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Written by Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists, the Marriage in a Box blog shares insights into common relationship struggles, gives ideas for moving beyond the roadblocks, and helps you find your path to happiness – both individually and within your relationship.

Add some fun to Your Marriage This Fall

Research shows that couples report higher relationship satisfaction when they make more time to have fun together. There are many stressors a couple can face, like budgeting, parenting, and managing conflict, which need to be offset with a balance of fun activities together. Making time for recreation and pleasure a few hours a week strengthens connections and helps build a positive perspective in a relationship. 

A positive view helps couples feel optimistic about their future together. Date nights are great ways to have fun together, but minor daily activities aid with this goal, too. More structured rituals of connection daily, like morning coffee, reading together, and sharing your day at bedtime, count toward having fun together.

What Happens When You Lose That Sense of Fun and Sharing Time Together in Your marriage?

The early stages of a relationship are often full of intense emotions that gradually temper with time. As a couple the relationship grows steadier, comfortable, or even a little boring. It is important to feel comfortable with your partner; it shows that you trust them and can be yourself. It can signify the transition from passionate (fleeting) to compassionate (more enduring) love. 

However, boredom can mean your relationship is heading into a negative direction if you are irritable and not giving each other the time, attention, and affection to thrive in the partnership. If these bouts of boredom are more serious and disruptive, it isn't necessarily a sign that your relationship will fail. Instead, it might indicate that it's time to make changes or invest more energy into spicing up your married life.

If you are concerned about feeling unsatisfied or uninspired, inject some excitement into your marriage.

The Purpose of Play in a Relationship

Playing together alludes to a couple's quality fun and relaxing time together. It's all about incorporating novel, recreational, wholesome, and fun activities into your marriage. As important as having alone or private time is, it is equally important to spend quality time together to include fun, recreation, and relaxing activities; couples who play together, stay together. There are contributing factors to a long-term romantic commitment and there is adequate evidence that married couples can benefit significantly from playing together.

Having a strong love for each other is essential, but just love isn't enough; the couples who stay together use actions. It's important to have feelings for your significant other and to express those feelings of love through meaningful actions. Thoughtfully and genuinely listening to your partner makes them feel safe and understood. The action aspect of expressing love and the concept of couples who play together stay together is also relevant. A playing couple spends time with their partner doing novel and fun things. These activities enable bonding, positive emotions, and experiences that build beautiful memories. 

Six Ways to Add More Fun into Your Marriage

There are various play activities that you can do together as a couple. 

●    Intentional activities

These are the major or minor activities you set aside time for on your weekly, monthly, or yearly calendar: weekend getaways, shared interests, hobbies, vacations, watching a TV show or movie together, volunteering, etc.

●     Everyday activities

Inject fun and relaxation into daily chores or tasks. A great example would be cleaning out a closet or pantry together or any activity where you work around your home.

●    Flexible activities

These are the more spontaneous activities you don't necessarily set aside a specific time, place, and day for, but when you and your spouse suddenly find free time for them. (examples are making dinner, playing video games, having a spa day, a theme park, or trying something new or old).

Collaborate and brainstorm with your spouse with a list of activities you enjoy doing, and then you can compare and find the common ones.

1.   Brainstorm a list of things you would both like to do for fun.

Discuss what is blocking the fun in your life and discuss and make changes with your partner.

     2.Schedule time regularly for play dates. 

Take turns choosing the activities that you both agree on and add them to the calendar. 

     3. Budget money, time, and energy for fun activities.

     4. Get out and do some physical activity together.

Help each other eat right and participate in physical activity to feel healthy.

     5. Let yourselves be kids again. It can be energizing.

     6. Don’t be afraid to try new things.

Be open-minded and willing to compromise

It takes planning from both spouses to add fun to your life and communication. Consider using Marriage in a Box for helpful suggestions on the balance of finding and adding fun to your marriage.

Marriage In a Box is a resource for obtaining tools, techniques, and solutions professional marriage counselors use for typical relationship issues. Marriage coaching is also available on the website. You can also set goals and obtain rewards. Feel free to check out the kit and sources of information online.

Posted 9/27/2023

Sharing Parenting Responsibilities Helps Bond Couples

Partners learn to reconcile their differences and establish a new culture which strengthens their bond when they come together because every individual comes from a unique family system. Bringing together two people with different family values and family backgrounds does not come without challenges; therefore, couples should discuss and reconcile these differences before having children so that they both feel comfortable with parenting.

