Getting into a drinking binge at a party. Craving that constant high. A teen who starts having discipline problems at school and puts on a rebellious attitude at home. Someone who loses a job or plays the truant in school because he’s always sick due to a hangover. These may be signs of substance abuse.

Substance abuse can be defined as the pathological use of a substance – alcohol, drugs, prescription medication or tobacco. Although a person who has a substance abuse problem may not yet be considered an addict (and there are no issues with withdrawal symptoms), there will be undesirable consequences that will affect an individual’s family life, social life and work life. A person who has substance abuse issues may perform poorly in school or work, have problems with the legal system and may act negligently or carelessly so as to cause harm to themselves and others.

There is also the tendency that substance abuse can devolve into addictions, where people have this uncontrollable compulsion to indulge in his addiction of choice. Over time, there is a feeling of helplessness and lack of self-worth. What they are focused on is how to get the next fix.

It is especially sad for parents to see this happening to their children. Having a child who has substance abuse problems may be one of a parent’s worst fears. That is why it is important for parents to nurture a caring and supportive environment where children feel loved and are less vulnerable to turning to drugs and alcohol. Parents should also be on the lookout for possible substance abuse and act accordingly to help their child win over the temptation to indulge in substance abuse.

Parents should be on the lookout for:

Change in behavior. A teen who is into substance abuse may be suddenly sullen and rebellious and be more insistent about “privacy” and may withdraw from family events. You may notice a change in attitude as the teen becomes more hostile and sullen and may also be caught lying at times. As the substance abuse worsens, you may see increased conflicts with your teen, where he is becoming more and more out of control.

Have alcohol or tobacco in their breath. Or, they may try to mask it by going straight to their rooms to “freshen up”.

Declining performance in school. Grades may start to suffer and there may be complaints about delinquency and truancy, as well as discipline issues in school

Change of peer group. Your teen may start minimizing contact with friends who don’t share the substance abuse problem and may spend more time with other peers who are also substance abusers.

Change in activities. The sports and extra-curricular activities your teen used to enjoy may be dropped. Your teen may also be always “out with friends”.

Mysterious loss of valuables and money. Things may suddenly go missing around the house. Or, your teen may start borrowing money from you, their siblings, other relatives and friends.

Dealing with Substance Abuse

Substance abuse is oftentimes caused by underlying issues the teen feels he has no control over or that he is unable to deal with. That is why going for Utah substance abuse counseling is one important component in treating this problem. It is also most effective when counseling is also coupled with medical treatment.

Going to a substance abuse counselor in Provo will help the teen deal with the underlying cause of the substance abuse. It is also vital in helping them recover their healthy functioning and build healthy relationships with others. Counseling will also help provide essential tools on how to manage this problem and prevent relapses from occurring.

Substance abuse therapy may focus on the emotions and thoughts that lead to the problem. It helps the teens to look into their feelings and identify situations that lead them to the temptation to take on drugs and alcohol – and how these situations can be avoided. Other tools include relaxation techniques to help the individual resist the temptation, manage the stress or anxiety they feel at this time and explore healthy outlets for pent up emotions and anger.

Teens may also feel anger (at their families, friends and even themselves) and therapy will help delve into the root causes of this anger. Through therapy, they are given tools on how they can express this anger in a healthy manner and deal with it constructively.

Families who have a teen who is into substance abuse could also do well to have Utah family therapy. It is important to foster an environment where the teen can see his family and friends support him and make efforts to get him back on track. Family therapy will be helpful to identify if there are any behaviors by family members that “enable” a teen’s substance abuse problems. Family members (especially parents) are also provided with communication tools and how they can effectively resolve any conflicts within the family that may have contributed to the substance abuse problem.

When in Provo, Utah, be sure to look up Dr. Triston Morgan. He is a highly experienced substance abuse counselor in Utah and has treated teens in various settings.


They say that the only constant thing in life is change. You can liken life as clouds in the sky – they are constantly changing form. Like it or not, change will come. That’s life, after all. We face various seasons of our lives that result in major transitions that necessitate a change in our lifestyle and outlook. Depending on how welcome the change is, it can be met with happiness, an openness to change and a positive attitude or it can be encountered with fear, anxiety and stress. It is important to realize that life transitions can be an uncertain (and even scary) time, but it can also be a time of growth.

Transitions can be due to expected events or they can be unpredictable and unwelcome events. Examples of life transitions include:

Getting married and starting a family. This exciting phase in the life of couples can be a cause for much joy or stress. Becoming a parent is a challenge and will require much adjustment from the couple. Once the children come, you as parents discover that you have grown in ways you did not expect. You are challenged to earn a good income to provide for your family’s needs and still be able to “be there” and have time to raise up your children into responsible adults. At the same time, there is a challenge to maintain your relationship with your spouse. All these may create pressure and stress that result in emotional conflict with your spouse and children.

