Category Archives: Relationships

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Should you Separate to Save your Marriage?

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A friend of mine told me recently that she and her husband had a trial separation a few years ago. I was shocked! I always thought of this husband and wife as the ideal married couple. I had no idea they ever had issues.

In addition, I was shocked that they decided to separate for a short while, and also that it helped bring them back together.

Long story short, the husband had been lying to his wife for several months regarding his standing in college. When the letter came in the mail saying he had lost his scholarship, she was so hurt. Not only had he been failing his classes, he had dropped out but kept telling her about how well he was supposedly doing.

It was a rough time for them. He had lost her trust, and he didn’t know what to do. It was hard for the wife to be in the same house with him because of the cloud of hurt feelings over her head. Things like this tend to get into every other facet of the relationship. She kept thinking, What else had he lied about? Or what will he lie about in the future?

In the end, they decided she would take the kids and stay with her family until he fixed things with school, and then they both would decide how to move forward.

It was not an easy transition to separate, and also it was not easy to come back together again. But the break gave her some space so she could forgive him, and the break gave him some space to focus on what he needed to change.

When she came back into their home, she could see the changes in him, and she appreciated his effort. He also was glad to have her home and vowed never to keep secrets from her again.

Marriage is not for wimps! And sometimes taking a break from each other takes more strength than sticking it out. Separation could even be the way to save marriage instead of leading to divorce.

You may be thinking, isn’t it counter intuitive to be away from someone you are trying harder to love? Don’t you have to be together to work on the relationship?

But, when you can’t say anything nice to each other, you can’t agree on things, or there are bad feelings that just won’t go away, sometimes spending more time together as a couple just makes things worse.

You may be ready for a period of separation if: Continue reading

One Woman’s Survival Story: Marriage Separation

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She didn’t know anyone whose marriage had survived separation, but here it was, staring her straight in the face. The woman, we’ll call her Wendy, had only been married a few short years but it was obvious that things were getting stale.

He wanted out. Separation. Relationship halt.

She didn’t see that coming. Aside from things being stale in their young marriage, there wasn’t anything major going on. No affairs or big fights. Nothing that would indicate that her husband was particularly unhappy with her. So when he wanted to move into another apartment, she was in shock. Now what?

When married couples contemplate such a move, it can be scary. Being separate typically means there are big problems, and big problems can lead to divorce. Separation just prolongs the questions. Will this work out? Will we find our way back to each other again?

Wendy kept their separation a secret save for a few who were closest to her. Mostly, she cried alone at her house, or at her desk at work. She cried a lot. Likely she thought about all the things she should have done while they still lived together. Regrets loomed.

Was it all too late? Continue reading

Does Marriage Counseling Really Work?

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You may have heard that marriage counseling is the best thing a couple has ever done and how it saved their marriage.  You may also have heard that it was a total waste of time and money.  The reality is that marriage counseling does work for some couples, but not for others.  Whether it will help your marriage depends on you, your spouse, your counselor and your desire to save your marriage.

Marriage counseling is usually not an easy choice to make.  By the time you consider counseling, your marriage is often in trouble and you may be wondering if trying to save it is even worth the trouble.  Even couples who are ready to file for divorce can benefit from counseling, if both spouses are willing to make an effort to try and rekindle their love and passion.

To find a counselor, you can ask your family doctor or a minister for recommendations or search your local phone book.  Family and friends could be good places to ask, too, but many people don’t want others to know they are considering counseling.  If you have already spoken to a lawyer, you may even ask him/her if they have a recommendation.

Remember that once you have your list of marriage counselors, you may need to meet a few before you find one that you and your spouse are comfortable with.  Your sessions will involve very personal discussions and for your counseling to be effective, you both need to be able to share your thoughts and feelings openly.  

You will also need to respect the counselor so you can take his/her advice and not feel as if you are being put down for your feelings or criticized for choices you have made.

When you are searching for your counselor, you may want to ask the following questions: Continue reading

Move Beyond Casual Dating: 3 Tips to Choosing a Partner You Can Grow With

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You met at the right time and everything just fell into place. You’ve dated plenty of other people but it has never felt this right. You’re ready to move past casual dating and take the next step. A big, scary, exciting step. When you find someone with whom you’re ready to take that leap with, it isn’t unusual to struggle with a lot of thoughts: does this have a shot at the long run? Is what I’m feeling for real? Will they be there through all the times, not just the easy ones but the truly challenging moments as well?

Here are three suggestions on how you can give yourself a little assurance that you’re choosing a partner who’s good for more than just dinner and a movie. Continue reading

Letting Go of Fear of Abandonment

abandomentHi guys.  Today I want to talk a little bit about the topic of letting go of our fears of abandonment.  I think it’s a really important subject when delving into love addiction and co-dependency, and fear of abandonment is one of the main things that prevents people from getting out of unhealthy relationships.

