Last week, I wrote about the value of listening to your child when she struggles with a challenge. I reminded parents that trying to solve your kid’s problem is not always a good idea—they lose out on a problem solving opportunity. I know it’s hard to do. Our natural inclination is to want to “make it better”. But sadly, even most child-sized problems can’t be kissed away.
But the same thing is true in adult relationships! Joe doesn’t understand why his wife Mary doesn’t want her grammar corrected. Why, doesn’t she want to improve her language skills? She feels insulted and he feels hurt. How can Mary think that he wants to slight her?
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Turning 40 is a big birthday. The worst thing you can do is give your partner a surprise 40th birthday party! It heralds a new decade that “20 something’s” think of as “getting old”. I remember when I was growing up in the 60s we talked about “never trusting anyone over 30”. We were the original wise guys!
My 40th birthday was great! I was about to move to this terrific new place, Seattle, and I was starting a new adventure in my life. I finally felt more secure in my profession. I was enjoying my children, who were a little older, and required less heavy lifting. It was a good moment in my life. Read more »
Why is it so hard to listen to what our kids are telling us? Why is that we want to tell them what to do, how to do it, and what not to do? It just seems so clear to us in the moment. Stop yelling! Stop bothering your little sister! Clean up your mess! Don’t worry about what your friend did! You’re so messy! You’re always tracking mud into the kitchen! We have a long list of “to do’s” and an even longer list of “don’t do’s”.
But all too often, these prescriptions fall on deaf ears. Our kids just don’t get it. How come?
I am always drawn back to the work of Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish. They are the authors of—How to talk so kids will listen and how to listen so kids will talk. They have managed to simplify their approach even further and recently re-published a book—How to be the parent you always wanted to be. I love that title. It says everything we hope for as a mom or dad. Their slant is simple, but unfortunately very hard to do. In the difficult moments, everything we learn flies out the window. Read more »
I have been home for two weeks, having spent another week with my elderly mom in Florida. When I was there, I arranged for around the clock care and helped her get stronger. I was her cheerleader, encouraging her to move her body. She was able to walk down to the dining room, unassisted, with only a walker! Sadly, the day I left, she contracted a 24-hour virus, which in her frail state, set her back. In the last two weeks, she has continued to slide downhill. When the social worker from hospice called, I knew that her condition was deteriorating. Her condition has slowly declined.
Most of my mother’s aged friends could not understand why she entered hospice. “Don’t you want to live? Don’t you want to get better?”—they asked. Most adults think of hospice when someone is close to the end from cancer. They think of it as a way of dying at home. Read more »
If you’re like me, you have been glued to the TV watching the Olympics these last two weeks. I always feel a letdown after the closing ceremony. I love the ice-skating, the alpine skiing, and the crazy snowboarding events. Now that it’s over I can finally get to bed at a reasonable hour!
It’s wonderful to see these young athletes pouring their heart and soul into their sport. They seem almost superhuman as they glide across the ice, fly down the mountain, or race across the finish line. They have spent years preparing for just a few moments of airtime, training, practicing, and enduring all kinds of hardships. They (and their families) have made huge sacrifices to compete at the highest level. Read more »
According to Eli Finkel, (New York Times, February 14, 2014, The All-or-Nothing Marriage), there are two opposing views. One camp believes that the high divorce rate is a reflection of the lack of commitment and a decline in moral character in the United States. The other group thinks that the high divorce rate reflects greater freedom and respect for individual choice. Which one is right?
Consider the following: the divorce rate has been relatively stable since the 1980’s at around 45%, and intact marriages report lower marital satisfaction overall. At the same time, researchers have found that adults with the most satisfying relationships also report the highest personal well-being. There is little doubt that there is high correlation between marital satisfaction and happiness (or unhappiness). Indeed, marital problems correlate very highly with adult depression. I see it every day. Adults with big marital problems are in rat’s alley. Read more »
Perhaps you were disappointed on Valentine’s Day. Mary was hoping that her partner Joe would organize a romantic dinner at their favorite restaurant followed by a romantic evening. But all he did was buy a small bouquet of flowers. She acted pleased, but inside, she felt let down. Bob was expecting a romantic card, but only received a peck on the cheek. He was definitely disappointed.
I wasn’t disappointed on February 14th—and I didn’t receive anything! I had just returned from a trip to Florida helping my 91-year-old mom during her recovery from a heart attack, and I was dog-tired. I wasn’t really geared up for a romantic Valentine’s Day. Diane could see that this was a good day to keep things simple. Read more »
The causes seem obvious—too little time, too little energy, not enough sleep, too much time on the Internet or too much to do. All these reasons seem to be adequate explanations for couples that are having a sexual drought. Or at least not having sex as much as they might like.
A recent article in The New York Times, “Does a more equal marriage mean less sex?” by Lori Gottlieb (February 6, 2014) raises another possible cause—one that is hard for me to wrap my arms around. The author notes that according to the most recent census, 64% of couples with young children, both partners work. It’s hard for families to manage on one income. The net result of an increase in two working parent families is that there has also been greater sharing of traditional male-female roles. More men are participating in car-pooling their kids to soccer, making dinner, doing dishes, and mopping floors than ever before! Woo hoo! Read more »
Trust and goodwill are the fuel for healthy relationships. It’s very important to have confidence that family members and spouses are honest with each other. But what happens to a relationship when your relative or spouse betrays your trust? How can family members heal? How do these infidelities impact intimate relationships?
I frequently hear about husbands or wives who run up huge credit card bills or who have big gambling losses that they hide from each other. Mary, an impulse shopper, had credit cards with $10,000 balances that her husband Joe didn’t know about. One day, he found out accidentally, when he received a call from a credit card company. He was shocked. He had no idea that Mary had a secret life. Read more »
A day doesn’t go by where one social scientist, reporter, or self-help guru doesn’t pass judgment on this simple idea—we are entitled to happiness. Yet this simple notion turns out to be quite complex. And like many simple things, elusive.
Since 1972, social scientists at the University of Chicago have surveyed Americans on this subject every other year. For the last forty years, roughly 1/3 of Americans say they are “very happy” and half report being “pretty happy.” Only about 10-15 percent typically say that aren’t too happy at all (A formula for happiness by Arthur Brooks, New York Times, December 14, 2013). So it appears that most Americans consider themselves happy.
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