12 Things 12 Years of Marriage Has Taught Me

Hubs and I are escaping reality for a few days to celebrate our Anniversary this weekend. In thinking about all I need to do before disconnecting and dumping the kiddos with Mimi I have been thinking a lot about what I’ve learned about marriage thus far. Sure, I specialize in relationships and couples therapy, I have read lots of books, been to many conferences and work with relationships every day.

But what have I  learned about marriage and myself in the past 12 years?

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Silence is NOT Golden!!!!

Silence is not golden…I repeat….Silence is not golden!!!

Well Said!

One of the best pieces of advice I ever got came from an old friend of mine. It came during a difficult time in my marriage, and was in response to the question: Do I continue in a relationship where my needs are not being met and my words fall on deaf ears time & time again?  It proved helpful and has guided me in relationships ever since.

“In any relationship (professional or personal), you must tell the other person what you need, want, expect, and deserve. If they rise to meet those expectations and make an effort to give you what you need, then you’ll have your answer. 

So..I did just that.

It saved my marriage.

In my work with couples and families, people often say to me…”I bet nothing surprises you anymore”. Actually, what surprises me most about humans is how little they communicate.

I’m talking NO COMMUNICATION…At all…Nothing…Zero…Nada!

Listen up people….life is messy. Relationships are messy. Humans are a lot of things, but they are NOT MIND READERS!  You may be waiting for the right words or the right time to have a difficult conversation. Guess what? There is no right time, and you may never have the right words  Stop waiting and start talking.

Do not expect others to give you what you need, want and/or expect, if you are not willing to tell them what that is!  If they make an effort to give you what you need/want and expect, they are keepers. If they don’t, won’t or can’t, at least you can walk away knowing you did everything within your power to salvage the …(marriage, friendship, business partnership), etc…You get the idea…now get to talking.

Speaking Up: What Are We So Afraid Of?

Speaking up… In my post last week on authenticity I referenced the notion of speaking up as one component to authentic freedom. Of all the 5 points I listed, speaking up seemed to bring on the most feedback. I heard things like, “I really need to work on speaking up”, “I don’t speak up enough”, and “thank you for giving me permission to speak up for myself”.

This got me thinking: What is it about speaking up – bringing voice to our feelings and thoughts – that causes so much anxiety and apprehension? I realized this is worth exploring…

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Friendship: Comes in Different Shapes and Sizes.

Friendship. What is friendship, really? According to Merriam Webster, friendship is defined as:

One attached to another by affection or esteem; A favored companion.
There are many definitions actually but I liked this one. I’ve had friendship on the brain because, well, I think about friendship, often. In a longing way. A gratuitous way. A confused way. So, I’m finding these definitions helpful in shedding a little light on what friendship is, and what it isn’t.

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small things often

John GottmanSmall things done often in all our relationships make the biggest difference over time.

John Gottman was referring to couples when talking about doing small things often for your partner to make a difference in your relationship. Small things often can also be applied to your relationship with yourself, your children, your bestfriend.

What is something small you have done lately?

 

We’re Here! And why are we doing this again?

So you might be wondering, what are we doing here? Why did we three chics decide to write yet another blog. I mean, there are plenty of blogs out there already. So why us and why now? Well, you’ll find that while we each have our own unique reason for why we choose to share ourselves with you, something we all have in common is that we recognize that no single one of us could write it all, or do it all for that matter. Sure, we have some common denominators – we’re all moms, we’re all friends, we’re all professional counselors, heck, we even all work together. But, aside from this unifying front, we are each uniquely different with perspectives that, while compatible, demonstrate the range of personality between us. So, while our hope is to create a wider community between the three of us, our mission is to show that this difference, this range in perspective is what makes all of us stronger together. We need each other, women need each other, men need each other, women and men need each other, and especially we parents need each other. Creating a shared blog is as much practical as it is purposeful. We bring more to you by being in this together, and we gain a heck of a lot more from each other than we would by going it alone. So, here’s to learning, growing, and living in community with you and with each other as we all strive to create a more Happy Mind and Happy Home.

Check back tomorrow and throughout the week to begin learning more about our contributors. Thank you for being here with us!