PsychotherapyHELP News with Dr. Paul
Knowledge is Power! (February 2003)
In this issue
* Dr. Paul
* Help, my Dream Marriage is Going Down the Drain!
* Positive Reframing: Getting Off the Merry-Go-Round
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Dr. Paul
"All relationships run the risk of going from positive to negative; i.e., going from a honeymoon stage to disillusionment. What goes up can come down."
"Learning how to resolve problems requires careful scrutiny and possible modification of one's own reactions.Talking things out seems to be one course of action for solving interpersonal problems. Contact is another key element to solving problems. However, some people feel uncomfortable in some situations and will withdraw in order to stave off uncomfortable feelings and consequences."
"What is your problem solving style?"
More about Dr. Paul ... >>
Help, my Dream Marriage is Going Down the Drain!
"I am going out of my mind. I have two small children and my husband, behind my back, went out and bought a very expensive car. We are hardly making our monthly expenses and he goes out and does something like that. Is he stupid, or what? I am furious! I am on the verge of divorcing him. All he ever thinks about is his business. When he comes home, he spends all of this time on the computer, doing business. He hardly spends any time with me and the kids anymore. His business fluctuates and he spends a lot of time away from the family, trying to drum up business. What should I do? My dream marriage is going down the drain. Dr. Paul, can you help me?"
Dr. Paul: There are some proven strategies that you can use to get control of your relationship. Here are five strategies to start with. 
NUMBER ONE -- Relax and Calm Down: This is no time to get panicky. This is a time for you to get centered and resolved to take charge and get control of your life. You are out of control because of poor time management, communications and lack of knowledge for what makes up an ecstatic relationship. I take it that the two of you fell in love in the beginning of your relationship because you spent a lot of time together. When you move in as a married couple, it requires a huge adjustment from the carefree extensive time-sharing of your single days. The secret to a sizzling marriage is to continue doing those things that made you fall in love at the very beginning. 
So you will have to rearrange your time management, so that everyone gets their needs met.
NUMBER TWO -- Unilateral Decisions: Unilateral decisions are okay when you are single. But, when you are married, they can become a disaster. 
Your husband made a unilateral decision to buy an expensive car without discussing it and negotiating with you. There can be no unpleasant surprises in an ecstatic relationship, unless those surprises meet the needs of both partners. You'll need to sit down with your husband and discuss the need to have mutually satisfying decisions that are fully discussed and enthusiastically agreed upon. If I understand you correctly, you need transportation to get around and do what busy mothers and wives do. It seems as if you don't know what he is thinking and he does not know what you are thinking. The right-hand does not know what the left-hand is doing; until it's too late! Effective partners let each other know what they are thinking so that there are no secrets or unilateral decisions that violate the needs of the other.
NUMBER THREE -- Time is your Most Important Resource: You will need to sit down with your husband and devise a plan for better time management. You are complaining that he does not give you enough time. He doesn't give you the time and attention that you need, because you let him get away with it. He does exactly what you taught him to do. If you want control of your life, you will need to take a strong stand for your need for time to be with him. Everybody gets the same amount of time every day. Successful people manage control of those events that are governed by time. You want time with him. So, sit down and negotiate an effective strategy to get your time needs met. Otherwise, you will continue to complain and feel deprived. If you don't do something now, your marriage will slip into the hopper. You gave each other enough time at the beginning of your relationship in order to fall in love. There are no real excuses or justifications for letting that part of your life slip away.
Go to Dr. Paul's Relationship Strategies Four & Five... >>
Positive Reframing: Getting Off the Merry-Go-Round
Couples in very intense relationship pain can be carrying so much trauma with each other that any additional honesty will appear to be negative and harmful to the relationship. These couples face a curious paradox. On one hand, they are experiencing the negative emotions of hurt, anger and rage and feel the need to express those emotions. But, on the other hand, the very expression of those emotions can further deteriorate the relationship. This is a classic double bind that requires a shift from the expression of negative emotions to a more positive frame of communication.
Go to PsychotherapyHELP Articles and read the rest of the article... >>
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Best Regards,
Paul J. Hannig, Ph.D. MFCC
voice: (818) 882-7404