You’ve probably been getting marriage advice since you first started dating, or even earlier! Some of it has been solicited and helpful, some of it has not. I hope, since you clicked on this article, that my advice can fall into the first category.
People, apparently myself included, are eager to share what they have learned about what works (and what doesn’t) in marriage. About half of the clients that I have seen over the past seven years have been couples.
Here is a link to an article I recently wrote on my blog understandingtherapy.com. It’s my #1 Marriage Advice that I have gleaned from observing and counseling distressed couples.
For this Valentine’s Day season, I thought it fitting to use this Studio 5 segment to discuss one of my favorite topics: love! We all know the excitement of falling in love, of being completely and totally enamored with someone else. Who doesn’t love roses, chocolates, and candlelit dinners for two? But the truth is that when February is done, when the honeymoon phase of a relationship is over, real love is a lot of work. It can be challenging, painful even, but it can ultimately help us learn and mature, both individually and together. Here are a few ways that love is a growth process:
“We need to talk.” These are possibly the most frightening words for a man to hear, but the most exciting for a woman!
Research has been done into the phenomenon: Why is this four word phrase is so difficult for men? The findings are actually quite interesting. This phrase triggers the fight or flight response in a man’s brain. Essentially, it signals DANGER! More specifically, “what have I done wrong this time?” Or, “how have I failed as a husband?” Women may think this is a little dramatic or hyperbole, but it is merely a physiological response.
This is the same reaction that a father would have when he finds out that one of his children is in danger, or there is a problem that needs to be solved at work. Metaphorically, a man is gearing up for battle when there is a perceived problem and they are wired to go and conquer the enemy. So, it becomes more understandable, that if a man can’t go and fight the problem that is presented by his wife, he will at least want to give suggestions and advice so that his wife can.More
As I meet with married couples young and old, to help them improve their sexual intimacy, I have become aware of something very clear. Most married couples wish they had learned what they learn in our sessions, before they ever got married to one another! I frequently hear from couples, “We should have done this years ago!” or “Wow, we really should have talked about that before marriage.”
I have noticed that some couples, depending on their value systems or home life, do not feel comfortable talking about sexual intimacy before marriage. Whether a couple chooses to be sexually intimate before or after marriage, most new couples are eager to have sex, but unsure how to talk about it. I can understand this, however, I feel there are tremendous benefits to having these conversations beforehand, rather than a honeymoon crash course where expectations can be annihilated and typically not for the better. It is good for couples to discuss what their expectations are for frequency of intimacy, history of any sexual trauma or sexual addictions and how that may impact intimacy, and thoughts regarding what is okay and not okay during intimacy. A counselor who has experience working with sexual intimacy can inform a new couple what the different stages of the sexual response cycle are and what types of things in the relationship or the individual may impede progress in the cycle. A session like this gives couples the language and breaks the ice to set the stage for many healthy and safe conversations about sex throughout their lives together.
So, next time you are stumped about a wedding gift, perhaps buy something that certainly won’t be on the registry. Buy the budding new couple one premarital counseling session to talk about intimacy. This is an atmosphere that feels more safe for couple’s to talk about these things, rather than trying to duck away from their parents or roommates somewhere.More
When people find out I am a marriage therapist, I inevitably get asked two questions. 1) What is the number one reason people come in for marriage therapy? and 2) When do you know it’s time to see a marriage therapist? I could go on for several pages about the different reasons that couples come into therapy. However, my answer to the second question is pretty cut and dry. There is no such thing as starting marriage therapy too early. However, there can be a point where it is too late. Often times people only contact professional help after a catastrophic event has happened in their relationship. Too often one or both people involved are coming to therapy so they can have peace of mind that “they did everything to save the marriage.” The very sad truth is that the marriage could have been saved if the couple had come in at the first sign of difficulty. For those of you asking whether now is a good time to start therapy, let me ask: Are you H.A.P.P.Y. in your relationship?More
Want more intimacy in 2015?
5 common road blocks that could be keeping you and your partner from optimal intimacy!
Work life, parenting responsibilities, maintaining a home, dishes in the sink or a bedroom overcrowded with laundry, these are just a few examples of things that contribute to shaping our environment. Is there anything present or obstacles in your environment that could interfering with opportunities to create more intimacy. Environment can play a crucial role in our ability to focus and dedicate time to growing and nurturing intimacy in our home and relationships.More
Are you tired of reading relationship books with a few tips and advice that may put a band aid on your marital discourse? Dr. Sue Johnson, author of Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations For A Lifetime Of Love, relationship researcher and expert, believes that the attachment bond individuals have with their partners is crucial for a happy, healthy relationship. Just as an infant feels close, attached, and loved when her mother gazes in her eyes, adults have the same need. We innately feel a desire to connect, be loved, depended on, and to feel safe. When the attachment is insecure with our spouse or partner, there is greater likelihood for disconnection, isolation, and distance. Hold Me Tight looks to address that attachment bond.
Wasatch Family Therapy is pleased to announce that we are, once again, offering a Hold Me Tight workshop. Based on Dr. Sue Johnson’s Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) approach. An approach in which empirical research shows that 70-75% of couples move from distress to recovery. The workshop will take readers through the following seven transforming conversations:
- Recognizing Demon Dialogues
- Finding the Raw Spots
- Revisiting a Rocky Moment
- Hold Me Tight
- Forgiving Injuries
- Bonding Through Sex and Touch
- Keeping Your Love Alive
Join us, LaShawn Schultz CSW and Jameson Holman, for this eight-week course beginning Wednesday nights on October 1st in the Cottonwood Heights location from 6-8 p.m. Register now and find the emotional connection that can come as partners reach for one another, holding tight.
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