Protecting Your Marriage from Infidelity

 

Have you ever worried what would happen if you found out your spouse was unfaithful to you?  I think there is always some part of us that wonders how we would react and if our marriage would survive this sort of betrayal and trauma.   Maybe you are on the other end of the spectrum and have had thoughts about engaging in a relationship with someone outside of your marriage.  This should be a red flag and something needs to be done to protect your marriage and prevent these thoughts from turning into actions!

Image Source

Greg Smalley, Psy. D. writes about daily decisions you can make to build trust and security to affair-proof your marriage:

  1. Make a Commitment Towards Growth

The more unhappy you or your spouse are in a marriage the more likely you are to find satisfaction outside of the marriage.  Ask yourself “What is something I could do that would cause our relationship to grow?”  Make a list and choose one thing from the list to do weekly.

  1. Becoming Aware of Your Choices

Many times we rationalize behaviors that could lead to infidelity.  For example, maybe there is a co-worker we find ourselves talking to at work and begin feeling an emotional connection to them.  We need to stop asking what is wrong with the choices we make and ask what’s right with them.  As we become aware of our choices we can protect our marriages.

  1. Draw a Line and Then Stay a Safe Distance Behind It!

It is important that you have a line of safety and stay a safe distance behind it.  This line will be different for everyone.  For one person it could mean not working late with a co-worker of the opposite sex and for another it may mean not meeting a certain person for lunch alone.  Whatever you line is draw it and stay behind it!

  1. Become Accountable to Someone

Find someone you can ask these questions to:  “Did you compromise your standards last week?” or “Have you been getting your emotional needs met from someone other than your mate?”  Having someone to be accountable to for the commitments you have made in your marriage will help in affair-proofing your marriage.

Marriage should be a life-long commitment!  We live in culture where we are taught new is always better and if something or someone isn’t meeting our needs than commitment and disloyalty are okay.  This is an individualistic view and not what marriage should be.  Marriage is about “us.”  Take a look at where you are in your own marriage.  Have you had thoughts about straying?  Do you talk to someone at work or when you go to the gym that you have an emotional connection with that may be inappropriate?    Evaluate your marriage and start working on ways to affair-prove it today.  The grass isn’t always greener on the other side!

Feature Image Credit

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Dating on a Budget

Have you ever gone over your monthly budget and realize you are going to have to cut your expenses somewhere and usually that “somewhere” ends up being those categories that fall under “date nights”?  For my husband and I, this seems to happen a lot, especially as our children get older and their involvement in extracurricular activities seems to drain the household budget.

Something my spouse and I enjoy doing is brainstorming about date ideas that are fun and budget-friendly.  A few of our dates have involved star gazing using an app on our phones, writing down topics on slips of paper and taking turns pulling them from a hat and writing poems about them.  After writing the poems we take turns reading them to each other.  Another inexpensive date we enjoy is going to the store and picking out a treat for under $5 and eating it while we snuggle on the couch, watching a movie we rented from the Redbox, after the kids go to bed.

Whitney Hopler, a contributing writer to crosswalk.com goes over “8 types of dates you and your spouse can enjoy together for only about $10”:

 

Adventure Dates: 

  Image Source

  • Pretend you and your spouse are tourists visiting your hometown and visit tourist attractions you haven’t been to before
  • Go on a shopping adventure and surprise each other with a gift costing no more than $5
  • Attend a free community seminar or workshop together
  • Go exploring on some back roads in your area, going only as far out and back as $10 of gas will take you
  • Visit a home improvement store and plan future home projects together

Out-on-the-town dates: 

  Image Source

  • Have dinner at home and then go to a fancy restaurant and just order desserts
  • Go to a store that sells greeting cards and choose one to give each other and then put them back
  • Tour homes that are on sale during open house events
  • Go to the public library together
  • Go to places that are significant to your relationship, where good memories were created, and take photos of each other at those places now
  • Eat breakfast in bed
  • Run errands together
  • Visit a museum in your area

At-home dates: 

