Plenty of old, funny stereotypes circulate about in-laws and how they can throw a wrench in your marriage. Though invasive in-laws don’t always seem comical. Without a doubt, they can sometimes create severe marital issues.

No one wants to upset their spouse by speaking poorly about their parents or siblings. If your spouse is especially close to their family, it can feel like a touchy subject to bring up the fact that they might be creating problems.

But, it’s essential to discuss invasive in-laws, and decide on a plan of action. Your marriage needs to take priority over the feelings of your in-laws. It’s not always easy, but there are ways to make things better for everyone.

  1. Talk to Your Spouse

Before you decide on anything else, you need to have a chat with your spouse about your invasive in-laws. It might seem uncomfortable, but getting on the same page about how to handle things is crucial.

Remember that you don’t have to attack your in-laws in this conversation. Express your concerns and decide how you can handle them together, as a couple.

  1. Set Boundaries

Once you’re ready to deal with these issues as a united front, one of the best things you can do is to set boundaries for your in-laws.

Make sure they know you love them and appreciate your time together, and yet, you need them to take a step back. Or, you need to work through certain things on your own, as a couple.

They may respond with hurt feelings, which can make the conversation even harder. But, it’s important to remain firm in your decisions.

  1. Make Time for Your Marriage

If you feel like your in-laws are continually coming over, offering their opinions, or taking your spouse’s time, don’t be afraid to ask for a bit more attention.

Talk to your spouse about setting aside time strictly for each other. Even a once-a-week date night can help to ease some of the tension caused by invasive in-laws, making their behaviors the rest of the week less grating.

  1. Stick Up for Your Spouse

Sometimes, invasive in-laws can create problems because of how they treat you or your spouse. Remember, your marriage is an essential factor here. If your parents are treating your spouse poorly, you have to stick up for the person you married.

You should also expect your spouse to be an advocate for you, too.

It’s not easy to go against what your parents might think or say, but it’s the only way to keep your marriage healthy. Furthermore, it sends a clear message to your in-laws that nothing is going to change your relationship with your spouse.

  1. Find the Positive

Keep in mind that many invasive in-laws act from a place of love. Parents aren’t perfect, and they may not realize their invasiveness is causing issues within your marriage. The same goes for siblings.

While you don’t need to put up with all of it, try not to automatically get angry or upset with your in-laws if you know they’re coming from a good place.

You can still set boundaries and let them know how you truly feel. Approaching them with patience and understanding, however, will less likely hurt their feelings. As a result, they will more readily take what you have to say to heart. That way, you can make positive changes to help everyone involved.

If you live in the Oakland, CA area, and you’re unsure of how to handle your invasive in-laws, feel free to contact me for more information and more helpful solutions. Or, visit my [specialty page link] page for more details.

Many reasons exist why relationships fizzle out. One common phrase we hear is, “I’m not attracted to my partner anymore.” While it seems like an easy enough thing to understand on the surface, what does that truly mean?

When you say you’re not attracted to your partner, are there other underlying issues? What has caused you to become less attracted? Is it just a physical thing, or does the lack of attraction go deeper than that?

So, while saying “I’m not as attracted to my partner anymore” might seem like an easy answer for a failing relationship, it’s crucial to understand what that means, and if it’s possible to change it.

Determine the Cause

At one point, you were probably attracted to your partner. At the beginning of your relationship, you may have even thought they were the most appealing person in the world. So, ask yourself what changed?

Have they gained weight? Has their appearance drastically changed?

Maybe it’s something that goes beyond the way they look. Did they lose their job? Have they lost their zest for adventure? Are they not fulfilling your needs?

When you get to the root of the problem and understand why you’re not attracted to them anymore, you can decide what to do about it.

You may still love that person, but the “lust” aspect isn’t there. It’s common for someone in a relationship to want commitment still, but they no longer want a sexual relationship due to their lack of physical attraction.

Is It a Deal Breaker?

If you find yourself saying, “I’m not as attracted to my partner anymore,” you also need to figure out what that means for you.

For example, is the relationship strong enough to survive without that attraction? How important is something like an active sex life?

If you choose not to be intimate with your partner, it will undoubtedly raise some questions and could even cause tension in the relationship—for both of you.

Keep in mind that relationships do go through shifts. If everything else in your relationship feels right, and you love your partner, that attraction might someday return. You might find yourself in a “wait it out” situation. If you genuinely believe the relationship can work out over time, patience is vital.

