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Navigating the Seas of Togetherness: A Therapist's Guide to Vacationing

  Navigating the Seas of Togetherness:  A Therapist's Guide to Vacationing Vacations are a great opportunity for couples to create lasting memories, strengthen their bond, and escape the routine of everyday life.  However, the journey from depautre to return can sometimes be challenging.  As a couples' counselor, I've witnessed common pitfalls and successes. Below are some tips to help couples navigate the seas of togetherness during their vacations Communication is Key As with most things involving couples, open and honest communication is the cornerstone of a healthy relationship.  Prior to going on vacation, a couple should discuss the location and type of vacation they'd like to have.  This may means that each person shares a few location ideas and together, they discuss the pros and cons of each, until they agree.  This may also mean discussing whether the vacation will be a leisurely, relaxing trip, or one full of scheduled activities and tours, or hikes of local
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Money Matters: Debt & Finances in Marriage

  Money Matters:  Debt & Finances in Marriage The topic of finances often weaves its way through the delicate balance of love, commitment, and shared goals.  In working with couples over the years, one of the topics that almost always inevitably comes up is finances.  One person feels the other one is spending too much money.  One person is trying hard to pay down debt.  This topic can have a profound impact on marital harmony. In this blog post, I'll explore the challenges that many couples face and provide some guidance on navigating these difficult discussions. The Importance of Open Communication Open, honest, and transparent communication is the cornerstone of a strong, lasting marriage, especially when it comes to financial matters.  From the very start of their relationship, a couples should begin talking about finances.  This will make it a normal and comfortable topic to begin with, so it isn't as difficult to discuss later.  As a relationship progresses and become

Navigating Black Friday: A Therapist's Perspective

Navigating Black Friday:  A Therapist's Perspective Black Friday is just a few short days away.  Many of you have probably already planned out your early morning shopping route and which bargains you're going to chase.   And while Black Friday can be fun and we can find lots of great deals, I encourage families to approach Black Friday mindfully to ensure that the pursuit of bargains doesn't overshadow the importance of family connection and well-being.  And that can be well-being as far as physical, mental, or financial health.   Communication is Key: Open and honest communication is the foundations of any healthy relationships.   Before diving into the madness of Black Friday and getting caught up in the craziness of the crowds, have a family discussion about expectations,, budget consraints, and priorities.  By doing this ahead of time, you will preent conflicts, melt downs, or disappointments later while you're out.  Being out on Black Friday is already stressful, s

Thanksgiving 2023 - Nurturing Gratitude & Connection

  Thanksgiving 2023: Nurturing Gratitude & Connection As I write this, we are just a few days away from Thanksgiving.  And it's always an opportune time to reflect on the importance of gratitude and connection with our families and friends.  As a Marriage & Family Therapist, I have seen first hand, the transformational power of fostering a sense of gratitude.  Gratittude helps our minds remain more positive. And, personally, my word for this year has been Friendship, which has caused me to think more about my own connections with family and friends. In this blog post, I'll share some insights and practical tips to help families develop a spirit of thankfulness during this holiday season, and throughout the year. Acknowledge the Journey Thanksgiving often marks a time of reflection.  It causes us to think about what we have and how we are blessed.  During your Thanksgiving celebration with your family, try acknowledging your collective journey throughout the year.  Refle

In-Laws Are Part of the Package

  In-Laws Are Part of the Package     As a Marriage & Family Therapist, I often find myself guiding couples through the intricacies of relationships, especially with their in-laws and their spouses' extended family.  When in the initial stages of dating, it's easy to forget that marriage is not just a union of two people, it's the merger of two families, traditions, and histories.  In-laws, like it ot not, are an integral part of the package when you say, "I do".     For many couples, the mention of in-laws can create a range of emotions from joy to anxiety.  Understanding that each partner brings a unique set of family dynamics into the marriage is crucial.  It's not merely about two people coming together, it's about two families becoming interconnected. Embracing the Blend     Succesfully integrating in-laws into your married life involves a delicate balance.  It's important to acknowledge the importance of your spouse's family and be open t

Blended Families: How to Have a Brady Bunch Family

  Blended Families:  How to Have a Brady Bunch Family I recently asked my Facebook friends for blog post topic ideas.  And I'm not going to lie, when I saw this topic, I was hesitant.  I mean, who am I to say anything about having a successfuly blended family?  So, as I write this, I am being vulnerable and open.  But also know that I would LOVE to hear your stories about blended families, so please feel free to leave a comment. So, I was married for a little over 12 years and have two children from that marriage.  When my children were little and they talked about some of their friends who had single parents, I would remind them how lucky they were to have a mommy and a daddy at home.  Little did I know that wouldn't always be the case.   Yes, I am divorced.  I'm sorry if that comes as a surprise to you or if it makes you uncomfortable. As a Marriage & Family Therapist, I used to feel ashamed that I was divorced and constantly asked myself how I could be an effective m

Asking for Help is NOT a Sign of Weakness

  Asking For Help is NOT a Sign of Weakness, But Not Asking IS. Within our relationships, we often choose not to ask for help.  Perhaps it's because we are too proud, or maybe we don't want our partner to know that we don't know what we're doing.  Or maybe we don't want to feel like a burden to our partner. Whatever the reason you don't ask for help, you need to know right now that it is not a weakness to ask for help.  Asking for help is demonstrating humility and a desire to grow and learn.  And most people appreciate people who want to grow and learn.  One person can't know everything about everything, so we can all learn from others.   Think about all the areas in life in which we ask/get help from others - teachers, coaches, pastors, therapists...the list goes on.  But I bet you don't think that asking these people for help is weak.  So why do you think about asking others or asking your partner for help is weak. In fact, the Bible tells us in Prove