    Image Source

  • Watch a movie that you had seen during your first year of dating
  • Play a favorite board game
  • Cook together
  • Watch your wedding video and reminisce about that special day

Outdoor dates: 

                                                      Image Source

  • Go on a hike
  • Enjoy a campfire or fireplace
  • Stream a movie through a mobile device at an outdoor location
  • Go to a local youth sporting event together
  • Exercise together
  • Go to a local playground and play together like children there
  • Take a walk

Marriage pick-me-up dates: 

                                                       Image Source

  • Do family history together
  • Go to a place where you can talk privately about the current health of your relationship
  • Volunteer your time to work on a project or help someone in need together
  • Create a “bucket list” of places you would both like to travel
  • Identify people who have helped you as a couple and take time to express your gratitude to them

Romantic dates: 

                                                Image Source

  • Have a picnic dinner under the stars
  • Enjoy a spa experience at home, with a romantic bath and massages
  • Take dancing lessons through free online videos
  • Meet your spouse at the door when they return home and offer to grant them three of their romantic wishes
  • People watch others in a hotel lobby
  • Surprise each other with inexpensive objects in a place that will help you communicate a significant message of love

Seasonal special dates: 

                                                   Image Source

  • Celebrate the arrival of spring by attending a local festival
  • Plant a garden together
  • Go swimming, boating, or fishing
  • Visit a farmers market
  • Pick your own fruit at a local orchard
  • Drive around the neighborhood to see Christmas lights

Unique and unusual dates: 

                                                       Image Source

  • Have a gold scavenger hunt in your house and sell any gold you no longer need
  • Prepare dinner together using the food you have in your pantry and freezer
  • Test drive a vehicle at a local dealership
  • Visit a local pet store and play with the animals there
  • Plan landscaping for your yard
  • Go to estates sales in your area and look for bargains under $10

Don’t let money get in the way of going on dates with your spouse.  With a little imagination and brainstorming, dating on a budget can be an adventure you can enjoy together.  Take some time to sit down with your spouse and make a list of inexpensive dating ideas together so when money gets tight you can continue to date, worry free!

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Being a Jerk: Part VII

In conclusion, I am going to leave you with one more word of guidance from Dr. John Van Epp and his book, “How to Avoid Falling In Love With a Jerk: The Foolproof Way to Follow Your Heart Without Losing Your Mind.” This should be able to help you and your spouse have better communication, which is related to the last article about conversation.

Listening can be so hard. We’re busy, we’re doing something, we’re not that interested, or whatever our excuse is, is one excuse too many. Listening is a crucial part of our communication. So why is it something that we don’t see as that serious? How can we change that?

Here are some questions to ask yourself if you are having trouble figuring out if you are a bad listener. Do you look somewhere else while your spouse talks? Do you not give your spouse the attention they need when they are speaking? Are you thinking about other things, like what’s happening tomorrow, while your spouse tries to connect with you? If you answered yes to one of these questions, then it seems like there are some things that you can work on.

One thing that you can consciously think about while conversing with your spouse are the nonverbal messages that you are sending and receiving. Van Epp says, “Many times the nonverbal messages speak more loudly than the verbal. This is one reason why you should pay attention to your intuition, hunches, inner feelings, and vices around your partner…Make sure you are “reading” the other person correctly so that you don’t jump to the wrong conclusions!” Have you ever been listening to what your spouse is saying and you just start assuming what they are trying to say? Or have you ever been talking and your spouse has a defensive posture on accident and you get upset? If this happens you can sit down with your spouse and talk about what these things mean to you. Ask them why they do certain things while listening to see what they are thinking in those moments. He went on to say, “Your interpretation of his or her nonverbal can become a topic in a future discussion, which will help clarify your understanding of what that person usually means by his or her body language.”

So now you’re intrigued by what a good listener might do and practice? Good! Van Epp has described what to do for just that! He said, “Listening is more than just passive silence.” Try to make your spouse feel engaged while you listen. Make them feel like you understand what they are saying (it also will really help if you do understand.) He also said that the more personal they get the more important it is for you to listen!

