Do You Objectify Your Husband?


As a woman, you know what it's like to be objectified. Ever since you hit puberty, you've had guys you don't even know staring at your chest or making cat-calls about your body parts. You don't walk away feeling any better about yourself because of it, either. Usually, you feel like your self-esteem has taken a hit and you even feel threatened/worried about what this guy is going to do next. So when you think about whether you objectify your husband, you probably think you don't. After all, you don't make catcalls at him or stare at the bulge in his pants. 

But just because you don't objectify him for his physical traits, doesn't mean you don't objectify him at all. In fact, women do objectify men. They just don't do it through their physical traits. 

How Women Objectify Men

Instead of objectifying men by their physical traits, women usually objectify men by their character. Women expect men to be brave, dashing, debonair, charming, etc. And you were taught this for a long time. Ever since you were a little girl, you hoped to marry a Prince Charming. You wanted to marry someone brave, strong, handsome, and would be willing to go to great lengths for you if you needed it. 

So as you grew older and began dating, you looked for guys who were charming, kind, and treated you like a princess. Of course you did. What girl doesn't want someone like that? Sure, as you got older you realized that Prince Charming is a fairy tale, but if you can find a guy like Prince Charming who will treat you like a princess, why not?!  

Unfortunately, this Prince Charming fallacy is a great example of how women objectify their husbands. And it is so prevalent that all women do it to some extent or another. But the truth is, not all men are charming, dashing, or debonair. Some men would rather read books, play video games or work on cars. That doesn't mean they're defective, it just means they're a unique person who deserve to be loved as such.

Sure, not all women expect their husbands to be Prince Charming. But the same objectification still happens in a lot of ways. Here are just a few:

Signs You're Objectifying Your Husband 

1) He doesn't do it right. Do you get angry at your husband because he leaves the toilet seat up, or doesn't load the dishwasher right? This doesn't mean that he's defective, it means he's a unique person and does things differently. There's nothing inherently wrong with leaving the toilet seat up or putting the bowls on the bottom rack of the dishwasher. It's objectifying to expect your husband to do things the same as you do them and then holding him accountable as though he should magically know better.  

2) He's not making me happy in our marriage.  Relying on your husband to somehow make your marriage happy is objectifying. It's not his job to make you happy in your marriage. Yes, he's half of the equation but he's only half. And as a capable adult, you're ultimately responsible for your own happiness. 

The truth is, marriage takes work. Stop expecting your husband to make you happy and do the things you need to do that will make you happy. 

3) I shouldn't have to ask, he should just know. Everybody knows communication is key in marriage. But a lot of women still complain because their husband doesn't get them the right gift or doesn't plan the perfect date that they'd like. Instead of telling their husband what they'd like to do, they just expect him to magically know - just like Prince Charming magically knew how to save Snow White. 

The truth is, communication is a two way street. If you want something specific from your husband, just ask. Sure, it might not be as romantic as him just magically knowing exactly what you want, but that's a fairy tale idea anyway - and it's objectifying to compare him to a fairy tale notion. Talk openly with your husband. You'll see that you feel a lot closer when you can be open with him and see that he listens to what you want. 

4) He's not the kind of father you thought he would be. Parenting is hard. And just because they're his own kids doesn't mean he's going to be great at it. Expecting him to be a Superdad and getting angry at him when he isn't is also objectifying. 

Objectification Hurts Your Marriage

Objectifying your husband by expecting him to be someone he's not feels about as good to him as it does when somebody makes a catcall to you. And because it makes him feel this way, it's ultimately hurting your marriage. It sends the message that you don't love him for who he really and that you'll only love him if he meets your expectations. So instead of objectifying your husband, get to know your husband for who he really is. Love him for the strengths he has and for his weaknesses. You'll be surprised what a difference it'll make in your marriage. 

3 Well Meaning Things That Hurt Your Marriage


Maybe I'm too much of an optimist, but I believe that everybody has good intentions - most of the time. In fact, theories of human behavior suggest that humans only behave in ways that are advantageous to them. And in a society that means we behave in ways that are usually good for society, too.

But spouses who come to see me for marriage counseling usually don't see their partner's behaviors this way. They've been arguing with their spouse about the same thing for so long, that they believe their spouse has to be doing what they're doing deliberately and maliciously.