In the meantime, though, it’s important to talk to your partner about the way you feel. Don’t be accusatory, but if there are things they can do to change the way you see them, they deserve to know.

Furthermore, they deserve a chance to work on the relationship if it’s what they really want. If they feel they can’t change, or they don’t want to, they also reserve the right to walk away from the relationship. You can’t force someone to be someone they’re not. Their happiness is just as important in the relationship.

Commit Yourself to the Relationship

In some cases, a lack of attraction might mean it’s time to end the relationship entirely and move on. In others, you might be willing to stick it out and work through the issues you’re facing together.

Couples therapy, as well as individual counseling, can help with these issues. You may be dealing with more underlying problems than you realize, and using a lack of attraction to your partner as a way to comfortably bring them to the surface.

If you’re in the San Francisco Bay area, feel free to contact me for more information or to set up an appointment. Please, visit my couples counseling page [insert specialty page link] to learn more.

The change in your attraction level toward your partner doesn’t automatically doom your relationship. I’ll help you with the right resources and skills to make it work if you’re willing to look deeper into the way you’re feeling.

Although marriage and finances go hand in hand, they can also feel like oil and water sometimes.

Money is often a source of contention in relationships. It’s easy to argue about because people have different views on how to handle finances. If you’re in debt, money can seem like an even more sensitive subject.

When you and your spouse feel like you’re drowning in debt, it can add a lot of stress to your relationship. Plus, the stress can carry over into other areas of your marriage. You might be easily irritable or anxious, which can lead to more arguing, more blame, etc.

It’s important to understand that you’re on a team. Marriage and finances can work together when you’re willing to tackle debt as a team.

Be Honest About Debt

One of the worst things you can do is hide your debt or avoid talking about it. Since you both understand your financial situation, avoiding a hard conversation will make matters worse.

You might be embarrassed, ashamed, or even scared. But, talking to your partner about your debt will reassure you both that you’re not alone. It might be easier to come up with a solution together rather than living in fear by yourself.

Your conversation should also include a discussion on how you accumulated the debt. One (or both) of you may need to change your spending habits.

Furthermore, establish a budget as a couple. In any case, it’s important to remind each other that you’re in this together and that you’ll work out a plan to get out of debt together, too.

Create a Plan

Talking to your partner about your debt will allow you to put your heads together to find a solution.

After all, several different strategies exist to pay off a large amount of debt. So, you have to figure out what will work best for you and your relationship.

You might need to move some things around in your budget and cut back in other areas so you can start to pay off certain bills.

Or, you can choose more traditional options like the snowball method. This allows you to pay off the smallest debts first, and work your way up to the larger ones.

Think About Your Future

Whether your debt was accrued by one or both of you, it’s vital to change your spending habits and your mindset about finances to live debt-free.

If you end up paying off all of your debt without changing your habits, it won’t take long for you to be back in the same place.

Changing the way you think about your finances isn’t easy, especially if one person in the marriage has a bigger problem with it than the other. But that kind of commitment is required for debt-free living in the future.

One thing that can help you is to create a financial plan for your marriage. Once you have a solid budget in place, you can talk about how much each of you can spend without consulting one another.

Be sure to leave a little extra money in your budget for emergencies, unexpected situations, and even fun. Creating a budget as a couple doesn’t have to be as restrictive as most people think. You both need to agree on the budget, and you need to ensure your bills are paid—with future financial goals in mind.

Still struggling with marriage and finances, and you can’t see a way to fix it? If you’re in the East Bay area, feel free to contact me to set up an appointment.

Having a date night as a married couple isn’t a bad thing. It can keep your spark alive, make you feel more connected, and it’s a good way to make time for your relationship.

But, if you’re having marital problems, date night isn’t enough.

Some people use date night as a way to “fix” things. They think that by spending that specific time with their spouse, the rest of their relationship problems will go away.

Unfortunately, most of the underlying issues you might be facing in your marriage are usually left out of the conversation during a date.

Date night isn’t enough because it doesn’t give you the chance to dig beneath the surface. Let’s look at a few potential problems your marriage could be facing, and why date night isn’t enough to solve them.

  1. Parenting Issues

Maybe you started doing date nights as a couple to have some time to yourselves, away from the kids. That’s a fine first step, but if the kids are causing problems in your relationship and you’re not talking about it, you’re just scratching the surface.