While Van Epp was in college, he was taught an acronym to help listeners listen better. It’s called SOLER.

Square Off – make sure your shoulders are square with the person talking.

Open – keep your arms and legs uncrossed so that you have an open, nondefensive position.

Lean – lean forward toward the person talking.

Eye Contact – keep eye contact with the person talking.

Relax – stay relaxed as you listen.

This acronym can help you be more in tune with your spouse as you listen. You will also be more willing to not just hear what they are saying but to think about what it is they are talking about.

Van Epp included that some people may feel a little ashamed and won’t admit that they are not great listeners though they want to be better. He assures that it’s nothing to be ashamed of. Having a desire to strengthen this skill will enhance your communication with your spouse, as long as you do try and work on it. It will be something that will most likely receive praise over, not humiliation.

Lastly, in order to have a well-balanced conversation, both parties need to participate equally. He says, “There should be similar amounts of listening, talking, disclosing, and initiation between you and the person you are dating [married to.]” You can talk about interests, hobbies, career, family, values, and perspectives on life to create a conversation.

In turn, these helps will create a better foundation for conflict resolution. It is never a bad idea to strengthen yourself and your relationship with your spouse!

 

Photo Credits

 

Being a Jerk: Part I

Being a Jerk: Part II

Being a Jerk: Part III

Being a Jerk: Part IV

Being a Jerk: Part V

Being a Jerk: Part VI

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

7 Principles for Making Marriage Work: Conclusion

To conclude this series, we will discuss the 7th principle from “The 7 Principles of Making Marriage Work” book by Dr. John M. Gottman.

7. Create Shared Meaning:

Creating shared meaning in marriage is so important! You can create shared meaning with your spouse with the use of goals, dreams, rituals, traditions, and symbols! Establishing those different things will increase meaning in your marriage. Creating shared meaning is very rewarding.

On a Huffington Post, author Terry Gaspard shared 4 ways that couples can build a stronger relationship with shared meaning. Those include:

  1. Sharing a common dream or vision: Create common goals with your spouse that help you focus on the bigger picture! Shared dreams add more meaning to your marriage. As you do that, the upsets of life will be less bothersome.
  2. Talking about your shared vision: Communicate with your spouse, and turn toward one another. Doing this can increase happiness in your marriage.
  3. Creating daily or weekly rituals: Rituals will enable you to spend quality time with your spouse. These are the little things that bring you closer together as a couple.
  4. Implementing your shared goals: Work on your goals together! Shared goals make you a stronger couple. These goals can also strengthen your bond with your spouse.

Conclusion: Applying these 7 principles can help make your marriage long-lasting. These principles help couples grow closer, which is the goal! Applying these principles to my own marriage has been very rewarding. It has increased our happiness and love for each other.

Photo Credit

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Healthy Benefits of Sex in Marriage

We are constantly hearing that we need to eat right, exercise, and get enough sleep,  but what kind of benefits do we reap by getting intimate with our spouse?  Yes, sex in a marriage improves your health!  I have felt the benefits of love-making with my spouse throughout my marriage including some of the benefits Woman’s Day shares in “8 Surprising Health Benefits of Sex”:

  1. It May Make You Thinner
  • Sex burns between 75 and 150 calories per hour
  • It counts as exercise and is equivalent to yoga, dancing, or walking for 30 minutes
  1. It May Improve Your Heart Health
  • Researchers found that having sex twice or more a week reduced the risk of fatal heart attack by half
  • It raises heart rate and blood flow
  1. It Can Help You Get a Better Night’s Sleep
  • People who have frequent sex often report handling stress better
  • Many say they sleep more deeply and restfully after satisfying lovemaking
  1. It Can Boost Your Immune System
  • Researchers at Wilkes University in Pennsylvania found that individuals who have sex once or twice a week show 30 percent higher immunoglobulin A, which is known to boost the immune system
  • During cold and flu season wash your hands and make a bedroom date with your spouse—often!

