Time-outs are not just a useful tool in disciplining your kids. You can actually use this in your marriage as well. Time outs can give you and your spouse time to calm down before a disagreement makes a turn for the worse and goes out of hand.

Couples fight – that’s a given. However, anger can make someone do crazy things, say things he or she would not normally say. During the heat of the argument, barbs may be thrown at each other way to a point where the wounds inflicted can cause permanent damage. Responding out of anger, annoyance or exasperation will not actually help resolve a problem. Anger can cause you to resort in name calling, making threats or throwing insults. According to Utah counselors, it will work best for the couple to take a breather rather than allow the argument to escalate.

A time out can help:

– Cool tempers down so as to be more able to communicate more effectively – to listen as well as to express one’s thoughts.
– Give each other time to gain perspective, especially about the other spouse’s point of view on the issue.
– Enable each other to express their emotions and thoughts clearly, more rationally.

After a time out, couples can now buckle down towards resolving the conflict at hand in a healthier and loving manner. That way, couples learn to fight fairly and ultimately, enjoy a stronger, happier marriage. According to Provo counseling, time outs can also prevent you from saying or doing things you may later regret. Remember, prevention is better than cure. Working to heal emotional wounds caused by words spoken in anger is harder than avoiding those words in the first place.

Here are some tips with regards to establishing a time out:

– Talk about it and make an agreement beforehand. Before you even get into an argument, it will be good for you to agree on a signal on having a time out. It may be as simple as saying, “Let’s take a break.” Or, “I need to go out.” When someone signals a time out, the other spouse is obligated by their agreement to let the argument lie rather than insisting on continuing with the argument (i.e. following your spouse to continue the argument even after one has signaled a time out).

Beforehand, you should talk about how long the time out will be, whether this means that one of you should just stay on the other room or should leave the house for a moment. Before you leave, make sure that the other spouse understands that you are taking a time out. And that no one is walking away from the argument. Rather, taking the time out to be able to resolve the argument with a win-win outlook.
– Come back after the time out. You should also talk about committing to getting back to the conversation or the argument once the time out is finished. Check whether the both of you are ready to talk more calmly. If not, you may ask to extend the time out.
– Time out is not silent treatment. Take note that taking a time out is not to be equated to giving your spouse the silent treatment. The latter is a passive-aggressive way of trying to manipulate your spouse to do things your way. The former is an effort towards forging better communications, to enable one to manage one’s thoughts and feelings at the time of the argument. A time out says that you are willing to work things out, only that you need time to calm down so that you both can do things properly.
– Practice relaxation techniques while on your time out. This can include taking slow, deep and cleansing breaths. Or thinking calming thoughts. Rather than working yourself up to more anger, work towards gaining an understanding of your spouse’s point of view. In a marriage, one spouse does not “win” an argument. So, don’t aim towards winning the fight, rather, it should be an exercise towards resolving the issue that caused the fight in the first place.

Practicing good communication techniques may require work and help from a third party, such as Utah marriage counseling. Taking time outs is just one of the techniques that you and your spouse can put into practice to improve communication between you. With the help of an experienced Utah therapist, you and your spouse can learn to fight fairly and build a stronger marriage and build trust.


What happens to Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt after the last scene in “As Good as It Gets”? Jack Nicholson’s unforgettable line in that movie where he suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder is “You make me want to be a better man.” It will be interesting to see how the characters played by Nicholson and Hunt live the “happily ever after”, knowing that one spouse has OCD.

What is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder?

Also called OCD, this is an uncontrollable urge to perform rituals (opening and shutting the door three times in a row, avoiding cracks in the sidewalk, washing in very hot water and only using a new bar of soap). These rituals are performed with the hope of warding obsessive thoughts. For one who has OCD, not performing the rituals gives a feeling of impending doom and anxiety. According to Provo therapists, the rituals are his or her way of coping with the anxiety that may creep up.

OCD can sometimes rule a person’s life. The need to perform the rituals can prevent one to live normally. It affects his or her work, relationships and health. About 2% of the population (or 5 million Americans) between 18 to 54 years old has OCD, which usually has its onset during the teenage years.

OCD and Marriage

OCD does not only affect the person who has it, but also the people around him or her, particularly his or her loved ones. The struggle with OCD becomes even complicated with a relationship. There is pressure to “want to be a better man”, and it also takes patience (and the help of therapists Utah) for the partner to help the spouse with OCD deal with his or her condition.

Living with OCD at the sidelights can lead to conflicts between the spouses. Arguments and tension can crop up due to the one spouse’s behavior. And this, in turn, makes the symptoms of OCD even worse. There is also the temptation for the other spouse to overcompensate for the spouse with OCD by helping him or her perform his rituals or allowing the rituals to dominate their lives. This is also an unhealthy way of dealing with the OCD.

Don’t agree to “help” him with his rituals. At least, not for all the rituals. You can provide support by making him or her choose the one ritual you can help him or her with, but not for the other rituals he has. Before starting this, though, you should get Utah marriage counseling.

Provide support but eliminate rituals slowly. For the spouse without OCD, it will be helpful to start eliminating ritualistic behavior. Begin with the things that feel the least scary for him. Once you have successfully eliminated these, you can work your way to the other ritualistic behaviors. Encourage the spouse with OCD to make use of his or her willpower to stop doing one ritual, but still be able to do other compulsive behaviors (at least, for this time). It is important to also have Provo counseling while you are working to eliminate the rituals.

Be open. Especially for the one with OCD, it is important for the spouses to have a deeper understanding of their feelings. Don’t be afraid to tell your spouse how you feel.

Provide understanding. Make the spouse with OCD understand that you are there to support him or her and that you know how hard it is for him or her.

Therapists in Provo make use of cognitive behavioral therapy to deal with OCD. Utah marriage counseling can benefit by getting support for the OCD symptoms, as well counseling to improve the relationship in general.

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.


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