Making Relationships Last

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The spark and fire of new love can be nothing short of awe-inspiring. The passion and love can be intense—you can't get enough! As time slips by, though, the fiery spark can wane.

Sometimes, couples seem just as much in love and attracted to one another after many years as they were in the beginning. But ... other times, it can seem like the couple is more like two people who simply choose to live together than romantic partners. What does the former do differently than the latter to keep the fire burning?

It all comes down to several key differences in couples who burn bright despite their years together and ages. Get a closer look at how to stay in love and be physically attracted to your partner over the years.

1. Physical Appearance

Do you remember what it was like when you first met? You likely put effort into your outward appearance because you wanted the other person to see you as attractive. Couples with the power to maintain physical attraction to one another throughout the years tend to never stop trying to look pleasing to their significant...


Breaking up is like the grand finale of a big life event, complete with high-flying emotions and dramatic exits. But when the show’s over, and you’re left alone on the stage, it’s easy to get stuck obsessing over your ex like they’ll always be the star of the show.

Sometimes, getting over your ex can feel like trying to break free from a grip of emotional quicksand—seriously sticky stuff, especially if you weren’t the one to decide things were over. Unfortunately, getting over the overwhelming sense of longing for the person suddenly deleted from your life can feel a lot like an all-out addiction.

Where do these feelings stem from? Why is letting go so difficult? Take a closer look at why you may feel addicted to your ex.


April Eldemire of Couples Thrive was featured in this article from Business Insider. Article reposted with permission.

If your partner is mysteriously distant and checked out when you're together, there's a chance they might be quiet-quitting the relationship.

Just like quiet-quitting a job, quiet-quitting a partnership or marriage involves a person doing the bare minimum to coast in the relationship.

April Eldemire, a licensed marriage and family therapist practicing in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, told Business Insider that common signs include your partner "avoiding connection, avoiding conflict, not making an effort, and...


April Eldemire of Couples Thrive was featured in this article from Business Insider. Article reposted with permission.

Sometimes, the most emotionally mature-seeming partners might not be trustworthy.

April Eldemire, a licensed marriage and family therapist practicing in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, said there are overt red flags of untrustworthiness that many people know to spot already — like being secretive about social media or their phone.

But even if a person freely posts you on their grid and always shows up, there are still reasons you might not trust them or feel secure in the relationship, Eldemire told Business Insider.

“A person can show up and be engaged in your life, but not volunteer any of their own sense...


Many of us have been there.

You bring up an issue with your partner, and you feel attacked by their response. You get defensive and return fire—only for them to do the same. It’s a battle that no one can win.

Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be this way.

Making small shifts to your mindset can work wonders in your relationship. Here, we’ll take a look at why negativity can ruin a relationship and explore small daily steps that you can take to help you and your partner move to a more positive headspace.


Want your holiday season to stay merry and bright this year? Here’s a basic rule to keep in mind:

Make sure you and your spouse are on the same page when it comes to the big topics!

By “big topics,” I really mean any issue that has the potential to be a major source of stress for you and your partner. And really, take your pick: between work and social commitments, family schedules, finances, grief (which can surge during this time of year, especially if you’ve experienced a recent loss), and even our own expectations, there are plenty of things that come up during the holidays that can drain us emotionally and strain our relationship.

That said, throughout my career as a licensed marriage and family therapist, I’ve noticed three specific topics—I call them “the three B’s”—that frequently stir up a lot of challenge for couples during the holidays. And in my professional opinion, it is super helpful to discuss and come to an agreement about these three topics before the holidays get into full swing.

The topics are:...


Ever heard the saying, “If it’s too good to be true, it probably is”? This is exactly the case when it comes to love bombing, a term that the Cleveland Clinic refers to as “a form of psychological and emotional abuse [that] is often disguised as excessive flattery.”

In this article, you’ll learn more about what love bombing is, what it looks like within a relationship, and how to deal with it.


Infatuation vs genuine feelings of love: think you can spot the difference?

If you’re in the newest stages of a relationship, this actually might be hard to do! But being able to recognize the difference between these two opposing emotional states can be helpful for making sure you’re entering (and staying in) a relationship with someone for the right reasons.


You hear it all the time (and maybe you’ve even lived it yourself):

  • A person dates (and breaks up with) the same type of person over and over again.
  • They always seem to enter relationships with people who aren’t “right” for them, or who exhibit traits—particularly negative ones—that are eerily similar to traits exhibited by prior partners.
  • Try as they might, they just can’t seem to help but be drawn to relationships that will have them repeating the same type of challenges and conflicts over and over (e.g., infidelity, emotional or physical abuse, codependency, etc.).

Is this relationship déjà vu some kind of character failing of the individual—or is it something else? Let’s explore a few reasons why so many of us end up with people who resemble ex-partners and even tend to trigger our past emotional wounds.


Maybe you don’t get offended easily. If so, kudos!

Or maybe…

  • You already know you get offended easily (even if it’s just about one specific topic or issue), and it’s something you’re ready to address
  • You suspect you’re more sensitive than others and wonder whether there’s something you can do about it
  • You’ve never considered that your short fuse is a personal hiccup that might be holding you back in life and relationships…until now

Whatever the case may be, I’ll argue that being the type of person who is easily offended creates a lot of unnecessary stress, conflict, and drama in life. And if this resonates with you or someone you know, this article can help you understand where that quick-to-take-offense comes from and what can be done about it.


Hi! I’m a healthy relationship.

I might not look exactly like what you had in mind. In fact, I might even look quite different when I’m with different couples, depending on those individuals’ personalities and preferences. And I can even change and evolve over time with the same two people!

But there are some important traits and characteristics that you’ll definitely notice about me.


Feeling connected with your spouse or partner isn’t just important—it’s kind of the whole point.

To wit, decades of research confirm that being in a committed, long-term relationship or marriage is good for your physical and mental health, and that strong social connections benefit your quality of life and length of life.

It follows, then, that feeling disconnected from your partner, for whatever reason, can be incredibly uncomfortable and stressful. In this article, let’s talk about why feeling disconnected from your spouse might happen, how to recognize it, and what to do (and maybe not do) about it.


A “situationship” is a romantic and/or sexual relationship that isn’t formally defined. You may know it by its other pop culture references like “friends with benefits,” “fun buddies,” or “booty call.” People in situationships generally aren’t exclusively committed to each other and typically aren’t expected to fork over a ton of emotional investment.

But while this casual, noncomittal intimacy may have its benefits for some people at certain stages in their lives, situationships also have their fair share of conflict a

nd uncertainty—and can be painful to walk away from.

Here are three things that can help you move on once you or your “friend with benefits” decides to end your situationship.


Intimacy—that feeling of closeness, connectedness, and togetherness shared between people—is one of the most important and rewarding components of a healthy romantic relationship. When I work with couples who want to improve their marital satisfaction, I always end up referring to both types of intimacy that you hear about: physical (or sexual) intimacy and emotional intimacy.

What this means is:

  • For the couple who say sex is great but they feel distant from each other, we use therapy as an opportunity to explore emotional and physical intimacy.
  • For the couple who say they feel a deep sense of love and appreciation for each other, but that their sex life has fizzled to the point that their relationship borders on platonic, we (you guessed it) use therapy as an opportunity to explore emotional and physical intimacy.

I lay this out simply to show that both types of intimacy truly are essential. Here are three things I consider to be important truths about physical and...


I love the paradigm that a healthy marriage doesn’t require 50/50 from both partners—it requires 100/100. This means that each partner gives their best effort to help the relationship to thrive.

Now, this doesn’t mean our 100% effort will be the exact same moment to moment and day to day. We can’t always “crush it,” simply because our best efforts change depending on innumerable factors—from how much sleep we got last night to whether we’re feeling triggered by something that touches on an unaddressed childhood trauma.

The good news is that in a healthy relationship where both partners make an equal, honest effort to make things work, these fluctuations are totally survivable. Healthy partners see themselves as teammates, and they support each other accordingly—they “pick up the slack,” so to say, when necessary.


Let’s face it: anger is uncomfortable.

Feeling angry, “seeing red,” or “boiling over” usually doesn’t feel good for you and sometimes even for the people around you, including your spouse.