Three Parenting Styles

 

The Authoritarian Parenting Style

 

Authoritarian parents use strict control to discipline children with rigid rules enforced by threat or punishment. Authoritarian parents tend to be conservative and believe in traditional roles, values, and regulations to be followed without question, and misbehavior is unacceptable. The authoritarian parents' vision of the world is only black and white, right, or wrong, etc. Children may be looked upon with a critical eye and subjected to judgment, and open discussion with a give-and-take dialogue is not encouraged. 

Praise and reward are believed to lead children into becoming 'too full of themselves' and cause them to stray off the good path. Kids with authoritarian parents typically are well-behaved and willingly obey authorities, do well in school, and avoid deviant behavior out of fear of punishment. They are not used to making choices or taking full responsibility for themselves and are also more prone to suffer from low self-esteem, anxiety, and depression. They may have more limited social skills than kids from authoritative or permissive families.

 The Permissive Parenting Style

Permissive parenting, also called indulgent parenting, desperately focuses on maintaining a friendship with their child rather than being a parent. Many people believe permissive parenting is a curse of the modern age: The child is too much at the center of this parenting style, which uses reasoning, bribes, or manipulation to achieve some control. Permissive parents believe in the ability of the child to decide, make decisions, and act according to their desires and motives. Permissive parents believe in responding to the child's desires and accept children as equals, and they are included in decision-making and encouraged to communicate. These parents fear and tend to avoid confrontations and the use of power to shape and regulate their kids' behavior.

 

The effect of the permissive parenting style is that due to a lack of limits, the child has a sense of insecurity. The child may become dominating, impulsive, show problematic behavior, and do poorly in school. As these kids believe they are equal to adults, they are well equipped in dialogue, have high social skills, high self-esteem, and low levels of depression.

 

The Authoritative Parenting Style

 

Authoritative parenting is one of the three styles considered ideal by many people and child experts. Authoritative parenting uses firm control, high standards, fair reasoning, and positive reinforcement for good behavior. Authoritative parents are not restrictive as a preventive measure for bad behavior and strive towards letting their children live out their potential but within boundaries. They watch and impart clear standards for their children's conduct, and disciplinary methods are supportive rather than punitive, but crossing boundaries is not tolerated.

 Permissive parents desire their children to be assertive, socially responsible, self-regulated, and cooperative. Authoritative parents feel that a child needs to have a degree of say; still, parents have the final word. Authoritative parents try to understand their children, teach them how to understand their feelings, problem solve, and follow independent but still norm-supportive practices. The effect of the authoritative parenting style on children (because of the use of praise and rules that are fair and carried out in a warm, caring manner) is that the child has learned that behaving and following the rules feels good and gets them positive attention. 

According to research, kids of authoritative parents tend to do well in school and are self-confident and goal-oriented with well-developed social skills and emotional regulation.

How to Divide Childcare Responsibilities with Your Partner

  •  List your baby's needs.

Make a list of all the responsibilities involved in caring for the baby.

  • Anticipate and communicate.

You must tell each other what you want and need.

  •  Create a schedule.

With your preferences in mind, you and your partner can schedule household responsibilities.

  •  Shed traditional expectations.

It's easy to fall back on safe traditional roles. But doing so can leave one parent resentful and the other in the cold.

  • Share baby time.

Make room for two experts and work together. Mothers and fathers have different parenting styles, but parents sometimes have difficulty respecting and valuing those differences.

  • Consider hiring help.
  • Let go of perfection.
  • Reward yourself.

Communicating and being flexible with your spouse is critical to parenting your kids. Couples want their children to have the best outcomes and bond as a couple and family. Consider using Marriage in a Box for helpful suggestions and guidance in parenting kids and working through being on the same parenting page as a couple.

Marriage In a Box is an excellent resource for simple tools and tips professionals use for relationship issues. You can set goals, earn rewards, and find marriage coaching on the site. Check out the available kit and sources of information online.

Posted 9/20/2023

Do You and Your Partner Have a Healthy Work-Life Balance?

