Archive for ‘Sexual compatibility’

November 3, 2007

When counseling will be most effective….

by Rod Smith

I am listening....

I am listening....

Conditions under which counseling or therapy will be of most value….

1. Neither client nor therapist exaggerates therapist’s abilities or the client’s condition.
2. Therapist sees role as helping client steer toward a more productive, healthy future.
3. Client sees the “big picture” over the “long haul” rather than immediate relief in the “here and now.” (Patience, patience, patience).
4. Client and therapist maintain a sense of humor (a sure indication of health) while facing life’s inevitable challenges. Not everything can or will be better no matter how much therapy you throw at it!
5. Client and therapist call forth the client’s strengths and the innate human desire for adventure, rather than engage in the seemingly endless pursuit to understand a client’s pathological history, weaknesses, parents’ weaknesses, and debilitating reasonable, and unreasonable fears.
6. Therapist and client understand the limited benefits of empathy in exchange for the overwhelming benefits of challenge and adventure.
7. Client realizes that psychological insight without action (acting upon the insight) is a waste of money, time and useful therapeutic process. Sometimes a person has to actually DO something rather than be filled with insight about what needs to be done.
8. Client is willing to increase the ability to tolerate necessary pain (both within self and within others) and resist the understandable pressure to alleviate the very pain essential for growth to occur.
9. Therapist challenges the client repeatedly toward self-definition (to grow up!) in the face of life’s natural obstacles.

Conditions under which counseling or therapy will be of little or no value…

Time and again I hear “If I could just get him/her to see a counselor” as if a counselor can work magic to heal and solve all personal and relationship problems. Few trained counselors would see themselves as possessing such unrealistic powers. Here are some conditions (there are others) under which even counseling will be of little or no value:

1. When a person is forced, or cornered, or manipulated into seeing a counselor.
2. When a person has no motivation for change.
3. When a person agrees to see a counselor because he/she believes counseling will “fix” someone else in the family.
4. When the person’s mind is already made up over and issue (a pending divorce, continued involvement in an affair) and goes to counseling so he/she can say he/she tried it and it was no help.
5. When a person is resistant to getting help (doesn’t see the need for help) and offers counselors little or no respect in the first place.
6. When the person is combative from the outset and sees the therapeutic hour as time to show how clever (or funny, or morose, or argumentative, or stubborn, or intellectual) he/she can be.
7. When the person has already made up his/her mind that there’s no hope (”we’ve tried it all before”) or that counseling is a waste of time and money.

October 10, 2007

Emotionally exhausted? Here are some ways to find restoration…

by Rod Smith

Take up your life....

Take up your life....

Are you emotionally out of shape? Psychologically exhausted? Tramped on? Feel trapped? Just as a person can be physically run down, so also can one become emotionally depleted. Here are simple, not easy, steps to getting your internal life into shape. Each will do your internal life as much good as frequent exercise does for a person who is physically out of shape:

1. Speak up where you might previously have remained silent.
2. Realize that not everything you think and feel has to be said or reported.
3. Focus on your own behavior and not the behavior of others. (This might be the most difficult of the 11 suggestions).
4. Rid your life of all blame.
5. Realize you are where you are as a result of your own choices.
6. Set small, secret goals involving no one but you.
7. Refuse to compromise when it comes to telling the truth no matter how much love may be involved.
8. Forgive where you might have previously have been resentful.
9. Do not function in roles not legally yours (don’t play wife if your are not, or dad if you are not).
10. Grasp the fact that emotional health is an individual journey and no one can be held responsible for your journey toward greater emotional health but you.
11. Clarify, for yourself, where you end and others begin. (This IS me, my issue, my responsibility: this is NOT me, my issue, my responsibility).

September 30, 2007

Questions healthy people discuss when new, significant relationships form…

by Rod Smith

Take Up Your Life (317)  694 8669

Take Up Your Life

1. Are we spiritually, financially, psychologically, and emotionally, sufficiently suited to each other?
2. Do our long-held, individual, long-term, personal goals and personal dreams somewhat fit with each other?
3. What do we each imagine is possible for us to achieve (service to the poor, overseas travel, learning foreign languages, learning new skills) within this relationship and potential marriage?
4. How do we each perceive our individual and mutual responsibilities to our parents and extended families if we marry?
5. Which of us is better with money? If we marry, how will we organize our money? Will we keep everything separate or will we pool all our resources? How will we decide what we buy, how we buy, and when we buy expensive, but necessary items needed by a new family? Which professional will we choose to help us with the wise use of our resources? [Do not enter a relationship with someone who is in excessive debt.]
6. What does each of us think about religious observance? How will we decide on where and how we will worship?
7. What help do you need from me in order that you may achieve all you have ever wanted to achieve with your life?