Getting the empty nest. Another life transition is seeing your children grow up to be mature, independent individuals who will eventually leave the comfort and safety of the home you have built up. As the children leave the nest to form their own, parents (especially mothers) feel a disconnect about how they are – since their lives were more or less defined by their being parents. Parents who are unable to handle this transition may become depressed and dwell with their “loss” rather than look for opportunities of growth with this new phase in life.

Getting retired or getting fired from your job. For the retirees, your life was defined largely by who you are at work for so many years now. And then suddenly, that is taken away from you. You used to spend eight hours or more in the office and now you don’t quite know what to do with those eight or more hours. For those who lose their jobs, there is the pain of rejection, the loss of self-worth and the fear that you are unable to get back on your feet.

Losing a loved one or dealing with sickness. This is one transition that we face with dread. Dealing with a loss of a loved one or seeing them laid up with sickness is painful. We can turn towards other loved ones and friends for support and comfort at the time of our grief. Or we may even turn to drugs and alcohol to dull the pain.

These are just some of the transitions we normally face in life. There are other transitions – whether tragic or happy (i.e. winning the lottery, having to transfer homes) – that mark the different phases or chapters in our lives. These times can be very emotional and stressful.

When handled properly, these transitions help us develop as persons. However, transitions may also throw us into a downward spiral of emotional instability that could lead to substance abuse and bouts of depression. During these times, it will be helpful to see a therapist and even a substance abuse counselor, if applicable.

Accepting change and growing from them

There are two reactions towards transitions: fight it and delay it or accept it and grow from it. If you choose to drag your heels and resist the change that is coming, you are only just delaying the inevitable and making things harder for you. Resisting the transition in your life can cause you more stress and emotional upheaval. It can even affect relationships with family, friends and co-workers. It can drain you not just emotionally but also physically.

The help of an experienced and able counselor in Utah can help you through life’s transitions, especially if these are unwelcome ones. They can help guide us to the answers to questions like, “How do I deal with a recent divorce?” “How do I enjoy my retirement period?” “How do I cope with the loss of a loved one?” Life counselors can help us sort through the muddle caused by these transitions and provide us with the tools that we need to cope and grow from these experiences.

When the transitions of life become too challenging for you (and your spouse and loved ones), don’t be afraid to go into marriage or family therapy in Provo. One good indication that you may benefit from counseling or therapy may be when you are unable to deal with a transition and it affects how you relate with other people and the stress begins to manifest in you not just emotionally but also physically. A good therapist will provide you with not just a supportive ear but will help map the way out for you to successful deal with the transitions in your life.

If you are residing in Provo, Utah, you can count on Dr. Triston Morgan to help you deal with the life transitions you are facing. Dr. Morgan is a licensed family and Provo marriage therapist and has established a reputable practice in the state of Utah. He has since helped families and couples by providing them with effective tools to grow and thrive in the midst of life’s challenges.



No marriage is storm-proof. Even with the best of unions, there are storms that a couple has to face. Perhaps because of changes they experience personally – with their feelings about each other, their going through different phases in their lives or facing addictions, their having substance abuse problems. The storms may also be due to other factors – money problems, issues with in-laws and children, the stress brought about by work…and the list goes on.

Yes, you can expect stormy patches in a marriage – they will happen. Perhaps these stormy patches have you and your spouse tipping precariously close to divorce. The question is, how will you weather these storms and keep your marriage intact, even stronger for what you have both gone through. The good thing about weathering the storm together is that you emerge with more closeness and more trust in your partner as you get to know him or her better.

Here are a few simple reminders to help you as you face the storms in life:

–          Talk. Rather than sulk, talk it out. The damage that results are caused by miscommunication and by not understanding what the other spouse expects or wants. Don’t think that your spouse is a mind reader – he or she is not! Although there are times when no words are necessary, there will be more times when you will have to express how you feel and what you think about the problem you are currently facing.

–          Have realistic expectations of each other.  Before the storm even comes, it will be helpful to know what you expect from each other. Sometimes, we enter into a union without coming into a true understanding of our expectations from our partners and vice versa. Some crucial questions should be discussed that cover important topics like: rules about “fighting fairly” and resolving arguments, decision making, handling money, raising and disciplining children and spending time with each other. You should know beforehand what it is your partner needs from you in terms of showing affection and making him or her feel loved.

Handle arguments constructively. If you must fight, you must agree beforehand that you will fight fairly. Sometimes, there is a temptation to be “historical”, rather than hysterical. Historical, in the sense that one tends to dredge up the other’s past sins for ammunition. When arguing, deal only with the issue at hand. Avoid the blame game and keep “you” statements away from the conversations. You statements such as “You never show me respect.” “You always do that.” put the focus on the person rather than the problem.

Laugh together. A good sense of humor can do a lot to ease any tension and pressures resulting from what you are facing as a couple. Laugh together and you will find yourselves better (and more resilient) for it. As a couple, you can choose to face life’s trials with a joyful attitude or with a pessimistic and negative disposition.