Image Source

  1. It Can Improve Your Mental Health
  • Psychologically, sex improves one’s mental health by building intimacy and reducing stress
  • Sex reduces cortisol which lowers the chances of increased blood pressure, hyperglycemia and increased acidity in the abdomen
  1. It Can Help Relieve Pain
  • Sexual arousal and orgasm allows oxytocin to be secreted into the body which releases pain relieving endorphins
  • The next time you have a headache…sex may be the remedy you are looking for
  1. It Can Help You with Bladder Control
  • Doing Kegel exercises during sex helps strengthen the muscle associated with incontinence
  1. It May Give You Healthier Skin
  • During sex, your body produces a hormone called DHEA which can boost the immune system and give you healthier skin and decrease depression
  • Throw away that expensive face cream and increase intimacy with your spouse instead

Image Source

Making intimacy a priority in your marriage not only has health benefits but it brings you closer together in mind, body and spirit.  If you find yourself having difficulty sleeping at night or tend to get stressed easily, don’t take a Tylenol P.M., turn to your spouse for a remedy that only he or she can give you and have fun in the process!

Feature Image Credit

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Being a Jerk: Part VI

So, change is possible but it can be hard to get started. It can also be hard to keep going. However if you are motivated to making things work with your spouse, you’ll be able to do it! Dr. John Van Epp has talked about a way to continue strengthening your marriage in his book, “How to Avoid Falling in Love with a Jerk: The Foolproof Way to Follow Your Heart Without Losing Your Mind.”

Van Epp says that deepening your communication with your spouse will do wonders. You are probably already aware that communication is key, especially since you and your spouse are different people. He said, “The key is to accurately and extensively get to know the person you are dating, delving deeper in your communication as your relationship grows.” Learning more about your spouse is something that you need to keep up with for the rest of your lives because of the growth that comes from it.

He went on to say that there are four layers that help communication and conversations get better and become more meaningful. They start ranging from “shallow to deep,” which is what we need and should desire. He has created an acronym called OPEN to help you remember these levels.


The first level is Observations and Facts. Van Epp says that this means, “these refer to the type of communication where you relay current events, established facts, and things you’ve heard and seen.” An example of this would be, “Gray is my favorite color.” You are just stating the obvious, facts about yourself, and things you have noticed.

The second level is Perspectives and Opinions. His definition is, “they describe the type of communication where you add interpretations and opinion to your facts. An example would be, “My favorite color is gray, which is the best color there is.” When you talk about something that has happened and discuss what you think about it or how it affected is you demonstrating the second level.

The third level is Experiences and Emotions. Van Epp explains that this means, “They convey more of the subjective, personal and emotional content about your facts and opinions. An example is, “Gray isn’t a sad color for me. I find it brings me happiness when I see it.” This is probably one of the more used ones while talking to your spouse, especially during a time of trouble or a fluctuation in moods.

And lastly, the fourth level is Needs and Relationship Responses. Van Epp says, “this deepest level of communication occurs when you put your deepest feelings into words. Both refer to a here-and-now experience where you convey feelings you’re having at that time about either something very personal or some way you feel toward the person you are with. An example would be, “Although gray can remind most people of rain clouds and being sad, I think about the silver lining on those clouds, like when we struggle.” This level gets to the very bottom of how you feel right now about where you are at, what situation you’re in, and the feelings you have towards your spouse.

Obviously these examples included were light and airy, but hopefully they got the point across enough to help you understand.

Have you and your spouse ever talked about something a few times over the course of a few months? If you have it’s because your communication is deepening. Van Epp explained that, “As a relationship grows and communications “deepens,” the same topics are revisited time and time again but with greater depth. For instance you can talk to someone about your experience within your family of origin with minimal depth. However, as time goes on and more is shared a greater depth of openness occurs. There are many depictions for the different depths of openness.” The longer you know and are around your spouse, the deeper your conversations are going to be. It’s normal, natural, and just what you want!