September 27, 2007

I am married to a very jealous man. What can I do to help him?

by Rod Smith

I am married to a very jealous man and, although I am completely faithful, I am accused of all kinds of things all the time. What can I do to help him?

Nothing. Jealousy is an individual pursuit. The one who is caught in its relentless grip is the only person who can address it. If you are a faithful person you must leave him to deal with his own feelings of jealousy and take no responsibility for his feelings at all.

If you try to convince him of your faithfulness, a jealous person will ultimately interpret your convincing as confessions. If you try to placate him, to reassure him, you will only have to repeat all your reassurances the next time he feels jealous (and to a greater extent every time).

Nothing you have done causes your husband to be jealous, and no amount of dancing (submitting) to his pathology (think of jealousy as a virus!) will result in its disappearance. A most unloving response on your part would be to behave as if somehow it is you who makes him jealous. Do not curb your natural, innocent behavior in the fear that it might stimulate his jealousy. Jealousy has already got him; don’t let it get you.

August 19, 2007

A counter-intuitive secret to powerful intimacy…

by Rod Smith

To become authentically closer to your lover, and to develop greater intimacy with that person, work conscientiously at your separateness from him or her. This is, I believe, is the most challenging behind-the-scenes issue of every intimate relationship.

“Is it possible to love you without also losing me?” expresses the inevitable tension every close relationship faces.

“Closeness” is not usually a problem for most couples. There is usually an abundance of closeness (being overly connected, intensely joined) resulting in couples being highly reactive to each other, and it is this very closeness and lack of definition between people, that, given some time, becomes uncomfortable for at least one member of the relationship.

Remaining unique, distinct and defined within the relationship is what allows healthy, freeing love to flourish.

If couples worked enduringly at remaining unique (it is never complete) and developed their separateness, while also being deeply involved in a committed relationship, then, I believe, there’d be less need to separate (“I need my space”) at a later time when the closeness inevitably feels claustrophobic and overwhelming.

Loving you is not love if the cost of loving you means losing the essence of who I am.

July 22, 2007

My wife feels smothered by me…..

by Rod Smith

“My marriage is in deep trouble. I am really at my wits end to save it. In addition to some communication problems, my wife also indicated that she gets attracted to stable and successful men, but when she is in the relationship that stable environment smothers her and she wants to run. I do not dominate her and I support her with what ever she requires.”

You wife is sufficiently insightful to see the source of her issue is not you, her husband, but the presence you represent. Your presence (and success) triggers her desire to take flight from what she initially find desirable. Your challenge is to remain steadfast in your love and your commitment while remaining sufficiently separate (giving her “space”) all at the same time. This is not easy.

Your wife’s feelings emerge from a cavern deep inside her history and the ultra-complex psychology each of us brings to every relationship. I’d suggest you trigger, by your nearness, the uncomfortable memory of times she felt emotionally cornered, trapped, and powerless. Your wife needs space, not abandonment. She is insightful, and I hope sufficiently motivated to get through this, but you will be of no help if you try to push or maneuver the process.

May 18, 2007

How to love and respect your wife:

by Rod Smith

Chime in, please...

Chime in, please...

1. Set career, academic, and health goals for yourself, and then work hard to achieve them.
2. Develop a network of diverse and supportive friends both on your own and with your wife.
3. Challenge your wife to be a mutual, respectful, and equal partner in every aspect of your relationship. If you have an urge to be in charge and think being in charge makes you more of a man, seek professional help.
4. Resist any forms of intimacy you or your wife find uncomfortable.
5. Believe in your wife’s honesty and integrity by refusing to lie or cover for her no matter how seemingly justifiable the lie or a cover-up might be.
6. Applaud and support your wife’s desire and her attempts to be close to her extended family.
7. Talk to your wife about what you see, think, and feel regarding matters that are important to you, and offer her opportunities to do the same with you.
8. Resist “shutting down” or playing the silent game or the “hurt puppy” when you do not get what you want.
9. Take full responsibility for your children by spending large blocks of time (three-day weekends) with your children. Do not recruit any help from you wife or extended family to do this.
10. Be as interdependent as possible. Find fulfillment both within your marriage as a husband, and as an individual. Enjoy being husband and dad without losing your capacity to enjoy life outside of each of these wonderful roles.

