How to Save a Marriage

How do you save a marriage? That’s a heavy question but an answerable one.

Is your relationship going up in flames, flatlined?

There is still hope if you and your spouse don’t want to give up. New houses are built on top of the charred ground every day. Flatlined people come back to life with a new, fresh and hope-filled perspective on life.

Every day in all walks of life, things literally come back from the dead and marriages are one of those things.

Here are some quick emergency tips if your relationship has reached a tipping point.

Do Damage Control

A relationship that’s near death, is sustaining a lot of damage and fast.

Everyone starts jumping on the destruction bandwagon. It’s even common for family, friends and co-workers to join in. These people feel your hurt and want to protect you so they may tell you to ditch that “loser” otherwise known as your spouse.

The problem is, you may not be convinced this is the right choice. After all, you realize you’re being a jerk, too.

Ever hear the saying, “hurting people hurt people”?

Well, you’re living proof of that. So is your spouse.

You and your spouse are beating the crap out of each other—if not physically, at least emotionally.

You have to break the damage cycle no matter how much you want to hit back.


You have to and quick.

If you don’t, your marriage simply won’t survive.

If you feel your relationship is worth keeping, apologize and say something nice even if it feels hokey at first.

Get that snowball rolling in a positive direction instead of the opposite.

If you’re in a relationship with someone other than your spouse, that relationship needs to end immediately.

Distance yourself (at least for a while) from those who tell you to throw in the towel. Surround yourself with people committed to the restoration and success of your marriage.

After Damage Control, Start Rebuilding

It took two to tear things down and it’ll take two to rebuild.

Don’t be disillusioned into thinking this process will be quick and easy.

It won’t.

But also don’t believe for a minute that the hard work won’t be worth it.

It most certainly will.

Yes, it’s way easier to destroy a relationship than rebuild one, but it’s possible for things to get better in many cases. And the result can be a relationship that’s stronger than ever before.

If you’re both committed to making things better, you can begin the healing path together.

Set safeguards on internet and phone usage to regain trust if that’s needed.

Set goals together. Find a trusted professional to help you come up with a plan and stick to it. Don’t get discouraged if the process seems slow. Schedule time to do things together.

Just focus on small victories. Over time, those small victories will turn into big ones.

If you knew that someone you loved was stuck in a burning house and needed help, would you have the courage to rescue them?

That someone who needs to be rescued is your spouse. They need to be rescued from their own destructive tendencies and so do you.

That sounds like a good team.

Don’t you think?

If it is time for you to schedule your couples counseling appointment online using our online scheduling tool, call us at (949) 220-3211, or text us.

What Your Mate Needs From You

What do we fixate on most in our relationships? The exact opposite of this title.

If we were honest, we’d admit that, much of the time, we think, “What I need from my mate” as most important to us.

But the surest way to get what you need in a relationship is to give your mate what they need. What you need will naturally flow back to you in that case.

Does this mean we should do unselfish things with selfish motives? No. Instead, it highlights how important it is to take care of our mate.

Here are a few quick tips to keep in mind as you do just that.

Listen Without Judgment

Everywhere you turn there is criticism. A lot of the criticism is true. We all have problems and shortcomings after all. But consistent criticism and judgmental tendencies from others cause people to shut down.

As a result, most people find it difficult to be honest with others. What if those we thought were trustworthy use what we tell them as ammunition against us instead of understanding better where we’re coming from?

In your relationship, your mate needs the ability to share about the messy details of their lives. They need the ability to do so without attacks and judgment.

This is crucial because attacks and judgment are everywhere. Your mate requires a safe place to share their thoughts, process shortcomings, admit fears and talk about their dreams.

This must happen without someone stepping on their thoughts and feelings and driving them into the ground.

The best thing to do is let your mate vent and share their feelings and emotions without you initially evaluating whether they are correct. Do your best to refrain from getting angry if something is said that upsets you.

If you quickly interject disagreement with how your mate processes life right away, they’ll be less inclined to be open with you in the future.