You might have different parenting styles, or you’re burned out because of your kids’ schedules. Your children shouldn’t be in the middle of your marital problems. So, talking about any issues your relationship is facing that have to do with your children is important. Plus, if you don’t address those issues, your children might eventually pick up on them, and feel the tension.

  1. Lack of Intimacy

Date night isn’t enough to rekindle your sex life if you don’t talk about the problems you’re facing with it. While going on a date can make you feel closer, it’s probably not the best time to talk about issues you have in the bedroom.

A lack of intimacy often stems from a lack of communication. If your sex life has been lacking lately, a date night is only going to be a temporary fix.

Instead, talk regularly about what’s going on in the bedroom and how you can work together as a couple to connect better.

  1. Scheduling Conflicts

Date night is a great idea if you haven’t had much time together lately. But, date night isn’t enough to solve your scheduling problems. It’s a quick fix and a way to spend time together, but it doesn’t get to the root of the issue. Once the date is over, you’ll still have busy schedules that will likely still create conflict.

Instead, it’s important to talk about your schedules and what you can do to find more ways to connect. Quality time is necessary for a healthy relationship. But, it’s what you do during that quality time that makes a difference.

  1. Annoying Habits

No one is perfect. Your spouse might display an annoying habit. Or, maybe there was a recent situation you thought they handled poorly, but you never spoke up about it. Date night probably isn’t going to be the time or place to hash those things out.

In fact, it might even be hard to enjoy the date if you’re holding onto those issues. Again, communication is key. Talk about what’s been bothering you before you go on your date, so you can enjoy the time together.

  1. Meeting Expectations

Again, no one is perfect. But, we all have expectations. When your spouse isn’t living up to the expectations you’ve created, it can cause conflict in the relationship. Unfortunately, they may not sense the dissatisfaction. If they do, they might not know why it’s there—not until you’re ready to talk about your expectations.

Keep in mind that your expectations may not be realistic. Or, some of them might be while others are impossible. The important thing is to make them clear to your spouse. Make sure you understand their expectations, too.

Date night isn’t enough to solve your marital problems. But, if you start to get to the root of some of the underlying issues in your relationship, date night can be a great way to regularly connect.

If you’re in the Berkeley, CA area and you’re struggling with marital issues, feel free to contact me for help. Or, visit here [insert specialty page] to learn more about how I can help.

There are a few stereotypical topics that cause problems in relationships. Finances are often at the top of the list. Fighting over money isn’t uncommon, but it doesn’t have to be a spot of contention in your relationship.

For starters, think about why you and your partner are fighting over money in the first place.

Maybe you’re a saver and they’re a spender. Maybe you want to set a budget and they’ve never worried about it.

Once you get to the bottom of your money issues, you can start to work on healthier ways to communicate about your finances. Let’s look at some tips you can put into practice to keep “money talk” from turning into a problem.

Figure Out Why it Isn’t Working

One of the best things you can do if you’re fighting over money is to sit down and talk about it. What isn’t working? Is it too hard for you to stick to a budget? Do you even like the budget you initially agreed to?

Money can be a touchy subject for some people, so you might be tempted to avoid talking about it altogether. But, if you have a problem with the way your money is being handled in a relationship, it’s so important to speak up. If your partner doesn’t think there’s a problem, they won’t change their ways.

Encourage them to talk to you about their financial expectations and desires, too. It shouldn’t just be a one-time conversation, but an ongoing topic to make sure you’re always on the same page when it comes to your finances.

Set Financial Goals

Setting financial goals together is often a good compromise when one partner doesn’t see the need to save money. Instead of arguing about how much money to put away, set goals for yourself as a couple, instead.

You could set a goal to buy a house in five years. Or, you could set a goal to buy a new car in less than a year. These are just a few examples.

When you have achievements to reach, saving money can become something fun you both do individually and as a couple. When you’re finally able to reap the rewards, it’s often easier to make saving money a regular habit for your future.

Don’t Make Large Purchases Alone

Whether you know you have enough money in the bank for a large purchase, or you have a plan to pay something off over time, don’t buy something expensive without talking to your partner first.

It doesn’t matter how much money you have. A large purchase can come as a shock to someone who wasn’t expecting it. Whether it’s a car, a big-screen TV, or a vacation, these types of things need to be discussed as a couple.

When they aren’t discussed, you might find yourself not only fighting over money but fighting about a lack of communication and trust. It’s easy to feel betrayed in a relationship when one person seems to go behind the other’s back to make a large purchase.

