Posts Tagged ‘marriage’

Relationships: True Intimacy

May 1, 2009

True intimacy is achieved when you feel safe enough to be emotionally naked with your partner.  You know your partner will not try to talk you out of your authentic feelings, will not say you’re “over-reacting”,  will not try to fix it, and will not ignore you. You know you will be supported and validated no matter what you’re feeling and sharing, verbally or otherwise.  You know you will receive empathy.This is love, pure and simple…

My Son is Engaged!

November 15, 2008

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Photo copyright Jupiter Images 2008.


He officially proposed yesterday, after he took Mom and his sister ring shopping with him. I am so happy he has found a girl who really loves him, and better yet, laughs at all his jokes. (This is very important to a guy like my son) .

What a creative proposal he came up with. He pulled over to the side of the road – a rainy night – and told her he thought they had a flat tire. She totally disagreed with him that it felt like they had a flat.  He pretended to find one in the rear, and got her to come out and look at it, obviously acting all annoyed at the situation. When she got out of the car he was on his knee, in the rain and mud, with the ring box in his hand!

This is the first girl who he has seemed truly happy with, which of course makes his mom so happy (he’s 33 for goodness sake!). She’s shy, lovely, and this is not her original country. She was born in Ecuador, which is very cool. 

Well, that’s my announcement for the day 🙂 Other that when it rains it pours…my daughter just got married on Sept. 19th!

Couples Clue Phone #4

March 11, 2008

Marriage or a committed relationship is not about “what am I going to get from my partner”. Rather, its about mutual stretching into “what can I do to fulfill my partner’s needs?” Its about mutual giving, not getting. The more you give, the more you get…. But I stress the word mutual. Otherwise its just a whole codependent thing going on, which ultimately brings happiness to no one.

This is the philosophy of Imago Therapy. If you haven’t read about it, you can google Imago Relationship Institute or buy “Getting the Love You Want” by Harville Hendrix. I highly recommend it as a Certified Imago Therapist.

Sarcasm is NOT ok

January 10, 2008

This is a problem behavior for many couples who come to see me. Sometimes they readily identify that they’re communicating with sarcasm. Sometimes I identify it and call them out on it. They’ll say “Hey, that’s just the way I am.” Or, “My whole family talks this way, its just a joking thing, nothing serious.” Well no. Actually it is serious. Sarcasm is communication with a bite. And bites hurt.

Sarcasm is not a personlity trait. It is learned behavior. Sarcasm often brings laughter to a group, at the expense of one group member…whoever was unfortunate enough to be in the sarcastic person’s line of fire.  But, group dynamics being what they are,   the sarcastic person is often the life of the party. This of course only reinforces the behavior and that’s understandable. But its still not ok. Sarcasm is communication with a bite. And bites hurt.

For anyone who thinks I’m making a big deal out of nothing, that’s probably the sarcastic person thinking it. So let me ask you this: Has anyone ever been sarcastic to you?  Either on a routine basis or in a group? Try to remember how it felt to be at the other end of the sarcasm. Probably not very good. Probably awful.  So do you think your sarcasm helps or hurts your personal relationships and the people that you love?

Sarcasm is communication with a bite. And bites hurt.

More on My Alpha Male

December 24, 2007

An alpha male recognizes a problem even before it actualizes, and prepares for it. After all, that’s what leaders do, don’t they? So because I am unwell this holiday season, he single handedly has the whole Christmas feast planned and ready to go. This silver star recipient, who has countless medals for his valor and heroism in combat, is at this moment simmering his homemade cranberry sauce, layering his home made lasagne,  and roasting two turkeys for our 14 guests tomorrow. I am so so blessed to have him.

My Christmas wish to all of you is that you not only receive blessings and good health, but also recognize the ones you have…and remember to thank the people who are the blessings in your life.

Do You Love an Alpha Male?

December 21, 2007

I posted a love note mine sent me…would you be willing to tell us what you love about yours?

Single & Happy? Imago: YouTube

December 15, 2007

So view this, if you will, and tell me…what do you think?

Interracial Marriage – YouTube

December 14, 2007

I found some of these student interviews to be disappointing...but then again, what else was I expecting in today's world?  Anyone else have the same reaction?

How Ear Plugs Saved My Marriage

December 10, 2007

I do NOT snore. Women don’t snore. It isn’t feminine. Its embarrassing to be told the whole house shakes like  its been hit by a mack truck when you sleep.

So I’ve insisted he is delusional, despite the fact that my husband’s morning smile  has morphed over time from a frown, to a snarl, to a downright nasty growl. The kind, protective war hero I’d married had been making me feel like it was every man for himself. He’d been threatening to sleep in the other room which neither of us wants since we are both cuddlers.  We’ve always said that if our marriage ever got to that sorry state of affairs we might as well split. I was kind of, sort of worried…not really…

But finally I noticed, over time, that his acting out behavior had stopped. His disposition was better in the morning. The smile was back.  Today I went into his night stand looking for something and came across  foam ear plugs.  He never said a word to further assault my dignity now that a solution had been found. And neither will I.

