When I Don’t Feel Love For My Spouse

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When I Don’t Feel Love For My Spouse

By Steve Cornell

A woman once told me that she planned to leave her husband because she “just didn’t love him anymore.” I asked her to change the way she worded what she planned to do so that her decision could be understood accurately. I asked her to say it this way: “I am choosing to no longer value my husband and to break my commitment to remain faithful to him.”

She declined to word her decision this way but insisted on using terms that made her appear to be a victim of feelings she could not change. She also thought her decision was actually virtuous in its honesty and in her refusal to be a hypocrite.

Being and Behaving in Love

When performing weddings, I raise this question: “What is it that draws people together to be married?” Most answer with one word: love. Yes, love draws us together. But what is love? Is it something we can fall into and fall out of? Is it chemistry? Infatuation? Is it an emotional response or a choice?

Over the years, people have told me they want to be married because they love each other. I’ve also had people (like this woman) tell me that they want out of their marriage because they no longer feel love for their mate.

This has led me to ask some serious questions about the nature of love. In my evaluation, I’ve concluded that we need to distinguish two dimensions of love.

Being in love. This dimension is the emotional attraction of love. It’s what people mean when they speak of “falling in love.” It’s usually based on more superficial reactions to appearance and first impressions. Clearly, it’s a natural part of human attraction. Though not necessarily wrong, it’s not enough to sustain a meaningful and lasting relationship. It’s far too superficial. Deeply satisfying relationships are built on the second dimension of love.

Behaving in love. This dimension does not depend on feelings and chemistry. It’s the love of volition. It’s the choice to respond to my mate in a loving manner, regardless of feelings. This dimension of love is a choice to value my mate and seek his or her best. While I can’t always make myself feel a certain way, I can always choose to act in a loving way.

In the context of marriage, the distinction between these two dimensions is very important to understand. Most relationships start with a high dose of the being dimension of love and, in most relationships, this feeling diminishes with time. When this happens, the key to keeping the flame of love burning is not pursuing a feeling but deciding to value the other person and be devoted to his or her best—no matter what one feels.

It’s a choice to act in love even when we don’t feel love. I realize that to many people this sounds almost like a great sin. It sounds as if I am advocating some form of dishonesty but, surprisingly, when we choose to love, the feelings often follow the actions!

Cultural Barrier

We must confront a cultural barrier that threatens this understanding of love. Our culture sends a strong message telling us that above all else, we must be true to our feelings. To do anything else, we’re told, would simply be dishonest and hypocritical. So it has become a mark of good character to be true to your feelings.

This cultural ethic is often used to give people a false sense of virtue when breaking deep commitments. By “avoiding hypocrisy” and “being honest enough to admit the loss of feelings,” they feel justified—perhaps even virtuous—in breaking their wedding vows.

There is a deep and self-destructive deception in this line of reasoning. It implies that we are somehow victims of our feelings, incapable of mastering them. Feelings come and go with changes in the weather.

But do you go to work only when you feel like going? Do athletes or great musicians only practice when they feel like it? We simply cannot live a healthy and productive life if we let our feelings master us. This is especially true regarding relationships.

If we hope to experience deep and lasting relationships as intended by God, love must be understood as an action more than a feeling.

Remember that God demonstrated his love for us not because we are a warm, lovable group of people whom he could not resist. Instead, “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). This is the kind of love husbands are commanded to show toward their wives (Ephesians 5:25).

Reflect often on this distinction between being in love and behaving in love. Use this for conversation as couples, in small groups, and with those preparing for marriage.

Reflect also on the best definition of love available to humanity.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. (1 Corinthians 13:1-8a)

If you are struggling with your marriage, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with a counselor or coach.

How to Thrive When One Spouse is Traveling Solo

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How to Thrive When One Spouse is Traveling Solo

By Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott

For many couples, it’s difficult to fathom either of you traveling on your own after you get married. Especially during the early years of marriage, it feels almost painfully essential to remain in one another’s presence at all times. And while it’s ideal for you to be able to travel together as often as possible, there will be times when one of you travels alone, and the other stays home.

Some couples are perfectly comfortable with this idea; others are not. Today, we’re going to give you some tips for helping your relationship thrive when one of you is on the road (or in the air) alone.

BEFORE THE TRIP

Get it All Out in the Open: If you’re feeling uneasy about the fact that you or your spouse is going to be traveling solo in the near future, get that out in the open. Have an honest conversation with your spouse about your nervousness, and come up with a game plan to alleviate as much of that anxiety as possible. Simply discussing the things you’re feeling worried about can take a huge amount of pressure off both of you.