Again, money is frequently a sensitive topic. Spending it without consulting your partner can stir up a lot of negative emotions.

How to Stop the Financial Fights

Money may always be a hot topic in relationships, but it doesn’t have to lead to poor communication or distrust. It will only have as much power over your relationship as you allow it to have.

Are you and your partner constantly fighting over money? If you’re in the Oakland, CA area, feel free to contact me for help. Together, we can work on different strategies you can use as a couple to keep your finances from causing a rift in your relationship. Please, visit here [insert specialty page link] to learn more.

Between long hours at work, running kids from here to there, and your own personal errands, it can be hard to find quality time together with your partner.

Unfortunately, most people’s schedules are busier than ever. While it can make you feel productive at the end of the day, you could also be ignoring your relationship.

It’s important to make your partner, and your relationship, a priority in your life. If you haven’t been, it doesn’t mean you’ve purposefully ignored either one. But, life has a way of distracting you from things that are most important.

Here’s how you can value quality time together with the person you love when neither of you has a lot of it to spare.

Develop Routines Together

Do you find yourself rushing out the door each morning with a coffee in hand, just trying to get to work on time? When you get home, are you glued to your phone? Are you binge-watching your favorite show to unwind? Or, are you focused solely on the kids?

All of those situations are normal, but they can cause a disconnect in your relationship. One way to combat them without having to change your busy schedule is to develop routines with your partner.

Try getting up a bit earlier each morning and spend 10-15 minutes having a cup of coffee with them. Or, make a healthy breakfast together for the whole family.

In the evening, wash the dishes together after dinner. Or, spend 30 minutes before bed focused solely on each other so you can talk about your days. Don’t let things like your phone or other electronics get in the way.

Developing these simple daily routines can help you to stay connected, without having to give up a lot of extra time. Instead, you’re prioritizing the time you already have.

Carve Out Time

If you want to spend more quality time together, there’s always the option to take the time to do it! Even if you only have 20 minutes on a Wednesday evening, carve out that time to spend with your partner and nothing else.

Plan to go on a walk together around the neighborhood. Or, find more time to spend with them, and have a weekly date night.

Once you decide to dedicate a certain time to your partner, leave that time strictly for them. It shows them that your relationship is a priority in your life, even though you’re busy.

Things might come up with work, kids, etc., and you might need to adjust the day/time you do something with your partner. But, don’t let it fall away completely. When you make a commitment to setting aside time, it needs to happen consistently.

Make the Most of Quality Time

Spending quality time together is essential for any relationship. If you’re busy and you don’t have a lot of time to spend with your partner, finding unique ways to let them know they’re important to you is just as essential.

Whatever time you do have with the one you love, make sure they’re getting your full attention.

You don’t always need to have a lot of time to spare. Just make sure in the time you do have, your focus is on your partner. When you both feel like you’re really connecting, even in the limited time you have, it can go a long way in keeping the relationship strong.

Whether you’re struggling to feel that connection or you just don’t know how you can find more quality time together due to your busy schedules, feel free to contact me.

If you’re in the East Bay area, I’m happy to work with you and your partner to find more ways you can value quality time together, and remain as connected as possible.

Please, visit here [insert specialty page link] to learn more about my services

Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy (EFCT) has many benefits. If you’re looking to improve your sex life, however, this is one type of therapy that can bring you and your partner closer together and reignite your intimacy.

It can be difficult for couples to admit their sex life is struggling. Though, unless you acknowledge that there’s a problem, it’ll likely never get better. If neither of you is on the same page about the problem and how to work through it, the problem will remain at a standstill.

Oftentimes, therapy is the most streamlined option. If you really want to improve your sex life, it might be time to try approaching the problem using EFCT.

Getting Rid of Negative Patterns

EFCT starts out by helping you get rid of negative patterns in your relationship. Then, you can replace them with positive, strengthening cycles that will help you to improve your communication and connection with your partner.

One big reason for getting rid of negative patterns is so that you both can feel safe and secure within the relationship. Your partner is less likely to be vulnerable and open with you (and vice versa) if they don’t feel secure.

Once you’re able to make more positive habits a part of the relationship, you effectively build a deeper sense of trust. The more trust you have for your partner, the more you’ll be willing to open up to them.

Communication is the key to any relationship. But being vulnerable can also help you to foster more intimacy, which will carry over into your sex life.

