13 Signs You Need To Visit A Marriage Counselor

“Most couples wait too long before seeking help. In truth, you are best served if you seek help sooner rather than later. Negative communication and withdrawal can be equally detrimental. When conversations quickly turn negative, partners can feel depressed, insecure, and disregarded. Withdrawing from or avoiding conversation can have the same effect, and has the added negative result of making unspoken complaints increase in importance and severity as they remain unaddressed.”

We believe we’re getting the fairytale when we get married. You know — meet “the one,” have a whirlwind courtship, get married and live happily ever after. What the fairytales don’t tell you is that relationships take work.

Often times, we don’t go into a relationship with the tools to manage the challenges, which is where the pros come in. And by pros, I mean a counselor or therapist who can help you learn new ways of relating to your partner.

The question is: when do you know it’s time to consider marriage counseling? Here are some trigger points and behaviors that are signs you may need help.

1. When you aren’t talking. In all honesty, many relationship challenges are simply challenges in communication. A therapist can help facilitate new ways to communicate with each other. Once communication has deteriorated, often it is hard to get it going back in the right direction.

2. When you’re talking, but it’s always negative. Negative communication can include anything that leaves one partner feeling judged, shamed, disregarded, insecure or wanting to withdraw from the conversation. Negative communication also includes the tone of conversation because it’s not always what you say, but how you say it. Negative communication can escalate into emotional abuse as well as non-verbal communication.

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/02/marriage-counseling-_n_5412473.html

How We Became Strangers

There are several things we need in order to survive: food, water, and air to name a few. Nothing hurts quite like a failing marriage, and there is no loneliness as intense as living with a stranger, especially one that used to be your best friend. Just like we need these essentials to survive physically, marriages need certain things to survive emotionally. Marriages need love, trust, truth, patience, kindness, and understanding. When a marriage is deprived of such things, it can slowly begin to die.”

unhappy couple

A sexy courtship, a marriage, a young son. And then a courteous drifting apart. But an icy glimpse into her future brought Jill Bialosky back to the love of her life.

I sat at an outdoor café with an old friend I hadn’t seen in nearly a year. It was spring. The pond was beginning to thaw. The daffodils were in bloom. Triangles and rectangles of pale yellows lay patchwork style around the trees. A teenage girl with a series of pierces in her earlobe tucked her hand into her boyfriend’s back pocket as they waited for a table, and I remembered the boy who had slipped his hands into the pockets of my hiphuggers and asked, “Do you want to?” before we lay down in the grass. At the table next to us, a couple hovered over their cappuccinos in intense conversation. I noticed the woman had taken off her slingback sandal and was rubbing her bare foot against the calf of the man across from her. My friend and I conversed nonstop. We moaned about how tired we were, between cupcakes to make for the class picnic, expense reports to finish, a novel that needed to be turned in. The long, lavish lunch was a brief intermission in our lives. We gossiped about mutual friends and fantasized about trips to Italy and France. During dips in our conversation, I found myself looking at the teenage couple now seated at a table, their chairs side by side. They kissed. The boy with the lean body underneath a V-neck sweater put his hand under the back of his girlfriend’s shirt. Our conversation moved to our children, kindergartens, tantrums, bed-wets. We talked about our mothers and sisters. At the end of the lunch, my friend looked into my eyes as if she were peering into the farthest reaches of my soul and asked me about my marriage. “Are you guys having sex?” she asked bluntly. And this image blossomed in my head of D.’s face covered in pox marks as he lay on our couch, miserable and not talking, quarantined in our house like a leper, having caught chicken pox from our son. I wanted to burst out laughing.

Read more: http://www.oprah.com/relationships/How-to-Revive-Your-Marriage-O-Magazine

What Can I Say That’s Actually Helpful in Times of Grief?

“When a friend loses a loved one, our hearts ache for them. We want so much to comfort, soothe and make things better, yet we end up sputtering out the wrong words because we don’t know what to say when someone dies. There will be times outside the funeral when you will see your friend or family member whose loved one has died. Don’t avoid the situation completely. The first time you see the person go ahead and offer your condolences. If you avoid the situation, you will either make the other person uncomfortable or lead them to believe that you haven’t yet heard the news.”

What Can I Say That's Actually Helpful in Times of Grief?

Dear Lifehacker,
This year has been a very difficult one for me. A close friend passed away and a few other people I know also lost loved ones. I never know what to say or how to act at times like these. What can I say when nothing seems appropriate or it all sounds like cliches?

Signed,
Stumbling for Words

Dear Stumbling,
We’re sorry to hear that. It’s hard not to feel at a loss for words. When someone you care about or know is grieving, words don’t seem to be enough. Expressing your care and support, though, could do a world of good for both the other person and yourself.

 While there’s really no “right” or “wrong” way to help someone grieve, some things might be better to say than others. I spoke with several mental health experts and those familiar with bereavement to find the best approach for this awkward and tough situation we unfortunately all experience.