Tie Up Loose Ends at Home: Work together to make sure everything will be taken care of at home during the trip. If you have kids, make sure to line up adequate childcare so there will be plenty of help available for whichever of you is staying home. Stock the kitchen with disposable dishes and plasticware to reduce dish-washing, go grocery shopping beforehand, work together to get the laundry in order, and plan some meals ahead of time (make-ahead freezer meals can save a lot of time when you’re going it alone at home!).

Make a Communication Game Plan: Based on travel activities, obligations, and scheduling, make a game plan with your spouse when it comes to communicating regularly with each other. If you’re traveling to a conference or work-related event and you know you’ll have limited talk time, let your spouse know up front and make sure to be available via text message to keep the lines of communication open.

DURING THE TRIP

Pretend You’re Dating Again: Remember that old saying, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder”? And remember your dating days, where you would pine for one another when you were apart? You couldn’t wait to hear one another’s voices, and you savored each phone call. Enjoy messaging and talking to one another when you’re able to.

Share Good News: When you communicate with each other, be sure to exchange positive experiences from the road and from home. Give your good energy to one another, even while you’re separated. Be happy for one another, and cheer each other on. Being supportive and pleasant when you talk goes a long way toward making each travel experience just a little bit easier. (But, as always, lend an ear, some positive affirmations, and a giant dose of empathy for your spouse if they’re having a difficult time–at home or on the road.)

Anticipate Your Reunion: There’s something so special about the anticipation that builds as you get closer to seeing one another again after a time of being apart. Share that anticipation with each other. Let your spouse know you miss them, and that you’ll be so happy when you’re back home together. Make plans for the homecoming; a romantic evening together could be just what you need to unwind from the time apart.

AFTER THE TRIP

Enjoy One Another: You made it through the trip! Now is the perfect time to refocus on each other. Take some extra time to lavish attention on one another and enjoy being together again. If you have kids, plan a special family outing to celebrate all of you finally being home. Or go out on that special date night you’ve been dreaming about.

Talk About Next Time: What worked? What didn’t? How can you work together to make the next time easier for both of you? Chat about how things went, both on the road and at home, and look for ways to alleviate any issues that came up during the trip. Then, next time there’s an opportunity for travel, things will go more smoothly than ever!

Is My Spouse Good or Evil?

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Is My Spouse Good or Evil?

By Dr. Emerson Eggerichs

Q: I have heard you refer to “good will” a lot. What does that really mean and how do I know if my spouse has good will or evil will toward me?

Dr. E says: Good question! The line between good and evil will can certainly get blurred when couples are spinning on the Crazy Cycle! Let me try to unpack this in less than 1,000 words.

Good intentions, poor delivery.

A simple definition of good will is “the intention to do good toward the other person.”

But there is much more to it than that. A spouse may intend to do good, but fail to deliver. Good intentions do not necessarily guarantee good results.

The apostle Paul captured the reality of good intentions but poor follow-through when he wrote about his own struggles with the flesh in Romans 7:19: “I don’t do the good things I want to do. I keep on doing the evil things I don’t want to do.”

We all know what Paul is talking about. You or your spouse may want to do the right thing, but you don’t; or you or your spouse may want to stop doing the wrong things, but you don’t.

Most of us don’t plot evil.

When your spouse fails to follow through on good intentions, your definition of good will must also include the idea that good willed people do not mean any harm; they do not intend real evil toward one another. Few of us get up in the morning plotting how we can hurt our spouse.

Your spouse may be neglectful, forgetful, or make a careless, even thoughtless remark. As a result, you may be hurt or angry and may lash out in some way to retaliate.

But despite all these failings, deep down you both care for each other. Beneath the turmoil on the surface of what is going on, your goodwill remains intact.

Some people choose the dark side.

But doesn’t Scripture also teach that “The heart is deceitful and desperately wicked”? And aren’t some spouses truly evil-willed?

Even more to the point, Scripture clearly attests that we live in a fallen world in which some people choose the dark side. David describes the wicked person like this: “Even as he lies in bed he makes evil plans. He commits himself to a sinful way of life. He never says no to what is wrong.”

Evil can destroy a marriage.

