My Loveless Marriage

Why divorce wasn’t the answer to my emptiness.

By Judy Bodmer

I lay in bed staring at the darkness. My husband, Larry, was snoring softly beside me. We’d just had another fight. I could hardly remember what had started it, but I knew we’d both said ugly, hateful things. Nothing had been resolved. We’d just gotten tired. Now he slept and I lay here, feeling utterly alone.

I crawled out of bed to check on our two sons. David, such a handful while awake, looked like an angel even though his face was sticky from the ice cream he’d eaten earlier. I pulled Matthew’s covers back on his small body and smoothed his blond head. He needed a haircut. Working full-time, with two small sons to referee and a house to keep clean, I never had enough time to do it all. Read Full Article

The three culprits that rob couples

The three culprits that rob couples of true intimacy are listed below.

Take note of which pattern you find yourself using, and see if you can change it. Resist sarcastic, belittling or angry comments that hurt your spouse. If you withdraw and use silence, this can be just as ineffective and painful as yelling or saying hurtful things to your spouse. Instead, resist the temptation to use silence or withdraw, and communicate to your spouse that you are feeling deeply hurt but would like to work through these differences.

AVOID THESE PATTERNS LISTED BELOW:

1. USING SILENCE- This person knows how to get control fast. They withdraw and simply do not speak to their spouse. This is very painful to both and stops intimate communication almost immediately.

2. USING VIOLENT WORDS- This person uses their anger to get their way. They yell, call names, or use put down comments. Almost anything goes to win. This pattern gets the couple nowhere fast.
3. COMBINATION OF SILENCE AND VIOLENCE- This person uses a combination of withdrawing at critical times, and then assaulting their unsuspecting spouse. This style is really painful and adds to the deterioration of the relationship. It needs to be stopped immediately.

I hope this information gets you speaking kindly again

to your partner. I will be glad to meet with you alone or with you and your spouse. I can show you both what can be done to make your communication and relationship healthier. If your relationship becomes more loving, this change will flow down to your children as you model to them how healthy couples relate and communicate together.

I have witnessed houselholds become happy

and seen first hand how these happy homes effect our own attitude and view of ourselves. It isn’t a secret that at the heart of a good home is a very healthy and good marriage. It is possible to adapt and change and break away from dysfunctional patterns and begin fresh with sound habits that demonstrate care, value and love to one another.

I have helped many couples do this during my 26 years as a clinical psychologist.

I will be honored to see if I am a good fit for you, and can help you as well. I wish you all the best.

Make An Appointment

Call (714) 501-5332

Top 10 Relationship Killers

“We’re getting a divorce,” she explained, with a look of disappointment on her face.

Her tone of voice changed, as she tried to look on the bright side. “But it’s for the best. Things haven’t been working out for the past few years. We’re just too different.”

“For the best…Too different….” Her words echoed in my mind for hours after our conversation ended. I thought about the list of differences my husband and I possess. We are SO different in so many ways. Could it really be possible that a couple can be “too different” to have a thriving marriage? The thought didn’t sit well with me.

As a Professional Counselor, every day I see couples who come into therapy with their marriage on life-support.

But their struggles often have nothing to do with the trauma of affairs, addictions, or abuse. Instead, they are dying a rather slow and painful death.

Phrases like, “We’re too different” or “We’ve grown apart” or “Life has just gotten the best of us….” phrases that sound so innocent- yet are extremely lethal.

There are so many factors that can get in the way of a good marriage, but often, they are the small, unnoticed things that make their way in.

In order to make sure our marriages survive and thrive, here are some relationship killers every couple should be on the lookout for:

1. Family

The number one relationship stress for most couples has little to do with their relationship and much to do with the relationships they are surrounded by. The role of your parents, in-laws, siblings, and friends all shift the moment you say “I do,” because when you join together as one, you’ve chosen to put your spouse above all others. Too many marriages are struggling simply due to a lack of priorities, finding themselves pulled by everyone else in every which way, except toward each other. Healthy marriages learn to choose one another above all others.

2. Lack of Communication

It’s true that the average couple invests in quality conversation only a few minutes a day. It’s easy to let life get busy and stop connecting with the one you love. But there’s no such thing as living in neutral, because drifting happens the moment we stop moving forward. Take the time to connect and communicate with your spouse often.

3. Stress

It’s so easy to take our stress out on our spouse. We can get into the habit of holding things in until we’re in the safety and comfort of our marriage – and then we explode. From financial problems, to illness, job-loss, and grief, healthy couples allow their stress to pull them together, by relying on each other, sharing it with one another, and carrying the load together.

4. Technology

I read a blog post about a guy getting a divorce…except this guy chose to divorce his phone. But it makes sense, because so many of us carry this dangerous relationship killer right in our back pocket. In the world of technology crazed, iPhone carrying, Facebook posting mania- it’s no joke that we find our time slipping away into the inanimate, instead of investing it into the intimate. Unplug, disconnect, shut down – and invest in your spouse. (11 signs you need a break from social media!)

