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5 Most Common Signs That Your Marriage Is In Trouble

1)      You do not spend time together

Life happens; work, children, responsibilities, and pressures to make ends meet. We have all been there done that. But if this has become your lifestyle, rather than isolated incidences and occasional circumstances, this is a red flag. You may need to ask yourself at this point whether you don’t spend time together because you can’t, or because you won’t.  And it doesn’t matter that you may be together in the same house a lot. Location does not mean sharing time and activities together. One may be on the computer a lot, while the other may be cooking, cleaning, or watching TV a lot, but whatever it may be, there is not much interaction or talking going on between the two of you.

2)      You are not being intimate with each other as much

When I say intimacy here I mean sex, and everything that goes on in between: hugging, kissing, caressing, looking into each other’s eyes, listening, cuttling, or simply holding hands, etc…you fill in the blanks according to your style of expressing and receiving intimacy from each other. The point here is that you don’t do that anymore the way you used to. Or, you have simply boiled down intimacy to the actual act of intercourse and that is it. No other form of intimate expression is left between the two of you, you just perform the act of sex, as an obligation, or even a habit that two spouses should have.

3)      You have unresolved negative feelings about your spouse

Whether it is anger, disappointment, betrayal, hurt, or simply lack of understanding, the bottom line here is that you cannot get passed it, because it affects the way that you relate to your spouse. You may not like him or her anymore, or simply avoid the mere sight or interaction with him or her, because it just leaves you with unhappy and unpleasant feelings. You just feel miserable around your spouse. And if the problem is not that obvious to you, you may just have ‘unexplainable’ negative words and attitude towards your spouse, your children, your work, or just life itself, because you have never addressed unresolved conflict with your spouse. You may have even turned against yourself and punish yourself for feeling unhappy in your marriage.

4)      You lead separate lives

You may have separate friends, separate activities and social life, totally separate bank accounts, or even have separate beds. To an outsider, you look like roommates who happen to be legally married. Your spouse may have his or her family and you have yours, but there is not much of “us” in the sentence, as you do not share your families with each other much. He or she visits his or her family alone and you do the same. But there is not a common interaction between families here. I am not talking about instances where spouses do things with other people alone, I am rather referring to this as being a lifestyle, where the other spouse is not a part of.

5)      You no longer protect your marriage

Your actions do not preserve and enhance the life of your marriage, but rather sabotage its very existence. You and your spouse have simply stopped caring for each other’s feelings, opinions, likes, or dislikes. You have become numb or indifferent towards each other.  His or her opinion of you does not carry the same weight anymore. His or her thoughts do not mean as much to you anymore. The well-being of your spouse is no longer your primary concern. You may have mentally and/or emotionally ‘checked out’. You will not go out of your way to explain yourself for a misunderstanding that you just had with your spouse or to even make them feel better. You feel that you have just had enough yourself and you just need a break. There is not much left of yourself to give to your spouse anymore.

 

If you can relate to any of the signs above, you need to get help to heal yourself and your marriage. The pain will not magically go away with time. It may get worse, but it won’t go away unless you do something about it. The choice is yours to make.

 

By Kayla Roberts, BCPC, RMHCI

Is Christian Counseling for me?

Christian counseling is for everybody who has a deep desire to learn, grow, heal, change, and become all that God has wired and designed that person to become. Christian counseling should unlock and pull all the potential that God has placed in an individual. Yes, I believe that God has created each one of us for great purpose and for glory! The same glory that Jesus has in the Father and had so amazingly demonstrated while here on earth. This Heavenly realm of God’s glory is now ours to experience even here on earth through the redeeming work of Jesus on the cross. His blood not only paid the price for the forgiveness of all human sins, but it also opened the way for all humans to experience Heaven on Earth!

Now the question one should ask is: What is Heaven like? How do I access it on a daily basis and in a practical way? Here are I believe the benefits of Christian counseling: it is a practical guidance and a journey to experience all that God has for you. The client and the Christian counselor together take that journey with God’s guidance as they allow God to speak and guide them into His heart and presence and to demonstrate what it is like to live out of His Heavenly realm here on earth, just like Jesus did.

How is all that done in the counseling process? Well you just have to try Christian counseling for yourself to see…..

