5 Ways To Help Your Spouse Conquer Drug Addiction

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Most of us know someone with drug addiction. It is very hard to watch someone destroy their life with a drug addiction. However, it is even more difficult when this person is your own spouse. Fortunately, you can help your spouse overcome drug addiction. Below are five ways that you can help your spouse:

Help Yourself First


Being married to someone who has a drug addiction can be incredibly stressful. This stress can begin to take a toll on your physical and mental health. Before you attempt to help your spouse, it is important for you to manage your own stress. There are a variety of ways that you can take control of your stress. For example, spending some time away from your spouse can help reduce your stress. You may also want to get professional counseling.

Learn All You Can About Addiction


Some people think that an addict can simply stop using the drug if he or she really wanted to. However, addiction is far more complex than many realize. There are both psychological and physical factors that drive a person to use a drug. It is very difficult to help a person if you really do not understand the problem. That is why you should take the time to learn about addiction.


Encourage Your Spouse To Get Professional Help


Addiction is a disease. Just like any other disease, it is not going to go away unless it is properly treated. You will need to encourage your spouse to get professional help. Let your spouse know that you are encouraging him or her to get help because you truly care. You should also let your spouse know that you will continue to offer support while he or she attends drug rehab.


Communicate


Communication is one of the keys to dealing with any type of problem. According to a leading drug rehab facility in St. Louis, many people who are battling drug addiction do not realize how much they are hurting their family members and friends. That is why you will need to communicate with your spouse and express your concerns.

Many people will get defensive when they are confronted about their drug problem. However, you should let your spouse know that you love him or her. You should also let your spouse know that you will be there for him or her.

Get Support


Despite the fact that addiction is a very common problem, it is still something that many people do not want to talk about with others. However, it is easier to deal with problems if you surround yourself with people who care about you. You should turn to close family members and friends for support. There are also addiction support groups.

A drug addiction can put a strain on a marriage. The good news is that you can help your spouse by learning more about addiction and managing your own stress. You will also need to discuss your concerns with spouse. Furthermore, you should seek support and encourage your spouse to get professional help.

Karleia Steiner is a freelance blogger. 
Away from the computer she enjoys 
spending time with her two daughters.

Top Conversations to Have about Surviving Middle School

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Back to school is a time full of new goals, activities, and promise for students and their families. It can also be a stressful time as children navigate new classes, friends, and responsibilities. In particular, middle school can be daunting and a difficult transition as tweens navigate between the ease of elementary school to the independence of high school. Middle school presents with its own unique challenges of increasing independence and trust while still maintaining a balance of just being a kid. As you know well as a parent, it is important to keep open lines of communication with your child. During challenging and transitional times, this can be essential to your child’s success and security. Here are some top conversation to have with your tween this year about surviving middle school:



Friends



Middle school presents a shift in focus for tweens from family to friends. As your child matures, their peers and their peers’ viewpoints can become more and more important. You may notice that your child prefers to spend time with their friends than with your family. Although this can be disappointing as a parent, this transition is normal!

Along with the increased importance of friends, increased peer pressure and desire to fit in also increases. Peer pressure can include healthy stress but can also include pressure to participate in unhealthy or inappropriate behaviors. Statistics show that 30% of middle school students are offered drugs and 50% of teenagers feel pressured in regards to sex. Keeping open communication with your child provides support for them when they may be faced with challenging friendships. Talking with them about the pressures they face provides a safe space for them to share and helps them to feel better equipped to handle challenging situations.

Boyfriends and Girlfriends


Middle school is a time when children start to show interest in romantic relationships and might talk about “dating”. “But my child is too young!” - While the idea of your child “dating” is a scary thought, early conversations with your child can help him set healthy boundaries from the beginning. At this age, “dating” might involve many different things and the term can be used to describe many different behaviors. Your child might not be interested in dating yet, but nevertheless, will be exposed to friends having romantic interests. 

Keeping an open mind and being open to your tween’s interest in this area can help establish what this means to your child in a way that is appropriate and healthy. An open conversation about your concerns as a parent and what you’re comfortable with can go a long ways in building trust with your child and establishing an open dialog about healthy boundaries in all kinds of relationships. Starting these conversations early empowers your middle schooler to establish healthy relationship habits early on.

