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13 Ways to Know If Your Marriage is in Trouble

Marriage is not a noun; it’s a verb. It isn’t something you get. It’s something you do. It’s the way you love your partner every day.

— Barbara De Angelis

I’ve been married more than ten years. I’m not a relationship expert, but I have seen the best and worst in my own marriage. I’ve also served in churches for more than a decade, and I’m currently a life coach. Here’s what I know: marriage is tricky.

“Marriage is tricky”? Really? That’s way too sweet.

Let’s cut the bullshit: marriage is the hardest job you’ll ever love. Anyone who tells you different is full of it. Marriage is the one relationship that requires the most vulnerability of all. Getting there can be scary as hell. As humans, we all crave love, respect, and belonging – but many people are also shaky scared that if they own their story and tell the truth, we’ll be abandoned or abused.

Are you wondering if your marriage is toxic? In the past ten years, Lindsey and I have done the hard work to make our relationship rock solid. During that time, I’ve identified thirteen red flags. If you want to know if you’ve got marriage trouble, check these out:

13 Ways to Know If Your Marriage is in Trouble

  1. There is no adventure. You’re stuck in the same old routine, and you haven’t been surprised in months (or years).
  2. Your partner makes all the decisions. They feel more like a boss than a friend or lover.

  3. Your sex life is strained or non-existent.

  4. You have lots of sex, but zero intimacy.

  5. Your goal in life is to appease your partner but never inconvenience them. You live in constant fear of what he or she would think if you spoke up for yourself.

  6. You don’t talk. Other than the news of the day, the to-do list, or the children, you don’t have conversations that matter.

  7. You can’t remember the last time you went out on a date.

  8. Marriage feels more like a janitorial job than a place of refuge. You clock in, sweep the floors, change the beds, stay as quiet as possible, and hope that one day when you’re old and grey, you can sit on the front porch and drink your coffee together, while bird watching.

  9. You never laugh together.

  10. Fear of divorce has you doing whatever it takes not to rock the boat. You’re unhappy, but you’d never tell a soul because you’ve heard what your friends say about divorcees.

  11. You can never question your spouse. Rather than brush against their ego, you suffer in silence.

  12. You never fight. You hold it all in and keep your head down, even when you’re mad as hell.

  13. You always compare your marriage to others. You drool over the memories other people make and share on social media, or the stories your co-workers and siblings tell of their remarkable relationships.

What else would you add to the list? Do any of these sound familiar? Do three or more ring true? If you’re ready to make a change, it would be my honor to serve as your relationship coach.

Don’t miss Episode 30 of the #AskSteveAustin Podcast – How Do I Get More Sex?

Steve Austin is a life coach, speaker, and author of Self-Care for the Wounded Soul. Steve’s goal is to help you create a lifestyle of focused emotional health and clarity. Looking for more ways to create space? Subscribe to Steve Austin’s free weekly newsletter by clicking right here.

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7 Ways to Love Your Authentic Self

Whoever gets sense loves his own soul; he who keeps understanding will discover good. Proverbs 19:8 (ESV)

Love yourself first and everything falls into line.

— Lucille Ball

One of the most important decisions you will ever make will affect every aspect of your life. It’s the decision to commit to love and accept yourself. It affects the quality of all your relationships, your work, your future, etc.

Loving yourself is vitally important and it’s at the very core of your wellbeing. It directly affects your joy, self-empowerment and your ability to enjoy the kind of life you desire and deserve. You can’t enjoy happiness if you aren’t at peace with yourself.

Not loving yourself can be severely debilitating. At the least, you will experience indecision and self-doubt. However it could be much worse and you could suffer from depression or self-loathing.

There is nothing wrong with loving yourself. It’s necessary for you to lead a happy and successful life with confidence. Your happiness comes from within as does love so your happiness is directly linked to the love you have for yourself.

Self-esteem and self-love are issues that are deeply related. If you have low self-esteem, it’s possible that the root cause is insufficient self-love. If you are confident in yourself or have high self-esteem it most likely is because you accept and love yourself unconditionally. When you decide to love yourself, you are really saying that you want to come alive and live life to the fullest in every area. You realize and accept that you are responsible for your life experiences.

So how do you love yourself? Here are some ways that could be helpful.

1. Get in touch with yourself. Find out what makes you, you. Just like a plant needs watering to grow, learn to nurture yourself in every way. It is absolutely beneficial to embrace all the good that is in your life. But you must also accept your flaws and the fact that you are not perfect.

Yes, change may come from realizing your shortcomings but more importantly you should be kind and gentle to yourself despite your flaws. Look in a mirror and fall in love with the reflection of you.

2. Pay attention to your self-talk. Learn to talk to yourself in an affirming and loving way. Many times people talk negatively to themselves and keep saying things like, “I’m not good enough,” “I can’t do anything right,” or worse. When you talk negatively to yourself you wear yourself down. When you talk positively to yourself, you program your subconscious mind with positive images which will manifest in you experiencing self-love.

3. Forgive yourself. So you’ve made mistakes. So has everyone else in the world. There are some people that keep feeling guilty after making mistakes. They believe they don’t deserve to be forgiven. There is no mistake that you have ever made that doesn’t deserve forgiveness from yourself. It might take some time but once you change your mindset and realize that it’s ok to forgive yourself, you will experience freedom from the guilt of your mistakes and will begin to love yourself more.

