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Finances and Relationship Counseling

Do You Profit From Your Relationship?

What happens when we stop putting what’s really important in our lives first? Our relationship with our spouse or family, our hobbies, and our friends? What does it really mean to profit first from your relationship?

Over time our emotional bank accountants get withdrawn and who knows maybe we might even go bankrupt, ouch!

I recently read Profit First by Michael Michalowicz and how he revolutionized small (and big) business practices in helping make them profitable entities. Many people often forget that running a business is similar to running a family.

Profit First suggests that before doing anything (paying bills, upgrading services, etc.) in your business, always take your “profit first” (hence the name).  It’s a different way of thinking and mindset shift.

Most people think:

Income – Expenses = Profit

Michael suggests:

Income – Profit = Expenses

Think about your own relationship and consider whether or not you take your “profit” first.

  • How often do you prioritize spending time with your spouse over doing the dishes, cleaning, laundry, working, or running errands?
  • How often do you feel drained when you give your all at work to come home to destress, eat and fall asleep after watching TV?
  • Perhaps you are running around doing things that you feel obligated to do and not what you enjoy.

None of these behaviors on their own are bad.  The problem becomes when you spend your all and have nothing left over for your relationship.  When it comes to our relationship we are most often giving it the sloppy seconds, who wants that!  That just doesn’t feel good for anyone!

While reading Profit First, it identified 5 bank accounts necessary for your business, and I began thinking about how couples might utilize these bank accounts in their relationship.

  • Income

Have you heard of the saying “pay yourself first”?  Most people pay themselves last after they have spent money on all there expenses and half tos.

If you start by paying your relationship first what do you think the quality of your relationship would be like? What does paying yourself in your relationship look like to you and your spouse?

Maybe first thing when you come home you greet your spouse with a hug or kiss, or first thing in the morning when you wake up, you make your spouse coffee, engage in conversation, take the kids to school because your partner wants to sleep in.

  • Profit

The profit is what you put aside to do fun things in your relationship, whether that’s take a vacation, go out to dinner together, etc.

It is important that your relationship “be rich” and “profit” in order for you and your spouse to be happy. Most importantly the “money” you allot for each account should not be moved to others!

For relationships, this means no canceling plans with your spouse when something else comes up, unless it’s an absolute emergency. While this might seem scary at first, it will help you really get a handle on enriching your relationship.

  • Operating expenses

This is how you keep your relationship going. It might look like the “Business” of the relationship: organizing meals, scheduled home maintenance, going to and from work, scheduling activities for children, etc.

The most important thing to remember about operating expenses is you should NEVER take these first over your profit. This is where people in business, and relationships, get tripped up. They spend far too much time, energy, and money, on the operating expenses and not enough is put into their profit.

  • Owner’s Compensation

This one is often the most fun for couples because it’s when you put a percentage in every month in order to then give yourself a “bonus” every 3 months. You take half of the money out and spend it on your relationship.  Imagine every 3 months looking forward to a BONUS with your partner or spouse.  How fun!!!  I am planning things in my head right now!

The other half stays in the account for emergencies.  A relationship emergency could be the need to go to couples counseling, you forgot your anniversary and now you have to do something special for you partner.

  • Taxes

How do you file taxes (jointly or separately)? How do you save up for big purchases of things that you need to pay (taxes, repairs, remodeling, etc.) Since you only do your taxes once yearly and you either get a refund or you have to pay, set up an account where those things will already be taken care of for you from the money you put in. While this might not seem like the most romantic way to go about things, it helps to delineate financial goals, which can often be the number one stressor for couples.

Sounds like a lot? Trust me, it isn’t. When I first started using Profit First for my business, it transformed my business and it’s my hope that approaching your financial and relationship goals will be transformed too.

If you are in business I highly recommend reading Profit First for is true financial meaning and plan, great stuff!

If you’re ready to begin profiting from your relationship and trying out a new approach to connection with your spouse and need a little guidance, don’t hesitate to reach out to Katie at Katie@FamilyAndCouplesCounseling.com or 954.401.9011.

 

Katie is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Coral Springs who specializes in affair recovery, marital counseling, and helping couples love again

4 Tips for Affair Recovery During the Holidays

The holidays are here and that can mean a lot of high emotions for some people; sometimes, they have difficulty with their family of origin, like their mom or dad, or maybe a sibling rivalry that just hasn’t ended. Affairs in relationships are even trickier to navigate around the holidays, but there are 4 tips for affair recovery during the holidays. 