Your mate needs the ability to express their feelings and get them out. If you’re patient, you’ll be invited to offer advice or input at the right time.

The proper time to offer advice almost never means doing so in knee-jerk fashion.

Wait and then wait some more as you stay attentive. Doing so will strengthen your relationship, increase transparency and, as a result, build trust.

Your Mate Needs a Friend

Your mate needs a friend that will be there for them no matter what.

You and your mate require other friends besides the two of you. But your mate should be your best friend.

Will you get warm and fuzzy feelings every time you’re in the room together? No.

Will you constantly feel romantic thoughts towards each other? No. That will come and go.

But what you need is a fellow life journeyer who will never leave you. Who takes on the resolve to get through life together with you in the good circumstances and the bad.

Your mate needs someone who makes them a better person. That doesn’t always mean happiness. But it means something even better than happiness: purpose.

It means that, together, you work to make the world better than you found it. It means that you leave a lasting contribution that makes a positive difference.

That is where the deepest and most satisfying form of happiness can be found! Schedule your appointment online using our online scheduling tool, call us at (949) 220-3211, or text us.

3 Ways to Stop Settling for Less Than You Deserve

This subject can be a bit tricky. Taken to one extreme, we can become spoiled, privileged-thinking people that only care about our own needs.

Taken to the other extreme, we can feel like it’s bad to aim for good, meaningful and healthy things in life.

How about we cut to the chase and explore the balance between those two sides.

Non-Abusive Relationships

Let’s be up front, no one deserves that. In every single relationship, both parties hurt the other. Unfortunately, it’s bound to happen even when we make great strides at improvement.

But what is one to do when there becomes an ongoing pattern of physical, emotional or verbal abuse? “Business as usual” is not a realistic option—no one deserves to be treated like that.

Finding a competent, caring professional to help work through this can be beneficial. There are also times, for the safety of a spouse, children or both that temporary or permanent separation is the best option.

If you’re in an abusive relationship, get help as soon as possible. No one deserves that, not even your dog. You deserve love and affection—everyone does.

Follow Your Heart

When you come up to the end of your life, others aren’t going to experience your regrets. You’re the only one who will vividly feel those.

Oh, there are so many people ready to assign you to a box, though. They say, “This is who you are, this is all you’ll ever be.”

But you have your suspicions and for good reason. You don’t fit into their carefully crafted compartments. You have creative abilities and talents that must find healthy expression.

There is no one in the world like you. Act like it! Be different!

The world doesn’t need more conformists. What it most desperately needs is for you to be you—to follow your heart.

Ignore the current of conformity. Blaze your own path. And never apologize for it.

Of course, there will be naysayers along the way. But there will be those even if you conform. So, don’t bother being like everyone else. How drab that would be!

You deserve better. Painfully pick through the rubble of life to unearth the reason you were born. And once you find out, never let go of your dreams, your heart.

Everyone has dreams they must listen to and follow. Everyone deserves to follow their hearts.

Be Loved For Who You Are

Let’s wrap things up with a reminder that you deserve to be loved for who you are. Being asked to change who you fundamentally are to be deemed “lovable” is not fair practice.

If there’s something you know you need to change, then you owe it to yourself to get better. If it’s something you can’t or shouldn’t change, then don’t.

Everyone deserves to be loved for who they are, not for what others think they should be! Schedule your appointment online using our online scheduling tool, call us at (949) 220-3211, or text us.

Agree to Disagree

The other kindred saying to this title is “pick your battles.”

Imagine a nation that went to war over every petty provocation. That would be disastrous, wouldn’t it? And plenty of innocent people would get badly hurt in the process.

No one would deny there are times when a hard stance should be taken. But pushed too far, key relationships dissolve. Children become bitter towards their parents. Parents towards their children. Friends stop getting together.

There are certain things worth fighting for. Still, battle points often need to be dropped, axes buried and good will must prevail though complete understanding of the other side may not.

Is it time to agree to disagree? It could be. Here are some things to think about as you strive for an answer.

So Incredibly Different

It’s remarkable how differently people think and act. Even within the same family, members often shake their heads during tense times. How are such varied viewpoints possible within a close-knit group?

