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7 Effective Ways to Rebuild Trust in Marriage

trust

Sometimes people we love and care about the most will hurt us by breaking our trust.  Sometimes we end up being the ones doing the hurting.  When trust is broken in a marriage, it’s important to  repair the relationship by being intentional.  Whether the trust was broke by lying, infidelity, deceit, words, or back-stabbing, it’s important that the rebuilding process begins immediately. Increase and improve communication It may be hard to talk to your spouse, especially if you are the one who was hurt.  When your partner breaks trust, it’s important to talk about what happened and why.  Bad things can happen when you stuff feelings, build walls up, or avoid the elephant in the room.  Because of the hurt,...

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How to set S.M.A.R.T. Goals

goals

Happy New Year from Journey to Joy!  If you’re like me, you’re probably thinking about this fresh New Year and what you want to achieve in the next 365-ish days.  This is the season of New Year's resolutions and goal-setting.  However, the majority of New Year’s resolutions will fail within the first few weeks of January. It’s easy to get discouraged.  If you’ve never heard of S.M.A.R.T. goals, I hope to give you some insight into ways to set better and more achievable goals for this year. S is for Specific When a goal is specific, it means it is simple and precise.  Why do you want to accomplish this goal?  How do you intend to?  What will it take? ...

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Where Are We Going? A Faith-Based Perspective

faith

I remember in the months leading up to my wedding, during premarital counseling at church, a dear friend and mentor gave me a very important piece of wisdom.  He said, “One of the most important reasons marriage exists is to help get each other to Heaven”.  What an amazing concept!  Since that day, my perspective on marriage has changed completely.  Instead of just being a partner with my husband, I now feel a responsibility to make sure I am doing everything in my power to encourage and grow his relationship with God. Can you imagine the transformation that could take place if we all viewed our marriages in this way?  Millions of people say in their wedding vows “Til death...

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How to Set Boundaries During the Holidays

boundaries

It’s the holiday season!  For some, this season is full of joy, happiness, and togetherness.  For others, it may create a sense of anxiety, dread, and fear.  The hustle and bustle of the holiday season may feel more stressful than fun.  If this sounds like you, I hope to offer you some suggestions to help this holiday season go smoother than previous years by setting boundaries. What are Boundaries? The reason I talk about boundaries so much in session and also online is because they are so important!  Boundaries teach other people how we want them to treat us, and what we are/are not okay with.  When you set boundaries with family members, you may say things like: “No that...

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Where Does Shame Come From?

shame

Shame is a very hot-button topic right now.   Researchers like Brene Brown are taking a topic that was once so secretive and making it normal dinner conversation.  The interesting thing about shame is, the more you talk about it, the more its power over you diminishes. I often have clients ask me where their shame came from.  More often than not, it comes from your family of origin and upbringing.  It can be caused by bullying, unhealthy parenting, or chronic embarrassment. Messages like “You’re not good enough”, “You’re stupid”, or “You’re bad” (whether actually verbalized or implied) can create shame.  These messages create a negative self-talk in your head, that convinces you that you’re a failure and you’ll never be...

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Is Fear Driving Your Life?

fear

Fear is a natural emotion given to us to help us survive.  However, it can also be taken to an extreme, where it dictates your life and interferes with your functioning.  Fear can become dysfunctional and harmful when it comes from trauma, cognitive distortions, mental illness, shame, an unhealthy upbringing, or perfectionism. Fear is both a positive and negative emotion.  It’s positive in that it sends a “Danger! Alert!” warning to our brains when something seems off.  Its purpose is to keep us alive.  Sometimes we will experience a gut feeling or intuition that tells us something is wrong, even if we don’t have all of the information. Fear is also a negative emotion, in that it holds us back. ...

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What is Ambiguous Loss?

ambiguous

Have you ever experienced a loss in your life, that wasn’t an actual death of a friend or loved one?  This feeling and experience is called Ambiguous Loss.  Ambiguous Loss is best described as a loss that isn’t concrete. Ambiguous Loss will often lead to you experiencing the Stages of Grief. The stages are Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and (eventually) Acceptance.  Some of the most common causes of Ambiguous Loss are job loss, divorces, miscarriages, illnesses, and trauma. Here are some examples of what Ambiguous Loss may look and feel like: A new client starts therapy because a loved one disappeared in a drowning accident.  The body of this loved one was never recovered.  However, the family is moving forward...

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How to Set Boundaries in a Relationship

boundaries

What Are Boundaries? Boundaries exist so that we can teach others the expectations, rules, and limits we have.  Boundaries also communicate what our emotional needs are.  They exist to keep bad things out of our relationships and good things in. Boundaries allow us to say “I’m ok/not ok with that”.  They provide a layer of protection to a relationship.  If boundaries have never been discussed or established, there is a good chance that invisible lines have been crossed many times.  There may be a lot of hurt and conflict in the relationship, but very little understanding on how to resolve it. How many times have you said “Yes” to something and really meant “No”?  Boundaries help us to say “No”...

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Marriage: Are You Friends or Enemies?

marriage

All too often I see couples who come into my office with their marriage in trouble and on the verge of divorce.  They come to counseling in an attempt to save their marriage.  You can usually spot these couples from a mile away.  They sit on opposite sides of the couch (not touching AT ALL!), usually have their arms folded, and the moment they start talking, everything is the other person's fault. Somewhere along the way, they stopped being each other’s friend and instead started to view one another as enemies.  They no longer look at the marriage as a team effort.  Any positive feelings that they once had about their spouse are long gone.  How does a marriage get...

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Cheap and Free Date Nights

date

Date nights are a fun way to reconnect with your partner.  Often in sessions, I hear things like “We just don’t have time”, or “We can’t find a baby-sitter”, or “We don’t have the extra money”.  If you’ve ever said any of the above, please keep reading! I’m going to prove that date nights don’t have to be expensive.  The first thing I want you to try is to Google “Cheap date nights in (insert your city and state)”.  Just in Indy alone, there are dozens of websites with ideas for cheap date nights.  In addition to this, Groupon/Living Social are wonderful resources to get local deals on restaurants, shows, and activities...with huge discounts! Think outside of the box.  Dinner...

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