Date Night Movies – Part #3


Date Night Movie Series

Welcome listeners! This marks our last episode of the “Date Night Movies” series. Each week we have been suggesting two movies that you and your loved one can watch.  We discuss some important themes in the movies, along with questions you can ask each other after you enjoy the movies. 

Today we are talking about “How To Lose A Guy In Ten Days” and “27 Dresses.” We’re taking a detour from the more serious movies from the last two weeks and taking a look at two lighthearted, albeit contrived rom-coms. Have fun!


How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days

How To Lose A Guy In Ten Days

Andie is an ambitious journalist that wants to write about religion, politics and ethics. She writes, however, for Composure, a Cosmopolitan-like women’s magazine.  When it is time to pitch ideas for the newest issue, Andie’s editor-in-chief Lana makes it clear that she will be expected to contribute yet again another superficial article.  Andie’s friend and co-worker Michelle struggled to make it to the meeting that morning—she was suffering from the blows of ANOTHER breakup. This inspires Andie to pitch the article idea of “How To Lose A Guy In Ten Days.”  Lana loves the idea and encourages Andie to find a man and put him through all the ways women drive their boyfriends away.

Ben is in advertising and is vying for the DeLaurer account, but he has competition. His co-workers, Judy and Judy (yes, you read that right), have just visited Composure the day the pitches were made for the newest issue. As Ben’s boss describes the newest project, Ben bets him he can make any woman fall in love with him.  His boss says that if he does, he will give him the project.  The Judys suggest to their boss that the woman that Ben must attract has to be Andie while at a party. (This is done without the boss or Ben being aware that Andie is working on a project of her own on how to drive men away.)

Does Ben fall in love with Andie, who does everything in her power to make him break up with her? Watch the movie and find out!

27 Dresses

27 Dresses

Jane loves her boss George, she just doesn’t know it yet.  He is self-made, moral, and a hard worker—all traits that she possesses herself.  Enter Tess, Jane’s younger sister.  Unbeknownst to Jane and George, Tess has a few secrets.  She has been dumped by her boyfriend and lost her job.  She is spiraling, but she lets no one know.  Instead, she falls for George and he falls for her.

Jane has a quirk.  She’s always the bridesmaid, in fact, she has twenty some odd bridesmaid dresses hanging in her closet to prove it.  One night while performing in several weddings AT THE SAME TIME, she meets Kevin during a cab ride. Kevin does not let on that he is the commitments columnist for the newspaper. When Jane leaves her planner in their cab, Kevin discovers Jane has an interesting past-time. He is fascinated by Jane’s devotion to being the perfect bridesmaid.

George and Tess are moving TOO fast.  The pair decide to get married only weeks into their relationship.  Kevin is contacted to cover their wedding festivities. When Kevin puts it together that Tess and Jane are sisters, he concocts a plan to write an article on Jane’s peculiar constant bridesmaid status. 

Kevin and Jane spend quite a bit of time together in getting ready for Tess’ wedding.  He confronts her about her obvious love for her boss.  Meanwhile, Kevin and Jane have their own chemistry simmering below the surface. A character-revealing slideshow at Tess’ wedding rehearsal threatens the impending wedding ceremony.

Does George find out that Tess has been lying to him about who she really is?  Does Jane and George end up together?

Major Themes in How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days & 27 Dresses

Perfectionism & People-Pleasing

It could be said that Lana and Andie have laser focuses on what they want in life and that’s where the conflict starts in “How To Lose A Guy In Ten Days.”  Lana’s magazine, Composure wouldn’t be what it is without sticking to a very specific tagline. Andie hasn’t come all this way to just write for trashy chick rags.  Somewhere along the way, however, Andie hasn’t had much of a life. Her focus on her career has put having a love life way beyond the back burner. Perfectionism may be what has kept her from having a life outside of writing. People-pleasing has kept her in good graces with Lana and employed for a magazine that she really doesn’t believe in.

For Jane in “27 Dresses,” she has performed “perfectly” for her boss. She bends over backwards to her own detriment to keep him happy. He even tells her that she performs beyond his expectations.  It strokes her ego.  This behavior acts as a mild substitute for love with Jane.  She acts also as a people-pleaser to her sister, enabling her childish behavior, rather than calling her out on it.  Jane ends up being a great example of what happens when a people-pleaser has said ‘yes’ to much—she acts out in a very passive-aggressive way that shocks everyone. 


