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?
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!
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.
Have you had the gutters cleaned on your house lately? How about weeding and lawn mowing? Maybe you have had to fix a leak or repair a crack in the wall. Your house, in order to stay in good working order needs regular maintenance. Failure to take care of those tasks and your house is likely to suffer and eventually fall into disrepair, the same is true for the relationships in your life. Regular relationship maintenance will keep the love alive and the investment in your relationship strong. So what’s needed to sustain a healthy relationship?
Relationship maintenance refers to regular behaviors that are engaged in by partners in an effort to stay together. The more relational maintenance you engage in as a couple the better your chances of longevity in the relationship. Researchers Laura Stafford and Daniel J. Canary identified a set of five general relationship behaviors that when engaged in regularly increase the quality of the relationship.
Your relationship maintenance checklist…
All couples have challenges, there is no doubt about that. Sometimes the challenges are external; job related stresses or job loss, familial conflict or major life events like the birth of a child. Some conflicts are internal; depression and anxiety can result in conflict in a relationship, poor habits from past relationships or even patterns learned as a child all contribute to how you relate to your partner. Add to that personality differences, cultural differences and you have loads of potential for conflict.
Is it just inevitable that at some point in a long term committed relationship you would need to seek marriage counseling?
Just as the question gets complicated so does the answer. All couples can benefit from learning new relationship skills. Couples who are able to manage conflict in a healthy way are far less likely to divorce or need counseling. While all couples can benefit from a good marriage therapist, counseling can likely be avoided if you are proactive about learning solid skills as early on in your relationship is possible. Continue reading Is marriage counseling inevitable?
So, you’ve unloaded the dishwasher, given the kids a bath, and as you carry another load of laundry upstairs you think to yourself…”arrgh, why do I have to do all the work around here?” It’s a frequent complaint on the list of marital problems couples seek help for. While there certainly are inequities in many relationships, it is possible it’s a question of perception. There is a concept called overclaiming that may apply here. The idea is essentially that in our work lives, and likely our home lives most people are prone to the feeling that they are doing more work that everyone else. Whether it’s a case of overclaiming or if you truly do more of the work, here are a few ways to lighten the load and avoid resentment and conflict over the workload.
Pay attention to your spouse. Continue reading Marital problems: I do all the work.
There are so many reasons a couple might be looking for sexless relationship help. Desire discrepancies, low sex drive, health issues, depression and many other factors contribute to how healthy your sex life feels. If you find yourself in a sexless relationship or headed for marital problems, how do you know if you should stick it out and work on the relationship or if it’s time to move on? While there is no out of the box solution to this problem there are a few things to look for when trying to answer this question.
1. Do you and your partner have good communication skills?
Do you and your partner experience desire discrepancies? That is do you often find one partner in the mood for sex and the other not? Do you have a low sex drive? Desire discrepancies are one of the most common complaints related to intimacy in relationships. A sexless marriage is something many couples face. Is it possible that shifting the way we think about sex and desire would help more couples overcome this often painful problem. In her new book, Come As You Are, Emily Nagoski, PhD writes beautifully and compassionately about this idea and so much more. Here are 4 myths she busts in the wonderfully researched book about sex and desire.
Marriage is in decline, no new news there. The question seems to have shifted from when and to whom should you get married to should you get married at all? Certainly there is no one simple answer to this questions. Looking at a brief history of marriage reveals that the societal and relational view of marriage has certainly changed over time. During several recent conversations about marriage and relationships I have found myself wondering if marriage is really necessary for today’s couple? Some of these conversations involved my spouse and I chatting with happily married couples and others with contemporaries who are as of yet foregoing marriage. In essence, these conversations have been an effort to interpret general beliefs about marriage and to try to understand why the institution still has value.
It seems to me that there is no argument about the practical benefits. In our society marriage gives you legal, medical, taxation and many other rights that unmarried counterparts may not have. There doesn’t even seem to be an argument about the commitment part. It seems those opting out don’t particularly like the word marriage. So what is it about the word that leaves a bad taste? Continue reading Should you get married?
Burnout is a term often used to describe the feeling of exhaustion and boredom related to dissatisfaction at work. Even when you really love your job it is possible to experience burnout, can the same be true for relationships? Perhaps you have recently been through a stressful time, a job loss, an illness or another major life event that rocked the boat a bit. Or maybe the opposite is true, you’ve just been sailing along managing the daily tasks and have lost inspiration about your marriage. Relationship burnout can be a significant problem for couples who have been married for a number of years. It is not usually because of outright conflict, more often it is a slow separation of interests, time spent apart, lack of positive input into the relationship and a lack of skills necessary to keep the love alive.
You may be feeling some sense of disenchantment with your partner, the truth is though that relationship burnout doesn’t happen overnight. It is cumulative like a bucket getting filled over time, eventually one more drop in the bucket is enough to spill over and you have a mess on your hands.
Either way, relationship burnout can be a major red flag that you are headed for trouble. Take action now so you can get back on the right path forward together!