It's no wonder then, when spouses harbor bitter feelings towards each other. If you believe your spouse, who is supposed to love, honor and cherish you, is doing things deliberately to hurt you it makes you feel less loved. It makes you feel unimportant and you lose trust in your partner, too. You also worry that you won't be emotionally safe.

So even though behavior may be well meaning, that doesn't mean that it's okay. Well meaning behavior can still hurt. And it can still cause problems in your marriage no matter how well intended it is. And as a marriage counselor, I often see 3 well intended behaviors that hurt marriages. In fact, these three things are so common that most people don't realize they're doing them. Checkout these three well-meaning behaviors that are still hurting your marriage:

3 Unintentional Ways You're Hurting Your Marriage

1)  Putting Children First. Children are the best thing in the world. It makes sense, then, that when children come along you focus a lot of your time and attention into them. Plus, when they're really little they can't really take care of themselves so you have to give them a lot of your attention just to make sure they're being taken care of.

But even though your children are so important, your spouse is equally important, too. And because your spouse is an adult, you feel they should take care of themselves while you spend the short amount of time you have with your children. But even though this is well meaning it still hurts your marriage. And there's no reason you should have to choose between your children and your marriage. In fact, putting your marriage first gives your children a great example of what a good relationship looks like. This way you'll be setting them up for a great relationship of their own.

2) Hurtful Teasing. Teasing is fun. In fact, it can even be good in your relationship because it's a form of playfulness and flirting. But hurtful teasing, no matter how well-intended, is never good in your relationship.

It's not good because your spouse doesn't know what message to take away from it. Do they believe the playful/flirting part or the hurtful part? Because they don't know which message to take away, they take a little bit of both. And when your spouse takes away a hurtful message from you (even a little bit) they walk away feeling less loved and feel less trust towards you.

So when you tease, make sure your message is unequivocally fun and playful. Keep the hurtful messages out of it.

3) Placating. Nobody likes to fight. It's uncomfortable and it causes hurt feelings. It makes sense, then, that you'd rather avoid a fight if you can. But sometimes in order to avoid a fight, you tell your spouse what you think they want to hear just to get over the discomfort of the current fight you're in. The problem with this is that your mind is more on getting past the fight instead of coming up with a long-term resolution. And, wouldn't you know it, the fight comes up again in the future. Then you're having the exact same fight and the exact same hurt feelings you could have fixed long ago if you would have just hung in there until you found a resolution.

Instead of placating, hang in there. Stand your ground and come up with a solution that fits both your needs.You may have to put up with the temporary discomfort of a fight, but you'll be setting yourself up for long-term success. And you'll be ensuring you don't have to face the same discomfort in the future.

The Power of Repair

Nobody's perfect. And no matter how well intended we might be, we still end up hurting each other's feelings. When this happens a simple apology can go a long ways. Nothing is more healing and more repairing than telling your spouse you're sorry for the hurt you've caused. And that's an intentional way you can make your relationship better. 

Three Ways to Raise a Child with High Self Esteem


All parents I see are trying to do their best and seeking support to do the important and difficult work of raising children. Parenthood is challenging and every day you are faced with the task of making the best possible choices towards raising happy, healthy children. One of the most common questions I am asked as a therapist is how to ensure your child develops and maintains a healthy self-esteem. And while each child is different and might respond to different ideas in different ways, there are ways to ensure you’re doing your best towards the best possible outcome. Here are three things you can do today to ensure you’re child develops a high, healthy, self-esteem.

Three Things to Help Your Child Develop a High Self-Esteem

Praise Effort. It is exciting when your child is good at something. Excelling in a sport, music, or academics is an achievement to be proud of. Celebrating and praising your child for their innate abilities and skills that they work hard for is important. However, focusing too much on a particular skill or area can increase stress and disappointment if a failure occurs in that area. For example, you daughter can be a baseball star but strike out at her weekend game and still walk away with high self-esteem! Focusing on effort and doing your best possible can help a child to place value on effort rather than skill. This one thing can help your child to see the constant value in himself during both times of success and failure.