For others, they might be going through something in their lives that they don’t really want under a microscope like an affair or possibly the endless barrage of questions about what’s next.  “So, when are you going to get married or, when are you having kids?”

For some couples who are dealing with the aftermath of an affair, the holidays might seem like the last thing on their mind.  The affair might not have been disclosed to anyone, so they might have to act like nothing has changed when inside they’re hurting.

If the family is aware of the affair, children, in-laws, and other family might demand the couple continue to engage in the status quo of the relationship or “put on a brave face for everyone”.  Either way let’s face it, it’s difficult!

If you’re dealing with the aftermath of an affair during the holidays or know a couple who is, it’s important to remember the following tips:

Boundaries

Whatever the case surrounding their affair, it’s important to set boundaries, and the first step in affair recovery, especially as it pertains to the holiday season.

Perhaps it means only staying at a holiday party for a two hours, rather than staying until the very end to help the host clean up. Perhaps it means no drinking or no work parties as that is where the affair may have occurred.  Perhaps it means a couple doesn’t host this year and rather offer to assist by bringing the side dish to a family member’s house instead.

Don’t Overshare

Sometimes a couple wants to share and tell everyone (especially with family), about what’s happened to them or what’s going on in their lives.  It’s important to be cautious about who you share the information with and how much information is shared. When either part of the couple opens up to family or friends, they’re opening their relationship up to potential negative opinions and judgements, which may or may not be helpful.

Assure there is a clear understanding of whether or not you’ll share and what you will share.  Check in regularly regarding thoughts and feelings about communication with others.

Figure Out What You Need

Think about your relationship as being in the Intensive Care Unit, ICU. Especially when an affair is fresh the couple is treating and managing the symptoms of the affair as they come up, often moment to moment.

If an affair is still in its first year after discovery then a couple might be experiencing the holidays for the first time post affair.  This can bring up a lot of anger, hurt, frustrations, resentment and more.  Family and couple traditions can feel tarnished or no longer special.

It is important to talk about this with one another or work with a therapist trained in helping couples navigate an affair.

Get clear on what both parties need during this time and how to communicate that to one another. Maybe taking some time to be together is helpful or time apart is what is needed. Come to a compromise on what that looks like and help each other honor that, knowing that from moment to moment that may change.  Discuss how you’ll handle any unforeseen events that might come up.

When an affair, an emotional trauma, is fresh, each party needs a lot of self care especially for the partner who is just learning about the affair.  For the partner just learning about the affair this information is brand new as opposed to the partner who was involved in the affair.  The involved partner has been processing the affair over time.

Recreating a New Relationship Story

One of the important things in affair recovery is that the couple begin to create a new relationship story.  If the couple is ready and has worked through aspects of the affair sometimes it helps to create new rituals and traditions especially during the holiday season.  Helping the couple say goodbye to the old relationship pre-affair and living into a newer relationship that is just the couple’s, post affair.

The holidays overall bring added and undue stress to most of us.  If you are working through an affair and having difficulty I urge you to seek out a trained professional who can support you through the process.

Katie Lemieux is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, expert couples counselor and coach

specializing in affair and betrayal recovery with offices in Coral Springs and Fort Lauderdale, FL. If you live or are willing to travel to the area to help heal your relationship reach out to her www.FamilyAndCouplesCounseling.com.

 

affair recovery - technology is hurting your relationship

Stop Your Technology Affair Today

It’s Friday evening, you’re on the couch, watching Netflix with your spouse and your phone buzzes gently next to you on the couch. You glance over and a small smile crosses your lips. “Who’s that?” Your spouse asks. “No one.” You reply, yet you’re itching to pick up the phone.

Now, you’re out at a restaurant, your spouse heads to the bathroom, you pull out your phone and frantically check your notifications: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter. You see your spouse coming back and quickly pocket your phone.

Might as well face it, you’re addicted to your phone. Are you having an affair with your technology?

You’re not alone.

It’s been thought that we check our phones at least 110 times a day, probably way more.

Your guess is as good as mine about how long we’re on our phones each times we check them.

Overuse of technology is a common complaint I hear in my office from couples, heck it is one of my own complaints.

Whether it’s during dinner, a movie, a date, a day out with the kids, you name it, it’s there.

What does all this phone time do to our relationships? How does it impact the quality of our love life? Is it really “harmless”, a victimless crime?