But here’s something to note:

Anger in its own right isn’t necessarily a “problem.” In fact, feeling angry is often a perfectly normal response to certain events or situations in your life, and can even help motivate you to get active, get creative, and find some solutions! For these reasons and more, repressing anger, thinking you “shouldn’t” be feeling it, or otherwise ignoring it is neither necessary nor helpful.

The “problem” with anger happens when the emotion assumes full control over your behaviors and actions, or when your anger becomes excessive. Would you be able to tell if your anger—or your spouse’s anger—has reached this point? Let’s talk about it.


Fun is FUN! That in itself is reason enough to make sure that play, fun, and joyful experiences are regular components of your marriage.

When you’re in a committed relationship, having fun with your partner is also a big help when it comes to preventing or improving complacency, burnout, stress, anxiety, depression, and related issues. Research has even found that couples report increased relationship satisfaction after spending time together doing novel and stimulating activities.

Your takeaway? Never stop finding ways to have fun with each other, no matter how long you and your spouse have been together!


“Narcissism.” The word is a mainstay in modern day cultural lexicon, and rooted in the fictional character Narcissus, from a myth by first century Roman poet Ovid about a man who was cursed by the gods and made to fall in love with his own reflection.

These days, the term “narcissism” is thrown around quite a lot. People in the public and private eye are frequently labeled as “narcissists.” This is hugely problematic, as far as I’m concerned, because in reality, real narcissism is quite rare—and let’s be thankful for that.

In fact, according to Psychology Today, only about 1% of the population are TRUE narcissists. What does “true narcissist” mean exactly? And what do we do if we know someone who is either a true narcissist or simply exhibits narcissistic traits and tendencies? Let’s discuss.


Social media is definitely a double-edged sword.

On the one hand, social media helps us connect to loved ones, expand our social and professional networks, share information, and discover new products, brands, and ideas that we may never have found otherwise. On the other hand, social media has been linked to destructive feelings like loneliness, narcissism, and low self-esteem.

For the romantic relationship, social media can be especially harmful. Couples who don’t use social media wisely often struggle with jealousy and unhealthy expectations. When we only see other people’s (or other couples’) carefully curated highlight reels, it’s easy to start playing the comparison game—a recipe for resentment and “the grass is greener” fallacy.

Undisciplined social media use can also drive a wedge between romantic partners and erode the all-important sense of connection and trust. According to...


I don’t know about you, but I actually really like New Years resolutions.

Yes, they get a bad rap. We see headline after headline about the dismal follow-through that people seem to have around these New Year, New Me commitments—for instance, that fewer than 8% of people actually stick to their goals (apparently) or that most people end up giving up on their aims before the end of January—and the most cynical among us tend to scoff at the idea that the simple turn of a calendar page could ever have some sort of magical, Pixie dust-like effect on our motivation.

But I find that setting resolutions, big or small, tends to get the creative juices flowing....


When you argue with your spouse, does it ever feel like Groundhog Day? Do you ever shake your head in disbelief, wondering why you’re having this same disagreement yet again?

Hitting the same marital roadblock over and over may relate to a perpetual problem between you and your spouse. Perpetual problems—which even healthy couples have—are difficult if not impossible to solve (though not necessarily impossible to live with) because they center around fundamental differences in personalities, preferences, or lifestyle needs.

In other cases, recurring conflicts or “Here we go again” arguments are better explained by underlying behavioral patterns exhibited by one or both partners. These behavioral patterns—bad habits at best and maladaptive at worst—can damage a relationship over time and lead to resentment or contempt.

Here are three common ones to avoid.


Do things feel heavy to you right now?

They do for me, too.

When so many difficult issues are going on in the world—including the environment, Afghanistan, politics, COVID-1, and the mental health crisis—it can sometimes feel like you’re shouldering these burdens on your own. And even with a supportive spouse, it can be tricky figuring out how to create healthy conversations about these tough topics.


The introvert falls for the extrovert. The one who loves to save marries the one who loves to shop. The “glass half full” kind of person finds their “glass half empty” partner. Are these relationships destined to thrive—or doomed to fail?


Do you ever get angry at your spouse? For most of us, the answer is a resounding yes. We’re human, after all, and anger is a normal human emotion.

But while feeling angry isn’t inherently bad, anger can have a negative impact on your marriage if it’s not dealt with well.


A “sexless marriage” can mean different things to different couples. But what all sexless marriages have in common is a lack of physical intimacy that leaves one or both partners feeling alienated, unsatisfied, and disconnected.

The feeling of disconnect is key. After all, a lack of sex is not necessarily a problem if both partners aren’t bothered by it. But when lack of sexual intimacy becomes a source of stress for one or both spouses, their marriage may be at risk.

Read on to learn about the common causes of a sexless marriage, how to talk about sex with your partner, and simple ways to increase your sex drive if you feel like your libido could use a boost.


Many people assume that for two partners to be healthy and thriving together, there needs to be a 50/50 split in terms of energy, love, and effort. I invite you to think about it as 100/100. In other words, both partners put in their best effort to commit to and nurture a healthy bond.

Of course, your best efforts will fluctuate at times—and that’s okay. Factors like stress at work or a poor night’s sleep all impact how much energy and presence you can offer each other on any given day. The good news is, healthy partners are able and willing to “pick up the slack” at times and give that added support when their loved one is struggling.

It’s only when the balance of energy or input becomes chronically off-kilter that a relationship may be entering into an unhealthy dynamic. We call these one-sided relationships. Read on to learn about what these types of relationships might look like and what can be done about them.


Here’s a simple truth:

All healthy relationships have healthy boundaries.

You see, boundaries aren’t restricting or limiting. Boundaries provide the freedom to express your needs and values while also honoring the needs and values of your partner. Setting boundaries is:

  • The essential antidote to codependency
  • A prerequisite for emotional well-being
  • A learnable skill that determines the success and longevity of any relationship

Setting healthy boundaries can transform your relationship and elevate your own self-respect. Keep reading to learn about what boundaries look like in a marriage and four key ways to establish them effectively.


How often should you and your spouse have sex?

The answer:

As often as it takes for you both to feel satisfied—which, according to a 2015 study published in Social Psychological and Personality Science, is about once a week for most happily married couples.

Of course, you and your partner might have sex more often than this, which is great. Just know you don’t have to hold yourselves to the extreme standard of once-per-day lovemaking ad infinitum.

No matter what your preferred frequency is, you probably aren’t surprising to hear that having sex with your spouse is good for your marriage. A healthy amount of regular sexual intimacy—an amount that’s different for every couple—strengthens your bond and helps each of you feel more fulfilled and connected.

But what happens if...


Have you ever felt (or were told) that you’re “going crazy”? Maybe there was something “off” about a prior relationship you can’t put your finger on. Perhaps your current partner frequently says things like “You’re not remembering that correctly” or “That’s not how it happened.”

While subtle, these signs often point to an underlying interpersonal dynamic that can be extremely detrimental. Read on to learn about gaslighting, including what it is, what it looks like, and what you can do if you recognize it in your relationship.


The catchy adage “Money can’t buy me love” has a lot of truth to it…at least to a point. A well-known 2010 study out of Princeton University found that beyond a certain income threshold—$75,000 per year, apparently—a person doesn’t report more and more happiness, no matter how high their income goes.

But even if money can’t buy you love and happiness, it sure can have a negative impact on your life. For example, disagreements over money and financial strain are a common cause of marital conflict and divorce. And according to recent research, it seems that even the love of money and material things can impact the quality of your marriage, too.

Keep reading to learn about the connection between a love of “stuff” and the love for your spouse, as well as how to identify whether this dynamic is affecting your...


Just about everyone has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in some way. For couples with kids, the added stress of homeschooling (even while working full-time from home), raised tensions from close and frequent contact, and generalized anxiety about the uncertain times can seem overwhelming.

To avoid getting overwhelemed during this transition—and to help your children feeling overwhelmed, too—consider the following suggestions, inspired by pediatricians, licensed marriage and family therapists, and other experts.