Step Back. Let your child try something on his own without your help. An important learning experience for your child can be experiencing both the challenge and the pride of accomplishing a task by herself. Have you ever stood by nervously as your toddler climbed to the top of the steps for the first time? Or waited by patiently as your preschooler tied his shoes for the first time? The look of sheer pride after your child accomplishes these things for the first time can be rewarding in itself for a parent. Feeling the frustration, anxiety, and even sometimes fear, that might accompany these tasks for the first time is part of the process toward your child feeling proud of that accomplishment. Sometimes having you standing on the sidelines is enough.

Increase your Own Self-Esteem. As a parent, you are one of the most important role models in your child’s life. By modeling a healthy attitude and positive self-esteem, your child sees this daily and can pattern his own behaviors and attitudes after yours. Parents can serve as mirrors for their children in how to respond and behave in situations. Working on increasing your own self-esteem will help ensure your child has the best possible role model for health.

Being a parent can be hard, overwhelming, and confusing. If your child is struggling with self-esteem, try shifting yourself from a parenting place of doing things “right” to having fun and enjoying time with your child. The changes in your child with this shift might surprise you! If you feel that additional support would be helpful, a family therapist in your area can help provide on-going assessment and support towards a happier and healthier child and family.

Amanda Regalia, M.A. is a marriage and family counselor and clinician for The Marriage and Family Clinic in Denver, CO. Amanda specializes in working with families and children ages 5 and up. She is passionate about helping people to create practical solutions that support them in achieving their goals and improving their relationships and life

Breaking Up is Hard To Do: These Tips Will Make It Easier


It happens to the best of people. You're in a good relationship sailing along smoothly and then for whatever reason you decide that the inevitable has to happen: you have to breakup with your Significant Other (SO). Whether it's because your relationship started becoming too rocky, or you realized you two were just going in different directions, you've decided that you can't continue on and you need to breakup. 

But everyone knows that breaking up is hard to do. First of all, you have to plan the right time and place to do it (if there is one). Then you have to have to muster up the courage to actually do it. And then you have to answer all the "But Why?"'s and the "Why now?"'s, etc. once you bring it up. And then there's the weeks and months ahead of having to tell everyone you broke up and answer their "Why?"'s. Not to mention the awkwardness of finding a new place to live, deciding who goes where, etc. 

Whew! That's a lot! No wonder breaking up is so hard to do. Despite all the questions and the inevitable heartache that comes with breaking up there are things you can do to make your breakup go smoother. Checkout these tips below about how:

Tips to Make Your Breakup go Smoother

1) Avoid Cliche's: It's not you, it's me. I just need some space. We're going in different directions. If you haven't heard these before, you've probably seen them in movies. These cliche's do no good in the breakup because it leaves your partner wondering if they're the sincere reason for the breakup or if it's just an excuse you used. They may hang on to the idea that they're just an excuse which could give them the impression that the door is open to get back together. And this leaves the door open to future contact - which makes breaking up even harder. 

Use your own words and tell your SO the cold, hard truth. You don't have to be mean about it but be honest nevertheless. If they know the real reason, this helps them know how to be better for a future relationship. This will also help you as you grieve the breakup in the coming months because you'll know you left nothing hidden. Not only will this help you grieve but will give you a clearer conscience and help you sleep better at night, too. 

2) Don't Tell Your Friends First. It's natural to talk to your friends about important decisions you want to make. But in this case, don't do it. It makes the breakup harder and creates potential for more difficulties down the road. 

Telling your SO first is the respectful and courteous thing to do. It will only hurt them more if they find out that they're the last one to know that you're going to breakup with them. And it also saves you from the sticky of situation of telling everyone you're going to breakup with them and then you decide not to. 

3) Lean on Friends/Family...A Lot. But Don't Slander. After you've broken up, feel free to talk to friends and family about it. Talk to them about how you're feeling, what you miss most, how it's especially hard when a special occasion is coming up, etc. But avoid slandering your ex. 

Slandering your ex makes your friends and family want to commiserate by slandering them, too. Which makes usually makes you want to defend them. After all, there were good things about them (otherwise you wouldn't have started dating them). And as you think about the good things about them, you'll only feel worse for breaking up with them. So when you talk to your friends and family, try not to slander your ex. Keep the focus on you and what you're feeling. Then do things with your friends to help you forget about your ex. 

