Making Your Marriage a Priority

Making Your Marriage a Priority
Blog on 8 May , 2018 by Raffi Bilek
Recently I was interviewed on the radio to discuss the question of how to prioritize your relationship with your spouse vs. your kids. You can listen to the 20-minute segment here. Here’s the spoiler: I come down firmly on the side of keeping your spouse #1 on your list. This of course doesn’t mean that you ignore your children’s needs or that you spend 100% of your time and energy on your spouse....
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We’ve Moved! And It’s Not Easy

We’ve Moved! And It’s Not Easy
Blog on 17 Apr , 2018 by Raffi Bilek
Change is hard. This is a truth I live by professionally, but it is also a reality in my personal life.  This week we are moving to a new office, and I must admit that it stresses the heck out of me. I’ve already been through the crucible of finding the right place. I spent altogether too long shopping for furniture.  Getting up new signs was its own ordeal (I paid a deposit and then the...
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How to Save Your Marriage

How to Save Your Marriage
Blog on 14 Mar , 2018 by Raffi Bilek
Are you trying to save a marriage that’s on the rocks?  Hoping to turn things around from anger and resentment to happiness and love?  It can be done.  Most marriages can be repaired if both parties really want it – but that doesn’t mean it will be easy.  You will likely have to have some difficult conversations, take a hard look at where you’ve messed up, and make real changes to the way you do t...
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Is Texting Good or Bad for Your Relationship?

Is Texting Good or Bad for Your Relationship?
Blog on 20 Feb , 2018 by Raffi Bilek
Texting is a very wonderful thing.  It allows us to send quick ideas and comments to our friends and families without having to catch each other at the right time.  It’s great for adding to the shopping list at the last minute or reminding each other of an appointment.  It can add all kinds of useful benefits to our relationships.  And, of course, as with any tool, texting can be seriously misused...
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Is It Okay for Married People to Watch Porn?

Is It Okay for Married People to Watch Porn?
Blog on 30 Jan , 2018 by Raffi Bilek
No. Okay, that was a little harsh.  But hear me out.  This is not a moral discourse on the propriety of pornography in general but rather a consideration of what it does to your marriage (or other committed relationship). While some writers have waxed enthusiastic about the benefits of porn watching, common sense – to say nothing of my clinical experience – tells me that the drawbacks far outwe...
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Don’t Start Couples Counseling Before You Read This!

Don’t Start Couples Counseling Before You Read This!
Blog on 10 Jan , 2018 by Raffi Bilek
If you are considering seeing a couples counselor/marriage therapist to address a problem in your relationship, there are a few things it’s vital for you to know before you jump in. 1. Be prepared to change Many people come in to couples therapy feeling like their spouse or partner is causing the problem.  They ask their therapist, sometimes explicitly and sometimes implicitly, to “fix” their pa...
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How do you make a long-distance relationship work?

How do you make a long-distance relationship work?
Blog on 27 Dec , 2017 by Raffi Bilek
In these days of constant change and mobility, long-distance relationships are increasingly common and necessary as people take jobs and pursue life goals that move them about the globe. There’s no question that a long-distance relationship poses challenges that typical relationships, where people live with or near each other, do not.  That does not mean that long-distance relationships can’t or d...
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Are You in An Abusive Relationship?

Are You in An Abusive Relationship?
Blog on 11 Dec , 2017 by Raffi Bilek
All relationships have ups and downs. Some seem to have more downs than others. A relationship that’s on the rocks can often be fixed with commitment on the part of both partners and with professional counseling.  However, some relationships are abusive, and these cannot be repaired until the abusive partner decides to change his or her ways. However, since abusers often bring a strong sense of en...
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Communication at the Office

Communication at the Office
Blog on 21 Nov , 2017 by Raffi Bilek
Office politics are such a well-known phenomenon that entire television series have been successfully spawned from it. As most everyone knows, you are bound to run into difficult people at work. Fortunately, in most cases this doesn’t mean you have no choice but to suffer for the 8-or-so hours a day you’re there. The rules that apply to all interpersonal relationships apply at the office as well. ...
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How to Deal with a Difficult Coworker

How to Deal with a Difficult Coworker
Blog on 26 Oct , 2017 by Raffi Bilek
Following the recent office shooting not too far from Baltimore, many people have been feeling increased nervousness and tension in their offices. Having trouble with a coworker or employer is a common experience; but who wants that to turn into the kind of nightmare that the victims of this attack had to go through?  How can one handle a difficult person at work in a way that leaves everyone feel...
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On Patience

On Patience
Blog on 18 Oct , 2017 by Raffi Bilek
Recently I had a conversation with a client about patience.  He was working on trying to be more patient, especially as it related to the people in his life, and found himself losing his cool more frequently than he wanted.  This led to an important discussion about the meaning of patience which I thought was worth sharing with a broader audience. Google, which is basically modern man’s Webster...
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Anger in Relationships

Anger in Relationships
Blog on 18 Sep , 2017 by Raffi Bilek
Anger is one of the major destroyers of relationships. People can say and do things when they are angry that are offensive, hurtful, even downright mean. But anger is a normal part of the human emotional makeup, and it’s only natural to feel angry sometimes. How can you deal with angry feelings without harming your relationship? Expressing anger Being angry is different from being aggressive, me...
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4 Ways to Fight Depression

4 Ways to Fight Depression
Blog on 30 Aug , 2017 by Raffi Bilek
If you’ve been feeling down a lot lately, always tired, not in the mood to do much of anything, you may be suffering from depression. Depression is different from just feeling sad, and it is a medical condition that should not go ignored. While medical interventions such as psychiatric medication may be helpful or even necessary to treat depression, there are a number of options you can try on you...
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To Give and To Get: A Relationship Formula

