If you would like help from someone who won’t tell you, “don’t cry,” please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with a coach or counselor.
By Brittany Wong
Ever catch yourself rolling your eyes at your partner or getting a little too sarcastic during a conversation? Those seemingly small behaviors are not that innocent after all.
For 40 years, the University of Washington psychology professor and his team at the Gottman Institute have studied couples’ interactions to determine the key predictors of divorce — or as Gottman calls them, “the four horsemen of the apocalypse.”
So how do you curb contempt in your own marriage and stave off divorce? Below, experts share seven things you can do to keep contempt in check.
1. Realize that delivery is everything.
“Remember, it’s not what you say, but how you say it that makes all the difference. Contempt often comes in the form of name-calling, snickering, sarcasm, eye-rolling and long heavy sighs. Like a poison, it can erode the trust and safety in your relationship and bring your marriage to a slow death. Your goal is to be heard. You need to present your message in a way that makes this happen without doing damage to the relationship.” — Christine Wilke, a marriage therapist based in Easton, Pennsylvania
2. Ban the word “whatever” from your vocabulary.
“When you say ‘whatever’ to your partner, you’re basically saying you’re not going to listen to them. This sends them a message that whatever they’re talking about is unimportant and has no merit to you. This is the last thing you want your spouse to hear. Sending messages (even indirectly through contempt) that they’re not important will end a relationship pretty quickly.” — Aaron Anderson, a Denver, Colorado-based marriage and family therapist
3. Stay clear of sarcasm and mean-spirited jokes.
“Avoid sarcasm and comments like, ‘I’ll bet you do!’ or ‘Oh, that was super funny” in a rude tone of voice. While you’re at it, don’t make jokes at the expense of your partner or make universal comments about his or her gender (‘You would say that — you’re a guy’).” — LeMel Firestone-Palerm, a marriage and family therapist
4. Don’t live in the past.
“Most couples start showing contempt because they have let a lot of little things build up. To avoid contempt all together, you need to stay current in your communications along the way. If you’re unhappy about something, say it directly. Also, acknowledge the valid complaints your partner has about you — you’ll probably be less self-righteous the next time you fight.” –– Judith and Bob Wright,authors of The Heart of the Fight: A Couple’s Guide to Fifteen Common Fights, What They Really Mean, and How They Can Bring You Closer
5. Watch your body language.
“If you find yourself rolling your eyes or smirking, it is a signal that your relationship could be headed for trouble. Try taking a break from each other if things get heated, or try focusing on positive aspects that you like about your partner.” — Chelli Pumphrey, a counselor based in Denver, Colorado
6. Don’t ever tell your spouse, “you’re overreacting.”
“When you say you’re SO is overreacting, what you’re really saying is that their feelings are unimportant to you. Instead of telling your partner that they’re overreacting, listen to their point of view. Try to understand where they’re coming from and why they feel that way. They have those feelings for a reason.” — Aaron Anderson
7. If you find yourself being contemptuous, stop and take a deep breath.
“Make it your goal to become aware of what contempt is. Then find out specifically what it looks like in your marriage. When you feel the urge to go there, take a deep breath, and say ‘stop’ quietly to yourself. Find another way to make your point. Contempt is a bad habit like smoking or nail biting. With work, you can break it.” — Bonnie Ray Kennan, a psychotherapist based in Torrance, California
If you would like help in your marriage or relationship, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with a counselor or coach.
By Kevin A. Thompson
“In sickness and in health.”
On two occasions I have said those words with the full confidence that the couple repeating those words actually knew what they meant.
The first occurrence brought a smile to my face. She had endured and marriage was her reward on the other side of illness. Together they have journeyed through the struggles of a serious disease as boyfriend and girlfriend. Now they would be husband and wife. They knew what “in sickness and in health” meant.
The second occurrence brought a tear to my eye. She had weeks to live. The vow renewal was his gift to her. I almost cut the words fearing they might be too painful. But with a crowd gathered I included them as a testimony to all who would hear them say, “in sickness and in health.” They meant it and everyone knew it.
Few people consider sickness and suffering when picking a mate.
They consider how the other person might look in the morning or what bad habits they might have.
Yet few people ever consider what is a vital question – can I suffer with this person?
It sounds like the beginning of another marriage joke, but it’s not.
It’s a real question and one which should be explored by every dating couple.
For the full article, please go to Familyshare.com
If you would like help preparing for marriage or going through a tough spot in your relationship, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with a coach or counselor.
By Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott
Anxiety. Most of us have been there: an issue that–to the outside world–seems arguably small balloons into a crushing, suffocating weight. Our hearts race. Our palms sweat. We descend into a spiraling panic, and find that it’s difficult (and even hopeless) to stop the feeling of dread building inside our chests.