That depends.

For some couples, this isn’t an issue. For most, it is.

The iPhone 8 was released just last week and people are already plotting and planning on how to get it. I mean do you really need a new phone? What else could you do with the $700, of course I say invest in your relationship, but I am sure you already guessed that!

For couples, I always ask:
What are your rules and agreements around technology?
Does your phone or computer have a bed time?
Where does your phone sleep?
When do you have set weekly time that you spend with each other without technology?

Technology can rob relationships of time, presence, intimacy, and emotional connection, to name a few. It’s important to remember that staying overly connected to technology, when in the presence of your spouse or partner, is a way to avoid communication and connection.

When we think about the amount of time we invest in technology and checking our cell phones, our E-Mail, text messages, playing games on our phone, it’s little wonder there’s no time left for meaningful connection.

What we invest into getting the latest gadget or toy, we take away from investing in our relationship. (Check out my video on How Investing In Your Relationship Can Go A Long Way to see what I mean).

For couples who are struggling with getting the technology mistress out of their relationship, you might be wondering what exactly you can do to achieve that goal.

Set Boundaries

These aren’t just for other people! Boundaries around certain activities are just as helpful as setting boundaries with individuals in your life. Get some boundaries around technology. Putting your phone to bed, on silent, shutting it off or even stopping the notification dings, rings and bings helps if you jump every time your phone does. You need to recondition yourself.

Schedule It

I’m a huge proponent of scheduling your time and scheduling it wisely. We all get the same 86,400 seconds every day (go ahead Google it that is how many seconds in 24 hours; I Google’d it myself). They will be spent whether we plan them or not, they will replenish but we can never get them back. How are you spending your 86,400?

If you know you need to work with your phone or laptop for an extended period of time, schedule it for times when it won’t interfere with family time, add breaks in between working and put your technology to bed.

Get Present

Staying in the present moment is so important for couples. Mindfulness (Check out Everyday Mindfulness here) is a buzzword as of late, yet what does it really mean?

It means being fully present in the moment (bye bye, multitasking) without passing judgement on the situation. What does that mean for your relationship and technology? Leave the phone at home! Don’t worry if that would have made a great Instagram picture. Stay present and enjoy the moment for what it is; the memory will last longer that way.

Looking to end your affair with technology? I’m here to help. Feel free to give me a call to further explore the possibilities of getting your relationship unplugged at 954.401.9011 or E-Mail me at Katie@FamilyAndCouplesCounseling.com.

Katie Lemieux, LMFT Coral Springs

10 Questions to Ask Yourself About Dad

Last month in honor of Mother’s Day, I wrote about the lessons learned from mothers and how we choose to incorporate (or reject) those lessons into our own parenting style.

Did you know, we spend 75% more on Mother’s Day than we do Father’s Day? Why are dads getting the short end of the stick when it comes to showing our affection?

Don’t forget Dad!

Dads are often forgotten when we think about parenting. Afterall, who can compete with a “Mother’s Love”?

Yet how many times do we hear, “Well, s/he needed a father figure growing up.”  The word father or dad doesn’t have to be just 1 person.  If you grew up without a dad for whatever reason I am sure you had many father figures.

Although I have 1 dad, I was blessed to have different male role models in my life each of them had a specific importance and taught me so many things.

Dads are usually known for being the “fun” parent, the parent who can fix anything, the disciplinarian or in my house the one who got in trouble.  My grandfather was always being yelled at by my grandmother for wrestling with my brother’s in the house.

Dads also get pegged often as being less emotional.

A Dad’s Love

Just like we learn from our mothers, we also learn from our fathers.

Around Mother’s Day, I asked you to consider your own childhood and how it impacted your views on parenthood.

Let’s take a look at what you learned from dad or the males in your life:

  1. What did you learn about love and relationships from your father?
  2. What things did you want to incorporate into your relationship/marriage/parenting based off your parents?
  3. What things did you not want incorporate?
  4. Rituals and traditions dad brought into our family was…
  5. A good memory that I have dad was…
  6. My dad made me feel special by…
  7. When I think of the word “dad”…
  8. Something my dad did/taught me that is important to me in our parenting is…
  9. Something my dad did that I didn’t like when I was a child was…
  10. An ideal dad or father is…

These questions can be difficult to ask, especially for adult children of abusive parents. Despite the difficulty in asking these questions, it’s important to do because it creates a roadmap for how you parent your own children and engage in a loving, healthy relationship with your partner or spouse.

