How To Reconnect With Your Family When You Travel For Work Or You’re In The Military

How To Reconnect With Your Family When You Travel For Work Or You’re In The Military

This post is written in a frank and direct tone.  But I want you to know that it is because of the love I have for you and your family.  Most of all, your kids, whom I know you love deeply....I know you might be thinking “wait don’t you do marriage counseling? Wouldn’t it be my marriage you’d care the most about?”  

You bet I’m thinking of your marriage too.  But we’re constantly thinking about future marriages.  While these tips will transform your marriage in many ways...if you take this advice...it will also release something in your children that will cause generations of transformed relationships.  It transcends far beyond you or me or even things we can see.  You change thousands of lives by your choice to make these little changes. 

I am tired of seeing my dear friends missing these incredibly important and crucial details.  So I am writing this for you, the internet, as well as my dearest and most beloved friends who have to travel for a living to support their families or who are serving our great country in the military.  

I hope as you read this you hear my desperation for you.  If you saw a burning building and you knew someone was inside suffering wouldn’t you run in to save them?  Yes you would because that’s the type of person you are.  I am that person too.  This post is the water meant to quench the flames you can’t see, but you can feel.  Every time you want to get close but you can’t.  Enough with the small talk and butterfly kisses.  Let’s get on with it. 

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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!

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15 Fun Date Night Ideas For Couples In Oklahoma City or Tulsa

15 Fun Date Night Ideas For Couples In Oklahoma City or Tulsa

Here at Marriage Solutions we’re always on the lookout for fun local activities to do for fun date nights.  Fun is crucial for a love to last.  We need to laugh together and go on adventures both great and small.

You know a life full of stress without stopping for fun can cause any great couple to end up in a marriage counselor’s office.  

So to inspire you, we have assembled 15 great date ideas for couples to do in Oklahoma City or for our couples in Tulsa to take a quick trip south. 

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How Long Should I Try To Work On The Marriage If My Partner Is Unwilling To Try?

How Long Should I Try To Work On The Marriage If My Partner Is Unwilling To Try?

Maybe you’ve been unhappy in your relationship for a while but your partner seems unwilling to do anything to improve the situation.  It can be so hard to know what to do.  You can feel so incredibly stuck.  

I can be even worse if you’ve experienced a significant hurt.  Maybe they don’t know know how to be there for you emotionally or physically when you need them most.  

Maybe there’s been betrayal like an affair.  Maybe you’ve considered looking outside the marriage for comfort.  If you have then READ THIS.
But the question we get quite often in our marriage counseling private practices is, “how long should I try to work on things before it’s a hopeless case?”  Other questions we get are…”am I crazy for wanting to work on things?” Or “Is my partner a Narcissist just trying to hurt me?”

In our years of experience counseling couples we’ve identified several types of people, and situations couples find themselves in, when they have to decide if they should leave their spouse or not.

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How To Reveal The Affair To Your Spouse Without Losing Them Or Being Physically Assaulted In The Process

How To Reveal The Affair To Your Spouse Without Losing Them Or Being Physically Assaulted In The Process

Are you afraid to reveal the affair to your spouse or partner?  A lot of people struggle to be completely forthright and honest about everything surrounding the transgressions.  It can be incredibly scary because you don’t know how they will react.  

Will they leave?  Will they hurt you somehow?  Will you regret it?  Are you better off never revealing what happened…or are you better off sharing all the details?
In our marriage counseling and coaching practices we’ve helped thousands of individuals from all over the world come clean to their partner about the affair…in the best way possible.  It’s not easy…but our methods work.

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Why You're Really Stuck And Unable To Heal After The Affair

Why You're Really Stuck And Unable To Heal After The Affair

Right now, if you’re reading this, you are looking for something, anything, to heal yourself…and maybe your marriage…from broken trust.  For most of you the trust was violated because of infidelity.  

You’ve tried what feels like everything.  Your inbox is likely flooded with tons of advice e-mails and sifting through that alone can feel like a stressful event all by itself.  

But this is all you need.  Right here.  You don’t need to look any further.  We take everything helpful that’s ever been published or thought of and we’ve condensed it to make it manageable and easy to follow.

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The Non-Foodie’s Guide To Good Date Night Restaurants In OKC

The Non-Foodie’s Guide To Good Date Night Restaurants In OKC

Getting out as a couple is so important.  No one understands that better than a marriage counselor.  When Brad and I were pre-kids I found myself complaining about our default habit of dinner and a movie.  But now that we have a toddler I am ecstatic about getting away to the typical dinner and a movie.  We’re not really foodies so we find ourselves getting stuck in the same restaurant cycle.  We know many of you get stuck like that too…so this list is for you and us too!  

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Why A Museum Date in Oklahoma City Is A Great Way To Spice Up Your Relationship

Why A Museum Date in Oklahoma City Is A Great Way To Spice Up Your Relationship

You know what they say…a couple that explores together stays together…or at least having fun together scores big points in the romance realm.

Museums can be a novel way to spend time indoors during less than ideal weather.  When  you see something interesting it gives you an excuse to sit really close to read the tiny placard.  And if you have loud little people always around, many of the museums are incredibly quiet, which is a wonderful break from our crazy busy lives.  