In “How To Lose A Guy In Ten Days,” Andie basically does just about every classic codependent behavior in the book to send Ben running.  Ironically, it doesn’t work.  His desire to win his bet forces him to behave very empathically. He learns how to cope with an unstable significant other.  He listens.

Jane fulfills the role of “family hero” in “27 Dresses”.  The loss of their mother was difficult for Jane and Tess.  Jane becomes a mother-like figure to Tess.  This gets the both of them in trouble. Tess ends up relying too heavily on Jane to be responsible for her.  Jane feels a sense of satisfaction for playing this role.  It’s not healthy, but often in relationships such as these it is seen as benign and even good.


It takes confrontation in both movies for the different couples to face how they really feel about each other. In “How To Lose A Guy In Ten Days,” Andie learns from Ben that if you want real love, you can’t play games.

In “27 Dresses”, Jane’s friend Casey, explains to her that if she had been direct and upfront in the beginning, so much hurt and chaos could have been avoided. Jane had to come to terms with the fact that she had been allowing her perfectionism to stroke her ego as well as fuel the platonic relationship with her boss. Kevin also confronts Jane and helps her to determine where her feelings are really coming from.

Post-Viewing Questions

After you and your significant other watch the movie together, ask each other these questions.

Which relationship do you identify with most?  How?

What’s been the theme/s in your relationships?

What do you think will happen to the couples after the movie?

What did each individual need to do to make the relationship work?

Date Night Movies – Part #2


Date Night Movie Series

Thank you for listening to Relationship Helpers! We hope that you find our podcast helpful and dare we say it…entertaining!  This week marks the second part of a three part series we are doing on “Date Night Movies”. 

Each episode we will suggest two movies that you and your loved one can watch.  We will discuss some important themes in the movie, along with questions you can ask each other after you enjoy the movie.  Today we are talking about “Sleepless in Seattle” and “Hope Floats.”


Sleepless in Seattle

Sleepless In Seattle

Sleepless in Seattle is a 1993 Norah Ephron drama/romance movie starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan.  The movie follows Sam, played by Hanks, as he starts a new life after the death of his wife with his young son Jonah.  Father and son move to Seattle.  Sam buries himself in his work while Jonah searches for connection.  In a particularly desperate time, little Jonah calls a radio show and makes it on-air.  Ladies all over the country hear Jonah’s pleas for help for his dad.  He wants to see his father happy again.  Letters pour in to their household, including one from Annie from Baltimore, played by Meg Ryan. 

Sam learns that Jonah has been calling this radio show and becomes angry.  He starts to date a woman he meets through his work.  Jonah finds her “blah.” He encourages his dad to reach out to Annie because he feels that Annie’s letter was the most genuine of any of those written. Meanwhile, Annie is engaged to a man that could also be described as “blah.”

Jonah and Annie make arrangements for Annie to meet Sam at the top of the Empire State Building, without Sam’s knowledge.  Does it happen?  Watch the movie and find out!

Hope Floats

Hope Floats

Hope Floats debuted in 1998.  The film opener is like Ricki Lake and Jerry Springer had a talk show baby. Birdie, played by Sandra Bullock, has been invited by her best friend to guest on a tv talk show where she is misled into believing that the topic is about friendship.  Instead, in front of millions of tv viewers, Birdie is devastated by her friend’s admission that she is having an affair with Birdie’s husband.  Crest-fallen, Birdie drives their young daughter Berniece to Birdie’s home town of Smithfield, Texas and the pair move in with Birdie’s mother to start a new life. 

A former pageant winner and school queen bee, Birdie is not welcomed back to her hometown with open arms.  In fact, many of her former classmates relish the fact that she has been knocked off of her pedestal.  This makes getting a job and starting a new life difficult.  With the guidance and motivation of her meddlesome mother, Birdie is able to start a life with an old love interest, Justin Matisse.  How does Birdie handle the death of her mother and the prospect of creating a blended family?  Find out by watching the movie!  It has heart.

