Category Archives: Relationship

Healthy Relationship

It’s never too late to save a marriage – there are always opportunities to reverse a downward trend and rekindle your romance.

Marriages today have a lot of pressure on them; work, family, kids, finances, health and more. Sometimes we get caught up in the day to day demands placed upon us and have nothing left to give to our partners.

Sometimes marriages simply need partners to gain a better understanding of one another. It is very often the simple things that couples get wrong over and again.

A successful relationship is built around letting go. It’s about giving up control, giving up the need to be loved or wanted or right all the time.

This is a very counter-intuitive thing. And it took me many years and tears and failures to figure out. That’s why I’ve put together this collection of articles describing exactly what I’ve learned and how these lessons can benefit you. The content below will help you find the love you deserve, heal old wounds that seemingly never leave, and deal with the conflict or stress of whatever you’re dealing with now. It’s all free, as well.

You can also enter your email address below and I’ll send you a free eBook I put together on dating and relationships. I’ll send you occasional updates about new articles and other things I’ve been working on. Your information is protected and I never spam.


Communication is a key piece of healthy relationships. Healthy couples make time to check in with one another on a regular basis. It’s important to talk about more than just parenting and maintaining the household, however. Try to spend a few minutes each day discussing deeper or more personal subjects to stay connected to your partner over the long term.

To keep things interesting, some couples plan regular date nights. Even dates can get old, though, if you’re always renting a movie or going to the same restaurant. Experts recommend breaking out of the routine and trying new things — whether that’s going dancing, taking a class together or packing an afternoon picnic.

Intimacy is also a critical component of romantic relationships. Some busy couples find it helpful to schedule sex by putting it on the calendar. It may not be spontaneous to have it written in red ink, but setting aside time for an intimate encounter helps ensure that your physical and emotional needs are met.

Every relationship has ups and downs, but some factors are more likely than others to create bumps in a relationship. Finances and parenting decisions often create recurring conflicts, for example. One sign of a problem is having repeated versions of the same fight over and over. In such cases, psychologists can help couples improve communication and find healthy ways to move beyond the conflict.

You don’t have to wait until a relationship shows signs of trouble before working to strengthen your union. Marital education programs that teach skills such as good communication, effective listening and dealing with conflict have been shown to reduce the risk of divorce.

Tips How to Prevent Divorce

All couples go through periods when they feel distant and disconnected to each other. There are times when many question the future of their marriage and wonder whether they will end up contributing to the ever-increasing divorce statistics.

Advice on How to Prevent Divorce

If your husband wants a divorce but you don’t, check out our ten tips to prevent divorce and get your marriage back on track.

  1. If your spouse wants a divorce don’t despair – just one of you trying to turn things around could well be enough. Try to agree on a period of time before any action is taken to commence divorce proceedings. Give yourselves the chance to consider your future together. Use this time to take vital steps to re-engage with your spouse and re-vitalize your marriage; see examples of the things you can do in our tips below.
  2. There’s no time to waste; don’t focus on the things that your spouse may have said or done to the detriment of your relationship; instead look inward. Especially if you are the only one making an effort to salvage your marriage, consider what action you alone could take to lessen the tension and increase the affection.
  3. There are many of our articles that include this point but we make no apologies for mentioning it again! It is simply something that is so easy to improve upon and can become a powerful tool in your marriage repair kit! This tip is simply to think about how you speak to your husband= could you improve the way you communicate in your marriage? Could you brush up on the content, tone and language you use when speaking to your spouse?
  4. Be considerate – think about what it is that your husband most needs from you – do you provide this? What could you do to give your husband the basic emotional support he needs? Time, attention, affection, sex… what does your relationship currently lack that you could make more of an effort to provide?
  5. Many couples discussing martial issues during counseling talk of recurring arguments. The same issue, if left unresolved, can raise its head again and again. Just imagine how much better your marriage could be if you dealt with this issue once and for all. One powerful way to tackle this issue is to identify the triggers of regular arguments and consider the different things you could do to remove them.
  6. Redefine success – when you get into a fight don’t focus on winning. The aim of the game is to agree not to win; so try to refocus on finding resolution instead of victory. Just this shift of mindset, this redefinition of what you want to achieve, can take the heat out of arguments and facilitate swifter agreement.
  7. Reconnect physically – sex is an important part of marriage; if your love life has become a chore or nonexistent, research ways to revive your intimacy.
  8. Listen to your spouse and then listen some more. If your husband wants a divorce you need to understand why; don’t second guess him – give him the opportunity to explain how he is feeling and why he sees divorce as the only solution.
  9. Once you understand the situation consider what to do – perhaps this is the time to consider putting some difficult issues behind you; to forgive and be forgiven, to make every effort to move forward in a positive way. Pick two or three achievable things you could both do to make a big difference to your marriage.
  10. Be realistic; there are no quick fixes. Saving a marriage takes time and a lot of effort.

