Coping with Change

Stress often comes in the form of change to our lives.  Therefore, it is very important that we learn how to “get a handle” on change so that we can roll with it rather than be rolled over by it. Stress can literally run you over!  Did you know that researchers are finding out that emotional stress is associated with increases in heart disease as well as other stress-related illnesses such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and fibromyalgia? Life can and will change in unexpected ways.  About the time you are getting used to a routine and feel you are
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Categories: Stress and Transitions / Change.

Fireproofing Your Marriage

“Never leave your partner behind” is the tagline for the newly released movie “Fireproof.”   This movie depicts a young married couple experiencing total marital meltdown.   While the couple (Catherine and Caleb Holt) are fictional the problems they face are all too common.   Furthermore, the way they fight over these problems and how quickly they consider divorce is all too common as well.   How their marriage is rescued is the main story in the movie. Let me set the stage for you.  Caleb is a captain in the town fire department.  Catherine works in public relations at the local hospital.  Married
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Categories: Marriage.

Don’t Take Life for Granted

Taking something for granted means that you assume it will always be there.  On the whole it’s very easy to take several things for granted living in the United States; running water, telephone service, electricity, food on the store shelves and the like.  Even other “developed” countries can’t always keep these services going like we do in the U.S.   Because we consistently have so many amenities, there is an assumption they will always be there when we need them.  So then if the electric goes off for several hours, we can panic and think we can’t survive without it –
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Categories: Mental Health.

In-Laws: A Vital Pillar of Support

In the “crazy-in-love” days of dating through the honeymoon period, most people don’t give much thought to the impact that their spouse’s parents can have on the marriage. The truth is though, with all other things being equal, in-laws can make or break a marriage.  More specifically, the husband or wife’s relationship with their in-laws and whether or not the in-laws support the marriage are very important factors in marital satisfaction and stability.  These truths have been supported in research by sociologists and marital experts. So in-laws have much more to offer than comedic relief in “Everybody Loves Raymond” or
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Categories: Marriage.

FIRO for your Family

Based on research and experience, it’s not just Aretha Franklin that wants R-E-S-P-E-C-T, its every one of us! We are wired to be social.  In social relationships, there is an essential human need to feel loved and respected.  A theory developed in 1958 by Will Schutz really spells out these needs in practical terms.  This model for relationships is called the Fundamental Interpersonal Relations Orientation, or FIRO for short.  I have found this model to be very useful for helping people transform troublesome relationships into more satisfying ones. FIRO suggests that the basic ingredients of any interpersonal relationship are acceptance,
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Categories: Mental Health.

The Gift of a Father’s Presence

Father’s Day is coming soon.  What kind of present have you picked out in celebration of Father’s Day?  In regards to common Father’s Day presents, Bill Cosby is quoted as saying “Fatherhood is pretending the present you love most is soap-on-a-rope.”  I have not yet received soap-on-a-rope from my kids, but I’ll be happy when I do.  My happiness will come from knowing that my kids were thinking good thoughts about me when they picked out a gift or made me a picture. I don’t recall any particular present I gave my father on Father’s Day, and I guess that’s
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Categories: Parenting.

Traits of Healthy Families – Part 4

This is the fourth installment of a series exploring 15 traits of healthy families, identified by Dolores Curran as vital to family success.  Traits nine through 12 will be covered in this column.  The four traits we’ll examine this month all have to do with boundaries.  In every family, there are physical and relational boundaries.  Healthy families are those that; 9) share responsibilities, 10) have a sense of right and wrong, 11) respect the privacy of one another, and 12) admit to and seek help with problems.   These traits have to do with boundaries between family members, the boundaries of
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Categories: Family.

CARP: Couples Acquiring Relational Principles

In families, the most important relationship is the mother-father relationship.  You’ve heard it said that “happy parents make happy kids?”  It’s true.  The stability of the family rests on the mother and father (or parent and stepparent) maintaining a strong and healthy bond.  Every so often, this column will be devoted to providing information that is designed to enrich the couple relationship.   This month, I want to share a couple of important relationship skills.  The first is called “Sharing Withholds,” and the second is “The Habit of Happiness.”  Both of these skills were taught to me by Dr. Les Parrott,
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Categories: Marriage.

Lessons from the Love Lab

Some very compelling research on marriage has emerged from the University of Washington in the last few years.  Psychology professor John Gottman and his team of researchers have developed a lab the press has dubbed “The Love Lab.”  In their laboratory which is set up like an apartment, Gottman and his fellow researchers observe couples as they interact.  They see it all; the good, the bad, and the ugly interactions that can take place in marriage. Each partner’s stress levels are measured several times a day through heart rate monitors, stress hormone levels, video monitoring, blood pressure, and interviews.  This
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Categories: Marriage.