Every person seeks happiness. You hear it all the time. “I just want to be happy.” “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” This last phrase points out an important aspect, the pursuit of happiness. There is no guarantee that it can be obtained. One of the common things I see is people spending most every waking moment seeking happiness. As if it is something out there to be gained or discovered. Perhaps this is a major contributor to the status of society.
Watch television for more than five minutes and you will see this idea confirmed. If I can only get the car, house, boat, job, relationship, salary increase; then life will be complete. I will lack nothing, at least until the next can’t-do-without product is available for purchase. The average adult now has more than 4 different careers in their lifetime. My father-in-law had one job from the time he was a teenager until retirement. Forty-two years at the same job. That’s almost unheard of now. It seems our society is more into the thought that if this job won’t bring about happiness, the next one will. If this relationship doesn’t bring about happiness, then a relationship with him or her will. If life in this tax bracket isn’t satisfying, then the next bracket up will be. It’s the same story over and over. Something out there will complete my life. It will fill the void.
What if the key to happiness rests internally? What if happiness can be learned?
This starts with the idea that happiness is up to me. My perspective of things will influence the results. My expectations affect the outcome.
So what is it about my life that brings me happiness? If I change my outlook from happiness being something out there to it resting internally, ask this; what am I grateful for in my life? What are my successes or wins lately? When I focus too much on what else is out there, I neglect the things we currently possess. Going to the other extreme is also unhealthy. Spending too much time focusing on what used to be produces blurred vision about what is.
Focusing too much on the future or too much on the past, I will miss a lot of what is going on now. I think I have told every one of my clients at some point to slow down. We live life at a fast enough speed as it is. Sometimes speed only produces uncertainty. Did you realize that of all the species on the planet, humans are the only ones that when lost, speed up. All other animals will slow down or even sit down until they get their bearings before proceeding. Do you know where you really want to go? What is your vision for life?
If you have trouble answering the preceding questions, that’s where you should spend some time reflecting and searching. Take an inventory of your current life. What are the things that you enjoy? What are the things that drain you? Enjoy the things going on in life right now. Happiness can be learned, and it starts with what’s going on inside you now. Happiness is not something out there, its inside. Resting deep within your soul waiting to be tapped into. By slowing down and seeking what you really want, life will begin to be more aligned and then more full.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
We hear what we expect to hear, we see what we expect to see. Our expectation changes our experience. If we walk into a meeting and expect it to be a long, drawn out process rivaled only by a root canal or preparing your taxes, more than likely it will not disappoint. At that same meeting, another member of the crowd may come with a more open mind and willingness to learn and think it is the most enlightening time they have ever spent. So what’s the difference? This same rule applies to our relationships. Our expectation changes our experience.
So where does our main model for relationships and communication come from? You probably guessed it, our parents; who received their patterns from their parents and so on. How they did and do relationships has an impact upon our own. Like it or not. If you had an affectionate relationship modeled by your parents, you will most likely carry the model forward or go to the other extreme so as to try and break the cycle, either way the influence is there. If your parents were good communicators when it came to the sticky topics; money, discipline/parenting styles, intimacy, then you most likely can handle the tension most people try to avoid when it comes to talking about some of the tough things in life. If this information gets you down, don’t worry. You can change the pattern if you choose. When you understand some of the forces at work in your relationships and life, you attain the possibility of being able to have your past no longer dictate your future.
When you shed some light on this process in your relationships it’s easy to see why our important relationships are so much work. There are two family systems fighting to gain control of this newly formed system. Coupled with the idea that we see what we expect to see and hear what we expect to hear, no wonder there are times of conflict in this relationship. Surprisingly, there are many people I have worked with that are shocked at this fact. Apparently they have held on to the fairy tale version of relationships for too long. Maybe you have too. Movies and TV portray relationships as an alluring time of romance, love, laughter and joy. You know what I mean, “and they all lived…”
If you can complete that sentence, you have had that illusion as well.
Now back to the initial question, what did you expect? The onus rests on our own shoulders to make the most out of this life. If you expect things to be tough today, most likely they will be. If you expect your marriage to be rocky, it will. I am not advocating that you don’t examine reality honestly, but more often than not, what we expect out of things becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. By changing your focus or outlook on things, other aspects of life will begin to change as well. Problems in life are inevitable, struggling is optional. Improve your ability to improvise, adapt and overcome will allow you to take charge of your life and harness more energy for your day. Rather than spending a lot of time trying to change the wind in your life, adjust your sails.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Now I know you have been in this situation. You are involved in your daily tasks with your family or significant other and they say something in passing to you. While whatever they said was innocuous, your interpretation was anything but. So you storm out of the room or react with a verbal unleashing that would give any baseball coach in an argument with an umpire a run for his money. If the preceding hasn’t happened, maybe the following has. You are so deeply involved in your routine of life and work that when you come home after a long day, you simply co-exist with your spouse. You don’t even talk anymore. You’ve drifted apart and are living lives together under the same roof but miles apart.