If you have been wondering how to prevent divorce then we hope these marriage advice tips will help you. Some couples want to work on their marriage together but at times it is just one half of the couple who wants to make the effort to put things right.

Preventing divorce is not impossible. If you succeed in doing so you may actually end up with a stronger marriage than you had before because you have taken the time to work out the main issues that have been pulling you apart.

Marriage Problems and This Solutions

Marriage problems are everywhere!

You can read them in magazines and blogs, overhear them from fellow commuters and get the low down in forums and even Facebook statuses!

1.    Communication

Problem: If your discussions regularly end up turning into conflict then you are likely one of many couples experiencing bad communication in your marriage. Your poor communication could be due to one or both of you aiming to win rather than resolve the fight.

Solution:  One simple thing you can do is to remind yourself that your overall aim is coming to an agreement; use that to frame how you approach areas of disagreement. Simply getting in a more positive mindset can go a long way to influencing how you interact with your spouse.

Unhealthy communication habits are a major cause of marital problems and taking steps to improve this key area can make all the difference.

2.    No Time for Each Other

Problem: So many couples today have crazy schedules and without real effort on both sides it can be all too easy for ‘couple time’ to slip off the agenda.

When you are cramming so many activities into your day you can easily give the maintenance of your marriage a low priority.

Lack of time together slowly loosens the connection and emotional intimacy between couples. You are in danger of losing touch with what is going on in each other’s lives and not having the opportunity to share or show you care. This can become a critical situation as there is the very real danger of one or both of you seeking this support elsewhere.

Solution: Prioritizing your marriage by scheduling in time together is the simple answer. It doesn’t have to be anything major; just sharing a cup of coffee at the end of each day and getting into the habit of sharing your news and views  – it’s a great way to feel closer to each other. Ideally though it’s best to find a way to nurture your friendship and unwind with quality time out perhaps taking up a joint pastime or simply ensuring that date night doesn’t get cancelled!

3.    Driving Each other Crazy

Problem: It’s very common to hear couples complaining about their spouse’s bad habits. Over time many couples become complacent in the way that they behave.

Bad habits include snapping, nagging, criticizing, not listening, not taking the time to compliment or appreciate your spouse, arguing over petty things and so on. The less of an effort one partner makes the less likely their spouse is to try too, so the issue can get worse and really start to erode the relationship.

Solution: Get out of the bad habit rut! We have two suggestions for you:

If you are going to take action alone, try to listen to how you interact and reflect upon what could be improved. Focus on your own behavior and not that of your spouse otherwise you are likely to make things worse not better! Consider if you could take any action yourself that might actually reverse the downward spiral.

If you and your spouse are going to work on this together try to come up with two or three changes you would each like your partner to make. Be sure to make the initial issues easy to achieve so that you can get in some quick wins. Try to keep up some momentum and set new goals. By achieving the simpler improvements you will have demonstrated what can be achieved as well as made improvements in your relationship. Next you need to tackle some of the more challenging habits.

