10172017

5 tips for creating connection from a couple who overcame addiction and affairs

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Instead of letting addiction and affairs end their marriage, Ashlynn and Coby Mitchell have found tools to help them keep their relationship alive and thriving. Now, as skilled life coaches, the Mitchells share their story to help others who are battling trauma and betrayal in their relationships.

Ashlynn and Coby Mitchell are a happy couple from Orem, Utah, but it wasn’t always that way. The Mitchells have suffered through the effects of Coby’s addiction to pornography, two affairs, and the molestation of their two daughters by a family member.

“We lived in the weeds for 14 years of our marriage,” Ashlynn says. “We felt alone when we were apart and when we were together.”

One day, a friend shared her own story of betrayal and recovery with the Mitchells.

“We realized we weren’t alone, that there was specialized help, and most importantly there was hope,” Ashlynn said.

Now, Ashlynn and Coby share their story to help others through their website, mentoring program, workshops, and weekly podcast.

We asked the Mitchells what has helped them stay connected in their marriage. Here are their five tips:

1. Schedule daily time together.

The Mitchells make each other a priority by scheduling one-on-one time each day. “It doesn’t have to be a lot of time,” Ashlynn says, “but at least 15 to 30 minutes. You can do simple things like go on a walk, work out, swing in a hammock, or sit by the fire.”

Put it into practice:

  • Set a reminder on both of your phones.
  • Tell everyone in the house it’s time just for you as a couple.
  • Put all electronic devices away.

2. Learn your spouse’s love language and deliver.

Find out how your spouse best receives love. “Don’t guess,” Ashlynn says. “Find out for each of you. Once you know your spouse’s love language, have them define some ideas of exactly how you can show your love. We aren’t mind-readers, right?”

Put it into practice:

  • Take this quiz.
  • Define how you want to be loved.
  • Show love daily in your spouse’s love language.

Ashlynn and Coby Mitchell live in Orem, Utah with their two daughters. (Photo courtesy of the Mitchells)

3. Hard stuff is best talked about on a walk and talk.

The Mitchells have found that while dealing with conflict isn’t easy, it’s made easier when you are side by side and moving forward.

Put it into practice:

  • Identify any current conflicts or recurring fights and get walking.
  • Put all electronic devices away.
  • Keep it simple. Up and down your street is fine.

4. Use the feeling wheel for emotional check-ins.

When someone asks you how your day was, your usual response is probably “good.” But the Mitchells say that identifying our emotions more specifically creates room for connection and honesty. “There are so many other emotions that can happen throughout one day that ‘good’ just doesn’t cover it,” Ashlynn says. “Emotions are not to be judged. They’re not good or bad — they just are what they are. No fixing necessary. This practice is solely about connecting through what we have felt.”

Put it into practice:

Using the wheel, identify 15 to 30 emotions you’ve felt that day. Remember, they can range from happy to sad. That’s normal and OK.

5. Connect at the lips every day.

The kiss can be tender or passionate, Ashlynn says. What matters is that you’re present and mindful. Instead of making it a checklist item, make it a moment of real connection.

Put it into practice:

If your love language is not physical touch, you may need to set a reminder or pick a place or time where the kiss happens. Maybe as your wake up, or are settling into bed for the night.

Short and sweet is totally fine. Just be present!

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