Balance


Middle school can be an exciting time full of new activities and friends. Learning to balance work and fun is an important part of the process and something that doesn’t necessarily come naturally to tweens. Conversations about how to balance school work, activities, sports, etc. can help set your child up for success in all areas. With their focus on peer relationships, support in balancing friends and family time and how to make time for self-care can also be beneficial in setting up your middle schooler for success. Tools like goal setting and activity scheduling can help your child define his priorities and create a concrete plan he can return to when he feels overwhelmed.


Maintaining open communication with your middle schooler can be a difficult balance as a parent. There might be days when your child can’t wait to talk to you and there might be others when you’re left wondering who you’re child has turned in to. Being open to difficult conversations and listening with a non-judgmental ear can be key to building a trusting and honest relationship with your child. Providing validation and support can be difficult when presented with challenging and new topics brought on by middle school’s unique challenges. If you find yourself lost about how to talk with your child or if you are concerned about changes you see in your child, a therapist can help you assess and re-connect with your child. 

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

3 Things Every Woman Needs to Know About Her Marriage

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 Every little girl dreams about being married. They fall in love with movies about handsome princes, and even have pretend weddings where they walk down the aisle and say 'I do'. The wedding industry is a multi-million dollar industry and traditionally it's women who are responsible for planning it.
But past the fairy tales and the wedding day there are a lot of things women need to know about their marriage. And I don't just mean the same old 'never go to bed angry' cliche's that everybody hears. 
 

3 Things Every Woman Should Know About Her Marriage


1) It's a good thing that your husband doesn't act like Prince Charming. Every little girl grows up watching those fairy tale movies where a handsome prince whisks away the damsel in distress. He then takes her to his castle where he makes her his princess and they live happily ever after. Thinking about it now, you can't help but get butterflies in your stomach thinking about finding a guy like that. But your husband is not Prince Charming. In fact, expecting him to be Prince Charmin is objectifying him

Husbands aren't always charming, dashing, debonair, etc. In fact, some of them would rather read books, work on cars or play video games rather than buying you roses or whisking you away to a romantic getaway. And that's not a bad thing. You fell in love with him for who he is. If you expected Prince Charming you may have to marry a cartoon because not many men ride horses and fight dragons. 

2) Toothpaste won't destroy your marriage. One of the most common reasons women bring their husbands to counseling is for what I call 'the toothpaste tube'. They're mad because they've been married 'X' number of years and he still doesn't put the cap back on the toothpaste in the morning. Or he doesn't load the dishwasher right. Or he doesn't just see that the house needs to be vacuumed and pick up the vacuum and do it. Instead he waits for you to tell him it needs to be done. Whatever it is, you've begged and pleaded and even yelled and he still doesn't do it. 

Barking at your partner because he doesn't put the cap back on the toothpaste just makes you look superficial. I've never heard of someone divorcing because he doesn't put the cap back on the toothpaste. When you look at it like that, it's a pretty sill reason to get a divorce, really. There's no gold pen in the universe declaring that he HAS to put the cap back on. Yes, it'd make him a better roommate but does it really affect your marriage that much? Some things really are worth letting go. This one (and things like it) aren't going to destroy your marriage. 

3) It's not just about sex. Ever since you hit puberty you've been used to boys you don't even know staring at your chest. You've also been used to going on dates where all he wants is your body. But your husband is different. Yeah, he wants sex all the time. But it's not just about the sex. It's about you. Sex is a great way to connect with each other. And he really does want to connect with you. 

If you find yourself not wanting to have sex with your husband, ask yourself why. There are lots of good reasons to be having sex on a regular basis. If you can't find one, it's time to do some soul searching. You deserve to have a good sex life, too. And if it's not happening then something needs to change. 






He Said/She Said: Can My Booty Call Turn Into a Relationship?

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Dear Aaron & Rachel

Steve and I used to date a couple years ago but then we broke up. Even though we didn’t get along all the time, the sex was always great. When we first broke up we decided not to see each other. But a couple weeks later I needed a date to a work party so I called him and we ended up having (great) sex that night. We both agreed it was a mistake but then he called me a couple weeks later and we ended up having (great) sex again. We’ve both dated other people over the last two years but we’ve always had our little ‘sexcapades’ in between (don’t worry, we never did anything together while we were dating someone else).

