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Category Archives: Marriage

The Toughest Week of the Year For Relationships

25th December is the start of the last week of the year. For many relationships, it is also the toughest week of the year. The strong energy field of ‘tradition’ that surrounds Christmas, combined with the poignant ‘Auld lang syne’ of New Year’s Eve make people assess, question and argue.

If your relationship has hit a rocky patch, here are three tips to smooth your way through the remaining days of 2014.

1. Take time to choose your words. There’s a saying about ‘the sped arrow and the spoken word’ – you can’t take either back once they are released. If you’re feeling stressed, wait before you speak.

2. Don’t make rash decisions. If you’re feeling irritated or uncomfortable about an aspect of your relationship, remind yourself that relationship dynamics get magnified in the family-ar context of Christmas. This isn’t a good time to make decisions about your relationship or partner.

3. Breathe kindly. This is of utmost importance. By breathing kindly you bring kindness to your own body and mind. This automatically softens any discomfort.

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Posted by on 23/12/2014 in Love, Marriage

 

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Have the Unromantic Conversations

For romance to thrive in long term relationship you need to have those unromantic conversations. About money, alarm clocks, the thermostat on the central heating. The problem is that we confuse romance with the structure of relationship. We think that those ‘hard’ conversations might kill romance. The truth is that they are simply different aspects of relationship.

The reality of daily life is the container which holds the delicate and nourishing fluid of romantic love. If the container leaks, the fluid drains away. Refusing to have the ‘hard’ conversations creates cracks in the container. Whereas honest discussion and clear agreement about how you arrange your daily life creates a solid container.

Those conversations are distinctly unromantic. Sometimes they’re uncomfortable; sometimes confrontational. But they are the fire in which a solid container of relationship is forged. They create clarity and build trust. They require honesty. They make you work together as a couple to find solutions that work for both of you. Clarity, trust, honesty, togetherness….these conversations create a strong relationship in which romance can thrive.

 
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Posted by on 05/12/2014 in Marriage, Romance

 

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Let’s Talk About Death

Well its one of those topics isn’t it? Like Money or God. Or Sex. We don’t like to talk about it because its loaded.

But in long term relationship, sooner or later, you have to talk about loaded topics. Actually many couples manage to avoid the talking, but they can’t avoid the experience.

Sooner or later someone close to you or your partner is going to die. I believe that grief is a private matter – possibly the most private of all emotions. Because of that, people handle grief in very individual ways.

This is where the trouble starts. Some people want to be left alone with their feelings. Others want to talk and cry and be held. I call this a ‘sharing threshold’. How much do you want to share and how much do you want to mourn privately?

In the depth of grief its hard to articulate how you want to be supported. Your partner is left guessing, says the wrong thing and it lands as crushingly insensitive and uncaring. Its one of those pivotal moments in relationship that can cause long lasting damage – not through anyone’s fault, but because emotions are heightened.

Let your partner know what your sharing threshold is, and to find out what theirs is.

If you can talk about this before the situation arises, so much the better. Its uncomfortable to bring up the subject of death but its worth it.

Ask the question, ‘How would you want me to support you at a time of grief?’

Now, because death is taboo, a lot of people won’t have an answer, simply because they haven’t thought about it. That doesn’t matter. Asking the question will get both of you thinking about it.

You may not have an answer till someone passes away and are in the throes of grief. But if you start the conversation now it will be easier to revisit when its a real experience.

 
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Posted by on 09/07/2014 in Marriage

 

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The Year’s Toughest Week for Relationships

We’re entering the year’s toughest week for relationships.

If you are in a challenging time in relationship, these three keys will help you have smooth sailing in your relationship over Christmas and New Year.

1. Take time to choose your words. There’s a saying about ‘the sped arrow and the spoken word’ – you can’t take either back once they are released. If you’re feeling stressed, wait before you speak.

2. Don’t make rash decisions. If you’re feeling irritated or uncomfortable about an aspect of your relationship, remind yourself of this – relationship dynamics get magnified in the family-ar context of Christmas. This isn’t a good time to make decisions about your relationship or partner.

3. Breathe kindly. This is of utmost importance. By breathing kindly you bring kindness to your own body and mind. This automatically releases tension and puts you into a clearer, calmer state of being.

With love.

 
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Posted by on 23/12/2013 in Marriage

 

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Please don’t stop touching each other

Not so long ago a client came to me who was deeply unhappy in his marriage.

A short while into the conversation he said that he and his wife had not had sex in many years. A few questions later he said, ‘The truth is, we haven’t touched each other in years. We don’t even hug any more. It all just stopped.’ And he cried.

When he’d spoken about the other ‘reasons’ for the marriage not working he was sad, distressed, frustrated. But with this there was a deep loneliness in his voice. We’d hit the core of his misery. The practical and even emotional problems paled into the background. The physical loneliness of no-touch was worse.

It made me think about the importance of touch. Increasingly, I’m convinced that loving (or any positive) human touch is regenerative – emotionally, mentally and physically. I’ve written before about how couples can become lazy in long term relationship. Please don’t get lazy with your bodies. Touch each other lovingly, again and again and again.

 
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Posted by on 01/10/2012 in Love, Marriage, Sex

 

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What makes a good marriage?

I recently heard the father of a bride talking about marriage. He said that there are two things he and his wife recommend for a happy marriage.

The first is, ‘Keep talking things through. And listen. Because the listening is powerful in itself. Secondly, be kind to one another.’

I was particularly struck by, ‘Be kind to one another.’ I’ve heard a lot of people advising ‘forgiveness’ or ‘understanding’ as important ingredients in a marriage. But  I think kindness works better.

I’ve always felt uncomfortable with the notion of forgiveness being important in marriage. It assumes that you have the right to forgive. It also has a sense of squaring things up, or wiping the slate clean. Its transactional and cold. Kindness is larger and softer and more inviting.

‘Understanding’ seems plain ridiculous. Human beings do un-understandable things all the time. Especially in relationship. But kindness doesn’t require understanding. It requires allowing the other person to be un-understandable. Its larger and softer and more inviting.

What do you think are the key ingredients of a good marriage?

 
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Posted by on 03/09/2011 in Love, Marriage

 

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Getting married won’t fix it

I’ve had two conversations this week which have surprised and saddened me. The gist of both was the same – I was speaking with people who believed that getting married was the solution to relationship problems. It makes no sense – how does binding yourself legally to someone resolve pre-existing discontent? And why would you bind yourself legally to pre-exisisting discontent?

‘But at least then we’ll be committed.’

‘Well, if nothing else it’ll make his parents happy if he was married.’

‘And she’ll feel better once she’s settled down.’

Aaaarrghh! I couldn’t believe I was hearing this. Had I timewarped to the 1950s? How is it possible that in 2011, people are still willing to commit to misery?

On reflection, I realised that at the heart of this ill-logic was the deep seated belief that being married is the holy grail – not only of relationship, but of the wider fabric of a person’s life. It was almost existential – grasping at the confetti, not to provide happiness but to secure a committed discontent.

I think the braver and happier option is to dive into the dynamics of the relationship. There will be gifts of passion wrapped inside the discontent. The outer form of relationship will follow naturally.

 
 

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