The idea of being abandoned is scary.  Nobody wants to be left alone to fend for themselves.  As humans, we are social creatures, and having other people and even animals in our lives is comforting and part of being human.  The issue then, is when our fear of being alone – a reasonable fear – becomes so deep that it prevents us from being independent.  We can be independent people without having to give up healthy relationships.  What we have to strive for there is balance. Continue reading

Are You Clutter-Blind? Or Do You Know Someone Who Is?

4494987374_36e21d0849_bOne thing that continues to surprise me about the nature of good habits and happiness is the degree to which, for most people, outer order contributes to inner calm. More, really, than it should.

In the context of life of a happy life, something like a crowded coat closet or an overflowing in-box seems trivial—and it is trivial—and yet I find that I get a disproportionate charge of energy and good cheer from clearing clutter.

An orderly environment makes me feel more in control of my life, and if this is an illusion, it’s a helpful illusion.

Many people feel that way, and even people who thrive on a little chaos tend to have a limit, and enjoy orderliness to some degree.

Oblivious to Clutter

However, there’s a group of people who seem oblivious to clutter. They don’t appear to see it at all. Just as some people are color-blind, these folks are clutter-blind.

“Clutter-blind” doesn’t apply to the people who can stand to see dirty dishes scattered around, because they know if they wait, a spouse will collect the dishes — perhaps complaining all the while; see these crucial facts about shared work.

The fact is, very often, people in a couple or in a group have different levels of tolerance for clutter, and the ones with the least tolerance end up doing the most tidying, and the ones with more tolerance end up doing less. Again, this is a problem of shared work. However, in most cases, the messier ones would eventually cave and do some clutter-clearing, too. They want to be in environments that are reasonably orderly (though others might disagree by what is “reasonable”).

But some people don’t seem to register clutter, ever. A friend told me, “My husband never notices anything. As an experiment, when we got back from a trip, I left a suitcase full of his dirty clothes right in front of the front door, so he’d have to step over it to get in the house. I wanted to see how long he’d put up with it.  After a month, I called off the experiment and dealt with the suitcase myself.”

Have you found anything that works?

Continue reading

It’s Time to Seek out a Therapist: Can Couples Counseling Help?

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If there is a persisting pain in our back, we see a chiropractor. For a chronic cough, we call our family doctor. So why is it so difficult for us to turn to help when there is a persistent, nagging problem in our marriages?

There are many couples that could do with seeking out a marriage or family therapist.

Couples therapy has a track record of 70%-80% of the marriages that participate successfully staying together and moving past their problems. That number is nothing to sneeze at considering the divorce rate hovers around 50% year in and year out.

Marriage counseling is a big help because we can’t look at our own relationship problems objectively. We tend to wear blinders when it comes to our own behavior, which places the blame squarely on our spouse’s shoulders; but in a relationship it takes two to make and two to break. Continue reading

Best Marriage Advice for Everyone

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Most people believe that only those people who marry their soul mate have marriages that last.  A myth is that long marriages are the result of two people falling deeply in love and never losing that feeling.  Romance novels and romantic movies both show the same myth – that only those passionately in love have strong marriages.  The truth is far different.

The best advice you will ever hear is that the best marriages are created when two people fall in love and then work hard to stay that way.  Marriage is not easy and both spouses need to work to be happy and in love every day.  You may not believe this, especially if you are new in the relationship and still see stars when you and your special someone kiss.  This is an amazing feeling and one you never want to end.

In reality, the stars will fade if you depend on emotions to fuel the feelings.  You need to make a conscious effort every day to let your spouse know how much you love and respect him/her.  This can be really tough when life gets busy with jobs, children and a house to take care of, but if you don’t want to do all of this alone, you need to make your spouse your first priority. Continue reading

10 Tips to Help You Find Long-Lasting Love

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What’s the key to finding long-lasting love? How many of you know the difference between a fling and real love? Is there an actual recipe to pure, genuine emotional intimacy? Believe it or not, the secret to building a strong romantic relationship is made of a blend of feelings – lust, respect, adoration, trust and many more. Love is artistic and not necessarily scientific. There are times when we fall in love for all the wrong reasons, and even though we know it might damage our soul, we do it anyway. Are you willing to take a leap of faith in the name of love? Here are 10 tips to help you find real love.
Continue reading

8 Clever Relationship Tricks Happy Couples Use

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Whether you refer to it as an old wives’ tale, household hints, life trick, or novelty—basically it’s all the same thing. These days, they are called Life Hacks. Sometimes they’re a bit unconventional or silly, but in the end, they totally work.

In this case we’re talking about relationship hacks. Here are 8 funny things happy couples use to stay, well, happy. Enjoy! Continue reading

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