Making Way for our New Normal

couple at home

When we were toasting to a new year on January 1, who would have thought we’d spend most of 2020 quarantining and social distancing due to a global pandemic?  I certainly didn’t.  It has brought couples and families together for better or for worse.  There have been unexpected financial burdens, medical crises in your family, and hours of home schooling.  We have mastered Zoom, Skype, and every other virtual communication platform to connect us to colleagues, families, and friends.  Although we may feel there is too much togetherness at times, we are still longing for CONNECTION.  

In a time with so much uncertainty, we still want to be seen, heard, and valued.  When both partners are working from home, you may feel there is constant communication.

But is it meaningful communication?  Our computers and cell phones are our link to the outside world.  Longing for normalcy and for connection outside of our family, we have become addicted to our phones.  So, put down your phone and spend quality with your significant other

Have a picnic dinner by candlelight

Make some sandwiches or order take-out.  Throw a blanket on the floor and enjoy each other’s company.

Serve together

Bake cookies and deliver them to an elderly neighbor.  Find a ministry collecting canned goods and clean out the boxed / canned items from your pantry.

Pull out the board games

 Have some friendly competition.  Play three games – and the (winner) best of three gets a backrub from the one who loses.

Get your hands dirty

 Start a winter vegetable garden.  Use your herbs or vegetables when you cook a meal together.

Bring out the pencil and paper

Sketch each other.  Pay attention to each other’s details as you draw the portraits.  Clothes optional.

We may be longing for normalcy, for the life we had pre-COVID-19.  But we were exhausted and disconnected.  Cherish this time of less obligations and less distractions.  Cherish the simplicity.  Let’s connect, REALLY connect.  May we all remember what it means to really embrace the ones we love, and may this become our new normal.

If you need help connecting with your spouse in a meaningful way, contact one of our licensed therapists.

3 Essential Steps To Becoming An Active Listener

Active Listening in realtionships

Hearing is something we do every day.

We hear the sound of a lawnmower or the sound of a beeping car horn. Our sense of hearing is not necessarily something that we can just “turn off” – it’s involuntary.

On the other hand, active listening is about tuning in to a conversation with motivation and purpose. Active listeners tune in with an intention to connect and participate in a conversation – not just hear.

Active listening can help nourish meaningful relationships in your life. Use these 3 tips that can help you become a more active listener in your relationships.


Master Nonverbal Communication


Nonverbal conversation has a lot of deep meaning. You can learn to read and use body language in ways that help build better relationships. Eye contact, facial expressions, gestures, and posture affect the way you are communicating.

These nonverbal cues can signal interest, affection, or hostility without saying a word. Before you engage in a conversation, think about all of your nonverbal cues and what they communicate.


Eliminate Distractions


Put down your cell phone and shut off the TV! Active listening is about making a conscious decision to hear what people are saying. It’s about being completely focused on others—their words and their messages—without being distracted.

Active listeners can tune out distractions and noise to tune into the conversation at hand. In its most basic form, active listening is when someone is listening for meaning and feeling and not just content. When you eliminate background noise and distractions you are signaling that the conversation (and your relationship) is a priority.

Stay Mindful


Mindfulness is an essential part of active listening. When you are mindful, you make a conscious decision to focus on the moment at hand. Mindfulness helps you focus on the here and now which is an especially important skill set. We’re so often triggered by words the words we hear that it’s hard for us to understand what’s really being said.

Remember that mastering communication and the art of active listening is something that takes work in any relationship. The good news is that it’s an achievable goal.

At Foundations Family Therapy, we provide counseling to help strengthen relationships. Whether you are trying to work through something small or on the brink of divorce, counseling can help if you and your partner are ready to work on your relationship. Give us a call today!

How To Maintain Your Identity When “I” Becomes “We”

couples counseling for high conflict | Foundations Family Therapy | Raleigh, NC 27606

If you’re in a monogamous relationship, then you know how wonderful it can be to find someone you love so deeply.

Often times, especially through marriage, couples become a unit which can be a good thing! You might enjoy the same activities, hang out with the same people, and finish each other’s sentences.

