7 things to consider before you enter a relationship

7-things-to-consider-before-you-enter-a-relationship

Many people are looking for “the one.” And regardless of whether they exist in such a way, the idea of entering a relationship has become so romanticized that a casual date can lead to thoughts of wedding bells.

Before you enter a relationship, in fact, before you set foot on the dating scene, you need to consider what qualities and attributes you want in a life partner. And we’re not talking physical attributes like “blond hair, blue-eyed, 6-foot-1-inch tall athlete with an attractive amount of stubble.”

We’re talking deal-breakers that will define a relationship and, should you choose to marry that person, your life.

If you’re already in a relationship, how you deal with differences in core values may vary due to the unique nature of each couple. However, if you’re single, there are some baseline non-negotiables to wrap your head around before you enter a relationship.

Respect

A healthy relationship of any sort is built on mutual respect. If someone doesn’t respect you with their words, behaviours and actions now, then chances are they won’t when you build a life together.

Be aware of your worth as a human being, and don’t be afraid to look for someone who will show this to you in a relationship. Your core beliefs around respecting yourself, others and the people you love will automatically filter out anyone who doesn’t value people or relationships in the same way.

Sex

Make your mind up about sex before you begin exploring these boundaries, otherwise the decision is made for you. You need to decide where “the line” is, and find someone who will respect this. You need to set up boundaries that will help you honour one another.

[Marriage] is no small privilege, so don’t rush yourself or compromise and move in together before you are ready to or just to meet the status quo.

There’s so much to discuss in this area including sexual history, boundaries around pornographic images, sexting. Sexuality isn’t just about the physical but everything that engages that part of who we are.

Children

In most cases, it’s best to hold off on conversations about children until you know your relationship could be headed somewhere. However, it’s still essential to know if you want children. This will determine what sort of family values a potential partner must hold.

Consider the number of children you’d like to have (if any), and be certain on your views surrounding contraception, adoption and fertility treatments as well. Details and numbers can change over time, but your family values shouldn’t.

As you become more serious, details about how you want to raise a family will also become deal breakers. Make sure you have a united front with the future parent of your children so you can direct and nurture them.

Political views

Politics can seem secondary to life-altering decisions like getting married and having kids, but it still plays a role in a healthy relationship. Ask yourself: Is it important that a potential partner shares the same political views as you? Does this translate to how they choose to vote (if at all), and how would this impact your future children?

Beyond party lines, consider your views on abortion, same-sex marriage, global warming, incarceration and global injustice. You’ll want to agree with your future spouse on most, if not all, of these issues.

If politics is a contentious issue for you, then the ideology of a potential partner must match your own. Couples can, and will, disagree on things, but it’s essential they respect each other enough to allow for their differences and still stand united. 

Gender roles

It goes without saying that you deserve to be with someone who sees you as an equal. However, knowing where you stand on gender roles will play a fundamental role in any future relationships you have.

Do your research, talk to couples you respect and read books on the subject. I recommend The Liberating Truth by Danielle Strickland.

Your stance on women’s and men’s roles in the church, home, workplace and during sex will ultimately dictate what sort of ideals and behaviours you are looking for in a partner. A couple can still function if they disagree on this, but there must be some sort of compromise as this will dictate every aspect of your life and your relationship.

Marriage

Contrary to popular belief, a date over coffee doesn’t equate to marriage.

However, your values around marriage need to be identified early on in a relationship.

Do you want to get married? Is this something you want in your immediate future, or do you have plans to fly solo for a few years? If you don’t know the answers to these questions, someone else will answer them for you. This could lead to an environment of distrust, doubt and frustration that won’t just hurt you but also the person you’re dating.

Ultimately, marriage is about serving your spouse.

This is no small privilege, so don’t rush yourself or compromise and rush into a relationship before you are ready to or just to meet the status quo.