Managing your work life and your love life is a balancing act with a packed schedule and to-do list. It's natural if you feel challenged to do your best work and be a good partner. Managing a job you love and keeping the love strong in your relationship is possible if you work at it. There is so much talk about work and life balance, yet balance is very short-lived and constantly requires us to correct our course in one direction or another. We get busy, tired, and stressed, and the first thing that goes out the window tends to be the people closest to us, including ourselves, which creates a sense that we need to see that everybody gets some attention. 

However, that strategy can make the people we care about feel like a responsibility or a burden.

What Happens When Your Work Life Overshadows Your Marriage?

Even ten minutes of being present with somebody can have an impact. Try to value the quality of the time spent together rather than the quantity. When we have space from each other and are engaged and happy in our lives, spending time together can be even more rewarding, nurturing, and valuable. Seeing somebody you care about enjoying themselves and feeling good about their work can also be incredibly fulfilling. 

Discuss what times work best for quality time with your spouse. Consider keeping a planner and sticking to it when it comes to time with your spouse. Quality time spent with spouses and friends during special occasions or holidays can't be replaced, but work meetings can. If you don't spend as much time with your husband or wife for one month, you can give a little gift or plan a nice date. If you're both morning people, plan extra time before work to eat breakfast together to start your days, help reduce stress, and improve your mental health. 

Seven Ways to Create a Healthy Work Life Balance

1. Communication is Key

Talk to your partner about the work-life balance in the marriage:

●   Sitting down for an open, honest conversation should be one of your first steps. 

●   Once you've established which areas are causing issues, try and work out boundaries. 

●   Discuss your shared goals. 

●   Let go of resentment. 

●   Schedule us-time. 

●   Focus on quality, not quantity.

2. Set Boundaries Between You and Work

You can often set yourself apart by making yourself available, taking on extra responsibilities, or staying late at work. However, being so accommodating might also set you up for undue stress and burnout and affect your marriage. A good work ethic doesn't mean you must always be perfect. It's okay to say no to overtime and want to have the weekend off. Your value as a human being is independent of your ability to perform at work. Removing the pressure of performing makes setting boundaries with coworkers easier.

3. Ask Your Partner for Help 

If the marriage has a poor work-life balance, it is easy to take stress out on your partner. Try scheduling something to look forward to each day. Read a best-selling book together to discuss at dinner, go for a  walk around the neighborhood, or plan a double date for drinks to unwind after work.

4. Disconnect from Technology at Home

In the workplace, speed increases productivity, but a fast pace has the opposite effect at home. Families don't thrive on speed and productivity but on love and communication. We need to soberly look at how we allow technology to replace loving interaction and limit their use or turn off cell phones, tablets, or laptops.

5.  Make an Effort to Connect With Your Partner Daily

Cutting out the white noise or distractions in life is no easy task, but it is crucial to a healthy relationship. Whether slowing down on responding to texts, limiting your time on professional blogs, or turning off your phone after nine o'clock, you'll have more time to focus on giving to your relationship. If seeking a healthy work-life balance, it's about dedicating an equal amount of time personally and professionally. The secret to successful work-life integration is disconnecting from the distractions around you and your spouse and making time for just the two of you to connect.

6. Make Time with your Partner for Emotional Check-ins

As it relates to marriage, prioritizing means reserving energy for your spouse. Even if you're dog-tired when you get home from work, check in with your partner for a few minutes. "Prioritizing" means you do this even if you are facing an impossible deadline. The best time for meaningful communication in a relationship may be at the end of the day when lying in bed together before going to sleep. Couples can talk about the highs and lows of their day, discuss deep topics, or be intimate.

7. Take Time to Show Your Partner Your Appreciation and Love

Seizing a moment to remind your partner of your affection can significantly impact your relationship. Showing love in small ways, especially when you're not together physically, like texting a  simple "I'm thinking of you" message, demonstrates that you're engaged and deeply committed to your partnership and enriches the marriage. 

It takes effort from both spouses to achieve a healthy work-life balance, planning, and communication. Consider using Marriage in a Box for suggestions to help work through the rough areas to achieve a healthy balance between work and home life.

Marriage In a Box is a resource for obtaining tools, techniques, and solutions professional marriage counselors use for typical relationship issues. Marriage coaching is also available on the website. You can also set goals and obtain rewards. Feel free to check out the kit and sources of information online.