Major Themes in Sleepless in Seattle & Hope Floats


Both films start with the main characters experiencing life-changing loss.  Both Sam and Birdie are faced with starting a new life in a new town with their children and what a new life looks like without major loved ones who have meant so much to their past.


Sleepless in Seattle does not have divorce as a theme but it is the catalyst for Hope Floats.  Birdie has to start back at square one when she decides to live a life separate from the one that she and her one-time high school quarterback husband had created. She is forced to find work and make ends meet.  She has to become vulnerable to open herself to a new relationship.

Dating After the End of a Marriage

Sam contemplates finding someone new to share his life with after the death of his wife in Sleepless in Seattle.  Birdie, at the manipulations of her mother, is thrown together with Justin Matisse, and to her chagrin, falls for him.  Both movies show the awkwardness of getting back on the dating scene after couples have been in the comforts of years for marriage.

Blended Families

Both Sleepless in Seattle and Hope Floats have the theme of blended families.  Sleepless in Seattle is more of an implied theme as we do not see what happens to Sam, Annie and Jonah. The idea of a blended family is a “what-if question.”

In Hope Floats, however, there is a strong theme of blending family, as Birdie takes in her nephew who was been cared for by her mother after she dies.

Post-Viewing Questions

After you and your significant other watch the movie together, ask each other these questions:

Which relationship do you identify with most?  How?

What’s been the theme/s in your relationships?

What do you think will happen to the couples after the movie?

What did each individual need to do to make the relationship work?

093 Date Night Movies – Part #1


Date Night Movie Series

Do you long for deeper conversations with your spouse? Do you see patterns in your relationship but have a hard time articulating them? In this three part series “Date Night Movies”, Laura and Vincent discuss good romantic movies that have strong relationship themes.

The goal is that your spouse and you watch these movies together and afterwards it spawns discussions about your own relationship. At the bottom of these notes are the questions for discussion.

In this first episode, our two movies are The Long Hot Summer and Sense & Sensibility.


The Long Hot Summer

The Long Hot Summer

Mysterious newcomer Ben Quick (Paul Newman) wants to earn the respect of the insufferable town monopolist Will Varner (Orson Welles).  Ben’s family’s reputation as “barn burners” follows him and complicates his new employment with Will along with his affections towards Will’s daughter Clara (Joanne Woodward.) 

Ben tries to rise above his past and being connected to the Varners can make it happen.  Does love triumph over family history?  Watch and find out!

Sense & Sensibility

Sense & Sensibility

Can a relationship make it on love alone in early 19th century England? In this movie we find Elinor Dashwood (Emma Thompson) forced to find a way for her aged mother and her two younger sisters to survive after the death of her father.  Because of old English law, she stands to inherit none of his estate, while her greedy brother and his wife do. This uproots Elinor, her mother, and two younger sisters, forcing them to move from a comfortable life to a much more impoverished one. 

Along the way, Elinor falls in love with Edward (Hugh Grant) who chooses a simplistic, rural life.  Meanwhile, her sister Marianne (Kate Winslet) is drawn towards shallow, yet dashing Willoughby (Greg Wise); ignoring the steadfast pursuit of faithful Colonel Brandon (Alan Rickman).

Who do the Dashwood women choose?  Do they choose love or stability?  Don’t miss this wonderful film!

Major Themes In Long, Hot Summer & Sense and Sensibility


Both films hinge on very specific cultural precepts. Long, Hot Summer, a movie based on the works of William Faulkner, is set in Mississippi in the 1950s. It focuses on the wealthy Varner family.

Will Varner has worked hard for his wealth. Ben Quick comes from a poorer and even criminal family. Ben wants to impress Will Varner who basically owns the town with his strong work ethic.  He wants to live beyond his label of coming from a “bad family.”

The Sense and Sensibility movie is based on the book of the same name by Jane Austen.  As with her other works, Austen encourages the reader to consider what women faced in the nineteenth century—namely having love and/or being able to survive in a paternalistic society.

The women feel defined by their status in society. The Dashwood women long for love, and for Marianne it’s romantic and sweeping, but for Elinor the oldest sister the burden of making sure the other women in the family are cared for weighs heavily in her decisions as to love.

Young Love

The Varners in Long, Hot Summer have some tricky love lives!  Will, a widower, has someone interested in him, but he’s so distracted by his work and family that he has shelved his feelings for Minnie (Angela Lansbury). 

