Roses, chocolate, and jewelry are all great gifts – but if you want to give your wife the ultimate gift of romance – give her the gift of Counseling. What could possibly be more romantic than saying, “I love you and value our marriage so much that I want to do everything I can to make it even better and stronger”.
Marriage counseling is not just a place to address problems, but it is a chance to develop and strengthen your relationship by building true intimacy.
Men, if you are looking for a gift to show your wife how much you love her and you want to increase the romance in your marriage – consider these ten reasons why Counseling is the most romantic gift you can give her…
1. Investment: Counseling is a major investment in your marriage. A woman has a need to feel loved and cherished…like she is the most important thing in your world. When you invest your time and money in the counseling process, you are showing her how important she is to you! Flowers and candy are short-term investments in love…Counseling is a lifetime investment in love with unending dividends.
2. Intimacy: Sexual intimacy increases when you build stronger emotional bonds with your wife. Counseling provides a place to overcome sexual issues and deepen your intimacy physically and emotionally. Increased intimacy will lead to increased sexual satisfaction.
3. Communication: The most important factor in a strong marriage is communication. Learning how to express yourself openly and honestly with your wife and gaining a better understanding of her communication style will increase how you much you “feel comfortable and connected” to each other.
4. Forgiveness: Hearing the words, “I’m sorry” or “I forgive you” is usually not enough to heal emotional and relational pain in a marriage relationship. When one or both of you have been hurt, the pain can keep you stuck from going forward and cause resentment. Forgiveness is a process. Counseling provides a safe place for you both to work through hurts and disappointments together.
5. Conflict Resolution: Unresolved issues are the main cause of mental and emotional distress in a marriage. Avoiding a problem or overreacting to one creates a wedge in your relationship. Learning how to resolve matters no matter how big or small the issue may be will lead to peace and harmony in your marriage.
6. Parenting: A child’s development and wellbeing often depends on the relationship between their parents. Counseling gives you and your wife an opportunity to look at how you are parenting as a couple and strengthen both your parenting style and parenting plan. One of the most important ways to love your child is to set an example of loving your wife.
7. Childhood: Sharing childhood experiences with your wife and gaining a better understanding of what influenced her during childhood helps you both have insight into the adults you are today. Sometimes we are blind to the habits and patterns we have developed from our childhood experiences and family influences. A professional counselor can help you gain insight into your childhood experiences and the positive or negative impact they are having on your marriage today.
8. Goals: Do you know what goals your wife has for your marriage? What are her financial goals, parenting goals, personal goals…How does she imagine her future with you in 5 years…10 years? Have you shared your goals with her? Counseling gives you an opportunity to develop and share your goals with each other and then create a plan to reach them. Dreaming about and planning for the future creates a romantic connection and excitement in your marriage.
9. Trust: Marital romance does not exist without intimate trust. When trust is broken, it takes time rebuild feelings of safety and confidence in your relationship. If trust is an issue in your marriage, coming to counseling shows your willingness to be open and honest and will give you and your wife the tools to rebuild and maintain trust for a lifetime.
10. Commitment: Giving time, money and energy to the counseling process is the most romantic way to show your wife you are committed to her and to your marriage. It shows how much you value her. There is no greater way to earn her respect than to be a man who honors his commitments and is wiling to learn and grow with her for a lifetime.
When we date, we present our best self, show an interest in the person we are dating, make time for them, spend time thinking about them, communicating with them, and usually can’t wait to see them at the end of our day. Dating allows us to dream about the future, share our ups and downs and feel like we are not alone in life’s journey.
Then we get engaged, get married, take on a mortgage, work hard to build careers, raise children and become consumed with busyness that leaves little time for our marriage to be a priority. In addition, some couples are blending families, have community and church commitments…the list of obligations that take our time and attention can go on and on.
keeps the Marriage a Priority. Dating says I love you, you are important to me. Purposely planning a weekly date forces you to think about your partner, look forward to having a fun or romantic time together, and helps the marriage stay a priority. I recommend making a decision that if we don’t have time for a date for just the two of us, then we don’t have time for friends and family. Sometimes we spend all of our free time with people we love to be with, but it robs us of the opportunity for that special time we need to connect on a regular basis. Keep enjoying time with friends and family, but try to make time for a date before you make plans with other people.
provides an opportunity to learn new things about each other. One of the best things about dating someone new is that you get to learn about them. Dating allows you to continue to learn new things about each other. For example, spend time on your date only talking about the two of you. Try new activities and ask each other open-ended questions like, “What is your greatest fear?” “What is your best childhood memory?” Also, take time to share your likes and dislike and have fun getting to know each other as you each grow as individuals over your life time.
sets an example for your children. I believe the best gift you give your children is the example of a healthy marriage (not a perfect one, a healthy one). Your kids will see you make the marriage a priority, spend time together without them, and learn how to treat a partner by your example. Too often, the children can become the priority over the marriage. Remember, one of the most important parental goals you have is to raise your children as a team to become independent of you one day so if the marriage isn’t the priority during the years you are raising children, it can be very difficult to reconnect during the empty-nester years.