Most of us know what anxiety feels like when it’s happening to us, but it can be difficult to know how to help someone we love when they are being riddled with it. It’s easy to feel at a loss, not knowing what to do or say. Can’t they just get over it, already?
Unfortunately, it’s easiest to write off a spouse’s anxiety and come up short when it comes to offering comfort and help. So today, we’re sharing tips for helping your husband or wife overcome the panic monster when it attacks.
1. SOOTHE YOUR SPOUSE AND LISTEN TO HIS/HER FEARS.
When your spouse is in the throes of anxiety, it can be difficult to relate to the things that are bothering him or her. In fact, it may seem impossible to you. But it’s critically important to lend an ear and offer comfort to your spouse anyway, regardless of whether you can identify with his/her turmoil.
Encourage your spouse to talk to you about what’s upsetting them. Sometimes a person who is in a state of panic can calm down on their own if they talk about their worries.
If you can do anything to alleviate your spouse’s most pressing sense of panic, do it. Help him/her find ways to calm his/her body and mind. If the anxiety can be lessened, your spouse has a better chance of clearing their mind and approaching the issue from a calmer place.
2. DON’T TELL YOUR SPOUSE TO “JUST GET OVER IT.”
Panic and anxiety are driven by emotions, and even though an anxious person’s brain might be telling them one thing, their emotions are communicating a sense of urgency (and potentially danger) that they feel has to be resolved immediately. It’s classic fight-or-flight.
Unfortunately, there’s no easy fix for anxiety and panic. Telling your spouse to “get over” whatever is upsetting them is just going to make the situation worse. Instead, show empathy and determine what you can do to help.
If your spouse is feeling anxious about a decision that needs to be made, help him/her walk through the options, examining the pros and cons as a team. If work is making your spouse anxious or panicked, sit down and talk together about why, and explore possible solutions. If your spouse’s anxiety is rooted in matters at home or with family, see where you can pitch in and help.
If the anxiety is uncontrollable and has disrupted your spouse’s (or your, or your family’s) quality of life, gently encourage him/her to seek professional help. If the problem is complex and out of control, don’t be afraid to seek help. But if it’s something you can find a solution for between the two of you, all the better.
3. DE-STRESS AND UNWIND–DELIBERATELY.
If anxiety has had a hold on your life, focus on ways the two of you can unwind and find peace. Seeking out pleasurable activities and having fun together will boost your sense of well-being (and your intimacy, which is a huge bonus!).
The panic monster can be a hard one to beat, but by working together and focusing on ways to alleviate your spouse’s anxiety, it can be done. As you help your spouse deal with his/her feelings of panic, remember that most everyone experiences difficult seasons like this at some point. Armed with understanding, patience, empathy, and love, you can overcome this together.
If you are going through a storm and would like to spend time with someone who will listen with empathetic ears, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to connect with a counselor or coach.
By Jake and Melissa Kircher
Excerpt from an article in Relevant Magazine
“Maybe you should think about seeing a counselor.”
This little phrase can conjure up so many emotions: fear, shame, anxiety, anger, relief, exhaustion, hope, despair, trepidation and failure. For many, counseling is only for crazy people or addicts. These are the people with real problems.
Why is there such a negative stigma connected with counseling? In a society that’s success-driven and where independence is highly praised, there are an awful lot of us who feel lonely, hurt, bewildered and lost. We as Christians should be different and more used to openness and vulnerability … right? We believe we all fall short of perfection.
But when a good friend, family member, roommate or mentor observes an issue in our life that warrants the help of a therapist, we get irritated and defensive. We shake our heads and angrily affirm, “I’m fine!”
Carl Jung says: “There are as many nights as days, and the one is just as long as the other in the year’s course. Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word ‘happy’ would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness.”
Here’s the thing that needs to change: the belief that counseling is shameful. It’s OK to admit things aren’t going well. The fact is that we’re all so afraid to reveal we have problems, many of us aren’t getting the help we need in order to live more healthy, happy and fulfilling lives…
So, apart from fear of exposure and judgment from others, what are other reasons many people don’t try counseling when they face difficulties in their life? It can be a fluctuating mixture of pride, apprehension of change and an unwillingness to re-experience pain.
In many cases, therapy involves situations, emotions and relationships we would rather leave buried. It’s completely understandable to desire avoiding these past hurts or traumas. But oftentimes things left unaddressed and unhealed have a tendency to fester. This festering issue begins to affect our present lives, often without us realizing it. Ben Franklin said, “He that won’t be counseled, can’t be helped.” Many times, the only way to address old hurts and current problems is to talk them through with someone else. As Christians we often feel that going to Jesus with our problems should be enough. And He is enough. But He gifted other people with wise minds, open ears and a master’s degree for a reason. Jesus is cool if you talk to both Him and your therapist.
