Three Ways Emotional Suppression Hurts You

Published | Tags: , , ,


Could suppressing negative emotions actually harm relationships more than help them? Holding back, reducing, or inhibiting ongoing emotions is known in the research world as “emotional suppression.” And we’ve all experienced emotional suppression. If you have ever hidden a worry to avoid worrying someone else or suppressed negative emotions that could lead someone to judge or dislike you, then you have experienced emotional suppression. Emotional suppression is especially common in close relationships. Unfortunately, this common occurrence can interfere with the development of intimate relationships relationships in the following ways:

It can decrease intimacy.

Emotional expression (the opposite of suppression) has been shown to be an essential part of developing closeness and intimacy, and unexpressive partners have often been found to seem disinterested, uncaring, and distant. It’s harder to be authentic.

Who wants to feel fake in a relationship? Individuals who suppress emotions also tend to feel less authentic or true to themselves. Research has suggested that feeling “fake” in relationships leads to more distance between partners and less relationship satisfaction. It decreases marital quality for newlyweds.

In addition to the research that suggests that emotional ... Read more »


Sleeping Together

Published | Tags: , , ,


Before I got married, I had a lot of people offer me warnings: “You’ll probably fight a lot more,” “There will be little things about him that annoy you” and so on. However, there was one warning that no one gave me, but turned out to be huge. Sleeping with someone when you’re used to sleeping alone can be an adjustment.

Each of us spends roughly one third of our lives in bed, and although science has never found a clear explanation to why sleep happens the way it does, we know it is vital to our health and happiness. For me, sleeping in bed with my husband slowly became easier and eventually my new normal, however, what if it hadn’t?

The Marriage of Sleep and Happiness

Sleep, being as vital as it is, plays a significant role in marriage. First of all, being asleep is one of the most vulnerable things we can do. Research indicates that you need to feel sufficiently safe and secure in order to reach deep sleep, and therefore sleep requires trust in your ... Read more »


Let’s Talk About Sex!

Published | Tags: , , , , ,


Sex. It’s everywhere! It’s on TV, movies, the internet, magazines. And yet, for many couples, sex remains somewhat a mystery. Many couples enter into sexual relationships assuming that their sex lives will be like what they’ve seen in the media, only to find that *gasp* it’s quite different. So then they turn to magazines and internet articles, searching for tips and tricks on improving their sex life, only to find that what those articles recommend just might not work for them. So, where can you find foolproof techniques for improving your intimate relationship? Turns out that researchers have been searching for that answer…

New research from Australian scholars shows that communication between partners about their sexual relationship can significantly increase sexual satisfaction in couples. Simply stated: talking about sex with your partner can improve your sex life. Now, this may seem like a no-brainer. But many new couples avoid talking about the details of their sex lives together because of fear, embarrassment, or not wanting to hurt their partner. How can you and your partner talk about your intimate relationship? ... Read more »


So, You Didn’t Marry a Mind Reader

Published |


Do you believe in mind readers? I don’t think I’ve met a single person who truly does. As much as it is fun to see magicians, illusions, and tricks, all of us seems to have that question burning in our minds: “How did they do that?” That question alone proves to us that we know it’s not real. We’re searching for the loophole that we’re missing to know how we were hoodwinked. Yet somehow when it comes to relationships, so many of us expect our partners to mind read, and are shocked or even offended when they can’t do it right.  

Telling your spouse, “I’m fine,” when you’re really angry at them for something they have done, demanding, “how did you not know I was upset?” when you didn’t offer any indication that you were, and being offended when a spouse folds the laundry when we wanted them to fold AND PUT AWAY, are all instances where mind reading was “supposed” to happen.

Maybe we wish our spouses could read minds, and perhaps we think that we can train ... Read more »


Feeling Happy with Being Angry

Published | Tags: , , ,


As I work to become a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, I have about 8-10 weekly therapy sessions with clients. I see a wide variety of presenting problems and people with no one case being the same as another. However, some themes start sticking out the more individuals I work with. One particular theme that I have heard and worked hard to fight against is the idea, “I cannot or should not feel angry.”

Every one of us has eight primary emotions. Joy, Sadness, Fear, Disgust, and Anger are the five identified in Disney Pixar’s Inside Out, but we also experience interest (sometimes called anticipation), surprise, and shame. Every person is born with these emotions wired into their brain. That wiring causes our bodies to react in certain ways and to awaken certain urges when the emotion arises. This is nature. Unfortunately, somewhere along the way many of us learned that only seven of these emotions are safe to feel, while one needs to be squashed and eliminated.

