How to repair a broken relationship

I see many couples with broken relationships. They have grown distant and may even question whether or not they even still love each other. One will often say “we’re just roommates.”

What can you do if you feel this way about your relationship?

I suggest you start by learning how to love each other and how to express your love. 

Gary Chapman’s The Five Love Languages is one of my favorite books to help couples start thinking about what the word love really means. Real love goes beyond warm feelings. It is action. It how they treat each other. It is meeting each others needs.

If they can begin to understand not only what they need, but more importantly what their partner needs, they can begin to give each other love as a gift, and show love in ways that are meaning full to each of them.

As the positive feelings begin to build you need to start talking about what went wrong and take corrective action by making some changes. 

A common complaint these days is one or both of the couple are always on their phone, tablet, or computer. Personally I think such devices can become a form of addiction we use to escape the reality of today’s hectic lifestyle.  We use media to find a safe place and in doing so we block out the world around us. Instead of talking with each other we become lost in the cyber world. In some cases one or both have more of a relationship with others through social media.

The key is to make time without distractions to talk with each other. Many of the couples I see admit the only time they really talk with each other is during our counseling sessions.

Say something nice each day.

Don’t let things build up

Pay attention and do small things your partner asks of you.

Send a little time each day catching up on what they did that day. Maybe over diner or after the kids go to bed.

Don’t get lost in looking at the past and arguing about it. Instead begin to focus on solutions and change. Remember, the only thing you can change is today and the future. 

Couples need to learn how to have fun together. 

I am sad when I ask couples when was the last time you went on a date and had some fun and they can’t remember when the last time was.

When was the last time you:

Tried a new restaurant together?

Took a walk in the park and looked at the beauty of the world around?

Played a game together?

Went to see a movie?

Went out for coffee?

Go to a museum?

Go someplace new?

Made your own fun?


What do “Faith based” and “Christian” Counseling mean to me?

I personally believe a person’s faith can give you strength and guidelines to live a better and more effective life. As a Licensed Professional Counselor my ethics dictate I should not try to impose my beliefs on you as a client and I should respect your beliefs. The only exception I would personally make would be if I felt your beliefs are harmful to you or another, in such a case I would suggest you seek counseling from someone else.

My background is based on Christian beliefs. I went so far as to spend two years working on a Masters of Divinity degree before obtaining my Masters in Counseling degree. That is not to say that I am not comfortable or unwilling to work with persons of other faiths. In fact I have done extensive study and reading to better understand what other faiths teach. I often ask others from different backgrounds to explain to me what they believe and their understanding of how this applies to their current situation.

A good example of how this works when working with couples and families: I work from the assumption that what makes a family work is to treat each other with love as defined in the following:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
1 Corinthians 13 (NIV)

This should be a bench mark by which how a family treats each other should be measured. I often, at least internally, question what a couple means when they say they love each other if they are not treating each other this way. I will ask them what their love means. Too often it is based only on an emotional warm feeling. We all know these  warm feelings can come and go.