Don’t Worry, Be Happy!

By Linda & Charlie Bloom
Flickr- Danumurthi Mahendra

Flickr- Danumurthi Mahendra

It’s not just for your sake.

Happiness depends more on the inner disposition of mind than on outward circumstances” – Benjamin Franklin

In case you hadn’t noticed, there’s been a wealth of information recently in the form of books, TV shows, CDs, DVDs, magazine articles, and even movies on a subject that is near and dear to everyone’s heart. The subject is happiness. I’m not sure why it is that there seems to be more interest in happiness these days than there has been in the past. I don’t believe that it’s a reflection of a trend toward greater narcissism and self-centeredness in our culture, nor that it is simply a temporary fad that will pass when people find something else to concern themselves with. And that’s a good thing, because a world with more happy people enhances the quality of life for us all.

Although happiness has been an essential aspect of the American consciousness since the inception of our nation when we were first informed that it’s pursuit was a fundamental right of all US citizens, it has never seemed quite proper or respectable to acknowledge how much we desire, even crave this experience. Perhaps it’s out of a fear of appearing overly self- absorbed or unenlightened. Perhaps it’s because in acknowledging that we deeply desire happiness we implicitly admit that we don’t have as much of it as we want, and that may feel shameful or embarrassing. Or perhaps it’s because we’ve grown up believing that good people shouldn’t care too much about their own happiness but rather should be more concerned about the well-being of others.

Religious doctrines aside, there’s a fair amount of evidence that we humans are predisposed to favor pleasurable experiences be they mental, physical, or emotional, over those that are unpleasant. This predisposition seems to be hardwired into us. Feelings of happiness not only enhance our sense of well-being but as scientists have proven, promote changes on a physiological level in our bodies. Chemicals and endorphins flood our bodies when we experience well-being and fulfillment. Happiness gives our cells the message that life is good and reaffirms our commitment to being alive in ways that can enrich not only our quality of life, but our actual physical health, and even affect our longevity. His Holiness the Dalai Lama himself has been quoted as saying “The purpose of life is to be happy.”

So, I think it’s great that our longing for happiness is not a reflection of selfishness, but rather an expression of our humanness, and that it is finally coming out of the closet, and that increasing numbers of us are unabashedly acknowledging this desire and committing ourselves to becoming more fulfilled and joyful in our own lives.

In our book, 101 Things I Wish I Knew When I Got Married, number 4 is “The greatest gift that you can give your own partner is your own happiness.” While some people might see this statement as being grandiose, I think it is rather modest and that a more accurate phrasing of it would be that the greatest gift that you can give the WORLD is your own happiness. What the world doesn’t need is more sacrificing martyrs who forgo their happiness in order to fulfill a vision of nobility or righteousness, but inwardly feel resentful and unfulfilled.

Not only are personal happiness and generosity towards others not mutually excusive, they are inextricably linked. The happier one is, the more inclined he or she is to share their inner and outer resources with others. Happy people naturally contribute to the overall well-being of those around them, not just by what they do, but by who they are. Those who are uncomfortable around happy people or who resent them often do so because they are, for whatever reasons, denying themselves the feelings of well-being that these people are expressing and that may be activating feelings of envy or anger.

When we stop denying ourselves the experiences that promote happiness and the feelings that go along with them, we stop resenting those that are happy, and feel enhanced and enriched by them. The Buddhists have a term for this phenomenon. They call it “sympathetic joy” and it has to do with taking pleasure in others’ happiness. The opposite of this is known as Schadenfreude, which has to do with taking pleasure in others’ pain or misfortune. When we don’t honor our innate drive for happiness, we secretly wish for others to suffer or fail. Since this tendency feels shameful, we do our best to conceal it. We pretend that we want the best for everyone, even when we may secretly harbor an entirely different intent. The best cure for Schadenfreude is a commitment to our own happiness and well-being which will inevitably lead to a dedication to the well-being of others, not just those closest to us, but to all beings.

When we live in this mindset, we don’t see the world in terms of allies and adversaries, heroes and zeroes, or friends and enemies, but rather as a place in which we are all connected by common needs, desires, concerns, and feelings, with each of us doing what we believe will bring about greater fulfillment and less suffering in our own life.

