Couples Counseling Articles

Relationships & Connections

On Blame

Underneath anger is fear. But until that’s clear to us…I mean really clear…we blame.

Blame is a way of dumping anger.

Here. You take it.” Is essentially what the blamer is saying.

Most often, the receiver picks it up and throws it right back.

Now you have a blamer’s tennis match and the longer it lasts, the harsher it gets.

Back and forth. Back and forth.

There are no points for nastiness and no trophies for blamers who inflict pain. It lacks honor. It requires zero bravery, courage or skill.

Continue Reading On Blame

Only For You

The story you tell yourself is true, but only for you.

We see and hear everything through our own eyes and ears.

Our brain compares what we see and hear to what we expect. Then, our brain creates stories around every interaction we have.

We form an opinion, make judgments and the story we tell ourself becomes our truth. It’s our understanding of the world. Those stories become our belief… about a person, place or situation. It’s how we make sense of things.

Continue Reading Only For You

The Perfect Lipstick

When you buy lipstick at a big box store, you’ll likely pay under $10 for a well-known brand made in a manufacturing plant somewhere far away.

If you go to a posh department store you can buy a deluxe brand for under $50 – likely made in that same plant.

When Neiman Marcus and Christian Louboutin offer up a Rouge Matte Lip Colour in a beautiful black box, they’re not selling you a $90 lipstick. They’re selling memorable, significant and over-the-top-notice-me.

And if you really want to scramble your brain you can go to Amazon and buy a Maybelline, drugstore brand, lipstick for over $165. (Nope. That is not a typo.)

The important thing to know is that within a fraction of a percentage point, all lipsticks contain the same ingredients. It’s not about where you buy lipstick or how much you pay, It’s about the story we tell ourselves and what we believe.

In the drawer, is one lipstick really better than the other? Is there really a right choice? It depends….on what texture and color you like, your skin tone, what you’re wearing that day and where you’re going. Maybe even your mood.

We choose. And because there is no absolute ranking, ‘preference’ is different than ‘right’.

This applies to just about everything in life… including intimate relationship.

How we use language, choose our words, our tone of voice, the conversations we decide to engage in…and whether or not we bring our best selves to the table.

Having an open heart and being in sync with our partner is always a choice.

We Got The Wrong Message!

Somehow, we got the message that love is mystical and magical. That it appears, then disappears. Motivates us. Confuses us. And, of course, we have no control over it.

Not true!

Over the past 10 years or so we’ve learned a lot about love. Brain science has completely changed our understanding of what’s possible when it comes to shaping a loving relationship.

So much so that our whole culture is shifting and personal expectations are growing. Have you noticed? While we used to settle for good enough, today we want connection.

We want to be cherished, accepted, respected and understood. We want more from our partners and while it doesn’t have to be perfect… we believe we deserve better.

Continue Reading We Got The Wrong Message!

I’ve struggled with this too!

We all know falling in love is the easy part. Keeping love alive is the BIG challenge, right?

When we try to remake our parents relationship into our own or use them as relationship role models, it doesn’t work well for most of us. In part, because they lived less complicated lives with clear expectations in a very different era.

Still, it’s hard to let go of the image of perfection or how things should be.

Making room for the new means letting go of old expectations that end up building walls of resentment.

When we can say, this is OUR relationship – not my mother’s / not my father’s – we switch into the role of co-creator.

Consciously, we begin to sketch out what WE want this relationship to be and care enough to make it happen.

Our Hold Me Tight® Workshop for Couples (June 29 & 30) lays it all out there for you. Seven conversations over two days that have the capacity to change the way you see your partner AND your relationship. It’s perfect for couples who have conversations that either escalate or don’t ever seem to get resolved.

Continue Reading I’ve struggled with this too!

Some Thoughts On Relating

To relate:

  1. To bring into or establish association, connection or relation.
  2. To establish a social or sympathetic relationship with a person or thing.

Relating is for people who want to matter. In intimate partnerships it’s about protecting and supporting each other and is the essential ingredient for a fulfilling relationship.

When it’s missing, we’re disconnected and our relationships feel stuck. The stuck-ness is real. It’s undeniable truth, not just a metaphor. Stuck-ness triggers us and shows up in ways that will spin you around, take you down and drop you off in the middle of nowhere – lonely and confused.

That’s the power of emotional disconnection.

That peaceful, loving state we all strive for vanishes.

Continue Reading Some Thoughts On Relating

Want to Stop Bickering?

