Wednesday, September 28, 2005
The True Cost of Divorce
This says nothing to the emotional and relational cost. That would show the true cost of divorce. An excellent resource in calculating the true cost of divorce can be found in this article.
Monday, September 26, 2005
Is It Time To Solve The Problem?
So, when the "sit-downer" pushes, the "let's not" ends up retreating further, which only leads to the "sit-downer" seeing even more need, more reason to have the sit-down. The effect is a vicious cycle where the problems get worse, the solution gets harder to come-by, and neither gets what he or she wants.
Sound like a familiar problem?
Here's the solution: Give up on solving the problem right now. Understand, I am not suggesting turning a "blind eye" to the problem. But let's face it: if you are not getting what you want from the technique you are using, it may be a good time to change the approach.
The real problem is that there is not enough connection between the two, so any conversation seems to be a threat to one or the other. And, in fact, what seems like a daunting, if not impossible problem, becomes irrelevant when things are going well.
My wife has pointed out that she doesn't care where we are going on a trip when we are all getting along. But if there is a feeling of disconnect, then somewhere that is not her favorite feels like a bad choice. When things are going well, problems shrink in importance. When there is a disconnect, then problems magnify in their importance. A minor issue becomes a major stumbling block.
An aside: I have had many people tell me they live by the idea that you should never go to bed angry. My response is that means you will be tired many mornings. What seems like something to be angry about often feels much less important after a good night's rest.
The reason I state this aside is because there is a tie-in. When our mood is low, we tend to see things from a more pessimistic and negative way. When our mood is high, we tend to be more hopeful and optimistic.
So, when we are feeling low about our relationship, we tend to be less optimistic about issues and problems, and find ourselves propelled into solving them, getting down to the bottom of things. Or we tend to want to avoid the problem all-together. Neither approach is useful.
My recommendation: set aside the problem for a time. Instead, focus on finding some times and places to have enjoyable, neutral discussions. Find some opportunities of enjoying each other's company. In other words, build and nurture your emotional connection. Spend time in reconnecting, making some deposits in the emotional bank account. When that connection is more solid, then you can decide whether an issue still needs to be solved. If, when you both feel connected, it seems like an important issue, then you can tackle it.
Thursday, September 01, 2005
Importance Of Marriage In An Uncertain World
Last night, I continued to watch the devastation from Hurricane Katrina on the news. I watched a man describe the loss of his wife, swept away in the collapse of their house. "I've lost everything I have, everything I have" were the words he repeated. Clearly, from his circumstances, he was not referring to anything material. It was the loss of his wife. The loss of his most dear possession, his marriage, was heartbreaking.
It made me aware of two things: First, there is no promise of what will come tomorrow. If anything, since 9/11, our world has been permanently reminded of the impermanence of life. As a doctor once said to me, "life is terminal." So, my client yesterday was right. There is no guarantee that things won't fall apart down the road. As I say to people when they tell me, "I'm just waiting for the other shoe to fall," the other shoe will fall, followed by another and another. Because that is what life is about. There is no guarantee, so we can either work to protect ourselves or throw caution to the wind, and work toward something better right now!
Second, the hurricane made it very clear that nature can take everything from us but love. Our possessions can be flooded, wind-blown, and swept to sea. Our loved ones may even die, but the love remains. In the end, what we all want is a relationship of love. So, we can either be scared for the future and retract, or we can embrace life and build love.
In our life, marriage has the capacity of the deepest bond. For that reason, every marriage deserves an effort.