Scripture also points to how evil can destroy a marriage. A husband can love his mate, but deep within her soul she turns her heart against what is good. She becomes an adulterous, wayward wife with seductive words “who has left the partner of her youth and ignored the covenant she made before God” (Proverbs 2:16-17).

And in Malachi 2:13-14, the prophet tells wayward men that God no longer honors their offerings and instead is “acting as the witness between you and the wife of your youth” because he has broken the marriage covenant.

I get a lot of mail from spouses who have been the victims of evil treatment by their partners. These partners made a decision to no longer act in good will.

As you read these lines, you may be a victim of your spouse’s evil will. I do not know your situation, so I have no way of knowing if you are totally accurate in your assessment and if your spouse does indeed have an evil will toward you.

What I do know, however, is that it is a serious thing to make the severe judgment that someone is completely evil willed.

A Severe Judgment

We must never label a Peter as a Judas, even though on a certain occasion Peter did act like Judas.

Judas betrayed Jesus into the hands of His enemies. Since that fateful act, Judas has been seen as one of most sinister traitors in all history.

But Peter was also a traitor, denying his Lord three times, just as Jesus said he would. Everyone knows, however, there is a 180 degree difference between the spirit of Peter and the spirit of Judas. Full of remorse, but not repentance, Judas committed suicide. Peter matched his remorse with repentance and was restored in fellowship with his Lord and went on to serve Him.

To repeat, when a spouse fails to do good and does bad, this does not automatically mean a spouse lacks good will. When a spouse gets mean or nasty it is easy to label them evil willed. Granted, you may not use the term “evil will” but at the moment you are certainly not experiencing good will and your natural inclination is to react unlovingly or disrespectfully.

Distinguish good character from evil.

But if you are trying to live out Love and Respect, your spouse’s temporary feistiness, nastiness, or selfishness must be distinguished from evil character.

Why do I caution people to withhold judgment of another as evil willed?

Once you profile another as evil willed, there is little hope of reconciliation. Once impugning the motives of another, intimacy with that person will disappear. You will no longer be allies, but enemies. For all practical purposes the relationship is over.

However, this is not to minimize evil! I am not seeking to call evil good, but as in all things, we must be careful to look at the facts and not rush to judgment.

 

If you would like help in your relationship or marriage, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with a counselor or coach.

5 Ways to Support Your Spouse’s Dreams

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5 Ways to Support Your Spouse’s Dreams

By Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott

The Bible says when two marry, they become one flesh (Mark 10:8). Though that reference is often interpreted to be speaking of sex, it is talking about so much more. Marriage is the joining of two lives, of soul and of flesh. It is committing “until death do us part” to each other’s thoughts and dreams, joys and sufferings, hopes and fears. It is a forever support system, and if you commit to staying married, an ever-evolving life.

One of the greatest gifts that God can give us is the opportunity to chase our dreams. If you’re married to a dreamer–and even more so, a doer–you may know full well what it looks like to manage and support the dreams of your spouse. Or perhaps both of you are dreamers and doers. Regardless, there is something special about seeing a couple support each other in their dreams. You may be in this place now, and wondering how to do that yourself.

Here are 5 ways you can support your spouse’s dreams.

1. PRAY

This one should almost go without saying; yet, though we know in our minds the importance of prayer, it is one of the things we ignore in the midst of life. Prayer is an essential lifeline for our marriages. It take the focus off of our striving, wisdom and strength and casts our cares upon the Lord. It can soften our hearts and give us a vision for God’s purpose in our lives.

When it comes to supporting your spouse’s dreams, prayer is essential. It can be difficult in the flesh to get on the same page. Hours may be long. Sacrifices may have to be made. When your spouse has a dream that is being fulfilled, you may not be on the same page or even in full support of their dream. Pray. Pray early and often. It will be the difference maker and will set a solid foundation for the days ahead.

2. SPEAK POSITIVE AND REINFORCING WORDS

If you are familiar with the book “The 5 Love Languages,” you will know that one of the five love languages is words of affirmation. For many, this is their top hit. Simply speaking words that are positive and encouraging can set the tone for a day, week, or even month for your spouse.

This is especially true in vulnerable times, and when you or your spouse are taking big risks to follow your dreams. There is so much power in phrases like, “I believe in you,” “You can do this,” “This is what you were made for,” or, “I love you.” It can be so easy to forget the power of words. Life and death are on the tip of our tongues.