Marriage is dynamic and making just small changes really can have quite major results. Reminding your spouse how much you appreciated that morning cup of coffee or miss the compliments he used to give you – just mentioning all the little things that went such a long way but have now fallen by the wayside – really could give your marriage such a boost.

Stop Fighting in a Relationship!

Stop and Think

You just had a fight. You’re fuming, mad, feeling restless, unfocused, hurt, sad, and/ or guilty. Part of you wants to show your anger by giving the silent treatment or go back and get the last word without holding back. However, there is a voice inside telling you that it’ll just make things worse. Although you are angry now, you love your partner and you hate fighting. It’s such a bad feeling.

Understand and Forgive

Relationships, especially marriage, is about loving another unconditionally. It is about learning how to love someone for who they are, not for who you want them to be. Giving and love go hand in hand. It is easier to give to one another when you feel good and have positive feelings towards the other. However, when you run into a bump in the road, it’s OK if you trip and fall down as long as you get up again. In every marriage there are arguments and hurtful words said. It is important to realize that each of you feel that you are right and more hurt than the other.

Give- Fill your Love Bank

Every relationship has its ups and down. What makes a marriage stronger and more able to weather any storm is what we give and contribute to the relationship when things are running smoothly. The harder you work to solidify and strengthen your relationship with your spouse when things are good, the more it will be cushioned by the blow, meaning, the less the relationship will suffer from a fight or any tension put on it.  This is called the love bank, discussed by PAIRS. Like a money bank in which we deposit money so to a love bank we deposit love into our relationship so it is there for us to use, especially when we most need it.

Find What Works

When my husband and I are getting along, I feel close to him, loved and safe. I still need to make a conscious effort not to take the things that he does for granted. I try to compliment him for putting dishes in the sink and thank him for driving one of the kids somewhere. I say I love you several times a day. I try to make his day easier by making him coffee, serving him supper, giving him a massage, and demanding less of him after his day of work. What works in my house may not work in yours and vice versa. The daily schedules, energy levels, and dynamics are different in every house. The trick is to find what works for you.  As long as you know you are doing your maximum to contribute and give love unconditionally.

Give Love at Times of Anger= Love Unconditionally

When you are angry with each other, all those kind, loving things that you do are very important at times like these. I may argue that giving love at times when it is so much easier to give anger is even more important because it shows how much your love is unconditional. Doing something kind and giving to the one you love at a time of anger has immense power. Imagine! Just try it! – Even if it’s the last thing you want to do right then. Instead of throwing the cup across the room, make your partner a cup of tea or coffee. Pick up something for them from the drycleaners instead of refusing to wash their clothing.


Your Goal- Always Strive to Strengthen the Love and Closeness in Your Relationship

When a couple manages to get through those tough times, by giving to each other, they not only know how to get over the bump in the road, but it is transformed into a path uphill leading to a path above the original one, more glorious than what they were on before. They have managed to be closer now after their fight than they were before.

Give and fill your love bank. When things get tough, negativity might make withdrawals, but the love that you have put into your marriage will overpower. With unclenched fists and wiped away tears, you will open your heart without being afraid to give and give more and more. Before you know it, your love bank will be fuller than ever before and with great happiness, your relationship with your partner will flourish.

If you want to learn how to stop fighting in a relationship try out some of the points above and see if you can turn things around for the better.

Reviving Marriage

Maintaining personal health requires work — exercise, good nutrition, rest and regular checkups. No one teaches us that the same kind of maintenance is also necessary in order to keep a marriage alive. Love between a parent and child is unconditional. Love between a husband and wife is not. As divorce statistics would indicate, an untended marriage falls apart too easily. The good news is that there are ways to make a marriage survive, and better yet, thrive.

Do any of these symptoms sound familiar? If so, it’s time to revive your marriage by following this program.