Imagine this scenario:

You notice your partner seems anxious about something. You’re not sure what’s going on, but all day they’ve been acting agitated and on edge. How do you respond? Is there a part of you that begins to worry or perceive their mood as a rejection of you? What do you say to your partner about your concerns—if anything? Do you reach out, even if you’re not sure how?

Part of the way you respond to situations like this is related to how able you are to access and express your vulnerability. Far from a weakness, vulnerability—our willingness to tell the truth and be ourselves, even in the face of uncertainty—is an innate gift we can all learn to develop, and a gift which can greatly benefit our intimate relationships.

Here’s what prominent researcher, author, and speaker Dr. Brené Brown has to say about it (and she has quite a lot to say about this topic):

  • “Vulnerability is the core of shame and fear and our struggle for worthiness, but it appears that it’s also the birthplace of...

Nobody is immune to stress, and during these unprecedented times—a global pandemic that’s nearly shut down the economy worldwide—high degrees of stress can be a daily occurrence.

For couples, stressful moments can both fortify or strain a relationship. If you’re currently spending most of your time at home because of social distancing efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19, keep these following ideas in mind to help you avoid letting your shared stresses get the better of your relationship.


It’s not hard to imagine how negativity can be damaging for a healthy relationship. The problem is, we see so many examples of negative interactions between couples—on television, in movies, and in “real life”—that nagging, teasing, criticizing, or speaking poorly of our partners (even if you’re “just joking”) can start to seem like normal behavior.

And sure, maybe negativity is “normal” or at least common in a majority of relationships—but that doesn’t mean it’s helpful. In fact, scientific research (as well as your own intuition, we’re guessing) shows us that negative words, attitudes, and interactions can be extremely detrimental to the integrity of a relationship and tear it apart from the inside out.

Is negativity a major theme in your married life? Let’s see just how problematic this can be and what you can do to start making a more positive shift.


When dating someone new, the feelings you experience as you get to know each other can be incredibly exciting. And once you’re out of the “honeymoon phase,” the next stage of your relationship can be just as rewarding—the time to build a deeper bond grounded in trust and genuine love.

But even when genuine love is there, it’s understandable to have some worries about the future. Is this person “the one”? Have I found the right partner? While they can be a little unnerving, questions like these are perfectly normal, especially if you’ve already experienced a loss of a previous relationship.

Here are five key markers that can help you decide if you’re with your lifelong match.


Couples in conflict can experience a significant amount of pain and crisis. This pain becomes amplified when partners struggle to communicate their feelings with each other.

In these cases, it’s often invaluable to consult with an objective third-party such as a licensed marriage and family therapist. A therapist can offer professional and impartial insights that helps couples care not only for themselves, but for their relationship as well.

One popular therapeutic method for couples is called emotionally focused therapy (EFT). For nearly four decades, EFT has helped couples all over the world heal and evolve their relationships.


How important is forgiveness?

Research shows that the ability to seek and give forgive your spouse is an essential component to healthy and fulfilling relationship. Of course, you don’t have to be in an intimate relationship to know that forgiveness can be a challenging gift to give, although being hurt by someone you love deeply can be exceptionally distressing.

Even so, forgiveness truly is a gift—and just because it can be challenging doesn’t mean it’s not worth the effort. Without forgiveness, couples face an increased risk of relationship-threatening problems such as distrust, resentment, and sexual distance.

Research also indicates that holding grudges and being unable or unwilling to forgive can lead to negative health consequences including increased stress. And as far as gifts go, forgiveness is genuinely one of those phenomena that are as beneficial to the one receiving it as the one giving it.

Understand that the most important step to moving towards forgiveness is doing it for yourself first. The reality may be that your...


Nearly half of adults experience a mental illness at least once in their lifetime. Research and practical experience tells us that mental illness can cause a person to have decreased quality of life, decreased productivity and employment, and even impaired physical health.

A mental illness—including post-traumatic stress disorder, major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and alcoholism—can also affect a person’s relationships. There may be no relationship more affected by mental illness than the intimate relationship between partners.

The good news is that it’s completely possible to be in a healthy, loving, and long-term partnership with someone who has a mental illness. If this is relevant to you, being aware of the unique challenges you and your partner may face, and utilizing resources and strategies that will help your grow and nurture your relationship is key.


By Dr. Jamie Long of The Psychology Group

We are delighted to have Dr. Jamie Long guest blog for us. Dr. Jamie is a trusted expert in the mental health community and has regular guest appearances on national radio publications and podcasts. Her blog, Finding Cloud Nine is widely popular and informative.


Validation is a critical communication tool and expression of love and acceptance in relationships. Conversely, invalidation is one of the most damaging forms of emotional abuse. What’s scary, it can be one of the most subtle and unintentional abuses. Invalidating a person’s feelings and emotional experience can make them feel like they’re going crazy!

If you’re the recipient of invalidating messages, know this: YOU’RE NOT CRAZY! Your feelings are valid and real.

Why Do Some People Struggle with Validation?

Some individuals knowingly invalidate others as a form of...


Many people are confused by the word “codependency.” When they hear it, they think it simply means that a person is “clingy” and needy. But in fact, codependency is considered a specific and harmful mental and behavioral condition. It frequently has a generational pattern within families and is often referred to as “relationship addiction.”

Changing the dynamics of a codependent relationship can be extremely challenging. But with the right resources and support systems, it is possible for partners to change their behaviors and transform their relationship into one that is healthier and respects and honors both partners’ needs.

The first step to making any sort of change, however, is recognizing the problem.


During an interview on the popular podcast The Tim Ferriss Show, famous entrepreneur and businessman Sir Richard Branson once suggested a simple yet important thought experiment to listeners.

We’ll paraphrase that thought experiment here:

Think back to the few biggest mistakes or arguments of your marriage. Now think how many of them occurred when one or both of you were under the influence of alcohol.

Does your answer surprise you? Perhaps—but it doesn’t surprise psychological research. Studies consistently show that drinking can negatively affect relationships.

So what does this mean? Should you never drink again in order to save your marriage? Not necessarily. But it’s important to understand how alcohol can affect people and the way they relate to others. Doing so will help you reduce the risk of beer, wine, or liquor degrading the...


Being friends with your spouse is a gift and directly benefits you both. As relationship researcher and psychologist Dr. John Gottman has said, “Happy marriages are based on a deep friendship.”

But all too often, as couples deepen their bond and spend more and more time together, the other friendships they had prior to the primary relationship start to fall away.

Is this a bad thing?

Not necessarily. While replacing friends to satisfy unmet needs is not healthy, having friends outside your marriage is not only important but healthy, too—and not just for you. We’re taking the term “friends with benefits” to a whole new (but completely platonic) level.


Every relationship has its conflicts and communication issues.

But not all relationship problems are created equal.

Research from esteemed psychologist and relationship expert Dr. John Gottman reveals at least four characteristics which tend to spell serious trouble for intimate partners.

So damaging are their effects that together they’ve earned an ominous nickname—The Four Horsemen. But while the New Testament’s version of The Four Horsemen represent the end of times, the Four Horsemen of Relationships don’t necessarily lead to the end of a relationship…

At least not when couples learn how to identify these characteristics and replace them with healthier ones.


“Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live; it is asking others to live as one wishes to live.” -Oscar Wilde

In this quote, Wilde poetically hits at the heart of selfishness. Said another way, selfishness is the tendency to expect someone else to live according to your values, rather than their own.

Of course, to be selfish is a human trait—which means every one of us expresses it from time to time. But when selfishness moves from an occasional behavioral to a prominent character flaw, breakdowns in relationships occur—and no more significantly than in an intimate relationship between spouses.


When we think about how to express our love over the holidays, we often get caught up on grand gestures like expensive gifts or fancy dinners out. But, it’s the little day to day gestures that build connection and communicate how much we care. These small acts of kindness take little to no time at all and help ensure that your spouse feels how much you appreciate them during the most wonderful time of the year. Not sure how to add to the holiday cheer with a little thought that says “I love you?” Here’s 20 ideas to get you started:

  1. Draw a heart on the mirror with liquid soap. When the shower steams up the room, your secret message will appear.
  2. Sometimes the thing that we need most is to buy time by doing things ourselves. Offer to take the kids out on the weekend so your spouse can decorate and prepare for the festivities in peace. Tackling holiday projects or getting a jump start on meal preparation saves time and relieves the stress of having to stop repeatedly and circumvent another sibling...