This Father’s Day, I encourage you to spend a little time reflecting on what a “Father” means to you. What does being fatherly mean to you? How do you incorporate feelings of fatherhood into your own life, whether it’s by supporting your partner or spouse, embracing your role as the father in the family, or being a positive male role model in the lives of children.

If you’re looking to explore more about what it means to you to be a father, I’m just a click or phone call away at Katie@FamilyAndCouplesCounseling.com or 954.401.9011.

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The Kentucky Derby and Your Marriage

I’m the first one to admit, I’m not much into horse racing, yet there’s something about the Kentucky Derby that is so interesting…

Is it the hats, the roses or the names…

Perhaps it’s the glamorous hats everyone wears which are reminiscent of the fascinators more commonly found in England. It might be the day long event to watch mere seconds of a race. It could be the beautiful rose wreath placed around the winning horse’s neck (Run for the Roses anyone?) Or maybe it’s just the funny names each horse is given, like American Pharoah or Always Dreaming.

While thinking about the Kentucky Derby this year, I found myself wondering the amount of time and energy jockeys dedicate to training for the Kentucky Derby (the most well known of the three races, the Belmont and Preakness Stakes make up the other two of the Triple Crown).

And inevitably, I got to thinking about marriage counseling.

Horse and Home Life

The process of becoming a jockey is lifelong; like an sport, height and weight requirements, in addition to starting at an early age are factors which play predominantly in the jockey’s success. The horse, its temperament, and relationship with the jockey are also contributing factors, much like the saying, “picking a good horse for the race.” For those reading who like to gamble and bet, you might be familiar with the process of picking a racehorse, following the horse’s past wins and losses, style of racing, comfort on a certain track, etc.

How different would our lives be if we devoted the same type of diligence to our marriages? Or whom with whom we chose to have children?

How do you prepare for big moments in your life?

Couples often underestimate the benefits of premarital counseling or How Premarital Questions Can Help You Have a Happy Marriage. Yet marriage counseling is not necessarily only when there are problems or difficulties in the relationship. Healthy couples are always preparing for the next step of relationships, from dating, to the engagement, to marriage, and what happens during the marriage.

Just like the three races of the Triple Crown, relationships go through three phases, from courtship, marriage, to maintenance. Each phase will require different energy, motivation, and responses from the individuals in the relationship. The maintenance required of a relationship with children is much different than that of newlyweds and a new set of skills and resources must be learned and harnessed.

How did you decide to get married? How did you decide to have children? How will you make future decisions about the course of your relationship and family?

Don’t worry about the Derby…

It’s easy to get caught up in the little things; the engagement party, the wedding, the baby shower, etc. It’s only natural. These are big events, with many people in attendance, and we want to make a good impression and have good memories.

I’ll share a little secret with you: these aren’t the only big moments in your life.

The big moments are those in which you’re sitting at dinner and decide that your partner is the one. The day you wake up and feel nothing but joy and happiness with your life, your family, your friends. The time your child shares with you a very large (or small) worry or concern with you and you respond in a kind and supportive way.

These are the big moments in life for which we prepare. If you and your partner need a little help in your marriage to prepare for the next big steps you’ll take, I’m just a phone call or click away at 954.401.9011 and Katie@FamilyAndCouplesCounseling.com and I’m here to guide you and your partner in your marriage counseling. Talk to you soon!

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Katie Lemieux LMFT Family and Couples Counseling Coral Springs

Your Relationship Needs a “Spring Break”

It’s no secret most of us are working more and playing less.  Ugghh… (hand raised) I have been guilty of that for years.  I have finally resigned to no longer working weekends, only took like 20+ years, and have been incorporating more play into my life.  I can’t tell you how essential it has been for me.  It’s almost like my oxygen mask.

Psychology Today published an article, “The Decline of Play and the Rise in Children’s Mental Health Disorders” in which it outlined how the lack of play in children’s lives lead to a decrease in feelings of control for children, with dire consequences.  Wowzers, right!

Adults are no different. Sort of.

Everyone remembers the scene from The Shining, where the words “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” were typed over, and over, and over. Well, Jack Nicholson’s character wasn’t entirely wrong.

The Case for Vacation: Why Science Says Breaks Are Good for Productivity” highlights a similar sentiment as Psychology Today’s article: everyone needs a break to feel and perform their best.

