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 [...]

Time for Some Personal Spring Cleaning

With spring right around the corner, what better time to re-evaluate your personal life? Spring is a time of renewal and rebirth. It is a time when both nature and humans wake up from their long winter’s nap. Let’s take the opportunity to look at our personal lives and make some changes to improve ourselves. Relationships – Are you in a committed relationship? If you are, how is it? Are you happy? Do you and your partner communicate? Are your needs being satisfied? If you answered “no” to any of these questions, take some time to address your feelings. Write down how you are feeling, what could make you feel better and how you would like to communicate. Then set aside some time to discuss your feelings with your partner. If you aren’t in a relationship, are you happy that you aren’t? If you are unhappy, think about what you can do to get into a satisfying relationship. It could be as easy as taking up a new hobby to meet new people or enrolling in a self-improvement course to get you on the right track. Commitments – We all, especially women, have a tendency to over commit ourselves. Whether it is an extra assignment at work, an obligation to a friend or family member, we are BOOKED UP! Take a look at your calendar and evaluate what you HAVE to do. Identify some items that you can delegate to others or simply take off of your calendar. Once you have done that, make sure you schedule some “ME” time on your calendar. If you don’t write it down and block off that time, you won’t do it. Health – Are you up to date [...]

5 Reasons Why Your Ex Should Stay Your Ex

There are many major life moments that each person may go through. Some are easier than others, and then you have the truly hard ones. The hardest thing for most people to go through is breaking up with someone that they care intimately about for multiple reasons. When you share a connection with someone that you think may be the one and it comes to a point where your paths no longer are shared, breaking up is sometimes the answer. Often times, when someone leaves a significant other, they have regrets and consider reconciling and getting back together with them. In a recent study, 44% of emerging adults in the last two years have had a reunion with their ex. With emotions being incredibly intense after a break-up, it is no wonder people may have the regret of breaking up and want to reconcile. However, it is important to look at the situation and evaluate why you left that person in the first place. There is the old saying that many people say of “Your ex is an ex for a reason”. So should you reconcile with your significant other? Take a look at why they are your ex and what made you incompatible with them in the end. These are some reasons why you should not reconcile with an ex: 1. You changed who you were for them – Many times in relationships, one, or both parties, will change who they are for the other person. Yes, there is such thing as changing for the better, but you cannot sacrifice all of who you are for someone else. If you did this, get back to who you are, not who you “were” for that [...]

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 [...]

Betrayal Bond: Breaking the Bond

Image sourced from: February 7, 2013 Would you defend someone you love?  And as you think about this question, I want you to see if you are in a destructive relationship or not, if you are in denial, if you have a bond of betrayal with the person you love. What is betrayal?  Betrayal is a breach of trust and involves fear. What you thought was true, it is not true.  Everything in you wants to believe it but there is so much in front of you that is very hard to not see. Betrayal – can also be a form of abandonment.  Betrayal can be traumatic.  And once you have been betrayed, you may never feel safe again.  It is very difficult to trust. The worst part of betrayal is a mind-numbing, highly addictive attachment to the people who have hurt you. You try to show them what they are doing is wrong You blame yourself, your defects, your failed efforts These attachments cause you to distrust yourself, distort your own realities, and place yourself at even greater risks Exploitative relationships create betrayal bonds.  Betrayal bonds happen when a person bonds with someone who is destructive to him or her.   Examples of betrayal bonds include: Not exposing the wrong doing of a parent Sexual exploitation professionals As you think about whether or not you should lie to defend someone love or if you should defend the liar you love, evaluate and assess, whether or not you are in an exploitative relationship. When we think about bonds, we think about a healthy connection, or positive attachment with someone you care about; however, bonds can also be negative and destructive. What make us [...]