If you’ve ever built a fire, then you know that the kindling process is very important. Once the smallest spark comes to life, a blazing fire is born. As the fire reaches its peak, maintaining the heat takes careful concentration and finesse. If not frequently stoking it, the fire will fizzle out. The same can be said about relationships. Neglecting it for too long is a sign that you might need to reignite the flames.

Whether you are newly married or married for 20 years, in order to keep passion alive, you need a constant stream of emotional kindling. The good news is that it doesn’t take a lot of work. In just a few small ways, your relationship can come roaring back to life.

Build A Secure Base

In her book Hold Me Tight, Dr. Sue Johnson describes relationships as lovers being poised delicately on a tightrope. When the winds of doubt and fear begin...


Couples that don’t reconnect, disconnect. It’s important to stay on top of your relationship constantly, yet with life’s hustle and bustle, it’s hard work to focus on your marriage all the time. Reality check- marriage is hard work, so don’t make excuses for not spending quality time with one another. Make it a non-negotiable. Here are 10 speedy ways to connect daily so your relationship stays strong and healthy.

  1. Greet one other with excitement at the end of the day. The six-second kiss is a kiss with potential. In long-term relationships, complacent pecks of parting and greeting can easily be overlooked. Make your kisses count.
  2. Hold hands while binge watching your favorite show. It takes little effort to touch and there’s immense power in holding hands and cuddling. Raising endorphins (hormones that create a euphoric effect) produces intimacy and closeness.
  3. Give a compliment. We often have great thoughts...

What does self-love mean to you? Self-love is complicated. It’s not always self-like. In my opinion, it’s not looking in the mirror and declaring that I’m happy with every single part of me—that’s unrealistic. But it is knowing that I am a complex being whose needs evolve daily, and that’s a beautiful thing. And as complicated as it is to find happiness in you as a person, it’s a must end-goal for a healthy relationship.

Self-love is not easy, and no one is perfect at it. Setbacks and negative life experiences can cause us to believe we are unlovable; that there is “something wrong with me”. But if we learn from past experiences, we can regain control of everything we have to offer in life and with others.

Finding yourself means soul-searching the peeks and valleys of your life and see them as a necessary part of your growth. Having the ability to self-reflect means being comfortable spending time yourself- void of shame and judgment- to work on you. Your insecurities, strengths, flaws and...


Between 40 percent and 50 percent of marriages in the U.S. end in divorce, but this rate is falling — perhaps due to the excellent marriage counseling services now available. More and more people are seeking the help of a third party before things break down. As a result of professional intervention, relationships are being rebuilt before the ‘D’ word is ever mentioned.

If your relationship has hit a rocky patch, confronting the issues now could transform your marriage — and save it from destruction in the future. If you need convincing, here are five very clear ways in which marriage counseling brings loving couples back from the brink.


The word “divorce” is enough to send chills down your spine. No one expects to break the vows made on a wedding day of hopeful promises and wedded bliss but many marriages do ultimately end with lawyers, court hearings and negotiated paperwork that decides — among other things — who gets the dog. If you have reached the point where your only option is to continue the unhappiness of being with your spouse or ending the marriage, there might be more you will want to consider before coming to a final decision.


There is no doubt that divorce has dire consequences on individuals and families, yet those who have failed at marriage can succeed at divorce. Individuals and children affected can emerge from divorce emotionally healthy and resilient when parents make the conscientious decision to manage the divorce process in a responsible and logical manner.

Dr. Robert Emery, a leading researcher on divorce and children, developed a specific grief cycle for divorce. It’s main difference to that of bereavement is that divorce grief is not linear but rather a cyclical process- those going through it cycle through a three-part phase consisting of love, anger and sadness repeatedly.

Early on, the grief of divorce is experienced as an intense period of feeling nothing but love, then nothing but anger and then nothing but sadness. As time goes on however, the intensity of the feelings subsides and the cycles of each emotion begins to blend. This blurring together of emotions creates a more realistic and less painful outlook of the divorce. Understanding the grief process can aid...


Don’t let the pressure of Hallmark’s cheery, over-the-top and in-your-face holiday campaigns fool you. For many, this time of year can take even MORE work to pull off a successful season ahead. With increased stress to get along with family members, pick the most well thought-out gift and keep holiday cheer at a maximum, it’s no wonder that some families crash and burn each time.

Families have great success when they plan ahead and keep expectations realistic. Before you find yourself snapping at your significant other for forgetting the extra garland for the tree or yelling at your toddler for refusing to wear the Santa hat for the school play, put things into perspective and take each moment in stride. With these helpful tips, your family can stay close and connected this holiday season.

  1. Talk about family expectations. What happened last year that you might want to repeat/don’t want to repeat this year? How would each family member like to spend the holiday? What events are forthcoming with school, friends, work, etc. that you should all be aware...

Infidelity is one of the most devastating blows to a relationship’s foundation. Couples often want to know, “Can my marriage be saved after an affair?” In his book, “What Makes Love Last,” by couples researcher Dr. John Gottman, he seeks to answer that question based on years of research on the concept of trust. Here are some of the book’s most significant findings.


Living and providing expert couples therapy in my hometown of Fort Lauderdale, we had a big scare this past weekend when Hurricane Irma threatened to hit us directly as a monster Category 4 storm. At the very last minute however, our beautiful coast was spared and we received minimal damage. As grateful as I am that my home and city were saved, the Florida Keys were not as lucky. They felt a direct hit and are in my thoughts as they regroup and try to find a sense of normalcy once again.


Even for the most well prepared couples, having kids is a life-changing experience. Becoming parents is extremely gratifying, yet comes with a whole set of unpredictable twists and turns along the way. Research from the Gottman Institute on Bringing Baby Home found that the majority of couples (67% in fact) report a drop in relationship satisfaction for up to three years after the birth of a baby. How can couples safeguard their marriage from the challenges of new-parent life? Bringing Baby Home research reveals that couples must accomplish two things in order for their relationship to stay stable and happy:


One of the biggest areas of conflict in relationships revolves around money.

Tough conversations can inevitably arise, as money is an unavoidable topic. When discussing financial topics like budgets, school tuition, house buying or car loans, spouses need to be able to make logical decisions while managing heightened emotions.

I often recommend that couples identify with and understand their own views about money FIRST before trying to find compromise.

Do you know your own money “mindset?” For instance, are you a spender or a saver? Money motivates us differently and starts from within. Spend some time reflecting on the following questions in order to get a better understanding of how you view money.

  1. What did your parents teach you about money growing up?
  2. Was there a shortage of money/funds available to you as a child?
  3. How did your parents discuss finances with each other? Were you involved in the conversation?
  4. ...

Couples therapy gets a bad rap with the alarming number of therapists who claim to be skilled at working with couples, yet do not have the necessary skill-set to do so.

Just as a parent- desperate for an answer to their child’s chronic ear infections- seeks out the leading pediatrician in the field, the same holds true when looking for a marriage counselor. For matters of the heart, people want the very best, and a well-trained therapist who can help them through difficult seasons of marriage is no exception.

There are several important factors to consider when choosing the right therapist for your relationship. First, a couple’s counselor should be trained in the most research-based and highly effective couples therapy modalities. The most highly researched and proven are the Gottman-Method and Emotionally-Focused Therapy.


Some couples have rocky beginnings. Maybe it’s a bad breakup that left you terrified of starting something new, high expectations that turned into quick disappointment or a lie that sets the relationship up for future resentment.

Other couples have it easy right off the bat, but end up going through tough seasons later on. Maybe it’s financial trouble, perpetually heated arguments or mutual feelings of disconnect.

These moments of strain question our sense of comfort, safety and security and leave us feeling helpless, defeated and uncertain about how you’ll make it through.

In her book, Hold Me Tight, Dr. Sue Johnson describes relationships as lovers being poised delicately on a tightrope. When the winds of doubt and fear begin blowing, we go into panic mode. We either hold on tight to each other or turn away to steady ourselves. As we do this, the rope sways more and more, making our balance...