Being in a loving relationship is an amazing thing. But sometimes, it’s easy to lose sight of yourself when every new decision you make suddenly affects another person. The good news is every couple can learn to maintain their individuality while still growing together.

Start with these tips!

Do What Makes You Happy

Relationships are all about compromise, but remember that your personal happiness is still important.

Make time for healthy hobbies that you enjoy.

Don’t be afraid to schedule a little “me” time to take care of yourself.

Make an effort to spend time apart when possible. This will help maintain other relationships in your life. it will also keep you from putting too much pressure on your partner to be your everything.

Set Healthy Boundaries Within Your Relationship

Every couple is made from two unique individuals sometimes with different opinions, thoughts, and beliefs. You have to have a good understanding of your personal self when you’re in a relationship in order to set boundaries accordingly.

You don’t have to change who you are to meet someone else’s standards. Saying “no” can help prioritize yourself and your feelings.

Ask For Guidance

No matter where you’re at in your relationship, couples therapy can help you identify what’s working and what’s not. Through couples counseling, we want to help you connect with your partner and for you to feel supported and validated. You can get that “loving feeling” back again and in a deeper way than ever before.

Couples Counseling can help couples build a firm foundation before their wedding day, help couples resolve a specific conflict or help save a marriage after infidelity. Right now, your problems seem overwhelming. But our therapists have seen other relationships in crisis. We’ve worked with other couples who are tired of arguing.

Whether you are trying to work through something small or on the brink of divorce, counseling can help. If you and your partner are ready to work on your relationship as individuals and as a couple, we’re here to support you!

4 Tips For Improving Communication In Your Marriage From A Raleigh, NC Therapist

Christian Couples Counseling | Foundations Family Therapy | Fuquay Varina & Raleigh, NC

Even though every relationship has its own strengths and weakness, there are many couples would rank “communication” as a major weakness in their marriage.

Some couples might engage in heated conversations that involve cursing, yelling, and degrading comments while others might give each other the silent treatment. In both instances, the couples are “communicating” but they are not communicating effectively or in the best interest of the relationship.

Conversation is an invitation into someone’s world and a chance to build intimacy in the relationship. So how can we communicate more effectively with our spouse?

Humility

This is the first and most critical aspect of a good relationship and good communication. Humility in communication looks like giving your spouse the “benefit of the doubt” that they are trying to hear you, care for you, and respond to you the best way they know-how.

If each person in the relationship humbles themselves to believe that maybe they could improve their communication and that their spouse is not looking for bad intentions in their communication, a lot of ground can be gained by changing our own attitudes.

Engage In Active Listening

In active listening, the person is listening for meaning and feeling and not just content. The listener is not just waiting to respond, but takes on the mindset of “my only job is to hear, understand, and determine how you are feeling and the meaning behind what you are telling me”.

In its most basic form, active listening involves eye contact, listening for inflection in the conversation, and reflecting some basic feelings or words the person is saying to show you are listening. Before responding, summarize what you hear your spouse telling you.

For example, after a hard day, you might summarize and reflect “wow, so your boss yelled at you and you felt frustrated and anxious”. This gives your spouse the opportunity to correct you if you did not get their feeling or meaning correct and shows that not only did you hear their story but you can empathize with them.

Remember: content is only one part. It will be much less effective if you respond by saying “so your boss yelled at you?” It might feel weird at first, but it will do wonders for your relationship.

Set aside uninterrupted time to talk

We all live busy, digital lives but setting aside time each day (or every couple of days if we’re honest), to sit with our spouse and just talk about something meaningful, hopes, dreams, feelings, insecurities, or disappointments is crucial.

In a world where we can text our spouse all day and not have any intimacy or depth in the communication, it is so vital to make eye contact without screens and engage with one another.

If you need help, start by asking a good open-ended question, like…

What do you like best about our relationship right now?”

Is there anything you wish was different about our marriage?”

What is a way I can support you and show you love right now in a meaningful way?”

Are you struggling with or dreading anything right now?”