By Kayla Roberts, BCPC, RMHCI

3 most common reasons why people don’t want to change

1) I have always been like this. I can’t change that.
Powerless people allow their past to dictate their present and future. They are quick to adopt the idea that they are a product of their environment and that things are ‘just meant to be’. The quicker they accept their fate, the quicker they adopt and the less it hurts. The only problem with this is that deep down inside they know this just doesn’t “feel” right. They are not satisfied with the way they live; they are searching for more out of their life. I believe this is God’s way of letting them know that they were created to be more than just a reaction to their environment. They were rather created with the freedom and the power to influence their own environment, by the way they make their choices to respond to it and to even influence and shape it. I am not denying the environment’s influence on people, I am rather pointing out to the fact that it can change. The choice is ours.
2) Scared to answer: What if I changed?
Change can be intimidating, scary, and uncomfortable. The ultimate challenge is, am I ready to make changes and to become what I have always wanted to become? What if I failed at making changes? What if I succeeded? Will I like the new me?
The core issue here is our identity. If you have lived in a certain condition and with a certain image all your life, you have owned that image, and if it is not healthy for you, you have to give it up and to embrace the change into a new identity for yourself. This is why I like God. He is under the impression that you were created for Glory! That is why He invested in His son’s blood, which paid for your shortcomings and your mistakes in life, so that God could restore you to that Glorious image! That means you deserve better than what life dished out to you, you don’t have to keep paying for your mistakes and to stay the same, always wondering, “What if?”
3) What would people think?
They will think that you changed! That’s right. The real question is: Does people’s opinion matter to you more than your quest for change? If the answer is yes, then your happiness is dependent upon people’s approval of it. This makes you not a free person, because you are not who you want to be, you are who others want you to be. You have given up your human right to become all that you have always wanted to be for fear that others will not like you and will not approve of you. They might even try to punish you for trying to be different from what they are used to you being. Will you let them? This change may even alter the nature of some of your closest relationships and change the course of your life. The choice is yours: either change by becoming who you truly want to be or stay the same and keep others happy. I assure you they will be the only ones…..

by Kayla Roberts, BCPC, RMHCI

5 Signs of an Unhappy Marriage

1.      You have to be just the person your spouse needs you to be

Are you free to be yourself in your marriage without any restraints? I am not talking about doing whatever you want without any regard for your spouse’s well being or feelings. I am talking about being pretentious, or a people pleaser, who bends backwards just to make your spouse happy, while you don’t feel yourself, or that you have an opinion of your own. If you don’t know what it’s like to be yourself, then you are more likely codependent on your spouse. Your job is not to be who your spouse wants you to be in order to make your spouse happy, or to meet his/her needs. Your spouse should be happy for who you are and more importantly, you should be happy for who you are. If not, then you must ask yourself why.

2.      You are not sure what you are worth but your spouse knows

Self- respect creates respectful relationships. If you value who you are, then you will value your spouse and will expect your spouse to value and respect you for who you are. Anything less than that standard will compromise the health of your relationship. If you uphold this principle, you will never tolerate any form of abusive behavior in your marital relationship. Respect leaves room for disagreements and differences without the threat and intimidation of devaluing one’s self worth. There is no room for name calling, pointing fingers, or simply attacking each other for punishment. That is because you are secure in who you are and you have no false humility about your true value as a unique person created in God’s image and likeness.

3.      You can’t tell your spouse many things for fear that he/she will judge you

When your spouse believes in you, it is very easy to encourage you and cheer you on in your journey together. It often comes natural. But if you often feel negative about yourself after you interact with your spouse and struggle with feelings of worthlessness, inadequacy, or simply criticism, then begin to ask yourself why. This is a red flag in the relationship. Even if you often find yourself having to avoid your spouse so that you won’t get disappointed and hurt by his/her cynicism, criticism, or simply pessimism of life, then something is not healthy there. You are not being the best you can be when you are with such a person. You and your spouse need help.

4.      You feel bored, uninterested, and unmotivated in your marriage

This is where marital fulfillment comes alive at the very heartbeat of the marital relationship. There is a God given destiny and purpose at the heart of every marriage, much like at any individual’s life. I don’t believe that the sole purpose of marriage is to procreate and therefore continue the human race. There has to be more to life than just being alive. This is what makes us as humans different from animals and plants. We don’t just perpetuate the life of the human race, but we get to write the history of the human race and influence our planet by the way we live. That is right, our life ought to be bigger than us; it has to extend to the universe around us, therefore allowing us to create a legacy. Each family has its own legacy to create and when you get married, you partner with your spouse to create your own legacy as a family. You both co-labor and get inspired from God and from each other in life to be creative and to reign with God as His people on earth. Is your spouse inspiring or complacent in life? Does he/she have dreams that he/she wants to fulfill, or has he/she given up on his/her dreams? Have you given up?  If your spouse has given up for whatever reason, it is likely that life with your spouse will be more like a dry place, lacking the excitement and the fulfillment of a God given purpose. You and your spouse must resuscitate the life that you both have lost in your marriage.