May 8, 2007

Fixing a broken relationship

by Rod Smith

Let me know...

Let me know...

“How do I fix a broken relationship?” is one of the most common theme of letters I receive. Here are a few generic principles to jump-start the journey of greater health whether the relationship in question survives or not:

1. Don’t focus in “the relationship” but on doing what is healthy and mature for your individual sake. This is not selfish. Getting your house in order will challenge everyone around you to greater health even if you lose your primary, but toxic, relationships in the process. If you do not have the energy to do this, a simple way to help you access the healthy thing to do is to ask yourself the question What do really well and emotionally healthy people do when faced with such a situation and then try, as tough as it might be, to live the answer.

2. Never participate in sexual behavior you do not want. Good sex, or sex at all, (or what one partner regards as good sex) will not salvage a toxic relationship, but only serve to perpetuate all that is already unhealthy about it. Keep in mind that sex frequently prevents love from growing within a relationship.

3. Talk to close friends about what is really happening to you within a deteriorating relationship. Secrecy escalates toxicity. Opening your life to a trusted friend will help you to see healthier options. While a toxic relationship might be “killing you” allow your community to help save you.

4. Do not go rushing back to anything or anyone simply because they say they are sorry. Being sorry (asking forgiveness) for unacceptable behavior is not, in itself, change. Forgive, yes, but do not forget. Look for the fruit of regret. The fruit of an apology and forgiveness is changed behavior.

April 11, 2007

How do I know if I am in a toxic or difficult relationship?

by Rod Smith

(Please note not all difficult relationships are necessarily also toxic)

Toxic (poisoned) relationships are tiring to say the least. Apart from requiring mounds of energy, they can be filled with threats, unnecessary silence, manipulation, domination and intimidation. Toxic couples often attempt to drown their pain in drinking, drugs and lustful, or vengeful, sexual activity.

Toxicity is apparent when “old” arguments frequently resurface, feelings of loyalty and disloyalty rage within you, anger seems to come from nowhere and you have a very short fuse. Life feels like a giant game of chess that’s impossible to win.

Often toxic relationships start with intensely sexual experiences. A new person seemingly offers you everything you ever wanted and so you quickly invest yourself completely. After a short while it feels as if you have been handed a script where the entrances and exits are seldom within your power. You feel as if you an unwilling actor in someone else’s play.

Remember there are always more options available for your life than it might appear.

Problems play hide-and-seek before they become full-blown and begin to make life unmanageable. It is helpful to identify some of these issues before they become a debilitating.

March 14, 2007

Why do all my relationships seem to go sour in the same way….?

by Rod Smith

Unhealthy patterns occur in relationships when a person …

  1. Does not sufficiently, or successfully, sever, and then recover from a previous romantic relationship before a new one begins. (Commonly referred to as “rebounding.”)
  2. Embraces a false, or faulty, unrealistic, definition of love.
  3. Gives the relationship an inordinate amount of attention. (This is seen when someone seems to disappear – becomes unavailable to other friends – in the wake of a new love interest).
  4. Offers too much of themselves (sexual favors, money, unlimited time) to someone whom he or she hardly knows.
  5. Has unrealistic expectations of any relationship, and therefore believes relationships offer what relationships simply cannot, and do not, offer.
  6. Thinks (believes, hopes) the other person is all he or she will ever need. [“I can’t live without you, AND you are all I need to live.”]
  7. Confuses nakedness with intimacy, lust with passion, and touch with love.
  8. Trades long-term commitment (taking things very slowly) for an immediate thrill (“I want it all now!”).
  9. Sincerely believes his or her love is powerful enough to change undesired characteristics in another person. (“Once we are married she’ll stop drinking.”)