Reminisce about the happy times. Take time to go down memory lane – this will help give you more and more reasons why you stay together. Memories of better times will also give you the strength and fortitude to face the rough times ahead.

Go get help. Sometimes the issues are too complicated or the wounds too deep for just the two of you to solve. Overcoming the storms may take outside help – don’t be afraid to go and seek the services of a trained professional who provides marriage counseling. A good marriage therapist will be able to effectively guide you and provide you with tools to help you build a stronger bond with your spouse and thus enable you to face the storms of life with a united front.

While Utah marriage therapy will not provide all the answers, it may provide you with a different perspective of the problem.

Exercise patience. The storms usually do not go away after a day. Some storms in a marriage will need patience, commitment and gentleness. If you have been going for couples’ counseling, don’t expect results overnight. The damage that results from these storms may also take some time to fix and heal. Also, remember that you both can’t be perfect – you are bound to make mistakes. There may be times when you may need to have the spirit of forgiveness or to ask for forgiveness for both of you to recover.

Take time for “we” and “me” time. Sometimes, you need to get out just to be able to see things from a different perspective. Go on a vacation together and come back rested and refreshed. However, there are also times when you need to have some space in your relationship – for you to go out with friends or to talk to someone you trust that can help give advice about your relationship.

Communication is key

For you and your spouse to emerge from a storm with your union intact and stronger, you need to root your relationship in communication. Getting a deeper understanding of each other will help you weather the storms. This is where a marriage therapist in Provo can help. He can provide you with a non-confrontational environment where you can discuss issues and where each partner can feel that he or she is truly heard.

If you are in the Provo, Utah area and are thinking of getting marriage or Utah family therapy, be sure to look for Dr. Triston Morgan. Dr. Morgan holds Ph. D in marriage and family therapy and is firmly committed to providing therapy services to build stronger marriages and families.



Perhaps you feel that your marriage could use some help. You have broached it with your spouse – but he or she does not feel the need and refuses to go. This is one problem that has stopped many people from going to marriage counseling.

Why the Reluctance?

When you first suggest it, your partner may drag his or her heels about getting help from a marriage or family therapist. There are actually some reasons for the reluctance or resistance. These may include:

–          Their fear of sharing personal and intimate details with a stranger.

–          They are satisfied with the status quo and feel that such efforts will just rock the boat.

–          They are happy with the way they are and don’t want to make any changes.

–          They are happy with their position in the relationship (the level of power they currently hold) and fear that this may change if they undergo counseling.

–          They feel that the problem is with the other spouse.

–          They fear that counseling sessions will be all about outlining their shortcomings. Perhaps, afraid you may gang up with the therapist and lecture them or emotionally browbeat them.

–          They feel that your budget can’t accommodate it. The question really is, can you afford NOT to go to couple’s therapy? Marriage therapy or counseling programs are often provided by training centers or by religious organizations at a fraction of the price.

Don’t wait for your partner

When you know that it is time to seek help for your marriage, you can go for marriage therapy even by yourself. Of course, it would be better if both partners participate. However, it is better to work with just one person rather than ignore the danger signs and not go at all.

Going for marriage counseling by yourself can help:

–          Have a deeper understanding of your spouse

–          Know how to communicate with your spouse

–          Learn and understand “what makes your spouse tick” and how to influence him or her constructively and positively

–          Learn what you can change about yourself

–          Understand how to deal with conflict and at the same time provide a positive environment for your children

The great thing about growing while undergoing therapy is that it can encourage your spouse to join you in the marriage therapy sessions. When your spouse sees the positive impact of counseling on you, he or she may want to see “what it’s like” and how it has helped you.

How to encourage your spouse to also want to join in

Here are some ways to persuade your spouse to attend couples counseling sessions with you.

–          Share. Discuss with your spouse the reasons why you want to go into couples counseling. There may be instances where you feel your conflicts can be better resolved with the help of an unbiased third party who has the necessary training. Share that getting couples counseling will help you gain a deeper and better understanding of each other. You can also outline the issues you can thresh out during counseling, including problems with substance abuse, sexual disconnections, handling money and other stressors.

–          Listen. Ask and listen to your spouse as he or she discusses his or her unwillingness to go for marriage counseling. Listen to his or her reservations and feelings about the matter. Don’t start an argument or criticize him or her about his or her feelings. You can convey your disappointment but at the same time confirm that you respect his or her decision.

–          Make the appointment. After you have done all to convince your spouse and he or she is still unwilling, set the appointment with your choice of marriage therapists. Inform your spouse about the appointment (the time and date) and invite him or her to join you.

–          Get help from your therapist. Ask the therapist to help you get your spouse involved and what further steps you can take.

While you encourage your spouse to go with you to see the marriage counselor, do so lovingly and graciously. When your spouse sees you taking the steps and sees the positive changes in you, he or she will, hopefully, want to join in.