A common belief regarding the cause of these examples is usually that the people involved are having trouble communicating. They would benefit from some communication training. Learning how to be assertive and use “I” messages properly. Nothing against these types of approaches, they are each good concepts to learn and incorporate within the right contexts. It is however my belief that within a committed relationship is not one of these contexts. Let me explain. As a foundation for this article, keep in mind that you cannot not communicate (pardon the double negative).
Everything we say; spoken and otherwise speaks volumes. Everything we don’t say speaks loudly as well. Research continues to confirm that around 93% of our communication resides in our body language and tone. How we say what we say speaks louder than what we say. The reverse is also true, how we say what we don’t say speaks louder than what we don’t say. I think I just confused myself. Maybe an example will bring about a little clarity. My wife comes in while I am watching a show on TV and begins a conversation (sorry if this is stereotypical). I now have a choice. I can turn off the show (or more likely hit pause on the Tivo) and respond to her invitation for a conversation. I can continue watching without saying a word. Or I can leave the show on and respond with the distraction of the show still in the background. She will react to whichever path I choose since she will read whatever I am saying by my reaction to her reaction and so forth. No wonder there are times when it seems communication is difficult.
The fact of the matter is, more often than not, communication problems are not the result of trouble understanding each other; it’s that we understand each other too well. In other words, the problem lies in me not liking what the other person is saying, and then reacting. When we react to the spike of emotion we get while interacting with another human, we often do so in an attempt to sooth ourselves.
Back to the previous example. If I do not pause the TV show and respond, or at the very least ask to have the conversation later, that can be interpreted as a threat to the status of our relationship. The message could be the show is more important than the conversation, and then the relationship, and then the family, and then the marriage, and ultimately then my wife. She may as well pack her bags and move out. I realize that is a bit overboard but it often starts that simply.
A majority of communication within a committed relationship in my opinion is covert. We are afraid to say what we really mean because we are afraid to take the “hit.” So we say it in code. We also interpret what we hear and see on our own without asking for clarity. Mainly because we may not want to know what the answer really is. We treat our significant other with kid gloves so as not to damage them. Incidentally, when exactly did I marry a person who is fragile? Why do I treat them as though they can’t handle what I truly think?
Conflict is not all bad. It is only through some conflict that value and rewards are increased. I hate to break it to you, but living a life that is more alive requires some work on your relationships, unless this life you envision is alone.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Have you ever wondered why there are times in life when it seems that you are simply coasting along? Throughout life, there are many tasks that must be undertaken in order to experience a life or relationship that is more alive. Granted there will be times when each of us may be bogged down with a particular event or stage in life (I have a 2 year old and a 3 month old in my house, needless to say, life right now is about them). Life has its natural ebbs and flows of emotion. But if you find yourself asking the preceding title question frequently, let me offer you some hope.
First, you are not alone. There are many, many people that have chosen to settle into their schedule driven life and have begun to believe that this is all there is for them and their loved ones. For many people, a routine life full of kid’s activities, homework, one week of family vacation per year, grocery lists, church meetings, carpool, etc. is enough for right now. What about later? When the kids are grown and out of the house (hopefully not boomeranging back). Have you planned that far in advance? Incidentally, did you know that the second most frequent period of relationships experiencing divorce is after the kids are out of the house? When you are forced to spend time with your spouse whom you may have avoided by “diving” into your kid’s life for all those years. You don’t have to wait that long (to change something, not get divorced).
Second, something can be done now that can begin the process of experiencing a life that is more fully alive. Experience a life full of passion, energy, love, adventure, and fun. It begins by asking yourself a series of simple questions: Would you want to be married to you? Would you want you as your father/mother? Would you want to work for you? Be friends with you? When we can honestly answer these questions, we have entered the beginnings of a life transforming process.
Far too often we want or expect those around us to change and accommodate us. We also may fall victim to the stagnating process of waiting for the other person to change before we respond. Let me explain by personalizing this. There have been times in my marriage when I have grown tired of the routine we have established of interacting, but I wait for my wife to do something different before I do. And to compound the issue, while I am waiting for her to read my mind, I get frustrated that she doesn’t respond fast enough or adequately to my unspoken expectations. Now I know how you may be responding to this; if she truly loved me and understood my needs, she should just know. If you are thinking this, you have fallen victim to the Hollywoodization of relationships. Just because you are in a marriage/committed relationship/close friendship/family does not mean that you cease to exist as an autonomous being. One with your own hopes and dreams and fantasies.
