the time their personality and ability to click is what makes you fall for them (and of course, looks help too). But what happens when you start dating, and further down the road you begin to sacrifice little things (possibly big), and suddenly, you are not the person you were before? When you are in a relationship, so many people are willing to sacrifice who they are to make the other person happy. Stop right there. Rewind. Don’t do it. Why? Here’s some reasons why: - If you truly care for and love that person, and they you, there should be no need to change who you are for them. Is that not what made you click in the first place? - The fact that he likes Spiderman and you prefer Batman, that he enjoys gaming while you enjoy clubbing with the girls, or maybe that he likes going to the beach and surfing but you cannot stand the sun are what make each person unique. - Little things that you enjoy should not be sacrificed, you are giving up who you are to be someone you are not. I understand that there is a need to nix a bad habit or silly thing now and then, but do not under any circumstance shift your entire personality to be someone you are not. If anything, get to know each other more [...]

Emotional Intimacy: Keeping the Spark Alive

Taken From February 7th, 2013 So many people begin a relationship with someone based on several different factors. These factors include things from looks, smarts, finances, to the emotional connection that is established. However, what do you do when you become intimate and the relationship lacks an emotional connection at that point? When you begin to have an intimate relationship there needs to be some sort of emotional connection. If you lack that connection you can almost be guaranteed it won’t be a fruitful relationship. It turns from being a potential positive relationship to one that becomes disconnected, and possibly hurtful. The connection that is developed with that of emotion creates a deeper and more intimate bond than that of no emotion. Intimacy then becomes a chore, and it becomes repetitive. It becomes something that is loathed or not looked at with interest or excitement. A relationship that doesn’t have the emotional connection becomes so cold that each party may begin to feel guilty for being in that relationship. As times progresses, this could lead to more damage to each party involved as the lack of emotional commitment could lead to lying, cheating, hiding things, addictions, and so much more. The lack of emotion creates a distance that can easily tear a relationship apart. Make sure that when you are in a relationship, that you are emotionally connected with someone. Have that bond that creates excitement and happiness and makes you want to jump your partner when they walk in the door. Take those times during the week to spend time getting to know your partner and make those moments about what makes the other person tick. Find out what your partners [...]