MARRIAGE AND RELATIONSHIP ISSUES
Where Did The Love Go?
Falling in love is a powerful experience: an intense feeling of joy and an unquenchable desire for each other. A problem arises if we actually believe we will live forever in that perpetual state of bliss: hanging on every word, longing and lusting, supporting and applauding – through the good and the rough times, sickness, health, children, ex’s, fire and brimstone.
Not so! In that initial chemical combustion the hormones at play diminish; and with it comes the stark reality that what you may have expected is not what you are living. Typically what happens is that your heart begins to close, first with sadness, then with bitterness and resentment. And slowly you fill your time with activities that help you escape this reality of disappointment. Some people search for that initial feeling from someone else. Foolish fantasy tells us there is a “right” person somewhere.
Anais Nin wrote, “Love never dies a natural death. It dies because we don’t know how to replenish its source.”
- Do you feel “known”/”understood” by your partner?
- Do you feel respected?
- Do you feel desired?
- Are you one of each other’s best friends?
- Do you confide in each other freely?
- Do you trust each other?
- Has infidelity, sexual or emotional, touched your lives?
- Are you affectionate with each other?
- Do you have a safe way of communicating with each other when you are upset?
- Are there unresolved resentments that keep you from feeling close?
- Do you speak kindly to each other?
- Do you have strategies for resolving problems?
- Are you in agreement on finances?
- Are you in agreement about child rearing?
- Are you happy with the way you deal with each other’s families?
- Do you have fun together?
- Do you enjoy sexual passion together?
- Do you feel/believe in your commitment to each other?
- Do you make decisions and behave like a team?
- Do you feel supported by each other in your goals and desires?
- Are you kind to each other?
- Is this relationship where you want to be for the rest of your life?
Good counseling can help you create the bond, the quality of life, the fun and good sex that have been missing. Figuring it out for yourself might help temporarily, however, doing it with a professional can make the difference in having the relationship that is worth coming home to for your life.
Examples of Cases Paula Treats
The patterns of dysfunctional marriages and relationships are legion. For example:
Her husband left. No explanation. He said he had been telling her he was unhappy for years. She didn’t take him seriously. Lonely and angry, he felt there was nothing left for him in the relationship. He found someone else who paid attention to him.
Since she was diagnosed with a progressive illness, she has been depressed. She has lost her sexual drive leaving him frustrated. He lives with the fear of the future and her lost love of life. They are consumed with the tragedy.
She was cold, demanding and attacking. He was passive and afraid. What they did share was the emptiness that once was filled with love.
As a gay couple, they went through really rough, painful times together. Now that the drama has died down, they are struggling with a relationship that feels damaged.
How to Make Love Last
I believe, after all these years of sitting with unhappy couples, many on the edge of divorce, that there are two critical reasons for the death of loving.
Not Knowing Ourselves: We make commitments without truly knowing ourselves – the deepest parts of us. We enter relationships with unfinished pieces – unconscious aspects that play havoc with our ability to fully trust our hearts to another. The wounds from early experiences shape our self-esteem and create defenses. They keep us from getting the love we want. The messages spoken and unspoken affect us profoundly. We often find ourselves incapable of honoring ourselves and each other with the truth of who we are.
Most of us do not know how to express our needs in an effective way. Our partners will better meet those needs if they understand their importance. And, your delivery, tone, and choice of words are vital to achieving that result.
Poor Communication Skills: So, really good communication skills are absolutely necessary. (I teach one that will carry you through your life – if you remember to use it!) At the same time you learn how to express yourself, and your partner learns how to listen and hear your heart.
Truth spoken from the heart is what creates intimacy. Intimacy is what sustains love. That takes two people respecting each other and themselves by being authentic. Spoken from love, you will be heard. And, with negotiating skills that keep respect and love forefront, you will find ways to meet each other’s needs.
What Good Therapy Can Do for You
Combining a career’s worth of learning, I have created a protocol to meet the needs of the clients in a way that makes long-term talk therapy a thing of the past.
I provide a brief questionnaire for you to fill in before our first meeting. That gives me an overview of how you view yourselves, each other, and the relationship. If you choose to work with me, I then see each of you alone for a session to connect and get background information. Then we meet together and I teach the remarkable Dialogue.
The Dialogue is a structured process that allows partners to share themselves in a safe, respectful way. The awareness that comes, the tenderness that happens, is beautiful, and something I am proud to facilitate.
Thereafter, I alternate sessions so that I can do the deep repair needed individually. This is where we address the unconscious blind spots that keep you from being the best person – the loveable person – you can be.
Knowing there is always healing that has to take place, I use many methods to reach the core of the issues. EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) & HAT (Heart Assisted Therapy) are just some of them. I trained with the researchers who created these amazing methods and have made it my own by integrating it with all the other learning I have accumulated over many decades.
Our joint sessions are about stabilizing, healing, and growing the relationship. Many of my clients say the level of connection and intimacy are beyond what they ever had with each other – even in the early romantic stage. That is because they are now known to themselves, having healed the wounds that got in the way.
They know how to love and live in that space that keeps their connection alive. Sexually, they have found each other in a new freedom of passion and trust. Life is beyond what they anticipated, and they know how to be loving adults taking responsibility for how they show up in their lives and with each other.
When Goals Are Fulfilled
Your children, your families, your friends, your co-workers will see and feel the difference in the way you relate. You will be a living example of what therapy can do for an ailing relationship. Your children will experience parents who honor them and the sacred vows they made, to keep their family a thriving source of love.
Isn’t your life worth an investment like this? Call me and lets talk about your situation. 609-975-8845
My heart’s wish is that at the end of my life with my partner, he takes my wrinkled face in his hands and tells me that he has known the depths of happiness because of us, because of me and how I have honored who he is and both of us have become the best of who we can be.
I’d like to do that for you, too.
How to Have a Fabulous Relationship That Lasts Through Time
- Live the richness of being fully present in your life with your partner.
- Come to each other with good will.
- Unrealistic expectations destroy the spirit and set you up for disappointment.
- Be there for each other’s needs, including emotional and sexual, and experience the deep connection which results.
- Respect yourselves by kindly speaking your truth.
- Listen to each other with your heart.
- Speak from there – not your anger.
- Be playful. Surprise each other.
- Honor your relationship by the way you show up in the world.
- Co-create your home and your relationship to be a safe, loving, fun haven from the challenges of life.
- When you get stuck – demonstrate your commitment to each other by seeking professional guidance back to loving.
I am inviting each of you to take some time to fill in, on your own, the answers to these sentence stems. Then bring it with you for your first appointment with me. It will allow me to have a quick overview of your feelings about your relationship, yourselves and each other. In the process of your sharing your answers, I will be teaching you a skill that helps you learn to listen well and a way to let your partner know you are hearing what is being said. (Download the PDF)
- Some of the hopeful thoughts I have prior to beginning the counseling process with you are…
- Some of the things I fear about this process are…
- My personality and behavioral traits that may contribute to our relationship strengths are…
- My personality and behavioral traits that may contribute to our relationship challenges are…
- Some of the personality and behavioral traits that I admire about you (your partner) are…
- Some of the personality and behavioral traits that bother me about you (your partner) are…
- This investment will be a success for me if…
- This investment will be a success for us if…
I am___________________committed to doing what I can to make this
process a success.