For the entire article, go to the Relevant site.
If you would like to engage in counseling or coaching, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003.
By Drs Les and Leslie Parrott
When trust has been damaged or destroyed in a marriage, the rebuilding process takes a huge amount of patience, skill, and–above all–time. After your very foundation has been shaken, restoring trust in your marriage is literally a relationship makeover.
You and your spouse must work together over time to rebuild the trust you lost, and both of you have a lot of work to do to get there. But with determination and an absolute commitment to restoration, your marriage can be healthy again.
You might not realize it now, but if you’ve been betrayed by your spouse, you can begin to trust them again. And if you betrayed your spouse, it is possible to restore their faith in you.
In today’s post, we’ll discuss some of the steps both of you will need to take in order to rebuild the trust in your marriage. It won’t be easy, but it will definitely be worth it.
FOR THE BETRAYED
As the betrayed spouse, you must be willing to forgive your husband or wife. It’s a bitterly painful experience to be betrayed by the person you love most in the world, and the betrayal can wreak havoc on your life.
Taking on the hard task of forgiveness is, at best, a huge challenge. Forgiveness happens gradually, in stages. You can’t snap your fingers and suddenly erase what your spouse has done, just because you’ve decided to forgive. You must allow yourself the time to grieve, heal, and name the hurts in order to surrender your need to inflict hurt in retaliation.
In addition to maintaining a forgiving attitude toward your spouse, you must be open about the anxiety your spouse’s betrayal has caused. Be honest about the times that you are most likely not to trust your spouse, and tell them the things that trigger your sense of betrayal.
Although it’s important to name your spouse’s offenses and be open about your triggers, it’s also important to know when to start stepping away from the painful memories. As your spouse begins to prove his or her trustworthiness over again, you’ll have to discern when it’s time to start letting go of the offenses, a little at a time. This is part of your forgiveness process.
In order to truly forgive, heal, and avoid the seeds of bitterness and contempt taking root in your own soul, it’s critical for you to be able to know when to let go and allow your spirit to heal.
Take care of yourself and do whatever it takes in order to recover. As the betrayed spouse, it’s tempting to focus all your attention on what your spouse did and what they’re doing to set things right. A huge part of you is very invested in your spouse’s efforts to right the wrongs they inflicted. But if you don’t care for your own health and wellbeing in the process, your emotional and spiritual healing will be prolonged–or could even be prevented.
Above all else, stay in God’s word and keep your prayer life active. Surround yourself with support and love. And take comfort in the fact that your spouse is doing whatever it takes to make things right between you again.
FOR THE BETRAYER
No matter what you have done to hurt your spouse, you must make yourself open and willing to answer any questions they may have regarding your betrayal. The more serious your offense, the more likely it is that you’ll have to answer a lot of questions. And those questions may come up repeatedly over a period of time.
When you’ve betrayed the person who loves you most, assume that you have inflicted a great deal of anxiety, insecurity, and pain upon them. Since the two of you are working together to restore trust, you’ll need to be willing to provide reassurance and security any time your spouse expresses a need for it–and then some.
For a time, you’ll need to make yourself accountable for your time and actions, particularly surrounding your offense. This will feel invasive, but extra accountability is non-negotiable.
Accountability can hurt your pride, but leave your ego at the door. It’s hard to have to earn your spouse’s trust after you have injured them. You’d rather them just take you at your word and begin trusting you again since you’ve apologized for your actions, but you have to be willing to surrender that.
You and your spouse will have to agree on boundaries that surround the offending people, activities, or places. Keep temptations for repeat offenses completely off limits.
If you had an affair, have no further contact whatsoever with that person. Have no presence near the things or places that are tempting to you. You must be 100% determined to stay accountable. With effort and time, accountability will play a major part in the restoration of your marriage.
Reconnecting with God and healing yourself spiritually will also go a long way toward helping you and your spouse grow closer again. Spending time in prayer, reading the Bible, and seeking Christian counsel (either from others in your church or a trusted professional counselor) will help you to resist temptation and strengthen you for the days ahead.
Don’t lose heart. The season of rebuilding trust and restoring your relationship is a very trying, painful time for both of you. But with grace, hope, kindness, and a lot of patience, the two of you will come out on the other side stronger than ever.
If you would like help in the healing process related to broken trust, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 614-459-3003 to talk with a counselor or coach.
Here’s a little cautionary humor for your Funday Friday:
If you would like to add some more humor or joy to your life, please contact CornerStone Family Services at 6514-459-3003 to talk with a coach or counselor.