Will’s son, Jody is incompetent and hardly the kind of son he wants to pass along his legacy. He is head-over-heals in love with his carefree wife Eula (Lee Remick).  She is attractive and more interested in playing and flouncing about in her posh digs.

Will’s daughter, Clara, has more altruistic pursuits as a teacher. She has been in a ho-hum six year relationship with Alan, a sickly mama’s boy. When Ben Quick attempts to catch her eye, he has to earn her respect.

In Sense and Sensibility we see how Elinor tempers her decisions on love based on how her family can survive. Marianne, on the other hand, finds passion and love to be her main guides, which drives her to more impulsive decisions.

Difficult Family

Long, Hot Summer has strong family dynamics.  Will Varner is bigger than life, and his family, all grown adults live under his shadow.  His is a story of a man with a strong business ethic whose children choose a different path and lifestyle. His son, Jody, has been enabled to have a carefree lifestyle that suits his almost gold-digger type wife just fine. Will Varner has a mess on his hands if he plans on passing his family legacy down to Jody. 

Enter Ben Quick, a man with negative reputation, who is trying to earn good graces to become a part of the business and a part of the family. Clara has to decide whether to make the “safe” choice with boring, weak Alan who has her family’s approval, or Ben who is scrappy and comes with baggage. 

In Sense and Sensibility, the first scene opener introduces us to the conflict in the Dashwood family. The death of Mr. Dashwood cuts off the female Dashwoods from their livelihoods. Rising above their circumstances, the female Dashwoods have to navigate a tenuous relationship with the eldest surviving male Dashwood, while trying to fend for themselves.

To complicate matters, Elinor falls in love with her sister-in-law’s brother.  Although her sister-in-law is difficult and miserly, her brother Edward has simple and noble intentions.

Both families in these movies have to come to terms with the love interests that come into the lives of the adult children, with interesting results.  How did your family accept your relationship with your significant other?

Post-Viewing Questions

After you and your significant other watch the movie together, ask each other these questions:

Which relationship do you identify with most?  How?

What’s been the theme/s in your relationships?

What do you think will happen to the couples after the movie?

What did each individual need to do to make the relationship work?

How To Support Your Grieving Spouse


“How To Support Your Spouse…” series

Welcome to the last episode of our eight part series “How To Support a Spouse With…”! The Relationship Helpers are glad you have joined us today.  Today we learn about what we can do as spouses when our significant other has experienced loss. 

Leading up to this episode, we have looked at how to help a spouse who has been traumatized, has anxiety, has depression, has a substance abuse addiction, has anger issues, comes from a toxic family, or has a non-drug addiction.  Be sure to check these episodes out if you need some ideas to support your spouse through difficult times. 

Today’s episode may apply to you more than you think.  Often we consider grief and loss a time when someone has experienced a death in the family, but that is not always the source of grief. Sometimes it is the loss of a job, a dream, or a disappointment in an unmet expectation. With a broadened scope of what grief and loss look like, let’s take a look at how you can support your spouse during this painful time. 

Grief & Time

Grieving has no timeline.

There is no timeline for grief.  The length of time to grieve is different for different people.  A couple may be experiencing the same loss, but take different amounts of time to heal. Have patience with your spouse during this difficult time.  Just because you feel you have grieved and are done grieving doesn’t mean that they should be done grieving too. 

Don’t assume that once someone is back at work or back at school that they have “moved on.” Just because the person is back to their normal, everyday responsibilities does not mean that they have overcome the grieving process or that they don’t need your support.  It just means they are trying to get back to their obligations. They very well could be ignoring their emotions just to get through the day. 

Don’t Say or Imply That They Are Crazy

There is an assumption that people should be functioning at their pre-loss level when they are back at work or school. It may be hard for you, as the supporting spouse, to understand how much this person or thing that was lost meant to your spouse. Bear that in mind as you interact with them. 

Sometimes, “unfinished business” is part of the grieving process.

Sometimes “unfinished business” is the cause of pain during the grieving period.  If conflict was left unresolved or if some sort of closure was not experienced, then the grieving spouse may be struggling with the fact that the loss happened without an opportunity to try to improve their relationship with the deceased. 

