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Playing and laughing together as a couple
is a basic need that brings couples together.
When couples have a lot of fun together they identify each other
as a source of pleasure and safety,
which intensifies the emotional bond and partners
connect to each other on a deeper level.
A useful and fun tool to move towards each other
is to begin to write love notes to each other.
It is going to feel strange at first to start writing notes to each other.
The only way to change this feeling is to begin the new behavior
and do it often enough so that it begins to feel familiar and therefore safe.
Take some time in your marriage or relationship
to share your thoughts and feelings about your partner.
Commit to a period of time, even if it causes anxiety.
The anxiety will subside and the caring exercise can
become a comfortable, reliable tool for growth.
How wonderful to look forward to get notes
from the person you love!
Get yourself healthy.
If you are healthy, you can do anything,
the future is yours.
Working on yourself is the answer.
Self discovery is such a delicious life adventure.
At last we can discover how healthy it is to look within.
We can finally put aside the curtains of fear and pride
and find out who we really are.
At least we can give ourselves the gift of truth and grow.
My journey of peace and serenity begins with me.
I can use my faith about trusting myself, to look within,
and seek my answers there.
Perfectionism never happens in a vacuum.
It touches everyone around us.
We pass it down to our children,
we infect our workplace with impossible expectations,
and it's suffocating for our friends and families.
Thankfully, compassion also spreads quickly.
When we are kind to ourselves, we create a reservoir of compassion that we can extend to others. Our children learn how to be self-compassionate by watching us, and the people around us feel free to be authentic and connected.
Self compassion can change your entire day.
Self compassion has three elements:
self-kindness, common humanity, and mindfulness.
Self kindness is being warm towards ourselves when we suffer, fail or feel inadequate, rather than ignoring our pain or flagellating ourselves with self-criticism.
Common humanity recognizes that suffering and feelings of personal inadequacy
are part of the shared human experience--
something we all go through rather than something that happens to 'me' alone.
Taking a balanced approach to negative emotions so that feelings are neither suppressed nor exaggerated we use mindfulness.
We cannot ignore our pain and feel compassion for it at the same time.
Mindfulness requires that we are not "over-identifying" with thoughts and feelings, so that we are caught up and swept away by negativity.
Most of us are trying to live an authentic life.
Deep down, we want to take off our game face and be real and imperfect.
There is a line from Leonard Cohen's song "Anthem" that serves as a reminder to me when I get into that place where I am trying to control everything and make it perfect.
The line is,
"There is a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in."
So many of us run around spackling all of the cracks, making everything look just right,
we forget the beauty in the cracks.
It reminds me that our imperfections are not inadequacies;
they are reminders that we are all in this together.
Imperfectly, but together.
Pregnancy and childbirth usher in the third major task of marriage expanding the cozy circle created by two people to make room ---psychologically and physically for the baby and the growing child while safeguarding their privacy as a couple.
This task requires taking on the new identity of parent and
subordinating one's own needs to those of the infant.
Amazingly, our culture takes it as a given that this process will go smoothly,
Nothing could be more misleading.
The wish to be a parent springs from powerful identifications with one's parents and one's childhood fantasies. The little girl who holds a doll in her arms and the little boy who learn to his sorrow that he will never carry a baby in his tummy find upon becoming parents, that the real baby requires a level of care and devotion their fantasies could never anticipate.
The baby's needs, absolute and imperious as they are, soon yield to the noisy demands of toddlerhood and the elementary school years; then parents must guide their teens through the crises of adolescence and the shady back and forth phase of young adulthood.
Carrying out these complex tasks inevitably has an impact on the marriage, either weakening or strengthening the marital bond.
Each spouse now regards each other differently --- as a mother or father and also as a friend and lover. But it is the lover and friend that need replenishing at this time.
The children's love for mom and dad is often passionate and can do wonders for parental self-esteem, but it does not fill either parent's need for adult love and friendship.
The hectic drama of raising a child takes place against a backdrop of immense psychological change and growth in both husband and wife. As the children grow up, parents relive their own childhood experiences, fears, early conflicts, and joys; so enables them to connect emotionally with the child.
"I remember," says the mother, "that I, too, believed a wolf lived in the basement."
"I remember," says the father, "how scared I used to be on the playground when
the bully threatened me."
As each parent encompasses the child and the child's experiences in a newly
reworked sense of self, he or she grows psychologically.
The parent is challenged by the new generation to consider and,
if necessary, to define the values to be passed on."
