Your task is not to seek for love but to seek out and find all the blockages within yourself that you have built against it. — Rumi
When an editor and I were brainstorming for a title for my next book, a guide for marriage-minded single women, she stopped me in my tracks, suggesting: “Marriage Is a Miracle, and Doing the Work to Make It Last Is Hard Work.”
I don’t think so about the hard work part because couples who are well-matched do not need to keep working on their marriage to keep their relationship sound.
In a good…
Nothing is permanent about our behavior patterns except our belief that they are so. — Moshé Feldenkrais
I learned about the Feldenkrais method at a two-day workshop at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California, in the mid-1970s. A hot spot for the human potential movement, a featured nude soaking in co-ed hot tubs near a row of outdoor massage tables at which naked masseuses kneaded naked bodies. Also, mixed-sex volleyball games where everyone was, yes, naked.
In this seemingly “anything goes” environment, about twenty-five of us spent the better part of two days in comfortable clothes, lying on mats…
Love at First Sound — on Audiobooks and Marriage
Have you noticed how good relationship skills tend to apply across the board? Spouses who communicate well in their marriage probably also relate well to other people. As for those whose interactions with their partners are troubled, they may be experiencing similar difficulties when interacting with family members, friends, coworkers, and others.
For example, spouses who don’t yet know another way to deal with concerns may silently stew and let resentment build, instead of respectfully discussing issues positively, may behave similarly with coworkers. …
Therapy or Life Coaching — Which is Better for You?
Life coaching has been viewed by some as an alternative to therapy. Actually, coaching was one of many cognitive behavior therapy methods I learned to practice in graduate school. Thirty years into my career as a psychotherapist, I coach clients toward achieving their goals when they’re likely to benefit from this approach.
Certainly, neither coaching nor psychotherapy has a monopoly on traits such as wisdom, intuition, kindness, and empathy. Practitioners in both disciplines may be good listeners, supportive, and encourage clients to set goals. …
Telephone or Video Therapy: Helpful During the 2020 Pandemic?
By Marcia Naomi Berger, MSW, LCSW
In today’s shelter-in-place world, it’s not just people with compromised immune systems who are at risk. The anxiety about contracting the coronavirus, paired with the inability to relieve stress by going to most places and events that aren’t now available, is increasing the severity of psychological or emotional conditions, such as depression, anxiety, relationship issues, and other personal challenges for many.
Consequently, even in this short time, there’s more risk of substance abuse, suicide, domestic violence, and moving toward divorce. …
Professing love is easy. Practicing love takes courage.” — Brené Brown
“What about cohabitation?” a radio show host asked me recently, “Can’t a couple simply live together in a marriage-like arrangement and reap the benefits of marriage without its complications?” Can this really happen?
Why People Choose to Cohabit
Here’s how some folks explain why they chose to cohabit with no plan to marry:
Harold, 58 and divorced: “I don’t want the government involved in my relationship.”
Laura, 30, who lives with her boyfriend and their two-year-old son: “Everyone I know who got married is divorced. …
Have you heard about the 5:1 ratio for a good marriage? Marriage researcher and psychologist John Gottman found that happily married couples have five positive interactions or express five positive feelings for every one negative emotion or interaction.
Positive conversations and interactions include showing interest, asking questions, being empathetic, and showing affection. Negative ones include complaining, criticizing, and expressing angry or hurt feelings.
Are you already applying the magic ratio? If not, you can turn things around by making it a point to ask your partner, “How was your day?” telling him or her what you liked about the class…
“I don’t know how to stop being angry at him,” said Ellen during their sixth couple therapy session. “For the past seven or eight years, I’ve felt neglected and unimportant to him. He takes too long to do a chore and acts annoyed when I remind him. We’ve had sex less than once a year.”
I admire Ellen for owning up to how hard it is for her to let go of a long-lasting grudge.
Like most couples under siege, she and her husband Phil waited over six years to seek professional help. Ellen’s complaints include: “he doesn’t initiate sex…
By Marcia Naomi Berger, MSW, LCSW
I don’t know about you, but I don’t like being told when I’m supposed to feel happy, generous, and loving toward absolutely everyone. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not a Bah Humbug Scrooge sort of person. I just want to be me, meaning to be happy and generous when I’m feeling that way in my heart, not when prescribed to be, well, saintly.
Enter the holiday season: Thanksgiving, Chanukah, Kwanza, Christmas, and probably others that may be beneath my radar. Whatever we celebrate or don’t, we’re bombarded with messages that promote goodwill toward all.
We all want to feel valued. When we feel appreciated, we’re more likely to cooperate, collaborate, and deal constructively with issues that arise. This is true for any relationship, and especially for marriage.
It’s easy to take a spouse’s fine qualities for granted. Yet couples who remember to compliment each other often are usually much happier. For example, suppose Carmen is annoyed with her husband, Joe, for procrastinating after saying he’d do a chore. She doesn’t seem to notice when he does promptly do what he agreed to do. To fix the situation, she’s tried nagging, calling him lazy, and…