  • Make the marriage your priority, not an afterthought. Set aside regular time to be alone with your partner. If kids are in the picture, hunt for a “network” of trusted babysitters. There are plenty of activities that you can do for free — a long walk, star gazing or window-shopping are all simple pleasures that can bring you closer together.
  • Resuscitate your romance. Remember how the sparks flew when you first met? It’s probably not too late to rekindle the embers. Surprise your spouse with a homemade Valentine (any day of the year!) and a bottle of champagne. Light up the bedroom with candles, or put a love note in his briefcase.
  • Accept what you can’t change. Much marital strife is caused by the belief that you cannot be happy in your marriage as long as you must live with your partner’s bad habits or imperfections. Have you noticed that no matter how much you gripe and moan, these things don’t change? Rather than trying to control what you can’t, work around his quirks and focus on the positive.
  • Be attractive, inside and out. “Married” doesn’t have to mean complacent. Continue to learn and experience new things, and share these with your partner. Eat right, exercise, rest and make the most of your appearance. Doing these things is taking good care of yourself, but it’s also a way of showing your mate that you want to be your best and share yourself with him.
  • Improve communication and negotiation skills. Being a good listener is key to healthy communication. Even if you don’t agree with what he’s had to say, empathize with his position. This will open the door to more effective conflict resolution. If you must be critical, convert criticism into a request for behavioral change by stating it positively. Most important, apologize when you are wrong.

There are no marriages made in heaven. But by devoting time and energy to reviving your marriage, you’ll once again feel your relationship pulse beating strong and steady.

Happy Couples

They might be 30, or 75. They come in all colors, shapes, sizes and income brackets. It doesn’t matter how long they’ve been together. Whatever the demographics, when you see a happy couple, you just know it!

How do these couples stay in love, in good times and in bad? Fortunately, the answer isn’t through luck or chance. As a result of hard work and commitment, they figure out the importance of the following relationship “musts.” Because few couples know about all of the musts, I think of them as the relationship “secrets.”

Happy Couples and Their Secrets:

1. Develop a realistic view of committed relationships.

Recognize that the crazy infatuation you experienced when your romance was new won’t last. A deeper, richer relationship, and one that should still include romance, will replace it. A long-term relationship has ups and downs, and expecting it will be all sunny and roses all the time is unrealistic.

2. Work on the relationship.

An untended garden develops weeds that can ultimately kill even the heartiest plants. And so it is with relationships. It is important to address problems and misunderstandings immediately. Some people believe good relationships just happen naturally.

3. Spend time together.

There is no substitute for shared quality time. When you make a point of being together, without kids, pets and other interruptions, you will form a bond that will get you through life’s rough spots. Time spent together should be doing a shared activity, not just watching television.

4. Make room for separateness.

Perhaps going against conventional wisdom, spending time apart is also an important component of a happy relationship. It is healthy to have some separate interests and activities and to come back to the relationship refreshed and ready to share your experiences. Missing your partner helps remind you how important he or she is to you.

5. Make the most of your differences.

Stop and think: What most attracted you to your partner at the beginning? I’ll almost guarantee that it was exactly the thing that drives you most insane today. Take a fresh look at these differences. Try to focus on their positive aspects and find an appreciation for those exact things that make the two of you different from one another. It’s likely that your differences balance one another out and make you a great team.

6. Don’t expect your partner to change; but at the same time give them more of what they want.

If both you and your partner stop trying to change each other, you will eliminate the source of most of your arguments. At the same time, each of you should focus on giving one another more of what you know the other person wants, even if it doesn’t come naturally.  If you do both of these things at once you’ve got a winning plan!

7. Accept that some problems can’t be solved.

There may be issues upon which you cannot agree. Rather than expending wasted energy, agree to disagree, and attempt to compromise or to work around the issue. Two people cannot spend years together without having legitimate areas of disagreement.