Being open in your marriage is what it needs to thrive. Learn about your spouse and your bond will grow with them. You two will be strengthened because of honesty and trust you give to one another. Here’s one more thing that Van Epp said, “Healthy relationships continue to cycle through the same topic areas from the situational and relationship domains, yet with more meaning and depth each time.” Hopefully this can help you with sharing more with your spouse. Build that strong and healthy relationship with them. Share thoughts and feelings openly, but don’t hurt your spouse. Communication is key to making your marriage work!

 

Photo Credits

 

Being a Jerk: Part I

Being a Jerk: Part II

Being a Jerk: Part III

Being a Jerk: Part IV

Being a Jerk: Part V

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

7 Principles for Making Marriage Work: Part 3

To continue this series, we will discuss the 5 & 6 principles from “The 7 Principles of Making Marriage Work” book by Dr. John M. Gottman.

5. Solve your Solvable Problems:

According to Dr. John Gottman, marital conflict fall in two different categories: solvable and perpetual. Solvable problems are less difficult and intense to solve. Perpetual problems are problems that come up in marriage over and over again. Some perpetual problems may never leave your marriage, just because of differing personalities. Gottman recommends 6 steps to solving solvable problems.

  1. Identify solvable problems: This is an important step! First, you need to find out if the problem is perpetual or not. Perpetual problems tend to be deeper problems within a marriage. Some characteristics of perpetual problems are: you become easily frustrated or hurt, you turn away from each other emotionally, you aren’t willing to change your position, and the conversations lack affection. If the problem is not intense or painful, it most likely is a solvable problem.
  2. Soften your startup: Don’t begin a conversation with an argument. If you start a conversation with harsh verbal attacks, the conversation will end badly. When you have a softened startup, the outcome of the conversation is more likely to have a better outcome.
  3. Make & receive repair attempts: Repair attempts are actions done to try to cool down an argument. If your spouse asks to “discuss this later” or says “that hurt my feelings” those are repair attempts. Repair attempts decrease tension and negativity. Making and receiving repair attempts can help solve problems.
  4. Soothe yourself and each other: Don’t let an argument get too heated. If you need to take a break, do it! Heated arguments can get really stressful, and cause you to say things you don’t mean. Taking breaks will help the discussion become more calm and relaxed.
  5. Compromise: Compromising is the way to solve marital problems. Find a solution that satisfies both you and your spouse. Be open to each other’s point of views, and find common ground. Be open-minded!
  6. Accept each other: No one is perfect, not you or your spouse. Be tolerant of each other’s faults. Don’t criticize your partner.

6. Overcome Gridlock:

It’s important for couples to incorporate each other’s dreams into their marriage! Honor and respect each other’s dreams and goals.

In an article, Ellie Lisitsa stated the following about overcoming gridlock…”According to Dr. Gottman, “Acknowledging and respecting each other’s deepest, most personal hopes and dreams is the key to saving and enriching your marriage.” We have found in our research that almost all gridlocked conflicts stem from unfulfilled dreams!”

To do this, open communication is crucial. You have to be honest to your spouse about your dreams and aspirations, or they won’t be able to honor and encourage them.

Photo Credit

Photo Credit

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Text Messages Your Spouse Would Love

 

From the article “How to improve your marriage by texting…” Gordon Brewer found that “97% of smart phone users use texting.  And as of 2015, nearly two-thirds of Americans own smart phones.  So it is very likely that you communicate with your spouse via text messages.”

Let’s face it!  If we own a cell phone it rarely leaves our side and we are constantly using it to communicate with others.  How often do we use it to create closeness and intimacy in our relationship with our spouse?  How often do we use texting when we are trying to solve a conflict with our spouse?

