Building Blocks Towards an Intimate Relationship

Building Blocks Towards an Intimate Relationship

Have you ever put together furniture from IKEA?  Their furniture is fantastic and upholds for many, many years.  However, the beginning pieces of the furniture assembly is the toughest.  IKEA offers furniture at a reasonable price, because they do not have employees that go out and assemble the furniture for you.  Instead, you receive a box full of multiple boards, screws, nails and instructions only in picture format.  Your goal: duplicate the amazing item that you saw on display via following the pictures.  Back in 2012, that was definitely the litmus test for my husband (fiance back then) and I and our relationship.

The assembly process took a good 3 hours to complete.  During that time, we had our fair share of frustrations, soreness and accomplishments.  The accomplishments outweighed the other two for sure, because we worked as a team and envisioned the same end product.  The same goes for developing an intimate relationship.  Gottman, a well noted researcher on marital stability, discovered that building an intimate foundation with a relationship includes three components: love maps, fondness and admiration, and turning towards.

Do you know your partner’s likes/dislikes, aspirations and/or stressors?  If so, you are in tune with knowing your partner’s love map.  Gottman noted that in the beginning of the relationship, couples are highly aware of each others love map.  However, over time love maps may be neglected.  Be aware when you need to update your partner’s love map by acknowledging their growth and changes.

Fondness and admiration can take you a long way in an intimate relationship.  This too can decrease with time if  you are not careful.  Praise and appreciate your loved one by expressing your love periodically and spontaneously.  Make sure the praise is specific, timely and recent.  For example, if your significant other received a new hair do today, compliment them the moment you notice them and their new hair style!

Do you and your significant other fill each others “emotional bank account”?  You can start filling up your partner’s “emotional bank account” by turning towards him/her.  Turning towards means paying attention to your partner and their words, actions and desires.  Being there for them and listening to their needs will help your relationship connection.

Keep the love alive in your relationship today by applying these three simple components!  If you are in need of assistance in accomplishing these building blocks, contact Family First Counseling.  We are here to help you and your significant other in discovering ways to improve your relationship!

Under Construction

Under ConstructionIf you are having problems in your marriage I would like to encourage you to fix your focus solidly on yourself the next month.  Attempts to get your partner to change invite defensiveness.  No one likes being told they’re doing things wrong or, far worse, that they are a bad person.   Instead of pointing your finger at all the things they are doing wrong start focusing on what YOU could do differently.  If both of you are seeking to do your own upgrades, the marriage can become what you both want.

Megan’s Leap List 2015

I learned about Leap Lists last year and decided to do one yearly ending on my birthday.  I did this last year and was somewhat successful. What I did find out is that I need support to keep them in mind.  So I will be trying to recruit my friends and family to write a leap list, that way we can support each other.  Read last year’s list and the concept of leap lists here.

My list for this year will include some things from last year, that I still want to do, in red.  I’m not discouraged because as long as I have a goal, I am growing and learning.

Leap List Things To Do Before the End of This Year When I Turn 43.

1. Read the Bible and/or a devotion every day of this year, even holidays, special events, etc.

2. Make a tangible $24,000 that I can actually see, not going right back into the business.

3. Attend a conference out of state that has something to do with my profession.

4. Teach at least 4 premarital or marriage enrichment groups.

5. Go to Europe to visit my beautiful daughter while she studies abroad this semester. *With the whole family.

6. Lose a minimum of 40lbs.

7. Plan a conference for and about minority mental health.

8. Serve on a non-profit board in some capacity.

9. Grow my hair back out.

10. Streamline my business, including running it more efficiently, hiring an administrative person and writing a more specific training program for my staff.

(I know it says 10 things, but I’m ambitious)

11. Travel somewhere for a vacation that I have not been.

12. Go on a girls trip.

13. Teach line dancing or fitness classes.

14. Take dancing lessons.

15. Open another office location or get a single larger space.

16. Do something physically adventurous. (indoor skydiving, zip lining, run a half marathon…)

17. Get a tattoo.

18. Speak on panels, write articles, etc. Become an expert.


Leap List Things I Accomplished in 2014:

1. Taught line dancing for Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Arlington Alumnae Chapter.

2. 80’s Costume party for my 42nd birthday.

3. Spoke to a group about my business.  4 times at MBHPN.

4. Streamlined my business.

5. Dyed my hair.

What’s on your leap list?  I would love to read about what other people are thinking of doing before their next milestone.  Post it here on our blog or on our Facebook page.  I think this is an awesome discussion topic to start off the year! Check out a visual of my list, probably more than what’s on here on my Pinterest board here.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

2014 veterans day va poster

We are republishing this post on PTSD.  We have the privilege of having two veterans on our staff.  Ms. Vernesa Perry and Mr. Timothy Cox.  Thank You for your service.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Personal accounts concerning traumatic events showed that those with post-traumatic stress disorder recurrently re-experience the traumatic incident; evade others, situations, or thoughts connected with the incident; and have symptoms of undue emotions (Baldwin, 2011). A traumatic experience is a life threatening incident such as a natural catastrophe, military warfare, serious accidents, terrorist incidents, or sexual or physical assault in childhood life or adult life. Some of survivors of traumatic events sometimes return to ordinary activities within little time. On the other hand, some individuals may have stress reactions that do not go away on their own, which might even get worse after a while. As a matter of fact, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a psychiatric diagnosis that is familiar amongst those who have lived through horrendous events; the central diagnostic characteristics are memory distortions (Nader, 2010).

