Archive for August, 2010

Put Excitement Back Into Your Relationship

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

Do you really have to scale K2 together or survive a reality show to spice up your relationship?  Well…. maybe not K2.

You may agree with the feelings one man made very clear to me: “Listen, between the weather, the finances, the kids and the unexpected aggravation, we’ve had about enough excitement as we can stand. We’ll settle for boring.”

OK – but what if we were to make a distinction between what is emotionally stressful, problematic and even traumatic and what is exciting. What if we defined exciting as something that is novel, arousing, and enjoyable?

Protecting Children from the Impact of Marital Strife

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

A study reported by Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, at the American Psychological Association’s Convention in San Diego this month indicated that research shows that childhood trauma and adversity can actually shorten a child’s lifespan by 7 to 15 years. Such adverse events include losing a parent, being abused or witnessing parental marital strife.

Disaster experts tell us that the impact of most traumatic events on children can be reduced if parents remain calm, deal with their own feelings and reassure the child that they will keep them safe and protected. Marital Strife is an emotional crisis for a child because the very people needed to offer safety are the ones creating the danger.

What is Marital Strife?

Marital Strife can span a range from ongoing contemptuous comments and bitter fighting to domestic violence that warrants a 911 call.

Regulating Stress When Driving As A Couple

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010


Almost every couple has a car story- be it good, bad or ugly.

Romance unfolds in cars. Given the privacy, small space, music, heat or lack of it, cars invite emotional connection and events to remember- the first chance of intimacy, the car you both loved, the road trips you cherished.

 If you are a couple, you also know that as relaxing and romantic as being in a car with your partner can be – there is the other side. Driving together can go from cherished to challenging- sometimes in the same trip!

  • “Didn’t you see that guy- he almost hit us.”
  • “I didn’t cause the traffic!”
  • “I want to get there alive – what is the speed limit?”
  • “Why get a GPS if you won’t follow it?”
  • “You put our lives in danger because he cut you off?”

In fairness to anyone who can relate to the comments above, driving in this culture is stressful. When you consider the number of interacting factors that add to the situation, it is amazing that any couple takes up the challenge, much less enjoys it.

Compounding Factors

  • There are the external factors like the destination, the time, the distance,the car’s performance, the reaction of other drivers,the road conditions etc.
  • There are the differing emotional feelings and expectations triggered in each partner by the reason for the trip- be it a vacation, a family visit or a medical appointment.
  • There are the internal factors i.e. the pre-existing physical and emotional state of each of the partners, often exacerbated by the fact that only one is in “control of the driving,” regardless of where the other is sitting or what they are saying.

Clearly, the situation is complex and given that no one can control all of these factors, an important area of focus for partners is the handling and regulating of their emotional reactions as individuals and as a couple.

Styles for Regulating Emotions

Researchers tell us that people have different styles for regulating their experience and expression of emotion. Often partners are not only reacting to the road condition or the tension about the family visit, but the way in which each regulates stress.

Some use concealing strategies. They suppress their feelings and try not to …

True Love Means-Looks Still Matter

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010
  • “I love you but I don’t love that large Disney Sweatshirt.”
  • “When did marriage mean you would stop shaving on the weekends?”
  • “Everything you tried on looks great– why can’t you wear any of them?”
  • “I think they said casual not throw-away.”

For most people, there was something about the physical characteristics of the person they fell in love with that tripped their chemistry into response. Should that stop mattering when the wedding is over, the kids are in school or the retirement is planned? Not Really.

This is a culture that pushes looks, youth, beauty and the icons that possess theme.  For those seeking a partner, there is a considerable amount of interest in what catches the attention of men when meeting women and what women find attractive in a man.

'Inception' and Dangerous Ideas in Relationships

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010

While the movie Inception has certainly invited discussion about dreams and even an interest and analysis of viewers’ own nightmares, you may recall that in the film, the motivation for entering the dream world is the recognition of the impact of a persistent idea. As Leonardo DiCaprio (Cobb) forebodes in the opening of the film, “What’s the most resilient parasite? An idea.”

In the movie’s narrative, hidden beneath the scaffolding of dreams and driven by the confusion of dream and reality is an idea that ultimately destroys Cobb’s wife, his relationship with his children and possibly his ability to discern reality – depending on your take of the ending.

Recognizing that media both reflects culture and is shaped by it, this film raises the question, “Can a persistent negative idea threaten a relationship?” Yes.

Healing Together
for Couples


Subscribe to this Blog:

Or Get a Single, Daily Email (enter email address):

via FeedBurner

More on

Healing Together

Suzanne Phillips, Psy.D., ABPP & Dianne Kane, DSW are the authors of Healing Together: A Couple's Guide to Coping with Trauma and Post-Traumatic Stress. Pick up the book today!

Subscribe to this Blog:

Or Get a Single, Daily Email (enter email address):

via FeedBurner

Recent Comments
  • Russel Brown: I have been married for 23 years this year, to my beautiful first girlfriend. I was so taken with her...
  • mu: I am married for 20 years. I am married to a pastor who never gave me any problems. We had our normal fights like...
  • Kevin the Bold: Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a rain dance.
  • surviveldr: I agree with most of you here. LDR are different each time, every time. The relationship depends on both...
  • Suzanne Phillips, Psy.D., ABPP: Thanks – I appreciate your understanding of the complication with a recognition...
Find a Therapist
Enter ZIP or postal code

Users Online: 12240
Join Us Now!