22 Fun Ways To Build Fun and Romance Into Your Marriage

22 Fun Ways To Build Fun and Romance Into Your Marriage

Your marriage health is incredibly important not just for your life expectancy but also for your kid’s life expectancy.  Obviously we advocate for marriage counseling because that’s what we do…but we would love for you to never need us.  So we put together 22 fun ways to build fun and romance into your marriage right now so hopefully you don’t need intensive marriage counseling.

You will see a bunch of links we personally picked just to make these ideas come to life for you.  None of them are affiliate links.  They are all just to make life a little funner (and easier for you).  We hope you enjoy this one as much as we enjoyed writing it for you!

Read More

3 Strategies For Raising Your Kid To Be A Kind And Likable Person

3 Strategies For Raising Your Kid To Be A Kind And Likable Person

How Your Parenting Today Impacts, Not Just Your Marriage, But Your Kid’s Future Marriage As Well

In a previous post called How To Raise Your Kid To Be A Great Spouse we shared several practical strategies for building a great relationship with your kid so they become a great spouse one day.  

This post continues that conversation about how do we do what we can do to ensure we raise exceptional human beings….AND how this has a direct impact on marriage.

We write from our experiences as parents and as professional marriage therapists.  We help couples every day who once were little kids seeking for attention and love.  We never lose that need for connection and love….it simply transfers to our marriage partner.

If we can learn to meet these needs for our kids we are doing 3 things.  1. We are learning how to meet those needs for our partner, 2. We’re learning about our own needs, and 3. We’re transforming lives for generations upon generations into the future.  

Humans have this incredible power to love and make a conscious effort to change.  We can heal and we can make little shifts to heal the lives of others if we’re brave enough to try.

We’re in this together!  One big human family.  Your family and your marriage plays a key roll in how the world thrives or falls apart.  If you don’t believe me…look at the education system for example…

When our public lacks an education there aren’t enough skilled workers to keep an economy alive.  People go hungry and loose hope.  The good news is you don’t have to rely on some government education system.

When you learn these skills you teach your children how seek their own education.  You remove obstacles so they can fully thrive and live up to their potential.  You’re giving them emotional intelligence.  This gift will allow them to never starve for love or intimacy.

Read More

How To Raise Your Kid To Be A Great Spouse

How To Raise Your Kid To Be A Great Spouse

3 Strategies For Building A Real Connection With Your Kids That Will Actually Change YOUR Life And Marriage

There are a few things we’ve discovered in our marriage counseling practice that people wish they had growing up.  If you are mindful of these six things we cover here, as you raise your kids to be future husbands and wives, you will discover your relationships will transform.

Some things you’ll want to avoid and some you’ll want to start doing so you can achieve your ultimate parenting goals…to raise happy, healthy, successful children, who make good choices, lives up to their full potential, and who are equipped to be a great spouse one day.

Some of these things you’ll know.  Some you already do automatically…and some will take a extra effort on your part.  After helping thousands of couples in our marriage counseling private practices this is what we’ve discovered makes couples the most successful.

It goes far beyond communication techniques and temporary strategies for healing broken trust.  What we share here gets to the root of real intimacy. 

DISCLAIMER: There is so much parent shaming out there these days….we are parents ourselves and frankly we’re sick of it all.  This is NOT that.

This article is all about encouraging you and building you up so you can feel great about your skills and what you’ve already accomplished!  

So let’s explore how you can make sure your kids grow into great spouses one day….if they so choose.

Read More

The Hidden Desires That Lead To Unfaithfulness In Marriage

The Hidden Desires That Lead To Unfaithfulness In Marriage

There are many different factors that cause someone to become unfaithful in their marriage.  We’ve been helping couples in our private practice Marriage Solutions approaching 10 years at this point and have helped thousands of couples.  


We don’t just study what makes a healthy marriage and family…we’re in the trenches every day actively working it out with each couple one at a time.  


In this article we explore the deep hidden desires that cause someone to fall into infidelity.  The goal here is to help you heal, prevent this, or keep it from reoccurring again in your relationship.  

We dive really deep into healing couples in our marriage counseling practice.  But we don’t always have the time to explain what we can here on our blog in session because…well…we only have so much time.  

So in this post we’ll talk about…

  • The hidden desires that lead to an affair

  • The real lack of trust that leads to infidelity

  • How islands become unfaithful spouses

  • What’s the root of it all

  • Giving the best away

  • Giving what we don’t have

  • So what seeds are planted early on that leads someone to infidelity?

  • Why do Pursuers pick Islands?

  • Why do Islands pick Pursuers?

  • What is the solution?

