By: Davida Brown Every so often, things with me get a wee bit out of control. I pride myself on keeping it together, especially in public, but every now and again, I lose it. And sometimes, I'm out of order. Thankfully, during those times, my husband, the love of my life, my boo thang, my man with the master plan, "checks" me. So what is this "check" me thing, you may be thinking. Well, here's what it's not. It's not taking control of me. It's not patronizing or belittling me. It's not a, "you'd better do x, y, and z." It's not a, "why are you so emotional and over the top." Each of those things would be a big no no, and likely send me over the edge when I'm in this state. Rather, it's a straight-up assessment of the situation, the relevant facts, and what needs to happen on my part to move forward or beyond the issue whether I like it or not, or want to hear it or not. And when the hubby gives me that when I'm in my "wee bit out of control state", yes, he's "checking" me. Here's a recent example. A couple weeks ago, I picked up my 1-year-old son, Grant, from daycare and he had multiple scratches and bruises on his forehead and nose. It was clear he had fallen while playing, but I was perturbed. Why was he running on the concrete? Was anyone watching him? Toddlers fall all the…
By: Abigale Hassel Are you a mind reader? I am not talking about the people you meet at the carnival. Mind reading, according to Beck (1995), is a cognitive distortion in which one believes he knows what someone is thinking and reacts accordingly. Another component of mind reading is believing that someone should know what you are thinking and you become upset when one does not. This type of thinking can cause annoyance, frustration and even anger within a marriage and it can certainly cause communication difficulties. Imagine this scenario. Your spouse had a hard day and he or she comes home in a bad mood. He or she is irritable, not very talkative and not very affectionate. If you are mind reading, then you are thinking this behavior by your spouse has something to do with you. You start to become very upset. You may start to tell yourself awful things like, "He must be mad at me" or "maybe he is falling out of love with me." You ruminate on these thoughts, get yourself very upset and perhaps you either put up a wall of defense or you initiate an argument solely based on your negative emotions. Meanwhile, your spouse is an innocent person who has no idea why you are so upset. I had a client, whom I will refer to as Alice. Alice had voiced her frustration about her husband time and time again. She often complained about how he never communicated his feelings, how he…
By: Abigale Hassel Do you and your spouse fight a lot? Does that concern you? I will tell you what I tell my clients. Fighting is not the problem. It is how you fight that may be the problem. It is normal to have disagreements within a healthy relationship. You and your spouse are not always going to agree on things and that is fine. What is not fine is when the fighting becomes hostile, mean-spirited or filled with anger. Often, I have couples say to me, “We fight all the time about such stupid things!” My response is usually, “You are not fighting about what you think you are fighting about.” When we are not honest about our feelings or when we do not deal with resentment the minute we feel it, we are allowing anger to grow and poison the relationship. Not only is fighting fairly ok to do, it is actually essential for the relationship. Here are some basic rules to fighting fairly: Rule #1: Identify what is truly bothering you. In order for your spouse to address whatever it is that is bothering you, you must own your feelings and be honest about what you are feeling. A lot of people are afraid to confront their spouse because they are often met with defense and they are afraid of having a fight. If you suppress your feelings, they do not go away. They tend to find their way out some other way. So, that knockdown, drag…
By: Davida Brown When I was a little girl, I loved all the princess fairy tales. Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty…I couldn’t get enough. Each time the Prince arrived, I’d clap with glee. He was always so dreamy and knew exactly what to say to melt the Princess’ heart. And, honestly, he melted mine. He seemed perfect in every way. I longed for the day when I too would meet my Prince and we’d ride off into the sunset, destined for a life filled with sunshine and blue skies. As I grew up, I realized that fairy tales are just that. Not reality. Yes, I eventually met my Prince. Yes, he was dreamy. Yes, he said all the right things. Yes, he melted my heart. But that’s where the similarities ended. My husband is my Prince, but Perfect? No. And me, Perfect? Uh no. Our relationship, Perfect? Absolutely no. After we tied the knot, did we start a blissful life together? You already know the answer. I recently read an article about marriage wherein the author questioned whether marriage is overrated. The author talked about how so many marriages fail, how couples aren’t really willing to put in the work to make the marriage thrive, how most marriages just coast along. Ultimately, the author concluded that most couples eventually discover that while marriage has benefits, it’s overrated, and for many, not really worth all the effort it requires. As I reflected on the article, I couldn’t help but think back…
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