Having a life that is more fully alive, starts with you. By answering these questions honestly, you can begin to grow yourself into a better human. However, this does not come easily. This honest assessment of self and life is often accompanied by a spike in our levels of anxiety and discomfort. This is why we settle into the routine of life and don’t rock the boat. What I am proposing is that you have the willingness to stand up and address the things in your own life that get in the way of the life you want and in turn, take charge of your life and become more fully alive.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Imagine you’re 42 and in pretty good shape.
You exercise several times a week, eat okay, and outside of the occasional cold, are healthy.
You’ve been married for over 15 years, have a couple of kids, nice house, and a good job.
One morning you wake up to find that you can no longer move your right arm. Everything else in your body feels fine, you even have feeling in your arm, you just can’t move it.
What would you do?
If you’re like most people, you’d schedule an appointment with your family doctor as soon as possible. You may even immediately head to the Emergency Room. You also would probably be fine going to several visits with various specialists in order to find out what’s going on with your arm.
You’d sit through tests, scans, waiting rooms, and be willing to take whatever prescribed medication the doctor’s recommend. You’d be willing to go to physical therapy several times per week until your arm was working properly.
The point is, you’d be willing to do almost whatever it took to have your body working well.
Now, answer me this: What makes it so many people don’t treat their marriage the same way?
If you wake up one morning and discover a problem (or finally admit to a problem’s existence), would you seek out help right away or hope the problem simply goes away on its own?
It seems many people hope for the latter.
Don’t believe me?
Research continues to show that couples wait an average of 6 years after a problem has become a problem before seeking out professional help. That’s 6 YEARS!
Imagine if we treated our bodies the same.
Imagine if we said to ourselves, “Oh well, I really don’t use my right arm all that much. Perhaps it will begin working again soon. I’ll just wait and see. In the meantime, honey, can you cut up my dinner for me?”
Marital problems and struggles are common to us all.
But they don’t have to be the end of the relationship, and you definitely don’t have to go through them on your own.
Seek out a marriage and family therapist. This is your best option.
If you don’t want to do that, open up to a close friend. Preferably as a couple to another couple, or if it’s just you, share your troubles with a good friend of the same gender.
Life is so much better when shared with others. Including our struggles.
Most of the time, when you share a struggle with a friend, you find out that they’ve experienced it as well. Plus, you get the burden lifted off your own shoulders a little.
Thanks to the technology of today’s world, you can find help regardless of where you live.
One last point: being brutally honest with you.
Seeking out professional help or opening up to friends around you is a whole lot cheaper than divorce.
10 sessions with a therapist = $200-$650ish (depending on insurance)
Talking to a good friend = Free, unless you pay for dinner or the coffee
Divorce= $???????, but a whole lot more than all the above options combined.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
There are many events ripe for unearthing family dramas, often featuring a popular story line about competing loyalties. Though there are variations on the plot, the focus here will be on this dynamic as it plays out with men and boys and their mothers. Many men, caught up in powerful family dynamics from childhood, are plagued this time of year with having to choose between their mothers or their wives, as practical decisions regarding shared holiday time take on added meaning and consequences.
Holidays typically recreate old family dynamics as adult children reunite with parents, creating pressure from the original family system to replay the same patterns as before. This pressure invites conflict as new boundaries, competing with earlier ones, are tested and challenged. How the scene unfolds, and the outcome, depends on the level of differentiation achieved by the man from his mother, and the security of the boundaries he has established around his marriage and new family.
Loyalty binds are part of a common dysfunctional family dynamic which occurs when mothers use their sons to make up for previous loss, and lack of connection with -or anger at- their husbands. In such families, mothers often have a history of unresolved trauma, loss, or insecure attachments with their own mothers. This leads to a parallel and compensatory style of attachment with their sons, whereby instead of the mother tuning in to the child’s emotional states, the reverse occurs, requiring the child to adapt to the mother’s needs,
“Good enough mothering” involves a delicate dance of noticing and attuning to the child’s own rhythm, and adjusting one’s own rhythm to be in sync with the child’s need for closeness or distance, stimulation or retreat. Healthy attachment requires mothers to be secure enough to allow their children to safely differentiate from them without pulling them back in with the threat of anger, withdrawal, and/or guilt. Unresolved issues from the mother’s own childhood, particularly around separation and loss, can impede her capacity to allow the child’s needs and rhythms — not their own — to guide attachment.
