The love of money may be the root of all evil, but arguing about money is the third leading reason (at 22 percent) given for divorce. Going into a marriage, two partners think they’ll “make it work.” It turns out that blending what often are two disparate views about finances isn’t quite so easy, and the issues become even more intransigent if one or both partners refuse to talk about it. Here are some ways you might be able to avoid the dreaded “D” word, and we don’t mean Dallas. Continue reading
In the movies and on TV, relationships happen very easily and quickly. Tension builds as the program progresses. Characters show obvious signs of liking each other. Usually, the tensions build to such an extreme that in one dramatic moment they can’t take it anymore, stare into each other’s eyes and kiss passionately. They don’t talk, they don’t even discuss whether or not they like each other. They are inexplicably drawn together by the desire to kiss (and possibly participate in other intimate activities) all within the short span of about 15 seconds.
Just like real life, right? Ugh, No.
In TV, this is the “perfect” relationship. One where two people like each other so much that they just get together and live happily ever after. They look beautiful, sound beautiful and everything is perfect every time. What percentage of people have relationships start like this and live forever together without ever dealing with misunderstandings, assumptions, and annoyances?
When you look at deeply at any relationships, you recognize there is no such thing as a perfect relationship. Continue reading
When I first realized I was a codependent, one of the things that I began to understand was that I lived my life playing the victim. Everything was always happening TO me, people were always doing harm to me, and I was completely innocent, and the list could go on forever. I victimized myself, and I wallowed in every bad emotion I had. Doing this made me lose sight of the good things in life.
Today, I’d like everyone to grab a pen and paper so that we can make gratitude lists. This is one of the tools that helps me feel good about myself and my life, and it helped reframe the misery I was putting myself in. Continue reading
You were brave. You let yourself love fully. You were vulnerable and open. And you were crushed when the person you gave your heart to abused your love. Now, even though you want a healthy new relationship, it’s hard to trust that you won’t be hurt again.
Does this sound familiar? It’s not just you. I’m a therapist as well as a dating coach, and as such I’m well aware that many people re-entering the dating field after a bad experience are understandably cautious. They have seen the darkness and felt the risk of loving.
More most this isn’t just an intellectual decision, it’s a feeling. You might genuinely want to date, but find it hard to feel excited about anyone you meet. Or you lose any emerging feelings of attraction for them over the slightest thing. Our you just feel flat, and exhausted when you think about dating.
On some level, you know you’re protecting yourself from being hurt again, but you can’t control the way you feel. It’s like knowing you should eat a healthy meal, but having absolutely no appetite. What to do? Continue reading
Being married for any length of time is truly an accomplishment these days. Just last week a woman asked how long I had been married and when I said forty years this July, her eyes got huge and she said, “To the same person? How is that possible?”
When we got married people were taking bets on how long our marriage would last. The average bet was between two weeks and two years because of our age difference and personalities. Let’s just say, my husband is calm, wise and conservative and I am the exact opposite. I do remember feeling really shaky when I said my vows. … “for better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and health, till death do us part.” Now that’s a huge promise! Could I really do this?
Flash forward forty years. We are still married, happy and love each other, although it hasn’t been an easy road and our relationship has been tested on many occasions, and I’m sure more will come as we navigate through our senior years.
Someone once said, “I married you for better or worse, but not for breakfast and lunch.” I never really understood that until now. Obviously, when couples first get married, it is exciting challenging, romantic and fun. And then if children come along, the marriage gets even more interesting and challenging as people try to raise their kids, together. But after the kids are gone, and retirement looms, people start to feel displaced as their roles in life change. Who are we without our careers and kids? What do we have to talk about? And why do we keep bumping into each other in the kitchen?
