Save your marriage over dinner.

Have you heard of the term “dining dead”? In the film Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Joel asks “Are we like those bored couples you feel sorry for in restaurants?” Joel muses to himself. “Are we the dining dead?”

Can you save your marriage over dinner?

A recent New York Times article described this state as one in which a couple stops talking after many years of marriage finding themselves sitting across the table, wordless, with a vast distance between one another.

save your marriage
Image credit: Andre Slob

How does this happen?

So many couples are bursting with conversational energy when they first meet. There is much to discover; many evenings are spent talking into the wee hours. As time goes on the enthusiasm and excitement lessens and the day to day of life takes hold on conversations. Continue reading Save your marriage over dinner.

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How to deal with jealousy in your marriage.

If you’ve been in a romantic relationship you have probably faced your own feelings of jealousy or been the recipient of accusations at one point or another. Even the strongest marriages might experience this uncomfortable feeling from time to time. So how do you deal with jealousy in your marriage?

A really important first step is to take some advice from this classic song…“before you accuse me, take a look at yourself!” If you find yourself experiencing jealousy it is important to first take stock of how your actions, behaviors or thoughts are contributing to the situation. Are you bringing old baggage or past familial experiences to bare in your current relationship. In cases of infidelity and jealousy both partners play a part and placing all the blame on one side of the scale is problematic. Once you have gained some understanding about your own thoughts and feelings it’s time to tackle the conversation with your partner.

deal with jealousy
Are jealousy and suspicion damaging your relationship? Photo credit: Geoff Stearns

Here is Dr. Hirsch’s 3 Step plan to deal with jealousy and get your relationship back on track:

Continue reading How to deal with jealousy in your marriage.

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How to find the best marriage counseling.

Whether you are looking for help with a household project, care for a child or elderly parent or help with a medical issue you want to find the best help available. The same is true when looking for relationship help. Getting the best help starts with doing your research. The internet makes researching almost anything super easy and it’s a good place to start. Unfortunately, just like you can’t believe everything you hear, your can’t trust everything you read online. The open source nature of the web makes a huge amount of information available without filtering the value of what’s out there. It’s your job to dig a little deeper and think outside the box to make sure you find the best marriage counseling for you.

best marriage counseling
Doing your research will ensure that you find the best marriage counseling for you.

Here are a few tips for finding the best marriage counseling in your area.

Start by figuring out what kind of help you are looking for.  Are you wanting a traditional approach to counseling? This often looks like you and your spouse sitting in a room for a series of sessions with a licensed marriage and family therapist. Maybe you are looking for a more intensive one time program like a marriage retreat? These sometimes require traveling or at the very least a dedicated weekend. They also often mean airing your laundry in a less private setting. There is a third option in online marriage help, programs like Power of Two. These are more self paced and tend to focus heavily on skill building with a coaching component. With an online program you don’t have to sit in a counselor’s waiting room with other patients, you’re not going to accidentally run into someone you know at the doctor’s office, and you don’t have to talk about your marriage with total strangers as you do with in-person, remote, or group counseling sessions. Counseling and marriage help are never a one size fits all deal, finding the right approach for you is an essential step. Continue reading How to find the best marriage counseling.

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Marriage in trouble? Your health may be too.

There is plenty of evidence that a healthy marriage, one in which couples practice good communication, resolve conflict with relationship skills and create an atmosphere of warmth and positivity can have potential health benefits. Those may include, better heart health, lower mortality rates and lower rates of chronic illnesses like heart disease, cancer and surgeries. If this is true can it also be true that with a marriage in trouble, health problems may follow?

marriage in trouble
Is chronic martial stress leading you to health problems?

There is evidence that a marriage in trouble, one that carries with it chronic stress, may lead to health problems. Here are some of the potential health problems relating to chronic marital stress.

Depression

Continue reading Marriage in trouble? Your health may be too.

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Get your relationship spark back with these 6 great (not lame) date ideas.

In a date night rut? Does the thought of Valentine’s Day inspire boredom and you’d rather just stay home in your Pj’s and skip the whole production? Well don’t! As cliche as the idea of date night can be maybe you’ve just run out of good ideas!

Here are some fun ideas to light up that relationship spark and get in the mood for love again.

1. Take a guided tour of your city together.  

relationship spark
Photo credit: Flickr image_less_ordinary

Most larger cities (and certainly some smaller cities as well) offer all kinds of tours. Maybe you recently moved to a new city or maybe you’ve called your city home for years there is no doubt there is undiscovered territory. For the history buff a landmark tour might be a no brainer, even for a history novice finding out little know facts about your city can help you feel more rooted and connected to your surroundings and hopefully your partner too! Even better find a double decker bus, segway or bicycle tour to push your comfort zone and to keep the date feeling light hearted and fun.