Dr. John Gottman’s world-renowned research on couples satisfaction discovered that couples wait an astounding six years on average to seek outside help from a couple’s counselor after problems arise. By then resentment, bitterness and relationship hostility have crept in and become like a pesky, unwanted houseguest that has taken up permanent residence in the home.

How is it possible that couples sustain unhappiness in their marriage for so long before reaching out? What I have found through couples counseling is that partners participate in a deliberate aloofness, if you will, or what I like to call the “ignorance is bliss” syndrome.

Conflict can evoke such discomfort for people that they will avoid it at all costs. It is so distressing to quarrel with the ones we love that we consciously turn away from the painful disagreements, “pretend” that everything is fine and in turn, lose out on important moments of...


It’s a terrible feeling to be betrayed by the one you love. We tend to believe that only infidelity, affairs and cheating constitue betrayal (and they are), but there are other forms of betrayal and can be equally harmful to a relationship.

Dr. John Gottman, a world-renowned relationship expert quotes a phrase from his book, What Makes Love Last on betrayal: “Betrayal is the secret that lies at the heart of every failing relationship – it is there even if the couple is unaware of it.”

For distressed couples, loss of trust occurs daily and in many forms. These everyday betrayals are the most damaging, as contrary to popular belief; affairs are often the end result of broken trust that has been built up gradually over time.

Partners who experience betrayal start looking behind their backs for their spouse’s to hurt them again. Feeling shut out and alone, they start...


There is blatant physical abuse like hitting, kicking, punching, pushing, and then there’s non-physical abuse (psychological or emotional) that involve emotional manipulation, power and control, threats and financial restraint.

All are extremely toxic and damaging, and emotional and psychological abuse in particular can go unnoticed or overlooked.

Below are five clear signs of abuse that you may not have noticed or been aware of:

  1. When your partner threatens your financial security– You may not be contributing to the household financially, but you’ve taken on other equally important responsibilities like staying home with the kids, keeping the house afloat, taking over the budgeting and finances or making sure the laundry is done and every meal for the family prepped. Sometimes financial dependence may have have resulted from job loss or pay cuts. Either way, committing to a lifetime partnership with your significant other means that you’ve agreed to be equals in different ways. There’s a lot that goes into keeping a family together, and all...
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High hopes of spending quality time with family, staying within budget and building lasting memories are what couples yearn for most around the holidays. But what often occurs instead is heightened conflict, family pressure and emotional letdown.

It’s inevitable that tensions will arise as research from several studies using the Centers of Disease Control found that physical and mental health issues spikes during the holidays than any other time of year. This, coupled with big expectations, leaves couples scrambling to fill a tall order of needs from their significant others.

Amidst the hustle and bustle, the holidays are an important time to create family rituals, reconnect with loved ones and reminisce on the past year all the while looking forward to the New Year.

Here’s 25 foolproof ways to make sure you don’t overlook your relationship over the pending holiday season.



It’s hard to think about couples counseling when you’re engaged, anticipating your wedding and getting excited for a lifetime of love. But the truth is, premarital counseling is a must to help couples get on the same page when it comes to important life decisions such as finances, raising children and creating shared family values. Couples need a foundation of solidarity to safeguard their relationship from future differences of opinion, and couples counseling can help identify opposing viewpoints in order to work through them together.

Premarital counseling covers the most important topics that couples tend to argue about in marriage. Money, parenting and household responsibilities are some of the more difficult ones to encounter as your marriage evolves.

Seeking counseling before the big day is helpful in order to plan ahead for difficult circumstances or life events that can put additional strain on the relationship. When hard times arise, you want to be able to lean on your partner and count on them. Things like death, job loss or difficult extended family members...


Remember the line from the movie “Before Sunrise,” when Ethan Hawke looks at Julie Delpy and says, ‘Isn’t everything we do in life a way to be loved even more?” If you haven’t seen this romantic classic, it’s a whimsical adaptation of two people who ponder the deeper meanings of love in just a few hours time.

The art of enduring passion and romance isn’t something you have or don’t have; it’s the deliberate intention of cultivating the fire that burns deep within two people in love.

According to relationship expert Dr. John Gottman in his GottSex? Research series, the most sexually charged and passionate couples have a direct correlation to feeling deeply connected and possessing a strong sense of friendship.

If we look at intimacy as stemming from everyday interactions a couple does to increase their bond instead of solely resulting from sex-talk between the sheets, we see that Ethan Hawke’s character was on to something.

The pursuit of wanting to be loved during the...


The 2016 Rio Summer Olympics have come to a close (tear) and Michael Phelps became the most decorated Olympian of all time.

When Phelps is interviewed about his training regime, he humbly shares that it’s an everyday battle. That, even to the legendary swimmer, it doesn’t come easy. He says it takes hard work, determination and a commitment to being the best swimmer of all time.

There might be something superhuman in Michael Phelps genes that contributes to his stardom, but as he states, that’s not all it takes to win the most Olympic medals in history.

How can we take some influence from Phelps and work at being an Olympian in marriage? Here’s my best marriage advice to get you striving for Gold!

  1. Marriage isn’t a choice; it’s a lifetime commitment. It has to be a commitment that you make to each other every single day. There can be no “off” days where you feel like you want to give up. Sure, there are days that are less glamorous than others and ones that...

Our knowledge and understanding of relationships originates from childhood and has a lot to say about how we choose our romantic partners.

But what if what we knew to be true about marriage could actually be doing more harm than good? As a marriage counselor for over 10 years who primarily works with couples, I’ve found that there are a lot of myths about what it takes to have a thriving relationship.

Here, I debunk the four most common lies we tell ourselves.

1. Happy couples never fight. Lie! The happiest couples- or what’s termed the masters of relationships- actually do fight and have regular disagreements. The key difference is in HOW they fight. Unhappy couples escalate conflict quickly with a lot of “he said-she said.” They tend to blame, take little to no responsibility for the fight and use harsh words. Happy couples, on the other hand, fight with kindness and love. They...


Do you do this? Because I know I do, and then I seriously have to check myself. You’re scrolling through Instagram and you see a friend post their recent kitchen renovation with all the latest appliances and marble counter tops. Another friend posts smiling photos of themselves and their partner traveling to exotic places in what seems like every other month.

And as you’re scrolling, jealousy and envy begins to set in. You start thinking about the recent argument you had with your spouse or the relationship rut you’ve been feeling lately. You start to compare your relationship to the so-called “happy ones” you see on social media, and notice how vastly different it is from your own.

The battle of comparisons can easily take over and put you in a relationship funk. Feelings of inadequacy seeps in and wreaks havoc on our home life. We can easily pick apart all that’s wrong instead of things we should be grateful for.

Because when you really stop to think about it, you know full well that Instagram, Facebook and Twitter only illuminates a small part of the pie and...


They key to a happy marriage isn’t by wishing that it was like that Romance novel you just read. Instead, it’s by embracing the small, everyday moments of life- or to put it more bluntly- the 10,000 average, mundane Wednesdays you’ll spend together in your lifetime.

Read below for 3 Ways to have a strong marriage that lasts:

An epic friendship.Think about being stuck in an unfamiliar airport in a foreign city with an 8-hr delay. You’re exhausted from you trip so you checked your laptop for some zzz’s on the plane and your cell phone is at 5% battery. Who would you want by your side to pass the time? Your partner should be that person who makes the long, postponed flight more light-hearted, fun and a chance to make a potentially bad experience one of your highlight memories. An epic friendship with your partner entails:

  • Good banter back and forth. Ease of conversation and a relatively similar sense of humor are key.
  • Fun. You’ll want a partner who can make moments of stress more lighthearted and who genuinely makes you...

I say it over and over again. Marriage doesn’t come easy. Even for the happiest of couples, it is a constant, everyday effort to make your relationship fulfilling and full of love.

For the most part, you have the power to make your relationship thrive or flounder. Making intentional choices to better your marriage is essential for keeping your friendship alive and the passion burning.

Here’s 10 foolproof ways to be more loving towards your spouse.