strengthens sexual intimacy. Most couples I see who are not dating tend to have poor relational intimacy and often times end up in sexless marriages. When you are out on a date, you may be dressed up, laughing, creating romance, and usually feel more connected. Staying home in comfy clothes snuggle on the couch, watching a movie while the kids spend the night with grandparents can also provide an opportunity to connect sexually. Dating provides the opportunity to talk about sex and to experience sexual arousal and stronger relational connection.
makes all other areas of life easier. The stressors of life seem so much easier when we are connected as a couple. Dating keeps us connected and reminds us that we are a priority to each other, that we are a team, we are on the journey of life together, and that someone is always there for us through the good and bad times life brings. Jobs, friends, and finances can change, but your marriage bond is the one constant in life that can help you live life to the fullest as you enjoy the blessings and survive the challenges of the human experience. If you have stopped dating, please make that reservation this week to start making the marriage relationship the priority again and enjoy the journey of being life-mates! Have fun!
Most women would probably admit that at some point in their life, they have been attracted to someone who is already married, but they would never think of trying to do anything to lure the man away from his wife. However, for some women, they only seek out married and committed men to have a relationship with.
Mate Poaching is a term coined by David Buss several years ago in his book entitled “Evolution of Desire” that defines the behavior of men and women who purposely seek out people in a committed relationship. A study published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology by Oklahoma State University found that of the single women in the study who were told their “match” was currently in a romantic relationship, 90% said they would pursue the man knowing he was not single. Dionne Mahoffey wrote a book on the subject entitled, “Girl, Leave Her Man Alone”. Websites like ashleymadison.com actually promote married people having affairs.
Why do women Mate Poach? There are several perceived benefits such as the excitement of an affair, the feeling of being “chosen” over someone else, being lavished with expensive gifts, and the feelings of power and control because there is no commitment on the part of the “poacher”. Although some of these women may say they don’t need a man, most do desire a committed relationship and there are three reasons that may contribute to a woman engaging in Mate Poaching…
Low Self Esteem – Women with low self-esteem oftentimes have a belief that they are not good enough to be “the wife”. Sometimes, they have been abused or mistreated in a relationship so their defense mechanism against being hurt again is to seek after relationships they know will not be a committed one. The woman may also relate her self worth to her appearance so she will feel good about herself when she can successfully “catch” a married man.
Sex Addiction – For women who are sex addicts, Mate Poaching is a behavior they want to stop doing, but are unable to stop without help through therapy. There are several factors that contribute to a women becoming a sex addict including childhood sexual abuse. Sex addicts may feel guilty and ashamed, but will continue Mate Poaching even after suffering bad consequences unless they seek professional help.
Power & Control – Some women will say they Mate Poach because they like being the “one in control” of the relationship…that they can “leave it anytime they want” and there are no “strings attached”. The truth is that when a person must feel like they are in “control” of a relationship, it is usually because they have a fear of abandonment or commitment. They may have a need to feel safe because they have been abused or hurt in the past and so they think if they “control” a man, they feel safe. In reality, the woman engaging in “Mate Poaching” is controlled by the desires of the married man. He is the one who chooses when to see her, if he will leave his wife, and is usually the one who ends the affair.
Regardless of the reason, Mate Poaching can lead to emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual pain and/or harm for the women engaging in the behavior as well as the married man and his family.
Having a positive attitude is a great way to face life every day, but if you do not know how to embrace and practice gratitude, you may still be unhappy. In the busy world we live in, it can be very difficult to be grateful, especially when we are facing challenges with our relationships, family, finances, or health issues. Many times in counseling, clients will tell me they are optimistic and have a positive attitude, but they still feel unhappy. This is usually a result of a disconnect existing between what they are thinking and feeling. To be happy and healthy regardless of life’s circumstances, we must allow ourselves to connect our thoughts with emotions and spiritual beliefs. Try these four easy ways to practice embracing gratitude every day. Then notice how you start feeling calmer and happier even when your circumstances stay the same.
Be Thankful Two Times a Day: When gratitude is at the beginning and end of your day – every day will be a good one. Two things will happen to every person every day…we wake up and we go to sleep. How we start and end our day is essential to our state of happiness. Regardless of what time we get up or go to sleep, most of us have some kind of routine like taking a shower and getting dressed in the morning or getting our bed clothes on and saying “good night” to our loved ones in the evening. Although we can’t always control how our day will go, we can always find something to be grateful for. Metal health experts suggest that expressing gratitude can be a great way to start and end your day in a way that nurtures our mental and emotional wellbeing. Try making it a habit during your morning and evening routine to express gratitude out loud and notice how different your days are!
Be Specific in Your Gratitude: Be sure to be specific when you are acknowledging what you are thankful for. Try saying both what you THINK and how you FEEL. This allows the brain to think specifically and connect with a feeling emotionally so you are more likely to be positively impacted for overall wellbeing. For example, don’t just say, “I am thankful to be healthy”, but think about what being healthy means for you. Instead, say, “I am so thankful that I can see the beautiful colors of the clothes I am wearing today, because wearing this outfit makes me feel pretty”, or, “I am so thankful I can ride bikes with my daughter today after school because I feel happy when we spend time together riding bikes.”
