What is SYMBIS for Marriage, and Why is it Important?

SYMBIS premarital counseling Carmel Indiana

I’m very excited to announce that I recently became a certified instructor for SYMBIS.  SYMBIS stands for Saving Your Marriage Before it Starts.  It is an evidenced-based premarital counseling tool developed by authors and therapists Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott. What is SYMBIS? SYMBIS is an online tool that allows engaged or newly married couples (or even couples who have been married for a while!) to log on individually and take an assessment.  The assessment has many questions about personality, upbringing, attitudes towards money, sex, and much, much more.  It then creates a print out with the results.  I receive the results and set up a minimum of 6 sessions to go over any strengths, weaknesses, or caution flags that...

Read More

12 Toxic Habits That Kill Relationships

habits

We all have unhealthy habits in our romantic relationships or marriages.  However, there are definitely some behaviors that are considered more “toxic” or dangerous to the relationship long-term.  If you find yourself or your partner falling into any of the following habits, you may want to consider reaching out for help!  Many of the habits listed below could lead to major issues and a toxic relationship between the two of you. Control Do you have equal power in your relationship?  There are a few reasons why this is important.  One, you need to have equal say and decision-making power.  Two, your relationship is a team.  If you find yourself having less than 50% power, it may be time to re-evaluate....

Read More

What to Do Immediately After an Affair Is Discovered

affair

When an affair is discovered, it is devastating.  It’s not unusual to feel in shock, anger, rage, depression, or even hopeless.  Sometimes the initial shock can be paralyzing.  Every person’s initial reaction is a little different.  This blog, in particular, is for those whose spouses have committed infidelity. There’s not necessarily a handbook or step-by-step manual of what to do next.  What I can tell you is that there are some steps that need to be taken quickly.  The following tips are what I have learned in my years of practice, and what I would encourage anyone to do should you discover your partner has been unfaithful. Disclaimer: Keep in mind, if you are in an abusive situation, these do...

Read More

10 Easy Ways to Increase Intimacy

intimacy

It can be very difficult after so much time together to keep intimacy as a priority.  Between kids, your career, extra-curricular activities, and running a household, oftentimes intimacy can easily get put on the back burner.  If you find yourself in a rut, I want to suggest a few ways to improve your communication and work towards better intimacy.  It can improve with intentionality and time! First, let’s define what intimacy is and isn’t.  Intimacy is sex, but that’s not all.  Intimacy is the deep, emotional connection you have with your partner.  It’s the stability, the comfort, and the familiar.  Intimacy is knowing each other inside and out, and accepting each other—flaws and all!  Intimacy makes a healthy sexual life...

Read More

Are you Married to a Narcissist?

narcissist

Have you ever noticed that your spouse is selfish, controlling, and manipulative?  Do you feel like they never take your feelings into consideration?  Do you feel dismissed by them?  If so, you may be married to a narcissist.  Narcissism is a word that is often thrown around, but today I want to define what it actually is and give you tips for self-care if you recognize that you are married to a narcissist. What is Narcissism? Narcissists are self-absorbed, have a lack of empathy for others, and are grandiose.  They are often described as being selfish, controlling, manipulative, and entitled.  Arrogance is also a key trait.  Narcissists believe they are unique and special.  They may believe that they are the...

Read More

8 Fair Fighting Rules for Couples

fair fighting

All couples fight.  It’s inevitable!  But do you and your partner know how to fight fair?  This week on the blog I’m going to discuss some Rules for Fair Fighting.  It’s easy to get caught up in the heat of the moment, and say and do things that are hurtful and damaging.  The following Fair Fighting Rules can help your disagreements be productive and conflict resolved quicker: I-Messages The best way to talk about Fair Fighting Rules is to discuss the way you start a conversation.  I talk a lot with couples about the difference between an I-Message and a You-Message.  A You-Message is blaming, attacking, and critical.  It sounds a little like this: “You never take the trash out...

Read More

12 Reasons Why Marriage Counseling Can Help

marriage counseling

We live in a time where it’s very easy to put the most important things on the back burner.  When we look at our list of priorities, often nurturing our marriage gets pushed to the bottom of the list.  Today I want to talk to you completely unfiltered about why Marriage Counseling can help you. The reasons that couples start Marriage Counseling can look different from couple to couple.  I’m going to attempt to address some of the most popular reasons why couples come through my door: Communication problems Do you find yourself struggling to communicate with your spouse?  Do you have the same fights over and over again, with no resolution?  Marriage Counseling can help you learn to talk...

Read More

What are The 5 Love Languages?

The 5 Love Languages

Happy Valentine’s Day from Journey to Joy!  Since love is in the air, today I’m going to talk about ways to improve your relationships and love your partner better.  Dr. Gary Chapman wrote a very popular book called The 5 Love Languages.  The 5 Love Languages include Acts of Service, Physical Touch, Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, and Gifts.  The premise behind the 5 Love Languages is that we all have 1 (sometimes 2) ways that we prefer to show love and be shown love by others.  This is very important information to know about yourself and your partner, because you may not be on the same page.  Here is what the 5 Love Languages look like: Acts of Service...

Read More

Let’s Talk About Sex

sex

Can it be awkward to talk to your spouse about your sex?  Absolutely!  We all want to think that we have everything figured out sexually and that our spouses are completely satisfied.  Many couples enter into a marriage expecting that things in the bedroom will just happen or have a way of working themselves out.  Obviously, this is not always the case. I often ask couples to look at it from this perspective: Would you rather endure a few possibly uncomfortable conversations or a lifetime of being unhappy or unsatisfied in your sex life?  By following these suggestions and opening dialogue between you and your spouse, you can assure you are moving intimacy in a more enjoyable and fulfilling direction...

Read More

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,...

Read More