Archive for the ‘Marriage Success’ Category

“Idiots” Compatability Quiz: A Good Fit?

Monday, May 12th, 2014

While doing my periodic perusal of Barnes and Noble I came across a book that caught my eye.  It is called THE COMPLETE IDIOT’S GUIDE TO A HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP (not sure if it was the “idiot” or “healthy relationship” words that beckoned me).  Dr. Judy Kurianski is the author. The book is a good one with much valuable information for creating a solid and loving relationship.  One chapter in particular invited me to go into greater detail. It is about compatability.

The chapter, “Are we compatible?” is excellent.  I find this compelling because I am continually seeing people in my office who clearly are NOT compatible.  I wish, for starters, that they had taken the “compatability quiz”!

The “compatability quiz” addresses twelve areas with sixty questions requesting an answer of “unimportant”, “desirable but not crucial”, and “essential”. The twelve areas, each having five clarifying questions, are: Physicality, Intellect, Emotions, Finances, Individualism/Independence, Spirituality, Work, Socialability, Communication, Sex, Life Habits, Family.

The book invites each person to answer the questions, add up the score, and then share the score and answers with his or her partner.  Preferably this is done BEFORE marriage.  If you are already married the quiz can still be useful in helping each person know his or her thoughts on these subjects. Such awareness is an excellent segue to further communication and understanding between you and your partner. This knowledge and attempts at communication may well lead to the realization that the relationship has significant troubling issues within in.

Perhaps, couples therapy would be the next step. Dr. Kurianski suggests that professional assistance is called for when:

  1. You are arguing more often than keeping the peace.
  2. One of you is unhappy most of the time.
  3. The two of you are not communicating well.
  4. You complain a great deal about each other to other people.
  5. The stress between the two of you if affecting other areas of your life.
  6. The problem between both of you has been going on for three months.
  7. You feel “stuck” or unable to change by yourselves.
  8. Other people point out that your relationship is in trouble.

This book has much more to constructively offer individuals and couples who want to expand their knowledge to help create a loving, enduring, and healthy relationship. All of us have a bit of “idiot” in us and would benefit from a book that helps us with one of the most important aspects of our life – our marriage!

“The unexamined life is not worth living”    Socrates

“Love The One You’re With”: Can’t? Won’t? Why?

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

JOHN J. STATHAS, Ph.D., LMFT

I was listening to an “Oldie” station on my way to Atlanta the other morning and heard Stephen Stills sing “Love the one you’re with” and this thought came to my mind, “John, that’s an article”. (You never know where a germ of an idea might come from).

So-o-o, Respected Reader, since a significant part of my practice involves romantic relationships, I am always fascinated by the choices people make for their marriage partners. And, once made, what is the probability that each one will be able to “love the one…” chosen?  Oftentimes, thinking to myself, “What were they thinking when they agreed to this merger?!”

Be that as it may, people make the choice that they do – sometimes a winning choice, sometimes seriously wrong, and occasionally one that has some possibilities but needs some extra help in order to “love the one you’re with”.  Most people are in a relationship, married or not.  You are probably with someone now.  How’s it working for you?

Are you “loving the one you’re with”? Yes?  No?

If “Yes”, why are you loving that person? (Here is a good opportunity to reflect on all the good qualities of your loved one – and tell that person so). Hopefully there are many substantial reasons for the shared love in your life.

If “No”, what are the obstacles to loving that person?  Is this person a wrong choice? Has this person changed from the time you married?  Does your person do something (s) that you don’t like?  Does this partner not do something that is very important to you? Do you really know what you want/need?  Have you communicated with your partner what you are perceiving and feeling?  If not, why not?

If significant obstacles exist that cannot be overcome, even with quality counseling, what are your options?  Do you have kids? How old?  Economics a factor?  Life style? Feel trapped?

Do you feel exhausted with all these questions? The reason for them is that I repeatedly experience in therapy people who are not getting along yet are not asking the deeper questions which will reveal a potential solution and give the direction needed.  Stagnation is boring and kills that lovin’ spirit.

A good relationship is a treasure enabling both of you to feel energized, growthful, secure, valued, touched, and excited to share life’s adventures.  A bad relationship is depressing and demoralizing.  It promotes escape activities which usually are not healthy.

Respected Reader, “Love the one you’re with” or do something productive that will enable you to do so.  Life is too short and lonely without reciprocal love in your life.

“The unexamined life is not worth living”    Socrates

“It’s A Long Trip Alone”: Who Loves You “Til Death Does Us Part”?

Thursday, February 6th, 2014

There is a popular country song sung by Dierkes Bentley called “Long Trip Alone”.

Some of the lyrics follow:

It’s a long trip alone over sand and stone

that lie along the road that we all must travel down.

So maybe you could walk with me a while

and maybe I could rest beneath your smile.

Everybody stumbles sometimes and needs a hand to hold,

‘Cause it’s a long trip alone.

And I don’t know where I’d be without you here,

‘Cause I’m not really me without you here.

 

All of us “stumble” in various ways along the road of life.  Are you aware of your

“stumbles”, past and present?  They are hurtful, scary, angering, perhaps even guilt producing.