Sylvia Boorstein, whose best-selling book, Happiness is an Inside Job, agrees with Ben Franklin’s assertion that external circumstances are less relevant to our quality of well being than our inner state of mind or mental attitude. Not that either of these two wise elders claims that we should or even can be continually joyful.

While as Ben Franklin says, external circumstances are less relevant to our level of happiness, there is little if any possibility that any of us can experience a life that is completely and permanently free of any and all unhappiness. Life for all of us inevitably contains some suffering and some circumstances are powerful enough to derail even our clearest intentions to be happy. Life sometimes hands us situations that, despite our best efforts, feel overwhelming or completely unmanageable. At these times, surrendering resistance and control may be the wisest thing that we can do. If we can do this, at the very least we won’t unnecessarily prolong or aggravate an already difficult situation which will in time, inevitably pass.

Managing our thoughts and choosing our attitude doesn’t guarantee happiness, but it does enable us to be less affected by outside forces and to have more influence over the moods that possess us. The best medicine for happiness is a balanced and unconfused mind that neutralizes much of suffering by promoting feelings of benevolence and compassion within ourselves and others.

In our busy daily lives, finding even a few moments of inner quiet and peace can be a daunting challenge, but the good news is that even a few minutes can be enough to cool our hyperactive thinking and bring about greater clarity and understanding. It’s possible, even in the most hectic of schedules to take a brief break, pause, and check into our inner experience and actually feel our feelings, acknowledge and sense our physical sensations, and become mindful of our thoughts. Such reflection interrupts and weakens habituated thought patterns that may create anxiety and confusion. This may not always be enough to put you into a mood of ecstatic bliss, but it will at least put a little more breathing room into your life. And that sure beats the alternative!

Myth: When It Comes To Relationships, Security is Always Better

By Linda & Charlie Bloom
Flickr- Mo Riza

Flickr- Mo Riza

The notion that great marriages are not about comfort and security isn’t news to those of us who have been married for a while or anyone who has ever been in a stagnant relationship. While the idea that formalizing a commitment to a shred partnership may be news to those who haven’t experienced the reality of long term matrimony, if you are in that group of veterans who have learned that this isn’t necessarily the case you might be raising your eyebrows right about now or shaking your head. Still you might want to continue reading. You might learn something new.

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Do You Engage in Conscious Combat or Are You Just Fighting?

By Linda & Charlie Bloom

Angry Man WomanConflict, especially in relationships, has gotten a pretty bad rap over the years and for good reason. Unresolved differences are the source of an awful lot of physical, mental and emotional distress. Many couples have concluded that arguing and fighting is painful that it’s better to avoid acknowledging differences at all, and have co-created agreements (sometimes unspoken or even unconscious) to ignore or deny the presence of differences that could potentially activate hard or hurt feelings.

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Love Is NOT All You Need

By Linda & Charlie Bloom
Flickr - Vladimir Pustovit

Flickr – Vladimir Pustovit

The Beatles were on the money with almost all of their songs, but on this one, I’m afraid that they got it wrong. Unfortunately millions of Beatle fans that took their word as the holy truth found themselves deeply disappointed when they found out that love was not, in fact all that they needed. Nor despite the reassurance that “It’s eeeeasy” that also didn’t prove to be the case. I realize that there may still be many diehard Beatles fans out there that still believe that love is easy and that it’s all you need. From my experience, however, neither of those claims is true.

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Great Relationships Do Require Work, But Not Forever

By Linda & Charlie Bloom

Loving coupleWhen NASA launches a space vehicle, it uses about 90% of its fuel getting beyond the earth’s atmosphere. After it clears the pull of this gravitational force, considerably less fuel is required, allowing it to travel great distances expending much less energy. This principle also applies to relationships. The early stages (after you pass the delirium of infatuation) are where the real work begins. That work is about committed listening, letting go of control, practicing vulnerability, overcoming resistance to change, being honest, even in the face of fear, and focusing on your own work rather than trying to change your partner. Like mastering any other new skill, it takes a lot to hang in there and muddle through the demanding times. The effort required is often great and the challenge can be daunting, so much so that many conclude that it’s not worth it or that they don’t have the stamina and perseverance to work forever at this level.