The idea is to move beyond the surface-level conversation. Try to connect with your spouse’s thoughts and feelings.

Laugh Together

Find time to be with your spouse and do something you enjoy. This will help improve communication and your desire to be with one another. Make time for one another and laugh together! Sometimes, good memories and laughing together really is the best medicine.

How Every Relationship Could Benefit From Couple’s Therapy

married couple | faith based therapy | Foundations Family Therapy | Fuquay Varina & Raleigh, NC

Think about all of the ways your life is enriched through your relationships.

Whether romantically involved or bound by friendship, relationships help provide essential support and nourishment in life.

It’s no secret that relationships require work. They are mutually transformative and grow over time but not without setbacks or challenges.

Successful relationships are based on balance and mutual support making clear communication absolutely necessary.

Relationships are so complex and take finetuning along the path to growth and fulfillment. Here are a few ways Couple’s Therapy can help benefit any relationship.

You Can Learn About Your Partner’s Emotional Needs

Known in the therapy world as EFT (Emotionally Focused Therapy), this type of therapy specifically focuses on the individual emotional patterns of both people in the relationship. The goal of EFT is to create a secure and trustworthy bond that results in a healthier, happier bond.

Therapy can improve communication so both partners feel heard and understood. It can help couples navigate the complexity of decision-making and goal-setting ensuring each person is making a compromise.

Diving into your history as a couple as well as your individual histories is important. It helps you better understand what specific issues mean to each of you. This will help couples identify and share feelings.

You’ll Gain A Non-judgmental Third Party Perspective

When you are part of the relationship, it’s hard to remove yourself from it and view it without bias. Couple’s Therapy offers professional third party guidance, support, and advice that can help repair or refresh a relationship.

Often times, a therapist understands what you are trying to convey and offers a clear and understandable translation to your partner. Because relationships are built on trust and communication, it’s important to understand how to communicate effectively.

Couples Therapy can help overcome communication obstacles by developing a greater understanding of each other.


You Can Discuss A Variety of Topics

There are a variety of elements that cause strain on a relationship. Couple’s Therapy at Foundations Family Therapy is designed to help couples open up and discuss specific elements of their relationship. It provides a healthy way to analyze individual communication styles, personalities, ambitions, personal values and goals, finances, and conflict resolution.

There is no magic formula that can fix a broken relationship but at Foundations Family Therapy, we’re here to help you reconnect. We help couples connect in a supportive environment at our comfortable Fuquay-Varina and Raleigh offices.

Our couples therapy clients report feeling like their partners understand them better, respect them more, and support them after therapy.

Strengthen your relationship today!

How Couples Therapy Can Strengthen Your Relationship

Being in a relationship is a wonderful thing. Healthy relationships provide a sense of comfort, support and, of course, love. Relationships are special because they allow us to connect to someone in a deeper way. Unfortunately, one thing people often forget is that relationships are also work. They require regular maintenance to keep them running smoothly. Don’t wait until things get out of hand to get help with your relationship. Here are a few ways couple’s therapy can help maintain all the wonderful things about your relationship.

Active participation. Couples therapy is a great way to allow both couples to participate and be heard. This type of participation can provide treatment for you as a couple instead of as two individuals.

Better understanding. Therapy provides a healthy and safe setting where you communicate with your partner. You’ll be able to listen and understand your parents feelings to move forward in repairing or maintaining you relationship.

Reconnection. Better understanding leads to reconnection. Once you identify the issues and make steps to work toward them, you can focus on the positive aspect of your relationship.

Judgement free. At Foundations Family Therapy, you’ll work with one of our Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists [LMFT] who will provide professional guidance and support to both people. This is a great way to get a qualified third-party opinion to help you strengthen your relationship.

Provide solutions. Best of all, couple’s therapy can help provide solutions to your problems as a couple. Your therapist will work to identify the obstacles in your relationship and provide professional recommendations to help you move forward in love and support. Many couples leave therapy having gained insight into their relational patterns, emotional expressions and skills necessary to communicate and problem-solve with their partners more effectively.