  • Forgive everyday– There will be many moments when you feel hurt or disappointed by your significant other. Harboring bitterness or resentment only fuels the fire and increases your likelihood of hostility and lingering anger. Try to remember that keeping those negative emotions pumping through your veins is a defense against feeling broken and hopeless. Forgiveness allows you the opportunity to work through the pain. We are not perfect, nor are our spouses. Forgive their actions and start fresh.
  • Give a compliment– we often have great things to say about the ones we love but we keep...

The transition from being a couple to becoming new parents might seem like a walk in the park, but 67% of couples report dissatisfaction, increased hostility and a decline in intimacy for up to two years after their baby is born. While most expecting couples are preparing for the baby’s needs, they often don’t think about how their new bundle of joy will impact their relationship.

As a Bringing Baby Home Educator and workshop presenter for the Bringing Baby Home program, I help couples learn how to manage the transition to parenthood with ease. They learn how to strengthen their relationship, keep intimacy intact and handle conflict effectively. Research from the Bringing Baby Home workshop also shows that it reduces the rate of postpartum mood disorders.

Now that you know the challenges associated with having a new baby, are you ready to be the best co-parenting team possible? Here are 7 easy to use tips on how to keep your relationship thriving as you transition to...

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Couples often have the same complaint. “When things are good, we’re great. But when we argue, we can never seem to fight fair. It becomes downright nasty and that just isn’t us.

Sound familiar to you?

Successful and loving couples do one thing differently to couples that are struggling. They don’t just keep their manners in check when they’re getting along; they know how to be polite to one another during times of conflict as well. This is a critical difference and one that has lasting effects.

Don’t feel doomed if you’re the couple who drudges up the past, quips back in anger and lashes out in hostility. If you know what to look out for, you’ll be on your way to having healthy conflict management in no time. Marriage researcher John Gottman calls the four most destructive relationship patterns the four horseman of the apocalypse

  1. Defensiveness– Have you ever tried to raise an issue with your partner calmly...

Technology is booming, material demands are higher than ever and our lives are busier than we ever thought possible. And as more and more grown-ups find the pulse of life overwhelming, our kids are feeling the effects too.

It’s now more important than ever to raise grounded children in this chaotic, fast paced world. As a Bringing Baby Home Educator, I equip parents on how to build their child’s confidence in order to handle life’s ups and downs with ease.

Research shows that more than IQ, emotional intelligence, or the ability to manage feelings, determines how successful your child is at life. If you want to raise kids who are independent and self-assured, you need to be able to practice emotion coaching.

Emotion coaching is the opposite of emotion dismissing. We often say the following: “Stop crying. It’s not that bad.” “You shouldn’t be upset. It’s not the end of the world.” “If you yell and scream one more time, mommy/daddy will put...


Fighting with the one you love royally sucks; even if it feels justified. In moments of anger, we often lose sight of the underlying feelings behind the rage; feelings of hurt, sadness, pain and betrayal. In an effort to hide the vulnerable emotions underneath, we lash out, attack and defend ourselves. Not surprisingly, our significant other is quickly thrown off guard, becomes disoriented and perceives the negativity as a long list of impossible, impractical and unreasonable demands that can’t be met. They fight back and after the blow-up with no resolution and both partners upset, the whole fight seems crummy and like a big waste of time.

According to couples expert John Gottman, one predictor of relationship quality and stability is a couple’s physiology when discussing a conflict. Heart rate, tension and cortisol levels spike in times of high distress and creates a feeling of intense overwhelm and discomfort. The physiological changes that we go through make it much harder to problem solve, empathize and find resolution. In this state, we can’t listen well and finding...


If you’ve ever watched the iconic TV show with James Lipton called Inside the Actor’s Studio, you know all too well the notorious question he asks during each interview:

“What’s your favorite word?”

I used to wonder what MY answer would be to this question if I were being interviewed on his show (a gal can dream, right?). Well, after some deep reflection, I think I’ve finally found it.

You see, I coach couples regularly on how to reignite their relationships for greater love, connection, and fulfillment. And the number one insight I offer is so simple, yet incredibly effective:

In every intimate relationship, empathy is the key to relationship success.

Showing your significant other that you have...


When you take a trip down memory lane and think back to how you and your parter fell in love, do you remember it lovingly? Or is your love story clouded in a negative light?

Memories are not static- they paint the way for an ever-evolving narrative based on past and current life events and circumstances.

If your relationship has added up to more negative moments than blissful ones, there’s a reason why your love story doesn’t sound so romantic anymore. According to marriage researcher John Gottman, when couples misunderstand each other often, fight more than they get along and lose respect for one another, these events leave a negative imprint that paves the way for a gloomy and pessimistic outlook of the relationship overall. And not only are current circumstances unfavorable, but the tale of how you fell in love is no longer seen as affectionate but marred with regret and cynicism. “He only asked me to marry him because I was pressuring him to,” or “Looking back, she was always on my case. I don’t know how we got this far to be honest. We should have known we...


No one wants to feel like their relationship is a cliche. Couples want to stand out and feel truly unique, original and authentic. Rituals of connection help establish a true sense of distinction and meaning in our romantic relationships.

These everyday traditions, special occasions and momentous celebrations that we create together defines who we are as a family and gives us a deep sense of connection and meaning. Without these everyday nuances, couples have nothing to latch on to in order to feel significant.

Can you identify at least 10 rituals within your relationship? Use these questions from The Gottman Institute as your guide.

  • How do we, or should we, eat together at dinner?
  • How should we part at the beginning of each day?
  • How should bedtime be?
  • What is the meaning of weekends?
  • What are our rituals about vacations?
  • Pick a meaningful holiday. How should this holiday be celebrated?
  • How do we each get refreshed and renewed?
  • What rituals do we have when someone is sick?
  • How do we celebrate...

As a marriage and couples counselor, I’m often asked for the magic cure or secret remedy that makes relationships last. And even though I can’t give just one specific solution to ensure relationship harmony, I do know a thing or two about what works for the happiest and most successful couples.

Here are the 5 most influential insights I’ve learned from over 10 years as a Marriage and Family therapist.

  • Couples Who Wait Too Long to Seek Help Tend to Fare the Worst. Research has identified that on average, couples wait 7 years after problems arise before getting help. From my experience as a relationship counselor, those who use counseling as a “last ditch effort” tend to have already checked out of the relationship. They’ve got their exit strategy in place and feel lighter already at the prospect of getting out. Relationship therapy has the most significant and positive results when couples reach out as soon as they sense trouble brewing. Unlike those individuals...

Chrissy Teigen’s been getting a lot of criticism in the news lately for going out on the town with her husband, John Legend just nine days after the birth of her baby girl. Her fans were quick to take to social media expressing their distaste that she chose to leave her newborn daughter so soon.

But the reality is, Chrissy was doing her daughter, Luna a favor. Research has consistently shown that parents who periodically take time away from their children and parenting responsibilities to foster the relationship have better success at co-parenting and remaining closely connected when a new baby arrives. In fact, Chrissy Teigen was beating the 67% majority of couples that report a dramatic decline in relationship satisfaction for up to three years after the birth of a baby.

Likewise, there...


With summer fast approaching, everybody’s feeling the heat. Longer days and sweaty nights makes for more leisure time and a little less clothing. Why not take advantage of the freedom and steam things up with 8 of my favorite local activities to do with your loved when the weather is warm.

  1. Take a late night stroll through the neighborhood. Get out of the air conditioning and away from the TV and get some fresh air. There’s something about being outside when it’s warm that instantly brightens the mood. Bring some conversation starters with you, or just gab about what you come may come across on your stroll.
  2. Have an outdoor picnic and listen to some live music. Grab your favorite beverage and outdoor snack and sit underneath the stars while enjoying some local favorites.
  3. Save your appetite for a night of food trucks. Food trucks are still the...

Couples who report sustained friendship and satisfaction with their significant others make an effort to stay on top of their partner’s “love maps.” Love maps are the little things about your partner’s life that you keep stored in your memory. Things like your partner’s all-time favorite meal, or what they like to do for fun, any upcoming work projects that might be stressful or their deepest insecurities about being a good parent. These leave a lasting imprint and are used to fuel the relationship for the better.