Fight the urge to be negative. Your spouse needs to know you believe in them. What may seem insignificant to you could make a world of difference to them. Not good with verbal expression? Leave notes, write cards, and send texts or emails instead. Unity is a beautiful thing in marriage. Your words matter.

3. ASK HOW YOU CAN HELP

The longer you are married, the more likely your roles are to shift throughout your marriage. There may be times when you take the lead in certain areas, and yet others where you play a more behind-the-scenes role. In a perfect world, you and your spouse will compliment each other in your gifts, as it often happens.

Though some giftings may be more easily noticeable, all are important. Very few significant things have ever been accomplished without the work of a team, and there is no more powerful team than a husband and wife on a mission.

If you find yourself in a behind-the-scenes, supportive role, don’t diminish the importance of your position. Ask your spouse how you can help. It could be by stepping up in an area you haven’t before, or maybe taking specific tasks off of their plate for a period of time. It could be scheduling activities differently. To offer help is to strengthen the team, and that’s ultimately better for your marriage and your family. Two is always better than one!

4. BE WILLING TO SACRIFICE

This one is key. More than likely, you and your spouse both carry different dreams and passions. Your marriage will go through seasons. Depending on the season, your level of sacrifice for your spouse will vary.

One of you may be pursuing the dream of a new business. Perhaps going back to school and earning a degree is something  one (or both) of you dreams of doing. Maybe your are facing relocation to follow a dream. All of these scenarios involve sacrifice. Marriage is a daily dying to your own desires for the betterment of the two of you. It may not always be easy or natural, but make no mistake–it will be required in some form or fashion as you move through marriage.

Being willing to sacrifice for your spouse sets a tone in your marriage that will strengthen you. If it’s your turn to lay down your own desires for a period of time, do so with joy. Sacrificial love is often the difference between a good marriage and a great one.

5. PURSUE YOUR OWN PASSION

It can be easy to completely lose yourself in your spouse. Even during times of major sacrifice, hold fast to the things that make you come alive. It may be a hobby, a craft, or treating yourself to something you enjoy.

You don’t have to completely lose your identity when it is your turn to sacrifice or take on a different role in marriage. Be honest with your spouse when you are feeling unseen. Stay true to your passions, and know that though they may not be given the time you may like, they are allowing room for you to grow as an individual. Don’t be afraid pursue your own passions in the midst of supporting your spouse’s dreams!

Whatever role you find yourself in currently, take a step back and consider what you can do to support your spouse better. Seeing two operate as one in the context of marriage sets a beautiful example in a world where marriages too easily crumble. Remember, everything is for a season. Consider it a joy to support one another. Your marriage will flourish as you see dreams come to pass alongside each other.

3 Betrayals That Ruin Relationships (That Aren’t Infidelity)

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3 Betrayals That Ruin Relationships (That Aren’t Infidelity)

By Kyle Benson

Infidelity is the betrayal our society focuses on, but it is actually the subtle, unnoticed betrayals that truly ruin relationships. When partners do not choose each other day after day, trust and commitment erode away.

Partners may be aware of this disloyalty to each other, but dismiss it because it’s “not as bad as an affair.” This is false. Anything that violates a committed relationship’s contract of mutual trust, respect, and protection can be disastrous.

Betrayals are founded on two building blocks: deception (not revealing your true needs to avoid conflict) and a yearning for emotional connection from outside the relationship.

Below are three betrayals that ruin relationships. Only by confronting and taking responsibility for them can couples reestablish their trust in each other.

Emotional Cheating

It’s very easy for platonic friends to bond in the trenches of work, day after day. Sometimes we call this person a “work wife” or “work husband.” Even friendships made at the gym or local coffee shop can threaten the bond at home.

These nonsexual relationships can lead to both parties sharing intimate details about each other’s lives. That doesn’t make it a betrayal. What makes it a betrayal is this: if your partner would be upset by the things you’ve shared or would be uncomfortable watching the interaction.

Tom first learns of his wife’s sexless affair when they hosted a Christmas party. Emily has never mentioned Chris, the new manager of her department. At the party, Chris seems to know about Emily’s entire life. He even brought their son Marshall a Bumblebee Transformer. His favorite.

Tom looks at Emily with a shocked expression. Her sheepish look sinks his heart. When he confronts her after the party, Emily argues about her friendship with Chris. She tells Tom it’s “nothing” because they are “just friends.”

She then turns against Tom and defends Chris. She accuses Tom of being irrationally jealous and tells him it’s the reason he didn’t know about Chris in the first place. Tom feels there is nothing irrational about his jealousy. Whether he admits it or not, his wife is cheating. The evidence lies in her secrecy.

