This guest article from Psych Central was written by Laura Smith, Ph.D. Almost a third of children are being brought up by single parents. Lots of those parents date. Concerned single parents worry about how to manage relationships when children are involved. Common questions include: When do I introduce my child to someone I am dating? How do I manage an intimate relationship when I have children?
What can you do to improve the chances that couples therapy is worth the time and money you put into it? In other words, what makes marriage counseling work? Of course you need the help of a skilled marriage therapist, but there are several things you can do to help make your marriage counseling a success.
Most of the relationship articles out there tend to be for heterosexual couples. I use part intuition and part knowledge on relationship dynamics to translate, adapt, and figure out what works best for you if you don't identify with or find yourself in traditional relationships. How and where you define yourself on the Kinsey spectrum scale of heterosexual to homosexual only matters when it masquerades the real you--and the complexity of human relationships. What really matters is understanding how and what to do to have long-lasting quality relationships.
We often think we are listening to someone, only to realize that we missed what they said. Either we were busy listening instead to the voices in our heads, or we were distracted by whatever was happening around us. When people ask how they can have better relationships with others, the first thing suggest is active listening.
This is the 4th article in a series of five discussing natural emotions and their unnatural counterparts. Any time our natural emotions are repressed they create unnatural reactions and responses. The natural emotions are repressed in the majority of people. Our emotions are our gifts, our friends and allies. They are our soul representatives. They represent the world of each person’s private inner life. Because emotions are universal we best relate to each other on the level of the emotions. The best way to have productive communication is to come from our natural emotions.
When couples come to therapy, one of their very first assignments is to write down their mission statement for the marriage. I am asking them for the main reason they are married. The answers are varied and may look like, “We fell in love” or “We got pregnant.” Sometimes, the answers are a bit funny, such as “Who else would have me?” We sit and listen to the couples’ individual reasons and get an idea of what is important to them as a couple.
Not only is it okay to talk about yourself to men, but it is essential to getting first dates and future dates. When I tell women that it's good to talk about themselves, it's generally met with complete shock. But don't guys love it when we let them do all the talking? Well, yes. Who doesn't like talking about themselves? But unless "good listener" is on the top of his must-have list for potential mates — and I've never met a man who places it there — he's not going to pick you just because you keep your mouth shut.
My son plays travel baseball. As a result, I found myself, as I do many a weekend, spending countless hours on bleachers the past few days. At one point, as the other team slipped ahead by several runs, I noticed that the coaches and supportive parents yelled things like, "Get into the game!" and "Play like you mean it!"; "You can do it, commit!" I got to thinking about baseball as a metaphor for other things in life — like finding the right relationship.
“The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t being said.” -Anonymous The strength and endurance training in any and all relationships starts and ends with the capacity for communication. I have often called our communication skills the currency of a relationship, because it is literally the air that lives between people that makes their relationship vital or suffocating.