Should You Stay in an Unhappy Marriage for the Sake of your Kids?

Years ago, you tied the knot and couldn’t have been happier. A kid or two later, you’re not so happy in your marriage anymore, though.

Maybe life became dull with all the “have tos” instead of things you were excited about. The daily routine just wore you out and put a communication gap between you and your spouse.

Now, you feel like you’re “done” when it comes to your marriage. The problem is, you look into the eyes of your kids and wonder what divorce will do to them.

You’re afraid that divorce will really mess them up. So, you’re wondering if you should stay in your marriage for your kids even though you’re miserable.

Here are some things to consider if that’s the predicament you find yourself in.

If You’re Not Happy, Your Kids Won’t Be Happy

By such a title you may think the piece of advice here will be to go after whatever makes you happy. The problem is, a lot of the things we think will make us happy don’t in the end.

That’s a necessary preface before we dig any deeper.

It’s safe to say if you’re miserable in your marriage, there is a good chance that your spouse is too.

So, you want your kids to be happy even though you’re both unhappy. The problem is that your children almost certainly will mirror how you feel most of the time.

You’re their leaders. You’re who they look up to. If they see you unhappy with adult life, they involuntarily will have to come along on your drudgery trip.

As the famous “Remember the Titans” movie quote goes, “attitude reflects leadership, captain.”

Yes, it does. Unhappiness breeds more unhappiness and it saturates everything. Your children won’t go unscathed if there is a happiness vacuum. But there is a better way.

The Problem is with the Question

To pose the “should we stay together for the kids even though we’re unhappy” question has some major flaws.

First, it assumes that you’ll always be unhappy in your current relationship so you just have to grin and bear it if you stay together. But, happiness constantly ebbs and flows. There are seasons of disappointment and alternately ones of happiness in life.

This would be true no matter who you were with.

So, should you throw away a relationship you’ve invested so heavily in because you’re unhappy?

Unless there is something major going on like you’re being abused or your children are being abused, probably not.

Happiness ultimately comes down to a choice. You can be happy in your relationship if you choose to be.

Yes, that sounds oversimplified and things certainly don’t change like a light switch. However, if you and your spouse learn to take care of each other’s’ needs again, you will regain happiness.

Your kids need you together but they also need to see you happy so they can learn how to be happy themselves.

Still struggling to find happiness in your marriage? Why not schedule an appointment? We can help you to rediscover happiness in your relationship!

If it is time for you to schedule your marriage counseling appointment, you can do so online using our online scheduling tool, call us at (949) 430-7269, or text us.

When Your Spouse Wants to Move to a Different City to Pursue a Career

Is your spouse interested in moving to advance their career? If so, this can be an exciting time for your family. But you also may feel some apprehension and fear.

As you work through the ramifications of potentially moving, there’s a lot to consider. Here are a few ideas about how to arrive at a conclusion you’re both happy with.

Weigh the Pros and Cons of Moving to Another City for a Job

One of the most important things to consider is whether moving to a different city will be a step up in life or not. This can be difficult to determine beforehand because there are always variables you won’t know.

Here are a few of many questions you’ll want to ask early in the process:

  • Will your spouse be more fulfilled in their career?
  • Will you be able to afford the cost of living there?
  • Will you have more of a support system where you are moving or less?
  • Is talking about a potential move something that excites you or do you dread it?

Will it be easy for you to find new employment once your spouse moves to a new city to advance their career?

By talking about potential pros and cons, you’ll have a better idea of whether your move is a good idea or not.

Are You Both in Agreement About Your Move?

If there is one question that’s more important than any other one, it’s probably this one.

It will be a miserable experience for both of you if you don’t want to move to a new city but you go along with your spouse anyway.

Do you find yourselves in heated disagreements over a potential move? That’s a good sign that you aren’t ready to make hard-set plans yet.

It’s crucial that you both agree about your move. Otherwise, your relationship will really struggle.

