12 Toxic Habits That Kill Relationships


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....

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10 Easy Ways to Increase 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...

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Lessons From My Mom


It’s Mother’s Day week!  Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms, grandmas, aunts, fur baby mommas, and adoptive mommas.  While Mother’s Day is a time to celebrate, it can also bring about grief for some.  For those who have lost a mom, or are still dreaming of becoming a mom, this day can be very hard.  Please make sure that you are being thoughtful and sensitive to those around you who may be grieving this Mother’s Day. This week on the blog I’m going to talk about lessons I’ve learned from my own mom.  My mom is one of the strongest, kindest, most caring people I’ve ever met in my life (I’m not biased, other people have said this about...

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How to Forgive Others and Release Yourself


We all have times where people we care about hurt us.  Sometimes these wounds are fleeting and temporary at the moment.  Other times the wounds we experience are long-lasting and detrimental to our development and functioning.  It’s not unusual for clients to come into my office holding onto past hurts from parents, siblings, friends/peers, bosses, coworkers, exes, spouses, and children.  What they don’t realize is that they have not been able to forgive the other person and move on.  Sometimes forgiveness is a process and requires intentionality. Today I hope to relay to you a method for forgiveness and healing.  It’s a way to work through the past hurt, validate your own feelings about what happened, and eventually move on...

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Are you Married to a 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...

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Are You a Good Friend?


What makes someone a good friend?  A good friend is reliable, trustworthy, and honest.  They love you enough to be a listening ear, but care enough to call you out on unhealthy behaviors.  They live life with you in community through the ups and downs.  They’re present and show forgiveness and grace. We all have those “friends”.  You know what I mean.  The friends who are flaky, unreliable, and unavailable.  The one who commits to plans, but you know will probably back out last second.  Maybe the friend is a surface-level friend, meaning that you only talk about the weather and your kids’ activities, but never anything deep.  What about that friend that takes and takes, but never gives in...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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Let’s Talk About 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...

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