Posted 9/13/2023

Is It Time for a Fall Marriage Clean Up?

When you're dating, it's easy to see the possibilities of our future together as things look bright and hopeful. Opposites attract, and differences between couples don't seem so big, but they seem to grow once we get married while the similarities recede. Marriages Can get into a rut and become stale with mundane daily routines. So, it is essential to create things to look forward to.

Intentionally Connect with Your Spouse Daily. 

Create Touchpoints. Touchpoints are times of intentional connection with your spouse that occur with moments you find in everyday life. Doing tasks as a couple, like folding laundry, walking the dog, or doing dishes, not only provides connection but helps make the load lighter. Things like making coffee for your spouse, sharing time before you start your day, and catching up on what's new, funny, or exciting can create positive emotions.

Find a time in your schedule to build your connection and closeness intentionally. Some couples do this by showering together instead of alone, which can also set the stage for intimacy. 

Reduce Distractions and Communicate.

Make it worthwhile when you make time to talk by reducing misunderstandings and tension. It's painful when one or both spouses feel unheard or misunderstood, but it's also avoidable! Using the Stop-Look-Listen system is a technique to hear one another well and grow more connected through spending time together. 

Stop. Stop whatever you're paying attention to and give your spouse full attention. Let them know if you need a few minutes to wrap up, set a timer, then follow through.                                                      

 Look. Turn to face your spouse. Give eye contact. 

Listen. Listen to hear, not to respond. Try to understand where your partner is coming from and what's on their heart and mind. Reflect on what you heard them say and clarify to avoid making assumptions or mishearing. 

Clear the Air of Negative Emotions, Hurts, or False Assumptions.

Suppose you are in the habit of sticking a band-aid over problems. Now is the time to start healing those wounds, making peace, and restoring your relationship to health. Allow time for this process; "slow and steady wins the race," and be gentle with each other. Here are some suggestions:

  • Have more gratitude. Research shows there is power in gratitude and expressing appreciation for each other creates bonding. It's essential to notice the good rather than focus on what is not good.
  • If you created brokenness, fix things. We all make mistakes that can inadvertently hurt our partners; asking forgiveness and changing direction can go a long way toward healing. The important thing for the health of relationships is taking ownership.
  •  Create happy memories. If Boredom and a lack of fun have permeated your relationship, it's time to have positive experiences together to lay down the negative. Positive thoughts get internalized to result in positive emotions and free your brain from the negative. 
  • Avoid assumptions. A good way for couples to avoid distress is to ask their spouse what they meant by a statement rather than assume something negative that can taint an emotional response towards them.
  • Examine your emotions for hidden resentments. One problem resulting from insufficient communication in marriage is the build-up of negative emotions toward each other. Begin discussions with "I statement" rather than using attacking language.
  • Check in with your Spouse Daily Intentionally.  A brief" How are you? How are we? Is everything okay?" will do.

Spend time Reminiscing on Happier Times in Your Relationship.

Take a walk down memory lane. Remember when you met, recall what drew you together, and take some moments to reflect upon this time. Research shows that happier couples can remember pleasant earlier memories. It can anchor the relationship and remind you of what you might have forgotten. 

Banish Boredom with date nights and play dates.

Pack your favorite foods and head to a scenic spot for a picnic date. Throw down a blanket and pillows, enjoy the views, and have great conversation while dining. Adding some music can set the tone to create a romantic and relaxing ambiance. Regular date nights and fun games or activities strengthen the bond between couples. 

There are many factors to solving the marriage doldrums and disconnection problems where therapy is needed. If you continue to have trouble reviving the spark and fun as a couple, consider using Marriage in a Box for suggestions to help revive the spark.

Marriage In a Box is a resource for obtaining tools, techniques, and solutions professional marriage counselors use for typical relationship issues. Marriage coaching is also available on the website. You can also set goals and obtain rewards. Feel free to check out the kit and sources of information online.

Posted 9/6/2023

Get Rid Of Selfishness In Your Marriage

A marriage has an ebb and flow with giving and receiving. When one of the partners always gives more than the other, the relationship be comes unbalanced and needs attention, or it may drive that partner away. When one is so concerned and consumed in themselves, they forget to care about their life-long partner, disrupting the balance of married life. Caring about each other's needs and moods is essential in marriage.

