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  • Wendy Godfrey
  • April 17, 2018 06:45:15 PM
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A Little About Us

We offer Intensive Christian Marriage Counseling Retreats for couples and marriage in crisis. Our Retreats are down-in-the-trenches 3-5 day events aimed at completely restoring a marriage that is in crisis. We also offer 2 day retreats for individuals who have not been successful in convincing the other spouse to attend a retreat with them.

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ADHD is Ruining My Marriage

Few things drive a Type A partner crazier than a spouse unable to concentrate for more than a few minutes at a time. Projects left unfinished and half-done chores are droplets of water accumulating over time into a deluge. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is often misunderstood. The lack of understanding creates problems in a […]The post ADHD is Ruining My Marriage appeared first on Marriage Rescue Retreats....

Few things drive a Type A partner crazier than a spouse unable to concentrate for more than a few minutes at a time. Projects left unfinished and half-done chores are droplets of water accumulating over time into a deluge. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is often misunderstood. The lack of understanding creates problems in a marriage. Fortunately, a little education can ease the frustration.

What is ADHD?

Picture a person with boundless energy bouncing into different tasks, ideas, or thoughts in a short period of time. People with ADHD are suffering. They’re frustrated with their inability to see something through to completion. Whether the cause is due to something in the environment or a variation in their brain, ADHD patients are as frustrated with their disorder as the folks in their lives.

Often ADHD is diagnosed in students. Classrooms are where attention is demanded. Many students obtain medication to slow their minds down. The neurological slow-down increases focus on a single task. However, there are many parents leery of putting their children on medication. This caution extends into adulthood with married couples.

How to Handle ADHD

There’s an old axiom in therapy that a patient can’t change the behavior of others, but the patient can change how they react to the behavior. This philosophy is very helpful in marriages where one partner has ADHD. Understanding the disorder and changing behavior to deal with ADHD creates a harmonious life.

Here are some quick ways to adjust to a partner with ADHD:

  • Big Projects Become Small Goals: Asking someone with ADHD to complete a large, time consuming project sets them up for failure. Break the project down to small parts. Completing small tasks removes the invisible egg timer of ADHD.
  • Keep them Moving: Have a partner with ADHD be on the go. In a dinner party, for example, the partner with ADHD would be excellent at serving food, checking which guests need drink refills, and several other tasks where they need to get up and move around.
  • Checklists: A great way to keep an ADHD partner following up is a list. The list centers the person and gives them items to work off of. This type of organization is quite helpful.

Managing ADHD is not very difficult if patient. A partner with ADHD often feels unable to control their impulses. Helping partners manage their ADHD is a great way to bond as a couple. Through awareness and understanding of such a disorder, a marriage will grow stronger.

Getting Help for ADHD

If ADHD is suspected, a couple should see a mental health professional. This person will determine if ADHD is the cause of attention problems. The provider may recommend medication. Once the physical/neurological issues are handled, marriage counseling may be able to help address any lingering marital issues resulting from the situation.

At Marriage Rescue Retreats, we help couples battling ADHD (and a wide variety of other marital issues) by strengthening the underlying relationship. ADHD strains a marriage. We help couples create solutions to push ADHD to the side and develop patience for each other.

One of the best parts about having a partner with ADHD is the unlimited energy this person seems to possess. Finding a way to direct this energy towards a positive goal can create better outcomes in each partner’s life and the marriage as a whole. We help each spouse find a way to feel empowered to address problems that arise while rebuilding their relationship.

Suffering from ADHD shouldn’t strain a marriage. With patience and professional guidance, you can work together with your spouse to corral ADHD and improve your marriage.

The post ADHD is Ruining My Marriage appeared first on Marriage Rescue Retreats.


7 Ways to Tell If Your Spouse Is a Narcissist

The post 7 Ways to Tell If Your Spouse Is a Narcissist appeared first on Marriage Rescue Retreats.

When we care for someone deeply, looking at their faults can be a difficult process. However, attempting to build a strong relationship without addressing the truth usually ends in failure.

Narcissism is a personality disorder that seems to be more common in the current day. The severity of symptoms may vary from one person to another. Psychologist Stephen Johnson writes that the narcissist is someone who has “buried his true self-expression in response to early injuries and replaced it with a highly developed, compensatory false self.”

Many times people from the outside see a narcissist as someone who sees themselves as more important than others or constantly focused on their own needs and wants.

Below, you will find seven signs to serve as a guide when trying to discern whether or not your spouse may be a Narcissist.

1. Distorted need for attention and validation

Narcissists yearn for constant attention and approval. They may be expecting simple praise, such as compliments for effort they are putting in around the house. Other times, they may be extremely clingy. They could follow you around wanting more. At times, your words may seem to go straight through them meaning nothing. Despite all their self-absorbed, overboard bragging, narcissists are actually very insecure and fearful of not measuring up.

2. Feeling superior and entitled

Narcissists live in a world of hierarchy. There’s always the best and the worst along with the right and the wrong. This mindset opens up their world of control. They must be the best, be right and hold the final answer. On the opposite end, narcissists can also get that superior feeling by being the worst, the most wrong, or the most ill, upset, or injured for a period of time. Then they feel entitled to receive empathetic concern or even the right to hurt you or demand apologies to “make things even.”

3. The blame game

Narcissists want to be in control; however, they do not want to take responsibility for a situation that did not end the way they desired. When things end up going not as they had planned, or they feel criticized, they will feel the need to find someone to blame. Sometimes they’ll blame in general… teachers, police, political groups. Other times they will blame a more specific family member or friend. Usually though, as the spouse, the blame will be put on you. You are most likely the safest person to blame and the least likely to leave.

4. Lack of empathy

Narcissists rarely have the ability to empathize with others. They lean more towards being selfish and self-involved. Their ability to feel what others are feeling is rare. Narcissists expect others to think and feel the same as they do and seldom give any thought to how others feel. Apologies, remorse or guilt are not frequent fliers from a narcissist’s mouth.

When the words are in reverse however, narcissists take these three as threats to themselves. They are very sensitive and threatened by anger or rejection of others. They can take your true statements of apology, or expression of love, as a manipulative threat.

Narcissists also lack an understanding about the nature of feelings. They don’t understand how their feelings occur. They think their feelings are caused by someone or something outside of themselves. They don’t realize that their feelings are caused by their own biochemistry, thoughts, and interpretations. In a nutshell, narcissists always think you cause their feelings—especially the negative ones. They conclude that because you didn’t follow their plan or because you made them feel vulnerable, you are to blame.

5. Perfectionism

Narcissists have an extremely high need for everything to be perfect. They believe they should be perfect, you should be perfect, events should happen exactly as expected, and life should play out specifically as they foresee it. This is an excruciatingly impossible expectation, which results in the narcissist feeling dissatisfied and miserable much of the time. The demand for perfection leads the narcissist to complain and be constantly dissatisfied. Which many times also leads to you feeling like a failure.

6. Lack of boundaries

Narcissists don’t see the line between where they end and you begin. They don’t understand that you are not their property. They feel everyone thinks and feels the same as they do, and everyone wants the same things they do. If they are told no, they are shocked and highly insulted. If a narcissist wants something from you, he or she will go to great lengths to figure out how to get it through persistence, deceiving, demanding, rejecting or pouting.

7. Inability to be exposed

Because of their inability to understand feelings, their lack of empathy and constant need for self-protection, narcissists can’t truly love or connect emotionally with other people. They cannot observe the world from other people’s perspectives. They’re essentially emotionally blind and alone. This makes them emotionally needy. When one relationship is no longer satisfying, they often overlap relationships or start a new one as soon as possible. They desperately want someone to feel their pain, to sympathize with them, and make everything just as they want it to be. But they have little ability to respond to your pain or fear or even your day-to-day need for care and sympathy.

Understanding how to work through a relationship with a Narcissist can be very difficult. Many times you can feel everything you put into the relationship backfires. Remember, they are not your issues. However, you will both most likely need professional help to process through this together.

For help finding out if your marriage is in crisis, take our Marriage Crisis Quiz, or contact us today for more information about our Intensive Marriage Retreats for Couples in Crisis.

The post 7 Ways to Tell If Your Spouse Is a Narcissist appeared first on Marriage Rescue Retreats.


Advice for Couples Surviving Addiction

The post Advice for Couples Surviving Addiction appeared first on Marriage Rescue Retreats.

It’s no secret that substance abuse can destroy relationships, leaving families in turmoil and loved ones in pain. The person suffering from addiction often thinks they are only harming themselves, but the effects tend to trickle out all around them. So, what can you do to get your loved one the help they need? While the answers are not always simple, there are some strategies that can help when it comes to dealing with these situations.

Opioid Addiction

Opioid addiction continues to be a nationwide problem. According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, in 2016 alone, there were more than 30,000 deaths in the U.S. related to prescription pain relievers and heroin. It usually begins with a prescription treatment for a surgery or accident that requires pain management. And studies show that addiction can begin in as little as a few days of use.

Signs of Addiction

If your significant other has a problem with substance abuse, there’s a good possibility you already know something is wrong, but to determine if there is an addiction, you will need to watch for certain signs. With any addiction comes some irregular behavior. For example, you might notice extreme mood swings, poor work performance, sudden weight loss, or unusual sleeping patterns. Chances are when you ask them about any of their behaviors, they will make flimsy excuses or express misplaced outrage.

Signs of Opioid Addiction

Though some signs are the same with any addiction, opioid addiction may be a little harder to detect because it is a substance their doctor probably prescribed and you are not looking for signs. But here are some things to watch for:

  • Nausea
  • Drowsiness
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Constricted pupils
  • Extra pill bottles in the garbage
  • Taking more pills than prescribed

Healing as a Couple

According to Psychology Today, compassion is the key ingredient in getting a loved one to agree they need help and healing a relationship after one of you has suffered an addiction. Compassion lets them know that we recognize their pain, really hear them when they talk, care about them as an individual, and encourages them to get better. But that doesn’t mean you should stop caring about and for yourself. Be sure to express the same compassion to yourself as you do to your partner.

When It Is Time to Move On

There comes a time when you have suffered enough abuse, humiliation and turmoil to wreck a village, and it may be time to move on. No one can tell you exactly when that time is, but people often make the choice when they feel there is no other option. For example, they might choose to leave when they feel it is no longer safe for them or their children to be in the home. Or maybe their significant other refuses to get help or recognize that there is a problem. The bottom line is that no one has to live with that decision but you and any children involved, so seek out the help of a licensed therapist if you feel you need counseling to make your choice.

Living with someone with an addiction is one of the most difficult experiences you can face. There will be times when you want to throw in the towel, times when you want to give the relationship one last chance, and even times when you live in denial. It’s important to face the truth as soon as you can and to seek counseling regardless of whether your partner chooses to join you. Addiction does not have to be the end. With the proper treatment and relationship-building tools, life after addiction can be a wonderful new beginning.

The post Advice for Couples Surviving Addiction appeared first on Marriage Rescue Retreats.


Top 20 Bible Verses to Help You Navigate a Marriage Crisis

The post Top 20 Bible Verses to Help You Navigate a Marriage Crisis appeared first on Marriage Rescue Retreats.

The following verses are excerpts from the New Living Translation (NLT).


Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

– 1 Corinthians 13:7


No, the Lord’s delight is in those who fear him, those who put their hope in his unfailing love.

– Psalm 147:11


Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed.

– Ecclesiastes 4:9


A worthy wife is a crown for her husband, but a disgraceful woman is like cancer in his bones.

– Proverbs 12:4


A newly married man must not be drafted into the army or be given any other official responsibilities. He must be free to spend one year at home, bringing happiness to the wife he has married.

– Deuteronomy 24:5


Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.

– Ephesians 4:32



Many will say they are loyal friends, but who can find one who is truly reliable? The godly walk with integrity; blessed are their children who follow them.

– Proverbs 20:6-7


Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins.

– 1 Peter 4:8


Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting for those who belong to the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and never treat them harshly.

– Colossians 3:18-19


For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church. As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything.

For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word. He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault. In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself. No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church. And we are members of his body.

As the Scriptures say, “A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.” This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one. So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

– Ephesians 5:22-33


But for those who are married, I have a command that comes not from me, but from the Lord. A wife must not leave her husband.

– 1 Corinthians 7:10


This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

– Joshua 1:9


Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? She is more precious than rubies. Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.

– Proverbs 31:10-12


Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib, and he brought her to the man.

“At last!” the man exclaimed. “This one is bone from my bone, and flesh from my flesh! She will be called ‘woman,’ because she was taken from ‘man.’”

This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.

– Genesis 2:22-24


Now regarding the questions you asked in your letter. Yes, it is good to abstain from sexual relations. But because there is so much sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman should have her own husband.

The husband should fulfill his wife’s sexual needs, and the wife should fulfill her husband’s needs. The wife gives authority over her body to her husband, and the husband gives authority over his body to his wife.

Do not deprive each other of sexual relations, unless you both agree to refrain from sexual intimacy for a limited time so you can give yourselves more completely to prayer. Afterward, you should come together again so that Satan won’t be able to tempt you because of your lack of self-control. I say this as a concession, not as a command. But I wish everyone were single, just as I am. Yet each person has a special gift from God, of one kind or another.

So I say to those who aren’t married and to widows—it’s better to stay unmarried, just as I am. But if they can’t control themselves, they should go ahead and marry. It’s better to marry than to burn with lust.

But for those who are married, I have a command that comes not from me, but from the Lord. A wife must not leave her husband. But if she does leave him, let her remain single or else be reconciled to him. And the husband must not leave his wife.

Now, I will speak to the rest of you, though I do not have a direct command from the Lord. If a fellow believer has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to continue living with him, he must not leave her. And if a believing woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to continue living with her, she must not leave him. For the believing wife brings holiness to her marriage, and the believing husband brings holiness to his marriage. Otherwise, your children would not be holy, but now they are holy. (But if the husband or wife who isn’t a believer insists on leaving, let them go. In such cases the believing husband or wife is no longer bound to the other, for God has called you to live in peace.) Don’t you wives realize that your husbands might be saved because of you? And don’t you husbands realize that your wives might be saved because of you?

– 1 Corinthians 7:1-16


“Haven’t you read the Scriptures?” Jesus replied. “They record that from the beginning ‘God made them male and female.’ And he said, “‘This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.’ Since they are no longer two but one, let no one split apart what God has joined together.”

– Matthew 19:4-6


Give honor to marriage, and remain faithful to one another in marriage. God will surely judge people who are immoral and those who commit adultery.

Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.”

So we can say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?”

Remember your leaders who taught you the word of God. Think of all the good that has come from their lives, and follow the example of their faith.

– Hebrews 13:4-7


But ‘God made them male and female’ from the beginning of creation. ‘This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.’ Since they are no longer two but one, let no one split apart what God has joined together.”

– Mark 10:6-9


For the word of God will never fail.

– Luke 1:37


For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

– Jeremiah 29:11


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How can we talk to each other without it always ending up in a fight?

The post How can we talk to each other without it always ending up in a fight? appeared first on Marriage Rescue Retreats.

If you sift through our articles, you may notice a common theme throughout: Communication. Communication is the foundation that relationships are built on, and just like a house will collapse without a firm foundation, our relationships will too. Good communication is a valuable skill, and just like any skill it can take lots of practice to achieve. Are you aware of the kind of communication you and your spouse practice?

Think about the last time you felt misunderstood by your spouse. How did it make you feel? Usually, when the people closest to us do not understand us, it can make us feel unloved and unappreciated. In our marriage counseling practice, over 95% of the couples who come to us practice poor communication. As a result, neither spouse feels understood or loved.

If you suspect that your marriage is suffering from poor communication, you will recognize some of the bad communication habits listed below:

Interrupting

Inappropriate or offensive nonverbal communication (93% of all communication is non-verbal) – what does this mean in your communication?

Not listening

Yelling

Talking over the other person and not allowing them the opportunity to respond

The list goes on and on. The interesting part about poor communication in marriage is that for many of us there was a time when we communicated well. You may be able to think back to your days spent as newlyweds and realize that you don’t recall thinking, “Man, our communication sure is off,” or, “He just doesn’t get me.” One might argue that we were better communicators when we wanted to be better communicators.

Another thing to consider is that communication skills are not only necessary in our marriages, but we use them everyday at our jobs, our church, with friends, and with our children. So, maybe it isn’t our poor communication that is making us feel distanced from each other; perhaps the distance we feel has lead us to care more about what we’re trying to communicate than what our partner is trying to say to us.

What does this mean for your marriage? The situation is different for everyone. Some couples may need to relearn how to communicate with one another, and others will be learning to communicate for the first time. The good habits listed below are great ways for you to practice better communication, but in the best possible scenario, you will practice these methods because you are genuinely interested both in communicating better, and in your partner.

A few of these are:

Ask questions if you don’t understand. If you wrongly assume what your partner means, you’ll be headed in the wrong direction. Asking questions allows you to express interest while also clarifying to avoid misunderstanding.

Read your spouse’s body language. Take a mental note of signals about how your partner is feeling. Are they tense? Nervous? If so, what steps can you take to help them relax?

Be an active listener. This may mean nodding, asking questions that shows you have high interest in your spouse. Ask your partner to elaborate on certain things, or it may mean contributing to the conversation. Remember, that’s what we’re trying to do here: have a conversation. It’s important to give your spouse the opportunity to talk, but that doesn’t mean you can’t contribute, as long as you’re predominately listening.

Be interested in what your spouse is saying. The idea is to actually be interested in what they are saying, though sometimes you may have to “fake it ‘till you make it.” At times when you’re struggling to do so, keep the feelings of your spouse forefront in your mind.

Try not to interrupt, unless it’s out of excitement and enthusiasm for what your partner is saying. Interrupting indicates that you were not listening because you were too busy thinking about what you wanted to say next.

If you and your spouse have gotten in the habit of communicating poorly with each other, it may not seem natural to put good habits into practice again. Using the tips above can help to forge a bridge back to good communication, but you may find that it helps your marriage to make an effort to just talk more. Set aside times to sit down without distractions, pick a topic, and discuss it. You may be surprised at what happens.