My hero is back.

How to Ruin a Perfectly Good Relationship

December 4, 2007

Several years ago Pat Love Ed.D. and Sunny Shulkin Ph.D., two Imago trainers and therapists, published a book titled How to Ruin a Perfectly Good RelationshipBelow is part of their list of some behaviors they identify which can, indeed, ruin a relationship:

  • Control everything and everyone
  • Never take the blame yourself; instead, make your partner wrong
  • Make it a habit to spend more money than you have
  • Win every fight, even the ones you couldn’t care less about
  • Keep score
  • Use threat often
  • Find your partner’s weak spot and use it against him/her
  • When your partner tries to please you, find fault with their efforts
  • Hold fast to the belief: “If you loved me you would know what I want”
  • Demand your partner remain faithful but refuse to meet his or her sexual needs
  • Use silence as a weapon
  • Pretend that you don’t hear
  • When your partner tries to apologize, bring up more complaints
  • Refuse to give information
  • When you realize you haven’t given your partner some important info, insist that you did
  • Claim to be the only one interested in the relationship
  • Never ask for help
  • Confide only in friends
  • Take it personally when your partner wants time alone
  • Discount your partner’s physical complaints
  • Give advice where it isn’t welcome
  • Never pick up after yourself
  • Refuse to seek help for your depression
  • Refuse to talk
  • Focus on changing your partner
  • Focus all your needs on sex
  • Take all problems as further proof that the relationship will not work
  • Put your friends before your partner
  • Keep romantic gestures to a minimum
  • Focus on your partner’s faults and deny your own
  • Let days go by without a kind word or loving gesture
  • Practice verbal abuse
  • Do not listen to your partner’s ideas or suggestions
  • Ask your partner to share feelings and when s/he does, EXPLODE
  • Start conversations when your partner is busy, or better yet, exhausted
  • Let disagreements fester
  • Say what you think your partner wants to hear, then do as you please

What do you think? Do you find yourself here?

Consumerism Christmas & Your Relationship

December 1, 2007

For most people, this is the time of year when you expect to  exchange pretty good gifts with  your  partner or spouse. Your Person. Usually its a materialistic gift of some kind. Whatever the budget can manage, stretched tenfold, is often the norm .

Because to be brutally honest in our materialistic society, the amount of cash  spent has come to mean just exactly the amount of significance the giver accords the receiver.  I’m not saying I agree with this, I’m just commenting on  what I see. So…if you give diamonds, and recieve a candy filled mug from the local drug store…well…you might need to take a look at that. 

Not that I’m against material gifts. Actually …well….I..um…..love….things….stuff…girlie goodies…so if Santa is reading this please do NOT steer that sleigh in a different direction!

But, along with last year’s New Year’s resolutions, we forget all about the living, breathing  entity between the couple popularly known as “the relationship”.  We forget to nurture it, protect it, feed it and give to it. We don’t give it the same effort as we do for the children in our lives.  So I would suggest to you, in view of this theme of consumerism Christmas, that you give the gift of  time to your relationship for Christmas. 

Down time, love time, massage time, attention time,  talk time, relax time, music time, candle time, cuddle time…

Because if “time is money” and “money talks”,  what exactly  are you saying?

Partners as Mind Readers ???

November 23, 2007

Well, I’m here to tell you that’s not going to  happen. Though it’s amazing how many people expect mindreading in a relationship. Particularly women. See, we women think we can read our partner’s minds, and can’t understand why its not reciprocated.

The good news is, obviously, that no one can read anyone’s mind. That’s not communicating, that’s  very wishful, and not very helpful, thinking.

Example of woman thinking she’s mindreading: Husband is watching tv.  Gorgeous, sexy female appears on screen. Wife mistakenly mindreads,aloud: “You’re thinking about how much prettier she is than me, aren’t you? You’re thinking you’d really like to have sex with her, admit it! If you COULD have one time out on our commitment, you’d be with her, wouldn’t you?”

 Now, the poor guy was really wondering if tonight is a green light with his wife  but now he doesn’t go for it because he is too busy denying her accusations.   She gets mad at him for “lying” to her, and now he doesn’t dare come on to her because he’s already insulted her  (he has no clue why) when really she wants him to mindread that she wants him to come on to her….. but has chosen a less than effective way of communicating this to him…

Better would be: Honey, I feel so insecure when I see those gorgeous women on tv. Do you still want me like you used to? I guarantee you’ll both get what you want with this straightforward approach!

Example of male mindreading: The man gets into bed and, figuring the bed is a mating mat even though he’s been advised hundreds of time to the contrary, mindreads that she really wants him tonight and is just too shy to come right out and say it (see above). He jumps her bones and either gets shoved off or she plays dead through the whole thing (admit it, women: for spite).

