Posts

complaining

Your children are like so much wet cement according to Time Magazine, in that they are impressionable at an early age. Your words and actions make impressions that will ‘harden’ over time and guide their sense of identity. A large portion of our job as parents is to guide, shape and correct them. When shaping behaviors, it is important to guard how much you criticize vs praise those you love. The same thing applies to your partner. Is complaining your habit? So what is the magic ratio?

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money fights

Money fights are a hot spot I am asked about frequently by couples. Money has a lot to do with power in relationships. Here’s an example.

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criticism

Do you ever wonder why your arguments with your partner seem so circular? Like “Arrrggghhhh! We have had this discussion 10,000 times and it never turns out any different!” Would you like to learn how to open the door to peaceful resolution? It takes work to be present when you are angry or hurt, but wouldn’t you rather begin a conversation that opens communication rather than shutting it down with criticism?

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mild or hot love

If you could order up your love the way you order up your favorite Thai dish, would you specify mild, medium or spicy-set-my-tongue-on-fire hot? Mild or hot love, spicy or not, movies, news, social media, literature and pop culture imbue the idea of love with extremes. The easy example is Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, where a couple of puppy love-sick kids are lead to die because of some warped parental loyalty values. Read more

how do you trust

Most people don’t know the answer to “How do you trust?” Last week’s post offered the definitions of betrayal and trust, and many ideas about the ways we betray others. It goes beyond simply having affairs. If you missed it you can read it here. It is a nice basis for this week’s Part II discussion.

There are times when we get to a place in a relationship when we really start seriously asking the question “Should I stay or should I go?”

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can't think clearly

Hello everyone! This post is a Part II to last week’s, which you can read here if you missed it.

What happens when you are fighting with your lover and you get either so hurt, or so angry, that you can’t think clearly?

Research by Jaak Panksepp of Washington State University demonstrates that mammals develop a special pathway in the amygdala that lights up when they perceive their mate is unavailable. Panksepp is convinced this special pathway exists in all mammals. So what happens when you feel, most likely without even realizing it, that your connection with your partner is under threat? You are plunged into what he terms “primal panic.” The primal part is due to the absolute need,  a primal need, for connection to others–especially our significant others.

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gentle start ups

Perpetual issues permeate every relationship. A perpetual issue is essentially an unresolvable problem, kind of like having a bad back when you age. We learn to live with chronic conditions like this and to make the best of things in spite of them. BTW, did you realize that marriage allows you to have the special privilege of annoying one person in particular for the rest of your life? Uhmmm…and the other way around as well?  By definition, when you enter a relationship, you have chosen a set of problems that you will deal with for the duration of that relationship. Here’s an example of what I mean by a perpetual issue, and a technique for managing it called a gentle start up.

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loved

How do you like to be loved? Does this seem like a strange question? Or perhaps an unusual question? Maybe you don’t know the answer. Would you like to find out? You would be surprised at the simple, but not so obvious answer, to this conundrum.

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Drifting apart

Ever have the feeling that you and your partner are drifting apart like icebergs, and you don’t even know how it happened? This cold sense of drift is one that mounts very slowly over time, and then one day you just know that the relationship is in danger of being irretrievably  lost, yet you experience the shame and sadness of not knowing how this happened. You begin to wonder if there is anything that can be done to save it.

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touch

There are a number of practices recommended by therapists to improve your relationship, all good. A few include making time to talk with your partner (and truly listening when you do), conveying appreciation and affection, managing conflict well, sharing rituals you both have come to expect and look forward to, supporting each other’s hopes and dreams, and having each other’s backs–loyalty. But one practice that goes unheralded, especially in American culture, is touch.

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