2. Take an Ikebana class (flower arranging that is). Continue reading Get your relationship spark back with these 6 great (not lame) date ideas.

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4 resolutions for your marriage in 2016

With the start of a new year, naturally there is an opportunity to think about what changes you want to make and where you want to focus your energy in the coming days and weeks. Whether you are a seasoned couple, having spent many years together or a new couple still awash in the glow of infatuation setting intention for the year ahead will be a boon to your relationship. The work you do now will set the tone for the days ahead.

Here are 4 resolutions for your marriage to tackle in 2016.

resolutions for your marriage
Photo credit: Joao Paulo de Vasconcelos

Put your marriage on the front burner.

Too often intimate relationships, especially your marriage end up on the back burner, if it’s on the stove at all! Jobs, kids, hobbies, spiritual lives, personal free time, tend to come before “working on your marriage.” They shouldn’t! The health of your marriage is a driving factor in how successful you are at all the other ventures you tackle. How satisfying your personal relationships are tends to impact the rest of your life including your physical and mental health. While certainly not the only factor, when your emotional house is in order you free up space and energy to go after your goals and dreams with the support of your partner. Make sure your relationship gets its fair share of your time and energy by making a plan. Beyond the old “regular date night” save all, create a real concrete idea of ways you are going to make your marriage a priority. Try to avoid fuzzy goals like, “spend more time together” or “have more sex.” Instead try, spend 1 hour every evening together or kiss each other every day. Continue reading 4 resolutions for your marriage in 2016

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Want to avoid ending up in couples counseling? Say something nice!

avoid couples counseling
Whisper sweet somethings to your spouse.

You know how the saying goes… If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all. In a marriage you may not always have nice things to say and while it is important to voice concerns and bring up uncomfortable issues how to talk about difficult topics is the subject of another post. The rest of the time, how positive you are and how much warmth you share between you has a big impact on the quality of your relationship. While it may be an oversimplification to say that you can avoid couples counseling by being nice, you can have a major impact on the day to day climate of your marriage by keeping the ratio or positive to negative interactions to 10:1. When you espouse an attitude of positivity and gratitude you lift those around you into that mindset as well. Positive people are more attractive, tend to be healthier and happier. Continue reading Want to avoid ending up in couples counseling? Say something nice!

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Relationship Counseling: How to jump in when you’re ready and they’re not.

In an ideal world when there is strife in a marriage both partners will recognize the need to make some changes and be ready and willing to do that. Unfortunately this is not always (or often) the case.  You and your partner may both recognize there is a problem, however you may be on your own when it comes to seeking help.  Or you may be the only one who feels a change is needed. Either way you are on your own when it comes to relationship counseling. So where do you turn?

On your own when it comes to seeking relationship counseling?
On your own when it comes to seeking relationship counseling? Photo by Allesandro Valli

Finding the right relationship counseling is critical when you are flying solo. Here are some ideas for where to begin…

Continue reading Relationship Counseling: How to jump in when you’re ready and they’re not.

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10 fall date ideas to give your relationship a boost!

fall date ideas
Photo credit: Jim Bauer

It’s finally fall! The summer heat has come and gone (mostly) and it’s time to pull out the sweaters and rakes and take in all the delights of fall.  Cooler weather and shorter days means more time spent indoors and hopefully more time with your partner.  If summer, in all it’s glory was busy and expansive, fall signals a time to slow down a bit and settle into a different routine.  If you have kids, they are ideally settling into a new school year and the jitters and adjustments have softened. Time to look inward and focus on your relationship.

Here are 10 fall date ideas to put the focus on your relationship this season.

1. Take advantage of your city’s cultural offerings. Museums, Botanic Gardens, Theaters and Restaurants often have special events this time of year. Pumpkin festivals, corn mazes, Dia De Los Muertos celebrations, Boo at the Zoo events and so much more. These events are often kid and family focused, they can also be romantic and help you feel connected to the season.

2. Bake (or buy) your favorite fall treat and meet in a special spot.  If pumpkin spice latte’s are your thing, grab one for your partner and surprise them at work. Or better yet, grab the ingredients spend Saturday morning at home experimenting with a new recipe. Continue reading 10 fall date ideas to give your relationship a boost!

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5 Habits of happy couples.

happy couples
Photo credit: Timothy Krause

5 habits happy couples practice.

1. Steer clear of toxic talk. If not careful, toxic talk can easily creep into daily chatter with your spouses.  One of the wonderful things a close relationship affords is lots of information about each other, the good and the ugly.  When you use the intimate information you have about each other to tease, mock or rail against your spouse you undermine the trust and safety critical for an intimate relationship. Happy couples steer clear of harsh words and share encouragement and positivity instead! Continue reading 5 Habits of happy couples.

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