Better: subtle communication works best here. Offer a back rub, or a foot rubScience Articles, and very slowly work your way to the desired destination. Give her some time to enjoy the relaxation and get in the mood. Minimal communication would be: does that feel good? Telling her why you love her or her specific physical attributes communicates that you still think she’s hot.

Don’t expect her to mindread how sexy you think she is. We never get tired of hearing it.

 

What is Normal Sexuality in Marriage?

November 19, 2007

What Is Normal Sexuality in Marriage?

Everyone wonders about this. Do our friends “do it” more often than we do? Does anyone else have this problem where one partner has high desire, and the other one has little to none? We must be really weird. Everyone wants sex, don’t they?

The answer is no. Not really. More than 40 million Americans feel stuck in low-sex or no sex marriages. Research studies tell us that 1 in 3 women and 1 in 7 men reported little to no sexual desire. Sometime in a marriage more than 50% of couples experience one or both partners with little to no sexual desire.

Desire problems are the most frequent complaint of couples entering sex therapy. They are also often the unspoken complaint of couples entering relationship therapy.

In our sex saturated culture, this particular difficulty has a stigma.  It’s ok to admit to having a drug problem or mood disorder. But a sexual problem? No way! We’re all supposed to be sexual superstars in our intimate relationships, aren’t we?

Actually, sexual anxieties, inhibitions, and problems are the norm. We’re afraid of not doing it “right”, like in movies and books. “Right” would be intercourse, with both parties craving each other all the time and having simultaneous orgasms every time they’re intimate.

Wrong! Healthy sexuality means giving and receiving touch that is pleasurable. It is not goal oriented, but process oriented. (The journey, not the destination.) It allows both partners to enjoy pleasure. It varies. Sometimes one or both has an orgasm. Sometimes not. And that’s ok. What’s not ok is not caring about yours or your partner’s needs.

There are many possible reasons for a discrepancy in desire between partners. The first is biological. As I mentioned in the statistics above, more than twice as many women than men have problems with sexual desire. This is because after the infatuation phase of the relationship, when hormones are running rampant, things settle down to natural biological rhythms. And biologically speaking, whoever has the most testosterone usually has the most desire.

Hmmm…. I wonder which gender that is!

Other reasons relevant to both genders are performance anxiety, emotional pain in the relationship, coerced intimacy, sex used as a bartering tool, lack of time, lack of energy, and fear of intimacy to name a few. These can be helped with an understanding therapist.

What you should do: first get complete medical exams to rule out any type of disease or medication causing the problem.

What you can do: see a relationship expert or sex therapist who can help you experience the pleasure and joy of intimate connection. You deserve no less.

Two Winners, No Losers This Morning

November 18, 2007

My husband gave me the perfect opportunity to practice what I preach. I’m taking a two day seminar in NYC which he drove me to yesterday. He’s a nice guy that way.  He loves to do things for me. This morning he had other plans for the day,  but had still planned on dropping me off again this morning and getting back on time to pick me up at 5:30.  No problem, I said. I can drive myself in. He of course jumped on this because what a pain in the neck to have to cut his day short, right?

Here’s where the therapist had to walk the talk. I asked him to just write down the directions for me. That’s all I asked. Write down the directions. He got all cranky about that and frankly, I didn’t like his tone while he wrote them down and read them out loud to me. I could have called him out on this. I could have gotten reactive.  But I stopped myself and thought, I wonder what’s going on for him that he’s acting this way?

Since this man is the love of my life, I’d say I know him pretty well.  I realized very quickly that he was angry because he felt bad that he wasn’t driving me in again.  He worries about me when I drive into the city. I might get lost, or hurt or something.  He was angry because he wanted to be protective…. because he loves me. And also because he feels like its his job, 24/7. Again, that’s just the kind of guy he is.  

So instead of challenging him per my impulse, I went over and gave him a big hug. I told him what I’d realized and asked if I was right. Boy was I! He laughed a LOT, delighted that I know him so well (we all love to be known, don’t we?). So a potential fight ended up in laughter and a hug.

The only thing is, I hope I don’t get lost.

Couples: Its Not About Who Wins

November 18, 2007

I see this so much in my office- couples wanting to re-hash a week old argument and wanting me to judge who’s right. Detail by detail they correct each other, exactly who said what, who did what first, as if each admitted detail is a score toward the finish line.

But nobody really gets anywhere because there are no winners in an argument between partners. If there’s a winner that means there’s a loser, which means the winner loses too. Losers don’t like winners very much. 

Relationships are not about opponents or gladiators. They’re about loving your lover.

When you love you give the gifts of empathy and the benefit of the doubt. You understand that your partner is probably feeling hurt beneath the anger. You try to understand and ask for help in understanding because you want to make it better.

When you are loved you receive the gifts of empathy and the benefit of the doubt. You feel understood and appreciate the empathy and efforts of your partner.

The more you are given, the more you receive. The more you receive, the more you want to give.

It becomes a lot easier than the win thing.