As the child becomes an adult, a mother with this anxious, insecure attachment style may refuse to let go, secretly needing to remain the primary love attachment. This may not become apparent until her son finds a romantic love partner and devotes himself to her, allowing a competitor to enter the scene. The situation is then often enacted in full drama around family events and holidays when the mother’s explicit demands, and [unspoken] expectation of “loyalty” (e.g. exclusive love) from her son, conflicts with his role as a husband.
Jason’s mom required a possessive, symbiotic union with her son to guard against experiencing buried feelings of loss and abandonment. Losing her hold over Jason as he shifted his loyalties to his wife was the ultimate threat to her sense of security and control. When Jason married Kelley, the split he felt as a boy when he had to choose between his mom and dad – was recreated between his mother and his wife. This split became most apparent during their first holiday season together, when Jason’s mom made him feel guilty about how he divided his time, accusing him of abandoning her, and directing hate and blame towards Kelley
Jason’s parents divorced when he was a very young boy. Growing up, when he was at his dad’s, his mom called him frequently, asking him if he was ok – even when he was happy – and reassuring him that he had other people (her family) who loved him. She communicated to him in a variety of explicit and implicit ways her hurt and betrayal over his dad, which made Jason feel responsible for taking care of her.
Jason coped by developing a pattern of emotional detachment and blunting his feelings with both parents, so as not to let on that he was having too good a time with either. He experienced muted enjoyment with his dad in particular, often acting as if he were less excited than he was, especially when his mom phoned him, which was often. He felt particularly protective of his mom – the “abandoned one, ” often hiding the nature of his relationship with his dad, though it was secretly vital to him, and feeling guilty for leaving her alone. Jason’s father, in turn, took his son’s blunted reactions at face value, worrying that Jason did not like him or enjoy their time together, often pulling back in reaction or becoming angry.
Jason was in the dark about how he felt because both parents imposed their own feelings onto him. No one helped him understand what was happening or gave him a safe space to experience his own natural reactions, which went underground. Without help articulating their own and other’s states of mind through words and emotional resonance, children do not develop a “sense” of themselves. This self-awareness or inner wisdom is needed to guide us, allowing us to gauge what it happening in our relationships, and make decisions that are true to ourselves.
In place of authentic experience, Jason developed an adaptation to relationships in which he was detached and “other directed”. His reactions were driven by fear and dread of his mom’s unhappiness. When she was angry or hurt, through a process of “projective identification,” he took on her feelings as if they were his own, experiencing the weight of her depression, and the related feelings of guilt and badness she projected onto him.
Projective identification is an unconscious psychological process occurring in relationships whereby one person’s disowned feelings are put into the other. The recipient identifies with these projected feelings as if they were his own and both enter into a shared delusional cycle. In this case, Jason experienced his mom’s rageful accusations of abandonment as an emotional truth, feeling depressed, guilt-ridden and mad at himself for not looking out for her.
Using guilt, as Jason’s mom did, to control others in relationships disregards boundaries and disrespects the other person’s autonomy. This approach to relationships replaces mutuality and negotiation with greed and emotional blackmail, presuming a lack of faith that others would give of their own free will. It is typically an unconscious process whereby the guilt-tripper feels self-righteous, entitled, and innocent of any misdeed. Emotional manipulation through guilt can be costly – breeding resentment, limiting authentic engagement, and hijacking initiative and genuine desire.
In cases such as Jason’s, the lack of differentiation between mother and son is so complete and unconscious that the man may be unaware of the source of his resentment, easily displacing it onto his wife, usually a safer target than mother. This pattern leads to unintended collusion with the mother, causing the marriage to become divided until the man “owns” his unexpressed conflict with his mom, and recognizes that she is the source of his anger. An absence of anger towards his mother, or the inability to come forward with it is likely a sign of re-experiencing a once adaptive, but now instinctual, response to danger experienced as a child for any such emotional separation from mother.
Jason needs to see what is really happening in order to disentangle himself from his mother’s projections and find a space to think and feel for himself. Awareness of his internal conflict and anger over the emotional burden and manipulation he has had to bear will allow him the courage to set limits with his mom. Standing up to his mom will reduce his fear and avoidance, creating a space for him to act of his own volition and desire and choose his wife as his primary loyalty and partner in life.