When you know your partner’s inner world, you can use their love maps to the relationship’s advantage by providing support in times of worry, making them feel special when they need it the most and acknowledging the importance of their fears and aspirations. But it’s not just about knowing your partner’s love maps that makes a different. It’s taking action and using them to gain a more intimate connection and long-lasting friendship.

As individuals, We evolve and change over time. Who we are today is not who we were five years ago. We adjust our perspectives...


The “Black Mamba” (aka Kobe Bryant) finished his final season of his career yesterday and EVERYONE is talking about it. He went out in style, and hats off to an amazingly talented superstar.

But do you know who else is a hero at what they do? Moms, that’s who. I’m going on year two of being a mom to my sweet little boy, Oliver. And I have to tell you that Mother’s Day means so much more to me now than it ever has before. Sure, I spoiled my mom rotten most years, and boy did she deserve it. But the past two years have really made me stop and reflect on all the sleep deprivation, grey hair accumulation, back-breaking, baby-wearing journey of motherhood. And as I’m sure every mother can relate, I wouldn’t trade the hard work for anything in the world.

Last year I was spoiled rotten, and it was the one-day (for me, at least) that I felt like I DESERVED to be. I earned MY day. So if you have a special lady in your life that you call mom, don’t let the big day pass you by. In case you didn’t know, May 8th is Mother’s Day ya’ll, and here’s 10 awesome gift ideas that’s sure...


With a saturated market and billions spent on pornography each year, I thought it was important to dedicate some time to the effects that pornography has on a couples’ relationship.

As a marriage counselor, I often get asked, “Is porn ok if we’re watching it together?” “Can we use it to spice things up in our relationship?” “What about watching porn on our own? Will that harm the relationship in any way?”

I have a very strong view on the topic, and the below letter by John Gottman perfectly sums up the effects that pornography has on relationships.

But first, here are some scary facts:

Every second 28,258 users are watching pornography on the internet

  • Every second $3,075.64 is being spent on pornography on the internet
  • 40 million American people regularly visit porn sites
  • 35% of all internet downloads are related to pornography
  • 25% of all search engine queries are related to pornography, or about 68 million search queries a day
  • One third of porn viewers are women
  • Search engines get 116,000 queries every...

Have you been feeling disconnected from your partner lately? Unfulfilled in your relationship? Lackluster about wanting to spend any quality time with your significant other?

If you’ve answered “yes” to any of the above, then you might be in an all too common “relationship rut.”

Truth be told, we all go through periods of disconnect at times, but if these feelings persist for weeks and months on end, it’s time to do some serious relationship inventory and make significant changes as soon as possible.

Don’t be afraid to tell your partner how you feel. He or she may be feeling the same way or feel relieved to hear your honest confession. Now it’s time to let the brainstorming begin and find ways to tackle the problem together.

There are just a few tweaks needed in order to turn things around quickly and effectively. Start utilizing these today and you’ll immediately see a big difference in your relationship.

  1. Be Intentional. It would be easy to miss the signs and continue doing things for your own personal benefit. For example, filling your...

Dating your significant other should never take a back seat. It’s how you connect, stay friends and foster intimacy. When you don’t date one another, you become two distant roommates that can’t seem to stop fighting over who should’ve replaced the last toilet paper roll. Here’s 21 creative ideas that range from little time and money to grand gestures with lots of planning. Whatever fits your style, budget and availability, there’s something here for every couple. So no excuses.

Here’s everything you need for a fun, creative date night delivered right to your front door.

  1. Play a board game, chess or try this fun couples game
  2. A Night of Nostalgia. Revisit your wedding day by looking through pictures and videos of your special day.
  3. Take a stroll and hold hands.
  4. Cook dinner together. Choose an old family recipe and create it together.
  5. Dinner and a movie in. Rent your favorite movie and order Chinese. Cuddle together while watching.
  6. Play dress up. Pretend you’re strangers, dress accordingly and meet at an agreed upon location....

Poor communication habits are one of the most difficult relationship problems to overcome. The result is feeling lost, hopeless and misunderstood. These emotions, when felt often, have significant damage to a couple’s relationship.

Listening, understanding and empathy get thrown out the window somewhere along the way, and what you’re left with is a lot of blaming, defensiveness, lack of support and general disregard for the other person’s feelings.

And the thing is, we NEED to communicate with our significant other. It allows bills to be paid, family obligations to be met and daily lives to function well. Without it, we’re ineffective in our relationships, and in life.

There’s a proven and effective way to put the breaks on unhealthy fighting, however. It takes some practice, but by following the outlined 5-step communication strategy, you’ll be on your way to better problem solving in no time.

Step 1: Identify who will be the listener and who will be the speaker. The role of the listener is JUST to listen. No butting in, no jumping to solutions and no...


Have you been feeling like the only one parenting the kids lately? Are you at odds with each other over childcare responsibilities? Do you sometimes feel like you’re not only parenting your children, but your spouse too?

If you’ve answered yes to any of the above, you may not be on the same team with your spouse, which makes parenting that much more difficult and taxing. It’s not easy juggling work, household responsibilities and kids. The combined stress can make any couple feel on edge, and the last thing you want to be doing at the end of the day is battling with your significant other too.

With a little intention and patience, you can begin to work together instead of apart. Here’s five ways to effectively tackle life…and kids TOGETHER.

  1. Have a plan for the week ahead. Sit down together on Sunday night and map out the week ahead. Include work events, extra-curricular activities, meal plans and even family downtime. Be as detailed as possible. Once you can visually see what’s up ahead, you can identify areas that need both of you involved. Divvy up...

Hands down, motherhood is the most challenging, exhausting, frustratingly beautiful experience you will ever have. I know, because I’m a mom. My 14-month-old son is my pride and joy. He is my biggest accomplishment, my most important life’s work and my greatest heartache all at the same time. Stick with me, and I’ll tell you why.

Oliver is what you would call my “spirited” child. He’s strong-willed, stubborn and set in his ways (I’ve read studies where these traits are linked to future braniacs and geniuses…just sayin…wink). But in all seriousness, Oliver has been a handful from the very beginning. From poor sleep habits and chronic ear infections to allergies and frequent colds, let’s just say it hasn’t been a walk in the park. There have been more days than I’d like to admit where I felt tapped out, at my wits end and completely overwhelmed by being his mom, and it took me a very long time to say it out loud.

Before I go further into the challenges though, I want to point out all of the reasons why I’m proud to be his mom. First of all, he’s lovable, extremely...


When betrayal happens in a relationship, it hits you like tiny daggers piercing through every part of your skin. It leaves you in a state of fear, hurt and despair. You begin to wonder if you’ll ever be able to heal from the pain.

Betrayal occurs in many forms. From infidelity, mishandling of finances and deception to lying, hurtful accusations and not keeping your word. All are painful and leave a lasting imprint on our relationship.

There are ways to heal from betrayal, however. As a skilled couples therapist in Fort Lauderdale, I work with couples suffering from the utmost betrayal and get them to a place of recovery. With a little bit of hope and desire to work things through, I see countless couples repair relationships, find forgiveness and heal.

If you feel betrayed by your partner, learning the necessary road to recovery helps shed some light and give you hope that you can overcome and get past the suffering.

The first step is to calmly explain why you feel betrayed by your partner so that they can be receptive to your feelings. Try not to...


Marriage has its ups and downs. For most, our hope is that we have many more happy and glorious moments with our spouse than negative ones. In fact, we make this vow on our wedding day- to love and cherish, through the good times…and bad.

Being married is pretty awesome. You get to share life with your very best friend. A travel buddy to share vacations and holidays with. A confidant who will support and uplift your innermost hopes and dreams. And the everyday moments make it that much more winning. You get to deliberate and analyze your favorite TV shows together; every meal is filled with good company and you’re able to always have someone to vent to.

But there is a dark side to marriage that happens to many couples. For some, it comes on gradually. For others, it hits you like a ton of bricks.

Time has an interesting way of healing us from hurtful experiences, past trauma and bad relationships. With that said, time can also do significant damage to our current circumstances and relationships. If we’re not careful, in time all of those wonderful moments about...


In honor of the Bringing Baby Home workshop that I facilitated this past weekend here in South Florida (don’t fret if you missed it and are planning to have a baby, expecting or just recently became new parents…there will be another one coming soon so check for more details), I wanted to share some important points that we discussed that most parents tend fall pitfall to when kids arrive.