5 signs your partner’s friendship is not an innocent friendship:

  1. Has the friendship been hidden?
  2. Are your questions about the friendship responded with “don’t worry” or discouragement?
  3. Have you asked it to end, only to have your partner tell you no?
  4. Have your boundaries been disrespected?
  5. Is the friend the subject of fantasies or comments during troubled times in the relationship?

If you answered “yes” to any of the questions above, the friendship may be too intimate. Use Dr. John Gottman’s Conflict Blueprint from his book What Makes Love Last?  to help talk to your partner about this issue.

Conditional Love

Couples don’t feel supported when one partner keeps a foot out of the relationship. They don’t feel like their partner has their best interests at heart, that they have their back. When this happens, it’s not uncommon for the betrayed partner to blame a trigger as the real problem, when it’s actually the lack of commitment.

As Kristina reflects on her first marriage, she knows she began to feel betrayed when her husband stalled on starting a family. At first she thought he was anxious about becoming a father, but in couples therapy it became clear that he was hesitant to deepen his commitment to her.

Like an anxious lover, she clung onto him with desperation, terrified of losing her marriage until she realized she never really had one to begin with.

Sometimes a partner may pressure the other to marry or move in, believing the “next level” will deepen their connection, but it’s difficult for a marriage to succeed if it is built on a vow to create a strong bond rather than the result of one. The shallowness of the bond will eventually bleed through the connection.

Steps to create unconditional love: When couples ignore or dismiss talking about difficult issues, they are left with a shallow commitment. By using conflict as a catalyst for closeness, couples can intentionally use problems as an opportunity to discuss their goals, fears, and dreams. Couples that unconditionally love each other live by the motto, “baby, when you hurt, the world stops and I listen.”

Emotional Withdrawal

Emotional withdrawal can be something big, like choosing a work meeting over a family funeral, or it can be as small as turning away when your partner needs emotional support.

A committed relationship requires both partners to be there for each other through the life-altering traumas and everyday nuisances. That means celebrating joys and successes with your partner, too.

Everybody has different ways of expressing themselves. In a committed relationship, it is the responsibility of both partners to uncover and disclose these preferences to understand what the other requires to feel loved, protected, and supported. Think of The Five Love Languages.

In his research lab, Dr. Gottman discovered that happy couples turned toward each other 86% of the time, while unhappy couples turned towards each other only 33% of the time. That means unhappy couples withdraw 67% of the time! Emotional withdrawal sets in when bids are ignored.

Solution: To improve your emotional connection, focus on rebuilding and updating your Love Maps, cultivating a culture of admiration and fondness, and turning towards bids more often.

Do any of the items listed above feel familiar or make you feel uneasy? If so, you may be facing a betrayal. Maybe it’s as serious as finding discomforting text messages between your partner and someone else. This list is not about who is right or wrong. Like sexual affairs, these betrayals can be overcome if you recognize the problem and repair the relationship together.

A Happy Spouse May Be Good for Your Health

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A Happy Spouse May Be Good for Your Health

By Nicholas Bakalar

A happy spouse may be good for your health.

Previous studies have found that mental well-being — feeling happy and satisfied — is closely linked to good physical health.

But a new study, published in Health Psychology, suggests that physical health may also be linked to the happiness of one’s husband or wife.

For the full article, go to the New York Times post.

If you would like help in being a happy couple or a happy individual, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with a counselor or coach.

6 Tips for Supporting Your Spouse’s Job Search

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6 Tips for Supporting Your Spouse’s Job Search

By Drs Les and Leslie Parrott

A change in jobs can be a really stressful time for a couple. Not only are finances in consideration, but the fear of the unknown can take an emotional toll as well. Whether your spouse is looking for a new job because they’re searching for the career they’ve always dreamed about, or they’re hunting for the next thing because they were recently laid off, your strength as a partnership will be put to the test.

HERE ARE 6 REMINDERS FOR SUPPORTING YOUR SPOUSE DURING THEIR JOB SEARCH:

  1. Remind them of their gifts, passions, and talents.

It’s easy to get quickly discouraged or overwhelmed with the job search process. Continue to remind your spouse of what they’re good at–what gets them fired up, what areas they are truly gifted in, what parts of their job they have liked most in the past. Be a source of encouragement while your spouse fills out applications and sets up meetings.