4. Trust yourself. Be confident in your abilities and know that you are better than you think you are.

5. Stop looking for approval. Most people have sought the approval of someone else at some point in life and there is nothing wrong with that. But once the “want” of an approval turns into a “need” for an approval it can become dangerous to your self-love. Not needing to seek approval is good because it will help build your self-confidence. Yes it is definitely important to listen to others but remember their opinions are no more important than your opinion.

6. Relax and have fun. Give yourself some time to take breaks and inject some fun into your life. Life is meant to be enjoyable. Don’t take yourself or life too seriously. Allow yourself some down time to pamper yourself and relax. Enjoy some silence, soothing music or anything else that will nourish your soul, mind and body.

7. Grow spiritually. When you spend time growing spiritually, the love for yourself will come naturally. You will become more peaceful, kind, loving and compassionate. When you nurture your soul, mind and body daily, you will naturally love yourself in the process.

“To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.” – Oscar Wilde

Full disclosure: I have not mastered ANY of these 7 steps. But I’m on a journey and I’m learning to apply them to my life, appreciate and accept the person I am and live life to the fullest.

Patrick Carden is a wanderer. A wonderer. A Jesusist. A Gracist. A lover of ALL people. This article was originally published at

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7 Powerful Ways to Calm Your Mind Right Now

“Your calm mind is the ultimate weapon against your challenges, so relax.”

— Bryan McGill

I have said it before, but one of the most powerful lessons I learned during my own recovery is this: as emotions go up, rational thinking goes down. When your mind seems to be spinning out of control, here are 7 powerful ways to calm your mind right now. They’re a lot more simple than you might think:

1. Deep breathing.

According to the folks at, “Deep breathing can release stress and provide other noticeable health benefits. You will likely feel calmer after performing deep breathing exercises, and may trade feelings of anger or fear for a focused, relaxed state of mind. Deep breathing is sometimes used to treat anxiety disorders, sleep problems and even general body aches and pains.”  

Want to take this up a notch? Engage your spiritual side by adding meditation and/or prayer to your deep breathing practice.

2. Quit.

One of my favorite bits of advice from Love Does, by Bob Goff, is to quit something every week. If it doesn’t feed your soul, stop doing it. Maybe for five minutes. Maybe for a day. Maybe forever.

Scientific American says, “Downtime replenishes the brain’s stores of attention and motivation, encourages productivity and creativity, and is essential to both achieve our highest levels of performance and simply form stable memories in everyday life. A wandering mind unsticks us in time so that we can learn from the past and plan for the future. Moments of respite may even be necessary to keep one’s moral compass in working order and maintain a sense of self.”

3. Get a fresh perspective.

Jonathan Kellerman says, “Life is like a prism. What you see depends on how you turn the glass.”

Community is a huge part of stress management. As far back as 1993, The New York Times began warning us,, “Strong new evidence shows that high levels of stress combined with a lack of close friends or family can significantly reduce life expectancy.”

And the Times were right. A lack of social support is one of the most dangerous ingredients for someone who is stressed. If you want to calm your mind right now, surround yourself with safe people who love you, let you vent, and won’t leave you alone on particularly hard days. (Looking for a safe community? Click here!)

4. Get your zzz’s.

Binge-watching Netflix until after midnight may be fun, but the lack of sleep is terrible for your stress. Even minor sleep deprivation can raise your blood pressure, increase your stress levels, decrease your performance, and have one heck of a negative impact on your body’s ability to fight off sickness and disease.

This article on WebMD also says it makes you a danger on the roads, causes stress for your partner, and makes you a hazard on the job.

5. Drink! Drink! Drink!

Just being dehydrated by one or two percentage points can start to wreak havoc on your brain and other organ function. An easy way to calculate how much water you need in a day is to divide your body weight by 2. Drink that many ounces of water in a day. For example, a 180 pound man would need to drink approximately 90 ounces of water a day. For more information on hydration, visit the Mayo Clinic’s website.

6. Eat something.

My wife loves pistachios. And who knew they could be a natural stress-reliever?! says, “When you have an ongoing loop of negative thoughts playing in your mind, doing something repetitive with your hands may help silence your inner monologue. Think knitting or kneading bread—or even shelling nuts like pistachios or peanuts. The rhythmic moves will help you relax.”

Not a pistachio fan? Me either (sorry, babe). Find a healthy snack you enjoy and eat on a regular schedule. Your Mom was right to always nag you to eat breakfast. Skipping meals is one sure-fire way to raise your stress levels in a hurry.

7. Take a walk.

Ever wondered why FitBit users are so crazy about their little watch? The benefits of getting in those steps not only helps maintain your weight, but the physical activity is also a huge benefit for your mind!

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America reports, “The physical benefits of exercise—improving physical condition and fighting disease—have long been established, and physicians always encourage staying physically active. Exercise is also considered vital for maintaining mental fitness, and it can reduce stress. Studies show that it is very effective at reducing fatigue, improving alertness and concentration, and at enhancing overall cognitive function. This can be especially helpful when stress has depleted your energy or ability to concentrate.”


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