Letting Down Your Defenses

As communication improves through EFCT, you’re less likely to feel defensive around your partner. We all carry our own insecurities. Some of us even deal with negative self-talk. Unfortunately, those are things we tend to bring with us into relationships.

Even if you have the best of intentions and want to be more connected with your partner, those insecurities can hold you back. It’s often easier to be defensive rather than to let your partner in. Often, that’s due to a lack of effective communication.

When you continue to learn better communication habits, you’ll be less defensive. As you learn to shut down your defenses around your partner, you’ll also be working on yourself. EFCT is a great way to dig into your own emotions. That can help you to get a better understanding of how and why you feel the emotions that you do.

Improving Your Sex Life

Because EFCT is all about emotions and interpersonal connections, you might be wondering what it has to do with your sex life. But, think about that. What could make you feel more intimate with your partner than understanding each other’s emotions and having a stronger interpersonal connection?

EFCT isn’t necessarily designed to improve your sex life. It’s meant to improve your relationship, as a whole. When you are about to break free from the negative cycles in your relationship and replace them with positive ones, a better sex life becomes a byproduct. If you feel closer to your partner, you’re going to want to show them that physical attention more often.

Not only can EFCT help you to boost how often you have sex, but it can make the experience itself so much better. Sex is about connection and emotions, and that’s exactly what EFCT is able to help with.

If you’re interested in learning more about EFCT and you live in the Oakland, CA area, feel free to reach out for information. Whether you want to improve your sex life or your entire relationship, please click here [insert specialty page link] to learn more about how I can help.

EFCT could be the best possible solution for you and your partner to reconnect and form new, positive habits within your relationship

It can be hard enough for a couple to find alone time together when there aren’t kids in the picture. But for parents, being able to keep the spark alive can feel impossible at times.

No married couple wants to experience any kind of “slump.” Keep in mind, though, a slump doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with the relationship. Still, it’s important to make sure that kids, schedules, and lifestyles don’t get in the way of the passion you have for each other.

So, how can you keep the spark alive in the midst of soccer practices, music recitals, and rushing out the door to drop the kids off at school each morning?

Let’s look at five easy tips you can start using today to keep that flame burning bright.

  1. Do Something Unexpected

Couples with kids easily fall into various routines. Your pattern might include a morning routine of getting out the door for work or school, picking the kids up later, etc. While these routines are important, they can make things feel stagnant after awhile.

So, do something unexpected for your spouse. Set up a surprise dinner at their favorite restaurant. Send them flowers to their office for no reason. Leave them a little note on the bathroom mirror.

Anything you can do that is out of the ordinary will pull them from the routine. Even if it’s just for a moment, creating a mini-vacation from the pattern can be a great way to re-ignite that spark.

  1. Keep Communication Strong

Communication is the key to any successful marriage. So, don’t just communicate when you’re both at home.

Check in with your spouse throughout the day. Send them a text, an email, or chat on the phone during your lunch break.

This will help you both to feel more connected, and you’re less likely to get overwhelmed by the stresses of the day.

  1. Find More Alone Time

Even though your schedules are packed and you might be exhausted, you have to make it a priority to find quality alone time with your partner. Maybe you could wake up 15 minutes earlier each morning. Or, put the kids to bed a few minutes earlier at night.

When you do get that alone time, make sure you’re focusing all of your attention on your spouse. Listen to them, talk openly, offer physical contact, etc. Dedicate a bit of time each day solely to connect with your partner.

  1. Cut Down Distractions

You might have more alone time with your spouse already than you realize, but you’re too distracted by other things to take advantage of it.

Unsurprisingly, the biggest culprit of this is technology. While it can be a big help in some ways, it can also make you feel more disconnected than ever—even to someone sitting right next to you.

If you find yourself checking emails on your phone over your morning coffee when you could be talking to your partner, make a change. If you’re watching your favorite show together at night but you’re both on your laptops, shut them down.

You can find more quality time by changing some of your habits. Something as simple as this can make you feel closer than ever.

  1. Find Support

You don’t have to wait until your marriage is struggling to seek out professional support. A therapist can help you to develop more strategies that can keep the spark alive in your marriage, no matter how busy your schedules might be.

If you’re in the San Francisco Bay area and you’re worried your marriage has lost its spark, feel free to contact me. Or, visit here [insert specialty page link] to learn more about how I can help you.

Together, we can talk more about the state of your marriage and how you can reconnect with each other, even as busy parents.