To Give and To Get: A Relationship Formula
Blog on 23 Aug , 2017 by Raffi Bilek
This is a guest post by a colleague of mine in Chicago, Josh Hetherington of the Northside Center for Relationship Counseling. Mindfulness Lately I’ve been reconnecting with some Buddhist writing. It underscores a lot of ideas about mindfulness, which I see as a nearly universally useful concept. Everyone can benefit from a mindfulness practice. I like a simple breathing meditation where you foc...
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How to Have a Fair Fight

How to Have a Fair Fight
Blog on 10 Aug , 2017 by Raffi Bilek
Arguments are a natural part of any relationship. No two people will agree on everything all the time. Disagreements are bound to happen. Slight offenses are inevitable.  But how do you deal with them in a way that is productive and not destructive? What does a fair fight look like? Talk about yourself, not your partner This is one of the most important and most difficult shifts we have to mak...
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Can an Affair Help the Relationship?

Can an Affair Help the Relationship?
Blog on 13 Jul , 2017 by Raffi Bilek
Many people believe that infidelity unavoidably spells the end of a relationship.  However, the truth is that many relationships survive the injury of an affair, and in fact many get much better in the aftermath.  If you find yourself in this unfortunate situation, you don’t need to despair of your relationship; it can certainly be saved if both partners are willing (which, of course, is a big que...
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Baltimore’s Best Couples Counselor: Inside Business Weekly

Baltimore’s Best Couples Counselor: Inside Business Weekly
Blog on 29 Jun , 2017 by Raffi Bilek
Check out this review of our practice picked up by Inside Business Weekly!  You'll see why we're considered the place for the best couples therapy and how we can help you achieve the relationship you're looking for. Contact us today to get started!   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LEjxHCevJFU
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Parenting Tools: Noticing

Parenting Tools: Noticing
Blog on 14 Jun , 2017 by Raffi Bilek
Young children are constantly running to their parents to show them what they’re doing or playing with – “Mommy look! I put a hat on the baby doll!” “Daddy, see the picture I drew?”  Often our instinctive response is to gush how wonderful it is or how talented they are.  It’s not a terrible response – certainly better than offering a distant “oh, great” while not moving our eyes from the smartphon...
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A Simple Parenting Tool – Stories

A Simple Parenting Tool – Stories
Blog on 6 Jun , 2017 by Raffi Bilek
I’d like to share with you a handy parenting tool that is easier to use than it might sound.  It’s nothing brilliant or novel – just one of those things sitting under your nose all this time.  It’s called “stories.”  Yup, that’s it. Nothing new, right?  Well, let’s talk about how you can use them. Of course, reading bedtime stories is certainly one way to use stories as part of your parenting a...
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How Do I Get My Kids to Eat Their Vegetables?

How Do I Get My Kids to Eat Their Vegetables?
Blog on 25 May , 2017 by Raffi Bilek
Another common battleground for parents with young children is mealtime.  Getting kids to eat their proverbial veggies has been a vexing problem since time immemorial.  Just as we noted with bedtime, it’s unlikely you will ever have children who are 100% compliant with your wishes 100% of the time.  Nevertheless, there are certain steps you can take to make mealtimes easier and more pleasant for a...
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How to I Get My Kids to Go to Bed?

How to I Get My Kids to Go to Bed?
Blog on 15 May , 2017 by Raffi Bilek
If you have young children, you don’t need me to tell you what it’s like getting through bedtime.  The hassle, the arguments, the frustrations – it happens to all of us.  Don’t worry – it’s not just you!  Bedtime is often one of the most challenging times of day. And the truth is, no matter what tips and advice you get, it’s likely to be that way at least some of the time.  Nothing anyone tells yo...
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Couples Counseling: Not a Last Resort

Couples Counseling: Not a Last Resort
Blog on 8 May , 2017 by Raffi Bilek
All too frequently, the couples I see in my office for marriage counseling/couples therapy are at the end of their rope.  There has been trouble in the relationship for a long time; months, years, or even decades of fighting, harsh words, and distance have seriously worn away at their bonds of love and commitment.  They might be angry, exasperated, and hopeless.  And it is in this state that they ...
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The Five Love Languages: Finding Your Language

The Five Love Languages: Finding Your Language
Blog on 24 Apr , 2017 by Raffi Bilek
Okay, so, we’ve talked a lot about the different Love Languages. But how do you know which is yours? Below we’ll discuss a couple of ways you can try to determine which language fits you best. You and your partner can both try to figure out for yourselves, and for each other, what your love languages are and share your answers with each other. 1. It’s obvious Sometimes, one of the Languages just...
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Depression vs. Sadness and What You Can Do About It

Depression vs. Sadness and What You Can Do About It
Blog on 10 Apr , 2017 by Raffi Bilek
We're taking a break from our regularly scheduled posts on the Five Love Languages to bring you this exclusive special in which I was invited to a local TV station to do a short bit on depression.  Here's the clip with a brief discussion, with some further elaboration to follow: Depression vs. Sadness One of the questions the producers asked me about was the difference between depression and...
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The Five Love Languages: Physical Touch

The Five Love Languages: Physical Touch
Blog on 20 Mar , 2017 by Raffi Bilek
The last of the Five Love Languages is Physical Touch.  This one is in some ways very easy and in some ways very hard. It’s very easy because it’s pretty clear what we’re referring to when we say “physical touch.”  But it can also be very hard because for many people, it’s simply not natural. Let’s explore further. What it Looks Like As with all the other Love Languages, Physical Touch is for so...
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