Step outside of your family and bring in different ages, races, nations, genders, childhoods and life experiences and things get way more interesting.

The first thing to remember is that this world is incredibly diverse and that isn’t about to change anytime soon. There’s no way everyone will ever fall in line and start thinking and acting exactly like we do.

Anyone who’s about to embark on a crusade to get others to think like they do at all costs is in for disappointment. Not to mention, a life strewn with wreckage of broken relationships.

Deciding on the Cost

Here’s a quick way to decide on whether to agree to disagree or to hold your ground. Picture a scale in your mind with a place to set something on two opposing sides. You can even draw a picture of this scale.

On one side, mentally place or write down the costs of dropping the conflict. On the other side, write down the cost of not giving in. After you’ve taken a close look at your results, decide on what to do.

Whichever side will cost you and others the most is generally the one you’ll want to avoid.

Most of the time, the necessary or best choice is to agree to disagree. Yet, there are times when this isn’t the best option.

We all tend to be biased toward our own preconceived ideas. Include a trusted friend into deciding what is best. This will help to bring in a more objective opinion.

In conclusion, agreeing to disagree, when done properly, is a huge way of showing you care. It’s a bold though friendly way of saying that you value a person’s friendship more than being right or pushing your own agenda. Schedule your appointment online using our online scheduling tool, call us at (949) 220-3211, or text us.

Building the Bond in Your Relationship

Ever have a job around the house that required a repair? Perhaps, you finally decided that glue was your best bet to make the fix. However, you knew that it would take a better-than-average adhesive.

A glue stick that little kids use for crafts wasn’t going to cut it. You pulled out both guns and got the stuff you don’t want to get on your fingers. The last thing you wanted was for that glue to fail at the most inconvenient moment.

Did you know that there’s a major parallel to that analogy and relationships? A general gluing rule is that the stronger the materials you’re working with, the more powerful your glue must be. It shouldn’t surprise you then, that developing and applying “glue” in relationships requires a much stronger bond than anyone can create in a laboratory.

This involves applying the right glue but it also means that you must work hard to make sure that nothing eats away at the glue you already established.

What’s the best glue to apply? Every person is different so finding a custom-glue solution that’s best for your relationship will take some time and effort to figure out.

In our culture, we’re often over-focused on the physical aspect of a relationship. That’s an essential element but focusing only on the physical will not create a strong enough bond to keep you together over the long haul. Here are some quick ideas, though, since some of the major ingredients of relationship glue are universal.

Laugh Together

You’ve heard it more than once. “I was attracted to him or her because they made me laugh.” In effect, they were saying that it felt good to be around that person and they wanted to keep feeling good which meant spending more time with them.


Our world is flooded with talkers. It’s in short supply of listeners, though. If you learn to listen to your significant other, you’ll place yourself in a unique category and strengthen your bond.

Just a quick warning before you start, sincere listening is likely one of the most difficult things that you’ll ever do. Still, it’s completely possible and worth it.

Tough Times Together

Seriously? Absolutely. If you were ever on a sports team, you likely built some great friendships. That’s because you and your teammates worked hard together to overcome adversity. If you go through a tough time together and stick with each other anyway, you’ll develop staying power and a new, bonding respect for each other.

There are plenty of other ways to build the bond in your relationship. The more you work at it, the more successful you’ll become. In time, you’ll develop a relationship that can withstand any challenge that comes your way! Let us help. Schedule your appointment online using our online scheduling tool, call us at (949) 220-3211, or text us.

How to Live a Happy and Satisfying Life

Everyone desires to be happy and to lead a satisfying life. It could even be argued that every decision that we make is done with the attempt to be happy. Although this may be the case, one thing’s for sure. Not everyone is happy or fulfilled. So how can you lead a happy and fulfilled life? That’s a question that people have asked since the dawn of time. Here are few ideas to help you get there.

