May 122013

Prior to getting married, Julie and I attended a session of pre-marital counseling.  I am ashamed to say neither of us remembers much from that time.  I think there was the “which animal do you see the other as” type of question.  Julie saw me as a dog – loyal, best friend and happy and I seem to remember seeing her as a cat – quiet, cuddly and having a mind of her own.  Although we don’t recall as much as we would like from that session, we did learn some key words and phrases that stuck.

The keys to a Successful Relationship, Marriage or Friendship lay in 5 words or phrases.  Julie and I do remember them today like we heard them yesterday.  We have taken time to practice this throughout our marriage.  These principles are Continue reading »

Apr 212013

Last two blogs, I wrote about how one might better chose a partner for life, for marriage.  This is a continuation of that conversation.

There are 3 crucial questions I ask all couples coming to me for pre-marital counseling.

  1. If you had a crystal ball and could see 10 years into the future and you saw your relationship was no better or worse than it is right now, today, is it enough?
  2. (Speaking to the female I ask) “If you had a daughter, would you want her to marry someone just like the person you are about to marry?  (Speaking to the male I ask) “If you had a son, would you want him to marry someone just like the person you are about to marry?
  3. (Speaking to the female I ask) “If you had a son, would you want him to grow up to be just like the person you are about to marry?  (Speaking to the male I ask) “If you had a daughter, would you want her to grow up to be just like the person you are about to marry?

If you answered no to any of these questions, a little more work or thought may need to go into the relationship. Continue reading »

Mar 312013

I had someone say to me “it was love at first sight” while in tears about where they allow that to take them.  It is important to understand many times in the beginning of a relationship we are filled with wonderful emotions.  It is often a great ride.  We may experience that “I can swim the deepest sea…climb the highest mountain” euphoria that comes with falling in love.  Some chose to marry while on that high only to wake one day wondering where he high went.  More importantly, wondering who it is they actually married.

It is important to take time to see your new love in various situations, to come to know them as they truly are.  Most people place their best foot forward in the beginning of a relationship and this is understandable.  It takes time to come to know each other.  This is true of long distant relationships as well.

Julie (my wife) and I had a long distant relationship.  We have discussed this since we married 16 years ago.  We agree we are happy we did it, yet would not recommend it.  We saw each other for a weekend about every other month or so.   Therefore we found ourselves wanting not to create or address things which needed addressing for fear of having a not so nice weekend.  I have to give Julie credit here as she was more aware of this at this time in our relationship than I.  What did we do?  Julie made a brave decision to sublet a dorm room from a mutual friend on the campus where I was studying at the time.  She was there for several weeks.  We learned a lot about each other in that time.  It would be another several months before we would become engaged.

Is this potential life mate your best friend?  In The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, by John Gottman he writes: Continue reading »

Mar 032013

I was speaking with someone not too long ago who asked me “How do you know, really know, if the person you are dating is the “right” one for you?  That is a very good question.  However, I am not sure they liked my initial answer.  The quick answer is you don’t “know”.  There is no one secret formula for knowing for a fact if someone is the “right” one for you.  That being said there are ways to increase the odds that the two of you are a match for life.

First and foremost, take a good look at yourself.  Ask a few questions like “Do I love “me”…do I respect myself and my time…could I live without him or her or better yet, do I “need” him/her or do I chose that person”?

To the question of respect, the reality is people…any person, will only come to respect you as far as you respect yourself.  Without self respect, respect of your time, energy, choices, you leave yourself open for be taken for granted.  Even worse you leave yourself open to be taken advantage of.

To the question about living with or without a person, the question of “need”; well, Scott Peck said it best when he said “It is better to need someone because you love them than it is to love them because you need them” (The Road Less Traveled, 1978).  A “need” based love will only carry you so far. Continue reading »