Relate Well! Blog

Addressing the all-important and often perplexing topics and issues related to enhancing your personal growth and professional development

How Do I Get My Spouse to Help Me? Part I

In my years of counseling couples in marriage therapy, I have heard a lot of different reasons for the tension and anger that can create strife in even the best marriages. One that stands out as a frequent complaint – usually from the wife – is, “I can’t get my husband to help me around the house. What can I do?” 

Unequal division of labor related to children and household chores became a bigger and bigger challenge in the last few decades as wives and mothers entered the outside workforce. It creates resentment and hostility and often leads to conflict. In fact, a couple’s inability to effectively remedy this problem can significantly undermine the quality of intimacy and connection in their marriage. 

In the next three blog posts I will offer what I have found to be some highly effective tips for solving this very common and frustrating dilemma. 

First of all, it’s true that more wives struggle with this issue than husbands,...

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Here Today, Gone Tomorrow: Make Parenting Count

Kurt and Emily stood beside Michael’s crib gazing in wonder at their brand-new baby son. The months of waiting were over, and the guest of honor occupied the beautifully decorated nursery at last. Kurt and Emily smiled at each other. They felt blessed beyond words. They were thrilled; they were fascinated – they were terrified! 

It has been said that the theories of child rearing are really quite simple; it’s only when we begin putting them into practice that they become difficult. Although parenting is as old as the human race, the challenges seem to grow more complicated as time goes on. 

Changes in society have moved children further away from the center of our care and concern. Two-career families, the rising divorce rate, loss of extended family support, and declining values all contribute to the difficult task of raising healthy, secure children. Yet we hear messages through various media that would have us believe that parenting is a part-time...

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5 Keys to Being a Great Dad

What makes a great dad? I have found that great dads practice five key principles: love, discipline, nurturing, instruction and training, and provision and protection. Read the following five points, and you'll learn how to not only strengthen your role as dad, but you'll also understand what being a "great" dad is all about.

As a great dad, you will:

  1. Love your children.

Just as the foundation of a new home has to be poured before the building can be framed, a father's love for his family is the foundation that supports and sustains everything else he does. When your actions and decisions are motivated by love, your family is on solid ground.

  1. Discipline your children.

Discipline clearly defines the boundaries of behavior and often dictates where we can and cannot go. Remember, there's a big difference between discipline and punishment. Discipline is for the purpose of teaching your children good character and encouraging good choices. Punishment is often motivated by anger or...

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Blending Them In Without Mixing Them Up (Part 2 of 2)

In our previous blog we began talking about some ways to start out on the right foot if you re-marry and bring two families together. Those initial tips were: Make Your Marriage a Priority, Be Sensitive to Your Child’s Feelings, Develop Realistic Expectations and Be Supportive of Your Child’s Other Biological Parent. Those tips focus on ways to deal with the adjustment you and your children will go through with the life-changing step of blending them into a new family structure. Today we will share some ways to help your new family grow stronger and become closer.

Develop strong listening and communication skills

Effective communication and listening skills are vital to the success of any relationship. The true test of your skills comes when you are emotionally charged. It’s easy to say the right things when you feel happy, but throw in a little anger, a dash of jealousy and a pinch of disappointment and you have the ingredients for communication breakdown –...

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Blending Them In Without Mixing Them Up (Part 1 of 2)

One of my first introductions to a blended family was The Brady Bunch. Every Friday night, we tuned in to watch Mike Brady and his three sons and his new wife, Carol, and her three daughters skillfully navigate the challenges and pitfalls of their blended family -- and all in less than thirty-minutes.

Some say the Bradys didn’t have it as rough as most blended families, but, hey, what about the time the entire clan had to help Jan cope with the trauma of wearing glasses? Or when Greg was faced with the gut-wrenching decision of voting for someone other than his stepsister to be captain of the cheerleading squad? Boy, those were tough times! If not for the Solomon-like wisdom of Alice, the housekeeper, the Bradys could have easily ended up as just another divorce statistic.