And you all know I’m a big proponent of the Pareto Principle, which is that 20% of our input causes 80% of our results. And you all know that getting balanced was a first order of business this year for me, still is and an on going process.

Why all the fuss over Spring Break?

In it’s truest sense, Spring Break is a time for students to take a break from returning to school for the Spring Semester. Florida is one of the more notorious Spring Break destinations here in the U.S., historically Daytona Beach on the East Coast and Panama City Beach on the Gulf Coast.

Before you start planning your own Spring Break, stop for a moment and consider all of the leisure activities you enjoy doing, especially those with your spouse and family. How many of these leisure activities are you participating in regularly? How often do you find yourself making excuses for why you can’t take vacation, you can’t take a break, or you can’t stop working?

This month, I’m giving you a homework assignment. Counterintuitive, right? Work so you can stop working. It’s helpful though, I promise.

Take a minute to think about the things you and your partner really enjoy doing and things you enjoy doing solo. Try to come up with at least 10 activities, whether it’s 5 with your spouse, 5 alone, 10 with your spouse, 10 alone, etc.

These are the things you should prioritize when developing your weekly or monthly schedule. The beginning of every month should find you scheduling these leisure moments for yourself, your spouse, and your family.

Easier said than done, right? One of the biggest challenges the individuals and couples I work with face is getting started on implementing a new activity, task, routine, etc. It can feel like there’s a lot of effort put into making change, very little pay off. Who knows if you’ll even commit to doing those leisure activities you’ve scheduled. Need a little help deciding what to do? Or a little extra push to commit to leisure? Check out my blog on 25 Ways to Have Fun and Be Playful in Your Relationship or my others on 15 Ways to Make Your Relationship Sizzle this Summer. (Tried those? Here’s 15 more!)

My colleague Susan Block, LMFT and I created a video on “3 Things to Do Now In Your Relationship” for those individuals who were motivated and willing to begin making changes. This month, begin making the changes you want to see in your relationship, your work, your life and identify the need for a Spring Break. If you’re having a hard time hitting “Pause” on your habits, I’m just a phone call or click away at 954.401.9011 or Katie@FamilyAndCouplesCounseling.com, talk with you soon!

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Relationship Counseling

Top 4 Ways to Support Military Families

We had the great pleasure of interviewing our colleague, and friend, Jessica Jefferson on tips for working with military families. Jessica is uniquely situated to work with military families and couples, coming from a military family herself. Below, she offers the top 4 ways to support military families. Relationship Counseling

Military couples go through the same issues as most couples; however, it’s often heightened and other issues are added onto everyday struggles. When working with military families, it’s important to have a background knowledge of the the military. The top 4 tips Jessica offers for families with a member in the military are:

  • Create Structure

Deployment and station changes can be stressful on families; sometimes spouses don’t always accompany the military member on the station change. It can be a hard transition and sometimes a family member can be unsure of their new role in the family, especially when a returning family member rejoins the family and hasn’t been around for a while. A structure when the service member is both home, and deployed, is key especially with your children. The structure will allow for an easier transition upon returning home from deployment.

  • Create Memories

Service members don’t always have their deployment on a timeline and may not necessarily know when they’ll be deployed. Jessica suggests creating memories together as a family even before the service member leaves and keeping the memories alive, so they can be sent as snippets throughout deployment, as a way to stay connected and communicate. This is also a way that children can stay involved and have a sense of control through participating.

  • Build Resources

A military family is always moving, making a support system so necessary for families. It can be tempting to rely entirely on a spouse as a support system but this can create dependency, which is especially hard when that service member is deployed. Conversely, welcoming a returning service member back into the home and social network will go a long way in reintegration. The spouse who stays home will want to avoid becoming overly independent and unneeding of the spouse, in addition to avoiding over dependence.

  • Be Understanding, Compassionate, and Accept Limitations

In retirement, military members can lose a sense of identity. It’s important that the partner be understanding and compassionate, while also recognizing when they need additional resources. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is commonly found in service members who return home and in some instances, a diagnosis of a mental health issue may result in a service member returning home prematurely. Individuals with PTSD may have higher stress responses, particularly around holidays with loud noises, or fireworks, as it’s reminiscent of combat. A result of PTSD can be increased introversion, withdrawal, and avoidance of potentially triggering situations.