Brewer believes trying to solve conflicts through texting “sets a couple up for failure” and he lists some simple guidelines on the “do’s” and “don’ts” of texting your spouse:

The Do’s:

1. Text your spouse love notes often!
2. Only use texting for non-crucial conversations.
3. Texting is great for grocery lists, when you will be home, when to get the kids or what’s for dinner…
4. Sending each other pictures of fun stuff (only appropriate stuff!).
5. Sending affirmations, “warm-fuzzes” and “just thinking of you” are always okay and encouraged.
6. Only handle conflicts face to face; take texting off the table when it comes to disagreements about things.

The Don’ts:

1. Never use texting to settle the argument from the night before, or anytime for that matter.
2. Never send criticisms, jabs or hateful messages.
3. If it takes more than a sentence or two to say what you want to say, you should probably call or wait until you are face to face.
4. Never complain about your spouse to others in a text message or pull someone else in to help you “win” the argument.
5. If you have saved text messages from past arguments, never use those as future ammunition. That is just not fighting fair! Delete them.
6. Never use texting to have deep or intimate conversations. Save it for when you are face to face.

 Image Source

 One of my favorite things to receive is a screen shot of a meme or cute quote from my sweetie.  Although this act is simple and takes only a few seconds to do, it always brings a smile to my face.   I am amazed at how much one little text message can help me to feel more emotionally connected to my husband.

Katie Secretary shares “14+ text messages to send your hubby” (or your wife) that she sent her husband in celebration of her 14th Wedding anniversary.  I loved the idea of sending the same number of text messages to your sweetheart as the years you’ve been married, to celebrate your wedding anniversary!  Here are some of the messages Katie shared:

  • “You are AMAZING. Just thought you should know”.
  • “How did I get so lucky to have you?”
  • Being with you…is the best!”
  • “Your boss is lucky to have you. I’m proud of how hard you work.”
  • “I LOVE being your wife.” (You could switch “wife” for “husband”)
  • “I love you to the moon and back.”
  • “You’re my hero!”
  • “I’m having one of those days that make me realize how lost I’d be without you…Just wanted to let you know.”
  • “I had a dream about you and I woke up smiling…”
  • “I thought about you and it made me smile.”
  • “Our kids are so blessed to have a dad like you.” (replace “dad” with “mom”)
  • “I feel safe with you.”
  • “I thought about you and it made me smile.”
  • Tell your spouse 3 reasons you appreciate them today

One app that I enjoy using is Bitmoji.  This app allows you to design an avatar that looks like you, which makes the text message you send that much more personal.

Here are a few I’ve sent to my husband:

                              

If you avoid the “don’ts” of texting and follow the “do’s” you can find creative and exciting ways of improving your communication with your spouse through the wonderful world of technology.  The next time you are checking your e-mail or Facebook page on your phone, take a few moments to send your spouse a message, letting them know you are thinking about them and how much you love them.

Feature Image Credit

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

7 Principles for Making Marriage Work: Part 2

To continue this series, we will discuss the 3 & 4 principles from “The 7 Principles of Making Marriage Work” book by Dr. John M. Gottman.

3. Turn Toward Each Other Instead of Away:

Turning towards your spouse is crucial for romance and emotional connection. Small connections with your spouse each day are crucial.

According to Dr. John Gottman, “Turning towards your spouse in the little ways is also the key to long-lasting romance. Many people think that the secret to reconnecting with their partner is a candlelit dinner or a by-the-sea vacation. But the real secret is to turn toward each other in little ways each day.”

Even in the busy points of our lives, turning towards your spouse is very important. My husband and I both have really busy schedules. The time we get to spend together each day can be very limited. Some ways that we turn toward each other are doing the dishes together, cooking dinner together, watching a movie, going on a walk, or playing a board game together. Those small activities have increased our connection and happiness.

Challenge! Each day find ways to turn towards your spouse. That can include calling your spouse at work, sending them a text, writing them a note, cooking together, etc. Watch the difference it can make in your relationship!

4. Let Your Partner Influence You:

Do you honor and respect your spouse? How often do you consider your spouse’s point of view? Do you make important decisions together? Those are some important questions to consider! It’s important to have shared power and respect in marriage. Letting your partner influence you means that you do not resist sharing power and decision making with your spouse.