Your spouse will be trying to do their best to adjust to a new city. All the while, if you weren’t happy with the move, you may feel bitter and complain about your new life. For obvious reasons, that will make things more difficult.

Agree to Move, Stay Put or Compromise

Once you’ve worked through pros and cons, make a decision. The choice may be easy for the both of you or quite difficult.

One final thing you may need to do is to compromise regarding the move. You can set up conditions that need to be met before moving.

For instance, if you’re a new mom, you may not want to move until your baby is a little older. If you’re dealing with other instabilities in your life, that may mean it’s best to wait a while so things level out, too.

If your relationship with your spouse currently is “rocky” it’s understandable if you’re not exactly stoked about a move.
You may need to set concrete goals for your relationship before moving.

Although relocating is a stressful life experience, it can also open up opportunities greater than the ones you currently have.

Regardless of your decision, the most important thing is that you stay close as a couple through the process.

If you and your spouse are struggling with your decision, it can also help to seek the advice of a counselor. Sometimes the advice of a third party can better enable you to decide what’s best.

If it is time for you to schedule your marriage counseling appointment, you can do so online using our online scheduling tool, call us at (949) 430-7269, or text us.

Should a New Mom Take a Break from Her Career for Her Baby

As to whether or not a mom should take a break after having a baby, that’s a matter of personal choice. There are some career-minded moms who may want to get right back in the career saddle as soon as they can.

If that’s how you feel, then go for it.

That being said, listen to your heart. If you feel the need to be home with your child after giving birth, do all you can to make that happen. As you try to decide what to do, here are some thoughts on the subject.

Don’t Cave in to Cultural or Career Pressures When Deciding

Sadly, our country is not progressive when it comes to taking a break from work after having a baby. We are the only remaining developed country that doesn’t require paid leave for moms according to this Huffington Post article.

We lag behind much of the world in other basic workers’ rights, too, including wages. It’s quite possible this largely accounts for the alarming amount of healthy American adults dropping out of the workforce.

The common complaint is that the upcoming generations are unmotivated or lazy. The real truth may be that younger generations see significantly less incentive to enter the traditional workforce than their parents did.

More countries are starting to recognize that dads need a break, too, when it comes to maternity leave.

We have much work to do as a culture in taking care of families at their most vulnerable moment. Having a baby is a huge life change that requires proper attention. It is both wonderful and the ultimate of responsibility.

Too often, American company cultures reflects the same unconcern that our laws communicate to those who desperately need time with their new child.

Always remember if you need a break with your baby, that is not your culture’s decision and it’s not your workplace’s decision either. It’s a personal choice that no one should have a say in unless it is your immediate family deciding.

Hopefully, we’ll smarten up as a culture soon. Until that happens, guiltlessly go against the grain on this one if you can.

If You Can’t Afford to Take Maternity Leave

Unfortunately, this can be a real problem unique to our country among developed nations.

First, see if there are ways you can cut your expenses as a family so you can stay home for as long as you need. If this isn’t an option see if there is anything else you can do.

You could see if your church can assist you during this time or try raising money through a crowdfunding campaign to better fund the time you need with your baby.

More and more people are willing to help with a cause like that because they recognize the value. Your local media may even run a story on your situation to raise awareness.

One final recommendation is to see if you can work remotely in your current job. This will give you the flexibility and rest you need to take care of your family without hurting your finances.

If you can’t do that with your current job, consider finding one that allows you such flexibility. The opportunity to work from home is growing like crazy these days. Many find that such a lifestyle makes them way more productive at home and at work.

Regardless of what you decide regarding maternity leave, your choice should reflect what is best for your family. Your new child is way more valuable than any career so congratulations on your new addition!

If it is time for you to schedule your marriage counseling appointment, you can do so online using our online scheduling tool, call us at (949) 430-7269, or text us.

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.

Stop.

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.

Listen

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.