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Three Questions to Ask Your Spouse Daily

Being a marriage therapist is an interesting and fulfilling profession. One unique aspect of this job is that people want to ask my opinion on a regular basis. When I attend wedding showers, the room gets eerily quiet when it is my turn to give advice to the bride to be. One piece of advice I give regularly and often, is to connect with your spouse on a daily basis. This can happen in many different ways, however I think that daily talk time is an effective and powerful way to increase emotional intimacy that will help you feel connected to your spouse. Many times life gets so busy we forget how to talk with our partner. Here are three questions that can jump start your daily talk time.

  1. What went well in your day today?
  2. What did not go as you expected?
  3. What are some ways I can help you tomorrow?

These questions open up a dialogue about your day and what went well and poorly. The last question helps your spouse feel that you are invested in their day going well and shows your support of that happening. If you feel that some growth is needed in your relationship I urge you to start daily talk time. Ten minutes a day can make a big difference in your marriage. Start with these questions and see where the conversation goes.

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Times You Can Predict Your Sex May Decline

As I continually work with couples on improving their sex lives, one concern I hear frequently is, “Are we having the normal amount of sex?” They worry that if they are having less sex than they did at other points in the relationship, that maybe their sex life is getting worse. The reality is, the number of times you are your partner have sex, isn’t the most valuable information about whether or not you have a high-quality sex life. It is very natural for the quantity of sex to eb and flow throughout a lifetime together. Here are some perfectly normal times to see some changes in the frequency, and perhaps quality of your sex with your partner:

  1. Pregnancy: Though there are some changes in the body during pregnancy that can make sex more enjoyable for women, there are certainly some changes that do not. Some women report that fatigue and sickness during the first trimester of pregnancy, make them feel less sexual desire. Typically, women report the most enjoyable sex during their second trimester of pregnancy. During the third trimester, it is a fight for space in the female body! Additionally, after baby comes, there is no sex at all for at least 6 weeks.
  2. Death and Grieving: Some people report that when they are grieving the loss of a loving one, they feel less desire to be sexually intimate. That being said, some don’t feel that way at all. You shouldn’t feel weird or guilty if you still do have a desire for sex after the death of a loved one. All of these responses fall under the normal umbrella.
  3. Illness: Most people don’t feel like being sexually intimate when they are sick. When our bodies are fighting off illness, survival takes precedence over procreation. Luckily, illness usually only influences our sex lives for a week or so. However, when chronic illness is involved this can take a toll on a relationship. When a partner has cancer, or dementia, or kidney failure, sex becomes one of the last priorities, though sex can still be missed and longed for by both partners.
  4. Distance: This one is obvious… You can’t have sex when you are miles apart. Many couples have to spend time apart due to work, deployments, etc. In these cases, couples should have a plan for how they will maintain intimacy and connection during the time apart.
  5. Depression and Anxiety: Mental health issues can certainly influence sex. Specifically, anxiety and depression, somewhat highjack the mechanisms in the brain and nervous systems that influence our sexual reactivity and receptivity. With professional help and treatment of the illness, these concerns can be resolved or better managed, and couples can learn to have functioning sexual relationships.
  6. Stress and Fatigue: Stress also interferes with some of the biological mechanisms that influence sexual receptivity. When our bloodstream is raging with the stress hormone Cortisol, our nervous system is not typically apt to engage in sex. High levels of fatigue can also decrease desire. You may be noticing a pattern. There is an order of operations in the body; survival first, everything else after. Since sex is not essential for survival, but sleep is, the body will prioritize accordingly.

These certainly aren’t all the reason sex may struggle in a marriage. They are however, some of the big ones. Men and women all report times when sex wains. There are stereotypes that men always want to have sex and that women are always the ones turn men down. That’ s simply not true. Men and women,though different, have many sexual similarities. For help with your sexual relationship, schedule an appointment today.

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#1 Marriage Advice From a Marriage Counselor

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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.

 

https://understandingtherapy.com/2016/07/11/my-1-bit-of-marriage-advice/

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Marriage Therapy: How Do You Know it’s Time to Start?

Frustrated Couple

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?

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Surviving the Bomb: First Steps After the Affair

Finding out that your partner has been unfaithful has the potential to be one of the most devastating experiences a person can encounter in his/her life.   A common and appropriate reaction, given the circumstances, is panic.  There is generally nothing short of a roller coaster of emotions, and as a result, many couples do unintentional damage before they can seek help.  This is to be expected as no one tells you what you should do in the immediate aftermath of an affair.

