Recent Posts from our Blog

A New Year, A New Start

A New Year, A New Start

The post-holiday transition to “real life” tends to inspire the motivation to create some new habits and undo some bad ones. The let-down also highlights the places we’d like a total overhaul – like in our marriage. But, starting over in your marriage can feel overwhelming, if not absolutely impossible. Our tendency is to feel stuck in a rut because that’s just the way it’s always been. Or to feel stuck because no matter what you do, it seems like you’re beating your head against a wall. It helps to reframe the context, to change your focus from what has been (and what’s not changing) to who you can become. If you think about it, there is no other realm of your life in which you are so deeply challenged to consider who you are and who you want to be. If you let that be the filter for your motivation to change, then the wiser questions to ask yourself are: What’s my next right step? How do I become the person I want to be? What do I need to do to create safety, trust, friendship, and camaraderie? Then seek the support you need and begin to do those things. Your spouse may not choose to make the same changes, and your marriage may not look much different to the onlooker. Yet, you will be different. Your perspective will be broader, and your attitude more gracious. You will also more readily see how to build healthy boundaries into your relationship, and by looking to God to guide and protect you, you can focus on the hard work of...
Finding Freedom From the Bullies in Your Life

Finding Freedom From the Bullies in Your Life

We all remember that bully from elementary school, and possibly even middle or high school. The bully who threatens bodily harm unless you give them your lunch, or tells you to stop dating that certain someone…or else. Well, those bullies grow up and learn that physical violence may not be acceptable, but emotional and verbal intimidation become the new outlet for their pent up anger.Often these men and women feel SO insecure, inadequate, and out of control that controlling is their only sense of security. If you are living with an emotional bully you may be experiencing: Demeaning name calling and character attacks. Controlling behaviors – Control over finances, your activities, how you dress, and more. Sexual demandingness – If you say no, they may get very angry and cold. Boundary pushing – If you say NO to anything they want, they will push you harder until you cave in to their request. So many women contact me and they are ready to give up and throw in the towel, but there is hope. Strict boundaries are a must. Take these intolerable requests in your marriage and create a boundary around them. “I will not be having sex with you if I feel emotionally unsafe.” Know your bully will HATE this and will bully you more, but stand strong in your convictions. Don’t engage in their pouting or cold shoulder.Bullies will often pout or ignore you to make you feel bad, guilty. Don’t fall into this trap! This is an attention getting tactic. I suggest you go about your day without letting them get to you. Continue to be happy,...

When You’re Asked to Leave!

When You’re Asked to Leave!

There is little things more painful than being asked to leave your home. Home—a place where you hang your hat and coat, store your personal belongings and of course, visit with your family. Home—a place of memories, both good and bad. This mixture of experiences creates an even more powerful bond. Most of us want to “stick it out” and make things work, no matter the circumstances. But, what do we do when the pendulum swings and we are asked to leave. Perhaps worse, we are told to leave. Flooded with emotion, we can hardly think straight. Flooded with emotion, we are reactive, making matters even worse. Sam, a thirty-five year old man, tearfully shared how he had watched his kids waving goodbye to him from the living room window as he left the family home and moved into the apartment he rented. He was entering a land completely unfamiliar to him. “I really didn’t see it coming,” Sam shared in his sharp, educated voice. “Don’t know if I should have seen it, but I didn’t.” “What happened?” I asked. “Tell me your story.” “She told me a couple weeks ago she was thinking about a separation. She said she ‘d been trying to tell me how unhappy she was for years.” “And you don’t remember those comments?” I asked. “Oh sure,” he said angrily, “but it’s one thing to tell me she needs change. It’s something else to tell me to leave my home, my kids, my family.” Sam’s bitterness began to show. As Sam told of events leading to his marital separation, he was flooded with emotion—anger,...
Marriage Therapy in Seattle – Men Can Change

Marriage Therapy in Seattle – Men Can Change

Is Marriage Therapy the Answer you Seek? I have written extensively about women who are intensively frustrated with men, and moreover feel exasperated and at times hopeless about the prospect of her man’s ability to change. I want to offer hope—lot’s of it. As I continue to write about this topic, many women (and some men!) have responded. Many indicate they were glad I finally understood what they have been experiencing for years. Instead of being told to “hang in there,” or “keep on praying,” I offered counsel concerning setting healthy boundaries. Here are a few excerpts from responses sent to me: After reading this article I am encouraged to finally see that we who have been in the same situation as this wife are not being advised to be more submissive, a better wife, lover, etc. as I have often been advised. I have also been in this same situation.  What I have learned is to be submissive to the Lord and show love in the way of confronting the problems in a God-honoring way.  I have set many boundaries.  I have been in an unfaithful, verbally, emotional and sometimes physically abusive marriage for almost 15 yrs.  I have always had this gnawing in my gut that I must stay in the marriage, convinced that it is the Holy Spirit’s leading.  I have gone to individual therapy, marital counseling and have a library of books and media on how to have a good marriage.  I have been on anti-depressants for 4 years due to the last time my husband cheated on me. I appreciate the way this woman...
The Destructive Power of Thinking Errors

The Destructive Power of Thinking Errors

Fortunately, there are many thinking errors we can make in our marriage and survive. We can overreact in anger at times and receive forgiveness. We can miss an important anniversary and still be able to make amends. We can even experience the occasional unkind action and make it up to our mate. There are other ‘mistakes’ however, that are not so easily forgotten. There are actions taken which, if they occur consistently, erode the very fabric of our relationship. These ‘thinking errors,’ what the 12 Step Program calls ‘stinkin’ thinkin,’ are corrosive. These ‘errors,’ over time, corrode trust, vibrancy and the very health of the relationship. You may think I’m exaggerating to make such a statement, but our work at The Marriage Recovery Center has proven the horrific power of these thinking errors. These actions are so corrosive because they are grounded in the primary Thinking Error—Denial. Someone has said denial—the avoidance of taking responsibility for one’s action—as Don’t Even Notice I Am Lying to myself. Because I am lying to myself, I cannot nor will not fully own the damage of what I am doing to you. Hence, nothing changes and the destructive behaviors continue—eroding the relationship. Here are some of the major ‘thinking errors’ that interrupt our ability to take responsibility. Judge for yourself how you see them impacting your relationships.  Denial: “I am not doing anything wrong. I have no problem.” Blame-shifting: “It’s not me that’s doing anything wrong. It’s not my fault. It’s your fault.” Victim Stance: “I’m getting a raw deal. Nothing ever goes my way. I’m getting the blame for everything.” Minimization/ Sanitizing: “Sure, I did something wrong, but it’s...
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