5.      You and your spouse made mistakes that you cannot get past in your marriage

There has to be room for mistakes and disappointments in your marriage. This is part of life. Things will not always go as planned and people around you will disappoint you, including your spouse and children. Many marriages end in bitterness and resentment between spouses because of unfulfilled desires and dreams. The question is, will you remain angry, hurt, and bitter, or will you grow up, get healed, and become better?  I am not suggesting that you ignore the problems and challenges in your marriage; I am simply saying that you challenge those challenges by fighting back for what you value in your life. This is not a complacent and passive attitude for the wrong doings of you and your spouse, but rather a tenacious resolve to do the right thing in the midst of the injustice of the wrong doings and failures. You are not able to change the past, but you are able to respond and therefore change and shape your present, having the hope of God for your future. Hope and faith in God change things for the better no matter where you come from. His promise to us who believe in Him is to exchange our ashes for His beauty. Are you up for the challenge?

By Kayla Roberts, BCPC, RMHCI

Love and Marriage: Can they always coexist?

The challenge to every married couple is making their love blossom and last a lifetime, no matter what. Is there such a thing?

As I often tell my clients, you can only give out of the measure of what you have in life, you cannot give beyond the measure of what you possess; including love. And here is what I mean: When a person complains that their spouse is selfish and does not love them like they want to be loved, I will ask that person: “How do you see yourself? Are you lovable? How do you love yourself?”  I do not doubt that the person may be right in saying that their spouse is selfish or simply a jerk. My question is: “How come you are in a loveless marriage? What have you done or still so about it?” My premise is simply the fact that we create our environment based on our internal system of beliefs and core values that serves like a map in our life. This map simply directs our steps and choices in life based on our internal ideas of who we are and what we value.

Simply put it like this: Not only are we what we eat, but we are what we meditate on. And what we meditate on, we recreate in our life. The Bible says that as a man thinks in his heart, so is he. So, we become what we behold with our mind’s eye. What we think about ourselves will determine how we do life. How we do marriage. Consciously and subconsciously.

So, I focus on my clients’ ideas of who they are and how they see themselves, how do they love and appreciate themselves for who they are and for who God made them. The challenges in their ability to receive love from God and from significant people in their life will reveal a great deal of why they may be stuck in a loveless marriage. When you know how much you are loved by God, then you can love. Love yourself, God, and others. This is the basis of healing in hurting relationships. If you did not receive unconditional love as a child from your parents, there is hope and healing. It is never too late to start being loved. All it takes is you saying yes to love.

If you can love yourself unconditionally, fervently, and relentlessly, you will love others that way, too; including your spouse. The Bible tells us to love our neighbors like ourselves.  But if your spouse refuses to live with that love, you can still make the choice to give yourself that love. You make the choices for yourself. God showed us His model of that love in His son Jesus Christ. And His love never runs out or runs low. Loved individuals make loving marriages. And this is for a lifetime, not for a season.

By Kayla Roberts, BCPC, RMHCI

The Happy Marriage

Happy people make happy marriages. Not perfect, but happy. Each spouse brings their entire life’s experiences, attitudes, belief system, and family culture into their own marriage. This is what I call the ‘true dowry’ in a marriage.

Many people enter into a marriage because they believe that this will make them happy. They are partly true. But the problem is that if they are not already a healthy and a happy person, marriage will not make them one. On the contrary, it will only highlight and intensify their unhappiness. That is because happiness works from the inside out and not the outside in. Just like God. He transforms our life from the inside out and then it affects everything we do around us. It affects everything we touch in life.

This is a heart issue. When two people come together and they are not happy with who they are, then friction begins. Their individual wounds and scars in life begin to rub against each other in the daily affairs of their married life. The pain reproduces after its own kind and it births more pain. Misery multiplies. This is why I often hear spouses tell me: “This is not the person I married! What happened? The one I loved, I cannot stand any more. I want out of this!” What they really mean is: “I did not know this part of my spouse. I did not sign up for this. I want out of this agreement. It hurts me!”This is the point where spouses face the pain from their relational friction and they retaliate towards each other in reaction to their pain.

What is the solution that I offer? An invitation to both spouses to courageously look at their pain and its root. This is the first step on their path to healing. The next step is to deal with the pain as they come face to face with it and begin to process its existence and effect in their life. This is where God comes in as the one who is the healer of all sickness; physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. With God’s help and wisdom, spouses begin to gain insight into this pain, revisit, and interpret the true meaning of their painful experiences, and find the truth about their experiences that will give them a deeper understanding of their own lives.

The defining moment in counseling is when the spouses begin to embrace truth that sets them free and they become free to receive love and to give love back. You cannot give something that you do not own. You cannot own something if you have not freely accepted it in your life. And God’s gift to us is His love. It is free and unconditional, if we accept it. If we do, then it is ours and we can give it away. It will never run out because its source, God, is ever unlimited and abundant.

To be loved and to love back is life’s most exhilarating relational experience on earth and it starts with God, as this is God’s gift to humanity. Are you ready for the journey to be loved and to love back? It is a very rewarding one and nothing compares to it. I believe we were created for this. Do you?

By Kayla Roberts, BCPC, RMHCI


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