Some of these museums might not be inline with your interests, but that’s why it’s important to go. Doing new and different things helps a romantic connection grow. You never know what will inspire you or if you’ll learn something new about your partner.  You never know what might trigger a good memory or even cause a conversation.  However you feel about the museum will spark a conversation

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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.

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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.

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Is Emotional Blindness Hereditary?

Is Emotional Blindness Hereditary?

Have you ever found yourself thinking, “If I go to my partner with this issue or concern they won’t handle it well?”  

I think we all have thought that at some point.  But what happens after that initial hesitation is what matters a lot.

How do you handle these tough situations?  Do you still go to them and weather the stormy conversation or do you hold back?  Why?  What are we afraid of happening?

How we answer this says a lot about us and our upbringing.  It also tells us a lot about what your children will do when they grow up too….

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When Friendly Becomes Flirty And How To Protect Your Marriage From Potential Infidelity

When Friendly Becomes Flirty And How To Protect Your Marriage From Potential Infidelity

We all want to connect and feel wanted and desired especially by our partner.  It’s a basic human need.

We’ve talked with thousands of couples through out the years and as we meet with them on a daily basis we hear many consistent answers as to why happily married men flirt.

The biggest reason we hear is that they flirt because they want to know they’re still desirable.  Do they still have what it takes to excite and impress?

It’s not that they have a bad marriage.  It’s not even a fault in their

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Building Resilience Through Life Transitions

Building Resilience Through Life Transitions

Transitions in life can be so hard.  Brad and I are already talking about when we will have a second child.  I am already thinking about how my little Luke will feel about no longer being the baby.

Of course he will always be my baby…but the thought of him growing older and not being my little guy is a bit sad.  We also think about his emotional health a lot.  

We know how important it is for little guys and girls to be emotionally healthy because they take their emotional health or disfunction with them into their adult years.  Whether they are emotionally healthy or not it impacts every aspect of their lives....

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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.    

HELP for the New Year

Each year we set new years resolutions and we hear from every self help author about how to achieve those goals.  If you are one to enjoy self improvement books and audio tapes then check these out.  We recommend listening to Brian Tracy and the late Zig Zigler if you are interested in getting motivated and encouraged.  Zig gives more general advice and Brian Tracy makes more application of the same wisdom. 

Two other great self improvement author/speakers are Earl Nightingale and Napoleon Hill.  You may recognize Napoleon Hill by his book Think and Grow Rich.  So if you have an aspiration to read more check Napoleon out.  It is well worth your time.  If you are “not a reader” check out the books-on-cd option.  We spend so much time in our cars going to work and other activities.  Turn your vehicle into a university on wheels and see how much you learn!

Fixing Yourself Alone Doesn't Fix The Relationship

We know that when we get married that we are marrying an individual with many habits, personality traits, likes, dislikes, and of course a person with a history.  As we embark on a new future we have to recognize that we each have experienced different painful events and moments that sometimes get in the way of living a happy and healthy life.  

Some people feel like they shouldn’t get married or strike up friendships because there is something wrong with themselves and they need to be fixed before they can move forward with another person.  Now sometimes this is warranted - but more often than not - what you are experiencing is something that thousands of people face and to have someone walk through the fire and work it out with you is just what you need.  

We often think of couples therapy as just working on the relationship but more and more we see that couples therapy is also very useful for helping with individual issues as well. 

Research conducted by a group called Barlow & Colleagues found that when spouses were included in treatment for anxiety, success rate jumped from 46 to 82%.

The study also says that “recently, couple therapy has also been used to address “individual” problems such as depression and anxiety disorders, agoraphobia, addictions, and eating disorders (Baucom, Shoham, Mueser, Daiuto, & Stickle, 1998).”

In our office we have found that relationships are profoundly effected by depression and post traumatic stress caused by things like infidelity, past sexual abuse, and abuse by previous relationships.  It is amazing what a caring and attentive spouse can do for a person’s healing.  To know that someone will do what it takes to help you overcome the demons means so much.  It does not go overlooked and unappreciated.  

Do you like what you’re reading?  You can use this information and share this blog post just as long as you include the following statement exactly as you see it below at the end of your post:

“Brad Robinson is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and an expert in infidelity recovery in Tulsa, OK. Together with his wife Morgan Robinson they teach people about how to understand and overcome infidelity and how to make their marriage thrive even after betrayal. You can learn more about their work by visiting www.familyandlifesolutions.com

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...
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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:
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7 Steps to Separating From the Affair Partner

Here are the rules for separating from the affair partner: 1. Allow your spouse to participate in the severance. By allowing your spouse to have a say in how it is done will help your spouse find closure as well. Also, because the affair involved so much secrecy, this moment of truth is refreshing for them. Remember you and your spouse are a team. 2. Make it a clear, absolute, severance. There are a number of ways to separate from the affair partner that we will talk about but, however it is done, don’t let there be any question whatsoever that there is a glimmer of hope in the world that there could be anything between you again...
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