  1. Help with the hunting.

Search online, talk to people who may know of openings, and share with friends to keep their ears open for opportunities. Make sure you’re communicating with your spouse as you reach out to help. Consider yourself a support system for your spouse and not the sole leader of the search party.

  1. Suggest making a pro and con list.

Often times multiple job opportunities may come your way. Suggest that your spouse make a pro and con list–even sit down and help them. Write out all the reasons the job would be a great fit and all the reasons it wouldn’t. This process will allow you both to step back and look at the big picture as you make this big decision together.

  1. Remember that you process differently.

It will be easy to get frustrated with the way your spouse is going about the job search if you don’t understand how your spouse processes. Remember that you two are different and may process decisions in different ways. One of you may be a verbal processor. The other may need time alone to think and reflect. Allow your spouse the space (or listening ear) they need to work through the logistics and emotions of a job search.

  1. Consider yourself a team.

Be a cheerleader for your spouse. The biggest thing you can do is remind him or her of how much they’re loved, regardless of what they achieve. Their job will affect you and your family, but don’t put mental or emotional pressure on your spouse as they search–most likely they’re already experiencing pressure without it being spoken. Be their biggest advocate and source of support…no matter how long it takes.

  1. Pray together.

Approach each part of the job search process in prayer. Pray together and pray while your spouse is away at an interview. Ask God for wisdom and discernment as you search for the next right thing and trust that He will provide. Remember that whatever we do is for His glory, and remind your spouse that God has it all under control with the search gets long and hard.

7 Fun Staycation Ideas for You and Your Spouse

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7 Fun Staycation Ideas for You and Your Spouse

By Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott

Taking a vacation isn’t always about hopping in the car or on a plane and heading to the beach or mountains. Sometimes all you need for a restful mental break is an intentional pause in your weekly routine and some time with your spouse.

Have you ever considered a staycation?

Maybe you don’t have any extra money to travel right now, or you’re preparing to welcome a new baby and need to be close to home. A staycation is an affordable way to break up the daily grind, spend time with your spouse, and rejuvenate your mind and body.

So, what should you do during your staycation? Here are a few ideas to get you on the road to fun and relaxation in your own town!

#1: CAMP IN THE BACKYARD

If you’re a big fan of the outdoors, grab your camping gear and pitch a tent in the backyard! Bring along the ingredients for s’mores, tell some old stories, and spend the evening staring the stars. It’s amazing what can happen when we change our scenery just a little bit. Some fresh air and a fresh perspective can be the answer to a stress-filled schedule.

#2: BE A TOURIST IN YOUR OWN CITY

Every city has its own special sights and historical marks. Have you seen them? So often, we miss what’s right in front of us! Visit your local museum or take the tour you’ve always heard about but never done. Maybe there are some restaurants you’ve never tried and have always wanted to–start with appetizers in one spot, move to entrees in another, and finish off with dessert in a quaint little place you’ve never been to.

#3: HAVE A SPA DAY

Book a day at your local spa–facials, pedicures, massages. Any place that offers you a fuzzy robe to wear is just a bonus to your day! Exhale and relax while someone rubs away your stress and worry. Spas can get pretty expensive, so do what works for you. If it’s not in your budget right now, grab some supplies and have a spa day right at home. If you give your spouse a facial, don’t leave off the slices of cucumbers for their eyes!

#4: GO ON A HIKE

Pack up a picnic lunch, some water and sunscreen and head to your closest park or hiking trail. Turn your phones off and spend the day reconnecting while taking in the scenery. If it’s a tough trail, make up a fun game to help you power through it (psst…bring some water balloons!). Don’t forget to take some pictures when you get to the top!

#5: MOVIE NIGHT

If this is in your usual rotation for date night, then switch things up a bit! Pick a new genre of movie, built a fort in your living room, crawl in, and hit play. Prepare some popcorn and an ice cream sundae bar (don’t forget the cherry!) to enjoy throughout the night and cuddle up next to your spouse. Renting a movie is as easy as it’s ever been, but you can make the whole experience feel like you’re 10 again!

#6: HAVE A CANDLELIGHT DINNER AT HOME

What did you eat on your first date? What did you eat at your wedding? Now’s a great time to pull out those recipes and recreate the night. Light some candles, get out the old picture albums, and relive the memories. Need a fun dessert idea? You can never go wrong with fondue!