Vincent describes how often men identify with their jobs and how when a man loses his job, he can be sent into a grieving process.  He did not know how much he identified with the job, and it can be hard for his spouse to understand that. This requires the supporting spouse to “put on their empathy hat”.  Rather than treating him like he is odd for behaving this way, try to understand what this job loss means to him. 

Be Aware of Their Triggers

Someone who has lost may be particularly sensitive to things they see, hear, touch, smell or taste that reminds them of who or what they lost. These are called triggers. For a man who lost his mechanic job, it may be something like the smell of oil.  Don’t forget how powerful our senses can be. 

Certain smells may be triggers.

You can probably pretty easily remember certain smells from your childhood.  If you’re able to think of these smells this easily, just think how easy it is to be triggered by your senses while grieving. Our brains make all sorts of associations, positive or negative, so don’t forget this when your spouse is grieving. 

Laura mentions how going to the grocery store was difficult for her after her miscarriages because she would see pregnant women or the baby aisle. She also would find it difficult to see dates on packaging or on checks because it would remind her of due dates that were not going to happen. So even numbers can be triggering.  Be sure to check out our episode on Triggers  or Pregnancy Loss for more information on these topics. 

Find Ways to Celebrate Who They Lost

Do an activity that the lost loved one used to enjoy or plant a tree in honor of that person.  Some people take their loved one’s clothes and sew them into pillows or quilts.  Creating a memorial fund or scholarship in honor of their loved one can be a positive way to memorialize a loved one.

Doing something good for others is a great way to memorialize a loved one.

Doing something for the good of others in that person’s name continues that person’s legacy and helps to keep their memories alive. This helps to communicate the impression that person had on their life and the difference they made to them. 

Don’t forget humor.  It may be healing to participate in an activity that the deceased enjoyed. 

Be On The Lookout for Depression & Isolation Behaviors 

Be on the lookout for isolation behavior.

Being alone during a difficult time allows someone to collect and process their thoughts, BUT too much time spent in isolation can be unhealthy. Reclusive behaviors and sleeping a lot can be signs that depression has set in and needs to be addressed. 

If you suspect your spouse may be experiencing depression, you may want to listen to the following episodes “How to Support a Spouse With Depression” and “How Discouragement Leads to Depression”.  

The inability to function during daily routines, weight loss or gain, difficulty sleeping, and having difficulty with responsibilities all could be signs that depression has set in. 

Allow Them To Talk About It & Don’t Shut Them Down 

It’s important for your spouse to talk about the sad and happy memories.   They need to be able to share with others so that they are able to work through their feelings.  As mentioned before, loss is not necessarily the result of death, but could be the loss of a job, a friendship, or even maybe a church home. Be open to the possibility that your spouse could be grieving due to significant changes in his or her life.  

It’s important to get your spouse talking about it.

Divorce is an incredible loss.  The divorce process has a lot of similarities to the grieving process. 

Health scares can also be a type of loss. If your loved one was an active person and has lost mobility, that can be life-changing.  A cancer or disease diagnosis can mean having to change how they go about day-to-day activities. 

Getting your loved one to talk helps them to acknowledge how important whatever or whomever they lost meant to them and helps them to process the grief. 

Allowing your loved one to talk about their loss will help prevent them from “stuffing their feelings” as well as prevent them from living in denial. Both of these coping mechanisms allows negative thinking and feelings to fester. This requires you to be empathetic. You must “sit” with their grief. Instead of minimizing their feelings, dig deeper.  Allow them to explore how they felt about the person or thing they lost. Help recognize and validate their pain. 

Understand That You May Be In A Different Place In The Grieving Process

Elizabeth Kubler Ross is known for the Five Stages of Grief Model. It is not a fluid model. People can fluctuate between stages. 


The first stage is denial.  Often this is a state of or reaction of shock. This person may not be showing emotion, yet. 


Anger is the second stage. Examples could include, “If the doctor had not done this, my loved one wouldn’t have died,” or if “(my loved one) would have eaten healthier, driven more safely, taken better care of himself, etc. they wouldn’t have died.” 

Anger could be towards the person who died, towards a person at the scene of the death, towards themselves, or anger at God. Survivor’s guilt could be figuring into their anger, too. 