If you’ve recovered from the 2018 holiday season…got thru Super Bowl Sunday, Valentine’s Day and the switch to daylight savings time…and if you’re back in the daily grind of bickering with your partner…maybe even in front of the children…you are not alone!

You might even be wondering…

How on earth did we get here?

All couples have challenges and most of us get sucked into the tasks that keep our lives afloat – careers, kids, homework, meal prep, finances and transportation.

In the overwhelm of daily living we can either lose focus on the most important thing of all, our intimate relationship or we put it on hold hoping it will (magically) get better.

If you repeatedly tell yourself to be patient and give it another six months, it’s time to take a closer look.

I see five common distress signals in my office over and over again and if you’re experiencing any one of these symptoms, it’s time to consider a new approach:

  • You have the same argument repeatedly and you can’t get out of the loop.
  • You’ve reached a tipping point and want to do something to keep things from getting worse.
  • You love your partner, yet you’re thinking about separation or divorce. You want to get off that slippery slope.
  • An emotional or physical affair decimated your relationship and you want to trust or be trusted again.
  • You’d love to start a new conversation and communicate differently.

If even one of these symptoms is familiar and you’re ready for a change, consider one of our private accelerated programs.

Both programs are personalized and move quickly from big picture to your specific issue(s). The 1-Day Intensive is especially convenient for busy couples who live locally. It completes our assessment and discovery phase and covers 4-6 weeks of therapy in a single day. The 2-1/2 Day Intensive is designed for couples who want to take the deep dive and accomplish 10-12 weeks of therapy in a weekend.

Each program is a powerful launchpad that will help you and your partner re-create that special connection you once shared.

During an intensive, we’ll help you and your partner identify your issues, concerns and the biggest obstacle(s) in your relationship. We’ll track your negative cycle, review family history and discuss all your relationship goals and objectives. Most importantly, we’ll help you and your partner start a new conversation – one that’s both collaborative and compassionate.

Ultimately, you’ll begin a journey together to feel…

  • seen
  • heard
  • appreciated
  • understood
  • valued

…again by the person who means the most to you.

We do ONLY one or two intensives each month and it takes a very special person to participate in this kind of focused approach.

If you’d like to check us out and see if an intensive is right for you let’s talk, heart-to-heart. Call 704-319-5593 or email us and my team will be happy to set up a 20-minute consult.

Here are some kind words from couples who’ve participated in the past:

“There are no words to properly describe how impactful the intensive retreat was… It changed our relationship and my life profoundly.”

“We left truly believing that there is hope for happiness and peace.”

If you’re struggling and want positive change, let us know and we’ll get started.

Most Couples Have What it Takes…

Here’s a quick reminder that relationships take effort…. sometimes more than we realize.

Regardless of what challenges you might be facing in your relationship, I’ve found that most couples have what it takes to make it through.

But it does mean you’ll both have to be invested in a new kind of effort — one that engages your partner and brings them close.

At Wellness our 1 Day and 2 1/2 Day Intensives create the special kind of environment where you can explore these concepts and talk about what’s MOST important – without that dreaded negative spin.

Intensives are private, gentle yet powerful and safe. Each intensive is designed to help you launch a conversation you’re unlikely to have on your own.

Dr Sue Johnson (creator of EFT- the method we use at Wellness) spoke at Christ Church here in Charlotte a while ago to a standing room only crowd.

She talked about emotional connection; what it is, how we lose it and how we can get it back.

Continue Reading Most Couples Have What it Takes…

Love and Loneliness

Creating emotional balance and safety in a topsy-turvy world seems impossible some days.

Intuitively, we know love, attention and connection are are key; everywhere present and scarce at the same time.

So we seek it. Crave it. Demand it.

While the essence of it all might just be about mastering how to give and receive it.

What we believe matters… now more than ever.

Happy New Year and Last Chance to Register For Early Bird Pricing

Tonight my husband and I have plans for a lovely dinner to celebrate New Year’s eve.

Yet, this morning, I found myself wishing for a drive along the majestic California coastline.

These tumbling thoughts can turn into complaints and always catch me by surprise. They force me to pause and reflect.

Maybe… just maybe it’s our nature to crave things we don’t have in the moment. It also saps energy and can bring on the blues.

The quickest FIX I know of is a GRATITUDE list. So we did one…. together.

Continue Reading Happy New Year and Last Chance to Register For Early Bird Pricing