2 of the Most Serious Problems in Your Marriage (And They Happen Before You’re Even Married)

There are the difficulties of developing relationships with your new in-laws and learning how to handling fighting with your soon-to-be spouse. The list goes on and on but I want to get back to my 2 concerns.

The first, and to me as a Marriage and Family Therapist for many years, the most serious, is about expectations. If I had a dollar for every time a young woman or man or an older woman or man said to me, “My wedding is going to be the best day of my life” I’d have an awful lot of dollars.

I’d like to break this sentence down. “My wedding (a single event) is going to be the best day of my life.” If that were to turn out to be true, and based on what couples tell me after their weddings are over, it almost never is true even at the time, then what does that say about your hopes of happiness for the rest of your life? Apparently, these people think it’s all downhill from the wedding. Putting such pressure on a single day, a single event causes tremendous stress on everyone to try and make everything perfect, and we all know nothing is ever perfect.

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According to GoodTherapy.org, quoting a book by R.S. Miller (2011) called Intimate Relationships, couples site constant pressure, criticism and opinions from others as sources of substantial stress when planning a wedding. They also indicate that finances, and expectations for perfection (unattainable) are equally stress-producing per H.T. Reis, Rusbult, C.E. (2004) in his work “Close Relationships: Key Readings. N.Y. Psychology Press

Why does this concern me? Because when perfection is not achieved, depression and self-criticism often sets in. I see couples come in and feel deflated. They had such high expectations for their wedding day and then there were problems. The band wasn’t as great as they’d thought. The food was too cold. The flowers were wilted. The guests didn’t seem to have much fun. And even when all these things went really well, many couples feel let down after the day itself. I believe this is because reality has now set in and the real work of being married and learning to live with someone else and be committed to that person forever feels overwhelming. So many brides and grooms feel doubt. Did they pick the right person? Why aren’t they feeling all tingly and excited anymore? Can they really stay with only one person for the rest of their lives? Coming from such a high as the perfect wedding expectation back to the real world is a roller coaster ride and can be quite devastating. If couples had realistic expectations for their wedding day it would make for a much smoother transition.

 

Continue Reading Here Via My Huffington Post Blog

3 Dating Deal-Breakers: How to Know if He or She is the One

Bad Relationship Signs in Oprah.com has an article titled “Dating Deal Breakers: 8 signs We All Overlook.” The author, psychologist Terri Orbuch, wrote a book called “5 Simple Steps to Take Your Marriage From Good to Great.” While I don’t agree with all her eight signs as being deal-breakers, I do agree with one.

2015-09-28-1443402645-1352840-imgres3-thumbIn my over 30 years working as a marriage and family therapist with couples, I have found that if couples don’t listen to each other, and really hear what their partner is saying, it is a prelude for disaster.

Many men will hear a woman complain about some problem she’s having, perhaps at work, and rather than showing empathy for how she’s feeling about it, they just want to quickly come up with a solution to fix it. While well-meaning, this is not helpful and not a good pattern to start off with in a relationship. If a guy is doing this on the first few dates, it’s probably not going to get better.

Continue reading here via The Huffington Post

One Sure Thing Guys Can Do to Make Sex Better

Yes, there really is one thing that is a surefire way to make your sex life better. And the surprising thing is that it doesn’t have to do with sex at all.

Unlike my other posts where I refer to different experts and references, this post has only one expert …me! As a state-licensed therapist with over 30 years experience, I have given this piece of advice often and seen it work with thousands of individuals and couples who have come to me.

Are you ready for this secret magic tip? Pay attention – here it is!

Be creative out of bed. Yes, sounds like a simple thing to do and it really is if you’re willing to put a little time and thought into it. To help you understand what I mean, I’m going to give you a few examples I’ve suggested to couples and have seen work wonders.

Think about the first place you kissed your partner (this works equally well with girlfriends and spouses). Maybe it was at your local beach at sunset. Go back to the beach and find a lovely shell. Clean it up and take it to one of those frame places where they can place it in a clear acrylic box (it’s glued in place) with some sand you’ve brought back from the beach. When it’s done, you have a lovely paperweight to give her as a reminder of that first kiss. You will score many brownie points for this.

Continue Reading Here via the Huffington Post

3 Ways to Put the Fun Back Into Your Sex Life — One May Surprise You!

(Sampled from my official Huffington Post blog)

Sex is about a lot of things, sometimes different things to different people. Despite many years of working with couples of all ages, races, and personality types, I am still amazed by how much the meaning of sex can vary from person to person.

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That being said, most people seem to want some similar outcomes from their sexual relationships. Jordan Gray, a relationship coach, says that all people want to feel loved and to feel safe. He believes a war is being waged against women’s self-esteem, sexuality and safety from a very young age. I would agree with him.

