Question of the Month

What Should Couples Discuss Before Moving in Together?

By Elisabeth LaMotte / April 10, 2017

With high rents in DC and even higher costs associated with buying, the financial advantages of moving in together appeal to many young couples. Living together saves money , saves time traversing to and from each other’s homes and eliminates the logistics involved in spending time in two different locations. However, there are psychological downsides…

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As a Couples Therapist, What Stands Out in a First Session?

By Elisabeth LaMotte / March 6, 2017

To begin couples therapy, I ask each half of the couple to describe why they reached out, and how I can be helpful. The answer often involves excellent insights about what they wish their partner could do differently. To explore the answer in more depth, I ask each person if they can describe what they…

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When it Comes to Marriage, What Matters Less than you Might Think?

By Elisabeth LaMotte / February 2, 2017

Financial security makes life easier and reduces anxiety related to meeting basic needs. And shared views related to money such as how much to save and budgeting priorities are important dimensions of marital stability. Nevertheless, improved financial security does not necessarily lead to a more fulfilling relationship. Sometimes money infects and compromises a marriage. I…

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What Qualities Will Help a Marriage go the Distance?

By Elisabeth LaMotte / January 1, 2017

Relationships come in all kids of different shapes and forms, and people tend to choose life partners for a variety of reasons. Some prioritize a sense of humor and shared interests, others care most about intelligence and professional drive. Sexual attraction, shared values, cultural and religious beliefs, financial security, and friendship are among the qualities…

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What Can Strain a Romantic Relationship During the Holiday Season?

By Elisabeth LaMotte / December 11, 2016

In theory, the holiday season is a magical time of year. In practice, it is often fraught with stress and relational tension. Gift giving is an arena that frequently causes avoidable pressure. We are socialized — through films, romance novels and advertising — to imagine that if someone really loves us, and gets us, they…

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By Elisabeth LaMotte / November 1, 2016

Deflecting and projecting: If you notice yourself engaging in excessive levels of conflict with your spouse, consider the possibility that you are upset with yourself about something that is unsettling or difficult to face.  For example, if the marital fights involve a lot of anger about your wife’s job, make sure you also reflect on…

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What Are Some Strategies For Finding Closure After Divorce?

By Elisabeth LaMotte / October 4, 2016

Divorce can feel like a death and it is, in a sense, the death of a dream.  If you are struggling to move on, comfort yourself by acknowledging that part of your struggle  probably speaks to your ability to make a lifetime commitment and mean it.  Nevertheless, if reconciliation is not an option, moving on…

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What are some relationship tips for couples in a long-distance marriage?

By Elisabeth LaMotte / September 18, 2016

Use the term “commuter marriage” in place of a “long-distance marriage”: Pollster Mark Penn uses this term in his 2007 book, Microtrends.   Statistically speaking, commuter marriages are a growing, noteworthy trend reflecting our more mobile, work-oriented society.  Increasing numbers of dual career couples are determining that it is necessary to live apart to further their careers. …

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What’s a Common Co-Parenting Challenge?

By Elisabeth LaMotte / August 1, 2016

Unexpected life events can dismantle the balance of any busy family, but sudden scheduling shifts are especially challenging when they disrupt the visitation schedule of children whose parents are divorced.  Abrupt requests for a scheduling change might be inspired by festive circumstances like unexpected acquisition of coveted concert tickets or by difficult life events like…

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What Does Your Future Spouse Need to Know About You?

By Elisabeth LaMotte / July 1, 2016

No magical piece of information shared between a well-intended couple will ensure that they live happily ever after; however, discussing the relationship’s strengths and weaknesses is important part of deciding about and preparing for marriage. The question of what your future spouse needs to know about you illuminates the more meaningful question of what YOU…

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