Rescuing Your Most Important Relationships

Posts tagged ‘Communication’

Wise Words From My Morther-In-Law

n-HAPPY-MIDDLE-AGED-COUPLE-large570Is advice from a 60 year relationship worth listening to? I think so! My in-laws have just celebrated their 60 year anniversary, and recently my mother-in-law had some words of wisdom that she shared with me. One of her grandchildren had asked her “how can you tell when you are in love”, and  this is what she said.

“How do you tell when you’re in love? I had to stop and think. My mind came up with several words- all that begin with the letter P.

Privacy– way up there as a priority, it lets a person feel free and be himself.

Passion– way up there too, what’s the fun without it?

Politeness, Persistence, and Patience

Politeness– way up there, treat the one you love as politely as you would a stranger. Other basics- bite your tongue, don’t put words in the air you’ll have to apologize for later, and perhaps, most of all,  a wanting more to be with someone than not to be with someone.”

“A person needs to fall in love over and over again- how nice if it’s with the same person each time!

People change and I believe about every five years you recognize, hey, is he (she) different now? Then it’s time  to take inventory of yourself and your life, and for me, to remember back to how loving someone all started and finding if the spark is still there? For me, the answer keeps being Yes, and I find myself really falling in love again. That’s what makes life fun- with the new person that I’m living with.”

My father-in-law also put in his two cents at our wedding. He was asked by the DJ what he thought the best relationship advice was- and his answer? Just one word- “Trust”.

Personally, I don’t have the experience and wisdom of 60 years behind me, but I have seen quite a few couples over the years in the practice. It’s very true= the couples that do well with improving their relationships are patient and kind to each other, and willing to see each other from a new perspective, even through some really difficult times. Couples that treat each other with disrespect and disdain are destined for divorce. (I know, a lot of “D words” but it’s true.) Fondness and admiration can go a long way in helping to solve problems, generate resolutions and create intimacy.

So, take these words of wisdom from a successful, long term relationship to heart. And to my mother-in-law:

Thank you, Phyl, for the sage words and wisdom from the heart. I truly appreciate you being a marriage mentor in my life. 


The 10 Habits Of Happy Couples As Told By A Psychiatrist.

proud-coupleDr. Mark Goulston is psychiatrist, international speaker, and best selling author.   Regardless of the state of your relationship, Dr. Goulston provides some interesting insight on the 10 habits that will allow you and your loved one to keep the magic going:

#1. Go to bed at the same time.

Remember the beginning of your relationship, when you couldn’t wait to go to bed with each other to make love? Happy couples resist the temptation to go to bed at different times. They go to bed at the same time, even if one partner wakes up later to do things while their partner sleeps.

#2. Cultivate common interests.

After the passion settles down, it’s common to realize that you have few interests in common. But don’t minimize the importance of activities you can do together that you both enjoy. If common interests are not present, happy couples develop them. At the same time, be sure to cultivate interests of your own; this will make you more interesting to your mate and prevent you from appearing too dependent.

#3. Walk hand in hand or side by side.

Rather than one partner lagging or dragging behind the other, happy couples walk comfortably hand in hand or side by side. They know it’s more important to be with their partner than to see the sights along the way.

#4. Make trust and forgiveness your default mode.

If and when they have a disagreement or argument, and if they can’t resolve it, happy couples default to trusting and forgiving rather than distrusting and begrudging.

#5. Focus more on what your partner does right than what he or she does wrong.

If you look for things your partner does wrong, you can always find something. If you look for what he or she does right, you can always find something, too. It all depends on what you want to look for. Happy couples accentuate the positive.


Check back next week for another FIVE tips on Habits of Happy Couples!

I Hate Therapy – Continued. . .

why waitWould we say that people who work out must be sick or they wouldn’t need it? Hell no. But we still hold on to this antiquated idea that you must be crazy if you go to therapy. Attitudes like the one shown in the Huff Po article are only perpetuating the medical model of therapy – that you go to therapy to treat an illness. In fact, therapy is just as useful in the wellness model of getting healthy, achieving potential, and making a good life better.

In the vein of the wellness model, here are more reasons to try therapy:

You want to love and accept yourself – Many people have difficulty with this, and they’re not necessarily depressed or afflicted with another mental disorder. Therapy can help you explore roadblocks to self-esteem and teach you practical ways to make your happiness a priority.

You want to make a good marriage great – Many relationships are functional, but are no longer fun. Couples counseling can help improve communication and strategize ways to return passion and excitement to a marriage.

You want to thrive in your career – You say you’re unhappy where you are, why aren’t you striving for something different? Is fear, hard work, or interpersonal conflict holding you back? Therapy can be the catalyst for healthy change in your career.

You want to understand your purpose in life – Many therapists love to dive in and help you find out who you are on a deep level, helping you uncover the passions buried under the busyness of life. A desire for this time to self-reflect may mean that…

You want one hour each week to focus completely on yourself – Therapy is a course where you are the subject matter. You can explore yourself, go deeper into your current thoughts and feelings, or just sit and “be” for a while. This vital practice has become a forgotten art in our world today.

You want to let go and forgive – Holding a grudge isn’t a diagnosable condition, but it does have serious physical, emotional, and relational consequences. Through therapy you can learn to resolve these issues for yourself and move on.