Relationships, we think, should not have to be this hard. Well, that’s true. They shouldn’t be relentlessly difficult, at least not on a permanent basis, otherwise who, other than a masochist would consciously choose to live in a state of perpetual struggle. The bad news is that some degree of effort and agony is inevitable in most relationships. The good news is that it doesn’t have to last forever and it is generally a temporary, not a permanent condition.

As we found out in researching our book, Secrets of Great Marriages, while most couples have experienced varying degrees of difficulty in their relationships, after they make it “over the hump”, the downward pull of gravity diminishes greatly and the amount of effort and energy required to sustain and nurture the relationship is greatly reduced. Furthermore, the experience of nurturing the relationship no longer feels like effort or work, but rather, literally becomes a labor of love that feels instead like a gift, a joyful opportunity for which we feel grateful and blessed.

This characterization may seem impossibly unrealistic or Pollyanna-ish to those still in the more challenging stages of the process, but from the perspective of anyone who has successfully transitioned to the more advanced stages of partnership, it is not only realistic, but absolutely attainable. In addition to the willingness to do the afore-mentioned work, the qualities needed to hang in there long enough to get to the “gold” that committed partnerships offer are trust and perseverance.

Perseverance has to do with the willingness to continue to make the necessary effort to confront the challenges that are inherent in the process, particularly in the face of discouragement, fear, and distress, and trust has to do with the confidence that there is light at the end of the tunnel, whether we can currently see it or not, and the understanding that persevering is worth the effort.

Cultivating any new skill, such as playing a musical instrument, learning a foreign language, mastering a particular sport or game, requires knowledge, diligence and practice. Developing the skill of effective relating is no different, even though it’s easy to forget that most of us are, to varying degrees, inexperienced and unschooled in this arena.

Because we may not think of relationships as something that you need to develop skills for, it’s easy to forget that this process is no different than the development of other competencies. We tend to think that if the feeling is there, then the relationship should just “naturally” thrive. While it may be natural, most of us have developed some pretty unskillful practices in our attempts to fulfill needs that were not getting met in our relationship. Yet while loving another person isn’t enough to insure a blissful future together, what is true is that we do have the ability to participate in our relationships in a ways that strongly influence the degree to which they do thrive.

The amount of time that we spend in the early stages of this process and the slope of the learning curve has to do with our willingness and ability to learn the lessons that relationships are continually providing us with. These lessons are about honesty, letting go, non-judgment, responsibility, commitment, compassion, risk, and openness, for starters. The more dedicated we are to mastering these learning opportunities, the faster we will internalize the skills and competencies that good relationships require.

As we integrate these abilities, replacing old defensive habits with new, more effective practices, the work becomes more natural and easier. We automatically begin doing the things that work and let go of habituated responses that no longer serve us. Sure this takes time, and the process is gradual, but if you can stick with it, the result is not only worth the effort, it’s beyond what most of us ever thought possible!

It’s Never Too Late To Bring Up Unfinished Business

By Linda & Charlie Bloom
Flickr- Pedro Ribeiro Simões

Flickr- Pedro Ribeiro Simões

There’s a commonly held belief shared by many couples that after a certain point at which the time to bring up or continue an unfinished conversation (particularly one in which there is disagreement) is passed. That is, any attempt by one partner to revisit an issue that he or she felt incomplete with will be met with a refusal to re-engage with the subject. “That’s history”, “We already discussed this”, “You should have said this yesterday when we were having the conversation”, and “It’s too late to bring it up now”. These are some examples of responses that couples hear from each other when one of them doesn’t want to reopen a matter that they would rather not discuss. One of the things that couples with great relationships have in common is a shared commitment to talk about any issue that feels incomplete or unfinished with either of them, regardless of whether or when it may have previously been addressed.

Refusing to revisit unfinished business denies us the opportunity to become free from the heavy feelings that often accompany unresolved issues. Sidestepping potentially painful subjects can sometimes be a convenient justification to avoid risking emotional upsets. The problem is, of course that in doing so, we create a potentially greater risk; that is, the possibility of diminishing the qualities of trust, respect, and good will in our relationship.

We often hear people say that they don’t have enough time to talk anymore. A more honest response would be something like: “The last thing that I want to talk about is my feelings or hear about yours.”