I was playing golf recently in a foursome.  One of the men was recovering from a very serious “stumble” along the road of life.  He had a major blood clot that almost caused him to lose a leg, perhaps his life.  With tears in his eyes he spoke of how he would not have survived the extended and painful ordeal if it had not been for his wife.  Her support, physically and emotionally, faith, and overall nurturing had pulled him through.  He said that he could not have made it alone – without her.  Each of us was touched by his sincere sharing.  Then in turn the others of us shared our “stumbles” and how our wives had been there for us in similar fashion.  The misty eyed foursome then resumed our game. (It is amazing what men might talk about on the golf course, besides the usual male humorous cutting down banter)

Not too long ago I spoke with a man who had lost his wife in death to cancer. He talked about how he had devotedly been there for her during her long and final travail.  He loved her dearly and spoke fondly of their times together and her wonderful contribution to his life.  Now he was alone – and it was very difficult.  He was “stumbling”.

Do you have a significant other who is there for you through thick and thin – “til death do us part”?  Are you currently are in a committed relationship and yet feel “alone” in your walk of life?  If so, is there anything that you can do to make the relationship better so that you can have true partner that you can reciprocally nurture when either of you “stumble”? If you are alone, is there anything you might do or change that would enable you to have a significant other so that you don’t have to make that “long trip alone”?

If you are fortunate to have a true life partner, be sure to thank the person often and do your part to be supportive “along the road that we all must travel down”.

How To Be Sure To Make The “Right Choice” For A Life Partner!

Friday, January 17th, 2014

I’ve had two people say to me this past week, “I’ve made the wrong choice of a spouse for the kind of person that I am.”  Both have children and do not want to put them through a divorce. Their statement of “wrong choice” was based on their getting a better understanding of who they are – at a deeper level than what they had previously understood.  Two of the insight areas were brain wiring and life style interests. Through a better understanding of how their brain is wired, particularly in the emotional needs and capacity area, and what kind of life style is desired, they realized their choice for a partner was not a good one.

Another couple that I have worked with for pre-marriage counseling are very confident that they have made the “right choice” moving forward into their marriage commitment. They know how each of them is emotionally wired from their genetic orientation through their family’s impact. By knowing this core orientation they are more aware of their childhood emotional wounds, as well as their individual strengths and weaknesses. Also, through this examination of who they truly are they have a better sense of the life style to be created to meet each of their needs.  In addition to the work they have done with me, they also have taken an inventory used by the Catholic Church which assesses how each of them agrees or disagrees on a variety of perspectives.  It was interesting and affirming that the inventory bore out the findings we discovered in the counseling process.  This couple will have a loving and fruitful life “til death do us part”!

The following categories are used in the inventory for couples to see how well they agree or disagree in their respective perspectives.

  1. Life style expectations
  2. Friends and interests
  3. Personality match
  4. Personal issues
  5. Communication
  6. Problem solving
  7. Religion and values
  8. Parenting issues
  9. Extended family
  10. Sexuality issues
  11. Financial issues
  12. Readiness issues
  13. Marriage covenant
  14. Family of origin
  15. Dual careers
  16. Co-habitating couples

As you can seen this list is quite exhaustive with many related issues for each category. If a couple participates in such an exploration of these areas with the guidance of a person trained  in examining and facilitating constructive communication between the two, the outcome can be most rewarding.  Unfortunately most couples do not do this much needed due diligence and often end up making the “wrong choice” for a partner.

May the wise know that there is much to be learned about oneself and a potential life partner to ensure the “right choice”. It is an investment well worth making!  Even those already in a marriage can benefit from this examination to clarify some issues and move the relationship forward with these added insights.

“The unexamined life is not worth living”   Socrates

“Due Diligence”:Making The “Right” Choice For A Life Partner

Friday, January 10th, 2014

I’ve had two people say to me this past week, “I’ve made the wrong choice of a spouse for the kind of person that I am.”  Both have children and do not want to put them through a divorce. Their statement of “wrong choice” was based on their getting a better understanding of who they are – at a deeper level than what they had previously understood.  Two of the insight areas were brain wiring and life style interests. Through a better understanding of how their brain is wired, particularly in the emotional needs and capacity area, and what kind of life style is desired, they realized their choice for a partner was not a good one.

Another couple that I have worked with for pre-marriage counseling are very confident that they have made the “right choice” moving forward into their marriage commitment. They know how each of them is emotionally wired from their genetic orientation through their family’s impact. By knowing this core orientation they are more aware of their childhood emotional wounds, as well as their individual strengths and weaknesses. Also, through this examination of who they truly are they have a better sense of the life style to be created to meet each of their needs.  In addition to the work they have done with me, they also have taken an inventory used by the Catholic Church which assesses how each of them agrees or disagrees on a variety of perspectives.  It was interesting and affirming that the inventory bore out the findings we discovered in the counseling process.  This couple will have a loving and fruitful life “til death do us part”!

The following categories are used in the inventory for couples to see how well they agree or disagree in their respective perspectives.

  1. Life style expectations
  2. Friends and interests
  3. Personality match
  4. Personal issues
  5. Communication
  6. Problem solving
  7. Religion and values
  8. Parenting issues
  9. Extended family
  10. Sexuality issues
  11. Financial issues
  12. Readiness issues
  13. Marriage covenant
  14. Family of origin
  15. Dual careers
  16. Co-habitating couples

As you can seen this list is quite exhaustive with many related issues for each category. If a couple participates in such an exploration of these areas with the guidance of a person trained  in examining and facilitating constructive communication between the two, the outcome can be most rewarding.  Unfortunately most couples do not do this much needed due diligence and often end up making the “wrong choice” for a partner.

May the wise know that there is much to be learned about oneself and a potential life partner to ensure the “right choice”. It is an investment well worth making!  Even those already in a marriage can benefit from this examination to clarify some issues and move the relationship forward with these added insights.

“The unexamined life is not worth living”   Socrates