You want a place to practice assertiveness, expressing emotion, or anything else – Therapy is a laboratory for you to explore, experiment, and practice behaviors that are scary in the rest of life. Shy people can practice confrontation. Detached people can experiment with expressing emotion. When you’ve tried this out a few times in session, you may be ready to take it out into the world. (more tips for clients in therapy here)

There probably are a few dozen other helpful reasons, however Ryan hopes you get the point: therapy is helpful for treating serious problems, but it offers much more. If we can move past the medical model myopia that contributes to therapy stigma, perhaps many more people will come to understand therapy’s benefits first hand.

(Source: Ryan Howes, PhD)

I hate therapy

Therapists“I hate therapy- it’s only for sick people, and I’m not sick!”” is what many people say when first thinking about coming in. So, why go to therapy? The Huffington Post recently published an article titled “8 Signs You Should See a Therapist.” Huff Po (the specific author isn’t clear) points out that “while one in five American adults suffer from some form of mental illness, only about 46-65 percent with moderate-to-severe impairment are in treatment.” They noted that some problems that don’t qualify as severe mental illness can benefit from treatment and illuminated the symptoms that may warrant psychotherapy:

  • Everything you feel is intense
  • You’ve suffered a trauma and you can’t stop thinking about it
  • You have unexplained and recurrent headaches, stomach-aches or a run down immune system
  • You’re using a substance to cope
  • You’re getting bad feedback at work
  • You feel disconnected from previously beloved activities
  • Your relationships are strained
  • Your friends have told you they’re concerned

If you’re experiencing anything on that list, therapy may be a good choice for you.

However, the author goes on to explain that he doesn’t fully agree with this post:

We generally don’t end up doing things we “should” do; we do things we want to. Consult anyone who ever made a New Year’s Resolution for an example. You’ll have a better experience in therapy (and probably better results) if you go because you want to learn, grow, and heal, not because someone else thinks you should.

Another reason therapy is important is that therapy is effective for helping painful experiences become tolerable, and a proven method for changing harmful thinking, relational, and behavioral patterns. But it’s also used to make good lives great.

For comparison, look at two ways you manage your physical health: a visit to your MD versus working out at the gym. You go to a physician to treat a medical problem: You feel symptoms and seek treatment to return to your “normal” state. By contrast, you go to the gym to get healthy, achieve a higher physical potential, and generally make a good life better. Two different approaches to health, one focused on illness and the other wellness. Therapy is unique in that it acts as the psychological equivalent of both the MD and the gym. We go to therapy to treat problems as well as improve an already decent life.

Read next weeks post to find out more about why therapy is a good thing!
(Source: Ryan Howes, PhD)

July Message

4th of julySummer is officially here! For me, that means BBQ, watermelon, fireworks, family and friends getting together and enjoying longer days and cool nights. Getting away to far away places, whether traveling by air, car or just in your own mind. 

Speaking of your own mind, have you checked in with yourself lately? Are you happy with the direction that your life is headed, and in your relationship?  If not, time to get some help and change things. 
As a therapist, I truly and completely believe that everyone can improve their situation through the process of therapy. If you don’t think so, read below for the stories of many people who have done just that. 
Hope to see you soon!
“I just received your monthly update and thought I might write to let you know how incredibly much counseling with you has contributed to my life.  Things are crazy busy right now, so I’ll keep this short, but I wanted to send a quick update of a few of the wonderful things that have come about in my life recently … things that I doubt I would have ever been able to achieve without your help and guidance during the year I was in ABQ” – Tiffany, 2014
“The tools you equipped me with were invaluable, and continue to help me find my way on this path towards “emotional health”. – Kevin, 2014

These 3 Questions Can Save Your Relationship

show_you_mine_show_me_yours_2_750x420px_300xp-750x420What’s the greatest predictor that your relationship will go bust? It’s not problems in the bedroom, secret lovers or conflicts over raising your kids. If you want your relationship to survive, research suggests the key is knowing how to talk about cash.

“Arguments about money is by far the top predictor of divorce,” said Sonya Britt, program director of personal financial planning at Kansas State University. “It’s not children, sex, in-laws or anything else. It’s money – for both men and women.”

She led a study of 4,500 households that showed that the more couples argued about cash early in a relationship, the more likely they were to divorce. Arguments about cash were longer and more tenacious than any other source of marital rancor, the study found.

And it isn’t always about lack of cash, either. This trend cuts across socioeconomic lines – even wealthy couples were found more likely to divorce if they had money arguments early in the relationship, according to the study.

“It may be that fights about money are actually fights about deeper issues in the relationship – power, trust, etc. If these deep issues in the relationship are problematic, then these couples may be more likely to divorce,” study co-author Jeffrey Dew told the Huffington Post.

Simply put, couples that learn how to talk about their cash stand the best chance of survival. Here are three key questions research suggests every couple should ask.

Read next weeks blog to find out about these 3 Questions!

June Message

Money makes the world go around, right? But what happens when you have no idea where your money goes, or why you never seem to have enough?  This month’s blog is focused on money, your relationship with money and your relationship with your partner and money. We have a really great event coming up that will give you a much better idea on how to change your relationship with money- and make it work for you.

Where’s My Money?- How your Money Personality May be Sabotaging your Bank Account

Are you constantly wondering where your money goes?
Challenged as to why you don’t have more?
It’s time to find out why….

Join us for a engaging presentation on how your Money Personality is working for you- or against you, and what to do next!

WHEN: Wednesday June 11, 2014 from 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM MDT

Also, June 15th is Father’s Day, how about a day at the ABQ Zoo with a concert, or getting the family together for a 5K Run at the Jewish Community Center?

There’s also an auto show at Sagebrush Community Church, and another concert in Corrales.  Check out the June events for Albuquerque here.

Enjoy the first month of summer!

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