Understanding Selfishness 

Selfishness is the tendency to act excessively or solely to benefit oneself, even if others are disadvantaged.

Selfish behaviors and attitudes are displayed by the following:

●      Lack of empathy

●      Prioritizing personal needs consistently

●      Disregard for partner's feelings and opinions

 Traits of selfishness in marriage:

      1. Acting in self-interest or feeling entitled instead of considering others' needs.

      2. No empathy for suffering people.

      3. No remorse when they've hurt others

      4. Use manipulation tactics and others to get what's wanted.

      5. Asking for favors but not repaying them.

      6. Unkindness, or kindness, has a price.

  Common examples of selfishness in marriage are:

●     When a partner makes their choices, desires, and decisions to benefit them only, regardless of how it would affect the other partner, it is selfish.

●     During arguments or a disagreement, both partners must be considerate towards each other's feelings; being one-sided is selfish.

●     In a marriage, family time should be a priority; getting so immersed in a career is detrimental that a spouse or family has lost their time and effort from that partner.

Causes of Selfishness 

Selfishness can vary with situations; everyone engages in this behavior to a certain extent.

Here are some factors that can cause selfishness:

Genetics: Family members with narcissistic personalities might make people more likely to display this trait.

Upbringing: Growing up with adult mentors who emphasized materialism and self-centeredness can influence selfishness in their child.

Stress: People may become selfish as a response to stressful events.

The Impact of Selfishness on Marriage 

Selfishness on the part of a spouse can cause their partner reluctance in thinking about their happiness. It can badly damage your love life if selfishness is repeatedly displayed. Physical intimacy, as well as emotional intimacy, is lost, and resentment can arise. Communication can break down, and trust weakens along with the couple's connection. Selfishness in a relationship might force the other partner to seek love outside the relationship.

Cultivating selflessness 

Here are some steps for couples to take:

●     Listen. Listen to grasp your spouse's feelings with as much accuracy as possible.

●     Validate. Respond verbally to your spouse with validation like, "I can see how you'd feel that way." while avoiding judgment and trying to fix.

●     Share. Put yourself in their shoes and look at the world from their eyes. Experience the anger, frustration, excitement, happiness, or feelings they express with an empathetic ear and a compassionate response.

●     Practice vulnerability. Empathy is built by both people in the marriage opening up about situations, feelings, and thoughts, and each responds similarly with empathy.

Overcoming Challenges

 Assertive communication is a skill that is valuable with selfishness. Practicing assertive communication allows setting clear boundaries, confronting selfish behaviors, and expressing feelings. Communicating in a way that will enable you to advocate for yourself while collaborating to find a middle ground with solving problems may be very effective with a selfish person. Using open and honest communication while sharing your needs, desires, and concerns and using skills such as active listening by focusing on what your partner is saying while showing understanding and validation is also helpful.

If you have a selfish person in your life, they've likely hurt you at some point, whether they realize it or not. Here are some tips to deal with the selfish people you have in your life.

Don't take it personally.

Understand that selfish people behave in their self-interest, regardless of how you act. Avoid taking their behavior personally or blaming yourself.

Set clear boundaries.

Sticking to boundaries may help you be less affected by the selfish person's behavior.

Practice acceptance

Understand that with mental health issues, there may be nothing you can do to change this person's behavior. If a confrontation doesn't change the person's behavior as you'd hoped, practicing acceptance in such situations isn't easy, but it may be necessary.

Get educated.

Knowledge of the root causes behind selfish behavior can help you empathize with the person and gain a deeper understanding that their behavior is not your fault.  

If you or your partner are struggling with selfishness, Marriage in a Box is an excellent resource for learning strategies and identifying selfish behavior patterns and communication skills.

Consider using Marriage in a Box to heal your marriage.

Marriage in a Box provides access to tools and techniques professionals use for relationship issues. You can set goals, earn rewards, and find marriage coaching on the site. Check out the available kit and sources of information online.

Posted 8/30/2023

Active Listening Can Prevent Marital Disagreements

Communication involves both speaking and listening. Active Listening is intently listening and responding to another person, which improves mutual understanding. It is an essential first step to diffusing conflict and seeking solutions to problems.