Because women have so many dis-empowering messages being sent regarding their sexuality, they need to have a safe space where they feel they can trust their partners.

While I believe that men also need to trust, because they are generally the aggressors in our society they feel less of a need for safety.

Mr. Gray also feels women need to feel seen, to know that you hear them and are aware of their emotional states. Men need to understand that this doesn’t mean they are asking to have you fix their problem, but just to understand their feelings. Of course, women want to feel sexually desired. Men want this as well…..

Click HERE to read the full blog post –

Single or Married – Do Women Have a Choice?

There is a new book out (which I haven’t yet read) by Kate Bolick called “Spinster: Making a Life of One’s Own”.  The author’s background is impressive.  She is a contributing editor to The Atlantic, a freelance writer for Elle, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and other publications. Also, she is single.

I read an article about the book in The Washington Post and a couple others as well.  What I found so interesting is that this woman who is clearly very successful and quite attractive has found it very difficult to make a choice to be single.  I completely understand this, as it is a topic I indirectly deal with in my book, “Sizzle”.  I believe that our culture, even in 2015, still puts heavy pressure on women to grow up, find a man and marry, and then to have children.22696026-Break-up-ending-relationship-between-husband-and-wife-Couple-in-divorce-crisis-Man-woman-unhappy-hol-Stock-Photo

While this is a perfectly acceptable route to take if it is what one wants, my experience as a psychotherapist has taught me that many women, if not most have never really chosen this.  They followed the path shown to them by family, friends, Church or Synagogue, and society at large.  Few women I have come across at any age have really examined their own lives and feelings to determine what they felt was best for them.  Many marry and then a few years later, or in some cases, many years later, come to me saying they feel empty and unhappy and not in control of their own destinies.  They look back to the time they married, and feel they had no choice.  They would have been looked down on, ostracized, for picking a future as a single woman. They cite fear of a future by themselves and pressure as the reasons they married.

Many women have told me they fell in love with their husbands, but now realize that they could have lived together for a while and then gone their separate ways.  They did not have to make a lifelong commitment and end up angry and unfulfilled.  They say that they wanted to travel, see the world, and explore different parts of themselves that the boundaries of married life and children did not allow.

 Ms. Bolick tells us about five women from literary history that were her inspiration.  Each took her life into her own hands and pursued her own dreams.  She discusses how single women have changed their role in society’s order, and how much this role is determined by political, economic and cultural conditions in the society at any given time.

imgresI am not seeing enough independence of thought and decision among women today and it bothers me. While they have made great strides in the workplace, expectations for them by men and our culture seem to be stuck where they were a hundred years ago.  There is clearly still a stigma to being an unmarried woman into your thirties and beyond.  People try to “find someone for you” and encourage you “not to give up” as though your singleness is an illness or a blot on your desirability.

People seem unwilling or unable to recognize that this might be a choice a woman has made because she wants the freedom of this kind of lifestyle.  They also don’t seem to understand that choice is a fluid thing, not stagnant.  You can choose one thing at one point in your life then choose the opposite later.  There are also many choices in between.  A woman can be married, single, live with someone else, live alone but be in a relationship, or she can have an affair.  I am not making any judgments about these choices, merely stating that they exist in the real world.  They are options apart from marriage.

The choice (or lack of it) about marriage is closely connected to choices about sexuality.  Women have allowed themselves to be put in structured roles as to their sexuality.  As a result, I see many very confused women who are embarrassed, ashamed or angry with who they are sexually.

We are sexual beings.  It is a major part of our identity.  If we are taught to deny it, how can we feel like complete human beings?  How can we have the confidence to give ourselves to someone else physically?  How can we feel really free?

Finally, it’s not about being a single woman or a married woman.  It’s about having the freedom and strength of character to make your own choice.

Art Imitating Life or the Other Way Around?

I saw a very lovely movie Sunday night – 5 to 7 – written and directed by Victor Levin.  In addition to being really well-written (always a joy to a fellow writer) it was a very interesting and somewhat personal movie for … Continue reading

Question

When you’re unhappy in bed with something you’re partner is doing or isn’t doing, how long does it take you to say something?

Quote of the Day

“A woman has to live her life, or live to repent not having lived it.”  D.H. Lawrence, Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Happy Holidays

On this Christmas Day, I’d like to take a moment and thank all my followers who are coming along on this journey or blogging with me.  I’d also like to wish you all a truly Merry Christmas and Happy New … Continue reading

Word of the Day

Percy  –  the penis.  One of a number of personifications of the male member which include peter, dick, willie, John, and Thomas, etc.   Have you named your boyfriend’s percy?