#7: GO ON A SCAVENGER HUNT

Now, this one’s going to take a little planning on your part, but it can be so much fun! Choose your destinations, then start mapping out the clues to lead your spouse to each one. You can make this as simple or as complex as you’d like. Lead your spouse to fun hiding spots around the house, neighborhood, or all throughout your city. If you want to make this something you both can do, ask a friend to map it out for you! You and your spouse will be competing to get to the end in no time.

If traveling isn’t realistic for you guys right now, don’t miss the chance to still take a break and unwind. No matter what you do, the important part is that you’re doing it together.


If you would like more help in enriching your relationship, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with a counselor or coach.

Frazzled Mom, Exhausted Wife: What to Do When Everyone Needs You

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Frazzled Mom, Exhausted Wife: What to Do When Everyone Needs You

By Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott

Being a wife and a mom is one of life’s greatest joys. Partnering with your husband to raise a family is an incredibly rewarding and fulfilling role; however, it’s challenging all at the same time. The role of a wife and mom is not only a huge blessing, but a huge responsibility–and it can leave you completely WORN OUT.

The kids have fifteen different places they need to be and, on top of all that, they have a mile-long list of school supplies waiting to be purchased and thrown into their backpacks. Your husband’s working late, and needs you to set up and prepare for your small group to come over, and the babysitter just called and canceled for the second time this month.

So what do you do when it’s all just too much? What do you do when everyone needs something from you, and it feels like everyone forgot you’re only one person?

Here are few things to remember:

FOCUS ON GRATITUDE

There was a time in your life when you were longing for this. You anxiously awaited the moment you would walk down the aisle to say, “I do,” to your husband. Your heart leapt for joy when you found out you were pregnant, and for nine months you dreamed of holding that sweet baby. Take your mind back to those moments.

Remember, it’s all a gift. Sure, your child may be screaming in your face, but soon they’ll sleep, and you’ll catch yourself staring at their peaceful little faces and wonder where the time has gone. A mindset of gratitude and joy will not only give you a calm demeanor; it will overflow and impact your family as well.

BUILD IN TIME AND SPACE FOR YOURSELF

In all of your planning and coordinating, don’t forget to schedule some time for yourself. Maybe this season of life doesn’t allow much time for you to sneak away for an afternoon alone, but look for a window of time in your week where you can sit on your porch with a cup of coffee or spend a few minutes reading a book. The mental break will rejuvenate and refresh your spirit and offer you the chance to breathe for a minute.

ASK FOR HELP

No one’s asking you to be Superwoman.

There are a lot of requests coming your way and a lot of things on your plate. Don’t be scared to call in back-up. Maybe you need to ask a friend to watch your children one afternoon so you can get a few things done around the house. Maybe you need to call a family member and ask for some advice. Your closest friends and family have your best interests at heart, and they want what’s best for you.

Ask for help. Don’t be afraid to say “no” to things. Share responsibilities with your husband. We’ve all heard the common phrase, “It takes a village to raise a child.” That statement resonates with us because we know it’s true. You don’t have to do it all alone.

GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK

There are a lot of rabbit trails of doubt, worry, and self-consciousness you can go down when you are overwhelmed and tired. One major thing that can fuel the fire of exhaustion and stress is the internet. While we have every resource, piece of advice, and article imaginable at our fingertips, we also are bombarded with pictures, posts, updates, and requests through social media. What can start as a quick “Facebook break” turns into an unexpected self-shaming campaign because you think another mom is doing everything so much better than you are, or another couple looks so much happier.

Give yourself a break. Remember that social media is a highlight reel for many people, and you’re only seeing one side of the story. Focus on your marriage, your children, and your family. Life does not have to look like every Pinterest meal you see, and your kids do not have to win every award the neighbor’s’ kid won. Love your family the way God calls you to love your family–not the way Instagram tells you to love your family.

No one is looking to you for perfection. Your husband loves you for who you are, not what you do. Your children need your love, affection, and guidance, and they’ll be okay if they don’t have a sandwich cut in the shape of a heart. You’re a good wife and a good mom. Just take a deep breath…and maybe grab a cup of coffee!


If you are struggling with some of the stresses of life and would like someone to talk with about life, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with a coach or counselor.

What to do When a Spouse Lies

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What to do When a Spouse Lies

By Drs Les and Leslie Parrott
When you’ve caught someone in lies, it’s natural to doubt almost everything they say. And when that someone happens to be your spouse, the sense of betrayal is even more profound. How can you rebuild trust when your spouse has lied to you?