Positive Perspective

The most unbearable aspect of bad things that we go through is often our perspective. Perhaps trust was breached in a relationship, you lost your job or you have an ongoing health problem. It’s easy to believe that negative life circumstances can make you unhappy. The reality is that bad circumstances can throw you on your head for a while. It is even natural to experience some sadness, but that’s not where you need to stay.

A positive or negative attitude will determine the rest. A negative attitude can injure you long after a painful life problem occurs. Negative self-talk, internally putting yourself down and bitterness will eat away at you. In contrast, a positive attitude will speak tenderly to you, heal your pain and lead to a smile.

A perfect life isn’t a prerequisite for a happy life. If that was the case, no one could be happy. Even if you only had one small negative aspect to your entire life, if you focused on that one thing, you would become miserable.

Conversely, if your life was full of mostly trouble but you focused on the good, you could become happy. Although it’s often difficult to believe at first, unhappy circumstances in your life are not the greatest barrier to you becoming happy. It is your attitude about those unpleasant problems.

Delayed Gratification

Here’s something crazy to think about. Do you realize that the surest way to be unhappy is to attempt to be happy now at all costs? Imagine what your life would be like if you only thought about making yourself happy for the moment.

For example, if you thought that eating pizza was the chief means by which you could be happy, what would happen? You could wind up very overweight, rack up large dining expenses, experience high blood pressure and lower your life expectancy.

One of the reasons we struggle so much to find happiness is that we often reach for what we think will fulfill us now instead of keeping long-term happiness in mind. This could be seen in someone who quits a job after a bad day even though the job was a good fit for them. Sometimes people seek out romantic happiness at the expense of a committed relationship. True happiness is much more than what we think will make us happy now. A truly fulfilling and happy life means aiming for long-term goals that will make us happy, too.

Wrapping It Up

Another quick way to boost your happiness is to seek the happiness of others. This could mean helping someone out who is struggling financially, offering a sincere compliment, refraining from anger with your child or staying committed to the one you love. There is nothing more like an air-tight casket than a life that helps only itself. If you make a positive difference in the life of someone else, you will find deep fulfillment!

Let us help. Schedule your appointment online using our online scheduling tool, call us at (949) 220-3211, or text us.

Is Your Partner the Marrying Type?

Interested in marriage but unsure if your partner will make a good marriage partner? It’s always wise to find out the answer to that question sooner than later. Bad marriages can often be avoided by doing some homework first. This will also give you greater confidence if you decide that you have a long-term keeper. Advice abounds on this topic but here are a few quick tips to help you decide if your partner is the marrying type.

Ask Your Friends

You can find out a lot by asking a friend about whether your partner is marriage material. Infatuation within a relationship is a wonderful feeling but can blind you to the truth about your partner, especially early on. The “in love feeling” can cause you to easily overlook large faults in your significant other.

Your friends live outside of these feelings and will be able to give you an honest assessment of your relationship. Whether they say “yes” or “no” to the marrying type question, listen carefully to them. It may be painful if they say “no” but it could save you from even greater pain down the road. Just remember, if they give you the thumbs down it isn’t because they are rejecting you. It’s because they care about you. They know that you have many lovable qualities and that you deserve better.

You Can’t Be Yourself

Although dating often means putting our best foot forward, it isn’t always a realistic depiction of one’s true self. Couples sometimes hold back their negative emotions and act more positive than they normally would. Those in a relationship want to give their partner every reason to like them. This can reach unhealthy levels, though.

If your partner is always trying to get you to look different, wear different clothes or change your personality to suit their desires, this is a problem. Although everyone has the need to become a better person, some partners try to change things about their significant other that aren’t bad. If your partner can’t accept you for who you are as a person, it’s a good indicator that they won’t be happy with you in a marriage relationship.

Trust Issues

If you consistently have valid trust concerns about your significant other, it may be a good idea to put the brakes on. Do you find that your partner is flirty with others besides you, keeps in contact with old flames, or has been caught in physical relationships with others while you’ve been dating? Getting married won’t fix that problem and will likely make it worse. Have an honest discussion with the one you love about these concerns. Marriage relationships can’t survive without trust. If you can trust your partner, you may have a keeper!