Active Listening is crucial in communication because it keeps you positively engaged with your conversation partner, making the other person feel valued and understood. This skill is foundational for a marriage or successful conversation in any setting, whether at work, home, or socially. When you practice active Listening, you will engage fully in what the other person is saying.

The Importance of Preventing Marital Disagreements

Unhealthy disagreements can negatively affect both partners' mental health and physical well-being. Conflict can also positively affect a healthy relationship by creating growth opportunities. Mishandling conflict can cause significant harm to a relationship.

Understanding Active Listening

Active listening involves going beyond simply hearing another person's words and seeking to understand their meaning and intent. It requires being active in the communication process.

Active listening core components include:

  • Being fully present in the conversation
  • Showing interest by practicing good eye contact
  • Noticing (and using) non-verbal cues
  • Asking open-ended questions to encourage further discussion and clarification.
  • Paraphrasing by restating the speaker's thoughts in your own words.
  • Withhold judgment and advice.

Here are some tips to help you ensure that you hear the other person, and that the other person knows you are listening:

  • Pay close attention.
  • Acknowledge the message.
  • Show that you are listening.
  • Provide feedback.
  • Defer judgment. 
  • Respond Appropriately.

The Role of Communication in Marital Harmony

Quality communication skills set the tone for marriage and help smooth out the rough places. So many areas require good communication to solve problems, such as parenting, finances, and resolving conflicts. Couples can improve communication by simply evaluating and eliminating poor communication habits. Most marriages are not without arguments or breakdowns in connection. How we communicate during conflict defines a marriage. It is essential to avoid things that can lead to a breakdown in communication.

When communication stops

Some common factors can cause communication to break down and lead to disagreement; Frequently, communication stops moving when criticism or negativity creeps in. Some examples of things that cause disconnect in communication are:

  • Lack of listening or shutting down.
  • Misunderstandings.
  • Negative verbal or non-verbal communication.
  • Degrading your spouse.
  • Bringing up the past.

Be cautious about misinterpreting relationship messages. It can lead to making wrong assumptions. It helps to clarify your statements to have clear communications.

Active Listening Enhances Marital Communication

Active Listening creates an open and safe communication environment and demonstrates respect and empathy to the speaker. The key to communicating in a marriage is Active Listening. Listening to your partner shows them they are valued and gives them a sense of respect. Active Listening lays the foundation for a positive atmosphere that encourages both parties to feel psychologically safe to share their thoughts freely.

Techniques for Practicing Active Listening.

Active Listening uses all the senses and is a conscious activity based on the three fundamental skills: attitude, attention, and adjustment. Maintaining a positive attitude paves the way for open-mindedness.

  • Don't make assumptions.
  • Immerse in your partner's conversation.
  • Drop defensiveness.
  • Pay attention to nonverbal communication.
  • Posture physical presence.
  • Five seconds of silence.

It can be helpful for couples to learn how to reflectively listen to help clarify their partner's feelings, expectations, and needs. Reflective listening highlights the feelings or attitudes implied in a person's communication for clarification. Paraphrasing is restating a person's idea in your own words to clarify understanding and open further discussion.

Specific techniques to enhance active Listening:

  1. Reflective paraphrasing rephrasing both content and feelings
  2. Using a slightly different word with the same meaning
  3. Convey empathy, acceptance, and genuineness.
  4. Ask open-ended questions These questions start with "Why?" "How?" and "What?" and encourage a full answer rather than a simple "yes" or "no."
  5. Use affirmations and validation
  6. Avoid interruptions and distractions

If you have trouble communicating, seek counseling. A professional can guide you through communication skills and techniques and help you find peaceful resolutions. Marriage In a Box is available for helpful advice and suggestions.

Marriage In a Box is a great resource that gives you access to the simple tools, techniques, and solutions that professional marriage counselors use for typical relationship issues. Marriage coaching is also available on the site. You can set goals and earn rewards. Feel free to check out the available kit and sources of information online.

Posted 8/24/2023

Nurturing Healthy Respect: A Guide for Couples

Importance of Respect in Marriage

Respecting each other's opinions and feelings is essential.

  • Mutual respect diminishes the fear of being different.

In marriage, you come to the relationship as individuals. Both partners have personality traits, talents, quirks, past experiences, and interests that differ. Showing mutual respect demonstrates appreciation for each other, differences, and all. Find ways to appreciate your spouse and their unique qualities daily. Declare your spouse's value in your actions.