A military family, like any other, goes through ups and downs of the family cycle. As clinicians and family members, it’s important to educate ourselves on best practices and individualized ways in which we can support and treat our returning active duty service members and veterans.

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How “Dogs” Help Relationships

I’ll admit, I’m a dog lover in fact I am a bully breed lover.  Don’t get me wrong, I like cats too and in fact I grew up having cats.  It seems anyone I ever dated was allergic to cats, so in order to have a pet I had to get a dog. And I’m making the case for how dogs help relationships.

We recently adopted a pitbull rescue in the month of September not even knowing that October was Adopt a Dog month.  One year old Charlotte came into our lives at the right time not knowing what was going to happen just 5 weeks later when we had to say an unexpected goodbye to our sweet and loving Destiny who was an 11 year old blonde (red nose, her coat was super light) pitbull who changed the hearts and minds of those who misunderstood the breed. The last 12 hours of her life highlighted so many things for me, not only about animals but about relationships.  Being able to be there for my spouse who had her since she was 6 weeks old was a precious time in all of our lives.  It highlighted to me the meaning of love, relationships, and marriage.  When I think of marriage the symbolism for me is choosing someone to “do life with”, the ups, downs, twists, turns, the belly laughs, and times of deep grieving and sorrow. How a Dog Helps Relationships

Pets, no matter what kind, can be a wonderful addition to a family and an excellent component in therapy. Studies show pets can actually improve our health, reduce stress, and help us live longer. Personally I think they make us better humans overall.  Therapists utilize pets in numerous way with clients, to help them heal from trauma, teach valuable life and coping skills, and much more.

Pets help us practice patience, teach caring, learn empathy and just plain enjoy life!  Are we really taking them for a walk or are they taking us out for some fresh air and exercise, of course I love a both/and scenario any day.  Pets bring us the utmost joy watching them play, being silly or showing us their personalities. When a dog especially comes into a relationship, couples must come together and decide on ideas ranging from how to raise and train the dog, notice and monitor the health and well-being of the dog, how the dog should be disciplined, and at the end of our time with them very difficult decisions on how to proceed. Couples also come together on the enjoyable moments pets bring.

Animals teach us so many things.  They can teach us a lot about relationships.  Having a pet is responsibility just like having a child or perhaps your dog IS your 4 legged child. I know to some couples having a child or having a dog may not be a future goal and I’m not going to convince you to do either. Although I do want to convince you to look at an area of your relationship this month that could use improvement. Maybe things are going smoothly in your relationship but you’re regularly annoyed your partner or spouse doesn’t empty the dishwasher or fold laundry. Maybe you’ve both been talking about taking that dream vacation to an exotic location yet haven’t quite nailed down a plan of how you’ll achieve that goal or seriously started budgeting.

Think of the “dog” in your relationship as the piece of your relationship for which you are jointly responsible. The maintenance of the house, mutually finances, short and long term goals. If you’ve both agreed to maintain separate responsibilities (Your spouse does the laundry while you mow the lawn) perhaps it’s simply a matter of keeping your spouse up to date on your tasks and vice versa. This open communication is important.

One way couples can reconnect, or recharge, is to focus on a shared vision. You may have both started out with a shared vision and slowly moved away from that goal. As we quickly approach the end of the calendar year, it’s the perfect time to start thinking about ways to adopt a “dog” into your relationship.

But don’t wait for the next two months to start working towards this goal! Begin today. If it seems like maybe you and your partner can’t identify the “dog” in your relationship, I’m always here to chat, Katie Lemieux, LMFT www.FamilyAndCouplesCounseling.com.

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What Mask Do You Wear in Your Relationship?

Ever wonder what mask you wear in your relationship? A late night Pinterest prowl produced the following Pin:

Blog

Interested in what this could mean for couples, I quickly used Google to search for “Japanese phrase about multiple faces”. While it appears the above statement is not Japanese in origin (but still very clever and thought provoking), there is the idea in Japanese philosophy of honne and tatemae. These Japanese words describe the contrast between a person’s true feelings and desires (honne) and the behavior and opinions displayed in public (tatemae).

With Halloween fast approaching (my favorite, and yes I still dress up) the idea of having two faces can seem akin to wearing them within your relationship and begs the question what do you wear in your relationship with your family, friends, co-workers, kids, partner…? Are there parts of yourself that you hide from others because you believe they won’t be accepted or because they are conflicting with a commonly held belief?