Finding a Therapist Where You Are

It is helpful to find a therapist near you. If you are residing in Provo, Utah, there are a number of reputable and highly trained marriage and family therapists to help you. One of them is Triston Morgan. With years of experience under his belt, he is also certified to provide PREPARE/ENRICH courses for engaged couples. As a practicing therapist who provides Utah marriage and family counseling, he has helped families, couples and teens. He is also a member of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists.



They say that a relationship is like a plant – you need to nurture it in order for it to grow stronger and form deeper roots. However, there may be times when storms come. During these instances, the damage done may need the intervention of a third party to help restore the health of the relationship. That is the reason why it is beneficial for couples to go for marriage counseling at certain times during their marriage. Your marriage is important enough to take some time to fix any areas that might be broken.

Don’t wait until it’s too late

The danger in waiting to go for marriage counseling occurs when things have gone too far. Don’t wait until it’s too late! Go for help as soon as there are signs of problems.

There are instances when couples just drift apart. They become too busy with the everyday things, raising children or earning a living. Then, they suddenly realize that they are not partners and lovers anymore but simply two people living under the same roof. This should be a wake up call.

In addition, when problems come to a marriage (as they invariably do) and remain unresolved, people sometimes decide to stay married, even when they are unhappy about the situation. Over time, problems, conflicts and personality clashes will result in hardened feelings and unkind actions within the relationship. Negative feelings, words, and behaviors will take their toll on the marriage. The longer you wait to get to a marriage therapist, the more damage your marriage may sustain and the more work must be done to repair these damages.

Going to a Marriage Counselor is not giving up

One thing that often stops people from going to see a marriage counselor is that they feel it is a sure sign that their marriage is in trouble and headed towards divorce. On the contrary, the willingness to go through couples counseling sessions often demonstrates the desire of both parties to find healing and restoration. You don’t go to the doctor only in instances where you are already sick. Sometimes you go for regular check-ups, so you can stay healthy. The same goes for marriage counseling.

A licensed and experienced therapist will help a lot in mapping out the path towards a stronger marriage, something that two people who are emotionally involved may be unable to do by themselves. Strong emotions may be involved, making it impossible for you to sit down and talk about your issues.

So when is a good time to go for counseling? Here are some instances or signs that you may need to attend counseling sessions:

–          You and your partner are about to get married. Counseling is not just for married people! Pre-marital counseling will help engaged couples to learn skills that will help them deal with the challenges of “being one”. Engaged couples sometimes enter into marriage with stars in their eyes, only to realize that their expectations and reality are two different things! Pre-marital counseling is the venue by which these expectations, priorities and opinions are discussed so that the couple comes into a mutual agreement about matters such as how they will handle money, where they will live, how they will “fight” and disagree, how to raise children and so on.

–          You and your partner have conflicts that you can’t seem to resolve. Disagreements with money, how to deal with in-laws, disciplining children are some more common conflicts in a marriage. You may have tried and failed to deal with these conflicts on your own. The way we each deal with these areas is based on our own patterns, fears and personalities and each of us has a little bit different viewpoint.

–          You and your partner are undergoing too much stress. A partner’s infidelity, the loss of a loved one, the loss of a job or changes in one’s life may shake the foundations of a marriage. You may need to undergo counseling to help process feelings that result from these stressors and outline a plan to deal with these feelings constructively.

–          When one partner is unhappy about the marriage. Even when the other spouse does not feel likewise or doesn’t have a clue, when one partner expresses dissatisfaction about the relationship, it is not just a problem of the one person but of the relationship itself. Couples counseling can help sort out the issues that triggered this dissatisfaction and how each person contributes to it.

–          When couples don’t know how to “fight”. Let’s face it, conflicts will come in a relationship. However, some couples still have not learned how to communicate their way through the conflict. One may get aggressive while the other will choose to withdraw from the fray. One may start flinging out hurtful words that do more damage to the relationship. Still others may just turn a blind eye to a conflict and hope that it goes away. Couples can learn valuable communication and problem-solving techniques to effectively resolve an issue in counseling.

–          When the couple can’t connect emotionally or sexually. Does it feel as if the passion is gone? Or that a partner is not able to share your joys and grief and is somehow disconnected? Again, with counseling, the issues that lie behind these feelings can be brought to light and resolved.

–          You want to learn new relationship skills. This includes learning how to resolve conflict, communicating, setting goals and making evaluations.

Finding a marriage therapist

When you know it’s time to see a marriage therapist, the next step is to consider the therapist you’ll be going to. Do some preliminary research. A great therapist will have experience (especially in the areas you are concerned with). Try to find one that makes you feel comfortable, especially as you’ll be sharing very personal and intimate details about yourself and your relationship.

When you are looking for a marriage therapist in Provo, Utah, you can visit Triston Morgan. He is a licensed marriage and family therapist with years of experience in counseling, particularly with teens and those struggling with substance abuse. He is licensed to practice in the state of Utah. Triston Morgan holds a Master’s Degree and PhD in marriage and family counseling from Loma Linda University and Brigham Young University, respectively.

