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Learn to Listen to Learn

​ John Gottman has rightly discovered that, when couples fight, what they fight about is seldom the problem. It's more a matter of how they go about it. Why are some couples able to discuss even thorny issues with patience and goodwill, while others end up arguing bitterly, maybe even over something as trivial as what to have for dinner? When conversations become confrontations and conflict becomes combat, we need to learn to have a different kind of conversation. I don't mean changing the subject. I mean changing the endgame. When we argue, we usually have an agenda. The conversation has become a contest and we're "in it to win it." We want to get our way or prove our point or persuade our

Speak with an Accent of Love

​"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me." I learned that on the playground in kindergarten, but I think it isn't true. In fact, words can hit like a fist and leave scars less visible, but no less lasting. Sad, but true that we will say harsher things to our spouse than we would ever say to a coworker, acquaintance or even the stranger we meet at the grocery store. Why do we so carefully guard our words with those we hardly know, but just "let fly" with our partner? Of course, intimacy allows us to be our "real self" and we all need that. It's good, unless dropping our guard means taking the filter off and verbally slashing and burning the one we love most. In the

When Is It Time to See a Therapist?

When is it time for couples counseling? How do you know when you and your partner need a therapist? Of course, no two couples are the same, so it's hard to give a "one size fits all" answer. But, here are a few signs that it's time to get help. No couple can stay "starry eyed" and head over heels, crazy in love forever. That will wane, but deep admiration and respect, positive sentiments toward one another, friendship and appreciation, openness, trust and intimacy, those things should stay. When they start to wear thin, it's easy to begin seeing your partner in a negative light. When you see more to criticize than compliment, more of what's wrong than what's right, when you become a "fault f

Welcome to Pairs Care!

Today begins a new month, a new chapter in my life and a new career. Welcome to Pairs Care! This is my first foray into blogging and I'm an eager learner. I hope you are too. Pairs Care is my passion and my full time work. In the words of the Beatles, mine has been "a long and winding road." As you can read elswhere on this website, I've worn several hats during my career: pastor, clinician, therapist. Everything I've learned and done along the way has brought me to where I am now. As someone said, "It took a long time to get here, but I'm right on time." God has given me a passion for a very special type of clinical counseling--couples counseling. As a therapist, couples counseling is both

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