“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...
“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...
“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...
“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...
“Being both soft and strong is an accomplishment that very few have mastered.” Yasmin Mogahed
In my first marriage, I was a woman who was strong and capable and driven. I was a marketing executive climbing the corporate ladder who led large teams of people and prided herself on being the one who could GSD (aka: Get Shit Done).
As you can imagine, there is no “off” switch that helped me to soften on my way home to my husband after work each night, so I unconsciously brought that same controlling energy and GSD approach into my marriage. ...continue reading...
“Once all struggle is grasped, miracles are possible.” Mao Zedong
If you were to look at the national averages for divorce rates in the US for people in the healthcare profession, it would show them beating the national averages (Physicians and Surgeons divorcing at a rate of 21.8% and Healthcare professionals 31.6% according to quartz.com*). However, that hasn’t been my experience.
I have doctors and surgeons, wives of doctors and surgeons, nurses and therapists as clients. I also have teachers, administrators, corporate execs and other professions, but people in the healthcare field certainly make up more than ...continue reading...
“Peace doesn’t require two people; it only requires one. It has to be you. The problem begins and ends there.” Byron Katie
When a relationship is struggling, it’s easy to sit back and wait for the other person to make the necessary changes to make it better. But it’s not an effective strategy because it very rarely happens that one partner takes the lead, so the problems continue to worsen, the resentments mount and the disconnection between the two people widens.
It takes only one person to make a difference. I know we’ve been told that we both have ...continue reading...
“Pain in this life is not avoidable, but the pain we create avoiding pain is avoidable.” RD Laing, MD
Yesterday I had a VIP Day with a brave and openhearted woman struggling to understand whether or not she should release her 39-year marriage and to make peace with her decision.
Having been a therapist, she picked up many of the coaching tools I shared with her and concepts quickly. But she also taught me something yesterday as well: There is an important distinction between loving someone and using someone:
When we use our partners to avoid pain,...continue reading...
“Things are as they are, we suffer because we imagined different.” Anonymous
Our expectations of other people and our attachments to how we think the circumstances of our lives should be get us in an awful lot of trouble.
We expect that our husbands will notice when we’re overwhelmed and that he’ll step in and do something about it so that we feel some relief…
We expect that our spouses will be appreciative for all of our hard work…
We expect that the people around us will be happy and positive and grateful.
And we attach to those ...continue reading...