4) Breakup and Be Done. Lots of couples breakup and then continue to see each other once in a while. They may go out to dinner with each other or even sleep with each other again. This is only kicking the can down the road and keeping you (and them) from moving on. 

Instead, breakup and make a plan where you will have as little contact as possible. For example, you can stay with your friend for a while until you or your SO moves out. You can change plans you've made to go on that vacation with his friends, etc. Seeing each other often after the breakup is never a good idea so it's important to breakup and be done.  

Breaking Up Is Always Hard

When you breakup, you're losing someone you care(d) about. Even if you don't care so much for them now, you did once. And you can't help but think about that good person you once loved. Because of this, breaking up is like losing someone you care about. And that will always be hard no matter what you do. But following these tips will help make it easier, help you mourn your old relationship and help you move on to happier days...and move on sooner. 

Various Types of Divorce: Which One Is For You?


For many people a divorce is a painful procedure that happens once they have explored every possible avenue of saving the marriage. Once the process starts, there is no going back for majority of people. The result is an annulment of marriage after either a legal battle or amicable separation.

Most people only know of these two types of divorces. This lack of knowledge often results in failure to explore more suitable options that would help the couple reconcile their differences and go along their separate ways without any undue stress.

There are four distinct types of divorce proceedings recognized by law. This is why it is often best to consult an experienced family law expert. Every couple has their own dynamics of relationship. This dynamics is still there when the differences starts and matters worsen to the stage where the spouses start to contemplate separation and divorce. It is because of this dynamics that every couple requires distinct treatment of their divorce proceedings.

No Contest Divorce

No contest divorce is one of the best case scenarios where the couple decides to end the marriage after a mutually agreement. This agreement specifies the division of property, assets, child custody and division of financial liabilities. This is often the swiftest divorces with a court order arriving within two months of filing the papers.

Contrary to popular perceptions, it is often best to involve an attorney in these divorces. Although the decision to divorce is reached after mutual agreement, it might happen that one of the spouses might give up a right unknowingly.

No Fault Divorce

A no fault divorce does not assign blame to any of the spouses. Rather, it accepts the fact that a couple might not wish to continue marriage because of irreconcilable differences or incompatibility.
This is a radical departure form the previous divorce laws that dictates that there should be valid ‘grounds’ for the divorce. These grounds were often the wrongdoings of one spouse and commonly included infidelity, desertion and mental or physical abuse.
It is now recognized that couples might wish to dissolve the marriage simply because they could not continue to live together. In such cases, a simple no fault divorce is the best option. In many cases, people confuse this type with no contest divorce. However, the two types are governed by very different set of laws and precedents.

Simplified Divorce

A relatively unknown type of divorce is simplified divorce that often happens early in the marriage. In many cases, these divorces happen when the couple discovers early on that they could not possibly continue to live together in future. Simplified divorces, as the name suggests, are among the most simple of the divorce cases, with quick hearing and verdict.

One of the reasons of the quick resolution of these cases, is the fact that they are classified as no contest, no fault divorces. Since there are few assets and liabilities to partition and argue over, the resolution of the marriage is a straightforward matter. The decision is usually handed down in a few weeks of filing the papers.
Despite the name, couples looking for simplified divorce should consult an expert in state family law. This type of divorce is not allowed in several states. Where it is allowed, there are very strict requirements and pre-requisites for the procedure.

Limited Divorce

Limited divorce is not technically an annulment of the marriage. It is actually similar to legal separation in that the couple s granted sometime to sort their financial issues. The idea is to give the spouses enough time to take care of the issues that would otherwise complicate the divorce proceeding.
Filing for limited divorce means that the couple agrees on the principle of dissolution of marriage. However, the financial and domestic issues prevent them for going for a contested divorce. In such cases, the court might agree to grant some time to come up with a plan of division of assets, liabilities, matters of alimony and child custody.

During the duration of limited divorce, the couple must live separately and must abstain from sexual relations. Once the period is over, the couple, along with concerned attorney must appear before the judge and present the finalized agreement. Divorce proceedings start as per the usual procedure.
In all these types of divorces, it is important to understand that these four types of divorces require supervision and advice of a legal expert. It is very easy to file papers for an uncontested divorce only to discover that the judge has different ideas and the appeal is tossed out.

