• Joan M Sotelo LMFT, LPC

Hi everyone! I have been wanting to write this to give you some tips on what books you can read to work on improving your marriage, relationships, and even just for yourself. I believe reading is one of the best ways we can make sure we are learning, growing and not staying stuck so we can accomplish the goals that we have for ourselves and our lives. Right now is a great time to feed your relationship and work on some areas that may need some tuning up!

I definitely recommend that you work with your therapist or counselor to help you navigate all that may come up as you read these books.

So, if you want to focus on improving your marriage or relationship, here are a few books that will help you with that:

The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work by John M. Gottman.

John Gottman is a leading figure in relationship research and has done over four decade of research that predicts divorce and stable marriages. This is a wonderful book written after his research studies with couples. In his studies, Gottman was able to predict which couples would make it and which would not. This book talks about why couples don’t make it and what you can do to make sure your relationship is what you want it to be like! It has several questionnaires and tools throughout the book that you can use with your partner to identify what areas of your relationship need work and how to change that for the better. This is one of my favorite books to recommend because it addresses so many important aspects of a healthy relationship.

Love & Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs

This is a Christian faith based relationship book that incorporates psychological & scientific truths about marriages with faith-based principles. The book discusses important principles of how each partner perceives things differently and how we must learn to properly communicate and understand one another’s specific need for being loved and respected. It helps couples understand the negative cycle of communication that many get trapped in and discusses how to effectively share and communicate with one another.

The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman

This is a classic must-have for all couples! It is a book about how to learn to speak you partner’s love language and know how to meet their needs. Most couples are not aware of what their partner really needs. You may be trying and trying to show your love but keep missing it because you are not speaking the right language of how your partner needs to receive it. The author describes the 5 basic love languages as quality time, physical touch, receiving gifts, doing acts of service, and words of affirmation… Discover which one fills your love tank the most!

Not Just Friends by Shirley Glass

I recommend this book for any couple that has gone through the trauma of an affair. An affair can be devastating to a relationship, but it does not have to mean the end of it! There is hope for regaining trust and recovering after infidelity. This book is long but it is very informative and helps couples understand more deeply the other partner’s side of things. It also does a great job at addressing the WHY and HOW of what happened and how to properly deal with the emotions and pain. You can move forward together, but you do need the right tools on how to do it.

The Gift of Sex by Clifford Penner & Joyce Penner

Written by a therapist and nurse couple, this book addresses the topic of sex from a physiological, scientific, and faith based approach. I recommend this book for Christian couples that are struggling with their intimacy and sex life. This book incorporates very well the psychological/ mental hold ups that block couples from having more freedom in their intimacy as well as the important physical aspects of sex and intimacy. It is meant to help couples have the intimate life they desire and to freely enjoy one another.

Remember that a good relationship requires effort and intentional work. I hope these will be helpful to you and your relationship. Please feel free to reach out if you have questions!

Stay safe, healthy and read on…!

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  • Joan M Sotelo LMFT, LPC

Did you know that your thoughts have an incredible amount of power to dictate your mood?

We tend to think that emotions are something out of our control, they just happen… Well, that is not necessarily true. Your thoughts have a huge role in how you feel and act on a daily basis. We can say that it is what happens around us that make us feel a certain way, but in reality it is our thoughts (or perception) about what happened that dictates our feelings. Usually a life event or situation will trigger a certain thought, which will then lead to a certain feeling, and then result in us acting in a certain way. Now this pattern can either be a negative or a positive one depending on how we choose to think about the situation.

Here is how it works

Situation: Husband forgot to take out the trash and didn’t help with chores today.

Thoughts: He is so inconsiderate, doesn’t think about me and doesn’t care!

Feelings: Angry, frustrated, alone, unimportant, hurt…

Actions: Give the silent treatment or yell at him and tell him how inconsiderate he is for forgetting.

Now take the same situations and change your thoughts to something positive:

Situation: Husband forgot to take out the trash and didn’t help with chores today.

Thoughts: It’s ok, I know he cares and probably has a lot of things in his mind.

Feelings: Compassion, understanding, patience…

Actions: Calmly reminding him that you really want his help and it’s important to you.

Here is another example

Situation: You didn’t get the results you were hoping for.

Thoughts: I’m a failure, I’m not good enough, what’s the point!

Feelings: Angry, frustrated, disappointed, sad, disillusioned…

Actions: Give up, beat yourself up with negative self talk, isolate yourself, stop trying.

Now take the same situations and change your thoughts to something positive:

Situation: You didn’t get the results you were hoping for.

Thoughts: I can move forward, learn from this experience, and try again.

Feelings: Motivated, at peace, encouraged.

Actions: Start to figure out ways to try again and be successful at your goal.

Try it yourself! Get a piece of paper and make a triangle. Write out your immediate thoughts about a situation. Then identify how those thoughts made you feel. Then remember how those feelings led you to act in a certain way. Now with the same situation write out a more positive way of thinking about it and see how your emotions and actions change for the better. If you are up for a challenge write down all the negative thoughts that you have in one day. At the end of the day go through these thoughts and try to come up with one or two positive alternative thoughts for each negative thought you had. As you practice positive thinking you will notice that your overall mood will begin to change. You will notice a reduction in anxiety, stress, anger, sadness; and an overall improvement in joy, peace, and motivation.

You do not have to be a victim to your circumstances! We have the power to choose how we feel, act, and think about any given circumstance in our lives. Though there may be a surge of immediate negative thoughts that flood your mind, you can choose to not let them linger and change them to positive thoughts. Use the power of positive thinking to move you in the right direction!

Visit: https://www.rootsofhopecounseling.com

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  • Joan M Sotelo LMFT, LPC

So, your relationship is not doing well... Maybe you feel stuck in between frequent arguing or not talking at all, and you’re thinking, “is our relationship tearing apart? Are we just not compatible? I don’t feel like we’re in love anymore... what does that mean”?

It’s ok! So many couples go though this same thing and the good news is.... there is a way out! Today’s day in age it is disheartening to look at the statistics; about 50% of marriages end up in divorce! Wow, that’s scary. But, that doesn’t have to be your story.

Most relationships fail because of a lack of good communication. Communication is the foundation of your marriage, and if the foundation has cracks .... well the house is not going to withstand the test of time. The problem is that people notice the cracks in the walls of their house and try to cover them up so that they don’t look bad. We cover up our relationship problems with numbing our to TV, video games, drinking, spending more time at work, focusing on the children, or hanging out with “friends” that become confidants and can lead to .... an affair. We need to go back to working on what is truly the problem... the communication.

“But wait, isn’t it normal to fight and argue? Isn’t that healthy”?

Disagreeing is different than fighting. Communicating and discussing issues does not have to lead to arguing. Fights lead to a lack of unity in the relationship and we end up feeling upset, hurt, and alone.

That’s what therapy can help with. It is a neutral and safe space where we learn to discuss differences without arguing, solve issues together, and communicate at a deeper lever where we feel understood and loved.

When we can speak more openly and vulnerably with our partners we can start to truly heal and build the relationship that will withstand the test of time, regardless of the obstacles that come along the way.

Are you ready to try counseling?

Call and see if it may be helpful for you and your partner: 832-380-5851

Visit: https://www.rootsofhopecounseling.com

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