Over the years, I’ve seen many couples whose presenting complaint revolves around sex. Usually it’s because the sex is too infrequent, too lackluster, or at the male parter has some kind of sexual dysfunction. (I’ve only seen one case where the complaint was too much sex!) As usual, unless there’s a biological problem, the sexual relationship is embedded in the larger emotional/psychological dance of the couple. Learning about this dance, and how to do some new steps, can change everything.
Anyone who is married for any length of time knows that the relationship undergoes many transformations in the course of living together. Most of these transformations are unconscious, outside awareness, and often felt as subtle–or not so subtle–tensions between the couple. One of the most profound transformations occurs with the birth of the first child, that magic transition from a two-person to a three-person family. The unconscious contract of the relationship, that subtle “agreement” which binds the couple , undergoes one of the most important stress-tests in the life of the couple. Almost nothing tests the elasticity, the creativity, and the commitment of a couple like the act of becoming parents. Here is a case which shows how painful this test can be.
Comedian/actor Paul Scheer tells the story of how he and his wife, wanting to be “cool parents”, stepped into a bar with their six-week old son. The new parents wanted […]
All marriages have divorce built into them. Often, though, we end up re-marrying the same person. This is a powerful–and painful –process necessary for growth, both as a couple and as individuals. In this post, Dave talks about some of the dynamics in marriage that help us understand this universal phase in the life of a couple.
Tensions in marriage are normal, and unavoidable. They’re part of the price of intimacy. Problems only occur when these underlying tensions are ongoing, and not acknowledged. They are semi-buried. Children are geniuses at feeling these latent tensions; they often help magnify what hasn’t been addressed. In fact, in their own way, they may be trying to help.
Women who feel depressed often see this as a purely personal struggle, believing they have a “chemical imbalance”. They may feel burdened and alone, and responsible and/or guilty for their depression.
In fact, depression is rarely a simple personal affair. Most often, the roots of depression can be found in that person’s intimate relationship sphere, where important parts of our happiness/unhappiness live. Here’s one woman’s story of how she moved from depression to owning her own power.
Most people believe that they can’t change their partner. “My husband is the way he is,” or “My wife is that way with everyone.” They imagine their partner to be a fixed entity. They see themselves as primarily responding TO their partner, a one-way street filled with frustration. People fail to understand the most fundamental Law of Intimate Relationship Physics: Each partner changes and helps to create the other. The only question is how.
Probably the most painful aspect of an affair is the breaking of trust. Most of those who’ve been betrayed wonder if restoring trust is possible. That’s understandable. And it’s impossible to have a lasting relationship without trust. In the case of affairs, regaining trust is absolutely possible, but it comes with a price. See if you think it’s worth it.
The ability and willingness to trust in one’s parter seems to be a precondition for a healthy and stable connection. But lack of trust can be made of many things. You often have to look beneath the surface to uncover what’s behind this potentially corrosive force. It often began before the couple even met.
Many couples suffer from ongoing low-level conflict that’s like a low-grade fever. They never feel well, and never get better. Learning to fight can help break the fever and return the couple to health.
An X-ray, or CAT scan, is designed to show what’s invisible to the naked eye. An X-Ray of a couple, in the therapeutic setting, exposes the anatomy of the couple, revealing what’s beneath the surface in the relationship. Sometimes the patient doesn’t like the results.
While it’s always tricky to try to understand how someone becomes an alcoholic, stories from patients “in recovery” reveal some patterns. In this post, we get a glimpse into a couple’s therapy, where we learn what “pre-alcoholism” looks like. It can tell us a lot about some of the ingredients that go into making an alcoholic.
Here’s an inside look at what makes marriage both incredibly challenging, and, potentially, the most enriching experience of a lifetime.
Fighting is part of both healthy and unhealthy relationships. But unhealthy fighting looks different Here are two types of couples with unhealthy fighting patterns: The Disconnect and The Immovable Object.
Couples in therapy are often like the Three Bears: The temperature in the relationship is either too hot, too cold–usually not “just right”. Here’s how a couple re-set their Passion Meter.
The “Mean Dad” series continues. (First post can be found on 12/4/16). In this session, the Mean Dad reveals the emptiness he feels in his marriage. This comes as a surprise to his wife.