This is a Guest Post by David Jones; a web content writer, and guest blogger, who offers content writing services to divorce and family law niches.
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The Hidden Power of Apology


If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times: All couples fight. And I've also said this one a thousand fighting can actually be good in your marriage. But when I say this, I usually get all sorts of odd looks.

I think I get it. When people come to me for counseling, it's usually because they fight a lot. So when I tell them that it's okay to fight - and even that it can be healthy - they wonder why they still feel so rotten. And they also wonder why they're paying me.

But in all my articles that I've written about why fighting can be good in your marriage, I have always accompanied that statement with a caveat that goes something like this: Fighting is only good in your marriage if you make repairs afterwards. Without repairs, the fighting continues and so do all the bad feelings that fighting brings up.

Apology Is the Secret to a Happy Relationship

There is strong research that shows that apology makes the difference between a happy marriage and an unhappy one. Famous marriage guru John Gottman found in his 'Love Lab' study that couples who reported being unhappy actually didn't fight any more than couples who reported being happy. The difference was that couples who reported being happy had ways that they repaired the relationship after their fight. And the fact that they repaired after the fight is what made them happier.

A great example of the power of repair is the old sitcom Cheers!. Remember how Sam and Diane would always fight so much? It was funny to watch but you couldn't help but wonder why they stayed together. Especially when they'd end their fighting by saying something like "I hate you!" and "I hate you more!" But if you remember the clip, it didn't end with that. They actually ended by making out. That was their repair. If they didn't make that repair, they probably would have continued on fighting and continued in their bad relationship.

Apology is Unique for Every Couple 

Some people would look at Sam and Diane's relationship and say it was dysfunctional. After all, they didn't get married in the end like everyone wanted - but they still loved each other. And their relationship worked for them. Similarly, how you repair your relationship is up to you. It can be through an apologetic letter or simply saying "I'm sorry". It can be through gestures instead of words (like bringing home flowers, etc.). It can also be through passionately making out (like Sam and Diane). How you and your partner choose to make up after a fight is up to you. But what's most important is that you do make up and don't let bad feelings fester.

Don't Expect Your Partner To Repair the Same Way You Do

One of the biggest problems I see on my couch is that spouses expect their partner to repair the same way that they do. But if you won't accept an apology/repair unless it comes on your terms, you're doing more damage in your relationship. You're doing more damage because you're essentially giving your partner a demanding ultimatum. You're demanding that they apologize exactly the way you want them to or else you'll stay mad. This effectively tells your partner that their unique personality is not welcome and you'll hold the relationship hostage until your partner bends to you. 

Instead, look for the unique way your partner tries to make a repair and appreciate it. Or at least thank them for trying. Try to see the way that they are trying to make amends and meet them half way. This will do wonders for them and it will also show that you are also making an effort on your part to make repairs (by accepting their gesture). 

Remember, all apologies are unique. They don't always come in the form of saying "sorry" or groveling. But it doesn't matter. What's important is that there are apologies and that each partner is willing to make repairs after a fight. Regardless of what the fight is about.

Why Fighting is Good in Your Marriage.


Couple's aren't supposed to fight, right? Fighting is a sign that something bad is happening in your marriage, right? Couples who fight are headed for divorce, right? I've heard all these questions before. And the short answer to all of them is 'no'. Here's why:

First of all, as humans we have the most advanced brain on the planet. Along with that comes all sorts of advanced emotions. We can't be expected to only show happiness all the time. There are times when we want to be mad. And there are times we should be mad. Like if he arrives late for an important event. Or when she goes out with her friends again even though you can't afford it. Only showing certain emotions restricts ourselves and forces to be someone that we're not.

How You Make Up Is More Important Than How Much You Fight

Secondly,  research shows that it's not necessarily how much or how severely a couple fights that breaks relationships. What's more important is how the couple makes up. I don't mean sex or flowers or anything like that. What I mean is how the couple makes up after the fight and more importantly if  they makeup when they fight. 