8. Communicate!

Lack of communication is the number one reason even good relationships fail. And here is a useful format for doing so, especially when dealing with incendiary topics: Listen to your partner’s position, without interrupting him or her. Just listen. When he or she is finished, summarize what you heard him or her say. If you can, empathize with your significant other even though you don’t agree.

9. Honesty is essential.

You may share with your partner the things he or she doesn’t want to hear. Better this than to have him or her doubt your honesty. Mistrust is one of the key deal breakers in relationships. And once trust is lost or broken, it can take a very long time to re-establish it in the relationship. The happiest couples are the ones where honesty is as natural and every day as breathing.

10. Respect your partner, and don’t take him or her for granted.

Treating your sweetheart with respect is likely to get you the same in return. When you say, “I love you,” pause for a moment to really mean it. And don’t be afraid to express your feelings of appreciation with your partner — he or she will be thankful that you did.

Making these secrets an integral part of your relationship won’t be easy. In fact, your efforts may initially seem like planted seeds that never come up. If you maintain your efforts, however, you will likely reap what you sow.

Romantic Dinner

You’ve had the coffee date and the movie date. Now you think it’s time to invite sweetie to your place for dinner and perhaps dessert.

This may be over-prescriptive, so feel free to use and not use these ideas as you see fit.

Choose an evening when both of you are likely to be fresh. Yes, typically that’s Saturday night but there’s no law against a weekday night or even Sunday brunch.

Choose a menu that will feel romantic but not require slaving in the kitchen while HoneyBunch is there  Sample:

Prawns with cocktail sauce

Champagne/sparking wine. If you don’t have champagne glasses, dollar stores usually have them for, yes, a dollar.

A salad: My favorite is baby lettuce plus tomatoes, blue cheese, and croutons or candied pecans. Drizzle with oil and vinegar. Hint: Don’t use cherry tomatoes: squirting risk.

Dessert. Store-bought is fine as long as it presents well. Again, choose something that requires no kitchen time when GuestyPoo is there. Examples: Trader Joe’s Chocolate Ganache Torte or vanilla ice cream topped with fresh berries.

Set the table in advance. Cloth napkins and tablecloth are impressive although nice placemats and paper napkins are fine. A single rose and/or candles may be perfect or too much. Trust your gut.

An hour or more before your partner’s arrival, put the champagne in the refrigerator or, for chilling in a half hour, the freezer.

A half hour before, make the salad and cover with plastic wrap.

Put out the prawns (which of course have been refrigerated before) and cocktail sauce (store-bought is fine) on a serving plate. Place it where you’d like the stand-up first part of the conversation to take place. Typically, that’s on the kitchen counter or bar.

Adjust the lighting so it’s not too bright but not so dim that you look like you’re trying to get to dessert too quickly.

Five minutes before arrival, put on soft music. If it’s a CD, put it on replay, so you don’t have to keep alert to it ending.

When your partner rings the bell, take a deep breath. You’re prepared, so now your job is to be fully present: make frequent eye contact and listen well.. Some people when nervous run off at the mouth. Don’t.

Give Snookums a welcoming hug: not too much, not too little. Don’t rush things.

If your guest has a coat, wrap, or umbrella, ask, “May I take that?”

Give your partner the space to initiate conversation. Listen well. At the first lull, ask “Champagne?”

In another minute or two, walk TweetiePIe to the prawn plate or bring it to him/her.

Continue the conversation. Remember, you should be talking 30 to 50 percent of the time. Really listen with your ears and body language.

After 15 to 30 minutes, at a lull, ask, “Ready for salad?” If you wish, offer more champagne.

Online Dating

Whenever someone asks me how I met my wife, I proudly say, “Online!” But of course, I think to myself… Where else would one meet up with one’s significant other nowadays?