Anyway, now we’re both single and we’re getting together a lot more. But it’s different now. We used to fight a lot and now we hardly ever fight. We also don’t go out together as much because we don’t want our friends to know we’re hooking up more. But the sex is still great as ever. I realize we’re probably just being each other’s booty call but I think I want something more. Is it possible for a booty call to turn into a relationship?  

Sincerely, 

Just Booty Call?

She Said 


Every now and then a booty call turns into a relationship--as an exception and not the rule. However, the relationship that you have with Steve is not a typical booty call relationship because you have dated before and have been hooking up on/off for years. Considering that you have such history and are a female with a biological predisposition to get attached to someone you continue to sleep with, it is likely you will very much want more than just sex with Steve in the near future. Is Steve on the same page? If he does not see your relationship turning into anything more than sex, I suggest you end things. You can have great sex with someone else who wants more than just a "friend" with benefits.


He Said


It's difficult to judge whether a real relationship can evolve when you're being each others' booty call. It's difficult because when you're each others' booty call, you get the luxury of having none of the responsibilities of a committed relationship but you still get the sexual advantages. Because of that it often distorts your view of each other - and the relationship. And you think because things are going great now, there's no reason they couldn't be great if you started a relationship.

The truth is, a committed relationship has much different rules than a booty call relationship. And you need to decide whether you can live by those other rules with each other. It would seem like you already tried living by those other rules and it didn't work. Sure, you could try it again but what's changed from the first time? Booty calls are great but there's something extra electrifying about having sex with someone you really care about. If Steve doesn't feel the same way you do, it's probably best to end the booty callin' with him and move on. This will have been the second time you tried and failed with him. No need to try again.

About Rachel:  Rachel Russo is a Dating, Relationship, & Image Coach who works with marriage-minded singles and couples in NYC and throughout the US. Checkout her website at RachelRusso.com

About Aaron: Aaron Anderson is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, owner of The Marriage and Family Clinic in Denver, Colorado and writer for various websites on marriage and relationships.

The ABC's of Back to School

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September marks the beginning of back to school for children and parents. Back to school time can be fun, exciting, and full of new possibilities. But it can also be chaotic, overwhelming, and disorganized. Like any transition, children can react to these changes in both positive and negative ways.

 In positive ways, it can be exciting to watch your child adapt to new classes and friends while learning new things and earning new responsibilities. However, it is also common for children to present with new or re-occurring behaviors that are disruptive, aggressive, or maladaptive to maintaining a positive learning environment and peaceful home.

Over time, as everyone adapts to a new schedule and routine, you should see a decrease in these disruptive behaviors and an increase in positive behaviors. Use these tips to make this back to school time transition as smooth as possible this year:

Tips For Helping Your Child Adjust to School


A. Academics and Activities. The start of a new school year can bring on a flurry of activities that while fun, can be overwhelming to children. A balance between academics and activities is critical to maintaining a content household. Just like adults can feel overwhelmed when schedules are overloaded, children can also feel spread thin and exhausted if they are involved in too many activities on top of their new school responsibilities.

If your child is not adjusting well, try cutting back on activities, allowing your child’s time and energy resources to focus on just a couple of things at a time. This balance between academics and activities, including free time to play and relax, can make all the difference between a chaotic and calm family and home.

B. Bedtime Routine. During summer, routines and consistent bed times are often forgotten in favor of fun activities and vacations which can end in late nights. Returning to a consistent bed time can improve your child’s ability to tolerate transitions. Feeling rested in the morning helps your child start their school day strong and capable of processing new information and managing a new environment.

A consistent routine at bedtime can look many ways but might include cleaning up their room, bath time, brushing teeth, reading time, and lights out. Keeping the same order helps your child know what to expect next. Set a reasonable bed time based on your child’s age that helps them to feel rested and ready for school. Finding the right bed time might be an experimental process as you adjust the time so that it is late enough that they are tired when it is bedtime but early enough that they get plenty of rest before their wake up time for school.