5. Selfishness

Marriage is one huge, ongoing, life lesson in “unselfishness.” And we’ll either allow the experience to make us better, or we’ll grow bitter. Putting someone first is an incredibly hard task because our flesh is wired to choose self.

Each time we say yes to ourselves, we’re saying no to our marriage, because marriage is not about Him vs. Her, it’s about We vs. Me.

6. Unforgiveness

Forgiving and forgetting are not one in the same. When we fail to realize that, we will hold on to our hurts for a very long time. And eventually those hurts begin wreaking havoc on our lives from the inside out. But forgiveness is not about excusing the other person, it’s about freeing ourselves to receive healing from the God who forgives us time and time and time again.

7. Loose Boundaries

We tend to think about offensive play in marriage, forgetting that defensive strategy is just as important. We can be doing all the right things, while still failing to keep out the things that are harmful. Draw a circle around your marriage, and protect it by guarding your emotions, your interactions, and the way you spend your time.

8. The Past

The most paralyzing thing we can do for our relationship, is to define our spouse by their past, rather than by who they are in the present. The past may impact our lives, but it will only control our present if we allow it to. It’s important to be real with one another about our pasts, but more important, to respect one other’s pasts by seeing what God is doing in the life of our spouse HERE and NOW. Forget what is behind…so that you can move toward what is ahead.

9. Dishonesty

Why is a small lie just as dangerous as a big lie? Because they both have the same impact on intimacy. Honesty in marriage is like the chain that holds you together. Removing one link, or ten links does the same thing: it causes separation. If you’ve made mistakes in your relationship or have been hiding things from your spouse, now is the time to seek truth and confession; because a relationship riddled with dishonesty, is no relationship at all.

10. Pride

“I am my biggest marriage problem” is the theme of Paul Tripp’s work in the field of relationships. To be able to look in, then, is the greatest step toward nourishing a relationship. To be aware enough to recognize and restore your flaws and shortcomings, before fixating on those of your spouse. But the sting of pride can make that really hard to do. It’s so much easier to point the finger and to shift the blame. But the moment you let go of your responsibility, you’ve let go of your relationship- because no matter what the issue at hand: it always takes two.

It’s time to consider where you’ve let your guard down before these sly intruders make their way in. May God continue to give you the wisdom to recognize these patterns and to lookout for the “small stuff” by protecting, nourishing, and prioritizing your marriage.

By Debra Fileta

truelovedates.com Article ran originally on truelovedates.com.

Make An Appointment

Call (714) 501-5332

Isolated, Confused, Conflict, Infidelity, Divorce?

Most married couples will tell you

that it is difficult to be in a long-term committed relationship. Many of us have misconceptions about marriage when we first start out, and since we usually love our spouses at the time we wed, we aren’t necessarily thinking about all the changes that will happen to us and within us as we spend the rest of our lives with our mates.

The reason relationships are hard

is that many of us have reaction points to things that have happenned to us at previous times in our lives. If we can somehow work with our spouse by remaining non-reactive to their reactivity, we will grow and change and come out the other side as better people. We become more patient, less selfish, more self-aware and sometimes even more content in life as we come to appreciate who we are in the relationship. The price for these improved character traits can be high and painful.

The problem is usually found in our reactions to our wives and husbands.

“They don’t listen to me.” “They are too controlling”. “They are stubborn, immature and unfeeling.” “I’m sick and tired of their belittling comments and yelling.” (The list goes on.)

One of the ways I help couples that come to my office,

is to find the pattern of talking or relating that leaves them both feeling lonely and hurt. Couples typically have one of three responses when they communicate with each other. We meet together so we can understand your unique pattern that is causing distress or lack of emotional intimacy.

Make An Appointment

Call (714) 501-5332

“We’re getting a divorce,” she explained, with a look of disappointment on her face.

Her tone of voice changed, as she tried to look on the bright side. “But it’s for the best. Things haven’t been working out for the past few years. We’re just too different.”

“For the best…Too different….” Her words echoed in my mind for hours after our conversation ended. I thought about the list of differences my husband and I possess. We are SO different in so many ways. Could it really be possible that a couple can be “too different” to have a thriving marriage? The thought didn’t sit well with me.

As a Professional Counselor, every day I see couples who come into therapy with their marriage on life-support.

But their struggles often have nothing to do with the trauma of affairs, addictions, or abuse. Instead, they are dying a rather slow and painful death.

Phrases like, “We’re too different” or “We’ve grown apart” or “Life has just gotten the best of us….” phrases that sound so innocent- yet are extremely lethal.

There are so many factors that can get in the way of a good marriage, but often, they are the small, unnoticed things that make their way in.

In order to make sure our marriages survive and thrive, here are some relationship killers every couple should be on the lookout for:

1. Family

The number one relationship stress for most couples has little to do with their relationship and much to do with the relationships they are surrounded by. The role of your parents, in-laws, siblings, and friends all shift the moment you say “I do,” because when you join together as one, you’ve chosen to put your spouse above all others. Too many marriages are struggling simply due to a lack of priorities, finding themselves pulled by everyone else in every which way, except toward each other. Healthy marriages learn to choose one another above all others.

