Your Couples Specialist:
Marital Counseling: 7 Myths Couples Should Know
Research tells us couples often prolong -- sometimes for years -- getting professional help for their...
Intimacy in Marriage Declined? What Couples Should Know
If you're feeling confused and frustrated about a decline in intimacy...
Cheating in Marriage: Can We Trust Again?
When any type of cheating occurs in a relationship, there are two levels of pain: The...
Parental Conflict Affects Children
It's not unusual for couples to say that one of the reasons they seek counseling is...

An essential ingredient of a close, connected and lasting relationship is feeling heard and understood by our partner. We seek to be acknowledged for our uniqueness, to not be judged, to be "loved even when I'm upset, confused, hurt or scared." Communication and relationship success is built on good listening.

Yet, really tuning in to our partner can feel challenging. Our busy lives make slowing down and focusing on our partner more difficult. Too, we may fall into some common traps that cause our partner to feel he or she can't turn to us in times of need and to receive comfort.

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Blending two families with children presents a number of well-known challenges: Helping the "kids adjust to the new "parent;" coping with the kids' other biological parent's preferences and concerns; and setting up house rules and helping the kids get along with one another. What often gets lost in the "blending" as the two adults focus on helping the kids adjust is focus on the couple themselves. With so much to adjust to in the newly formed family, the couple can easily lose sight of the need to nurture their own relationship.

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Research tells us couples often prolong -- sometimes for years -- getting professional help for their relationship. Couples often tell me they delayed seeking marital counseling because of a number of fears and concerns -- all of which are understandable.

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Your behavior during the early periods of separation and divorce can make a critical difference in your kids' well-being during this process and beyond. If you and your spouse are calm, able to listen to your kids' concerns and answer their questions, the events have the potential to be less traumatic. And, remember, these experiences are what they will take into adulthood and which can influence how they handle their own adult relationships.

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When any type of cheating occurs in a relationship, there are two levels of pain: The first stems from the cheating or betrayal itself; the second from the lies and deceit that took place to cover up the betrayal.

Cheating, for most couples, is the ultimate hurt. Most people will say -- until it happens to them -- that cheating would be the ultimate "last straw." However, many couples also seek to try to recover, to renew their bond with each other and to strengthen their relationship.

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