Read More

How Infidelity Creeps Into Relationships: Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner

How Infidelity Creeps Into Relationships: Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner

Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck were more than just a Hollywood power couple. They were also the type of couple that a lot of couples aspire to be. His teary-eyed, heartfelt acceptance speech at the Grammy's was enough to make many women swoon. It's difficult to not be impressed by a man who unabashedly thanks and weeps over his wife and children on live television. When news of the their impending separation hit, followed by rumors of infidelity hit, however, public opinion dramatically changed. What people forgot is that celebrity relationships are fraught with all of the same problems that regular relationships are fraught with, and more. Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner are real people and the basic problem in their relationship is a very common one....

Read More

Healing Trauma & Depression As A Couple

In this post we talked about how research has shown that couples therapy is becoming more and more effective in helping individual issues.  The reason is because everyone needs a support system and everyone needs to feel connected to others, especially to our significant other, emotionally.  This need for connection to others is known as the Attachment Theory in psychology. 

We also talked about if an individual has experienced trauma, if they have a significant other walk with them through their healing process, then they are more likely to heal and heal quicker than if they had to go at it alone.  

Part II will discuss why couples counseling is effective in helping individuals overcome trauma. Susan Johnson, a highly respected couple’s therapist, said, “Isolation and a lack of secure connection to others undermine a person’s ability to deal with traumatic experience.  Conversely, secure emotional connections with significant others offer a powerful antidote to traumatic experience (Johnson, in press).”

How does a secure relationship help us heal and deal with trauma?  Well, to simplify it, a traumatic experience turns our world upside down and a good relationship with our significant other can turn our world around by soothing us, offering safety, promoting confidence and trust, and helping us to feel comfortable in taking risks and learning new coping mechanisms to name a few.  

On the other hand if your relationship is not good then that in-and-of-itself is a traumatic experience.  If you have experienced war, past sexual abuse, a life altering accident, or any other sort of trauma, a poor connection with your spouse can actually worsen the trauma from the past.  

 

“A significant portion of clients identified as having borderline personality disorders, most of whom are survivors of childhood sexual abuse (CSA), improve substantially in later life if they find a positive attachment relationship with an understanding other (Stone, 1990).”

Brad uses the Attachment Theory as a foundation when working with couples.  He works with couples to feel and become closer to each other by helping individuals feel comfortable being honest and forthright talking about issues.  He also helps each spouse rise to the occasion and teaches them how to become that caring support system their spouse so desperately needs.  

So here are the 10 central tenants of attachment theory as described by Susan Johnson in her book Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy with Trauma Survivors (some of this is copied directly from her book and some is my own interpretation in order to best explain attachment):

  1. Attachment is an innate motivating force.  We all desire to be close. It is imbedded in our genetic make up.  It isn’t simply an infantile need but is what we all need in order to survive.
  2. Secure dependence complements autonomy.  “There is no such thing as complete independence from others or overdependence (Bretherton & Munholland, 1999).  There is only effective or ineffective dependance.”  Surprisingly, the more securely dependent we are the more autonomous and separate we can confidently be.  
  3. Attachment offers a safe haven.  Even back in the stone age people lived together, worked together, fought together and without one another there surely would be no procreation and death of a population was insured.  As a survival mechanism, people need to be securely bonded to one another for safety.  If this is not possible stress and uncertainty is the outcome.
  4. Attachment offers a secure base.  It is a spring board for people and a foundation they can refer to.  When you know you have a secure place to return to you feel more confident and encouraged to explore the world and take necessary risk, to learn, and continually reinvent yourself.
  5. Accessibility and responsiveness build bonds. The building blocks of secure bonds are emotional accessibility and responsiveness.  It is emotional engagement that is crucial.  In attachment terms, any response (even anger) is better than none.  If there is no engagement, no emotional responsiveness, the message from the attachment figure is “Your signals don’t matter, and there is no connection between us.”
  6. Fear and uncertainty activate attachment needs. When an individual is threatened (by traumatic events, the negative aspects of everyday life such as illness, or an assault on the security of the attachment bond itself) emotions arise and the need for comfort and connection become very obvious.   People begin to ask “Where am I in proximity to my spouse?” or “Where do we stand?” or “What does my partner think of me?” or “Do they love me?” or “Can I depend on you when I need you?”.
  7. The promise of separation distress is predictable.  When someone reaches out to the spouse for connection but the spouse fails to comfort them and respond to their efforts then the normal response is angry protest, clingy behavior, depression, and despair.  Ultimately, this leads to detachment.  Depression is a very natural response to a lack of connection in your relationships.  
  8. A finite number of insecure forms of engagement can be identified.  There are only so many ways a person can respond to negative answers to the plea for connection.  Our responses fit into two different categories: anxiety and avoidance.  When the attachment or connection between an irreplaceable other like your spouse, a parent, or a child anxious behavior may increase.  You may become more clingy, pursue harder, and even become quite aggressive.  Or you may become more detached or avoid the situation or conversations out of fear.  These are strategies people use to protect themselves from further pain.  
  9. Attachment involves working models of the self and the other.  This is how you view yourself and how you view others.  If you view yourself as lovable and worthy of care and as confident and competent this is a secure attachment and can determine your responses to situations.  Securely attached relationships can help us grow and become a person who views ourself that way because we look to others to validate our opinions naturally.  Securely attached people, who believe others will be responsive when needed, tend to have working models of others as dependable and worthy of trust.  These outlooks are formed by thousands of interactions and become expectations and biases carried forward into new relationships.  The way we relate to ourselves and our significant other is infused with emotion.
  10. Isolation and loss are inherently traumatizing.  When someone has experienced trauma in their past and the isolation that follows, their personality formation and their ability to deal with other stresses in life is greatly altered.    

