We have all been there when arguing with our partner, it typically occurs at the end of the whole fiasco… Blank facial expressions, silent stares, or walking out of the room are all examples of stonewalling. The term stonewalling refers to the act of turning away from the discussion, (or person) due to a lack of mental energy or intense […]


Many times when we get into arguments, one person in the relationship criticizes or is contemptuous, which often leads to the other partner feeling attacked. When someone is feeling attacked they get defensive or shuts down emotionally. Most of the time, Criticism, contentment, and defensiveness are doing a little dance together during an argument. This clearly does not solve the […]

Corroding Relationships with Contemptment

Another act besides criticizing that negatively impacts relationships is contemptment. This behavior is also known as disrespect or coming from a place of superiority. This is the biggest indicator of divorce according to Gottman’s research. Couples who are contemptuous of each other will also have higher health-related issues, such as colds or flues. This behavior impacts people on a cellular […]

Criticism vs. Complaint

In the past two months, we have been in close quarters with our partners and noticed some cute and some not so cute habits of theirs… Or maybe things were rocky before sheltering in place, and now those issues have been amplified. Believe it or not, arguing and fighting are part of healthy relationships. Relationships are two humans trying to […]

How To Establish Healthy Personal Boundaries: Part 1

Written by: Max Merritt, M.A. This topic may seem a little strange given the circumstances the world is currently facing, but given the forced personal boundaries that have become a must to help stem the tide of the COVID-19 pandemic, I thought I would write a little bit about the importance of having healthy boundaries in our personal relationships. First […]

3 Reasons for Premarital Counseling

Written by: Troy Law, M.A. Often when you find that special person that you are ready to marry ‘until death do you part,’ you’ll have plenty of input from others. Many of your friends and family will be telling you what they think of your future spouse and giving you advice on what not to do in your marriage. Although […]

The Struggle is Real: Sex

Written by: Kellie Gwaltney, M.A. The beginning of a romantic relationship, and often the “honeymoon” stage of a marriage, abounds with passion. A person feels “butterflies” when near their partner, their thoughts turn to their partner frequently and with a daydream-like quality, they just want to be with their partner, talk with their partner, and touch their partner. Over time, […]

The Struggle is Real: Marriage Expectations

Written by: David M. Smith, M.Div., M.A. It seems no one has “Rose Colored Glasses” quite to the degree as couples who are engaged or “Just Married”! If they could bottle up those emotions and sell them, I think we would have a lot of “love addicts.” What those couples are going through is a powerful cocktail of unconscious connection, […]

PTSD and Intimate Partner Violence (Excerpt from PTSD Monthly Update from the US Dept. of VA)

Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) refers specifically to violence and aggression between intimate partners. IPV can include physical, sexual or psychological abuse or stalking. In the United States, about 1 in 4 women (or 27%) and 1 in 10 men (or 11%) report having been harmed by sexual or physical violence, or by stalking by an intimate partner at some point […]

After “I Do”

Written by: Kellie Gwaltney, M.A. Whether you’ve been married 5 months or 25 years, every couple has its disagreements and conflicts. Merging two different personalities is no easy task. From finances and in-laws to communication and sex, there are hurdles every couple has to cross. Dealing with these issues early can keep the relationship on better footing. And the benefits […]