Tips for the woman:
• Stay aligned with your husband
• Communicate feelings and requests clearly, without anger, or acting out
• Don’t demonize or bad-mouth his momRead Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Looking information for what usually ask during premarital counseling questions? Here is exactly what you need to know. If уоu аrе trуіng tо mаkе а decision аbоut trуіng premarital counseling, уоu mау bе wondering whаt tо expect. Pеrhарѕ you’re excited аbоut working оn potential problems bеfоrе thеу bесоmе major problems іn уоur relationship. Or mауbе уоu оwn parents gоt divorced аnd уоu wаnt tо dо еvеrуthіng уоu саn tо prevent thіѕ frоm happening tо you. Pеrhарѕ premarital counseling іѕ required іn уоur state. Or mауbе уоu аrе јuѕt а savvy couple whо wаntѕ tо gо іntо thіѕ whоlе marriage thіng wіth уоur eyes open. Whаtеvеr thе reason, it’s rеаllу good thаt уоu аrе соnѕіdеrіng it. Althоugh I mау bе preaching tо thе choir here, it’s important tо knоw thаt research shows thаt аnу type оf premarital counseling helps minimize thе risk оf divorce.
Yоu mау аlѕо bе wondering whаt tо expect іn premarital counseling questions. Whаt kind оf questions wіll соmе up? Wіll thе experience bе anxiety-provoking? Embarrassing? Tоо intrusive? Well, thе good news іѕ thаt mоѕt premarital counseling focuses оn education аnd skill-building. Mоѕt counselors don’t rеаllу focus оn deep, dark secrets оr rеаllу wаnt tо gеt caught uр іn analyzing уоur personality. Mоѕt premarital counseling sessions аѕk questions related tо thе fоllоwіng broad topics:
Does Premarital Counseling Really Work?
Thе premarital counselor thаt уоu choose wіll аlmоѕt аlwауѕ wаnt tо knоw аbоut hоw уоu bоth communicate. Nоt оnlу wіll thе therapist аѕk уоu questions аbоut typical communication patterns, but thеу wіll wаnt tо knоw hоw уоu bоth communicate іn оthеr settings аѕ wеll (e.g. аt work, wіth уоu families, etc). Thе counselor wіll аlѕо assess hоw уоu bоth communicate іn thе session аnd wіll рrоbаblу mаkе recommendations fоr improving ways thаt уоu communicate. Aѕ уоu саn imagine, communication difficulties аrе ѕоmе оf thе mоѕt common issues thаt married couples face. So, hореfullу thе premarital counseling questions thаt thе therapist wіll аѕk аnd thе suggestions thаt thеу give wіll hеlр уоu improve thе wау уоu communicate wіth еасh other. Thеѕе skills wіll hореfullу hеlр уоu talk аbоut touchy subjects аnd аlѕо respect еасh other’s style оf communicating (if уоu hаvе differences іn thіѕ area).
2. Conflicts аnd Conflict Resolution
Yоu саn аlѕо expect tо bе asked аbоut questions related tо hоw уоu manage conflicts аѕ а couple. Whеn уоu hаvе conflicts, dоеѕ оnе person tend tо withdraw? Dоеѕ оnе person tend tо attack? Dоеѕ оnе person tend tо gеt super rational, whіlе thе оthеr gеtѕ emotional? Whаt аbоut making up… Hоw dоеѕ іt happen? Whеn dоеѕ іt uѕuаllу happen? Thеѕе аrе јuѕt ѕоmе оf thе premarital counseling questions and discussions thаt уоu аrе lіkеlу tо hаvе іn premarital counseling. So, hopefully, durіng thіѕ time уоu саn explore hоw уоu typically manage conflicts аnd learn nеw ways оf resolving (or nоt resolving!) fights.
3. Financial Values
Good premarital counseling wіll аlѕо delve іntо уоur financial goals аnd values, bоth individually аnd аѕ а couple. Thеrе аrе lots оf important questions tо explore hеrе including questions related tо thе financial history оf еасh member, financial goals, thе impact оf financial goals оn career decisions аnd family responsibilities, etc. Unfortunately, а lot оf premarital counseling glosses оvеr thіѕ issue оr doesn’t tackle іt аt all. Whісh іѕ rеаllу unfortunate bесаuѕе issues аbоut money аrе оnе оf thе top thrее reasons whу couples eventually divorce. Whаt а missed opportunity! Luckily, thеrе аrе books thаt уоu саn buy оr premarital apps thаt gо thrоugh important premarital counseling questions.