Share Your Gratitude: Text, email, tweet, facebook, or call someone and share your specific thoughts and feelings of gratitude with other people. Try it…it only takes a few minutes to share what you are thankful for with your family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, store clerks, waiters, or whoever you have an opportunity to connect with. This is a way to “pay it forward”…sharing your gratitude with others will be a blessing to you and them. Multiple research studies have shown that sharing gratitude strengthens marriages and improves your health.
Include Your Faith: Whether you are embracing gratitude or sharing it, include your faith practices with your thoughts and feelings. For example, if you are a Christian, you may want to include thanking the Lord through the practice of prayer, or reading a scripture each morning for inspiration, or sharing a testimony in church. Research studies support the idea that including whatever faith you practice into your daily gratitude routine will strengthen your overall mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing.
Sometimes in life we just can’t find reasons to be grateful. If you find yourself struggling to be grateful, feel overwhelmed at the end of every day, or have had significant changes in your life – you may benefit from talking with a counselor who can help you work through your struggles to develop and maintain strong mental and emotional wellbeing.
Even Santa Can’t Please Everyone…
Do you remember the disappointment you felt when you didn’t get what you wanted for Christmas as a child? Although you may have felt devastated in the moment, you got over it and enjoyed the other gifts and time with your family. The truth is that even Santa can’t please everyone so why do we think we can?
If we are going to enjoy the holidays, we have to come to terms with the fact that no matter how much we want to…we just can’t please everyone. Let’s face it, we just have to say “no” to some of our loved ones, friends, and co-workers during the holidays. We simply can’t please everyone – no matter how much we want to. Unfortunately, there will be parties, events, and family get-togethers we will not be able to attend because of overlapping schedules, finances, and priorities. To avoid feeling overwhelmed or guilty when you have to say “no”, make sure you spend some time prioritizing and deciding what you can and can’t do ahead of time regarding finances, events, and traditions.
1. Saying “No” will be much easier when you and your family create a budget and decide how to spend the money together. Creating a holiday budget only takes a short amount of time, but can save a large amount of stress during this time of year. Decide on a dollar amount to spend over the Holiday season for gifts, parties, outfits, food, and travel – and stick to it! Without a budget, you will overspend and the financial strain will be a source of stress long after the holidays are over.
First, decide on the amount of money you can spend over the entire season. If you are married, make this decision with your spouse so the two of you work together as a team to support each other and have accountability to avoid over spending.
Second, make a list of costs beginning with “Have To” and ending with “Want To”. Be sure to create the list with your spouse and children so you can designate money for everyone that allows you to stay within your budget. If there is not enough money for all the “want to” items, try being creative as a family and come up with ideas to reduce gift, food, and travel costs that may allow you to afford the “want to’s” on your list.
2. Saying “No” will be much easier when you decide what events you can and can’t attend after prioritizing them according to your family’s schedule and financial budget. Job, neighborhood and organization parties, church and school programs, family gatherings, and community events! The invitations and commitments can be overwhelming. Attending all of these events will be impossible, but the thoughts of missing any of them can be so disappointing. As your calendar begins to fill up, set aside some time to prioritize what events you will attend – and prepare to decline the ones you will not be attending. The most difficult part of saying “No” to attending an event is telling the person who invited you because you don’t want to hurt their feeling or miss an opportunity to spend time with the people attending. The worst thing to do is to not RSVP or just not show up. Understand that the person may be disappointed and may not understand why you can’t attend, but responding to the invitation is the best way to keep a good relationship with them. Don’t feel you have to always give a detailed reason for not attending, because people may not understand your priorities. Simply letting them know you have another obligation is a sufficient decline. Be sure to be kind and genuine in letting them know that you appreciate the invitation, but will not be able to attend and remind yourself that you have to say “no” at times to events you want to attend – even during the holidays.
3. Saying “No” will be much easier when you and your spouse decide what Traditions are important to your family. Every family has annual holiday traditions they enjoy year after year and are an important part of creating special memories. However, when you get married and start your own family, it is impossible to continue to meet the expectations of keeping all the traditions you both grew up with including pleasing both sets of in-laws every year while also trying to accommodate traditions with your friends and co-workers.
Trying to make your boss, in-laws, and friends happy can place an enormous amount of stress on your marriage and family. Take some time with your spouse to talk about the family traditions you each cherish from childhood, the ones you would like to continue, and the new ones you would like to begin with your family. Once you decide on the traditions for your family, saying “No” to in-laws, co-workers, and friends will be much easier. For example, telling your in-laws you will be spending the day at your own home instead of coming to theirs may hurt their feelings, but being in agreement as a couple will help you come up with ways to compromise some aspects of the changes and continue to enjoy the holidays. Perhaps inviting your in-laws, friends, and co-workers to join one of your new traditions, or informing each of these groups about traditions you have with the other groups may help in scheduling events that will enable you to attend, or at least increase the understanding of why you may not be able to attend.
Saying “No” is a must during the holidays in order to avoid financial, emotional, physical and/or marital stress. Try these ideas to make saying “No” easier and then just enjoy creating special memories instead of being stressed out trying to please everyone.