Do you have a happy marriage? Or is your marriage on shaky ground? Sometimes we go on in life and are not even aware that our relationship with our spouse has fallen by the wayside. Perhaps you and your spouse have busied yourself with life (and all its little details and demands) – getting the children to school every day, going to the office and facing the stresses and challenges there, working to save for a dream vacation or to pay off the mortgage and so many other things. Life may have taken over and before you know it, you and your spouse have drifted apart.

In some cases, there are red flags that indicate an unhappy marriage. In cases where it’s clearly evident that a marriage is in trouble, it’s important to get some help as soon as possible. Marriage counseling can offer a great deal of help to couples who may be struggling to make it. If you think your marriage may be in trouble, seek help! It is normally worth it to work through your difficulties and come out on the other side as a stronger family unit.

Here are some signs to watch out for if you believe your marriage is in trouble:

–          Your relationship has lost that “spark”. This may be marked by a lack of enthusiasm to see your spouse at the end of a long working day. This loss of affection may leave you or your spouse vulnerable to an extra-marital affair. When you feel that the joy and delight of being together is replaced by dullness and the feeling of being stuck in a rut, treat it as a red flag that your relationship could be headed in a negative direction.

–          Disagreements that are getting more and more frequent. It may seem that you and your spouse can’t agree on anything. You either argue about the issue or try to sweep it under the rug and not deal with it. There may be a failure to reach an agreement or compromise about a certain issue.

–          A feeling of being disconnected from the other spouse, either emotionally or physically. You feel as if you can’t connect with your spouse and share in his or her joys, disappointments or hurts.

–          Sexual tension and lack of passion in the bedroom. If your spouse would rather sleep than make love (even though it’s been quite a while since you made love), then that can be a huge red flag that your relationship is in trouble. Your spouse may create daily routines that prevent him or her from sleeping in the same bed with you. For instance, he or she may choose to work late or watch late-night television and only come to bed when you’re already asleep.

–          Lack of real communication. When there haven’t been any heartfelt conversations with your spouse lately, that can be a sign of a marriage problem. You or your partner may try to avoid having honest-to-goodness discussions for fear that it could turn into an argument. At times, it can even come to a point where you feel that you don’t really know your spouse anymore.

–          Lack of mutual respect. This is when petty arguments start getting ugly and hurtful. When one spouse is trying to undermine the other, these can be signs of severe damage in a marriage. There may be bouts of trying to humiliate a spouse in front of others, of talking about his or her shortcomings with relatives and friends. In deciding important matters in the home, you feel as if you’re trying to negotiate with an enemy instead of with a partner.

–          Lack of trust. This is when one spouse does not give the other the benefit of the doubt and would rather assume the worst.

–          Your spouse is getting secretive about e-mails, phone calls and text messages. If your spouse is jumping up and closing the door just to answer a phone call, it may be a sign that something’s up. Be observant but don’t overreact or rush to conclusions.

Stop for a while and think about these red flags. Are you seeing them in your marriage? Remember that if you let these signs go unchecked and unresolved, it can destroy your marriage. It’s important to work quickly in dealing with serious issues in your marriage. Act quickly before it’s too late.

Getting help

If you think your marriage may be in trouble, it can be helpful to consider couples counseling. Don’t make the mistake of hoping that it is just a phase and will soon go away. That may not be the case. While there is still time and your marriage has not yet sustained serious damage, marriage and family therapy can help both of you deal with the issues that are at the root of these problems.

Whatever the two of you are dealing with, it is very beneficial to see a marriage counselor to help you gain a better understanding of your situation and focus on how you, as a couple, can communicate and resolve problems.

Marriage therapists in Provo, Utah

If you are residing in Provo, Utah, feel free to contact Triston Morgan to set up an appointment. Triston is licensed to practice marriage and family counseling in the state of Utah and has years of experience dealing with couples through professional marriage counseling. With a great deal of experience in marriage and family counseling tucked under his belt, Triston Morgan can provide you with a non-confrontational environment where you can discuss the red flags you see in your relationship and discover how the two of you can effectively and constructively work through them.



Money, money, money! This is one of the main reasons why couples argue and fight, and when the differences become “irreconcilable”, the couple can face marital breakdown. In fact, finances are a hot topic for couples undergoing marriage counseling. Especially in today’s challenging economic times, couples face strained married relationships due to concerns about saving, finances, keeping a job and investing.

Money and how the family’s finances are handled can be a source of arguments and bitter disagreements. The problem with money is that based on your upbringing, personal experiences and personality, it can mean a lot of different things. Money can be viewed as a source of enjoyment, security, love, control or power. That is why two people (who have different backgrounds and personalities) living together “as one” will eventually have to tackle money problems.

Here are some reasons why couples fight about money:

–          Couples may not have the same financial upbringing. One may enjoy spending money like there’s no tomorrow while the other feels it’s important to establish a savings account.

–          One partner feels annoyed or betrayed about the other partner’s money habits.