4. Cultural Values
Thе world rеаllу іѕ shrinking іn а lot оf ways. Wіth thе rise оf globalization аnd thе ease оf travel, mаnу people find thеmѕеlvеѕ attracted tо аnd marrying people wіth а dіffеrеnt cultural upbringing thаn thеіr own. Thіѕ іѕ еѕресіаllу relevant іn mу work wіth engaged couples – bесаuѕе аlthоugh I’m American, I live іn South Africa аnd work quіtе а bit wіth intercultural couples. Additionally, people wіth thе “same” cultural values саn hаvе fundamental differences іn оthеr important ways thаt wе оftеn don’t thіnk аbоut (e.g., class differences, regional differences).Thus, premarital counseling wоuld bе remiss іf іt didn’t аѕk questions related tо dіffеrеnt cultural values. Dіffеrеnt cultural values аrе оftеn nоt tоо big оf а deal whеn couples аrе dating, but thеу саn bесоmе huge issues аftеr marriage іf thе couple hаѕ nоt adequately explored thеm аnd соmе uр wіth ѕоmе preliminary compromises. Thе situation gеtѕ еvеn trickier whеn children enter thе picture.
5. Religious Values
Questions related tо religious values аrе аlѕо lіkеlу tо соmе uр durіng premarital counseling. Evеn іf thе couple shares thе ѕаmе faith – thеу саn hаvе major differences rеgаrdіng hоw thеу practice thеіr religious beliefs. And іf thе members оf thе couple hаvе dіffеrеnt religious beliefs, thеn а counselor wіll lіkеlу explore thіѕ wіth еvеn greater depth. Unfortunately, hаvіng dіffеrеnt religious beliefs іѕ а risk factor fоr divorcing lаtеr (Sorry! Don’t shoot thе messenger). Therefore, іf уоu hаvе а dіffеrеnt religion thаn уоur partner, thеn exploring important questions surrounding thіѕ difference іѕ crucial durіng premarital counseling.
6. Family Histories
A premarital counselor іѕ аlѕо lіkеlу tо аѕk important questions related tо уоur individual family histories. Depending оn thе counselor аnd thе circumstances related tо уоur relationship, dіffеrеnt counselors wіll approach thіѕ іn dіffеrеnt ways. Fоr example, ѕоmе premarital counselors hаvе аn orientation tоwаrd аѕkіng іn depth premarital counseling questions related tо уоur individual family history, whіlе оthеrѕ tend tо focus оn present day family relationships instead. Eіthеr way, it’s а good idea tо gо thrоugh questions related tо уоur families durіng premarital counseling.
7. Relationship History
Premarital counseling wіll аlѕо explore questions surrounding уоur relationship history tоgеthеr аnd individually. A counselor mау wаnt tо gеt аn іn depth picture оf whаt factors brought thе twо оf уоu tоgеthеr іn order tо explore thе strengths аѕ wеll аѕ роѕѕіblе challenges thаt уоu mау face аѕ а couple. Thе counselor mау аlѕо wаnt tо knоw аbоut important relationships thаt еіthеr оf уоu hаvе hаd іn thе раѕt аѕ well. However, mоѕt premarital counseling wіll nоt explore раѕt loves wіth tоо muсh depth (unless thеѕе relationships аrе affecting уоur current relationship).
So, hореfullу уоu hаvе а bеttеr sense оf whаt kinds оf premarital counseling questions tо expect іn premarital counseling. Good luck wіth уоur engagement – іt іѕ trulу а wonderful time іn а relationship!Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
I’ll bet you write (or word process) daily. If you are like most women, you record only what you must. In an effort to change your mind and your habits, I’ll let you in on a well-kept secret: A pen coupled with paper can serve as a powerful life tool.
Journaling (or keeping letters or diaries) is an ancient tradition, one that dates back to at least 10th century Japan. Successful people throughout history have kept journals. Presidents have maintained them for posterity; other famous figures for their own purposes. Oscar Wilde, 19th century playwright, said: “I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read on the train.”
Contrary to popular belief, our forefathers (and mothers) did know a thing or two. There is increasing evidence to support the notion that journaling has a positive impact on physical well-being. University of Texas at Austin psychologist and researcher James Pennebaker contends that regular journaling strengthens immune cells, called T-lymphocytes. Other research indicates that journaling decreases the symptoms of asthma and rheumatoid arthritis. Pennebaker believes that writing about stressful events helps you come to terms with them, thus reducing the impact of these stressors on your physical health.
I know what you’re thinking: “So writing a few sentences a day may keep me healthier longer, but so will eating lima beans! Why should I bother journaling when I’ve already got too much on my plate?” The following facts may convince you.