Religious beliefs

It’s not as simple as finding out whether someone shares the same religious views as you. It’s about how this is expressed in their life.  You need to ask yourself if you’re comfortable having a partner who has a different belief system to you, and how strong a role you want this to play in their life. Because ultimately, it will impact you and any children you may have.

These may be hard questions to answer—especially when you’re interested in someone—but it’s best to determine what faith and religion means to you before you are swept up in romance and a deal-breaker becomes a “maybe.” 

This article was adapted from RELEVANT magazine’s ‘7 non-negotiables in every relationship’ by the same author.

Are you looking for ‘the one'?

Here’s what you need to do: contact WatersedgeCounselling on 0434 337 245 for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how we can best help you, or press book now to book in our online diary.

How Paying Attention to your Emotional Energy Can Improve your Relationships

How-Paying-Attention-to-your-Emotional-Energy-Can-Improve-your-Relationships

Did you know the heart has an electromagnetic field that goes way beyond our physical body? In this infographic by The Heartmath Institute, we learn about how the heart and brain work together, affecting our emotional and physical health.

The Heartmath Institute talk about ‘emotional coherence’, which is the practice of focusing our positive emotion on the heart. This in turn sends positive signals to the brain and our entire magnetic field, and explains why couples, parents and children are so emotionally sensitive and frequently reactive to one another.

When you practice emotional coherence, it has positive implications on your personal health and wellbeing, your close relationships and ultimately the world around you. Take a look at the infographic below and find out how emotionally healthy your heart is.

the-mysteries-of-the-heart

Are you affected by the emotions and energy of your loved ones? Would you like to know more about emotional coherence? Here’s what you need to do: contact WatersedgeCounselling on 0434 337 245 for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how we can best help you, or press book now to book in our online diary.

How to Speak the Same Love Language as Your Partner

How-to-Speak-the-Same-Love-Language-as-Your-Partner_BANNER

Have you ever done the dishes for your significant other, only to have them shrug it off and complain that you never see each other? Or perhaps your spouse constantly craves physical affection, when you’d much rather sit down and just talk? In these circumstances, it can often feel like you speak a different language to your partner. Couple relationships can hang by a thread, because both people feel misunderstood and under-valued by one another.

Would you like to get on the same page? Understand what language your partner speaks when it comes to love? Then this infographic by Tommie Media on the 5 Love Languages can help you out. Based on the premise that every human gives and receives love in five different ways, the primary way you show affection may be drastically different you’re your partner.

Follow the graph below to find out how you best receive and recognise love. It could be Acts of Service, Words of Affirmation, Physical Touch, Quality Time or Gifts. Ask your partner to do it to, and you will find out how to best express love to each other. For instance, you may be a gifts person, but they may crave physical touch. So, instead of buying them gifts to show affection, you are now able to show them physical affection and strengthen your relationship of a deeper level. Knowing each other’s Love Language will revolutionise your relationship and help you to reconnect. So go ahead, and see what your Love Language is!

How-to-Speak-the-Same-Love-Language-as-Your-Partner_INFOGRAPHIC

Would you like to get on the same page and understand what language your partner speaks when it comes to love? Here’s what you need to do: contact WatersedgeCounselling on 0434 337 245 for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how we can best help you, or press book now to book in our online diary.

7 Great Apps for Mindfulness

Mindfulness

We know that technology can detract from our relationships and general wellbeing, but what if we turned this around and used it to benefit our health? There are plenty of apps out there that can help you relax, focus, and even go to sleep. Here’s a list of 7 of our favourites.

Stop, Breathe and Think

1-StopBreatheThink

A free app that will work on most devices, it recommends varying meditations for you depending on your age, feelings and current mood. Easy to navigate, and with the ability to monitor your progress, meditation cycles range from 3-20 minutes. Having been nominated for a Weebly, it is one of the best.

Calm

2-Calm

Simply put, Calm will centre you and remind you to be present. Basic in use, you can select a calming image, the time frame of your selected meditation, and if you want it guided. Handy for a small moment of respite or a reminder that lunch break is over; it is available on most devices for free.