–          One partner feels that he or she has little control concerning the finances.

Before things head for serious problems, you and your partner should sit down and discuss matters. Communicating (and coming to an agreement) about money is the first step toward putting your family’s finances in order.

Below are some tips to help you succeed with the “money talk”:

–          Discuss money when emotions are not high. It is best to set a “neutral” time where the atmosphere is relaxed and there are no pressures about money in the offing. Don’t wait for a money issue to come up before you invite your spouse to talk about money, especially if you’re already holding the credit card bill or the unbalanced check book.

–          Communicate. Try to uncover your spouse’s feelings and views about money. To do this, you may have to start by sharing your own feelings and thoughts on the matter. You may need to discuss your family background (how your parents handled money), your financial goals and aspirations. This may also include a discussion of what level of saving/spending you feel comfortable with.

–          Set guidelines. Agree with your spouse about guidelines as to how and when you will discuss money matters. For instance, you can agree that you will not discuss money in public, in front of your children, while you’re in bed or driving in the car. You can also agree to avoid the use of words such as “you never” or “you always”.  A non-attacking approach using I statements (i.e. “I feel” or “I think” should be used instead. You can agree not to make threats during money discussions such as “If you spend this much, I will divorce you.”

–          Make agreements on how to handle money. Who pays for which expenses? Will the money be pooled together? Who handles bill payments and bookkeeping?

–          Set goals. Identify short term and long term financial goals for your family. Long term goals cover where you want to be financially in five years, ten years. Your long term goals may include saving up for a child’s education, saving a certain amount of money as down payment for a dream house, saving up for a dream vacation, or paying off certain debts. Short term goals may include setting up a weekly budget and a plan on how to stick to it, opening a savings account, getting rid of a credit card and so on.

–          Agree to be accountable. Marriage is a partnership and each spouse is accountable to the other as they together work to meet the financial goals they have set. This does not necessarily mean that you have to report to your spouse on every dollar you spend. However, this does mean that you should not keep spending secrets from your spouse.

–          Get some help. If your money arguments seem to be circling around without getting resolved, it may be time to get a third party to help. A marriage counselor can do a lot to help you as a couple to sort out money issues you may be struggling with.

Marriage Counseling and how it can help

An emotionally charged topic such as money can set off bombs in the relationship. An experienced marriage therapist can equip couples with vital tools to help them deal with key financial issues. This includes hashing out the differences in each spouse’s financial outlook and attitudes. The family counseling sessions can uncover damaging financial habits and outline the path towards freedom from these habits.

All kinds of problems can stem from financial problems. In some cases, one of the marital partners may have sought temporary help from drugs or alcohol in order to alleviate the burden of financial problems. A substance abuse counselor is helpful in discussing issues such as these, as well as any sex-related problems in the marriage.

For those located in Provo, Utah who are searching for a licensed and experienced therapist to help with any of these issues, call Triston Morgan. He is a professional marriage and family therapist in the state of Utah. For years, he has helped couples, families and teens recover from many types of problems and emerge stronger as a unit.

Triston Morgan has a master’s degree and PhD in marriage and family therapy from Loma Linda University and Brigham Young University, respectively. He is licensed to provide PREPARE/ENRICH courses that can help to prepare couples for a long and happy marriage in the Provo, Utah area.

Most families are so busy these days with activities like the daily drive to and from school, hopping from school to ballet lessons or hockey practice, making cookies for the school bake sale, cooking meals, getting a haircut for your son and checking up on the children’s homework. Whew! A parent’s work is never done!

Add to these activities a career, the need to exercise and stay fit, occasional social obligations, personal time and soon you may find that your marriage is suffering. In order to keep a marriage strong and healthy, some marriage therapy sessions may be needed.

Some families also require family counseling occasionally simply because they have not had quality time to spend together and communications have broken down. Relationships in your family are so important but many families don’t have the needed time to spend with each other in order to build strong ties.

Each relationship in your family is a bit different. The relationship between husband and wife, the parent and child/children relationship and the one between the siblings. There is often a need to strengthen the bonds between these various relationships. It may be complicated, but we can and should make time for family time. There should also be time set apart for the individual to grow in his or her own interests. The important thing is to strike a balance between time together as a family and time for each individual family member’s own set of activities.

One way for your family to do so is learning how to manage your time. The good news is, there are some ways for you to get a grip on all those activities that are robbing you of time. Here are some simple time management strategies:

–          Know what activities each individual family member likes. To minimize a steady string of activities that all family members may not enjoy, it is best to ask each person what his or her idea of “family time” looks like and what events or activities give them a sense of connection with the family. It may be something as simple as preparing and eating meals together, telling stories by the fireplace, watching a movie or going to the beach.

–          Insist on non-negotiables. What are your priorities as a family? Are you committed to having a minimum number of family dinners together or Sunday family time?