C. Consistent Check-Ins. Consistently checking in with your child empowers them in feeling supported and keeps you aware of events, celebrations, and potential challenges. Weekly family meetings can provide a way to check in with each family member and maintain awareness about what he or she is feeling about school, friendships, and family. If your child is feeling worried or discontent about something in his life, he might struggle with a good time to bring it up with the family.

Consistent check ins allow a space and time to do just that, making it safe for your child to bring up his worries and seek support from the entire family. Family check-ins are also a great time to celebrate all of the good things that have happened throughout the week!

Back to school time can be both exciting and stressful for parents, children, and families. Enjoy this new time and take time out of the busyness to reward positive behaviors and celebrate new achievements. This is a normal time to see new and re-occurring disruptive behaviors occur with your children as they adjust to new people, places, and routines. However, if after a few weeks in to the new school year your household is still chaotic, reach out to the resources available to you for support. A school counselor is a great place to start for assessment and referrals. If you feel that additional support would be helpful, a family therapist in your area can help provide on-going support and tools for a happier and healthier child, family, and home.

Dont' Follow This Bad Marriage Advice

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When you first got married, you were given all sorts of marriage advice. Some of it came on cards with your wedding presents. Some of it came from friends at your wedding party. And a lot of it came from your parents or other friends who are married.

Regardless of where the advice came from, you were willing to accept whatever advice you could get. After all, if anything could keep you and your fiance' from becoming just another divorce statistic, you were willing to give it a try.

Unfortunately, not all the marriage advice you got was good. There are a lot of marriage tips floating around that have no basis whatsoever. In fact, some of the advice you got might have even been harmful. So to help you sort out which ones are no good, here is some of the most common marriage tips that you shouldn't follow.

Bad Marriage Advice You Shouldn't Follow


1) Never go to bed angry. This one is just silly. This one seems to expect you to get over problems within a day - just like you see on TV. The truth is, couples have problems - real problems. And not all of them get solved in 24 hours. Sometimes it takes weeks, months or even years to solve the problem. And every time the problem comes up you can't expect each other to be happy.

Solution: Repair quickly. Instead of never going to bed angry, the better advice is to repair problems quickly. You can't solve the problems (that might take years) but you can make amends in the relationship so there aren't any bitter feelings while you're trying to work the problem out.

2) Love is all you need. Umm, not quite. Sure, you might love each other but if your spouse is unwilling/unable to hold a steady job or can't quite kick that alcohol addiction, you may be better off single. Even if you love each other, one partner really can drag the other one down. And that doesn't do either of you any good.

Solution: Love each other but still be practical. Love is necessary in a relationship but real love comes when both partners are whole and capable of loving back. You might love your spouse to death but if your spouse isn't whole enough to show love back then you have some decisions to make.

3) Expect your sex life to drop off a cliff. Why? You love each other so why not have sex as often as you can? Plus, sex is the only thing that you share with your spouse that you can't share with anyone else. It's what sets you apart as a couple. If you're not having sex you may as well be roommates.

Solution: Yes, sex has its ups and downs when you're married but you should always expect to be having sex. And it should always be really good (at least as often as possible). If you're not having good sex read some books, see a counselor or whatever it takes to get your sex life back on track.

4) Focus on making your spouse happy and you'll be happy, too. Don't think so. There's no magic button that makes you happy just because your spouse is. And if your spouse isn't happy that doesn't mean it's your responsibility to fix it. Sometimes they have a good reason not to be happy (like if their friend just died).

Solution: Yes, a marriage is a partnership so you can't just focus on yourself. But you can't just focus on your partner, either. Being a self-sacrificer for the sake of the marriage usually means you're being a doormat. A happy marriage happens when BOTH partners are getting their needs met. There's a little give and take in every relationship but don't give up too much or you'll lose yourself in the marriage.

You got lots of marriage advice when you got married. You probably still do. And it's probably all well-intended. But just because it's intended well doesn't mean it's good advice. As a general rule, if any marriage advice doesn't feel good to you there's no reason to follow it. There's plenty of other advice out there that might work for you.



Do You Objectify Your Husband?

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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

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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. 

 
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