Mindfulness Training App

3-Mindfulness

Whether you have been practicing Mindfulness for years, or are giving it a go for the first time, the Mindfulness Training App will cater to you. Personalised to your own needs and reduce stress, it will teach you how to practice and cultivate Mindfulness. Available on iOS and Android, there is a small cost for this one.

Headspace Meditation

4-Headspace

One of the most well-known and respected apps, Headspace uses interesting and simple graphics that will teach you how to meditate. Implementing a buddy system so you can monitor your progress and work with friends, it includes various activities and meditation cycles that run from 2 minutes to an hour. Catered to fit your moment of need, you can register for their free 10-day cycle and then sign up for a small fee to access the rest of the content.

Smiling Mind

5-SmilingMind

Especially designed for young people, Smiling Mind is a free app created by therapists. Able to cater for ages from childhood to the mature adult, it is modern, and highly recommended by many professionals. Smiling Mind is free and available on most devices.

Buddhify

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Focusing on different areas of your wellbeing, Buddhify will help you to overcome stress, get to sleep, and live in the present moment. Be guided through each activity in your life with over 80 meditation cycles, and monitor your progress with the assistance of tips for improvement. Stylish in design and the same price as a cup of coffee, it is available on iOS and Android.

Meditation Timer Pro

7-Meditation

If you’re looking for a simple and easy to use app, Meditation Timer Pro is ideal. Helping you to focus with the use of intervals and reminders, it removes distractions and allows you to personify the app to fit your needs. There is a small cost involved for this one, and if you need a reminder to stop and breathe during your day, this is ideal. Meditation Timer Pro is available on iOS.

Do you feel stressed, anxious and/or depressed? Do you want to know more about Mindfulness? Then here’s what you need to do: contact Colleen on 0434 337 245 or Duncan on 0434331243 for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how she can best help you, or press book now to book on the online diary.

5 Great Reasons to Have a Dry July

DRY-JULYAround this time each year, the words ‘Dry July’ come up. They pop up as a discussion point on morning television, and we see it on our news feed as friends rally up the courage to put down alcohol for July. But why actually have a Dry July? The campaign means that by simply giving up the drink, people can gather donations for adults living with cancer. But beyond this, there are also some great benefits to having a Dry July.

  1. Your body can detox

Whether you drink occasionally, once a week or every day, having a month free of alcohol gives your body a chance to detox from all the toxins that harm your body when you consume alcohol. Short term effects like hangovers and vomiting from alcohol poisoning are avoided for a month, and your body is given a chance to heal from long term effects like liver disease.

  1. You will feel happier

Sure, alcohol helps you to loosen up and have a good time, but do you ever feel happy the next day? For many of us, drinking has become a crutch that helps us to alleviate stress, relax and establish relationships. The fact is though, that any issues or stressors we have before we drink alcohol, are inevitably there afterwards. In fact, we often have more the day after when we can’t remember what we did or who we were with. Use this time to deal with the uncomfortable things you normally hide from, and you will find happiness knowing they no longer hinder your life.

  1. Your wallet will thank you

Alcohol is expensive, and any night you go out a large portion of your budget will be blown on buying drinks for yourself and friends. By choosing not to drink alcohol, you will save a whole lot of money. Non-alcoholic drinks are cheaper and water is free; imagine what you can save with all the money that will stay in your wallet this month!

  1. Your relationships will be healthier

Without the aid of alcohol, you have the ability to truly engage and invest in your relationships. Get to know new people and remember details about them, catch up for coffee with friends you normally only see at the club, and use the time to make memories with close friends and family.

  1. Try something new

Having a Dry July with friends, or even by yourself, gives you the opportunity to try something new. Go and do activities you normally miss, and remember how much fun there is in simple things like going bowling, having a movie night or going hiking. Perhaps you have a bucket list item you want to cross off, now is your chance to do it! Go and have the adventures you always dreamed of. Without the option of drinking alcohol, you’ll find a whole new world of possibilities open up for you.