The main goal is to limit the destruction in the time between finding out and getting help.  Here are some crisis control tips to follow until you can get some additional help:

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Creating Connection: Are You the Sun or North Wind?

Marriage Parable: The Sun and The North Windhappycouplev2-banner

A traveler was walking alone down a country lane. The Sun and the North Wind decided to have a contest to see who could remove the traveler’s overcoat. The North Wind tried first. He blew and he blew around the traveler as fiercely as he could, trying to rip the coat from the traveler but the traveler wrapped his coat more closely around him and held it tighter. The more the North Wind blew, the tighter the traveler hugged the coat. Then the Sun said, “Let me try,” and as she gently shone her warmth on the traveler, the traveler opened his coat and within minutes took it off (Alison Lee, Ph.D., EFT Community News 2013).

Now, put on your relationship hat. What is this parable teaching about creating closeness and safety in a marriage? Imagine that the traveler is you or your spouse and the overcoat represents vulnerability or risking connection in the relationship. To reach our partner and feel the reassurance that we are loved and cared for, we can choose to “blow off the overcoat” like the North Wind or “to gently warm” our spouse and he/she will remove the overcoat willingly.

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5 Tips to Improve Your Sex Life

Man & woman snuggling1. Get emotionally naked first

This may come as a surprise to you, but sex begins long before you make it to the bedroom. Many people report needing to feel emotionally close to their partner before they get physically close to their partner. Sex can be the most vulnerable you become with another person and so you need to feel safe emotionally with your partner. What does emotional intimacy look like? I have heard many couples describe this as feeling “connected”. To become more emotionally intimate you can spend more quality time with your partner. Be open with each other. Share your thoughts and feelings with one another. Try talking about things that don’t revolve around the tasks of running a household. Share your fears, sorrows, dreams, and excitement for life. Play together. This could be as simple as laughing with one another or doing something new together. Make sure you spend quality alone time to develop emotional intimacy and build trust with your partner.

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October Date Night: Managing Money Matters in Marriage

DATE: Fri. Oct. 11th

TIME: 7:00-9:00 p.m.

PRICE: $40.00 per couple (includes catered dinner for 2 by Texas Roadhouse Grill & dessert by Straws)

LOCATION: Wasatch Family Therapy (SL County Office)

7084 South 2033 East Suite 215

Cottonwood Heights, UT 84121

Bring your partner for a night of learning, laughter, and delicious dinner. Learn more about how money matters in your relationship and how to come together on the topic of finance.

Taught by Mike Morgan, LMFT, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist

Limited to 15 couples

Reserve your seats now at Eventbrite http://www.wasatchdatenights.eventbrite.com/

Texas Roadhouse

 

Mark your calendars for our next date night!

Nov. 15Improving Your Sex Life

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Announcing Wasatch Date Nights Coming In Sept!

“He Said, She Said” Improving Couple Communication

DATE: Fri. Sept. 20

TIME: 7:00-9:00 p.m.

PRICE: $40.00 per couple (includes catered dinner for 2 by Texas Roadhouse Grill)

LOCATION: Wasatch Family Therapy (SL County Office)

7084 South 2033 East Suite 215

Cottonwood Heights, UT 84121

Bring your partner for a night of learning, laughter, and delicious dinner. Learn more about male/female communication differences and how to come together to create a stronger connection.

Taught by Haylee Heyn, LMFT, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist

Limited to 15 couples

Reserve your seats now at Eventbrite http://www.wasatchdatenights.eventbrite.com/

Texas Roadhouse

 

Mark your calendars for these upcoming date nights!

Oct. 11 – Money Matters in Marriage

Nov. 15Improving Your Sex Life

 

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We’re Moving! New Location for Utah County Office

Exciting news! We’ve outgrown our Utah County location in Provo so we are moving to a new office space THIS SAT.

After June 1st we will no longer be in our Provo office on University Ave but will be seeing all Utah County clients in our new office location:

As of June 1st our NEW Wasatch Family Therapy UT County office address is:

1458 East 820 North, Orem UT 84097

Near the mouth of Provo Canyon, our new office suite has

  • larger offices
  • more offices
  • breathtaking views
  • private bathroom
  • kitchenette

Thank you to our therapists and clients who have made this possible.

Make an appointment with one of our Utah County therapists and see how they can help you improve your life and relationships!

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