Another factor in being resistant to dealing with unfinished business can be a fear that it is being brought up to criticized, shamed, blamed or punished by one’s partner. There may have been a good reason for things being stashed in the deep freeze, particularly if there was a painful disconnect in the first place. It’s always a good idea to examine one’s intention in bringing an issue up, especially one that has already been addressed. If the intention is to learn from the experience and create greater mutual understanding for the purpose of finally laying it to rest, it’s more likely that revisiting the concern will bring about a more satisfying outcome than an intention to coerce or punish one’s partner. Communicating your intention aloud to your partner will help to reassure him or her that your purpose is trustworthy.

Janet hit an impasse with her husband Wendell when she tried to revisit a painful (and common) issue: in-laws. By clarifying her intention and stating her feelings without blame or judgment, Janet was able to express her desire for Wendell’s involvement in a way that he could join her in her concerns.

Janet: Your parents called to invite us to come to visit. I want to talk about the last visit to their house when they were rude to me.

Wendell: What are you bringing up such old news for. That was a long time ago. If you had something to say bout it, you should have said it at the time. It’s too late to bring it up now at this late date. Nothing can be done about it now. We just need to be looking forward to the future.

Janet: I am looking ahead to the future, and that’s what I want to talk with you about, but I can’t just forget about the past. It’s still bothering me. I was hurt about how they ignored me. They devoted all of their attention to you and never even acknowledged me.
Wendell: Why do you insist on bringing up this old news? You mustn’t live in the past. Just let it go.

Janet: You’re right; it would have been better if I had done something about including myself into the conversations, or taken you aside to tell you privately how upset I was so you could help somehow, and I didn’t. That’s why I want us to get clear about what will work for me, how we can both set things up so that we don’t have a repeat of what happened then. I have some ideas about how we can prevent a similar situation from reoccurring and I think that it will be a win-win for us all. I’d really appreciate your willingness to hear what I have in mind and to work with me on this. Can you do that?

Wendell: Well, I guess so. Yes.

Janet: Thanks. It really means a lot to me that we’re on the same page, and if we work together on this I know that things will turn out very differently than they did last time!

The incident that is bothering Janet may be old. Sometimes people carry pain from incidents many years in the past. But the discomfort is present in their current experience. Wendell’s insistence that she “just let it go” is his attempt to avoid talking about an issue that is already costing him a deeper level of intimacy with Janet, and is likely to drive that wedge to a more severe degree if he doesn’t change his belief that it’s too late to discuss it. Covering over the issue doesn’t make it go away. Until Janet feels heard and understood and both of them learn how to make the visits to the in-laws work for them, the issue will be a chronic irritant.
With a large number of issues left unaddressed and incomplete, the well being and trust in the relationship falls. In this case Wendell did finally change his mind because Janet persisted and wouldn’t give up. Fortunately for them both, Wendell was open and wise enough to hear her distress. He pledged to make a committed effort to include her in conversations with his parents during their visits. Once Janet had a chance to be heard, she was able to relax enough to schedule another visit to Wendell’s family. The visit went well due to their pre-planning and cooperation around making it a success.

When there is a painful emotional charge on something that has happened, no matter how long ago. Speaking about a situation in a responsible way, with an openness to hear each other’s feelings and concerns can set the stage for inconceivable possibilities to occur.

There is no statue of limitations on past issues and it’s never too late to bring up a previously discussed subject. As long as our commitment is to heal the damage and restore trust and harmony, it’s likely that the results of our efforts will be deeply and mutually fulfilling!

Marriage Is NOT A Fifty Fifty Proposition

By Linda & Charlie Bloom

The Conversion from Me-ish to We-ish

Flickr- Mo Riza

Flickr- Mo Riza

Mira: In the beginning of our relationship I was a very efficient scorekeeper and kept careful track of who did what for whom. Fairness has always been a big deal for me. My stance was often, “If you give me this, I’ll give you that.” It drove Joel nuts.

Joel:  I let Mira know, in no uncertain terms, how offensive this was to me.

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Myth: Little Things Aren’t Worth Getting Upset About

By Linda & Charlie Bloom

oeDIWT8“Take it easy. Chill out. Relax. Cool down. Don’t stress out. Lighten up. You’re making a mountain out of a molehill. It’s not a big deal.”