In the article “Keys to a Happy Relationship” author Colleen Morris shared the following…

“Accepting your partner’s influence can be the difference between having a conversation where a conclusion is reached without feeling attacked, criticized or resentful, as opposed to an argument that reinforces our differences and creates a sense of hopelessness around the problems in your relationship.

So what does this look like in a conversation? Accepting influence can be as simple as saying “Good point,” or “I see.” Giving the respect of acknowledging your partner’s opinion is the beginning of negotiation.”

Disagreements are very common in marriage. It’s how we handle those disagreements that make all the difference. When my husband and I have differing point of views on a subject, we try to understand each other’s opinions. Shutting down your spouse’s point of view will only cause anger and frustration. Accepting your spouse’s influence can be difficult. Let’s look at some ways we can accept their influence!

Ways to accept your spouse’s influence:

  • Step back and listen to their point of view
  • Respect them
  • Don’t cut them off when they are speaking
  • Acknowledge their opinion
  • Don’t respond negatively to their perspective/opinion
  • Find common ground

Photo Credit

Photo Credit

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Being a Jerk: Part V

Something crucial to have before and throughout your marriage with your spouse is a healthy relationship. Dr. John Van Epp has written about the importance of being a healthy person in a healthy relationship. He has been able to research and study what it takes to be in a great relationship and how to change if you aren’t.

First off, he says, “Healthy people make healthy choices.” He doesn’t mean that you can’t eat the dessert, but he does mean that your actions and thoughts stem from your past and present. Everything you have experienced and do now affect your relationship and marriage. He also said that, “Being a healthy individual is the prerequisite to being a healthy partner.” Being a good person, trying to better yourself, striving to be more than what you are now are all things that help you become healthy. If you are well balanced you are doing yourself, and your spouse, a service. “Being healthy is not just enough; you need to get healthy and smart about your relationship,” goes along with his idea of being a healthy individual for the sake of your marriage. This also goes along with the head and heart knowledge that we discussed in a previous article. If you feel that you need to better yourself in your marriage, start with figuring out what it is that you want to do better in. Are your lacking understanding and information about your spouse? Have you stopped being emotionally dependent on your spouse? Try and find what you can do to be a healthier person for yourself, and for your marriage.

A big part of an unhealthy marriage comes from unhealthy needs. What’s the difference between healthy and unhealthy needs you ask? Van Epp says, “Unhealthy [emotional] needs are normal needs taken to extremes.” Can you think of any normal needs that you might have turned into extreme needs? Van Epp gave a few examples of what this might look like including love turning into dependency, giving turning into enabling and codependency, and trusting turning into becoming naïve. These needs become dangerous after a while and can develop into relationship problems down the road. Although needs happen naturally and every human experiences them, we are able and have the power to control them.

Van Epp explains that needs become hazardous in our marriages. He says, “However, when a need is repeatedly neglected, a different pattern emerges. The need intensifies into a demand. If this emotional demand I unfulfilled, then it continues to increase until it becomes an absolute necessity.” You might be thinking that having these negative needs in your life can be critical to your marriage. It’s true. You will not have a healthy marriage that will last. But there is nothing to fear as long as you have a desire to change. And change is possible!

From his research he has put together four things that coincide with one another that results in change. The first one is having an insight into yourself. Are you able to see the mistakes you have made and are willing to admit to them? New information is second. What information have you found to help you out? Third is motivation. What is going to motivate you to be a healthier person for yourself and your spouse? And fourth is time. Changing and progress takes time and that’s is exactly what you need to give yourself. Don’t be frustrated if you don’t see results. If you don’t see results after a long period of time, are you trying your best? Have you pinpointed what you need to be working on?

Van Epp has discussed and explained what a healthy and unhealthy relationship is. He has helped make it easier for you to figure out where you and your spouse are at individually and together!

 

Photo Credits

 

Being a Jerk: Part I

Being a Jerk: Part II

Being a Jerk: Part III

Being a Jerk: Part IV

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail