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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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How a Heartfelt Letter Can Help Save Your Marriage (Template Included!)

The post How a Heartfelt Letter Can Help Save Your Marriage (Template Included!) appeared first on Marriage Rescue Retreats.

Let’s be honest, you will experience conflict in your marriage at some point or another. It is natural, healthy (at safe levels) and inevitable. When it occurs, it either strengthens your marriage or tears it apart. The determinant? How you handle it. A couple that is able to handle conflict in a healthy and effective way learns a boatload of new things in the process – i.e. new ideas, new conflict-resolution skills, new problem-solving techniques, and new ideas of how to maintain one’s cool during a heated debate or argument.

When combined together prayerfully with humility and hard work, these elements can rekindle the passion in your relationship. On the flip side, however, if you are unable to resolve your conflicts in a healthy manner, deep-seated wounds can form, causing damage to your marriage that may feel irreparable.

Contrary to popular belief, however, conflict is usually not the main problem in a marriage. Like I stated before, it’s how a couple chooses to address the conflict that makes all the difference. Therefore, effective communication (verbal and non-verbal) is essential to saving a marriage. According to a recent study on failing marriages, approximately 54% if marriages end in divorce because of conflict, a lack of communication, and/or ineffective communication. The good news is you can save your marriage simply be having good communication and conflict-resolution skills.

So, how can writing a letter help save a crumbling marriage?

Well, letter writing is a form of communication. The truth is verbalizing concerns and issues to a partner when tension is already present can be challenging or downright impossible. Maybe the other partner isn’t ready to listen – actively listen to your concerns – or maybe you aren’t ready to listen to his/hers. Maybe emotion, hurt, frustration, anger has taken over the conversation, and it’s difficult to see beyond them. Sometimes, the only way to express yourself to your partner is to put it in a letter – a heartfelt letter.

Surprisingly, an effective way to save your marriage is to use a non-traditional method of communication (“old school” even!) like a letter. In fact, there are many benefits to putting your thoughts, dreams, goals, concerns, feelings, beliefs, and fears on paper.

Some of these benefits include:

  • More time to ponder what you’re really trying to say
  • The ability to choose the “right words” for your message (what you’re trying to say)
  • The ability to pour out your heart or divulge your truest feelings – without having to worry about being interrupted, stumbling, or saying the “wrong thing”

How Can I Convey What I Really Want to Say in My Letter?

You are probably hoping you’ll achieve a variety of things with your heartfelt letter. However, the ultimate goal is most likely to find a compromise (or two or three) that will help save your deteriorating marriage. In other words, you are hoping that your letter will be the first step in getting your marriage back on track. That is why it is so important to really think and pray about what you want to say, how you want to say it, and how your spouse will probably perceive it.

Putting all of your bottled up thoughts and emotions down on paper allows you to take your time before blurting out things in a fit of anger, frustration, sadness – and desperation. It provides you with time – time to figure out how you truly feel, time to decide what you really want to say, and time to figure out the best way to say it – a way that will catch your spouse’s attention without sounding accusatory and condescending. That’s important.

Who’s to Blame?

So, what should you do? Refrain from making the letter about everything your spouse has done wrong in the marriage. Rather, focus on how you feel. Explain to your spouse how the breakdown in the marriage is making you feel and reaffirm how devoted you are to saving the marriage. Tell your partner that you still love him/her and you regret that you both have allowed the marriage to get to its current state. Make sure he/she understands that you that you’re tired of playing “the blaming game,” and you’re both to blame for the decline of your relationship.

Avoid Playing the Victim

And, whatever you do, avoid playing the “victim” in the letter. Why? Well, because after reading a couple of sentences of why you are the “victim” and he’s the “villain”, he/she will probably throw down your letter in anger. Not good. Remember, there is a breakdown in the marriage, so make sure your letter details how you would like to move forward in the relationship – not stay stuck in the past.

Is There a Sample Letter I Could Look At?

Actually, there is! Feel free to tweak this letter to fit what’s happening in your marriage. The goal of this sample letter is to give you ideas on how to write your own letter.

Handwrite the letter – do not type it because it may appear impersonal.

Sweetheart,

From the moment I first laid eyes on you, I knew there was a good chance we could have something special. I was right. I remember feeling so lucky to have found you. You were everything I could have asked for – smart, funny, witty, considerate, honest, hardworking, ambitious, sexy, generous, and kind. You were everything I wanted in a lifelong partner back then – and still are today. Your integrity is something I love and respect.

 But, somewhere along the way our marriage went off track and I regret that. 

The thing I loved most about us during those early years of dating and marriage is that we truly enjoyed each other’s company. Our days were always sunny and filled with tummy-quaking laughter. Never was a day that I felt unloved or unwanted – and I’m pretty sure you felt the same way. Our passion for life, love, and each other was unmatched. It took very little time for me to know that you were the person I wanted to spend my life with. That is still true today, and will never change. I am devoted to you, our marriage, and our children – and always will be.

We have weathered many storms, during our ten years of marriage. But, we have also always come out on top. We survived – flourished. We have been blessed with a home to call our own, battled uncomfortable and sometimes frightening illnesses, had miracle babies, earned degrees and got good jobs.

But, I’d be lying if I didn’t acknowledge that we also encountered some tricky and challenging episodes, as well. But that’s life and marriage, right? There will be triumphant moments and rough patches in a marriage. We are currently in the midst of a storm, but it will pass. Yes, we have both made mistakes – some small and some huge, but we are still here – together. Fighting together. My hope is that we have both learned from our mistakes – yours, mine, and ours. You were and still are my rock during troubling times – and I hope I am that for you, as well. You make me feel safe like no one else can.

I’m proud to be your spouse, and I believe in you, me, and us.

I know I don’t say it often enough, but everything in this letter comes from my heart. Forgive me for taking us for granted. I don’t always make the best decisions and sometimes I’m a bit rash – well, okay a lot rash. I also know I can be impatient and thoughtless, and I’m sorry for that.

I am also more sensitive and emotional than you at times, which makes resolving issues tricky. I know that I lash out at you for things when I’m upset – sometimes you deserve them and sometimes you don’t. Either way there are better ways to address our issues.

I can be frustrating, I know. And, I admit that in the past when we have disagreed, we have not handled the conflict to the best our abilities. But, I want to change that. I feel like I’m losing my best friend, and that’s the last thing I want to do. I have walked out on you in the middle of arguments. I have shut you out when I should have leaned on you for support. Now, I realize just how damaging those actions can be to a marriage, so my goal is to change how we communicate and interact with each other.

Because you – we are worth it to me.

Honestly, I regret so many things in our marriage. Hurtful things we have said and done to each other. I am sorry I didn’t listen more. You deserved that. Please forgive me for all of the times I was disrespectful to you and our marriage. And, all of the times I made you feel “less than” because I didn’t get my way. You are not “less than” in any way. You are everything. Please forgive me for putting our relationship in jeopardy because it means so much to me. 

So, I have taken time to deeply reflect on my part in the breakdown our marriage, and I now understand my role in it. I am ready to take steps to repair our damaged relationship. I am prepared to do whatever I can to “fix us.” Even if it means going to a marriage counselor, dating again like we did when we were younger, trying new things in the bedroom, eating breakfast and dinner together every night, taking mini-vacations without children, going to marriage retreats, etc. I want to save our marriage. I promise to listen to you uninterrupted and to always show you the respect you deserve.

I will take your concerns seriously, so we can strengthen our bond.

Let’s work together and make our marriage stronger than ever before. I’m game – are you? I miss our late night convos. I miss your sweet kisses on my neck and the way we cuddled every night. I miss you.

I  Love You,

Me

What Will Happen Next?

Crafting an emotionally-raw letter like that can be overwhelming. It may even make you feel like you are giving all your “power” to your spouse. In other words, you may feel as if you are begging for forgiveness. You’re not. You’re trying to save your marriage. The thing is you must be vulnerable to your spouse for the letter to make any difference.

Once you give your spouse the letter – back off. Giving him/her time to read it, think about it, pray about it, and craft a response to it – verbally or through another letter. He/she may not read the letter immediately, and that’s okay. It’s best that your partner read the letter with a clear head and open mind. It may take a couple of days or a couple of weeks. Be patient. But, don’t allow it to go on for months with no response. Also, be prepared for no response but a change in behavior. That’s a non-verbal way to communicate that he/she has read your letter and is meeting you halfway.

In Summary…

The truth is, settling down in a quiet place with a pen and paper and crafting a heartfelt letter may be the first step in reducing the anger, hurt, and resentment in your marriage. The next step should be to rebuild the bond you once shared. It wasn’t too long ago that you couldn’t wait to see your partner after a long day at work. You’d practically jump into each other’s arms. When you used to smile just from the thought of seeing your loved one again.

You loved his/her smell, the way his/her skin felt on yours, the way he/she laughed, dressed, walked, and even ate food. Keep in mind, however, that you can’t rush the re-connection process, no matter how much you’d like to. It should be a process – one that takes time so you don’t ever end up in this same predicament again.

The good news is you can start the process of rebuilding your marriage, even if your partner isn’t initially onboard. Ask him/her out on a date – someplace you both used to love. Stay positive around your spouse and don’t allow him/her to goad you into an argument. Be attentive and loving even if he/she is not. Going home to your family every night doesn’t have to be a negative experience. You can still recapture the butterflies you used to feel when you saw your partner. It just takes time and patience – and sometimes a really good letter. Good Luck!

References

Scott, S. B., Rhoades, G. K., Stanley, S. M., Allen, E. S., & Markman, H. J. (2013). Reasons for divorce and recollections of premarital intervention: Implications for improving relationship education. Couple & Family Psychology, 2(2), 131–145. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4012696/

The post How a Heartfelt Letter Can Help Save Your Marriage (Template Included!) appeared first on Marriage Rescue Retreats.


How Can I Tell if My Husband is Abusive?

The post How Can I Tell if My Husband is Abusive? appeared first on Marriage Rescue Retreats.

*If you are being abused, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-799-SAFE (7233)) for information, support, and resources.

Guess what? By the time the abuse begins, you are already most likely fully devoted to your marriage and your husband. Most likely you’ve invested a lot of your time, money, and effort into being the “perfect wife.” You and your husband have probably purchased your first house by now, uprooted much of your “former lives,” re-routed your personal routines, ingratiated each other into your families, church communities and other social circles, and built a boatload of trust. You may be pregnant, considering pregnancy, or even have a child or two.

Your lives have become thoroughly intertwined – even before the abuse has started. You are legally, financially, and spiritually bound to your abusive husband. The truth is, the main goal of an abuser (any abuser – boyfriend, friend, parent, spouse, partner, etc.) is to pull you in and push you out.

In other words, the aim is to entice you with sweet words and gestures, thus, making you 100% dependent. Then, he/she uses hurtful and destructive tactics like belittlement, control, degradation, and criticism to isolate you from friends and family and lower your self-esteem. The objective? For you to end up feel like you are worthless without him/her.

How Can I Tell If My Husband is Abusive?

Most psychologists, psychiatrists, mental health workers, physicians, and social workers define abuse as any action that is deliberately degrading, psychological harmful, mentally/emotionally cruel, violent, life-threatening, and/or dangerous to another individual.

However, even with this definition, truly understanding the nuances of abuse and identifying it can be extremely challenging. Why? Well, many times, the signs of abuse are so hidden that even those closest to the victim don’t know it is happening. As a result, the victim often suffers in silence for many years or decades until something pushes him/her over the edge and he/she is forced to do something – whether they want to or not.

Did you know that approximately 35% of couples have experienced at least one dangerous, aggressive, life-threatening, or violent event during the course of their marriages? Another 24% of marital couples will experience ongoing domestic violence during the lifetime of the relationship. Well, it’s frighteningly true.

The severity and longevity of domestic violence, aka abuse between spouses, depends on the type of abuse and a variety of other factors. But, it’s important to understand that it doesn’t matter what gender, race, socio-economic status, educational status, religion, culture, weight/ height, or age you are – it can still happen to you.

Abuse does not discriminate. 

How Can I Tell If I’m Being Abused?

The most common forms of abuse are mental/emotional/psychological, sexual, verbal, and physical. Keep in mind, there are other “lesser known” types and subtypes of abuse like neglect. For instance, domestic violence is a subtype of abuse that occurs between spouses.

An abusive husband is usually extremely controlling and belittling. He also tends to be ridiculously overprotective, pushy, intrusive, violent, and upsetting. For instance, an abusive husband will want to know where you are at all times. You will have to “check-in” with him multiple times a day, and be where you said you would be – or there is hell to pay. There is no room for mistakes. He will also have a detailed list of extremely strict and limiting rules and guidelines for you to follow – at all times.

If you break these rules, you are confronted with an onslaught of psychologically-damaging words – i.e. “stupid,” “worthless,” etc., and/or physical acts – i.e. beatings. You will have to account for every minute of your day and your ability to communicate with friends and family will be severely limited, if not non-existent. In addition, you will most likely be confined to the house most of the day.

You may be lucky enough to get small allowances for any items you need, but will not have access to any bank accounts or substantial amounts of money. You may or may not have a phone or television. As a result, you will most likely feel lonely, scared, and dependent on your spouse for everything. You will fear upsetting him, so you will tip-toe around him, and try you best to keep him happy, but it won’t work. It never works for too long. Your life (and your children’s lives) will feel bleak, depressing, and utterly hopeless.

Okay, So My Husband is Abusive – Now What?

If you are being abused, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-799-SAFE (7233)) for information, support, and resources.

They can talk you through the options and important next steps you need to take to help ensure that you and children are safe.

What If I’m Still Not Sure?

If you’re still unsure, try confiding in a close friend, church pastor, counselor or other trusted advisor for support.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline also has helpful resources on their website thehotline.org, including a page titled “Is this abuse?” and confidential live chat feature where you can talk to an advocate every day from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. CST.

In Summary…

I would do you an injustice, if I told you that this would be easy – because that is a lie. Leaving an abusive husband will be hard, painful, difficult, frightening, extremely emotional, and gut-wrenching – especially if you have been together for a long time. You will cry and get cold feet many times before you finally use your voice and/or get away.

You may love your husband and you may be dependent on him like a young child is dependent on his/her parents. You may be scared to venture into the world – by yourself – for the first time in a really long time. I get it. But, it’s important to dream about who you used to be before your husband dwindled you down to the shell you are now.

Who did you used to want to be? Did you want to be a nurse, teacher, doctor, etc.? Did you used to want to feel important? Valued? Did you used to want to be a stay-home-mom, fully immersed in your happy children’s lives? Who did you used to be? Because, you can still be that person. Your husband will tell you can’t be – but that is a lie.

There are programs out there that can help you get on your feet – programs for women and women and children. Professionals, who can help you find a job, go back to school, get counseling, find housing, provide childcare for your children, pay your own bills again, protect you and your children (witness protection programs) and just start over. You just have to gather the courage to tell someone – anyone what’s happening to you and accept their help.

The former you is still inside. The brave and courageous you. You just have to find her again – for you and your children. Keep in mind that the longer you stay in a dysfunctional environment, the more harm you will do to you and your children. So, put you and your children first – and tell someone. It will change your life.

*If you are being abused, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-799-SAFE (7233)) for information, support, and resources.  

Reference

The National Domestic Violence Hotline. (2019). Abuse statistics. Retrieved from: https://www.thehotline.org/resources/statistics/

 

The post How Can I Tell if My Husband is Abusive? appeared first on Marriage Rescue Retreats.


What Should I Do If I Feel My Spouse is Neglecting Me?

The post What Should I Do If I Feel My Spouse is Neglecting Me? appeared first on Marriage Rescue Retreats.

Why isn’t my spouse paying attention to me?

If you feel like your spouse has suddenly stopped paying attention to you and your needs – you’re definitely not alone. The truth is the neglect could stem from disinterest, dissatisfaction, or boredom with you or the marriage OR there could actually be a really good reason for it like stress, illness, the death of a loved one, pet, or close friend, financial issues, and/or workplace drama. In other words, it may not have anything to do with you…

But, how can you know for sure?

You can’t unless he/she shares his/her thoughts with you. All you can do is take notice of the change in your spouse’s behavior and wait patiently until he/she feels comfortable enough to share any concerns with you. Waiting can take forever, I know. But, in the meantime, you can gently encourage him/her to open up to you – but don’t be pushy because that will only drive him/her further away from you.

couple hands

The first thing you need to do is remind yourself that you really don’t know what’s going on at this point. In other words, you may suspect something is “off” with your spouse, but you can’t know for sure unless he/she tells you what’s going on. So, to avoid looking cold-hearted and angry; summon your inner angel and be sympathetic towards him/her and whatever he/she may be going through. It’s going to be challenging, especially if you feel like your spouse has been ignoring or dismissing you for a long time.

For instance, you tell your spouse you love him/her, but the sentiment is not returned. Or, you cook your spouse his/her favorite meal for dinner and he/she calls you and tells you he/she is going out with friends. I get it. And, although every situation is different, feeling like your spouse simply doesn’t care about you anymore is both frightening and heart-breaking. Thankfully, nine-out-ten times that’s simply not the case – your spouse loves you even if he/she isn’t showing it like he/she used to.

The worst thing you can do, however, is become needy, demanding, and/or aggressive – physically or passively. These tactics will only push you further apart, instead of getting you the attention you want. The key is communication. If something is bothering you in the relationship – talk to your spouse about it. The good news is there are things you can do to jumpstart the chemistry between you and your spouse again. It’s not over yet!

How Should I Address the Situation with My Spouse?

Let’s be honest – no one gets married just to be ignored. If that were the case, most of us wouldn’t go through the torment. Yeah, feeling ignored, dismissed, and neglected hurts like crazy, but luckily there are things you can do to encourage better communication.

Listed below are things you can do if you feel your spouse is neglecting you:

Get Out of Your Head!

This is probably one of the hardest things you will probably ever have to do. Getting out of your heard is hard – real hard. This is especially true when the person you love is ignoring you or excluding you from his/her life. Anxiety and depression are often just around the corner – lurking. That’s why the worst thing you can do is conjure up all the bad things that could be happening in your marriage.

“My hubby doesn’t love me anymore, so that’s why he spends so much time at work.” Maybe, that’s it OR maybe, he’s trying to work extra hours to take you on your dream vacay OR maybe, he’s simply trying to catch up on bills, but doesn’t want you to worry about it.

“My wife is bored with me, and that’s why she spends so much time with her sister.” Maybe, that’s true OR maybe, she simply enjoys the company of her sister, whom she has grown up with. There’s often a close bond between family members, especially between siblings, so maybe being with her sister feels like home and has nothing to do with her love for you.

So, what should you do if I if can’t stop thinking the worst case scenarios?

Keep going. Be your normal loving self and don’t allow your partner’s distant behavior to ruin your day – or life. More specifically, every time a depressing thought pops in your mind, replace it with a more positive one – from your marriage or just from your day or life.

What are you thankful for? What makes you truly happy? Once you determine that – focus on it. Happiness is contagious. So, if you are positive and happy, your spouse is bound to take notice – making it impossible for him/her to ignore you for too long.

Slow Your Roll

Slow my roll? Yes, slow your roll. In other words, take a break. Keep in mind that a “break” doesn’t have to mean moving out of the house or breaking up. It may simply involve not calling or texting your spouse until he/she initiates contact with you first. This gives him/her a chance to miss you.

Moreover STOP calling and texting your spouse a thousand times a day over nothing. Yep, nothing. This is especially true if you know your partner is super busy at work and if the job is super demanding and stressful.

Be considerate and give him/her a break. The truth is a less available spouse is an appealing one because its add an extra layer of mystery and longing to the relationship. More specifically, it causes your partner to wonder what you’ve been up to all day.

Do You!

The best thing you can do for yourself, if you are feeling neglected, ignored, and/or abandoned is do you. In other words, be less clingy and more independent. More specifically, always have a “backup plan” for when your spouse just isn’t “there” emotionally or physically.

For instance, go grab drinks and dinner with co-workers after work, call up a friend or sibling and catch that movie you’ve been dying to see, volunteer at a non-profit like the Red Cross or an animal shelter, start a new hobby, spend time with those less fortunate, train for a marathon, start a new exercise routine, and/or focus on your health and hygiene.

Basically, surround yourself with people, who make you feel good about yourself. But, don’t throw yourself a pity party, because that’s just not attractive – and it’s not going to make your spouse spend more time with you.
Keep this in mind, it’s normal and healthy to have separate interests, friends, and activities. You are not joined at the hip, and you both had lives before meeting and marrying, so it’s time you got back to doing you. And, honestly, being independent from your partner helps keep you both grounded.

So, be available for your spouse – but not too available that he/she forgets how truly magical you really are. Your independence will remind your spouse just why he/she married you in the first place. Score!

Take a Long Hard Look at YOUR Behavior

It’s always easy to blame any problems in the marriage solely on your spouse. It’s his/her fault, right? But, before you go jumping to conclusions, take a minute to take a look at yourself.

Maybe, your spouse is ignoring or neglecting you because you said or did something that hurt him/her. Maybe, you forget your anniversary or maybe you were a little too friendly to the waiter or waitress the last time you went out to eat. These things matter – and hurt.

You won’t know until he/she shares this tidbit with you. Granted, you probably didn’t mean to hurt your spouse’s feelings, but what if you did? That would explain why he/she is now distant towards you.

Maybe, your clinginess, jealousy, bossiness, or aggressiveness is becoming overwhelming to your spouse – especially if you only recently started behaving that way. The truth is your spouse may just need a little breathing room every once-in-a-while. And, guess what? That’s perfectly normal and very healthy.

Tell the Truth!

Once the gates of communication have opened up and your spouse is ready and willing to share his/her concerns with you – tell him/her the truth. Don’t sugarcoat how you have been feeling or what you have been experiencing. Be open and honest. One of the best ways to work through issues is to be truthful about how you feel. But, leave the anger and resentment at the door. Just talk and listen to one another.

Don’t make assumptions and try to keep an open mind. After you have mustered your courage, ask your spouse why he/she hasn’t been spending much time with you lately. Tell your spouse that you feel ignored and neglected. Explain to him/her that it has been making you sad.

Ask your partner if it was something you said or did that pushed him/her away from you. And, reassure him/her that he/she can talk to you about anything and you will listen. Lastly, let him/her know that you are willing and ready to work on any issues together.

FYI: Your spouse may have no idea that he/she has been neglecting you or that it’s hurting you, so give him/her a chance to rectify his/her behavior before calling it quits. One of the hallmarks of a happy and successful marriage is good communication.

DON’T Divvy Out Blame

Okay, so we’ve talked about things you should do to reconnect with your spouse, but what should you not do?
Well, you should not divvy out blame that’s for sure. Whatever is happening with your partner and the relationship is two-fold, so blaming each other could lead you straight for a separation or divorce. Ouch. You both probably had some part in the disconnect. And, more than likely neither of you meant to hurt the other one.

Sometimes life happens that throws us off-track. The good news is we don’t have to stay off-track. The key is taking it day-by-day. Also, keep in mind that even if you do talk about what’s causing the distance and neglect, it doesn’t mean your relationship will immediately (or ever) go back to the way it “used to be.”

Maybe, it will be better or maybe it will just be different. Who knows? But, before you can do anything you both need to heal from what happened. You’ll need to work towards forgiving each other because, honestly, that doesn’t happen overnight.

And, let’s be frank – it’s not going to be easy. But, if you love one another and are determined to get back on-track with your marriage, it is possible. It’s really up to you and your spouse. But don’t rush each other. Be respectful and give each other the time and support you need to rekindle the passion you once felt for each other. It’s still there – just give it a chance.

Recouple

Recouple? Yes, recouple? What does that even mean? It means reconnecting with your spouse. In other words, once you learn the reason for your spouse’s neglect, you can start working towards finding solutions for the issue(s) and reconnecting with one another.

Recouple with your spouse by carving out time together each day – i.e. eating breakfast and talking in the morning before work, and/or sitting down to eat dinner together each evening and talking about your day, interests, highlights, concerns, goals, needs, wants, and passions. Talk about what makes you – you!

Allow your spouse to express himself/her without interruptions. And, vice versa. Be patient – and kind. But, most of all – listen. Take a real interest in what your spouse is sharing with you. Plan activities and vacations, and sign up for marriage retreats, where you can recouple with each other and meet other couples, who are recoupling, as well.

couples sitting together

Go on dates – dates you used to love before you got married. Don’t forget to get “dolled up” for them – they are special occasions, especially if you are parents. Remind your partner of just how much he/she means to you and how much you love him/her. And, re-spark the passion in your marriage by letting him/her know you are in it for the long haul.

Seek Emotional Support

If you’ve been feeling ignored, neglected, dismissed, and/or abandoned for a while now and nothing seems to be helping, it’s probably time you seek emotional support. Keep in mind, however, that it may take time to fully heal from the hurt and pain, but it’s definitely “doable” with commitment, time, patience, dedication, love, and respect.
And, because repairing your relationship is a marathon – not a sprint, seeking support will help you can remain strong, positive, and determined, while you work on reconnecting with each other.

One avenue not explored enough by struggling couples is marriage retreats. These sanctuaries are extremely beneficial for couples, who want to improve and strengthen their marriages. During this time, you and your spouse talk to relationship experts and other couples experiencing their own struggles – some like yours and some totally different.

Regardless, it is a good way to take a good look at yourself and your relationship through new lens – while making new friends and learning new ways of coping and resolving issues. Marriage retreats are not only relaxing, they can also help you remember just why you fell in love with each other.

In Summary…

You got married because you love one another and enjoy being around each other. Well, guess what? That core foundation is still there – even if it doesn’t feel like it. The truth is there may be times when you’re more in love with your spouse than he/she is in love with you and vice versa. That’s normal because love can be fleeting from time-to-time. But, most of the time, it’s only temporary.

Other times you both may be in love at the same time with the same intensity. All of this is normal. So, if you begin to feel neglected take pause, give your spouse space, be patient, be open and honest, be less clingy and demanding, be available to listen, be empathetic (as much as possible), and focus on why you fell in love with him/her.

Is your spouse’s behavior characteristic of who he/she has always been, but you’re just now noticing it? Is it possible you have been inadvertently neglecting your partner, as well, but just couldn’t see it? Think before your react and don’t come at your spouse when you’re angry, irritable, or frustrated because it will only push him/her farther away from you. Rather, try gentle nudges to open up communication. Then, work from there.

However, if you have tried everything including talking to people you trust, sharing your concerns with your spouse, and attending marriage retreats, it may be time to re-evaluate your relationship. But, give your marriage 100% effort before you throw in the towel on years of love and memories. There’s always hope – you just have to grab hold of it!

The post What Should I Do If I Feel My Spouse is Neglecting Me? appeared first on Marriage Rescue Retreats.


How to Reignite the Flame in Your Marriage

The post How to Reignite the Flame in Your Marriage appeared first on Marriage Rescue Retreats.

“Trust is the most important part of a relationship, closely followed by communication. I think that if you have those two things, everything else falls into place – your affection, your emotional connection.”
~Vanessa Lachey

It doesn’t matter if you have been married for ten months or ten years, it is normal for the flame of love and passion to weaken over time, but when you add certain “elements” to the relationship, it can reignite the fire between you. The truth is everything is exciting at the beginning of a relationship – it’s all new, after all. But, as you get more comfortable with one another and your relationship becomes “routine,” boredom and indifference can set in… Unless, you take steps to prevent it. Your marriage doesn’t have to be boring, and it doesn’t have to be “ritualized.” No, you can keep the passion sizzling between you with a little extra TLC.

Listed below are ways you can reignite the flame in your marriage:

Checking-In

If you want to get the fire burning in your relationship, you will need to reconnect with one another. What does that look like? Well, it could be as simple as drinking coffee or tea in the mornings or eating breakfast together, while you talk about your upcoming day.

Or, checking-in with one another in the evenings by eating dinner together and sharing your “highs” and “lows” from the day. The goal is to let your spouse know that you are there to listen and that you want to be involved in his/her life.

Kissing & Hugging When You Reunite

Jumpstart the passion in your relationship by kissing and hugging when you reunite. In other words, when you come home from work, greet your spouse with a kiss and hug to let him/her know you missed him/her. But, you shouldn’t just do this when he/she comes home from work – do it any time you separate and reunite.

Even if it’s something simple like coming home from running separate errands, running down the street to get gas, coming back from a friend’s or relative’s home or event, or even coming back in from taking your four-legged baby for a walk. It doesn’t have to be extensive or drawn-out because the aim is to show affection to one another.

Getting Handsy

What does “getting handsy” even mean? Well, it means holding hands. Now, you can add other “elements” into the mix like hugging, kissing, and caressing to “spice up” the marriage. These simple gestures can go a long way in re-sparking the love and sexual chemistry in your relationship. How? Well, physical stimulation of any kind can trigger your body’s release of oxytocin, the “feel good” hormone.

As a result, you are calmer and in a better mood. It’s the same hormone that is released during an orgasm, according to studies. Another added benefit to physically touching? A reduction in stress, and as we all know, less stress can lead to more sizzle.

Changing It Up!

The truth is it’s easy to get in a rut when you’ve been with someone for a long time. You get married and get immersed in a daily routine. Then, the kids come along, and while that routine shifts, it’s still just a routine. The result? Being stuck in the same old thing day in and day out. Snooze.

There’s nothing worse, for most, than being stuck in a life of unending predictability. However, that doesn’t have to be your life. No, you can add some excitement to your marriage, just by changing it up – your life, yourself, your activities, your behavior, your marriage, your routines, and the sex, of course. In other words, break your routine and try something new!

For instance, if you typically do your chores and run errands – hello grocery shopping, on Sundays, use this day to do something fun with your spouse. Find a babysitter, if you have children, and do something together like go to church, explore a museum, go downtown and partake in the festivities, go see a movie you’ve been wanting to see, grab lunch at your favorite restaurant and talk about your future goals, volunteer at an animal shelter, go get couples massages, workout together, etc. Basically, take in the sights in your city.

Or, be spontaneous and do something you’ve talked about a thousand times, but never did like signing up for a painting or cooking class, or going horseback riding or skydiving. The thing you don’t want to do is become complacent. Why not? Because it can quickly dim the sparkle in your relationship.

Keep in mind that changing it up can also refer to sex. Sex can get pretty humdrum if it’s performed the same way all of the time. For instance, if you are always the one to initiate sex, let your partner initiate it the next time. Or, if you have a go-to position, try a new one.

Remember, the goal is to reignite the flame in your marriage – so go for it! Think outside-of-the box and make magic again in the bedroom. There’s no need to be bashful – you’re married, after all!

Surprise!

Be honest, when was the last time you surprised your spouse or vice versa? Last week, last year, or ten years ago? Well, if you can’t remember the last time you and your spouse were surprised by each other, it’s long overdue. If you want the fire burning again in your relationship, send your partner a sexy text message or picture, while he/she is at work.

Note: Don’t send anything too racy to his/her phone because you don’t know who will be around him/her when he/she opens it up. So, keep it sexy, but PG-13. Use code words and emojis to get your point across. And, snap a picture of yourself in a sexy outfit or send a picture of you showing off your best assets – i.e. your lips, abs, legs, feet, eyes, smile, dimples, etc. Sexy doesn’t have to mean naked.

Think about how it used to make you feel to get those sweet and sexy texts and pictures when you first started dating. Well, even if you don’t get them as much anymore, you can re-spark the fire in your marriage simply re-starting this sexy game of cat-and-mouse.

Ditching Your Electronics

Have you ever thought about ditching your electronics for an hour or two a day? How about when you get home from work? Well, an excellent way for you to reignite the fire in your marriage is to free yourselves from distractions, and yes, I mean electronics – all electronics. So, do yourself and your relationship a favor and silence your smartphone, put away your tablet, and turn off the television.

Your favorite sitcom can wait. That juicy text from your BFF can wait. But, your relationship cannot. Choose to spend time with your spouse instead – talking, laughing, figuring things out, touching, and just being together.

Go on a romantic date, play UNO or charades together, sit on the front porch, rocking and sipping on your favorite adult beverage, cuddle in bed while talking about the future and remembering the past. Let your fascination or obsession with being connected to the world go, so you can reconnect with your partner.

Get Your Sexual Mojo Back

Mojo? Wait…what? Yes, you can’t reignite the flame without it. The truth is having a healthy and active sex life is important in a marriage. Therefore, it is vital that you carve out time to have sex on a regular basis. Don’t, however, pressure your spouse into having sex when he/she really doesn’t want to, because that will lead to a disaster.

Sex has to be mutual for it to be enjoyable. So, if one partner doesn’t feel up to the task that night, skip it. I know, it’s rough, but your spouse will appreciate your consideration and patience, which ultimately push him/her closer to you. Lastly, don’t be bashful in the bedroom – you’re married and sex is supposed to be fun – not an obligatory function of marriage.

Take a Stroll Down Memory Lane

When the passion starts to simmer down in your marriage, take a stroll down memory lane. In other words revisit the past. Think about your history together. Recall your happiest and funniest moments.

Think about what first drew you to your partner. Was it his/her smile or laugh? Was it the twinkle in his/her eye or the cute way he/she ate pasta on your date? Or, was it something super sweet like saving up to get you a piece of jewelry or take you on a fancy or fun date? Think about how all of that made you feel.

How did your spouse used to touch, hold and kiss you? Does he/she still do that today? If not, write down things you used to do to each other that you enjoyed and start doing them again.

Also, start revisiting places you used to go when you were dating – i.e. the old pizza joint, the park to feed the ducks, on a romantic dinner where you got all gussied up, out for ice cream or coffee, to the beach, to ball games, bowling, putt-putting, the movies, etc. And, while there hold hands, smooch, snuggle, and be affectionate. Who cares who is watching – this is about you and your spouse.

Talking

Sounds simple, but communication woes is the number one cause of marital dissatisfaction. It can be challenging to navigate how to communicate with your spouse, especially, when it’s a difficult topic. I get it. But, it’s necessary, if you want to have a healthy and happy marriage. Marriage takes work – a lot of work. And, sometimes is blissful and sometimes it’s hard – really hard.

Most of the time, however, it’s worth the effort. But, nothing will get resolve if you never talk to one another. I don’t mean just talking about the easy and neat things, but the challenging and messy ones too. So, if you have concerns, talk to your spouse about it, and encourage him/her to talk to you about his/hers.

Nothing will get “fixed,” if it stays hidden. And, the longer you avoid talking, the more damage it will do to your relationship.

Planning a Romantic Getaway – Sans the Kids

When was the last time you snuck away – just the two of you without your kids? I bet it’s been a while, right? Well, if the flame in your relationship is dying a slow death, consider saving up and going on a romantic getaway – out of your city or state. It can be a weekend or a week; it doesn’t matter.

The aim is to help you reconnect – mentally, physically, spiritually, and sexually. Honestly, spending some quality time away from work, routines, kids, and the daily stresses of life can work wonders in your fledging marriage. Even just one night together – alone in a hotel – can help refresh yourselves and your marriage.

Seeking Help

Seeking helps sounds so daunting, doesn’t it? Well, just because you need reinforcements in your relationship doesn’t mean something is wrong with you or spouse. We all need extra support from time-to-time. It’s normal and healthy. And, you don’t always have to be stuck in couples counseling.

Many times, it just means talking to someone about what’s happening with you, your spouse, and in your marriage. One way you can do this is by attending marriage retreats. The best thing about these events is that they are relaxing and fun! Yes, fun!

It’s a good way talk about any issues with relationship experts in a calm and steady environment – sans the daily stresses and distractions back home. The goal is to provide support to you and your spouse, so you can reignite the flame in your relationship. It’s kinda like a working vacation. Not too bad, right?

And, the best part about it is that you get to leave with a toolbox of valuable “relationship tools” – i.e. healthy coping mechanisms, conflict-resolution strategies, stress management/relaxation techniques, better communication, and newfound appreciation for each other. Basically, all the ingredients to re-spark the flame in your marriage.

In Summary…

Good communication and reconnecting with your spouse are two of the best “elements” to keep the flame in your marriage burning bright for many years. And, although it seems like a lot of effort, it’s no more effort than you exerted when trying to snag your spouse when you were dating. Remember that? Waiting by the phone for a text or call or rearranging your schedule so you could be “free” to go out with your love interest?

Or, what about, making sure you always looked fantastic when going on date with him/her? Look at all of the effort you made back then – and do it again. You have the foundation of love, respect, and commitment, now all you need is to reignite the fire. You don’t have to let the flame dwindle out; you can stop it in its track simply by being proactive.

References:

Migdat, T. A. (2016). Dissertation: The effect of marital therapy on physical affection. Brigham Young University. Retrieved from https://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=7418&context=etd

Magon, N., & Kalra, S. (2011). The orgasmic history of oxytocin: Love, lust, and labor. Indian journal of endocrinology and metabolism, 15, 156-161. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3183515/

Uebelacker, L. A., Courtnage, E. S. & Whisman, M. S. (2003).Correlates of depression and marital dissatisfaction: Perceptions of marital communication style. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships 20(6), 757-769.

The post How to Reignite the Flame in Your Marriage appeared first on Marriage Rescue Retreats.


ADHD is Ruining My Marriage

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.


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