After a fight, a lot of couples will just move on and try not to talk about it again. Neither one offers an apology, and neither one tries to make restitution. They just simply move on. This doesn't heal the argument and all it really does is just postpone the current fight for some future time. Then when the fight happens in the future it occurs with all the intensity as the first time plus some added resentment from being unhealed for so long. 

Arguing Creates Opportunities to Make Amends

Lastly, arguing is a form of communicating and couples need to communicate. When couples argue they see 'the real deal'...nothing held back. This is a form of pure communication. While it may not be the most helpful way to communicate, it does help each spouse to see exactly what the other is really feeling. This is really good for the relationship because it gives each spouse an opportunity to reach out to the other one in difficult times and try to make amends or restitution. And when this happens it creates REALLY good relationships. 

So even though fighting is unpleasant and nobody likes to do it, it gives couples opportunities to air things out and talk about things that are really bothering them. This is healthy in a relationship. And once a couple airs things out and takes steps to fix whatever was bothering them, then they can be on a path to a deeper and more intimate relationship. And it was all because of a fight.

Red Flags You Shouldn't Ignore in Your Marriage


All couples fight. Even those in the so-called good relationships. And most of the time, your fights don't really harm the relationship. One of you ends up saying sorry, you make up and your life goes on. When this happens, a lot of couples just ignore the things they were fighting about. There's not really a good resolution to it so you just move on.

A lot of the time, moving on without resolving doesn't do any harm to your relationship. Like I said before, for a lot of fights, there really isn't a good resolution so you just apologize and move on. But sometimes the things you're ignoring in your relationship shouldn't be ignored. They're actually bigger signs of deeper problems. And ignoring them just makes them get worse and causes a deeper divide in your relationship. Here are some of the most common red flags in your relationship that you shouldn't ignore:

Red Flags in Your Marriage You Shouldn't Ignore

1) No Sex For a Long Time.  Sex is an important part of your relationship. It brings a unique passion and romance into your relationship that can't be replaced in any other way. As such, it's what separates you from being roommates and makes you and your partner lovers. So if sex isn't happening in your relationship, you can't just ignore it. When sex isn't happening, it's a sign that there's something deeper going on that's keeping you two from connecting passionately and intimately.

Solution: Talk with your partner about your sexual relationship. Tell them you've noticed it hasn't happened in a while and that you'd like it to change. Try to get their input about why the think it fizzled and talk together about how to re-ignite your relationship.

2)  The Same Arguments Over and Over Again. When couples argue, they're usually able to drop it after a while. They eventually kiss and make up and don't bring it up again. But if you and your partner end up fighting about the same things over and over again without any resolution, that's a big red flag that you can't ignore. Arguments need resolutions in order for you and your partner to feel healed afterwards. And if this isn't happening there isn't any healing. And it's just causing more problems.

Solution: If the same old argument is causing you too much heartache, just learn to let it go. Is it really worth damaging your relationship over and over again? Most people would say no. But if it really is a big deal to you, and you can't just let it go without feeling violated or bulldozed it's time to see a counselor to see if they can help you finally come up with a resolution.

3) Very Little Talking. Communication is key in any relationship. And I don't just mean about the day-to-day stuff. Couples should be talking about how their day went, what goals they're trying to accomplish, what they think about events that are happening around them, etc. If you and your spouse aren't talking much that's a big red flag that you're not connecting and that there's something wrong in your relationship.

Solution: Ask your spouse about more than just how their day went. Ask them about if they heard the news today and what they thought. Tell them what you thought about the news, etc. Try to tune into them and know what happened at work, then followup tomorrow to see if it got any better. As you start paying more attention to your partner, they'll start paying more attention to you and talking will become a lot easier.

Some Red Flags are Hard to See

Just because your relationship may not be volatile doesn't mean your relationship is doing okay. As you can see from this short list, some red flags are pretty covert. But these three red flags are some of the most common ones most couples experience. If you start seeing any of these red flags, be sure to address them sooner rather than later in your relationship. You can read books, checkout informative websites (like the one you're reading now - there's a searchbar on here for a reason afterall :)) or ultimately you can go to a counselor. 

Remember that these red flags don't mean your relationship is doomed. They're simply signs of more important things. And when you address them, your relationship will be in better shape and you and your partner can move on to even happier times. 

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