The Cause of Most Fights in Marriage - and it's Not Money!

It is a commonly thought that the number one thing couples fight about is money. That is simply not the case. Although money is a point of stress it is not the biggest issue facing couples. The number one issue that causes the most trouble in marriage is actually a lack of feeling close. Here are 10 other more common problems a marriage faces...
Read More

The Magic 5.5 Hours a Week That will Transform Your Marriage

This is the time of Thanksgiving! Giving thanks for your family, friends, pie, and of course your SPOUSE! For some you reading this eNews e-mail you may have found yourself in a rut relationally. Maybe you just don't know what to do to get started in a positive direction. Small steps are all you need. Yes, baby steps in a positive direction can be the difference between working it out and kicking them out. Before you toss in the towel try just altering 5.5 hours in your week. Not even 5.5 hours in your day JUST your week. This will make a difference:
Read More

How the Internet Affair Virus is Spreading

The painful feelings are still very similar whether your spouse is having sex with someone or they are just having an “internet fling”. We often hear from people that say even though their spouse hasn’t slept with anyone it still feels like they have cheated. Your heart still feels ripped out. Yet many can’t fully understand why. That is what this series of blog posts aims to sort out for you.
Read More

Successfully Manage Your Guilt

In order to successfully understand your guilt you must understand the stages that we go through in the guilt process: Denial. We may be shocked and numb at first because the guilt is so uncomfortable. We may deny responsibility at first. Processing. Over time, we are able to accurately assess the harm done and legitimately assess our responsibility. Lessons are learned and emotions are neutralized by no longer looking at the situation with faulty thinking. Resolution. In this third step, we express appropriate grief for the hurt we have caused and make appropriate amends. We no longer feel the need for guilt and self-punishment. We are now able to truly think about and elevate others.
Read More

5 Keys to Beating the Back to School Blues

Sending your kids back to school can be a tough thing to do especially when they are young. My sister-in-law has 3 young kids and this year two of them will be in school full time. When talking about sending her two oldest to school she says, “adjusting to 2 kids in school and 1 left at home...this feels weird! There is a lot of separation anxiety and mixed emotions. I have felt excitement knowing they will experience new things but guilt at the same time because they don’t always want to go. I know they need to go to school but I think about their social and academic knowledge and I hope it is adequate.” There is a little fear and anxiety about leaving home for the students too. When your child has spent so much time with you everyday it is hard to leave mom and dad and go off on this new adventure....
Read More

7 Keys to Fighting Fair

Have you caught yourself saying this or something like this to your spouse: “You never clean up after yourself! I am always picking your dishes up off the table! What makes it worse is you always leave a mess and never consider my feelings and that makes me so $%!@* angry! You always act like such a baby and you always expect me to act like your mother!” It’s only natural that we become very comfortable with our spouse. But as we unload our thoughts and feelings we need to think about how we are effecting our relationship long term.
Read More

When Pursuing Your Spouse Can Push Them Away

Part Three: WATCH & WAIT The 3 step process developed by Michele Weiner-Davis we have been talking about in the last 2 newsletters that outlines the importance of 1. Stopping the Chase, 2. Getting a Life, and 3. Waiting & Watching is not for everyone. It is important to clarify that this 3 step process can help you save your marriage from divorce IF:
Read More

Women & Depression

Women & Depression

We talked about depression in men in the last blog post. Now we want to address depression in the ladies. Depression can have a significant impact on your marriage as you begin to withdrawal. Many of us have heard about postpartum depression and depression throughout pregnancy which often occurs because of the hormonal changes experienced. We will address this further, however, did you know the higher rate of depression can’t be blamed on biology alone? Your life situation and cultural stressors could play a role in your depression as well. In this blog post we will outline the biological causes of depression, such as occurs with pregnancy, and those related to non-biological causes as well....

Read More

What You Need to Know about Love

What You Need to Know about Love

People compare and confuse the intensity of being "in love" during an affair with the secure, comfortable feeling of reality-based "loving" that occurs in long-term relationships.

The feelings of being "in love" is linked to Stage 1 idealization, passion and infatuation, which are just fleeting feelings....

Read More