So in order to keep a marriage going all the way to the end, here are six rules of engagement to keep the fires burning. Continue reading
My need for external reassurance as a woman came home to me many birthdays ago. I decided to test everyone (especially Honey) by making no reference to my personal holiday during the entire month of January. The results were devastating. Not a single soul—parent, child, sister, friend, husband (gasp)—remembered. The red-letter day came and went without a whimper. Now, before you scream “Revolution!” (which I came close to doing at the time) let me add this: Honey was under huge pressure at work, serving tirelessly at church, and acutely worried over finances. He comforted, cuddled, and counseled with tenderness. It’s just that his calendar was off.
When I realized that accusation would never produce a bottle of perfume, the truth hit me like a whiff of cheap cologne: I had been thinking for too long that it was my guy’s primary job in life to make me feel good, to heal all my wounds, to spend every possible minute with me, to be emotionally available and responsive 24/7, to always want what I want. I had set myself up for disillusionment.
Thankfully, I wised up and made a course correction that stuck. My birthday is now advertised far and wide and way in advance. I am responsible to ask for and inspire special attention on January 27. Healthy, balanced doses of giving and receiving from family, friends, God, and myself, keeps my tank full. His three little words (“I love you”) then top me off and overflow into a puddle at our feet.
And that’s the secret. Fill your own tank by taking responsibility for your own happiness.
There is a simple way to get started, or continue, in the habit of filling your own tank so that you can give from abundance while receiving with confidence. I don’t mean to make it sound easy—we are talking about the greatest challenge of a woman’s life, the seesaw between nurturing herself and nurturing others—but I know you can do it.
Here’s how: Continue reading
Many of us know that experiencing the loss of someone in our life can be devastating. Each one of us processes death differently and in our own time. Finding tools to assist us in this process can be a miraculous thing. Music can be an amazing catalyst to assist us in processing challenging emotions such as anger, sadness, guilt and anxiety that may occur in the bereavement process. Songs can be amazing messengers in these challenging times that provide comfort and allow us to bring our feelings to the surface. As we begin to deal with our emotions, the healing process can begin. Here are a few suggestions to utilize music as a coping mechanism during bereavement. Continue reading
Arguments over money are the number one reason for marital stress. Couples often have different ideas about their role in earning and spending the household finances. When one spouse makes considerably more money than the other, guilt, resentment, and power struggles can also come into play. For the sake of your marriage, it’s important to understand the stress financial inequality can have on your relationship. Doing so can help alleviate misunderstandings and strengthen your marriage.
I’m very interested in the role of TV-watching in our happiness. After all, after sleeping and work, it’s the biggest consumer of the world’s time.
So I was interested to see that new research suggests that for couples who don’t have lots of mutual friends, watching the same TV show (or reading the same book or going to the same movie) can help both people feel that they inhabit in the same social world.
It turns out that couples who have lots of mutual friends tend to have the strongest bonds, and for those who don’t have a lot of mutual friends, having “shared media experiences” helps them to feel connected. Continue reading
When we are choosing the people in our lives, we like to pick ones that comfort us and support us in our times of need. Part of our relationships with these people means supporting them as well. Some of us don’t really know what it means to be supportive, and we do the best we can.
So, what does it mean to be supportive? What can we do to connect with our loved ones better, and help lift them up without any burden to ourselves? Luckily, the answer is quite simple.
Many of us are fixers – we like to solve other people’s problems, lend a hand, and make sure everyone else’s lives are running smoothly. As a fixer myself, I know that more than enough time is spent on these tasks. Living as an adult child of an alcoholic means that I am well versed in the art of fixing, whether it is cleaning up after someone, fixing their mistakes, or bailing them out of trouble when that might not be the best thing for them. Being a fixer is not a bad thing; many of us are caregivers by nature, and we genuinely do love to help out. Being a fixer just means we spend a little too much time focused on fixing others.
Unfortunately, the best intentions can sometimes go astray. We know that we are coming from a loving place or wanting to help and connect with the other person. Constantly telling them how to fix their problems, however, is not what someone wants out of a supportive friend, and we often get pushed away. Continue reading