If only step-parenting could be as easy as The Brady Bunch made it look! In reality, blending families together without mixing them up can be enormously difficult and challenging.

Studies show that half of...

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10 Things That Turn Women Off

Stressful times can really put a strain on relationships, and intimacy in marriage can be negatively affected when one or both partners are feeling the outside pressure. But even before Covid brought extra stress into our lives, mutually enjoyable intimacy was a delicate issue.

In counseling, men sometimes complain about their wives' lack of interest in physical affection and sexual intimacy, but further discussion often reveals that they often fail to understand how they might influence this indifference or lack of desire. It might come as a surprise, but a woman’s sexual desire has strong connections to some very non-sexy issues.

To get to the point: Guys, if you want more affection and intimacy in your marriage here are ten turn-offs you will want to avoid:

  1. Harsh words and a critical or dismissive tone of voice
  2. Impatience with the kids and the inability to balance discipline with fun and affection 
  3. Disinterest in meaningful conversation and pretending to listen 
  4. ...
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Why Your Personality Type is Awesome

One of the most challenging, interesting, and rewarding things about working with people is helping them discover the unique combination of personality traits that make them the way they are. There is something so powerful about an individual seeing themselves – sometimes for the first time – as necessary and valuable to their communities and employers BECAUSE of who they are, not IN SPITE of it. I have seen too many people going through life thinking they are somehow wrong or inadequate because they aren’t like someone else.

While the comprehensive view of any individual is much too large and complex to address here, today we are just looking at the four main personality types outlined in the DISC Personality System. Which one sounds most like you?

Being “D” and Getting it Done – The DISC Profile lists the primary traits of the High “D” as Dominant, Driven and Determined. These people tend to be natural leaders who grab hold of a task...

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Helping Your Child Process the Illness or Death of a Loved One

In this life, there is no escaping the reality that your family will be impacted by serious illness and death at some time. This is painful and hard for adults, but we must be mindful of the children who are affected as well. 

When someone we love is seriously ill it can evoke within us a sense of helplessness and powerlessness and children feel it, too. Allowing the child to assist in an age-appropriate fashion can help teach them important lessons about caregiving and compassion, help them be distracted from the inevitability of death and give them a sense of purpose and a special connection to the one they love. This may be as simple as drawing a picture for their sick loved one, bringing a drink of water, helping a caregiver adult prepare a meal, or visiting with them as tolerated. 

When a child experiences the death of a family member due to illness or accident it is important for the parent or adult caretaker to speak openly about it. Children can’t be fooled...

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Help Your Kids Quit Procrastinating

When I was growing up I would often hear my mother say, “Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today.” As a child, I hated that statement. It often meant missing a television program or playing with my friends in order to finish my chores or schoolwork.

As an adult, I can now appreciate the importance my mother placed on getting a job done. Unfortunately, many parents encourage their children to procrastinate by allowing them to postpone such things as homework, music lessons or chores. When a child develops the “I’ll do-it-later” syndrome it is very difficult to grow out of it as an adult.

According to a research study conducted by Rhodes College, Psychologists found that parents can program their children to become procrastinators by being late to activities, putting off the signing of permission slips or canceling appointments. The key to remember is this moms and dads, if you want your children to get things done on time you must begin by...

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10 Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Divorce

With the divorce rate in the United States over 50% we can’t help but wonder whether those who choose to call it quits have thought through the decision carefully enough – and if they may have been able to salvage their sacred union.

In marriages involving unrepentant adultery, chronic abuse, addiction and abandonment, the option to stay together may not be tenable. However, a large number of divorcing couples just claim to have “drifted apart” or “fallen out of love.”   

A sincere examination of the questions below may help you make the best decision for your future. Ask yourself these ten questions: 

  1. Does your spouse have a sincere desire to work on your marriage? 

If your partner is willing to take responsibility for their part in your marriage problems and has expressed a desire to work on restoration, it is worth making the effort before deciding to divorce.  

  1. Are you emotionally attached to someone other than...
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