Scientific evidence supports that journaling provides other unexpected benefits. The act of writing accesses your left brain, which is analytical and rational. While your left brain is occupied, your right brain is free to create, intuit and feel. In sum, writing removes mental blocks and allows you to use all of your brainpower to better understand yourself, others and the world around you. Begin journaling and begin experiencing these benefits:
•Clarify your thoughts and feelings. Do you ever seem all jumbled up inside, unsure of what you want or feel? Taking a few minutes to jot down your thoughts and emotions (no editing!) will quickly get you in touch with your internal world.
•Know yourself better. By writing routinely you will get to know what makes you feel happy and confident. You will also become clear about situations and people who are toxic for you — important information for your emotional well-being.
•Reduce stress. Writing about anger, sadness and other painful emotions helps to release the intensity of these feelings. By doing so you will feel calmer and better able to stay in the present.
•Solve problems more effectively. Typically we problem solve from a left-brained, analytical perspective. But sometimes the answer can only be found by engaging right-brained creativity and intuition. Writing unlocks these other capabilities, and affords the opportunity for unexpected solutions to seemingly unsolvable problems.
•Resolve disagreements with others. Writing about misunderstandings rather than stewing over them will help you to understand another’s point of view. And you just may come up with a sensible resolution to the conflict.
In addition to all of these wonderful benefits, keeping a journal allows you to track patterns, trends and improvement and growth over time. When current circumstances appear insurmountable, you will be able to look back on previous dilemmas that you have since resolved.
How To Begin
Your journaling will be most effective if you do it daily for about 20 minutes. Begin anywhere, and forget spelling and punctuation. Privacy is key if you are to write without censor. Write quickly, as this frees your brain from “shoulds” and other blocks to successful journaling. If it helps, pick a theme for the day, week or month (for example, peace of mind, confusion, change or anger). The most important rule of all is that there are no rules.
Through your writing you’ll discover that your journal is an all-accepting, nonjudgmental friend. And she may provide the cheapest therapy you will ever get. Best of luck on your journaling journey!Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
We all want a peaceful, cheerful, even joyous, atmosphere at home—but we can’t nag and yell our way there. Here are some strategies that help:
1. At least once a day, make each child helpless with laughter .
2. Sing in the morning . It’s hard both to sing and to maintain a grouchy mood, and it sets a happy tone for everyone—particularly in my case, because I’m tone deaf and my audience finds my singing a source of great hilarity.
3. Get enough sleep yourself . It’s so tempting to stay up late, to enjoy the peace and quiet. But morning comes fast. Along the same lines …
4. Wake up before your kids. We were so rushed in the morning that I started getting up half an hour earlier than my children. That means I can get myself organized, check my e-mail, and get my bag packed before they get up. It’s tough to wake up earlier, but it has made a huge difference in the quality of our mornings.
5. I’ve been researching the hedonic treadmill: People quickly adapt to new pleasures or luxuries, so it takes a new pleasure to give them a jolt of gratification. As a result, I’ve cut back on treats and impulse buys for my kids. The ice cream sandwich or the Polly Pockets set won’t be an exciting treat if it isn’t rare.
6. Most messages to kids are negative: “Stop,” “Don’t,” “No.” So I try to cast my answers as a “yes.” “Yes, we’ll go as soon as you’ve finished eating,” not “We’re not leaving until you’ve finished eating.” It’s not easy to remember to do this, but I’m trying.
7. Look for little ways to celebrate . I haven’t been doing holiday breakfasts long, but they’re a huge source of happiness. They’re quick and fun, and everyone gets a big kick out of them.
8. Repetition works . A friend told me he was yelling at his kids too much, so he distilled all rules of behavior into four key phrases: “Keep your hands to yourself”; “Answer the first time you’re asked”; “Ask first”; and “Stay with us” (his kids tended to bolt). You can also use the school mantras: “Sit square in your chair;” “Accidents will happen,” “You get what you get, and you don’t get upset” (i.e., when cupcakes are handed out, you don’t keep trying to switch).
9. Say “no” only when it really matters . Wear a bright red shirt with bright orange shorts? Sure. Put water in the toy tea set? OK. Sleep with your head at the foot of the bed? Fine. Samuel Johnson said, “All severity that does not tend to increase good, or prevent evil, is idle.”
10. When I find myself thinking, “Yippee, soon we won’t have to deal with a stroller,” I remind myself how fleeting this is . All too soon the age of Cheerios and the Tooth Fairy will be over. The days are long, but the years are shortRead Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
What women want in men they are in a relationship with is the feeling of really being understood. They want more than just to be listened to with your ears. They want your heart involved. If you have ever been in a relationship with a woman, you have probably heard something like this: “Are you really listening to me?” That’s because even if the ears hear, the heart may be on ice.