I think many of us desire to have a strong and healthy relationship with our spouse while also developing a healthy parenting relationship with our children. Unfortunately, many parents believe that this is an either/or situation. I am close to my partner OR my child. Research shows that this is not true. When parents have a good, satisfying relationship, their children have the foundation for positive emotional and social development. This means that both the couple’s relationship and the parent-child relationships thrive.

So how can you keep your relationship in tact after baby? Here’s a few tips to follow:

1. Daily check-ins

Don’t forget about...


A couple came in to see me the other day and said outright, “We’re in such a negative place right now. We know we love each other, but lately we’ve been feeling like we don’t particularly like each other.”

Building an air of negativity in your relationship is more common than you think. Most couples go through periods of emotional disconnect, often with thoughts of hopelessness and despair. They feel alone and have fears that they won’t be able to dig themselves out of their rut and be happy again.

What I often suggest to couples that are having a pessimistic view of their relationship is to shift their perspective; be more positive and optimistic. I urge couples to scan their home life and relationships for things that are working well; essentially “catch” your partner doing things right instead of everything wrong.

This small shift in thinking adds up, and day-by-day the mental habits you’ve created and fostered pay off. You start looking for opportunities to express appreciation and gratitude instead of negativity and discontent. You begin to cultivate an...


I remember being pregnant with my son and making my husband and I both promise that we would never raise our voices in front of our baby. I wanted to protect him from our fights as much as possible, as I remember all too well my parents’ blow-ups in front of me and my siblings. I didn’t know it at the time, but it was uncomfortable, anxiety provoking and downright ugly to be around. I was desperate to make things different for my son. Fast-forward to those tough times of dealing with a new baby, and my husband and I definitely made a mistake or two (maybe even three or four).

As a Bringing Baby Home Educator, I work with new parents in Fort Lauderdale who have had one too many slip of the tongues with one another in front of their children. They tell me they feel bad, guilty and defeated as parents. They come looking for help to curb their actions and find new ways of dealing with conflict in front of the kids.

If you’ve come from families where arguing in public was an everyday occurrence, you might be thinking, “I turned out fine. What’s the big deal?” But the truth...


Life is fast-paced and constantly changing. Most days, we’re just trying to stay afloat and ride the waves of life instead of crashing recklessly to the shore. Add kids, family commitments and extracurricular activities to the mix and you’re just scratching the surface on how to manage it all.

With life as busy and hectic as ever, it’s no wonder that often times our work, personal life and most intimate relationships are affected.

I hear from couples often that grumble, “We really need help, but our schedules are conflicting. We can barely make time for each other, much less come in for a therapy session.” I completely understand that predicament, which is why I offer convenient, fast and effective remote therapy services in Fort Lauderdale for busy lifestyles. There is hope that you can still get the benefits of improving your current circumstances without the hassle of physically going to see a therapist.

Using a secure, online therapy platform, I connect with my clients from virtually anywhere. Whether you’re in the comfort of your own home, rushing from one...


So it’s the New Year, and if you’re like most of us, then you’ve probably made a resolution to step it into high gear and lose all of that extra weight gained over the holidays. Don’t feel guilty; I’m sure the extra pounds were well worth it.

If you’re trying to decide which gym to join or what workout to begin, don’t forget to include your other half. Exercising not only improves your mood and mental outlook, it has especially lasting results for couples who do it together.

Below, find 3 bonuses that working out brings to your relationship:

1. When you work out in pairs, endorphins are released which triggers a flurry of positive vibes; not just about yourself but about your partner and overall relationship. You begin a ritual of “high fives” and “good jobs,” while creating a unique dialogue about the event at hand. By incorporating these two acts into your relationship, you unite on a deeper level and become more connected.

2. You add a layer of support that serves only to sustain your relationship over time. Whether you...


Old habits are hard to break, especially when they creep into your relationship. It’s bad enough to acquire negative patterns in our own lives, much less bring additional unhealthy ones into the lives of the ones we love. If you’re looking to rid your relationship of destructive tendencies and make 2016 your best marriage yet, try ditching these 5 habits that are detrimental to your relationship.

1. Leave the cell phone at the door. Your bedroom is your sanctuary and should be your couples haven too. Don’t let Candy Crush and Facebook distractions keep you away from using this time to connect with your loved one. Share your day’s events, read a news article together or just make love. Your bedroom is your private space to reconnect, so use it wisely.

2. Turn the TV off at least 3 nights out of the week. Television isn’t ALL bad. It can be a great connector when enjoying it with the one you love. That’s why I recommend turning it off for ONLY three nights out of the week. Use the non-TV time to play cards, chat over a glass of wine or read a book. Doing something...


If you’re a new or expectant parent, you’re probably relishing in all of the joys, excitements and memories your new baby will bring. You’re also probably fretting over the changes and challenges that will occur from your little bundle of joy too.

No one prepares us for the relationship struggles that happen after a baby arrives. We don’t realize how taxing sleep-deprivation, uncertain parenting roles, money worries and everyday stressors can be on our marriage. You soon realize that your precious arrival has set off a cascade of problems between you and your spouse than you ever knew possible.

If you’re worried about how your newborn baby will impact your relationship or if you’re currently suffering, know that you are not alone. Marriage research shows that 67% of couples report a significant decline in marital satisfaction after the birth of a baby. So how can you and your partner be more like other the thirty-seven percent of “marriage over-achievers?”

Here are 5 research-proven strategies that will significantly improve your marriage after the birth of a...


Have you ever been in a fight with your loved one and said things you didn’t mean? I know I have. It feels right to say how you feel in the moment, but feelings are fickle and can wear off quickly. After the dust settles and the damage is done, you end up realizing that many of what you felt was said in haste, and oh, how you wish you could take it all back.

For those of us who can be hot-tempered and quick to react, those anger management techniques that we’ve tried over and over again just don’t seem to work in the heat of the moment.

When you become physiologically aroused from anger, the anger triggers adrenaline, releases cortisol (your stress hormone) in your body and works on overdrive to tap into your flight or fight response. Your prefrontal cortex (the decision-making, rationalizing and reasoning part of the brain) shuts down and is incapable of functioning properly. All of this happens within seconds of the external trigger, which set off the anger.

When understood this way, the ability to use all of those anger regulating strategies that have been...

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Marriage is a beautiful journey, yet sometimes has its setbacks. If you’re feeling like your marriage needs a serious reboot, check out these 5 secrets to getting your marriage back on track and thriving right away.


I was working with a client recently who asked me what I thought about “spouse bashing” and the effects it had on relationships. I thought this was a great question, and as I pondered the notion of male/female “gripe sessions,” I began to wonder how helpful, or hurtful, they could be. On one hand, I support the need to vent and receive additional support, but on the other hand, I thought about perception and how our views significantly affect the way we operate in the world. Here’s my take on the do’s and don’ts of marriage grievances.

DO have a community of support- outside of your relationship- where you can brainstorm, talk through and come to terms with common, marital growing pains.

DON’T discuss things about your relationship that you would be embarrassed, nervous or scared about if your spouse found out.

DO talk to your husband about issues that may be weighing you down, and get his approval if you need to lament to a friend.

DON’T speak out of anger, exaggerate the facts, or use words that would threaten to harm the union of your...


The Oxford Dictionary’s word of the year for 2013 is the “selfie.” A “selfie” is defined as a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam, and uploaded to a social media website. While the poses itself seem fairly harmless, albeit slightly annoying and unflattering, the premise behind the selfie puts our world at, yet again, another human disconnect. Below are some reasons why the concept of the selfie is so harmful to us and our relationships, and three ways to turn the selfie into WE-fie.

Let’s discuss for a moment, how unattractive it is to meet someone who presents as selfish, internally motivated and living with little regard for other people. We despise these characteristics in others, right? Imagine being in a relationship or married to someone with this worldview. If we continue to operate as a culture who is internally motivated and out for ourselves- constantly thinking and acting in a sea of “selfies”- then we begin to alienate others, miss out on fond memories created amongst friends and family and destroy our...