My parents were married for 52 years. My maternal grandparents 66 years. That's a combined 118 years of marriage! They never spent a day in the office of a couples counselor. So why do I think couples counseling is an absolute MUST for most relationships?
Do you believe in soulmates? Chances are you do.
Last year, a survey conducted in the U.S. by Wakefield Research found that 76% of Americans believe in a soulmate. Rates were even higher for millennials (86%). So what is a soulmate?
We work hard to get the job. We interview as best we can. We get the job. But, how often do we really get a good job description. I am talking about the job of partner, spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend, significant other, husband, wife. More people sit in my office and say things like "S/he is just never happy...no matter what I do!" or "S/he keeps pushing me away and I don't know why!"
Yesterday I put my own advice into action. I invited a colleague to join me to walk the labyrinth. Really, this is something I should be doing more of as it is an amazing path to mindfulness. When I work folks, we often include some form of meditation, mindfulness or centering to help manage anxiety, fear, stress, discord and just general feeling blah. There are many people who love meditation and find it to be an important part of their mental health. There are just as many who, try as they might, can seem to quiet their minds and bodies to be still. I am one of the latter. Quiet still meditation is hard for me – I can do it from time to time but it seems to take a great effort to get there. I do it whenever I can. However, when time is precious or being still just seems in possible, I try a moving meditation – like walking a labyrinth.
When I work with couples, one of the earliest things we do is look at how we communicate. We begin with the basics of starting to look at our words and tone so that we can hear and understand each other. As we get deeper into our process we begin to look at something far more challenging, and potentially more destructive than our words. We begin to look at our assumptions.
When I start working with a new couple or individual around relationship concerns I often begin by asking them what their relationship goals are. Most, but not all, will tell me that they are just looking for a nice, loving, monogamous relationship. They say that like I am supposed to know what that means -- and I don't. Not that I am clueless, but rather because I know that there is more than one meaning to the word monogamous.
You can’t dig your way out of a hole. Think about it. You are in a hole and you keep digging. What happens? Eventually, the hole gets so deep that you can’t throw the dirt out of the hole anymore and it just keeps falling back down around you. If you start to dig sideways, the integrity of the walls weakens and risks falling in around you. What should you do?
There seems to be a thread in the conversations I have had lately with many of the men I see in my practice. Our discussions are centering on the institutionalization influences of how masculinity is defined. We have entered into these talks from a variety of perspectives but we seem to end up circling around the same concerns. Coming to grip with how men define their own manhood is a pressured and loaded situation.
Divorce isn’t easy on anyone. When you are getting divorced with children, trying to minimize the amount of change and disruption can be overwhelming. Nesting is where the children stay in the family home and the parents take turns coming in and out according to the parenting schedule. Think of it as the kids have custody of the parents who come home and then go to the other house! Nesting is not for everyone and is fraught with difficulties, but when the situation works, there are great benefits.
Divorce is never easy on anyone. When you have children, it is even more complex. How you make decisions to navigate the divorce process and ensure your children are as insulated as possible will take special insight and a tremendous amount of personal resiliency.
Have you ever been in a relationship (whether romantic or platonic) and felt frustration about how things were going -- wishing the other person would behave differently? You have tried being nice, coaching them to change (whether they knew it or not) and spent hours considering how impossible it is that someone couldn’t notice how inappropriate and unsatisfying their behavior is? We have all experienced it. Sometimes we can just let it go and sometimes it gets so bad we find ourselves in a divorce, looking for a new job or estranged from a friend or loved one.
Bringing a new baby into the family is an exciting time. We celebrate the newness of life and have hope for the future. People are curious about the delivery and the birth story. Parents are excited and siblings are cautious (at best).
Trying to have a baby through third party reproduction is a challenging and emotional process. What makes it even more complicated is that you have to learn a whole new language before you can really make sense of the journey you are about to undertake. Whether you are going through assisted reproduction to create a baby yourselves or need the assistance of others to grow your family, you will need to have some basic knowledge.
Many women are searching for romantic relationships that provide love, acceptance, respect, desire, emotional security, passion and intimacy, and understanding. These are building blocks of what is perceived as a “healthy” relationship. Why then, do women everywhere, choose to stay in relationships that no longer meet these basic needs? Several factors may contribute to this process, which will be further explored and discussed in this blog. I am dedicating this blog to all the women who need words of encouragement and motivation towards empowerment and self-advocacy.
What do you do when you have the thing you want the most and you should be happy but you are miserable? How do you respond when everyone tells you that you “must be so happy!” and you really just want to lie in your bed with the blinds closed? You know….those moments that you sit there and think, “I can’t wait for this to be over!”