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How can I get my spouse to care about my feelings?

The post How can I get my spouse to care about my feelings? appeared first on Marriage Rescue Retreats.

Part of human nature is the desire to feel understood. Learning to validate others builds emotional bridges. Establishing these basic connections lays the foundation for emotional safety. It is this safety that allows us to share deeply with our spouse in a calm and neutral way. Rather than hurting our spouse with our words, it is restoring to them.

Validation occurs when we confirm, mostly through words, that other people can have their own emotional experiences. A simple statement like, “It must be difficult and painful to have something like that occur,” can be validating. Validation is not mean agreeing with them, it is reassuring them that it is reasonable and OK for them to feel the way they do. That other’s would probably feel the same the if the same thing had happened or spoken to them.

If you order a product and someone calls to confirm that you received it, you might say, “Yes, I got the package.” You are only confirming that you received the package. You are not confirming that the contents in the package are in good shape. You are not confirming that the contents are what you ordered. You are only confirming that you have the package.

Likewise, validation is confirming that the other person has specific feelings. We are not confirming that their feelings are right, or correct, or even okay. We are also not confirming that we are wrong.

Simply stated, “We are confirming that they have just received an emotional package.” The challenge is to allow them to open the emotional package the way they want to open it.

How can I get my Spouse to care about my feelings?

Statements of Validation:

Try to validate the feelings the person has shared. Since we don’t know for sure what the person is feeling, use words that are gentle and open to possibilities.

“It must be very difficult to be in this situation.”

“I can’t even begin to imagine what you are going through.”

“It seems like things were going well and then this happened.”

“I’m not sure, but it appears you are saying that this makes you very angry.”

“Do you feel like you were blindsided?”

“It appears to me that you felt very disrespected in this situation.”

“It must be difficult to have so much sadness that this happened.”

“I’m sensing that this brought up real feelings of betrayal.”

“Tell me if I have it correct. What I heard you say was my statement was very hurtful towards you and it is not the first time you have felt this way.”

“Let me make sure I’ve got this straight. You feel like you don’t matter, your feelings don’t matter, and you have built up a lot of resentment. Is that it?” When we attempt to validate, we want to use a lot of hedge words or possibilities so we are exploring with the person what they are experiencing. After a statement of validation is shared, stop and listen to what the person says next and then try to help justify those feelings. Continue this process until the person feels understood.

People feel understood without the Listener ever using the words “I understand” because we are confirming their feelings and emotions. Saying to someone, “I understand,” is typically un-helpful communication and tends to minimize their feelings. How can we possibly understand what someone else is going through even if we have had a similar experience? We really don’t know what it is like for them and we need to learn what they have experienced. Saying, “I understand how you feel” only says to the other person that you haven’t a clue to what they are saying.  Avoid saying “I understand how you feel” at all costs!

Generally, when people feel understood they are more open to receiving help and locating a place of calm within their soul. Once this is achieved, they gain the emotional and spiritual strength they need to deal with the challenge.

Barriers and Fears of Validating:

While we may recognize the importance of validation, it is not easy to do. There are often barriers that impact our willingness or ability to follow through with this healing step. This is a list of some fears or barriers others have noted in their attempts to validate:

• If I validate, I won’t be heard (or my pain won’t be understood).

• Validation won’t fix or solve the problem.

• I don’t know how to validate the right way.

• I forget to validate. My reactions to others’ emotions come on so quickly.

• My habit is to teach rather than validate. If I don’t teach, I’m afraid they won’t learn.

• If I validate, it will only enable their hurtful behaviors.

• If I validate, they will think I’m agreeing with them.

• If I validate, they will get stuck in blaming others (especially me) for their problems.

• If I validate others, their emotions will escalate and get out of control.

• When I feel hopeless it’s challenging to validate because it feels like it won’t help anyway.

• When I’m in a great deal of pain it’s a challenge to validate because my own emotions are escalated.

• If I validate someone who is hurting me, they will continue to hurt me.

It is important to remember the purpose of validating. Validation nurtures emotional safety, honesty and the expression of underlying emotions. Bringing about feelings of being understood, establishes a basis for emotional safety. Simply put, when people feel emotionally safe to share vulnerable feelings and thoughts, they share more. When they share more, we love more, and are more likely to help them in a supportive, non-threatening way that gets at the root of the problem.

Validation is one of the top 4 ways to create closeness:

1. Validation.

2. Active listening, speak in a neutral, non character assassinating way,

3. A sincere apology.

4. Give your Action Plan everything you’ve got!

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