Rescuing Your Most Important Relationships

Posts tagged ‘family counseling’

A Tribute To Our Military

AFC is promoting Veteran’s Day by providing 10 Military and Veteran’s Couples with No Cost counseling to help improve  their marriages!

If you or anyone that you know are in the military (active or retired) help us share the news!

Our entire staff is really excited to be able to offer this to our military community.


March Money Madness

It’s March- and that means spring is almost here.  In Albuquerque, spring also means high winds, planning your garden and for many, taxes and money issues. Money is one of the biggest challenges that all couples face, bringing more stress and fights into your relationship than any other subject besides sex. How do we spend our tax refund? What do we do about our vacation this year?

At AFC, we know that not having a clue about why your partner spends or saves can be hard on your relationship, not to mention your finances. We can help you to:

  1. Understand both your own and your partner’s money personality- and they are always different.
  2. Learn how to communicate with your partner about finances, enabling you to solve your disagreements.
  3. Move forward with a plan in place that works for both of you.

No matter where you are in your relationship- living together, planning a wedding, new parents or empty nesters, we can help you get clear about your money habits with your partner. Give us a call at 974-0104 today!

Holiday Tips for Blended Families

The holidays are stressful for many people, but can be especially so for blended families. Unique families require unique solutions to their problems, so here are some tips to help navigate the holiday season and still have some good cheer.

  • Communication and planning- think of the entire holiday season, not just a couple of days. That will give you the opportunity to spread out the events so that all family members can participate. Consider that the days leading up to and after the holiday can be a part of the festivities.
  • Communicate with all family members well before the holiday, to try and avoid any last minute changes. Families and children get along better when they know what to expect, as much as possible. Be flexible on time but strict on communications.
  • Start your own traditions and rituals, blending some of the old with new. Have each child bring one idea that was meaningful to them, into the new family. Make time for all the children’s ideas to be a part of the new family tradition.
  • Put aside your ill feelings towards your ex and model some good behavior for your own children- adhere to the custody agreements, help your children with picking out gifts for their other parents and decorations for the other house. This will help them feel more in control of the situation, and give them a sense of belonging.
  • Do something different from the usual- try having appetizers and finger food instead of a full sit down dinner, open presents three days before Christmas, plan a craft or game instead of the usual movie. Being different will create a sense of fun and energy.

And if things seem to be falling apart, remember two things:

  • Don’t sweat the small stuff- life is not perfect and the holiday won’t be either, so try and relax
  • It will get easier with time- as the years pass you will have more traditions that you can count on.

Have a good Christmas!

Kelly Chicas 2011


How many times have you heard the phrase “I’m in limbo”, or “Our relationship is in limbo”? If you have heard it, what exactly does it mean? In looking at some different meanings of the word, it seems to describe a sense of neglect or disregard, of being forgotten, or feeling lost. Limbo is frequently used to describe a temporary state- a lack of movement either forwards or backwards. In relationships one thing is certain, being in limbo is uncomfortable.

We can feel like our relationship is in limbo for many reasons- life transitions, family issues, the discovery of an affair or a separation. Humans prosper when there is a certain degree of routine and structure, so “being in limbo” is an unnatural state of being. We need direction, goals and action to feel that our lives have meaning, but what can we do if the decision of “what happens next” resides with someone or something else? Our nature wants us to resist the lack of movement by trying to force the issue with our partner, but this usually ends up making things worse.

One of the worst things about being in limbo is fear. Fear of the future, fear of the unknown and fear of outcomes can immobilize our thoughts and actions. This can cause depression, stress and anxiety. Fear is that nattering voice inside our heads that keeps us from taking risks that might enrich our life or holds us back from doing some things we need to do. Want to experience something new and exciting? Or accomplish something really great? Fear says, “No, you can’t.”

Another discomfort from being in limbo is the feeling of losing control. Great leaders are admired for their serenity and confidence in the face of uncertainty. When we are in limbo, it can feel like serenity is far from our reach. Instead, our emotions are close to the surface and can flare up at the slightest opportunity. Whether you lash out, cry or pound on your desk, it’s uncomfortable to feel out of control.

So how can we feel better about being in limbo? Here are some tips to keep things more in control and less fearful.