We have all experienced this sensation of not feeling truly heard when speaking to family, friends, co-workers, customer service people. We know their ears are working, but we don’t feel truly understood, truly heard. For women, this is a classic and frustrating feeling of not feeling heard. And when they don’t feel heard, they don’t feel respected or honored. When your wife or girlfriend feels that she hasn’t been truly heard, her frustration level rises. Then either angry or withdrawing behaviors emerge. It is such a common problem, and it has such a simple remedy. You can learn the secret of what women want in men by just following a few easy steps.
Frustration and hurt are often the result when the speaker doesn’t feel that the listener is responding to their underlying needs and concerns. This can create an endless verbal cycle that makes communication feel more like a vicious game of ping-pong, instead of a dialogue that creates connection. The truth is that listening is an art. Listening with the heart, where the intention is to truly understand the other, is not a passive process. It really requires a certain presence of mind on the part of the listener. It is an act of compassion to really listen to another person. This is truly what women want in men, but don’t always get.
The Chinese character for the verb to listen tells us something significant about this skill. The Chinese character is composed of the following elements: “ears,” “eyes,” “undivided attention,” and “heart.” There is much more to listening than just a hole in the side of our head where sound tumbles in one side and rolls out the other.
Can we listen with our eyes? Absolutely! Women are often attuned to non-verbal communication. They “see” what you are feeling in your eyes. Many important pieces of communication are non-verbal; that is they are not delivered through the actual words. The body language, whether the positions are open or closed, the tone of voice, the speed of the voice, the intensity and pitch of the voice, all give her clues to the underlying emotion and mood of the speaker. She will often use her eyes to gather information as you are talking, so that she won’t miss these important clues.
If your mind is wandering as you listen, you are wasting your time as well as hers. But on the other hand, if your intention is to really hear, and you are taking the time to listen, then the only way to make your effort worthwhile is to give her your undivided attention.
This is what women want in men. Consciously or unconsciously she senses if you are really present for her. But if your mind is busy thinking about what you are going to say next, or forming objections or rebuttals in your mind, the interaction really suffers. This divided attention takes away energy and focus from what she is actually saying. What women want in men are partners who care about how she feels and what she needs.
If you are running a silent inner verbal track as your wife or girlfriend is speaking, you can almost guarantee that no listening is occurring. This is like trying to listen to two different radio stations at the same time. Then, since there are gaps in what you actually received or heard, your brain will try to fill in with your own interpretations of the parts you did hear. The result is you may misperceive or even misjudge the true meaning of what she is actually saying.
There is a good reason why the last part of the Chinese character for the verb to listen is “heart.” You don’t have to love her, but you do need to care enough to be fully present for her. This doesn’t mean that you have to agree with her. It just means that you are willing to be open to hear what she has to say. While you are listening your face and body language will show genuine interest, or the lack of it.
So give her appropriate eye contact. (I say appropriate because different cultures have different expectations about the amount or duration of direct eye contact.) And most importantly, whether or not you care about her subject, do you care about really hearing her? Really hearing someone is an act of compassion, and creates connection between you and the woman you care about, even if you disagree about the subject.
This heart-full listening can have such a dramatic impact on her that it goes a long way to resolve conflict. Conflict is a natural part of life. As long as there is more than one human being on this planet, there will be a time when one person wants one thing and the other one wants something else. When person “A” feels really heard and understood by person “B,” guaranteed, fifty percent of the problem is handled! You may not believe me at first, but test this out in your own interactions. I think you will be amazed at how powerful this can be.
This is what women want in men, and if you give this to her, she will think you are the prince of her dreams. When you really listen to not only the words, but for the underlying concerns or interests of the woman in your life, and let her know that you have heard her, her emotional intensity immediately shifts.
When she feels really listened to, she will calm down.
Here is an example: A wife complains to her husband: “You never pick up your clothes! What do you expect me to do, just be your maid?” I’m sure you could imagine any number of responses from the husband that would accelerate the wife’s feelings and lead to an instant argument. But how about this as a possible response from you: “Sounds like you feel like I take you for granted…” Can you see how these words might make the wife feel really heard? The power of phrases that make the speaker feel really heard and understood is sometimes amazing. We all need to feel understood. The first step is to really listen, with the wisdom of the Chinese character, with your ears, your eyes, your undivided mind, and most importantly your heart! This is what women want in men. You can become her perfect man – just by remembering this!Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
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