2. Lack of Communication

It’s true that the average couple invests in quality conversation only a few minutes a day. It’s easy to let life get busy and stop connecting with the one you love. But there’s no such thing as living in neutral, because drifting happens the moment we stop moving forward. Take the time to connect and communicate with your spouse often.

3. Stress

It’s so easy to take our stress out on our spouse. We can get into the habit of holding things in until we’re in the safety and comfort of our marriage – and then we explode. From financial problems, to illness, job-loss, and grief, healthy couples allow their stress to pull them together, by relying on each other, sharing it with one another, and carrying the load together.

4. Technology

I read a blog post about a guy getting a divorce…except this guy chose to divorce his phone. But it makes sense, because so many of us carry this dangerous relationship killer right in our back pocket. In the world of technology crazed, iPhone carrying, Facebook posting mania- it’s no joke that we find our time slipping away into the inanimate, instead of investing it into the intimate. Unplug, disconnect, shut down – and invest in your spouse. (11 signs you need a break from social media!)

5. Selfishness

Marriage is one huge, ongoing, life lesson in “unselfishness.” And we’ll either allow the experience to make us better, or we’ll grow bitter. Putting someone first is an incredibly hard task because our flesh is wired to choose self.

Each time we say yes to ourselves, we’re saying no to our marriage, because marriage is not about Him vs. Her, it’s about We vs. Me.

6. Unforgiveness

Forgiving and forgetting are not one in the same. When we fail to realize that, we will hold on to our hurts for a very long time. And eventually those hurts begin wreaking havoc on our lives from the inside out. But forgiveness is not about excusing the other person, it’s about freeing ourselves to receive healing from the God who forgives us time and time and time again.

7. Loose Boundaries

We tend to think about offensive play in marriage, forgetting that defensive strategy is just as important. We can be doing all the right things, while still failing to keep out the things that are harmful. Draw a circle around your marriage, and protect it by guarding your emotions, your interactions, and the way you spend your time.

8. The Past

The most paralyzing thing we can do for our relationship, is to define our spouse by their past, rather than by who they are in the present. The past may impact our lives, but it will only control our present if we allow it to. It’s important to be real with one another about our pasts, but more important, to respect one other’s pasts by seeing what God is doing in the life of our spouse HERE and NOW. Forget what is behind…so that you can move toward what is ahead.

9. Dishonesty

Why is a small lie just as dangerous as a big lie? Because they both have the same impact on intimacy. Honesty in marriage is like the chain that holds you together. Removing one link, or ten links does the same thing: it causes separation. If you’ve made mistakes in your relationship or have been hiding things from your spouse, now is the time to seek truth and confession; because a relationship riddled with dishonesty, is no relationship at all.

10. Pride

“I am my biggest marriage problem” is the theme of Paul Tripp’s work in the field of relationships. To be able to look in, then, is the greatest step toward nourishing a relationship. To be aware enough to recognize and restore your flaws and shortcomings, before fixating on those of your spouse. But the sting of pride can make that really hard to do. It’s so much easier to point the finger and to shift the blame. But the moment you let go of your responsibility, you’ve let go of your relationship- because no matter what the issue at hand: it always takes two.

It’s time to consider where you’ve let your guard down before these sly intruders make their way in. May God continue to give you the wisdom to recognize these patterns and to lookout for the “small stuff” by protecting, nourishing, and prioritizing your marriage.

By Debra Fileta

truelovedates.com Article ran originally on truelovedates.com.

Make An Appointment

Call (714) 501-5332

Isolated, Confused, Conflict, Infidelity, Divorce?

Most married couples will tell you

that it is difficult to be in a long-term committed relationship. Many of us have misconceptions about marriage when we first start out, and since we usually love our spouses at the time we wed, we aren’t necessarily thinking about all the changes that will happen to us and within us as we spend the rest of our lives with our mates.

The reason relationships are hard

is that many of us have reaction points to things that have happenned to us at previous times in our lives. If we can somehow work with our spouse by remaining non-reactive to their reactivity, we will grow and change and come out the other side as better people. We become more patient, less selfish, more self-aware and sometimes even more content in life as we come to appreciate who we are in the relationship. The price for these improved character traits can be high and painful.

The problem is usually found in our reactions to our wives and husbands.

“They don’t listen to me.” “They are too controlling”. “They are stubborn, immature and unfeeling.” “I’m sick and tired of their belittling comments and yelling.” (The list goes on.)

One of the ways I help couples that come to my office,

is to find the pattern of talking or relating that leaves them both feeling lonely and hurt. Couples typically have one of three responses when they communicate with each other. We meet together so we can understand your unique pattern that is causing distress or lack of emotional intimacy.

Make An Appointment

Call (714) 501-5332