Using online dating services are far more efficient than other methods of dating. Getting set up by friends or family is purely a hit-or-miss proposition. While well-intentioned, friends and family often don’t really know us half as well as they think they do. We don’t often share all of the intimate details of our lives, our likes, dislikes, hopes, and dreams for the future with everyone. So people can get somewhat biased ideas of what we’re like, because they only see what we’re like with them.

Office romances, while convenient, are often fraught with possible problems, danger, and role conflicts. Meeting people randomly at bars or in bookstores or other interests such as hobbies is pure chance. While appealing to our romantic, impulsive side, you’re better off throwing darts at random names within a phone book. There’s nothing efficient or really, fun, about spending countless hours drinking in a bar looking for supposed “Mr. Right.” Chances are he left with the woman just before you.

Online dating allows you to get to know the person you may want to date long before you ever actually have to date them! How cool is that? Most people communicate a great deal by email or IM first, before talking on the phone. You’ve spent time reading their online profile, which includes not only their likes and dislikes, but hopes, dreams, reading and movie preferences, hobbies, shoe size, and in some cases, annual income. While these things vary in importance, they provide a fairly accurate snapshot of a person (or at least as much as they want you to know).

Online dating puts the hassle, stress and pressure of dating on the back burner. You take your time and go at your own pace, because there will always be hundreds of possible partners for you in the huge online databases that exist. New people are always signing up! There’s no need to hurry because there will always be people who are compatible with you and your needs available. It’s just a matter of finding them.

Once you start dating people through an online dating site, you already know a lot about the person when you go on your first date. That doesn’t mean everything will always go smoothly, or that every date is going to be one with Ms. Right. But it does mean that you can relax your guard a little and stop worrying about providing and getting information from the other, or discover that every hobby or interest you like, he abhors. Instead, you’re starting out on common ground with a lot to talk about and a lot to enjoy.

With so much less pressure on each date, online dating allows love to take root and more fully bloom far more easily than other methods.

Online dating may still seem a bit odd to some people, but then again, those folks have discovered the secret of it. You have, or are considering it, and for that, you’re already a step ahead of many others. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride.

Ways to Determine a Relationship’s Break up

There are a few key areas to assess both about yourself and about your partner when you date and begin to edge toward coupling up or even marrying.  Keep your eye on these points. They are important. This doesn’t mean your relationship needs to be perfect, but do watch for patterns and trends over time.

It is not unusual for people to waste months and even years with someone while all the time sensing that the match is not a good one. It is not productive or pleasant to be in a situation where you are always second guessing yourself with doubts about the longer-term viability of a relationship.

Generally these four factors cause people to eventually break up, divorce or stay miserably together.

1. Do you want the same things?

Love is, of course, powerfully seductive. However, a boat load of seduction won’t stop deep frustration from setting in if you and your partner do not want the same things over the long term. Notice if you are able to talk about what you want in the future and if your partner is also able to do so. Then see how similar or dissimilar your visions are. You do not need to be identical—variance keeps life interesting. But look for how you are alike or different in big ways. Do you both want to live in a similar geographic area? Do you both want children or do you both not want children? Are you both homebodies or does one of you prefer a high level of social stimulation while the other is introverted? Do you both want demanding careers or a more relaxed lifestyle? Believe what your partner tells you about him/herself.

2. Can your partner express himself/herself?

When talking about your days, your sexual desires, your future desires or even your vacation desires, can you and your partner mutually express yourselves? Does your partner shut down when you bring up emotional material? When you ask questions and try to get to know the other in a closer or deeper manner, do they distract with another topic? Take note if they do. If you and your partner can’t openly express yourselves and feel safe doing so, emotional closeness will move out of reach.

3. Do conflicts inevitably turn toxic?

Of course early on conflict may be quite minimal. And for a while everyone is on their best behavior. But over time do you find that when you and your partner disagree one or both of you goes to a mean place? When people call each other names, engage in character assassination, blame the other for their problems, or become verbally/physically abusive, their thought processes are impaired. When that is the case, people stop growing, couples stop growing.