In this process, it’s important to remember that sometimes even partners who are the marrying type sometimes don’t want to get married at first. It can take some time to work up to that level of commitment. In contrast, just because your partner is eager to get married, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are marriage material. If you’ve read this far, it shows that you’re serious about your relationship. That’s exactly what you need to be successful!

Let us help. Schedule your appointment online using our online scheduling tool, call us at (949) 220-3211, or text us.

Creative Romantic Gift Ideas For The One You Love

Having a tough time deciding on a gift for that special someone? Coming up with something creative, unique and meaningful isn’t always easy. But the perfect idea is somewhere out there waiting for you. You just need to find it. With a little brainstorming and ingenuity, you’ll come through in a big way. Here are five romantic gift ideas to get the wheels turning.

Festival Fun

There’s nothing wrong with buying a gift for your significant other that’s been mass produced from Amazon or Target, for example. If you want something truly unique, though, check out a seasonal festival in your area. These events in and of themselves make for a wonderful gift since you’ll experience live music, craft stands, food and quality time together.

There usually are plenty of handcrafted items that you couldn’t buy in a store such as wood- carved pieces, pottery and jewelry. Pay extra attention to the item that catches your love’s interest more than any other and buy it for them on the spot. Better yet, secretly buy their prize and give it to them later. Your significant other will be thrilled, to say the least. This gift will not only be special because it is highly unique. It’ll be a reminder of a great memory that you shared.

Date Jar

Are you stuck in a rut when it comes to going on dates? Make up a “date jar” and give it as a gift. Write date ideas down on small pieces of paper or popsicle sticks and place them inside the jar. Be sure to include not only ideas that you would find fun, but ones that your significant other would enjoy. You can color code your date options by approximate cost. One night, you can choose a “green date” which could be your color for free dates. Perhaps “blue dates” could be in the fifty-dollar range. This gift doesn’t cost much money, shows unique interest in strengthening your relationship and will keep giving all year long.

Best Memories List

Even if you’ve only been together for a short while, you likely have built some unforgettable memories. Write down as many memories as you can think of that you enjoyed with your significant other and give your results as a gift. You can simply type or freehand them. If you want to take things to the next level, make up a photo book of your adventures together. Read your memories to your significant other for plenty of laughs and fun-filled conversation.

Sports Surprise

Does your special friend love sports? If so, make sure that your significant other has the evening, day or weekend free. Without telling them where the two of you are going, hop in your vehicle and drive to their favorite sporting event. Whether this includes football, baseball, basketball or more, you’re sure to impress the one you love. This element of surprise also works equally well for rock concerts, musicals or a trip to your favorite restaurant.

Just Because

Do you really want to surprise the one you love? Try giving them a gift that doesn’t fall on a special day such as an anniversary, Christmas, birthday or Valentine’s Day. It’s considered highly romantic to do so. This spontaneity will your shock your special friend, making them feel loved. Even something as simple as a pack of their favorite gum, some chocolates or a piece of survival camping gear such as a compass could work wonders.

Summing It Up

Ok, one last word of advice. Don’t procrastinate! The closer you get to your “deadline,” the less time that you’ll have to do something truly creative for the one you love. Start planning now so you don’t have to freak out later. If it’s too late and you’re already freaking out, don’t worry. Many lovers have come through with the perfect gift in clutch situations just like yours.

Let us help. Schedule your appointment online using our online scheduling tool, call us at (949) 220-3211, or text us.

Committing to a Long-Distance Relationship

Long distance relationships often get a bad rap but they really shouldn’t. Do you know a few people who struck out when it came to long-distance relationships? You probably do. But then you also know plenty who couldn’t make the relationship work living right next to their significant other. Are you considering a long-distance relationship? If so, it doesn’t have to spell the end of your bond. Here are a few ways that you can make your relationship a success.

Test the Waters

Long-distance relationships are something you don’t want to just let happen. Before you go your separate ways, have a heart-to-heart talk with the person you love. This needs to be a chance for both of you to be honest about how you feel. If there are strong feelings from both sides that you want the long-distance relationship to work, then go for it. If not, you may have to reevaluate whether it’s a good idea. This may save you a lot of hurt down the road. Many long-distance relationships fail because this initial discussion doesn’t happen.