As a counselor one of the most important things I find when working with individuals or couples, one of my most important tools is unconditional positive regard. This acceptance of my clients allows for a more open dialogue between us about aspects of themselves they would like to change and how to bring about this change.

During a recent intern supervision, an intern expressed a deep sadness over some family troubles with a teenage child and voiced concern about the fact that while trying to help clients navigate difficult relationships and family dynamics, felt fraudulent because of their own perceived failings to handle their own family conflict.

Perhaps you even feel this way too. Successful in one area of your life, maybe at work, you desire improvement in another area, like your relationship.

  • What mask are you wearing at work that you take off at home?
  • Conversely, what mask are you wearing at home that you leave behind when you go to work?
  • Is it wrong to wear a mask anyway?
  • How is wearing a mask helpful in certain situations and not in others?
  • Do you want to wear a mask?
  • What would it be like if you can be your true self in all situations?
  • Are you even aware of the masks you wear?

The term “two faced” undoubtedly garners negative attention. We feel that those individuals who cannot show their true selves must be sinister or untrustworthy, hiding the truth and speaking negatively behind our backs. In essence, someone who lies or makes contradictory statements may be someone we think twice about befriending.

Is that mask acceptable? This month, I want to encourage to be your truest self, without fear of being too much or too little.

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Coral Springs Couples Counseling Yoga

How Yoga Can Make Your Relationship Superior

It’s a great idea and fun to celebrate, random monthly holidays. What better way to brighten your (or your partner’s) day than by celebrating Happy Cat Month by looking at pictures of happy cats everyday for the month? (Not for you? There’s always Adopt-A-Dog month).  Speaking of Adopt-A-Dog that’s exactly what we just did.  We added to our family.  We adopted a 1 year old rescue from the humane society.  Now, I’m making the case for how yoga can make your relationship superior. 

September holds numerous monthly holidays (Happy Cat Month is one of them) but it’s also National Yoga Month and “Superior” Relationship Month. That got me thinking: what makes a relationship “superior”? Could every couples make their relationship superior? And could this been done through yoga?

Coral Springs Couples Counseling YogaI spend most of my time thinking about how couples can improve their relationships and find satisfaction in their lives together. While superiority holds a rather negative connotation, I’m reminded of the Ernest Hemingway quote, “There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.” This month, I want to encourage couples to try and become superior to their former selves.

Where does yoga fit into all this? Yoga can be an incredibly transformative practice, for individuals and couples alike. Through yoga practice we find inner strength and peace, an ability to calm our mind, a way of letting go of judgement and living in the present. When couples practice yoga together, the experience is eye opening. Poses specific to couples yoga require clear communication as the couple moves from one pose to another, using each other’s bodies to stretch deeper into a position and really becoming in sync with one another.  I have done both couples yoga and flying yoga, so much fun.  What a GREAT way to enhance communication, create connection, and build trust with your partner.

There is no superiority in yoga practice and each individual honors where he or she in that moment of their practice. Why would we turn to yoga for superiority, if it appears to go against the basic tenets of the practice? Let’s return to the Ernest Hemingway quote, about being superior to our former selves.

Everyday is another day in our lives with opportunities to change the parts of ourselves we feel unhappy with or find cause us distress. The same goes for our relationships. There is nothing to hold back couples from starting today to become a superior couple, a healthy and loving couple, a successful couple.

A daunting task for most individuals and couples, one that doesn’t just start by taking a yoga class or two with your partner. Rather, the path to a superior relationship starts the way most yoga classes start: with an intention. You set your intention for your practice, whether it’s to try that headstand or stay in downward dog, why not set an intention for your relationship. The intention can be to express more gratitude towards your partner for completing a small chore, leaving a little love note, or even a quick phone call to check in on a lunch break.

Once you’ve set your intention, work towards reaching your intention each day with your partner. Encourage your partner to set an intention with you, not necessarily related to you, maybe related to a work related stress or personal goal your partner is working towards. There’s no right or wrong intention for you or your partner (unless of course that intention is spiteful in nature, that’s not the type of intention you want to set).

It takes time, effort, energy, and intention to achieve our goals in life and the same holds true for transforming your relationship into the type of relationship you want it to be. I’m always here to lend a guiding hand or a listening ear if you find yourself struggling in your relationship and can’t quite get it to the next level. I can be reached at katie@familyandcouplescounseling.com or (954) 401-9011; remember, your relationship is worth it!

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