On the one hand, it’s not hard to see why anger is ... Read more »


Sex is Just a Hot, Delicious Pizza

Published | Tags: , , ,


How do you discuss sexual activity? Although many of us may not play the sport, or have even seen a game, Americans seem to love comparing sex to it’s “favourite pastime:” baseball. Baseball metaphors dominate our sexual vernacular with phrases such as “hitting a home run” “first, second, and home base” “strikeout” and “batting for the other team.” While these comparisons seem to be nothing more than easy ways to be demure in your speech, Al Vernacchio points out that baseball, or any sport metaphors, do very little for healthy sex.

“It’s competitive, it’s goal related, and it can’t result in healthy sexuality developing in young people or adults, so, we need a new model,” explains Vernacchio in his 2012 TED talk. What kind of model? One that revolves around something everybody loves: pizza.

To explain exactly how much more effective and accurate the pizza model is for describing sex, Vernacchio compares baseball and pizza in regards to three key components of sexual activity.

When and How Sex Happens. Baseball

When do you play baseball? Generally, there’s a specific season for it. ... Read more »


5 Ways to Have a Better Conversation

Published | Tags: , , ,


Every day is full of conversations and communication, or at least it should be. Because of the technology centered nature of the world, face to face conversation has become secondary to emails, texts, Snapchats, and Facebook messenger. While this is a benefit in many ways, it can also become a hindrance on establishing close and meaningful interactions.

As conversation and mutual self-disclosure has been found repeatedly to strengthen familial, friendly, and romantic relationships, it makes sense to want to build upon that skill to ensure that every conversation we have is a good one.

5 Ways to Have a Better Conversation   Don’t multitask

As a result of using technology to enhance every day, all of us have become both masters and failures at multitasking. We find ourselves constantly splitting our attention between different activities simultaneously, yet research indicates we are not nearly as effective as doing so as we may think. If you want to be engaged in a conversation BE ENGAGED. Ignore texts, tasks, and technology in general to be present. Partners who experience disengaged (or multitasking) conversations have ... Read more »


The 3 Worst Couples You’ll Ever Meet

Published | Tags: , , , , , ,


When I was 4 years old someone told me I had to get married someday. I cried for hours on my mother’s lap while she tried to comfort me by saying I never had to get married if I didn’t want to. This fear of marriage stayed with me for most of my life, and I justified it by pointing out all the terrible couples I saw around me. Why on earth would I get married just to end up like them? I eventually realized that many couples have perfectly happy and healthy marriages.  I also realized that many of these “terrible” couples were simply like most of us, experiencing the ups and downs of a normal relationship.  

Who are these couples and is everything about them really that terrible? Let me summarize some of the more common types of marriages we see.  You’ll likely see yourself and your relationship in some of these descriptions.    

Overly Reactive Who?

This couple is like the high school sweethearts who dominated the halls with their screaming matches or passionate kissing; everything is at 100% ... Read more »


Marriage: Ready or Not

Published | Tags: , , ,


Very few of us want to get married just to have the marriage end, but that seems to be a common result.  It’s no secret that about 50% of marriages end in divorce, and many of those occur in the first five years of marriage.

The high divorce rates have led many of us to believe that marriage is fragile and should not be entered into lightly.  Yet as a society, we still tend to favor marriage as an important life goal.  The result of these two conflicting views is a delay of marriage into the late 20’s and 30’s.  Instead of getting married young like so many generations before us, we want more time to prepare.

But this leaves an important question:

How do we know when we are ready?

In a recent study, Jason Carroll from Brigham Young University and a team of scholars from universities across the nation wanted to know how we answer that question.  They surveyed young adults across the nation to determine how young people today are preparing for marriage.  What they found revealed some important ... Read more »


5 Ways Your Partner Could Leave You Powerless

Published | Tags: , , , ,


It seems that it is infinitely easier to give out advice than to take it. It also can seem almost impossible to see red flags in your life while the ones in your BFF’s relationships stand out to you like neon signs in Vegas.

This is one of the reasons that people can find themselves in a controlling relationship with no idea how they got there. Chances are the relationship began happily with romance and passion, but gradually became more worrisome until you can’t avoid admitting it. So what ARE the warning signs? What bad behaviors in a relationship mean that you should jump ship? Or should you always hold on and work through issues?

Isolation from friends and family.

Every new couple may find themselves lost in each other’s eyes at some point, and many go through periods where they only ever want to be with each other. The sense of satisfaction to just be with one person isn’t a bad thing. However, if a partner actively tries to stop the other from having any sort of social life ... Read more »