Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Love Is A Choice

Have you seen the widely circulated email about making the choice to have a good or bad day? It starts out like this:

“John is the kind of guy you love to hate. He is always in a good mood and always has something positive to say. When someone would ask him how he was doing, he would reply, 'If I were any better, I would be twins!' He was a natural motivator. If an employee was having a bad day, John was there telling the employee how to look on the positive side of the situation.

“Seeing this style really made me curious, so one day I went up and asked him, 'I don't get it! You can't be a positive person all of the time. How do you do it?'

“He replied, 'Each morning I wake up and say to myself, you have two choices today. You can choose to be in a good mood or ... you can choose to be in a bad mood. I choose to be in a good mood. Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or ... I can choose to learn from it. I choose to learn from it. Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept their complaining or ... I can point out the positive side of life. I choose the positive side of life.

“'Yeah, right, it's not that easy,' I protested.

“'Yes, it is,' he said. 'Life is all about choices. When you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice. You choose how you react to situations. You choose how people affect your mood. You choose to be in a good mood or bad mood. The bottom line: It's your choice how you live your life.'”

Love can also be a choice. You can wake up in the morning and choose to think about the bad things about your partner and everything that you do not like about him or her or you can choose to think about the good things about your partner, the things that you like and want to continue.

You can choose to think about the problems in your relationship as ones that may be fairly normal and ones that the two of you must work together to solve. You can choose to recognize some of the differences as normal ones that many couples face.

You can choose to let go of some of the small things as differences that you have to accept about your spouse or you can choose to let them build up until you are monumentally unhappy. You can choose to evaluate differences and decide which ones need to be talked about and worked through and which ones need to be just accepted as differences between you.

Couples in long-term healthy relationships say that they have seen each stress as something that they have to get through together rather than as something that might end their marriage. The view and attitude that you have colors your feelings. You have a choice in how you view your relationship.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Tip of the Week, July 28, 2008

What you look for is what you get. Look for the positives in your partner and your relationship and comment out loud about them.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Is Divorce Contagious?

We have often remarked that, when clients refer their friends, the dilemmas are often similar. We are not sure what makes that happen; however, we do know that connections with other people influence ideas and experiences.

When you are connected to someone who is unhappy in their marriage, and that is a focus of some of the conversation, it can be easier to notice what is wrong with your own marriage. As people make decisions about their marriage, it may give others the idea that they can do the same. Some said that they found the courage to divorce after seeing their friends manage that difficult step and survive. Others have said that they wanted to stay away from friends who divorced because they feared that it would make it easier for them to give up trying to change things in their own relationships.

In a 2002 Swedish study, Yvonne Aberg, a sociologist at Stockholm University, found that as the proportion of recently divorced co-workers increased, so did the chances that other married workers would divorce. Aberg also found that men and women were 75 percent more likely to divorce during this period if they worked in an office consisting mainly of people of the opposite sex and of the same age. In addition, the more single people working in an office, the higher the divorce rate.

Surrounding your own relationship with others who believe that problems exist and are meant to be worked out can enhance your marriage. Spending time with others who are mature and committed spouses channels activities and conversation into ideas of healthy coupling. Talking with friends and family about the good things in your relationship and, if you need some advice, framing it in a way that imparts the message that you want some ideas for how to solve a problem, not just complain about what is wrong, also supports finding ways to have and maintain a healthy marriage.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Tip of the Week, July 21, 2008

Problems are generally not as bad as they seem. Thinking about them from a perspective of how life will be when they are solved can help to put things in perspective and often lead toward a resolution.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Tip of the week of July 7, 2008

A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.
Mignon McLaughlin