These are some of the things that I used to say back in the day when I didn’t want to hear Linda’s complaints when I failed to keep my word regarding something that I had told her that I was going to do. And back in the day there were quite a few of those things. Like being ready to leave at a certain time to go to the airport to catch a flight or pick up some groceries that she needed for dinner on my way home, or remember not to make any other commitments that might interfere with our date night or well, you get the picture.

These instances were, unfortunately not infrequent and as much as Linda hated to be disappointed and upset with me, I hated hearing her feelings that were provoked by my negligence; partly because it felt like I was being scolded for doing something wrong, but mostly because I knew that she had a right to feel the way she did and that I was guilty of dropping the ball again. Hearing Linda’s disappointment also put me more directly in touch with her feelings and reminded me that I had something to do with them and that didn’t feel good. Rather than acknowledging my guilt and the legitimacy of her feelings, which might have strengthened my motivation to make amends and break this painful cycle in our relationship, I instead often chose to make excuses to explain or justify my actions (or inactions) and become defensive in an effort to make Linda wrong by telling her that she was making a big deal out of nothing.

I was a great believer in the notion that the best defense is a good offense and I did my best to be offensive, which unfortunately I succeeded at being. Linda was always quite offended by my efforts to turn the tables on her so that I didn’t have to deal with or admit to the consequences of my own irresponsibility. The trouble was, as I learned the hard way, that although this strategy might work in football and other contact sports, it fails miserably in the game of relationship.

It took longer that I would like to admit for me to finally get it, but although I tend to be a slow learner, I did eventually learn. The “it” that I finally got was that it’s not just some agreements that are important and need to be kept, but all agreements. It’s not because it means that you’re a bad person if you fail to honor your word, but that there are consequences to doing so; consequences that show up whether it seems like the agreement isn’t all that important, like handling the cat box by the end of the day or whether it’s a truly big deal, like picking up the kids after school.

The consequences to failing to keep agreements go far beyond the results that ensue from this failure in regard to the immediate situation, but extend into the foundation of the relationship with the person with whom we’ve made the agreement. When there is a pattern of unfulfilled promises and broken agreements in a relationship the trust level inevitably goes down, as does the sense of being held in esteem and respect of the person who is one the receiving end of the broken agreement. It’s hard not to feel that “I must not be that important to you if you prioritized something else over me and the agreement that we made”.

The situation is compounded when there is an unwillingness to accept the feelings of upset or disappointment that inevitably arise when agreements are not kept. This isn’t to suggest that there is or should be zero tolerance for any broken promise. The point that I finally got wasn’t that I need to make sure that I never ever drop that ball and that I maintain a perfect record in the agreement department. My lesson was to take my word seriously when I gave it, and to accept the feedback that I received from Linda or anyone else. I realized that they were speaking up because she cared enough about our relationship to be honest with me when she felt let down or disappointed if I did screw up.

My offensive strategy had another unpleasant aspect to it, which was to discourage Linda’s (and others’) willingness to express their feelings to me out of a fear that in doing so they would be subject to a defensive or offensive reaction from me. Why would they want that? It would be easier just to stuff their feelings and tell me “it’s okay, I understand.” The problem is that stuffed feelings have a way of turning into resentment, particularly if they are cumulative, and un-dealt with resentment has a was of turning into nit-picking, criticism, judgment, and passive-aggressiveness. Taking what might look like the path of least resistance in order to avoid upset can in the end turn out to be the path of greatest resistance.

Breaking the habit of being late, being defensive, denying responsibility, or neglecting to keep our word can seem like a daunting prospect, particularly if we’ve been rationalizing our justifications for years, but take it from one whose been there, it’s very doable once you get committed to doing it. And if you can keep that commitment to yourself, you’ll be much more likely to keep those that you make to everyone else!

If You Don’t Have Something Nice To Say, Maybe You Should Say It Anyway

By Linda & Charlie Bloom

Couple“A failure to confront is a failure to love.” Scott Peck    

No one likes to be confronted, even in a nice way, for failing to keep an agreement. And many of us have come up with some very effective ways to discourage others from giving us feedback that we’d rather not hear. The problem with keeping the messenger from giving us the message is that we may be denying ourselves valuable information that could come in handy in the event that we might want to enhance the level of integrity, respect and trust in our life and in our relationships. One of the most popular ways of discouraging others from giving unwanted feedback is to invalidate or deny the legitimacy of any responses to our words or behavior that another person is providing. Saying, for example, “I was disappointed when you didn’t keep your agreement to follow up on the project that we’ve been working on” or When you didn’t show when you said you would for our meeting, I became worried that something had happened to you and I thought that perhaps I had written the wrong time in my appointment book”, or “I’m noticing that I’m feeling less trust for you to keep your word since the last four times that you’ve promised me that you would do something, you haven’t done it”.

