Why You Need to Have “The Talk”

December 13, 2018

So….. It’s Christmas.  You know what happens at Christmas?  People give gifts…..really nice gifts.  You know what comes after Christmas?  New Years.  You know what people do on New Years?  They make commitments for the coming year.  Big commitments.  Maybe you have that special someone in your life who is waiting for the “really nice gift” full of “big commitment”.  Yeah, you know what I’m talking about.  It’s time….. to pop….”THE QUESTION”.

Small GiftIf this is you, let me be the first to congratulate you.  Now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk turkey.  No, not the turkey your mom is serving on Christmas Day.  I’m talking about history that can be a real ‘turkey’ when it comes to plans for your future.  I’m talking credit. Read the rest of this entry »

6 Ways to Strengthen Your Relationship

February 13, 2015

Happy mature coupleValentine’s Day is a day that some people celebrate and a day that others tend to dread.  For everyone, it can be an important reminder to lift our relationships up and to think about the blessings our loved ones provide.  As a marriage therapist, and a spouse of 43 years, I remind myself that it is often the little things that matter most in a relationship.  The memories you share, the experiences you create, and the love you nurture on a daily basis provide the foundation for a lifetime of marriage.

There are some very simple guidelines to follow when you are in a relationship that, if you follow, will support the relationship through difficult times:

1. Agree on How to Disagree

One of the first ground rules is to agree on how to resolve conflicts so that they are managed with respect and result in some form of agreement.  There are several ways couples can chose to do this, but the common thread involves active listening and empathizing with your partner’s intentions, concerns and needs.  While disagreements can often turn animated, it is crucial that the respect for the other person’s thinking and feelings remain paramount.  According to research, about 75% of our marital conflicts are not solvable, yet that should not be the focus of the marriage.  You may have to let go of some expectations.  Your partner may not become the household chef, or share your standards of organization, but in letting go you gain something much richer than a good meal or an orderly home.

2. Give Technology a Break

Turn off technology at an agreed upon time in the evening when you are both home.  This includes everyone in the home, especially pre-teens and teens who want to text and play computer games.

3. Everyone Needs Their Rest

Go to bed at the same time so there is time to cuddle and relax several nights a week.  Ideally, there should be no technology in the bedroom – no TV, no phones, no computer and no paperwork from your job spread across the bed. If you have children, make sure they are in bed and getting the sleep they need.  They also should have no TV or computer games for 30 to 45 minutes before bedtime.

4. Schedule Time to Relax

As a couple you need to have relaxing time together for 90 minutes or more at least 3 nights a week.  Have evenings that you both agree are “low expectation nights.”  No “we have to talk” discussions should be held after the set relaxation time.  Instead, set a time for those discussions when you both have had time to think about how you can discuss the problem when you are both refreshed with sleep.  If you are sure you are right in a conflict and feel like the victim, you are probably wrong.  You are, in fact, 50% of the answer.

5. Plan a Date Night

Plan a date night every 2 weeks where you have time to relax and talk to each other.  This is a time for play, humor, sharing dreams and goals, and relaxing.  It is not the time to discuss parenting or marital issues.

6. Show a Little Tenderness

Bring kindness into your relationship.  Show that you are thinking about the other person when you are not together by what you do when you are together.  This is not about gifting, but about showing thoughtfulness to the other person.

These are just a few ideas for couples to consider in a relationship. It is important to remember that all relationships require time, resources and energy in order to grow.   Whether you celebrate Valentine’s Day or dread it, use the day as a reminder to reflect on your commitment and to enrich the love in your marriage.

If you are struggling with your relationship, the counseling staff at LSS can help. Call 1-855-334-2953 or visit www.counseling.lsssd.org to schedule an appointment.

Colleen Miller
Licensed Professional Counselor
Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist

Addicted to Debt

September 12, 2013

Do you ever feel like you will never get ahead? In your career? Relationships? Finances?

Image courtesy of vorakorn  / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of vorakorn
/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net


It can happen to any one of us at any time

that fear that we are stuck right where we are, with no hope of moving forward, and every possibility of falling back. 



Read the rest of this entry »

Money and What Every Woman Should Know

March 14, 2013

In a relationship, one partner typically has control over the finances. Men are nearly three times more likely than women to have that control, but women typically live longer than their male partners.

Flikr Creative Commons | Some rights reserved by Tax Credits

Flikr Creative Commons | Some rights reserved by Tax Credits

This discrepancy can, in some cases, end up causing serious financial stress for families. It is important for both partners to be prepared to handle the finances on their own if something should happen to their significant other.

In honor of Women’s History Month, here are 8 things every woman should know about her finances (no matter who controls the checkbook!) Read the rest of this entry »

Love and Money

February 13, 2013

Love is in the air, but are your financial feet firmly on the ground?

Flikr Creative Commons | Some rights reserved by @Doug88888

Flikr Creative Commons | Some rights reserved by @Doug88888

For couples, talk of finances tends to come with talk of commitment, love, and long-term goals. Typically, each of us has a few strong financial characteristics. You may be dating or married to your financial opposite! We all tend to fall on one side or another in a few categories. We are either: A spender or a saver; a risk taker or a security seeker; and debt tolerant or debt intolerant. Read the rest of this entry »

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