Traumatic experiences may entail a single incident, or a continuing or repetitive incident or incidents that may fully devastate someone’s capability to handle certain feelings involved with that event. Traumatic events and tragedies can happen unintentionally, intentionally, naturally, or be repeated several times. Each one of these tragedies are either a single or long-term occurrence, and it may be psychologically, physically, and emotionally overwhelming.  However, different individuals will respond in a different way to the same tragedies. One individual might believe an event to be distressing while another individual may not go through trauma as a consequence of the same tragedy. In other words, not everyone who goes through or witness a traumatic incident will turn out to be traumatized psychologically.

Treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder might help alleviate symptoms by helping you to handle the traumatic event you have gone through. Instead of evading the event and any memories of it, you are encouraged in treatment to recollect and deal with the sensations and emotions you experienced at the time of the initial event. On top of offering an exit for emotions you have been bottling up, treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder will furthermore aid in restoring your feelings of self-control and decrease the authoritative grasp your memory has on your life.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a type of psychotherapeutic treatment that helps people understand their feelings and thoughts that influence their behavior.  Cognitive behavioral therapy can consist of:

* Exposure therapy – Helps people face and control their fear. It exposes them to the trauma that they experienced in a safe way.

* Cognitive restructuring – Helps people make sense of the terrible memories. Sometimes people remember events in a different way than how they really happened. They might feel shameful or guilty about what is not their fault.

* Stress inoculation training – Reduces PTSD symptoms by teaching a person how to reduce their anxiety.

 It may be very hard to take that first step to help yourself. It is important to realize that although it may take some time, with treatment, you can get better.

“Be healed, be delivered, and be set free.”

LaTrina graduated in 2009 from American InterContinental University with a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice with a concentration in forensics. In 2011 she earned her Masters of Arts degree in Forensic Psychology, as well as a certificate in Applied Forensics from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology.

Attachment Style and How it Effects Marital Sex


Many couples come to marriage counseling for a primary issue but sexual issues are usually in the background. Adult attachment styles play a big part in those sexual issues.  Below I will give are the 3 most common attachment styles along with a 4th one learned from Jeff Hickey, LCSW.  This is some of what I learned in this awesome training:

Adult Attachment Styles

Secure: Self confident, socially skilled, comfortable with closeness, more able to stable and satisfying long-term relationships.

Anxious: Preoccupied with rejection and abandonment, seek romantic relationships, but see partners as untrustworthy, pursue to get a reaction or attention.

Avoidant: Uncomfortable with true closeness, self disclosure and dependence on others, utilize distance and numbing to veegulate affect. (Mikulincer & Shaver, 2007)

What This Means to You and How it Can Effect Sex in Your Marriage:

Secure: You have a positive view of self, no need to attack mate or use negative coping skills, comfort with closeness and give and take in bed, be in tune with spouse’s sexual needs (non pornified needs), sex deepens your love and increases secure attachment, sex doesn’t define sex.

Anxious: You are often over vigilant, sex is priming way to be close but lacks intimacy and closeness, preoccupied with spouse’s approval, preoccupied with performance not intimacy, difficulty asserting sexual needs, tend to have less satisfaction, lack of orgasm.

Avoidant: You are most likely uncomfortable with closeness and true intimate transparency, not comfortable with self disclosure, using distance And numbing to control feeling and closeness, stonewalling, looks independent on the outside but fearful of showing true self.

Disorganized: You use a mixture of anxious and avoidant attachment styles, neither of which works to make you feel good About yourself or be open and intimate with your spouse.

If you see yourself or your spouse in the negative styles don’t lose hope, they aren’t set in stone you can learn a healthier style. A small change can transform your marriage in a good way.  We would love to help.



Husbands Are you Unintentionally Harming your Wives?

Husbands are you unintentionally Harming your Wives

1. Fail to notice the difference she makes: Your wife wants you to appreciate who she is and what she does. Whether she makes sure that your clothes are clean or she decorates the house, your wife wants to know that you value her.

2. You cut her out of the discussion: A marriage is a partnership so don’t cut her out just because you don’t think she wouldn’t understand what you’re talking about.

3. Underestimating the small stuff: Words can and do hurt. You cannot talk to your wife like you might talk to a male friend.

4. Speaks with curtness: Do not talk down to your wife. This will bruise her spirit.  Treat her as your equal.

5. Correct her while she is talking: Do not finish her sentences or speak for her in the company of others. This can devalue your wife.

6. Act suspicious: When you hide information, even when you think you are protecting her, you cause your wife to question your motive. Hiding information will hurt hur.

7. Admire other women over her: A wife’s heart is tender. She is your precious gift so treat her well!


Information was retrieved from Today Christian