ReConnections Blog

By Melinda Brett on 9/19/2013 2:05 PM

Most people I meet tell me that their primary romantic relationship is incredibly important to them.   For people who are not in a significant relationship they often share that it is what they long for the most.   Self-help books line the shelves telling us how to find love, how to flirt, how to be romantic, how to improve our sex lives and how to communicate.  Movies, television and books almost always include a love story as either the main plot or at least a significant secondary part of the script and plot.  It’s virtually impossible to listen to any radio station that plays music and not hear lyrics of love filtering through the speakers.

 Love appears to be what most people seek and yearn for and yet when they actually find that relationship they relegate it to the ordinary.  I have said that we often spend the same amount of time and energy working on our relationships equal to the amount of time and energy it takes to open a can of beans when preparing dinner.  Everything seems to become more important than tending to your partner.  School, work, children, time commitments, friendships, shopping, etc. all seem to get more emotional energy in any given day that the relationship that would devastate you if you lost it.

From my point of view and from listening to people, I have found that relationships are often one of pain and frustration due to the lack of work being put into making them what both partners want; a successful and fulfilling relationship.  People often share with me that they do not feeling heard or cared about, and feel unsatisfied.  They are irritated about not having enough sex or their partner wanting it too often.  They are angry about not having enough help and support from their partner.  I listen and I hear how upset and unfulfilled they feel.  Curiously enough, though, when I pose the question, “Have you talked to you partner about this?” most people answer “no” with exasperation. They either expect their partners to just know what they need, are afraid that their request will fall on deaf ears, or are concerned that it will cause conflict and another episode in a cycle of never ending, never resolved fighting.

What I have come to observe is that people often feel the least confident in their ability to create a healthy relationship than any other area.  They feel they are capable at their jobs and in their careers.  They believe they are able to parent their children.  They can manage all of their appointments and social commitments.  When it comes to their relationships, however, they often feel powerless and that their efforts are futile.  As human beings we tend to do what we feel we are good at and so we ignore our relationships because at the end of the day we just feel it won’t help.

We are offering a workshop in October to help you and your partner begin the process of learning how to create a relationship that fulfills and satisfies you both.  We are asking you to dedicate a day to improving the thing in your life that likely most affects the quality of your days.  I guess the question is why wouldn’t you do this?

Call the office for more information concerning the Authentic Relationships workshop taking place on October 26th, or about couples counseling.

By Melinda Brett on 6/26/2013 12:00 AM

“I'm not upset that you lied to me, I'm upset that from now on I can't believe you.” 
- Friedrich Nietzsche

I was talking to a man, we’ll call him John, who wanted to have a smooth relationship with his wife.  She was very concerned about the family budget and finances since he had recently lost his job and was now working for minimum wage and they were barely covering expenses.  He had earned some extra cash doing a side job and wanted to go play the slots to turn it into a big win.  He felt bad about his inability to earn his previous salary and felt like he could be a hero if he turned his $60 into hundreds.

John knew that his wife would have a fit if she knew he was gambling.  He figured that what she didn’t know wouldn’t hurt her.  He convinced himself that he was not doing anything wrong as this was “found” money.  He also told himself that he worked hard and it was his money and he had a right to do what he wanted. 

In order to play, he’d have to plan time to go while his wife was at work and not looking for him.  She had a late shift the next day, so he made his plans.  Another problem was that she often called him to check on him and say hello.  He would have to come up with an excuse as to why he didn’t answer the house phone.  He could tell her he was outside working on the yard and missed her call.  This meant that he would have to do some yard work to cover the lie.

He did end up going to the slots.  He only had 30 minutes to play in order to get back home before his wife.  He lost the first $20 fast, playing $2.00 a spin.  His second $20 lasted a little longer as he won and lost.  The third $20 was going fast also and he was down to his last $1.25 when the machine lit up and he got 15 free spins.  He was back up to $47.50 at the end of his bonus round and started to up his bet, having only 5 minutes more to play and a lot of ground to make up.  When he was down to $40.00 his stomach suddenly knotted up and he thought, “what am I doing?”  He’d been saved from losing all his money and he was about to blow it again.  It came to him that this was all wrong.  He had let his fantasy about winning a jackpot cloud his thinking.  He knew that the odds were against him and that the casino always won.  He looked around him and saw all the people “plugged in” to their machines, pushing away like crazy, the glow from the slot machine lights creating a strange halo on their faces.

He got up and cashed out, hurrying to his car to get home.  When he started down the path to lying, he had to come up with more lies to cover up.  He not only had to lie about gambling and being home, he had to lie to himself that what he was doing was ok.  If it was ok, then why did he have to lie about it? 

When his wife arrived he told her the whole story and apologized for his temporary insanity.  She was understanding and praised him for being truthful.  John was so relieved that he had chosen to be truthful and that their relationship was strengthened because his wife knew that he was not able to lie to her.

By Melinda Brett on 6/24/2013 12:00 AM

“The Greatest Gift You Can Give is Your Presence.”
Excerpt from The Mind of the Soul, by Gary Zukan and Linda Francis.

It is so easy for a couple to get into an argument due to the simple fact that they are each trying to win the argument. As one speaks, the other is already forming their defense in their mind…

Henry: “I was really tied yesterday after a full day of work, but I made the effort to put together a good meal. When you neglected to do the dishes I ended up bitter and resentful. It makes me not want to do it again.”

Mary: “Well, I was going to get to them, but you couldn’t wait! I had a hard day also. You don’t understand how hard my job is. You only sit at a desk all day.”

Now Henry is drawn into a debate about who has the worse job, but that was never the point.

What if Mary decided to simply be present? She would hear Henry say he made an effort, realizes he probably didn’t feel appreciated and is now disheartened. How would her response change? Maybe she could say how much she appreciated the meal. She might even say how much she appreciates Henry in general. Once that was said, she could share how she is tired at the end of the day also. Then, together, they might figure out a solution.

When one listens they are giving you the gift of their presence.

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