REASONS SPOUSES LIE

Conflict in coupleThere are many reasons your spouse may be dishonest with you. Maybe they’re not fully coming clean because:

They have already disappointed you, and they’re afraid of your reaction;
They promised to change a pattern, and they haven’t;
They promised to get something done, but didn’t…even though they meant to.

People often lie not necessarily to deceive, but to protect their own ego. They’re ashamed of what they’re trying to cover up, they are afraid of the consequences, and they don’t want to have to live with your disappointment in them. When this is the case, it can be easy for them to convince themselves that they’re not really lying.

In cases like these, this isn’t so much a character issue as it is a maturity issue. They’re not liars across the board–this is not an issue of global dishonest or global distrust. But by the same token, they have to be willing to start to come clean, because regardless of the reasons for their dishonesty, lying is a toxic practice that will eventually break down your marriage.

Another kind of dishonesty is when your spouse is actively trying to deceive you by doing things you wouldn’t choose for them to do–things that are destructive to them, to your relationship, or even to other people. Maybe they aren’t honoring your relationship through chronic or repetitive infidelity.

When someone is actively deceptive on a large scale, is deliberately deceiving you and hurting you and others, they have holes in their conscience. Clinically, we refer to these people as sociopaths or psychopaths–in other words, people lacking the normal sense of guilt that most others feel when engaging in activities that are morally wrong and hurtful to others.

HOW TO CONFRONT A LYING SPOUSE

Now that you’re dealing with deception in your marriage, you’re going to think that whatever your spouse has lied to you about is global. It might be; then again, it might not. There’s no way around the painful conversation that comes next; you have to be able to put this on the table with your spouse, one way or another.

How can you confront this in a way that will be productive? There are a few different ways of dealing with dishonesty, depending on what the root of it is.

If your spouse is lying to protect his or her ego, talk to him or her about your perspectives, your experiences, and your feelings surrounding the lie. Yes, you’re in pain, but don’t throw it in your spouse’s face or try to hurt them back (even if you want to). Saying things like, “Look what you’ve done!” or, “Look how you’ve hurt me!” won’t be helpful.

The worst thing you can do is provoke someone when you’ve recognized that they’re not being honest with you. Try to look at the situation in the context of their perspective, and attempt to understand why they felt the need to lie. Emotional fear causes people to lie because they don’t want to feel exposed, for whatever reason.

It’s very good judgment to reveal that you know what’s going on up-front; don’t try to set up a situation where you can “catch them” in a lie. Instead, let them know that you know they’ve been dishonest. Gently explain that you feel very betrayed, and this is painful for you.

You can ask your spouse, “Why didn’t you think I’d be safe to tell the truth to?” Let them answer, and hear them out. Then, let them know that you’d rather feel disappointed because they told you the truth, rather than betrayed because they lied about it.

Be careful not to appear judgmental; instead, let your spouse see that you’re sad and hurt, and that you want to have a relationship with them that isn’t painful and doesn’t include deception.

Tell your spouse that you don’t want this to happen again. Trust is the foundation of love, and you must be able to maintain a healthy sense of trust in one another in order to nurture the lifelong love you both want.

If your spouse falls into the more toxic, chronically deceptive category, don’t deliberately try to catch them in their lies. Instead, the approach you take should be more strategic, aimed at interrupting his or her patterns of deception. This approach will also communicate that you’re not fooled.

If you’re seeing things that don’t add up–that make you suspect deep dishonesty–try saying, “Look, I see this, and I see this. And they do not add up.” Simply state the facts. Let them know that what you’re seeing and what they’re saying don’t add up.

Another variation you could use is, “I’m getting different messages that make it seem like you’re not being honest with me.” Stating that words and actions, or stories and evidence, don’t add up interrupts their pattern of chronic lying, and they won’t feel like they’re getting away with it.

Little by little, pull down each brick in the wall of lies they’ve built. Confront your spouse event by event, as things happen, and deconstruct the illusion they’re trying to create.

Staying in a relationship with a sociopathic person is incredibly toxic, and you may find that you need to seek professional counseling in order to cope more comprehensively with what’s happening in your marriage.

YOU CAN OVERCOME DISHONESTY IN YOUR MARRIAGE

People have best and worst moments, and when you’re married someone, you see the very best and the very worst of one another. You can overcome dishonesty in your marriage and go on to live a long, happy life together, full of trust and honesty.