“Disagreement is acceptable. Disrespect is not.” Stephan Labossiere
Imagine for a moment, you’re in the next room while your daughter and her husband are having an argument. You’re listening-in because you’ve been worried that she might be in a verbally abusive relationship.
Every time your daughter tries to express what she’s feeling, she gets cut-off mid-sentence.
Her husband clearly is far more interested in yelling than talking in a reasonable tone of voice. He’s clearly more interested in talking AT her than he is in listening TO her. He is more interested in blaming her for the issue than ...continue reading...
“Knowing when to walk away, is wisdom. Being able to, is courage. Walking away with grace, and your head held high is dignity.” Ritu Ghatourey
By the time people find their way to my work, they’ve typically been struggling in their marriages for years, sometimes decades. But how do you know when your marriage is over?
There are probably gazillions of articles written that will give you the three most common attributes in a relationship that are tell-tale signs that your marriage is over (or should be over, in the writer’s opinion).
I don’t think that’s helpful at ...continue reading...
“If someone is arguing with you, you are saying something arguable.” Julia B. Colwell, PhD
One of the things I help my private clients do is identify the patterns of engagement with their spouses, specifically how they argue or disagree with one another. It usually looks something like this:
She expresses something that hurt her, such as “You don’t listen to or understand me.”
He takes that as a personal attack and now feels the need to defend himself.
She tries to get him to see her perspective.
His defending becomes louder and more forceful.
She shuts down ...continue reading...
“The urge to blame is based…on the fear of being blamed.” Douglas Stone
In our marriages, it seems the conversation we avoid the most are the very ones we most need to be having with our partners. There’s a lot going either unsaid between or unheard.
Maybe we tried having the conversation previously and it didn’t go well.
Maybe we’re afraid saying what needs to be said will only worsen the relationship.
Maybe we’ve given up hope that anything will ever change.
We avoid having difficult conversations with our partners because almost no one enjoys confrontation, and we ...continue reading...
“People can’t change the truth, but the truth can change people.” Drake
My client, who I’ll refer to as Naomi shared something important with me recently: She said she realized how she was using her children as a means of avoiding closeness with her husband.
When they would all be walking together, the kids were in the middle between them.
When they would hand out together in the kitchen around the island, she noticed how she always seemed to be on the opposite side of the island closest to her children.
Even in bed, the kids often fell ...continue reading...
“Most of us are imprisoned by something. We’re living in darkness until something flips on the switch.” Wynonna Judd
I love the idea of having someone to walk beside in this life.
I love that we get to be a witness to one another’s lives.
And I love that we get to share the joys and sorrows of life with another human being.
But the institution of marriage is sort of a peculiar thing to me…
Marriage was originally created as an alliance between two families, where the property rights, money, and bloodlines could be secured within the ...continue reading...
When my client, who I’ll refer to as Vicky began working with me, she was trying to determine if there was any hope for her marriage that had been on the ropes for years. They were separated and ready to file papers, but she was still holding on and wasn’t sure why.One week later, her husband told her that from his perspective, he was done and the marriage was over. As you can imagine, the finality of that sent her reeling…thinking she had just wasted the last twenty years with a man who didn’t love her anymore. After the shock ...continue reading...
“Shame is a soul eating emotion.” Carl Gustav Jung
My new client, who I’ll refer to as Paula, recently found out that her husband has been having an affair with another woman for at least ten years. As you can imagine, she’s devastated.
Ten years together isn’t a fling or a simple indiscretion; it’s a relationship.
Paula is wondering why she ignored the signs.
She’s wondering where exactly the marriage broke in order for her 30-year marriage to be vulnerable to an affair.
She’s wondering how she’ll ever be able to trust again.
She vacillates between blaming herself ...continue reading...
“Rarely does anything get properly cooked on the back burner.” Susan Gale
Back when most of us got married, it felt like some sort of an accomplishment. We checked that box with a buoyant optimism and then quickly got busy with the other important life goals and building a life together.
We build a home together and buy new furniture.
We get a pet.
We often operate on stress and fumes as we achieve at work, reaching for greater and greater success each in our own way.
At some point, we begin creating a family together and bring new ...continue reading...
“Continents drift and so do hearts.” John Mark Green
In my marriage and relationship coaching practice, people reach out to me when their marriages have been struggling for years or even decades. Their relationships have become so unbearable that they’re considering leaving the marriage and are feeling paralyzed in fear because they don’t know how to fix the marriage and make it better, but they don’t know how to leave either. They tell me they feel stuck, sad, alone, scared and disconnected.
One of the questions I ask these people in my first discussion with them is, “What will ...continue reading...