Bargaining is the third stage. It could sound like “If I do this, you do that…” It’s often directed towards God. Examples could be, “I’ll go to church every Sunday if you…”or I’ll read my Bible or pray every day if….”  or “I’ll do this with my family if you’ll…” etc.  


The fourth stage is depression.  This is where the person actually grieves. This is when a person cries. Our bodies are amazing vessels. We are designed to hold so much, but at some point, we have to spill out. Crying is a healthy release.  Holding back keeps us stuck.  We’re not able to work through the loss. 


Some sort of reconciliation has occurred. The person has moved past anger, has physically and emotionally grieved their loss and is allowing what they have learned through the grieving process to positively impact their life. 

This may mean that they have stopped looking for answers. They no longer question or challenge why the loss occurred.

Connect Them With Support Outside of Yourself

Your spouse may need more help than you can give.  In fact, being married does not mean that spouses should be each other’s only support. That’s too heavy a burden to bear. 

A support group like GriefShare can help your spouse to work through and understand their grief.

GriefShare can be a helpful lay support group that gives reciprocal support. You can find GriefShare at your local church. 

Laura notes that therapy can be particularly important for people who experienced a loss years ago that never was processed. As therapists we often find that people bury their grief and it comes out in unhealthy ways later. One example of this may be years after the death of a parent. An adult may find themselves triggered when they start their own family and certain milestones or events bring memories to the surface of their lost parent. 

A therapist can help those who have lost process grief. They can help individuals overcome the “should of beens” and unmet expectations that have kept them stuck. 

091 Marriage: How To Support Your Spouse With Non-drug Addictions


“How To Support Your Spouse…” series

Welcome to Relationship Helpers!  Therapists Vincent and Laura thank you for listening to their series “How To Support A Spouse With…”.  This is the seventh part of an eight part series where they delve into mental health and relational issues that create tension in marriages. 

Today they introduce the topic of helping a spouse through a non-drug related addiction. (If you are in a relationship with someone who is an alcoholic or struggling with substance abuse, be sure to check out episode 088, “How To Support a Spouse Struggling With Alcoholism.”)

Gambling, workaholism, shopping, food, exercise, sex, all can be addictions, but fall into more “socially acceptable” addictions or are not as publicly acknowledged as alcoholism and substance abuse. 

Acknowledge The Problem

Often we minimize people’s behavior with, “Oh, that’s just what they do.”  We are not looking at these behaviors as a problem. We don’t examine how it’s effecting relationships.  

Activities such as over-shopping and over-exercising can put strains on relationships and negatively impact the functioning of families. As said before, however, they are more socially-acceptable and often go without being confronted. 

If you suspect your spouse has crossed into the realm of an addiction, your approach must be done gently but firmly.  You may begin by keeping documentation of what you are seeing.  You may record how many times someone did something and how it affected that day. 

The purpose of this documentation is not to tell them every time you enter something in your record but to help you see that it is actually a problem.  Once you’ve established for yourself that this is a problem, THEN you can present your concerns to them.  Do not use your record keeping as some sort of tally.  We are only suggesting that this record be used to solve whether whether your spouse really has a problem.

Shopaholic Example

An example would be that you notice your bank account low and decide to see what purchases are depleting your account.  You may notice that your spouse is going to Target regularly and decide to record how often they go. 

There’s a difference between over-shopping once in a blue moon versus on a regular basis, unless these rare shopping experiences involve very expensive purchases.  It’s important to look at routines and what that person is responsible for.  If their behaviors are negatively impacting what and who they are responsible for, they very well could have a problem. 

Sex Addiction Example

With sex addiction, there are varying levels of addiction. (All are harmful to a degree.)  Your lower levels are free pornography and masturbation, and your higher levels include paying for pornography, and higher still, having affairs, soliciting prostitutes and swinging.

When you examine the amount of time that is spent seeking out this material and these activities, it will help you see that it is a problem. The family and the marriage is neglected by these behaviors. 

Discussing The Problem And Ways To Work On It With Your Spouse

This must be a calm conversation.  Aggression will only make the situation worse. Don’t misunderstand, this is confrontation.  It is helpful to approach this conversation with much prayer and possibly even writing things down beforehand so you can stay on track.  