What to Avoid Saying

Some phrases and words of advice, even if they’re well-intentioned, could make others feel worse and magnify their grief. In general, try to avoid:

Comparing their loss to yours: When someone dies, it makes us think about our own experiences, but saying “I know just how you feel—when my mother/friend/dog died last year…” isn’t comforting. Even though you’re trying to help or connect by empathizing, it might feel insulting to the other person, like you’re trying to minimize the pain he or she is feeling. Andrew Moore, a licensed professional counselor at the University of Oklahoma HSC, says that even if there are similarities to your experiences, their experience is still unique to them. Every death is also unique. A more appropriate response may be to acknowledge—without direction and empathy—that this is a difficult time, e.g., “This must be very difficult, and I can’t truly understand what it must be like right now,” offers clinical social worker Stuart Strauzer. Then give more comforting words or gestures of support (see below).

Read more: http://lifehacker.com/5941009/what-can-i-say-thats-actually-helpful-in-times-of-grief

10 Best Beach Activities for the Family

“The weather was just perfect to hit the beach this weekend. Although all children seem to love being on the beach, sometimes you need to have some ideas for keeping them entertained above and beyond swimming and building sandcastles. Get ready for fun in the sun and sand. Once your little kids have exhausted the waves, there are plenty of land-based activities to keep them busy until sunset.”

best beach activities for the whole family

Do your summer plans say BEACH?  If so, you’re going to love this list of fun things to do with kids.

Honestly, it takes a lot to motivate me to go to the beach.  Mostly, because I don’t enjoy sunbathing, I seriously turn another shade of brown within 10 minutes of being in the sun. I love my sun-kissed skin color just the way it is.  So with that said I try to plan activities that our kids will enjoy doing at the beach which they can enjoy under the umbrella for some shade breaks.

Most of these activities were not planned before I left home so I had to work with the things I found around the beach and where we were staying. Which makes them pretty simple and easy to put together. Also, I usually search the internet after I write a post or in preparing for an article just to see how original my work is and I must say I didn’t find any articles that had these unique activities in their post. Most of them had things like go find seashells, make a sand castle… and those are great but I wanted to share something different.

So enjoy our unique list of beach activities for you and your family.

Read more: http://inspiredbyfamilymag.com/2013/05/18/10-best-beach-activities-for-the-family/

6 Dating ‘Issues’ That We Should Stop Worrying About

“Confidence, like other great qualities, is a habit. It’s what you repeatedly do, over and over, that makes you appear confident.  But not only will dating be easier when you strip away some of your stress and anxiety, but in the process, you yourself will become even more of a person that other people want to be around, maybe even date. But there are things you can do to stop the miserable cycle that you have found yourself in.”

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Photo by http://www.thedatereport.com/

No one ever said that dating and relationships were easy. If they were you probably wouldn’t be reading this article. Still, I think that we all tend to make this business of trying to find love harder than it has to be. We over-analyze, we obsess, we nitpick, we get jealous.

Here’s a radical dating strategy: just chill the fuck out. If everyone relaxed about a handful of things, plenty of the stress and drama that goes hand in hand with courtship could be eliminated. Then we might all enjoy dating more, and could redirect our leftover attention to more valuable things, like the government shutdown or global warming or if your roommate knows you borrowed her blender to make adult slushies last weekend. Here are the top six things you should never worry about again.

1. Your “Number”: Or, for that matter, anyone’s number. No one on God’s green earth needs to know how many people you’ve slept with, because it’s none of their damn business. The amount of people you have, or haven’t had sex with, reflects exactly nothing about your character, and thinking it’s some kind of metric of how worthy a human being you are is outdated and gross. If you’re the kind of person that likes to keep a secret coded chart of everyone you’ve hooked up with for your memoirs or whatever, then go for it. But feeling bad about yourself because you think you’ve been with too many or too few people is a waste of your precious energy.

Read more: http://www.thedatereport.com/dating/advice/6-dating-issues-that-we-should-stop-worrying-about/

Sex on the First Date

“It’s difficult to address the subject of casual sex. Sexual intercourse means different things to different people. If you were to just walk up to a woman and ask her if she is the type to have sex on the first date,  what do you think her response would be?  No?  You got it.  Most women will tell you right off the bat that sex on a first date is NOT going to happen.  If you think that means that it is totally out of the question and that you CANNOT have sex on a first date with a woman,  think again.”

Photo by http://www.cosmopolitan.com/
Along with not wearing white after Labor Day (seriously?) and waiting for a guy to ask you out (eff that), you can add “Don’t have sex on a first date” to the list of rules that are now considered one hundred percent outdated.

We used to think that falling into bed with someone too soon would disqualify you from being considered girlfriend material. But welcome to 2013, when the world is a lot less sexist than it used to be.

“In this day and age, more people recognize sex as an important component of a successful relationship, not something to be ashamed of,” says Justin Lehmiller, PhD, a social psychologist at Harvard who studies relationships and sexuality. “For those people, it’s important to establish sexual compatibility early on, and having sex on the first date may be the right move for them.”

Ultimately, getting nekkid with some dude you’ve known for only 2.5 hours may not be your thing, and that’s fine too. The point is that hard-and-fast dating rules (like “No sex till date three”) and old-fashioned expressions like the vile “Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?” are antiquated and harmful—they produce all this unnecessary anxiety and shame about something normal and natural: dating and sex.

Read more: http://www.cosmopolitan.com/sex-love/advice/a4546/dont-have-sex-on-the-first-date/