  • Mutual respect gives strength to uphold healthy boundaries in the relationship. Find ways to appreciate your spouse's differences and show that appreciation daily. Declare your spouse's value in your actions.
  • Mutual respect compels you to remember you are on the same team when you have disagreements.
  • Mutual respect will help to strengthen the friendship between you and your spouse. Showing mutual respect allows friendship to grow because it takes the fear of vulnerability out of the picture. To learn and grow from conflict experiences, you must set explicit expectations for how you will communicate, collaborate, and resolve issues. Listening actively and empathetically and asking open-ended questions are good communication techniques.

How respect enhances communication and emotional connection

The power of respect and love lies in the fact that they always motivate partners to give their best to each other because it boosts the sense of worth whereby the husband feels important, and the wife feels loved.

Recognizing Red Flags

One way to improve your marriage is understanding what happens when relationships fail.

The following are signs of disrespect and unhealthy dynamics. Inability to control emotions. Avoid using controlling behaviors and manipulation. Not addressing issues early on. Timely communication with each other.

Understanding Healthy Respect

Definition of healthy respect in a marriage

Healthy relationships display mutual respect through positive skills, such as listening to your partner's feelings, honoring their boundaries, supporting their dreams, and speaking kindly to others about them. Respecting someone means holding them in high regard through your actions, behaviors, and words. Tolerance differs from respect in that it implies accepting each other's differences.

Build a Foundation of Mutual Respect

Emotional health improves when we understand and tend to our emotional needs. We can actively pursue emotional health by addressing bitterness, unforgiveness, blame, pride, and control. Here are some common strategies.

Seek to understand the problem without attacking. Seek common ground. Use open and honest communication. Expressing thoughts and feelings without judgment and being willing to adapt. Give empathy and understanding. Acknowledge each other's perspectives. Set healthy boundaries.

Foster Respectful Conflict

There can be learning and growth from conflict experiences; you must set explicit norms and expectations for communicating, collaborating, and resolving issues. For example, respecting each other's opinions and feelings is essential, listening actively and empathetically, asking open-ended questions, and seeking to understand the problem without attacking the person. Additionally, it is beneficial to seek common ground and mutual benefit while being willing to compromise and adapt more effectively to resolve issues.

Avoid Destructive Behaviors

To avoid destructive communication and conflict patterns, you must replace them with healthy, productive ones. Examples of destructive behaviors are name-calling, blaming, shaming, criticism, contempt, stonewalling or withdrawing, and defensiveness. Use constructive communication when expressing feelings and needs during disagreements with "I" statements.

Seek professional help when needed.

Support Each Other's Growth 

Mental health affects relationships significantly. Working to check our thoughts and unpack our baggage gives us healthier emotions that benefit our relationship with our husband or wife. The marriage benefits are that conflict decreases; communication improves, and joy and intimacy increase. Physical health and well-being affect our relationships with our partners. We must feed, move, hydrate, care for, and rest our bodies to stay in shape.

Identifying and supporting each other's goals helps, especially if it comes from a spouse. Here are some tips to encourage your partner in their life goals and dreams.

  • Celebrate achievements together.
  • Provide emotional support.
  • Offer encouragement and reassurance.
  • Adapt to life's transitions as a team. 

Embrace personal and relational growth.

Here are some tips for building trust and deepening intimacy.

  • Practice open, honest, and transparent communication and create a safe space for sharing.
  • Spend quality time together.
  • Show appreciation and support each other's goals and dreams.
  • Respect individual boundaries and space.
  • Make time for romance and intimacy.
  • Address past mistakes and work toward forgiveness.

A lack of respect for your partner leaves marriage without part of its foundation, harms our marriages, and hinders connecting genuinely. There is great potential for stronger marriages when partners build mutual respect. Marriage in a Box can offer helpful suggestions to guide you through this process.

Marriage In a Box provides access to tools and techniques professionals use for relationship issues. You can set goals, earn rewards, and find marriage coaching on the site. Check out the available kit and sources of information online.

Posted 8/19/2023

You Can Recover from Infidelity in Your Marriage

Defining Infidelity

Infidelity isn't a single, clearly defined situation. What's considered infidelity can be different among couples and even between spouses. For example, is an emotional connection without sex, or an online relationship, infidelity? Each person needs to define what infidelity means to them within a marriage.