In the midst of your conversation, take notes. Collaborate. Write it out so both of you can see what needs to be done.  Communication will be much more clear if you both see it spelled out in front of you. It leaves less room for interpretation. 

Ultimatums and Boundaries

We also have to consider denial.  Ultimatums are often used in situations where a spouse refuses to work on their problems.  Issuing an ultimatum provides the hurting spouse healthier boundaries and serves to protect them from the unhealthy behavior of the addict. 

In the example of over-shopping, keeping a tally of their spending and determining some healthy ways to overcome it.  If they do not stop, you will have to come up with consequences such as separating bank accounts and separating bill paying so that they are solely responsible for their actions.  Requiring them to get help is a great ultimatum. 

If over-eating is a problem, you make them aware that you are no longer enabling their addiction by buying them the food. Then you stop buying their food with your money. 

Talking to a Workaholic

If workaholism is the issue, having a conversation about protecting family time is important.  Discussing when you can have a family vacation, discussing the value of family mealtimes spent together, and having a conversation with your boss about how you can accomplish these  necessities is important. 

Workaholics often do not want to sit quietly with their thoughts. When they have to spend time with their family, it can create conflict.  Workaholics often do not come to therapy because they won’t take the time off of their schedule for it. 

Addictions often are behaviors used to cover a void.  As Christian we call the void the “God-shaped hole.” Relationship gets substituted by unhealthy behaviors. 

Have A Healthy Lifestyle Yourself

You’ve acknowledged your spouse has a problem, it will be important for you to take care of your well-being. Having healthy eating habits and exercise will be helpful. Making efforts to care for your body will help you as you support your spouse through their difficult time. 

It will be up to you to put boundaries in place.  This means you may have to say “no” to a promotion at work if that promotion takes you away from home when you are needed at home. 

Enacting healthy spiritual disciplines such as a quiet time will be helpful for you to stay in communication with God.  Set aside a time everyday when you can go before God, read scripture, meditate on His word and pray.

Learning scripture and praise songs writes positive words on your heart and focuses your mind on the positive during these trying times with your spouse. 

Arrow Prayers

Vincent discusses “arrow prayers”.  These are prayers much like Nehemiah made before he would go meet with the king. These are quick, eyes open prayers that are focusing our minds on God in the midst of a difficult discussion or time.

Imagine these arrow prayers as “shooting up a prayer to God” while in the midst of your daily activities.  This is prayer during the trial, rather than finally sitting down to pray about it. 

Lastly, the spiritual discipline of praising God is important.  It keeps your mind on what is good and positive and keeps your focus on how God provides. 

Seek Help

You may have made an ultimatum that your spouse needs to seek help.  It is not only beneficial for them to have the support of a therapist, but it can be for you, as well.  A therapist will help you learn how to cope with your spouses issues and keep you accountable with your boundaries. 

A therapist will help you navigate some of the things we have discussed earlier, such as coming up with boundaries and communicating them to your spouse.  Your therapist can help you come up with ultimatums and consequences.  They can be your guide as you make decisions on what your marriage needs for recovery. 

Support Groups

Support groups are a wonderful way to receive encouragement and accountability, as well.  Many people shy from groups, but they are allowing fear to be their guide.  Groups force you out of your comfort zone and help you tackle your issues in a supportive environment.

Learn what groups are in your area.  Find groups for family or spouses of addicts.  Support groups are not only for addicts. Celebrate Recovery is an excellent resource for addicts and their loved ones.  

If you are a spouse of an addict, there is a strong chance that you are enabling their behavior.  Help from a therapist and support group can help you see how you may be enabling and what you can do to overcome it. 


Today’s episode serves as an umbrella for different types of “miscellaneous” addictions.  We hope that it has enlightened you to the possibility of addictions outside of the more well-known ones and provided you with direction as to how to seek help.

As Christian therapists, we see the importance of seeking out counsel that is spiritually-based.  Word-of-mouth referrals from those you trust can be helpful, but seeking out a therapist who is well vetted and a part of the American Association of Christian Counselors will provide you with healthy guidance.

Don’t make a quick call from the yellow pages. Research your potential therapists.  Read their articles, read what they have to say. Don’t blindly enter into therapy.