Changing Your Course with an Intervention

The couples that come to us for help have often landed in a random, dysfunctional, unhealthy place. Frequently, one of them believes the best hope for change is an intervention. They’re at their wits’ end, having repeated a million times in ineffective ways what they are unhappy about. But they’re also not yet ready to walk away from the relationship. If only their spouse could be awakened to the harm and pain and dysfunction! That’s the desperate plea behind the desire to do an intervention. And it’s true that an intervention can be effective in bringing such an awakening. It’s
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To Be Told or Not to Be Told: Why We Use a Directive Counseling Approach

The majority of people who come to see me say they have been to multiple counselors, both personally and for their marriage, and that most of them have been less than helpful, if not harmful. I think there are two particular elements impacting the effectiveness of their previous counseling: 1) the dynamics of narcissistic and emotional abuse on the victim and the relationship are unrecognized, and 2) the ineffective use of non-directive approaches to address the issues.
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Is He Really Changing? Part 2

In part 1 of this blog (which you can read here), I wrote about the pressure some of you wives may feel to come up with the list of behaviors that your husband needs to change. I encouraged you to take inventory of where he’s gone wrong and what needs to change and share that list with him. When your husband steps up to the plate to take responsibility for his own behavior, he sets a much more effective stage for healing.
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Telling Him What Needs to Change: Part 1

Mary is a typical client. She has spent years looking for ways to better connect with her husband, Joe. She’s read numerous books and articles. She subscribes to relationship blogs and Facebook pages. She’s counseled with her pastor and consulted with her closest friends. She’s begged Joe to talk, to understand, to make her a priority and then behave like it. She’s prayed for hope and for God to change him. She has cried countless tears. And she is exhausted from trying to make the relationship different. Joe finally agrees to counseling, probably the result of a precipitating event in
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Narcissism and Emotional Abuse: Paying Attention to Your Path

Many of our blogs identify the narcissist as “him” and the victim as “her.” While most of our content leans that way, and most of the couples who seek our help lean that way, the reality is, not all narcissists are men, nor are women the only victims. We are all, male and female, quite capable of being absolutely arrogant, carelessly emotionally destructive, and acrimoniously self-protective. And the outcome is the same: relationships marred by trauma, brokenness, and deep pain. We end up in relationships that are shallow, void of connection, and wracked with fear and confusion.
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A Woman Scorned

By the time most couples seek help with their marriage, anger is a profound element of the relationship. I’ve also noticed, however, that it’s common for neither party to acknowledge their own anger, although they can often easily point out the anger within their spouse. Wives might bring up their husband’s outbursts, raging, or controlling behavior. Husbands tend to point out their wife’s lack of forgiveness, withdrawal, or depression. Each of them feels fairly justified in what they’re allowing to brew under the surface of their behavior, without recognizing how much damage their anger is doing.
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How do I Know if he’s Really Changing?

Lisa had recently realized that her marriage wasn’t functioning well. She had wrapped her life around Joe, managing the house, the kids, and the schedule to cater to his expectations. Now, several years in, she was becoming aware of some important issues, namely (1) Joe’s “expectations” randomly changed, (2) he did not take her seriously, and (3) he had no real empathy or understanding of her, nor did he seem to want to.
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Sex and the Broken Relationship

How does sex fit into the picture when the relationship is broken and hurting? What about during separation or divorce? On one hand, we’re taught that sex is a very private, personal matter where you can decide what works for you; what you do in the privacy of your own home is up to you. Our culture certainly promotes detaching sex from relationships, claiming it’s not hurting anybody, especially if it’s consensual.
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Why Is Self-Care So Important?

Leaving Yourself Empty Many of us spend much of our lives pouring ourselves out for others. As a daughter, a son, a mother, a husband, a wife, a friend—you’ve given significant amounts of your time and energy to love, serve, care for, and bless the people around you. You’ve lived as if your love could heal them and your vision for them would empower and sustain them.
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