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Accidental Disrespect

Portrait of a couple

Accidental Disrespect

Are You Accidentally Disrespecting the Man In Your Life?

I’ll tell it to you like this: It’s hard to be married to a marriage therapist. Yet, my husband does it very well.

This is an example of our lives that happened THIS WEEK. Unvarnished. Unedited. This is real life with me.

Wednesday night, we went to a crawfish boil with our small group at church. It was awesome.

On our way home, my husband, Chad, realized he left his Apple Watch with our friend, who kindly took it off of his wrist while he had nasty crawfish hands. We considered turning around but we were already about half an hour away from the party and our son was quickly losing his pleasant personality, ready for bed. I got to thinking, texted our friend, and made a plan for me to drive to her work during my lunch break.

Later on, I was about to hop in the shower and I asked Chad off-handedly to get me a towel from the linen closet. He replied with an unexpected and frustrated, “You know you ask me to do stuff for you ALL THE TIME?” <Scowl>

I was instantly very irritated. I didn’t want to get into right before bed, and one of us got me a towel. I really don’t remember whom.

Flash forward to the following morning. He snoozed through his 5:30am alarm for the *second* morning in a row. I was so irritated! I didn’t need to get up until 7:00am. And once I’m up, I’m UP. Second morning in a row. I laid there, fuming, for a few minutes. Angrily huffing…probably in a “kinda cute” way. I was intentionally flopping around like a fish out of water, being annoying. Eventually I got up and went to the bathroom. While in there, I remembered how irritated I was about the towel issue the night before.

I decided 5:36am was the best time to address this issue. So genius! (I am a marriage therapist, after all.) A few moments later, I flopped back into bed and announced, “Hey. I’m mad about last night when you said that I ask you to do stuff for me all the time. You don’t ask me to do stuff for you all the time because I do things for you without being asked. Like driving out of my way on my lunch break to get your Apple Watch that you forgot last night. Nobody had to ask me to do it. I just decided to do it to be nice and helpful. And you couldn’t walk 10 steps to get me a towel.” Suddenly, he decided he wasn’t sleepy anymore, and got out of bed to get ready for work. Why, though?? I was being so pleasant. Weird. (At least One of us was exercising some sound mind and self-control.)

Later that morning, he sent me the following text, verbatim:

When I said, “you always ask me to do things,” I just meant when I’m in the middle of a task, and then you asked for something, I have to stop what I’m doing to do that.
I don’t mean to minimize what you do for me.

To which, I skillfully responded:

I can actually see how that can feel disrespectful of what you’re doing and I’m sorry. I didn’t think about that.

So…as you can see, I’m very easy to live with and practice what I preach 100% of the time!

The truth is that I hadn’t even realized that he was doing anything when I asked him to get me a towel. I was just focused on my own need and hadn’t really paid attention to anything going on for him.

This whole scenario served as a CLEAR reminder that as women, we often unknowingly disrespect the men in our lives. And when disrespected, instead of articulating their feelings in the moment, they often respond in anger, irritation or frustration. Most men will NEVER state that the felt disrespected, especially for these “smaller” infractions. To articulate that feeling is like a double hit to the ego: they feel like they’d be jerks to demand respect and they feel winey to bring it up.

While this couldn’t be further form reality as far as I’m concerned, it’s the roadblock that most men run into.

The problem then becomes that these “minor” infractions of disrespect go unaddressed, and instead of just magically dissolve, they actually accumulate over time and cause tension and walls. Sadly, when combined with the fact that most men feel like a failure a home, this encourages the men in our lives to shut down, not communicate and build resentments.

It wouldn’t be a fun exercise, but it would be enlightening, if the next time your man responds in irritation with something, ask him if he feels disrespected. Did you low-grade correct him? Second guess his opinion or judgement? Interrupt a task or project? Ignore his feelings?

Your question will surprise him, but his answer will surprise you even more. Simply listen, don’t justify, minimize or argue, and start to come up with a game plan to keep these types of unintended disrespects at bay. He may or may not thank you for it verbally, but you’ll all be better off for using your words to honor and respect your man rather than inadvertently chip away at what you’re working hard to build!

If this is a struggle for you in your relationship, let’s talk about it! I can be found here. and in my counseling offices in Walker, Louisiana and Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Beautiful photo by: Thanasis Zovoilis

Be Kind to Your Hurt Places

Be Kind to Your Hurt Places

I don’t know about you, but I have several situations, both in my personal life and my professional life, that are simply in the midst of hard times. They are situations that are not “good” yet. Healing hasn’t fully occurred (or even begun in some situations). The pain is still ongoing. Confusion is still abundant. People are still in the thick of it.

Part of my own work is to learn to be kind to my hurt places. It’s so tempting to want to rush to the resolution; to find the silver lining; to white knuckle ourselves into being on the other side of the pain.

The problem with that is, it’s not very honoring to our wounds when we suppress the negative emotions just to feel better. And what is more, I think we kid ourselves if we think our suppression of these emotions won’t crop up in some other unhealthy or maladaptive way in our life. Suppression always has a hidden cost.

Sometimes though, things are so bad that it’s not even possible to minimize the hurt.