For more information about Dry July, visit the official website here.

Are you having a Dry July? Sign up here for the Watersedge 30 Days Alcohol Free Challenge, and you will receive a free inspirational tip in your inbox everyday this month! If you’re brave enough to go all in, you can also check out our Challenge Guide and Workbook in the store.

Do you want to have a Dry July? Would you like some extra professional support as you begin the Challenge? Contact WatersedgeCounselling on 0434 337 245 for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how we can best help you or press book now to book in our online diary.

Keys To a Happy Relationship: Accepting the Influence of Your Partner

Influence of partner

Did you know that only 31% of a couple’s major areas of continuing disagreements are about resolvable issues? The other 69% of the time, couple’s conflict will be invested in unresolvable perpetual problems. This was one of the findings of a 35 year longitudinal study of 677 couples conducted by Dr John Gottman.

Is it any wonder then, when describing their attempts to communicate with their partner, a person might liken the experience to ‘speaking to a brick wall’? When a couple fails to resolve an issue so that they repeatedly visit the same conflict (up to 69% of the time), the temptation is to resort to negative coping strategies like stonewalling. In fact, whilst stonewalling is not entirely territory owned by men, the research tells us that 85% of males tend to use stonewalling as a means of staying safe in conflict.

Given that 69% of any couple’s disagreements are most likely unresolvable, learning how to navigate these conversations in a mutually satisfying way is essential to the longevity and health of any couple relationship.

One of the important keys for a healthy relationship is the ability to accept the influence of your partner.

In practice, this principle is generally more difficult for men than it is for women who tend to accept a partner’s influence at higher rates. Men are less likely to accept their partner’s influence, choosing instead to emotionally disengage or escalating the conflict using belligerence, contempt or defensiveness. All of these behaviours serve to shut down a partner’s complaint and reinforce gridlock.

Accepting your partner’s influence can be the difference between having a conversation where a conclusion is reached without feeling attacked, criticised or resentful, as opposed to an argument that reinforces our differences and creates a sense of hopelessness around the problems in your relationship.

So what does this look like in a conversation? Accepting influence can be as simple as saying “Good point,” or “I see.” Giving the respect of acknowledging your partner’s opinion is the beginning of negotiation.

Accepting influence is about finding common ground for agreement.

If that rarely happens in your relationship, it may be time to step back and listen to your partner’s thoughts on the subject at hand, instead of responding from a negative, closed position

“I haven’t thought about it in that way before,” sends the message that you are listening and considering your partner’s opinion. You could respond to your partner, “So you see it a different way. Let’s keep talking about it and see if we can come up with something we can both live with.”

Look out for the next blog in this series, Keys to a happy relationship: The Gentle Start-Up

Do you want to take your relationship to a new level? Would you like to discuss how cultivate a healthy connection?  Here’s what you need to do: contact WatersedgeCounselling on 0434 337 245 for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how we can best help you, or press book now to book in our online diary.

The Long Term Effects of Heroin Addiction

It is increasingly common for people of all walks of life to use heroin. It is no longer just a teenage fad, but a drug which enters workplaces, damages relationships and can do long term harm to a person’s health. You may be able to identify when a person is using heroin, but do you know the long term effects of the drug use?

This infographic by Addiction Blog shows us the science and the consequences of heroin use. Far from being a substance you can just ‘shake off,’ heroin enters your blood and affects many areas of the brain, including the cerebral cortex (your vision), brain stem and your spinal cord. Often people who continually consume drugs find themselves upping their dosage to receive the same high they did when they started. Their tolerance of heroin increases, and this is due to the opiates enacted when the heroin reaches our brain.

So how does the science of heroin use impact our body?

