July 19, 2005
I have seen my propensity to think of others as responsible for anger I might feel. I have blamed the traffic, my children, even the neighbor’s dogs for a moment of anger I endured when things would not go according to my wishes. Similarly, I have heard men and women blame the government, the economy and even newborn babies for their outbursts of anger.
The person feeling angry, exhibiting anger, can attempt to shift the blame for their anger, but the angry person must look within before anger issues can be resolved. While an angry man believes his anger is someone else’s responsibility he will not find relief from its tenacious hold.
Mature, thinking, sane people (surely, what we want to be!) take responsibility for their emotions, anger often being the toughest to corral. They resist blaming a spouse or traffic for their feelings. They see anger (and all “destructive” emotions) as notification from deep within that something is awry, waiting to be addressed.
Anger-provoking events (a late spouse, being kept waiting at the bank, someone ate the ice-cream!) simply allow the presence of anger to be announced. Healthy people listens to such emotions and learns from them, rather than inflicting them on others.
July 18, 2005
“My husband and I were happy until the birth of our son when our relationship changed. After our son was born he started cheating, lying, and drinking everyday. We spent less time together than we used to. I thought we were friends, but now it feels like we are distant cousins. Our sex life is boring.”
Your future must seem dull and painfully endless! While I am sad that you are victim to your husband’s cruel behavior, I am also sad for your child who is witnessing a marriage he could hardly want to emulate.
Please read David Schnarch’s book entitled Passionate Marriage. I will warn you that it is the very best book on sex and relationships I have ever read. While it is very sexual, it is never pornographic.
It is to be read as a whole, cover to cover, before judgments are issued on its worthiness.
The book outlines the journey of couples who have lives as miserable as you describe yours to be, and offers valuable keys for all marriages and all relationships.
I have gotten into hot water for recommending this book to couples, not only because it promotes very strong and healthy sex lives, but because it challenges people to live full, complete, and adventurous lives.
July 18, 2005
A reader writes….
“I am at my wits end and exhausted because of my two-year-old son who will not sleep through the night. How is it possible that a child can cry, without tears, for an hour and a half without giving up, even after being shouted at 1 am, made to stand in the corner and then eventually getting a smack to get him to sleep? I am determined not to give in to him. Besides drugging my child, what else can I try? He has an afternoon nap around noon daily and for an hour. He eats well and normally falls asleep at 7.15pm. He starts waking at about 11.30pm and this is when the fun starts!”
This doesn’t sound like fun. Please see your physician and consult with a pediatrician. Remember your child is 2! He needs warmth, love, and acceptance in the night, not a smack or to stand in a corner. There is absolutely no reason at all, ever, to smack a two-year-old. This issue is not about his behavior, but about your behavior. What are you going to do when he is 12, and 14 and 17 and will not obey you?
Published in Newspapers, You and Me, Monday, July 18, 2005
July 18, 2005
Women who lose themselves to a lover or a spouse, do so because they did not bring enough of self into the relationship in the first place. They “soft-pedal,” downplay, or compromise who they are in order to be accepted and loved.
Conversely, a woman, with a healthy sense of self, understands, before she even meets a man, that no man, (marriage, or children) will make her happier than she already is. Such a woman will not “lose herself” in a relationship because she does not invest all of her hopes and dreams in any relationship. Healthy people do not expect relationships to offer what relationships simply do not, and cannot, offer.
If a woman sees a man, (marriage, or children) as a means to be delivered from some unhappy state, or as possessing the key to finding true happiness, she has already sold herself to the illusion that her happiness and fulfillment somehow rests within the hands and the power of others.
Bringing strength, self-awareness, self-assured-ness, personal goals, courage and determination (a developed “sense of self”) to a relationship (in other words, refusing to “soft-pedal”) may indeed scare off a man who has a poor sense of himself, but it will invigorate and attract the kind of man who honors equality, mutuality and respect.
July 18, 2005
“I found graphic pornography in my fifteen-year-old son’s bedroom. My husband and I want to handle this in a positive way. We have never been open to talking to him about sex.”
Together, as husband and wife, tell your son that you have found pornography in his room. Gently, and with kindness, tell him that you cannot perpetually monitor what he reads and that his reading material is something he himself will have to control.
Discussing pornography, and teaching your son healthy attitudes about sex, have nothing in common. Pornography is about lust, conquest, depersonalizing of people, runaway imaginations. It has nothing to do with love. Tell him you do not endorse pornography because it focuses on body parts, not people. It separates people from their bodies and makes people into objects in the mind of the user. Healthy sexuality, at minimum, is about love, respect, mutuality and equality.
Teach your son (as a couple) using discussions, books and videos, everything you want him to know about healthy human sexuality. Get over your hurdles about having such discussions. I am often amazed that parents will go to enormous effort to plan their approach to parenting, and yet miss talking about matters of human sexuality altogether!
July 16, 2005
Enriched is the woman who does not lose herself in her marriage, or to motherhood, and in taking care of her family, but is able to develop a strong sense of her self even while being a loving wife, mother and friend.
Enriched is the woman who does not put up with poor manners (being taken for granted, being sworn at, being victimized both verbally and physically) from anyone: not husband, children, in-laws, siblings, or her parents, but who appropriately, and sufficiently values herself so that she does not tolerate those who do not treat her very well.
Enriched is the woman who knows she never has to participate in sexual activity that she, herself, does not want, who knows that her body is her own and private temple which she shares, even in marriage, only when it is by her own sacred and deliberate choice.
Enriched is the woman who lives above manipulation, domination and intimidation, whose relationships are pure and open, and within which she maintains a strong and valued voice.
July 15, 2005
Enriched is the man who treats others with kindness beyond their deserving. He is generous with family and strangers and he seeks the highest good for all, knowing that the wisdom he exercises in his daily life positively impacts people around him. He regards faithfulness with high regard. The very thought of betraying his family by committing some moral indiscretion unsettles his peace.
Enriched is the man who does not play “one-up” games. He applauds the success of others. He takes no delight in the hardships, losses, or pain, others endure. He is more committed to being patient, kind and hardworking, than he is committed to being rich or to displaying symbols of success.
Enriched is the man who would rather lose at a sporting event than he would cheat in order to appear to have won. While he can be fiercely competitive and loves to win, he watches his behavior, treasuring his valued reputation. He can drink without becoming drunk, enjoy good humor without resorting to the ridicule of others.
Enriched is the man who pauses momentarily, quite regularly, in order to acknowledge his joy at being a man. He treasures his role as one who carries love, truth and kindness to all within his circle of influence.
July 12, 2005
Enriched is the child who has never seen a parent drunk, or a parent vent their anger, use profanity, drive aggressively, behave violently, or use racial slurs.
Enriched is the child who does not have to worry about a gambling father wasting necessary family resources, or worry that a mother might not return home after a night on the town.
Enriched is the child who hears parents laughing with each other both day and night, and who hears the sounds of joy and celebration expressed by his parents.
Enriched is the child whose family puts off the TV for weeks on end, who takes walks with his family, who cooks meals from scratch with his family.
Enriched is the child whose family reads novels and who sit around a table discussing what each person is reading.
Enriched is the child who has a peaceful home where the only bickering is about who is funniest.
Enriched is child who hears “I love you” from a caring, non-possessive parents whom the child knows, expect nothing in return.
Such a child rests peacefully while learning to create similar safety for his own family when the time comes.