–          Establish ground rules for activities. Call regular family meetings to determine individual activities based on the goals and ground rules you have established as a family. Activities should be based on what each individual family wants to do, how it will fit into the budget, the level of commitments the family has and the activity’s impact on the whole family. It should also take into consideration how it will affect your time for other things like school or work and whether there is a balance between other activities.

–          Post a Family Calendar. Once everyone has chosen their schedule for a specific period, post these schedules on a large calendar for everyone to see. Make sure to leave some empty spaces on the calendar. These teach children how to be creative in keeping themselves occupied as they discover how to fill these “empty slots” with something they enjoy.

–          Schedule family time. While everyone is busy with their own activities, time together should never be neglected. Family time can be made up of “do-nothing” days, where family members simply spend time walking the dog, playing table games, shooting hoops and so on. It can also be a family outing to somewhere special.

–          Schedule couple time. Parents must also have date nights and time spent as a couple. Don’t fall into the trap of feeling guilty that you spend time together without the children. When you take time to strengthen your relationship as spouses, your children will be the better for it. If there are problems that you and your spouse have to face, you can also ask outside help from a third party such as a marriage counselor.

Making Time for Therapy

Family relationships may be a challenge for some due to unique situations. There may be problems that arise requiring some therapy. A substance abuse counselor may be necessary to deal with a teen who has started “trying out” smoking, alcohol or drugs. Couples counseling could also be useful for spouses that are undergoing problems in their relationship. As it is important to make time for other enjoyable family activities, it is also important to make time to work together to fix problems that may be affecting the marriage or family relationship.

For the residents of Provo, Utah, family counseling is available from Triston Morgan for family counseling. Triston provides a non-confrontational atmosphere for loved ones to work through issues that may be damaging to the family relationship. He can also provide invaluable time-management tools for parents to use for the family’s benefit. Triston has years of experience with couples and families and holds a license to practice marriage and family therapy in Utah.


Has the sizzle in the bedroom started to fizzle out of your marriage? When you and your spouse began your relationship and all was new and exciting, you felt like you would never get tired of spending time together, both in and out of the bedroom.

Inevitably, after a few years of marriage, both of you become caught up with the everyday activities, raising children and balancing family and career. You are hard at work and at times, you just can’t find the energy to spend intimate times together as you should.

Keep the Fire Going

Passion in a relationship is like a fire – it has to be kept going. Otherwise, it will dwindle. What makes it complicated is that males and females have different sexual needs and also view sex differently. A happy married life needs a strong sex life in order to survive.

It is important to recognize at the onset that a couple’s sexual life will have some ups and downs. There are many factors that can affect the atmosphere in the bedroom. One spouse may be too fatigued or overstressed to be in the mood. Yet another spouse may be suffering from a physical or mental ailment that results in lowered sexual libido.  Recovering from an illness may also lower sexual drive. The ups and downs in a couple’s sex life are just normal.

It is important to face sexual issues and try to arrive at an agreeable solution. Sex, after all, is an intrinsic part of marriage. Sexual problems will also affect other aspects of the relationship. On the flipside, if there is something wrong with the relationship, it can also spill over to a couple’s sexual life. Hurt feelings, a lack of communication, and the knowledge that a partner has strayed can affect how partners do in bed. You may have to seek marriage counseling to bring out the root causes of your bedroom blues.

What is important is that you can do some things to stoke the fires of passion and keep it burning bright. Here are some of the ways to put the sizzle back in your sexual life:

Set the stage. Here’s an interesting fact: foreplay does not just happen in the bedroom. Wives especially don’t appreciate a hand in the dark after a day’s weary routine, especially if  neither of you spoke or made any real connection during the day. Creating a spark can be as simple as a wink across the room, a romantic text message or arranging a fun night out. You can also place a sexy note in your partner’s shoe or on the bedroom mirror. You can write about a sexual fantasy you would like to share with your partner.

Study your spouse. What part of sex feels good for your partner? Take time to caress your partner’s body to discover which parts he or she likes you to touch the most. You may also need to discuss sexual viewpoints, fears and negative feelings. As you get to know about your spouse, you deepen your level of intimacy and this will also affect how you make love to each other.

Be spontaneous and creative. Avoid the mistake of monotony. Remember that the bedroom is not the only place for you to make love. Vary your sexual routine, experiment on different sexual positions, wear sexy lingerie. If your partner is willing, you can indulge in role playing games.

Make time for making love. Even though you need a little spontaneity in your sex life, you may also need to make time for sex in the midst of your busy schedule. It can give you and your partner something to look forward to.

Sex and Couples Counseling

Some couples find it helpful to attend couples counseling to try and resolve sexual problems in the marriage. If you and your spouse have tried and failed to spice things up, it may be time to seek help. It is a mistake to hope that the issue will resolve itself or go away over time.

Marriage counselors have the training, experience and insights that provide couples with the tools they need for better communication and deeper understanding of their partner’s sexual needs.

