I just love the movie The Family Man. Toward the end of the movie, Kate and Jack, a married couple, are facing a big family decision that neither one of them can agree upon. Kate, played by Tea Leoni, says a wonderful line in the midst of a life-changing decision and disagreement between them.
Do you know what she says?
It is one of my favorite lines ever!
She says, “I choose us.”
What does it mean to choose the “US” in YOUR marriage relationship?
Choosing us does not mean that we lose ourselves or devalue ourselves as individuals. It means that we honor the unique and special connection we share with our spouse. Choosing us means our words and actions affirm and build the unique bond we share as a couple. We make our marriage a priority and show in small or big ways, that we value our intimacy through sacrifice.
Being together is an amazing gift that also comes with responsibility. A sacrifice that is intentional, thoughtful, and fueled by love, bonds...
It seems as though we would be more excited to celebrate with our spouse, rather than to focus on the negative things in life.
Am I right?
But oh, no. Not so fast!
Thanks to our fear brain, and we all have one, we often focus on what is going wrong with our life, our day, or even what is wrong with our spouse.
Ouch. That one can hurt.
Research reveals that human beings tend to focus more on the negative news in the relationship rather than taking time to celebrate the positive events.
Unfortunately, our brains are wired to focus on the negative and ruminate on what is not good, not working well, or not making us happy. Our brains tend to focus on things that could harm us, like bad news, rather than being able to stay focused or celebrate the positive outcomes, hard work, accomplished tasks, or victories of ourselves or our spouse.
The good news is . . .
We can choose to change our focus, but it has to be done with intention in your marriage!
Recognize that each day has its...
Kissing - A Boost for Love Life & Heart
When you kiss often, research reveals there is a positive impact on your body. Kissing stabilizes cardiovascular activity which can lower cholesterol levels and even your blood pressure. Kissing also reduces your experience of physical anxiety by increasing your levels oxytocin, the bonding hormone, which fosters a feeling of calm relaxation. Your heart and spouse will thank you!
Fill-Up Your Love Tank with Kisses
Have you ever stepped on a Lego?
In the dark?
On your way to bed?
IT HURTS SO MUCH! I usually scream and fall to the floor, holding my foot in my hand (maybe a bit of an overreaction, but still, it is painful).
Pain is a part of life. In the movie Princess Bride, there is a great line, “Life is pain, highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.” And truthfully, life can seem full of pain, and most often, we do what humans naturally do.
WE AVOID THE HECK OUT OF PAIN!
But what if we could face the painful past we avoid?
What if we could turn our greatest pain into our greatest progress?
What if the very thing we thought would keep us from connecting is ACTUALLY a direct pathway to deep connection?
Guess what? The good news, and maybe not so good news, is that PAIN IS OUR PATHWAY TO DEEP CONNECTION!
So you are telling me I have to face my pain? Yes. Yes, I am.
But you don’t have to face it...
Ah, spring! Don't you love it?
I love to open the windows, hear the birds sing, and breathe in the spring air!
Spring is in the air and love is in the air!
I feel the excitement all around. It is the perfect time for a spring fling, some flirtation, and an extra romantic date with your spouse!
Yet, often in our house, schedules are changing constantly, work does not stop, and clean laundry can sit in my dryer for a week. I sometimes get my priorities out of order and feel the pressure to complete tasks rather than making a plan to spend time with my husband!
Anyone experience the same struggle?
One of the issues many couples complain about is not having time together. And the truth is, especially if you have children, you DON'T have much quality time together! Even without children, life is incredibly busy.
The reality is, if we don’t intentionally plan, quality time together simply doesn't happen.
It seems obvious that...
Do you ever find yourselves as a couple getting upset over something seemingly trivial, and the next thing you know you’re in a full-blown argument wondering how in the world you got there?
We had that happen to us recently.
It was over fingernail clippers. Seriously? Yes, fingernail clippers.
But as you can guess, it was not REALLY about the fingernail clippers. I'll explain.
I (Jeff) am the kind of person who likes for certain things to remain in the same place, so I can easily find them when I need them. Fingernail clippers are one of those things, and I always keep them in the medicine cabinet. Now, it’s happened on occasion that I’ve opened the cabinet to discover the clippers were not where they belong.
I had expressed my frustration with this previously, so when I went to get the nail clippers on this particular occasion, and they were not there, I kindly asked Jessica where I might find them.
You know that’s a lie, right? I didn’t ask...
Who is to blame for the problems in your marriage?
Hint: It is not you!
SPOILER ALERT! Your spouse is not to blame either!
(...maybe this one is harder to hear, so read that again, slower now...)
The problem is NOT your spouse. I made you read it again because we all need to hear that one twice.
Now you’re thinking, "Really? Because that doesn't leave anyone to blame."
I love a good blame game too, but only if I am the one blaming. Am I right?
The truth is, neither of you is to blame. Actually, this is where you want to begin - together and on the same team, fighting THE REAL BAD GUY!
So, you might be wondering, “WHO IS THE BAD GUY?”
Disconnection is the bad guy.
I mean, disconnection is a terrible, super-villain, really scary, bad guy.
Disconnection causes the human fear-brain to light up like a firecracker because we are wired for deep connection. Studies show that disconnection actually registers...
A lot of people say they love a good fight, but I (Jessica) have a hard time watching a boxing match.
Anyone else with me on this one?
The punching, the blood, the bruising. It is too much for me.
I don’t like any of it because I seem to “feel” every well-placed blow.
I can’t imaging choosing to get in the ring just to get my face pummeled. And believe me, I would get beaten. Beaten down, beaten up, and just plain beaten.
It would be bad.
I am NOT a good fighter.
It is true in our marriage as well.
I hate to fight, and I find myself often like a deer in headlights. I panic, and my head goes blank.
We all have a way of arguing, fighting, and trying to win the emotional boxing matches that occur in marriage.
Sometimes, we deal illegal, below-the-belt blows. You know what I’m talking about. We might name call, blame, or shame.
And why is it that we FIGHT the MOST with the ones we LOVE the MOST?
You know what is certain in marriage?
Time goes by and we all change.
Over the years, we try new things, our tastes change, new things become new favorites, and we learn and we grow (hopefully).
Relationship experts agree, we need to keep learning about our spouse, even after years of marriage, in order to stay connected as a couple. Often, we assume we know things about our partner, but some of the things we think we know just might have changed.
If we stop paying attention and asking questions, we might one day find ourselves asking, "Who are you and what have you done with the person I married?"
Growing together and creating an ever tightening bond is essential in marriage.
Remember, in marriage we are either growing together or we are growing apart.
Stay curious, and continuously pursue one another in love, learning, and laughter.
You can know right now, in this moment, today (you get the picture) what your...
Some things are just perfect such as a well-written novel, a sunset, hot morning coffee, and time with those you love.
I bet you could name a few things in your life that are pure perfection.
But in over 20 years as a therapist, and an undisclosed number of years as a human being, I have never met a perfect person.
Didn’t think so.
And you know what?
Trying, or just plain pretending (I do this sometimes) to be perfect, or spending time depressed because you are not perfect (I do this one more often), steals so much time, energy and joy.
What if we stop striving for perfection and rest into perfect love?
Love is perfect because love helps us RECONNECT through REPAIR when there has been a disconnection (or...what we call in therapy, a relationship RUPTURE).
We all need repair because we all are imperfect and make mistakes.
Join the club.
We are all human.
So, if there are no perfect humans, as you might...