Why Husbands or Wives Cheat

All types of marriages can experience infidelity, including those that seem happy and those with many problems. Infidelity may happen due to a variety of factors, including: Lack of affection and loss of love and commitment.

Communication breakdown about relationship needs. Medical issues with chronic pain or disability. Mental health issues like fears, low self-esteem, depression or anxiety, or addictions. Major life stressors. Affairs happen when people seek something to fill in the gap to make them feel special again.

Do You Stay or Do You Go?

Marriage requires two people to remain committed to each other; sadly, with infidelity, one is left in the marriage while the other may have moved on. Your options are separation, divorce, or forgiveness to salvage the marriage. If you give your marriage another chance, you should confirm that the affair is over; (private investigators, Instant checkmate, habits, behaviors, what they say). Many cheaters use social media or dating accounts. See if your spouse will open up about the marriage and how it resulted in the affair. If they're unwilling, you must decide which is better for you.

The Stages of Recovery

1. Get it Out in the Open

Recovery for the offender involves:

  • Ending the affair.
  • Cutting all ties with the affair partner.
  • Becoming transparent enough to explain what happened entirely.

The cheater will likely need to repeatedly answer their spouse's questions with honesty, patience, and humility. Full access to cellphone records, texts, emails, and more helps rebuild trust. At the same time, sharing excessive details about the sexual encounter can further traumatize the spouse. The cheater needs to understand the cause of the infidelity (motives, emotional triggers, stressors, and environments) to be cautious and prevent it from happening again. Any past repetitive behaviors may need additional care under the lens of possible compulsive sexual behaviors.

Recovery for the offended involves:

When a cheating spouse expresses genuine empathy, compassion, and sorrow for the pain that the betrayal has caused helps the healing process. Gradually, the betrayed spouse needs to be able to describe their feelings rather than act them out by lashing out in anger. The couple must discuss how and why the infidelity happened, and that the cheating spouse wants to avoid deception and infidelity again. The betrayed individual, however, must make this kind of transparency safe by listening without criticism or judgment to keep the couple on the healing pathway. Insight into one's mistakes also empowers one to make changes to strengthen the marriage.

2. Confront Your Feelings and allow time to Grieve.

The impacted partner should be allowed to grieve, and the offending partner must recognize how their actions have damaged trust and how much effort and time it will take to regain it. When the offender expresses genuine empathy, compassion, and sorrow for the pain that the betrayal has caused, it can help the healing process. The betrayed partner can experience trauma, depression, anxiety, guilt, and grief, and the family and the children are hurt emotionally. Even the deepest wound can heal; it will just take time and working together.

3. Re-establish Communication

Communication is the most critical part of all of this. You can't just have one healthy and open communication conversation about fixing things; you must continue this practice. Regular updates provide constant reassurance and will instill confidence and help to forgive. If your partner is serious about earning forgiveness, ensuring no more cheating is going on is vital to continue the focus on restoration.

4. Work Together to Understand What went Wrong and Recommit.

While some people cheat for no reason other than to satisfy their ego, most have reasons for infidelity. You can figure out what those reasons are together, or you may want to seek a therapist to have that conversation. Once you've both figured out the reasons, you'll need to work on them together as a team. Some of the behaviors of the betrayed could've been a factor in the infidelity, and behaviors must change to move forward.

5. Rebuild Trust

Once a couple commits to rebuilding trust, they must work on treating the relationship like it is an entirely new one. Both sides must ask for what they need and not expect their partner to know what they want and learn to be transparent. Withholding trust out of fear or anger could prevent emotionally reconnecting with your partner and stop healing. Instead, work toward rebuilding the relationship by renewing the spark(date nights, goals, love languages, checking in with your partner). Showing affection, appreciation, and attention to each other will help with bonding.

If you and your partner struggle with an infidelity situation, Marriage In a Box may be an option for help in deciding how you will move forward and provide you with new skills, support, and suggestions. Consider using Marriage In a Box for help in your new journey to help heal your relationship.

Marriage In a Box is an excellent resource that provides access to the simple tools and techniques professionals use for relationship issues. You can set goals, earn rewards and find marriage coaching and support on the site. Check out the available kit and sources of information online.

Posted 8/5/2023

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