4. Can you be your real self with your partner?

The best thing about long term commitment is having someone who knows you inside and out and loves you anyway. Notice if you are putting on an act with your partner or if you find yourself consumed with saying the right thing or doing the right thing in their presence. Notice if your partner is able to let his/her guard down with you. When one or the other member of a partnership has a perfectionistic underpinning, then the other member feels a need to rise to this impossible expectation. Over time, being perfect becomes exhausting and you may start to wonder why you are in this relationship. People stay with friends and romantic partners for the long term when they feel comfortable being themselves in the presence of the other.

There are specific strategies that will help you to take a clear-eyed look at the health of your relationship. If you are in a relationship but can’t quite accept that it’s not working, consider reading my workbook, Breaking Up and Divorce-5 Steps. Often when you examine a situation from a new angle, breaking up becomes slightly less painful because you learn to trust that you are doing the right thing for yourself.

Ways to Show I Love You

Yesterday, I was upset because so many of my efforts to connect with people about my recently published memoir had fallen on deaf ears or, more likely, into overstuffed email boxes. I sat across from my husband at lunch and cataloged the names of those who had failed to respond to a personal, carefully written email. The frustration of reaching out into the ether and being ignored was getting me down. My husband tried to cheer me up by offering a different point of view.

I was a graduate student when the pioneers of what became “cognitive behavior therapy” laid down their first principles. Learning theory provided foundations; Albert Ellis’s Rational Emotive Therapy, an approach; Aaron Beck, a new take on depression as being rooted in dysfunctional thoughts. Michael Mahoney added free association and other mental interventions to classic behavior therapy; Donald Meichenbaum came up with “cognitive behavior modification” as a label for the new integrative approach. Arnold Lazarus folded in techniques from Gestalt and other therapeutic modalities as he articulated principles for “multi-modal” therapy.  They all emphasized the power of perspective to alter emotion and, therefore, belief and subsequent behavior. Research supported the fact that thoughts can drive emotions as well as emotions evoking thoughts and that either can influence behavior and its evolution.

What does any of this have to do with showing love? How we respond to distress in someone we love needs to address their point of view before we interject our own.  We must listen carefully, be open to multiple perspectives, and consider the match of our responses to the current emotional state of the person receiving them.

  • Our loved ones have at least three sides to them. Which one is expressing the concern? We all carry with us fears and joys we experienced as a child, skills and competencies we learned as adults, and a capacity to judge where we have been and where we hope to go, as a parent might guide us into our futures. Is the concern based in the magical global thinking of the child, the barriers to problem-solving being faced by the adult, or a larger notion of “should” that may need revision given the world and times we actually live within?
  • What is the underlying, unspoken concern being conveyed? Most messages have a subtext. Is the concern about being lovable? Being powerful? Being competent? Being connected? Fill in the blank. What hot button is your loved one telling you is blinking?
  • Is there an easy transition to a more mature way of viewing the situation?  Once the feeling-state is validated, a person can move on to other perspectives. What impact is possible? Are there other solutions? Can the problem itself be redefined?Why is acknowledging different points of view a way to show love?
    • It accepts that the loved one is a complex person. Acknowledging all sides of the self can show acceptance, negating reactions of shame or impulses for defensiveness or hiding. It allows the loved one to share rather than muzzle less competent-feeling sides of the self and thus experience safety in confiding without risking scolding or judgment.
    • Ultimately, you can be a partner rather than a critic and help the loved one solve his or her problem that underlies the distress — or at least address its immediate trigger. No, there was no magic bullet for writing more effective emails to people I wanted to reach. But I could learn to take being ignored far less personally. After all, in today’s times, we are all deluged with far more demands and requests and information than we can possibly address. It’s not personal nor necessarily permanent — and it isn’t even global, because those people I do reach at the right moment do indeed respond.