The Good Marriage ~ Wallerstein & Blakeslee
I have a quiet place within me
where I can rest today.
I have a quiet place where I can go
that offers peace,
comfort and healing.
It is as close as this moment
...as close as a breath.
This place is mine
whenever I want it.
By building togetherness and autonomy means putting together a shared vision of how you want to spend your lives together ---
constructing the psychological identity of the marriage as an entity in itself.
The 'we' in the marriage moves from 'me' centered as are adolescents and young adults. The person at this young age is mostly interested in establishing their identity separate from their family of origin. Building the new identity of a marriage requires a shift from the "I" centered of the emancipated young adult to a solid and lasting 'we' of the marriage.
At the same time the 'we-ness' has to include room for the autonomy of each partner.
'We-ness' gives marriage its staying power in the face of life's inevitable frustrations and temptations to run away or stray.
It also gives the partners a sense that they constitute a sovereign country in which they make all the rules. People cannot usually choose what time to go to work or school, but they can determine what goes on inside their marriage. Within the civilization they create, they can exert true control.
In a good marriage the new identity is built on a solid foundation of love and empathy.
Each partner must learn to identify with the other, and both together to identify with the marriage. As part of this task of creating the 'we' each partner experiences a change in conscience and moral sense. What is good and what is fair within the relationships is no longer formulated in terms of "what is best for me." The couples decisions reflect consideration of what is best for one partner and what is best for the other partner and what is best for the balance for the marriage.
Creating the identity of the marriage is only half the task.
The other half is maintaining autonomy and establishing distance between the partners in the marriage, allowing each a space that is private and protected from intrusion by the other and even from intrusion by the marriage.
Differences must be acknowledged, allowed for, and even welcomed.
Togetherness has its counterpart in individuation.
Closeness has its necessary counterpoint in flexible distance.
Paradoxically, it is out of this push-pull of autonomy and togetherness that the couple acquires a sense of good emotional, moral, and cognitive fit.
To achieve this state both partners take responsibility to make their own wishes and needs known and both must agree what is fair in the relationship.
It works if both partners agree on the well being of the marriage, and making the 'we' as more important than the separate desire of either partner.
The Good Marriage
Wallerstein & Blakesless
Marriage is a laissez-passer, a passport to travel in tandem on life's journey.
Even if the bride and groom have been partners for some time,
they are never fully prepared for this journey.
Thinking about the road is not the same as moving down it.
Couples need to take along appropriate luggage and leave behind
any emotional baggage that will encumber them on their trip.
To decide the direction in which they will travel is so important and which way will they travel. Will it be by car or by air? Will it be the fast lane or the slow lane? How much money and what kind of provisions are available? What pace is most comfortable, and where are the stopping places? How will a couple deal with the bends in the road and with sudden landslides that temporarily block their paths?
Today the road maps of their predecessors are unreliable because
the landscape and the destinations have changed.
The first task in any first marriage --- romantic, rescue, traditional, or any other type ---
is to separate psychologically from the family of origin
and simultaneously create a new kind of connectedness with the parent's generation. These intertwined tasks, seemingly in opposition, are mutually necessary.
Psychological separation means gradually detaching from your family's emotional ties.
It does not mean driving across the country in a volkswagon bus or taking a three year assignment in the oil fields of Saudi Arabia.
And, it doesn't mean just sharing an apartment with someone you love.
It doesn't even mean getting married and having children --- for you can do all of that without separating psychologically from your original family.
To have a good marriage, you must establish an independent stance and be able to rely on your own moral judgment and your own ability to make choices.
Most of all, you must shift your primary love and loyalty to the marital partner and your primary focus to establishing a new family.
The emotional shift from being a son or daughter to being a wife or husband is accomplished by internally reworking your attachments to and conflicts with your parents.
Good Marraige Wallerstein & Blakeslee
Wanting is the urge for the next moment to contain what this moment does not.
When there is wanting in the mind the moment feels incomplete.
Wanting is seeking elsewhere.
Completeness is right here, right now.
I won't be happy as long as I am wishing for something else.
I will not be satisfied with a relationship,
or with a friendship
if I am waiting for the other person to change.
I loose my power
and give it away to them
to change my joy,
define my moments in life.
When I can do this myself.
As well, I loose the power
over the beauty of this moment, this day.
When I accept
what I have
and what I am
and what I see,
in this moment,
I am fully alive.
In this moment
I feel the joy of knowing
that it is all that there is right now.
And that is o.k.
I can bring great peace and great joy
to my day
by being in each moment.