Give Each other Space

When you’re in a long-distance relationship, you have to give each other space. This seems like a contradiction. After all, you’re already separated by hundreds if not thousands of miles. There can be the tendency to try to make up for the separation by spending every waking moment with your significant other.

All of a sudden, every spare moment of your existence is spent on the cell phone, email, Skype or Facebook. This overcompensation can cause problems just like it can if you are in close quarters. Often, there’s one person in the relationship who pushes for this excessive contact. Don’t be that person.

You could cause just the opposite of what you want to happen if you’re not careful. You may push the one that you love most away. Also, excessive contact in a long-long distance relationship tends to communicate that you don’t trust them or that you’re too needy. This can turn into unhealthy control.

Plan Visits

As much as possible, plan trips to visit each other so that you have something to look forward to. Recognizing that available time and money may determine how much you can meet up, get some dates on the calendar. This will be a morale booster to you and the one you love.

In Conclusion

There have been many successful long distance relationships. It really is true that the of adversity of it can make you stronger. It’s not a reason to despair or throw in the towel. It’s an opportunity to rise to the occasion and show your significant other how committed you really are to them. It communicates to both you that regardless of what life throws, you’re not going to give up. You have grit. You have staying power and you can do it!

Let us help. Schedule your appointment online using our online scheduling tool, call us at (949) 220-3211, or text us.

Why You Should or Shouldn’t Get Back Together

Whatever the cause, break-ups are painful and the experience of no longer being with someone you once loved can be extremely disorienting. It is often tempting to consider rekindling a past relationship, especially as time and nostalgia help you forget why the relationship ended. When you come to the point that you’re mentally listing all the reasons you should reconcile with an ex, you need to remind yourself of the many reasons why you shouldn’t get back together.

Remember that the relationship ended for a reason.

In the days and weeks following a break-up, it is easy to romanticize your relationship and gloss over what caused you to split up in the first place. But all relationships that end do so for a reason. Perhaps your partner was decided to take a job opportunity across the country and you couldn’t or didn’t want to move; maybe you weren’t able to agree on children. Whatever the cause, if the factors underlying the reasons for your break-up haven’t changed, any attempts to rekindle the relationship will only lead to more heartache.

Don’t let love confuse you.

Just because a relationship is over doesn’t mean that the tenderness and love that you and your partner felt for one another immediately disappear. There’s nothing wrong with feeling warmly about a former partner, but don’t confuse this affection for a cure for your relationship’s troubles. No amount of fondness can erase the reasons that you and your partner split.

Avoid letting familiarity sway you.

Particularly at the end of a long relationship, the close understanding that your and your partner shared makes the idea of reconciling very appealing. You already know each others’ likes and dislikes, habits and mannerisms; familiarity even gives your partner’s negative traits an attractive glow. But the convenience and comfort that familiarity affords doesn’t negate the reasons why your relationship didn’t work. Remind yourself that the cost of reentering a broken but familiar relationship is the new–and potentially successful–relationship you could be pursuing.

Keep in mind the possibilities that surround you.

At some point in every break-up, the possibility that there is no one else in the world that could make you happy flits through your mind. As time passes, you may become convinced that without your former partner, you will be alone forever. Nothing could be further from the truth. You pass scores of potential new partners every day on the street, in the subway or in line for lunch. If you keep your eyes and your mind open, possibilities lie around every corner.

There are also many times that your relationship CAN work. Just because it gets tough, it doesn’t necessarily mean the relationship isn’t meant to be. It sometimes means you are moving into a more mature stage in the relationship. And this is where you get to examine the relationship in a new light.

Relationship counseling might be the answer to get your relationship back on track.

Our goal for you with relationship therapy is to help you find to a greater closeness and more happiness.

Let us help. Schedule your appointment online using our online scheduling tool, call us at (949) 220-3211, or text us.