The amount of side effects that come with heroin use is staggering, and among them are nausea, pain modulation, sedation, delusions and hallucinations. While heroin use may initially feel good, the high covers a variety of dangerous symptoms that can severely change our lives.

Permanent side effects include kidney failure, a damaged brain stem and infection of the heart lining and valves, and we see that any use of heroin will dramatically alter your body. Reversible side effects include a running nose, watery eyes and blood poisoning. Not very glamorous, is it?

And if you think this a drug you can take once and stop, think again. Heroin is one of the most addictive drugs available, and each time you take it, it is increasingly more difficult to stop. We find heroin use continually takes over every aspect of a person’s life. Not just their health, but their mental and emotional state, their capacity to work and their relationships.

Do you know anyone who takes heroin? Are you concerned for their health and wellbeing? Check out the infographic here and educate yourself so you can help them.

Long-Term-Effects-of-Heroin-Addicton

Do you struggle with heroin use? Do you need support with a loved one who has a heroin addiction? Then here’s what you need to do: contact Colleen on 0434 337 245  for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how she can best help you, or press book now to book on the online diary.

Why Kindness is the Best Valentine’s Day Gift

Why-Kindness-is-the-Best-Valentine's-Day-GiftIt is Valentine’s Day – a day that reminds and celebrates the richness of love. The day will reinforce one of the following statements about you:

  1. I am in a happy, loving and couple relationship.
  2. The relationship I am in falls beneath my expectations of what a loving relationship should look like.
  3. I am alone (and it sucks).

One of the most undervalued, yet affordable and equally available gift that you can give to your partner or friend is the gift of kindness.

On an almost daily basis, I witness couples and individuals who report that whilst they experience conflict and communication difficulties in their couple relationship, they state that they love each other. It is my belief that one of the chief indicators of a loving relationship is kindness. Kindness is being a true and genuine friend to your partner, generous in the giving of oneself and considerate towards your partner’s need.

Where a couple relationship does not feel secure or caring and you feel alone even within your relationship, the invitation that St Valentine’s Day gives to make the intentional effort to show our partner we love them through a romantic gesture or gift is a welcomed opportunity. Being a person who loves the occasional gift, I believe that this can still be a beautiful expression of love when given with thought and intention. However, the notion that a romantic gesture or gift is ‘enough’ to sustain any relationship is false.

If you are unwell and fail to recover swiftly, you will visit your local doctor to receive medical help, whereupon the doctor may write a ‘prescription for treatment’.

Here is your prescription for a flagging couple relationship:

  1. Use St Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to change the way you treat your partner by doing something ‘special’ – a small gift, a meal together or even a walk along the beach or in a park. Be as creative as you like, just so long as it is something that your partner will enjoy.
  1. Make it your intention to do, at the very least, one small act of kindness towards your partner every day. I encourage you to write down what you do each day as a way of sustaining your intention.

If you are alone this Valentine’s Day, then the gift of self-kindness is equally important. It is easy to become prey to your own negative thoughts, particularly on a day where every shop display has cherubs, teddy bears and love hearts plastered everywhere, and media reinforce the message that ‘everyone’ is in love and deliriously happy (that’s a lie by the way). Self-kindness is an absolute necessity for good mental health and promotes a sense of positive wellbeing. Learning the art of self-kindness on a daily basis is a ‘novel’ idea if you are a person who typically invests themselves in always helping others. Self-kindness for you may begin at that place where you practice saying ‘no’ to a request for help and do something that you enjoy instead. Go for a walk, buy yourself a bunch of flowers, read that book that has been waiting beside your bed, have a massage (you get the idea).

If you are in a happy, loving, caring relationship, undoubtedly it is also a ‘kind’ relationship.  Anticipating St Valentine’s Day as an opportunity for your lover to make some romantic gesture that communicates their love and devotion may be ‘nice’ but not necessary, because your couple connection is daily defined by simple acts of kindness that nurture the safety and security of a relationship.

