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Tag: relationships

Netflix’s “The Crown” & Joy in Marriage

Netflix’s “The Crown” & Joy in Marriage

Netflix’s major release of the second season of “The Crown,” a lavish and brilliantly acted biography of England’s Queen Elizabeth II in her very first years of her reign, is worth every moment of your time. Writer Peter Morgan is creating a masterpiece of historical drama. At it’s core are the conflicts that face a young woman whose father dies relatively young and has the British monarchy thrust upon her at 25. We’re witness to the parallel sacrifices of her…

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What is Structural Family Therapy?

What is Structural Family Therapy?

I’m grateful to Sal Minuchin for helping us as family therapists understand, conceptualize and maneuver within the dynamic structures of families: the way that the emotional and legal connections of parents to their children over generations create fluid as well as fixed patterns of hierarchies, loyalties, rules, subsystems, coalitions and boundaries. While we may know these experiences instinctively, his theory gives us a vocabulary, structure and system of talking and thinking about these automatic family features. I’m particularly glad for…

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Sometimes it IS About You

Sometimes it IS About You

As a family therapist and systems thinker, I view the conflicts and discussions in my therapy office as shared events and problems. We are all connected; what I do effects my spouse, my children and other close relationships, just as what they do effects me. But there are times when one person’s habits, behaviors, attitudes, or choices are the source of a system’s pain. A problem frequently has a source. And it just might be you. One of the most…

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Core Long-Term Marriage Skills

Core Long-Term Marriage Skills

One of my couple clients asked me to create a summary of our work together. I know these skills apply to nearly every long-term marriage, so I share them here. 1. Assume positive intent from your spouse. Trust him/her. Build positive interactions. Look for the good. Notice it, appreciate it. Stop trying to control the outcome of every interaction so that you feel less vulnerable. Protect yourself less, be open to one another more. 2. Self-focus: always pay more attention to…

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Your Big F***ing Job Can Ruin Your Marriage

Your Big F***ing Job Can Ruin Your Marriage

As our economy has crawled out of the recession, so many people have experienced the shrinking of the job force at their companies, and the subsequent increase in the demands of their job descriptions. Many are doing the work that 2 (or even more) people have done in the past. More people are traveling more miles, more leaders are being pressured to increase production, or customers, or digital content, or whatever is on the front line of worry for stake…

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When Empathy Goes Awry : Mirror Touch Synesthesia

When Empathy Goes Awry : Mirror Touch Synesthesia

How do we come to understand another person’s emotions? Within our brain are a cluster of nerve cells that scientists call “mirror neurons.” These cells and circuits turn on and develop when, as infants and toddlers, our primary caregivers express on their own faces what they sense in us. We are wailing because we are in pain? A caring parent has some of that same suffering in their facial expressions. We laugh and smile when we begin to recognize our…

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Touching Home Base

Touching Home Base

Over ten years ago, during the most difficult part of my career as a parish pastor, I took a quick summer trip back East with my two young children to visit my family. We flew in, and my parents picked us up from the airport. Toward the end of that visit, I coerced my parents into taking the 100 mile trip from their home to the town of my childhood. Though we had talked about it weeks before on the…

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Just Kidding…..Not

Just Kidding…..Not

I’ve had the pleasure of being around girls in their early teens quite a lot the past few years, and I have noticed a quirky turn of their conversation that has got me thinking. One girl in the midst of a conversation with another girl will say something critical, blunt, or even hostile;  pause;  and then follow up immediately with a smile and “Just kidding!” Thinking it might have been a style of humor unique to one (particular) girl I…

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Asking Permission

Asking Permission

One of the most irksome things I’ve heard people say in conversation lately is this little quip: “After all, it’s easier to ask forgiveness than permission.” What this says to me is that most people are so convinced of the entrenchment of power in their various workplaces, families and organizations that they would rather move ahead on their own initiative, knowing they will have to repent and grovel for a moment or two when confronted instead of go through the…

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Personality: Does Birth Order Matter?

Personality: Does Birth Order Matter?

For generations, family members have noted the differences that naturally arise in children raised in the same family. How is it that John, the first born and only boy, seems to have such different personality characteristics than his younger brother, raised in the same house by the same parents just two years apart?  Good question! Theories of personality abound. You may be familiar with some of the more popular models, often used in work or educational settings. The Myers-Briggs Type…

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