For times like these, we need to sit in our hurt and honor the brokenness that is there. It takes a lot of courage and it can be very scary to feel that. But it’s the only way to true wholeness. While we don’t need to let emotions be our master, we have to listen to them for guidance. I’m not even sure that there are “negative” emotions as much as they are all just created equally, and we need to feel all of them in order to be whole. There are some emotions that are easier to feel that others, but all emotions were created by God, so they are all important for us to acknowledge and experience. We need to be ok with our humanity and part of that is learning how to accept being in process; not rushing past the “negative” to find the resolution.

I can’t get these two bible verses out of my mind. Part A (in bold below) of the verse is just as true and scriptural as Part B. While the whole verse represents the entirety of the truth that the author is trying to convey, it’s helpful to just pause before rushing to the end.

Psalm 34:19

A righteous man may have many troubles (but the Lord delivers him from them all).

Psalm 71:20

Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter (you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up).

If you don’t take a pause to feel the weight of Part A, Part B just feels cheap, powerless and almost like a taunt to our pain. Part A can bring up more questions than answers and that makes it uncomfortable. But there is goodness in feeling what we perceive to be negative emotions. And taking the time to truly feel them is the pathway to healing.

A song called New Wine by Hillsong Worship feels like it’s ministering to my deep places today. I’m not even sure exactly how it dovetails, but it goes together in my soul with what I’m feeling. Maybe it’ll feel that way for you, too.

Make me a vessel.

Make me an offering.

Make me whatever you want me to be.

I came here with nothing, but all you have given me.

Jesus, bring new wine out of me.

If you are wrestling with your hurt places today, know I am there with you! And if you’d ever like to set up a time to come process what you’re going through, I can be contacted here.

A Dude’s Guide to Valentines Day Success

A Dude’s Guide to Valentines Day Success

Valentines Day: How to Nail It.

Dear Men,

I have previously written about Valentines Day to your wives and girlfriends in an attempt to make things easier on you. I encouraged your wives to not be so specific about their expectations for VDay (and other holidays) and I have written to them to point out how they could indeed make this romantic holiday special for you, as well. After all, romance should not be one-sided. I wrote both of these to help you out, cut you some slack, and generally endear your significant others to you. You’re welcome. 🙂

Now, I want to turn my attention directly to you and offer you some specific help with this single purpose:
HOW YOU CAN ABSOLUTELY NAIL VALENTINES DAY THIS YEAR!

You’re probably thinking…Allison…it’s not even February 13th yet…why are we even talking about this? (A few of you are actually a step behind thinking…wait…when is Valentines Day this year?! It’s April 1st. Same as last year.)

Let’s be real; in all likelihood, your wife or long-time girlfriend sent you this post.

I know the drill. I will be brief. I will be direct. If you do what I say, I’ll set you up for *ahem* “success.”

Sure. You could skirt by another year with Circle K chocolate and a single rose while ordering Papa Johns from the comfort of your couch, fingers crossed that you’ve done enough for things to end in your favor. But WHAT IF you stepped your game up just a bit, and enjoyed the benefit of being the guy who gets bragged about on February 15.

Steps to NAILING Valentines Day:

  1. Start today. Listen, you don’t actually have to do anything today. You just need to casually mention, “I’ve been thinking about what we could do to celebrate Valentines Day together this year…” …and then don’t say anything else. Trust me. Less is more. All you have to do is plant the seed of expectation. Just the simple fact that it’s already crossed your mind will be enough to blow her mind. You are already winning! Congratulations.
  2. Make a reservation. To do ANYTHING. It doesn’t have to be dinner. It could be that you buy a movie ticket in advance. Schedule her an appointment to get her nails done. Sure…a reservation for dinner works, too. It doesn’t matter what it is really. Just schedule ANYTHING in advance. In this simple move you are silently conquering the “you just through this together on your way home from work” argument. It’s really the forethought and intentionality that matters. (And all the women said, “AMEN!”)
  3. Buy or do something that SHE enjoyed when you first met. This could be as simple as making a playlist of old songs she used to love, taking her to an old hangout, watching an old movie you saw together. It doesn’t have to be expensive for fancy. (But it’s fine if it is.) Just have it ready for the big day. It’s really just the thoughtfulness that gets you the points. My husband would say, “nostalgia is a real panty dropper.” So…you’re welcome for that. He’s a poet.
  4. Remove distractions. Whenever you plan to celebrate Valentines Day (the weekend before or after is totally a fine option, in my opinion, just as long as she knows in advance), do yourself a favor and remove distractions so your wife won’t get in her head. Take the kids to Grandma’s house. Hire a cleaning lady to make the house look nice. Think of whatever it that she seems to consider of urgent importance, and make sure that’s taken care of, so at the end of your celebration, she will be able to remain present with you, instead of hopping into all the busyness of household duties.

Ok…as simple as most of this is, it’s all that it will really take for her to think you’re 10 feet tall this Valentines Day. You can get fancy “above and beyond” all you want. But these elements will set you up for success: expectation, thoughtfulness, nostalgia. Have fun…make it your own. Rather than let Valentines Day give you a sense of dread or that you’ve failed…change it up just a bit and enjoy the fruit of your labor!

YOU’RE WELCOME. 🙂

Oh, and while I have you, men, let me tell you this: I have a very special, very specific “talk” that I give wives when it comes to libido and the importance of sex. I’m like Liam Neeson. I have a special set of skills, therapeutically speaking. If this is a pep talk, training, or treatment plan that you’d like your wife to have, send her my way! Here are some of my thoughts on the topic but I’d be glad to discuss a specific plan in my counseling office in Walker or Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

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