Are you single and struggle to be kind to yourself, feeling disappointed and frustrated with yourself? Do you want to change and become stronger, confident and focused towards wellness and personal growth?

Is your couple relationship lacking kindness and care for each other? Do you want a relationship that is safe, secure and marked by kindness?

At Watersedge Counselling, Colleen is available to individuals and couples on 0434 337 245 for a FREE 10 minute consultation to discuss your personal situation and how we can help you. Duncan is available to individuals and can be contacted on 0434 331 243. If you are ready to make an appointment, you can go to out book online now and follow the prompts to make your booking.

How to Respond When People Expect You to Be In a Relationship

By Jessica Morris

How to Respond When People Expect You to Be In a RelationshipMaybe it’s strange for a young adult to say this, but I actually like being single. That’s not to say I want to stay this way forever, but I see that I am able to participate in life with a certain amount of freedom that I would not otherwise possess if I had a significant other. Often, I feel like other people don’t understand this. I feel a cloud that weighs like cement on my chest telling me I am somehow ‘behind’ everyone else, or that I am not quite ‘normal’ because I am single. Do you ever feel like this? Whether you have recently had a relationship break down, have been divorced or maybe just have not found the ‘right’ person yet, there seems to be an increasing pressure to ‘recover’ from this, like it is a disease. I don’t know about you, but I don’t feel like singleness is something to be overcome or remedied. In fact, I think it’s an entirely plausible way of living. It is far better to be happy, healthy and single than in a relationship with someone who makes you unhappy for the sake of being in a relationship. This is not to say people in relationships should not work at them, or receive help and support when they are struggling. But I know that when I enter a relationship, I want it to be for the right reasons, not just because I want to fit certain social expectations.

Maybe you are like me, and are single and are tired of the pressure to ‘mingle’ from your friends and family. Informing them that there is no one on the scene can become a mundane and frustrating routine at family functions, often because it reinforces the fact that you are alone around the newlyweds or expectant parents. It’s important to remember that often people will ask you about your relationship status because they genuinely care about your happiness, but we all know there are times people are just being nosy. Next time you attend that family dinner or engagement party, here are five responses you can use to field the uncomfortable ‘singleness’ questions and hopefully have those you are closest to understand that at this point in your life, it’s healthy.

 1. I don’t feel ready to date anybody yet.

It may be blatantly honest, but sometimes this is the best way to have people understand why you are single. Irrespective of what your friends and family say, it is your choice to date if and when you want too.

2. I haven’t found anyone yet.

Of course this response will be met with questions about your lifestyle, but no one can argue with the fact that you are allowed to have standards and expect a mutual attraction to be present before even considering entering a relationship.

3. I’m happy the way I am at the moment, thanks for asking.

Your happiness is your prerogative, if you are happier being single then thank them for their interest and move the conversation on.

4. I’ve been dating a few people, but no one’s connected with me yet.

Letting people know that you have been making an effort in the relationship department should put a damper on their questions, while validating their desire for you to eventually find happiness with another person.

5. It wouldn’t work with (insert name of family friend) because I’m not attracted to them.

If you have friends and family constantly trying to ‘set you up’ with that friend of a friend, take a step back and pause to consider what they are saying before you shut them down. Are you attracted to this person, and is there any merit in getting to know them? If not, be honest. Just because two people are single doesn’t mean they should be in a relationship.

 

About Jessica Morris

Jessica Morris is a 23 year-old free-lance journalist living near Melbourne, Australia. Passionate about pop culture and how this intersects with mental health, faith and social justice; she seeks represent this generation within the media. You can view her work at www.jessicamorris.net

Are you single and not coping? Have you recently experienced a break up and do you feel the need to talk to someone to adjust? Do you want to grow and reach your personal potential? If so contact Watersedgecounselling on 0434 337 245 for a FREE 10-minute phone consultation on how we can best help you or press book now to book in our online diary.