Why do you have sex?

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There was a fascinating article in the Wall Street Journal recently about what motivates couples to have sex and how the motivation impacts their relationship.  The article explains that “new research from the University of Toronto shows that the reasons why partners have sex in the first place also significantly affect marital satisfaction. And a person’s motive for making love tonight may make a difference to the health of his or her relationship months from now.”  The researchers narrowed 237 motivations for having sex into two categories 1) to achieve a positive outcome i.e. feel closer to my partner, and 2) to avoid a negative outcome, i.e., avoid conflict or avoid guilt.

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Inspirational Quote: Meant to Be

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photo (1)Sometimes we are lead to believe that if we have a healthy relationship we will not fight, we will be able to avoid contention at all times, we will always be there for each other, and our marriage will always feel strong and secure.  As we learn about and strive for values of love, respect and unity in marriage, (valuable attributes indeed) we can at times feel like if we don’t have those all of the time then we are guilty of something terrible.  We may feel we aren’t good people, we aren’t Christlike, or perhaps we put the blame on our spouse.  Are there really couples out there that go through a lifetime of marriage and don’t feel strain at some point or another?  I would like to meet them.  We all encounter struggles and at some point in the life of a marriage the vast majority of us will feel that our ship is sinking, or has already gone down.

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9/11 – The Quality of our Relationships Impacts Our Capacity to Heal

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Visit 911day.org to pledge
your good deed.

Where were you when you learned about the attack on the World Trade Centers and who did you call first?

I imagine most of us, regardless of how far we were from New York City or Washington, D.C. on September 11, 2001, remember exactly who we called first.  We most likely talked soon with those who were near and dear to us.  I remember feeling so vulnerable that day.  I was living in Salt Lake City, Utah and the first person I remember talking to was my new found love of my life who was living 30 miles away in Provo.  When crisis hits our instinct is to reach out to our attachment figures.  We seek connection.  We seek comfort and safety…which is what a secure attachment figure provides.

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Conversations for Connection – October 18-19 & November 9

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Click image for more details.

I’m again looking forward to a wonderful weekend in October.  Seems far away now, but it always comes fast once the groove of Fall gets going.

On October 18-19 we will be hosting Part I of the Hold Me Tight Program in McLean, VA.  If you don’t yet know much about Hold Me Tight read on.  For 25 years Sue Johnson has been researching marriage based on the framework of adult attachment theory.  Through her research she created Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples (EFT).  The results have been powerful in proving it’s effectiveness.  EFT is the most researched model of couples therapy.  Sixteen rigorous studies show consistently high positive outcomes in 8-20 sessions.  In 2008, Sue published her first pop culture book called Hold Me Tight – Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love.  Then she created the curriculum for The Hold Me Tight Program.

Date Night – Friday, September 13

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I’m really excited for our date night.  Here are some details in case you are wondering:

What’s the plan?

7:00 – 8:00 p.m.        Relationship education and tools for connection
8:00 – 8:30 p.m.        Couples break for some guided application in a private setting
8:30 – 9:00 p.m.        Regroup for discussion
9:00 – 10:00 p.m.      A brief dance lesson and dancing

Book Review: Parenting From the Inside Out, by Daniel J. Siegel

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Parenting From the Inside OutParenting From the Inside Out by Daniel J. Siegel
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have only read 3-4 chapters of this book, but I am loving what I am getting out of it. This is a great book for all parents to read. It helps you examine your emotional world in relation to your child, which I find key to any successful attachment/relationship. I think this is one that I’m going to want to spend some real time with.

I love that there are exercises at the end of each chapter. Here are a few samples:
1. Think of an experience from your own childhood where your reality was denied. How did it make you feel? What was happening to your relationships with your parents during that experience? p. 94
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Book Review: Man’s Search for Meaning

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Man's Search for MeaningMan’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This really is a must read for every one who lives and breathes. It was interesting to read it as a therapist. I was expecting something more like a self help book, but was intrigued to find it to be a cross between that and a description of a model of therapy (though leans heavily toward the former). I could relate it to my work with couples as often as we work through their struggles we are looking for the “meaning” in their relationship and finding that meaning carries them through their struggles together. It is why couples stay together through so much pain and conflict and gives them the motivation to work through it and stay together.

I was moved by his description of his emotional connection to his wife. Here are a few of his quotes about love that touched me:
“My mind still clung to the image of my wife. A thought crossed my mind: I didn’t even know if she were still alive. I knew only one thing–which I have learned well by now: Love goes very far beyond the physical person of the beloved. It find its deepest meaning in his spiritual being, his inner self. Whether or not he is actually present, whether or not he is still alive at all, ceases somehow to be of importance.

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Acceptance, Tara Brach, and the Brain

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Soon you’ll be seeing a guest post on a blog called Doe a Deery about acceptance.  (Here it is.)  I talked about how acceptance is a verb…which simply means that in order to really know if we have acceptance deeply rooted in us we need to look at ourselves and see if we practice it day to day.  I listed ways in which we act when we are practicing acceptance and those which indicate that we aren’t.  Take a moment to look them over.  Here you can read more about what to do when you catch yourself in some of the behaviors listed.

What is love, anyway?

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The other day I read a sad, sad description of love in this article (which ironically, is about my beloved city of Chicago…to me the cold is just a testament to it’s awesomeness…“the largest American city that deals with negative-twenty-degree wind chills on a regular basis.”  It has to be really awesome to draw so many people despite the weather…it is and it does.”)  Scroll down 14 paragraphs and the author describes Lacan’s view about how “love is inherently narcissistic: the result of our constant desire to locate ourselves in the desire of another person.”  She goes on, “Here’s the cruel part. The other—the one we love—always recedes in front of us. We chase it/him/her and it/him/her gets further away, or, in the very best scenario, remains only the same distance away.”
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