Through couples’ marriage therapy, spouses can outline a plan and a road map towards an improved sexual life. With counseling, couples can discover negative attitudes, fears and bad experiences from the past that might be adding to the problem. The couple can then address these issues effectively and positively. Your marriage counselor will suggest activities and exercises to help resolve all problems and get back to a satisfying sex life for both parties.

An experienced marriage therapist can also identify physiological factors that may cause the sexual problem and refer the couple to a doctor for proper diagnosis.

If you are thinking about couples counseling, consider Triston Morgan in Provo, Utah. With years of experience counseling individuals and couples, Triston has helped relationships become stronger. He is a licensed marriage and family therapist whose practice is located in Utah. He is also certified to give PREPARE/ENRICH courses for engaged couples.



How do you define infidelity in a marriage? Does it mean having a physical or sexual relationship with someone other than a spouse? Or do you consider an emotional affair as also being unfaithful – even though nothing sexual has happened? How much closeness in a friendship can be considered okay?

Emotional Affairs: Infidelity of the heart

An emotional affair is present when your spouse is spending a lot of energy, emotion and time with another person outside of the relationship so much so that it is affecting your relationship. When a partner is having an emotional affair, he is putting an emotional distance between himself and his partner. He may be doing this out of feelings that the other person can give him something that he isn’t getting at home. There is a certain type of excitement in knowing that there is someone other than your spouse whom you can have an intimate relationship with.

The result is a loss of intimacy between the two partners – a wedge has been created and if this is not addressed, the wedge may widen and shake the foundations of a marriage. Although nothing physical may have happened, the damage an emotional affair may wreak on the relationship can be equal to or even greater than a sexual affair. There is an element of betrayal and deception that will certainly be hurtful to the other partner.

There are also emotional affairs that progress towards becoming sexual in nature. A spouse may cross the line by looking for ways to become more intimate that might be seen as acceptable to some.

How do you know if there is an emotional affair?

An emotional affair may have started out as a harmless connection with someone who’s “just a friend”. However, when left unchecked, it can spiral into an emotional affair. You may have reason to believe that your spouse is involved in this type of relationship with someone.

Here are some signs that point to an emotional affair:

–          Being secretive. There is such a thing as respecting each other’s privacy, but if your partner is too gung-ho about protecting his or her privacy, this may raise some questions. He or she may try to hide friendships from their partner. If the partner already knows, then he or she might try to hide the extent of the friendship. Your spouse may decline to talk about e-mails, calls or texts that they receive from that friend. They may also become agitated or express irritation when you walk in without warning while he or she is on the computer.

–          Being defensive.  You may have noticed your spouse getting his or her back up when asked about the friendship, saying that the spouse is over-reacting to a “harmless friendship”.

–          Becoming aggressive. Your spouse may start being critical of you. There is also the tendency to pick fights and argue over the littlest things.

–          Becoming distant. Your spouse may be having an emotional affair when he or she looks forward to spending time with the “friend” rather than with their partner. They seek to have opportunities to see the friend. Meaningful conversations with the spouse fizzle out and so does intimacy. The couple’s sexual life may also be affected by this emotional disconnection. There may be sexual fantasies and daydreams about how it would feel to cross the line and make the affair into a physical one.

–          Being pre-occupied. The “cheating” spouse may start daydreaming about the friend and plan to spend time with him or her. Another sign would be if you notice your spouse becoming too pre-occupied with the affairs of someone who is “just a friend”. He or she may criticize that friend’s known relationships.

An emotional affair sometimes happens in the workplace, or with a civic group or with a friend of the family. The “cheating” spouse may start feeling that the “friend” understands his or her situation more than the spouse does. Emotional affairs may also happen through chat rooms and social networking sites.

It is important to recognize the signs of an emotional affair and address them. Seek professional help and get couples counseling to address the issues properly. Both partners must be willing to work through this infidelity in order to fix the problem before it is too late. The help of a third party such as a marriage therapist (who has the training and skills necessary) can be invaluable.

Mending the Marriage

Sometimes you (as a couple) will need outside help to deal with this problem. With the help of marriage counseling, couples can start rebuilding trust and develop accountability with each other. It is advisable for the couple to get help quickly so that the offended spouse can begin the process of forgiveness. The family counseling sessions will cover tools on how the couple can rebuild trust and repair damages in their relationship.

A good marriage counselor will also work to find out the weaknesses in the marriage that caused one of the spouses to even consider getting into an emotional affair. Your counselor can help discover how to strengthen these areas so that the relationship is less vulnerable to temptations in the future. Marriage counseling can also help to put the emotional affair into perspective and guide the couple in learning how they can grow from the experience.

It takes experience and a wealth of insight for marriage therapy to help couples through difficult times such as these. This is what Triston Morgan offers his clients. Triston practices marriage and family therapy in Provo, Utah. He is also ENRICH/PREPARE certified. These are courses for engaged and married couples.

Triston Morgan has helped couples and families in Utah for years. He also serves as a substance abuse counselor particularly for teens. Triston holds a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy from Loma Linda University and a PhD from Brigham Young University.


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