Gather information

Information is power and knowledge. When you find out about what options and choices you have, you replace fear with knowledge.


Talk about your fears

Keeping your fears bottled up inside magnifies them. Taking them out (and talking them out) can shrink them. Find a good listener who won’t disregard your fears or make judgments.

Talk to yourself

Self-talk filled with positive messages can change fear energy into positive energy. Eliminate the negative from your self-talk vocabulary. 

Chunk it down

Keep your mind on the small things, not the Big Picture. This stops you from feeling overwhelmed and to recognize the smaller things that you can change. This result is a feeling of being more in control.

Expand your comfort zone

Take a small risk each day. Make one phone call, ask for one thing you want, go to one new place. Little by little your confidence will expand, too.

Accept the Limbo

Don’t push against the inevitable. Limbo eventually brings change, and different opportunities. It can lead the way to the next step in our lives, bringing us closer to our goals. Even if we resist the change, it may still result in personal growth, so it can still be a learning experience.

Be proactive

Prepare the best you can for the changes that might come, but then accept the reality of the moment. Think back to other challenges you’ve come through and remind yourself that everything will work out ok.

Kelly Chicas 2011


The Business of Relationships

In his book the E-myth Revisited, Michael Gerber discusses at length his idea of the difference between working on your business versus working in your business. The basic premise is that when you work too much IN the business, you can’t effectively work ON the business, and that severely restricts the long term success of the business.  Putting too much focus on the application, the bigger picture went unattended and consequently failed. 

If we apply this standard to a relationship, what is the difference between working IN the relationship, and working ON the relationship? As a society, we are really good at working in a relationship. We go through our days of overscheduled, overcommitted lives, just to come home, collapse for a few hours and start the same pattern over again the next day. Many couples have two careers and are masters at juggling their professional schedules, navigating their corporate environments, and racing their way up the corporate ladder.  Couples compete to “out earn” each other, accept higher responsibilities within their jobs and still volunteer to coach the soccer team.  Both men and women want their own roles that are separate from the household, and their own individual successes. The American work ethic is alive and kicking, as we continue to show up our European counterparts by the sheer number of work hours that we log on an annual basis.   

How do we compare on working ON the relationship? If the current divorce data is any indication, not well. Working on the relationship takes time and effort, but more importantly, consistency.  Let’s compare this idea of consistency to losing weight- something that we have all tried to do at some point in our lives.  How many times have you ever tried to do the necessary things to lose weight- cut back on calories, exercise more or make more healthy choices, just to be frustrated by the efforts?  Making the choice of giving up just one cookie does not get you to your ideal weight- but making that choice many times over the course of a month will.  Consistency and continuity is the key to losing weight- or working on a relationship. Small, baby steps of being consistent in your actions, behaviors and thoughts toward your partner are the key to a lasting and healthy relationship.

We see many celebrity couples that split- Al and Tipper, Sandra and Jessie, Halle and Gabriel. It would seem that knowing your partner inside and out for many years is not enough to keep the relationship together.  These celebrity couples certainly spent a lot of time working “in” their relationships: but not “on”. Consistent and continual effort must be made and the big picture of the relationship attended to, by both partners at the same time.  Your partner’s love, affection and respect will not wait while you work in the relationship. Spend some time working on it instead.

Smart Marriages Conference

 I am so excited! This week, I am attending the Smart Marriages conference in Orlando. If you are not familiar with this organization, it is a non profit coalition dedicated to the preservation of marriage and relationships. Every year they host a conference that presents  the latest books, teachings, models and systems to make relationships even better. The conference is the largest of its kind in the country. Everyone will be there, and I mean all of the big names- Michelle Weiner Davis ( I am training with her!), John Gray, Harville Hendrix, Gary Chapman, Pat Love, Dave Carder, the list goes on. The public is also welcome to attend, as it is a great opportunity to take some classes and hear some motivating presentations. Part of the commitment at Albuquerque Family Counseling is to bring you the best and latest techniques to repair your relationships- and this conference is another way of achieving that commitment.  Laurel, Claudia and I look forward to using these new tools for your benefit in the coming months. For more information about the organization and conference, click here. See you next month!

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