It’s hard to hear that someone, whose opinion of us matters, is feeling mistrust, disappointment, anger or other negative emotions. When we minimize or diminish the legitimacy of their feelings by rationalizing, justifying our behavior, or simply telling them that they are making a bigger deal of something than it is, and that they shouldn’t get so upset over nothing. Not only does such invalidation fail to convince most people that they are wrong in feeling what they do, but it further undermines the level of trust and respect in the relationship. The intention is to invalidate another’s feeling of, for example anger, disappointment, distrust or anxiety, by trying to convince someone that they them that they shouldn’t feel that way because:

a) “I had a good reason for doing what I did.”

b) “You shouldn’t take things so personally.”

c) “You’re making a mountain our of a molehill. You need to chill out. You’re making a big deal out of nothing. You were late for an appointment with me last week/month/ year. Can’t you just get over it? Move on dude,” etc.

If you’re like most of us, you’ve probably been on both the receiving or giving end of dialogues like these from time to time in your life. And if so, you probably are aware that these responses generally ARE very ineffective strategies for getting the job done. The job, in most cases, being to discredit the other person’s feelings in order to avoid accepting responsibility for having broken an agreement (however small it may have been) and the guilt or distress that may ensue.

These attempts to silence our confronter or accuser when we are reminded of a transgression serve to defend us, or actually our public image, from being tarnished by an act that reveals our underlying humanness including it’s imperfections, deficiencies, and flaws. The bottom line is that we don’t want to look bad, to ourselves and /or others. And bad is how we think we will look if we’re caught in the act of being unreliable, insensitive, or overly self-centered. When our actions reveal unattractive aspects of our personality through angry or disrespectful words, hurtful behaviors (either actively or passively expressed) or violations of trust it’s natural to want to explain or justify ourselves in order to avoid the discomfort of the shame or embarrassment that often accompanies exposure of such a situation, since such information.

“Shooting the messenger” isn’t necessarily the best way to deal with someone who is bringing news, however difficult to accept it may be since such information may be worth listening to. After all, sometimes we may not be aware of our transgressions, and even if we are, we may not want to know how it has impacted the other person. When our defensive strategies succeed in screening out any feedback that we don’t want to hear, we deprive ourselves of the very information that we need in order to interrupt unskillful patterns and diminish the frequency of future occurrences.

Reacting defensively with anger, hostility or judgment when confronted with someone’s feelings over having been on the receiving end of a broken agreement, may intimidate that person into shutting up or retracting their words. Unfortunately there is a problem with winning that game. These feelings don’t go away, they go underground, and they will, from time to time, arise in various subtle forms that directly or indirectly express themselves.

Consequently, couples often find themselves arguing over topics like money, sex, kids, and in-laws; these subjects tend to be cover-ups of the real issue. The actual issues have to do with things like power, control, respect, trust, freedom, and acceptance, although the are generally buried beneath layers of ignored, invalidated and denied feelings that have been accumulating and neglected for quite a long time, sometimes as long as decades. When the build-up of unacknowledged feelings reaches a point at which it becomes intolerable to bear and there is no capacity left in our emotional holding tank, our emotional circuit breaker shuts off a power line when the circuit gets overloaded. However in this case, you can’t just re-set the breaker. The system needs major repair, or worse, it may be beyond repair.

When it comes to dealing with broken agreements or with emotions that arise between people that need attention and understanding, there is no such thing as “no big deal.” Any disturbance that is unacknowledged or unattended is a big deal and it quickly becomes a bigger one if it is denied or invalidated.

Managing the emotions that arise in us when we really listen to another’s distress that our own actions have contributed to requires tolerance, restraint, intentionality, and vulnerability, as well as a range of other personal qualities. Few of us come into adulthood with these qualities fully developed. It is in the crucible of relationships that the motivation to strengthen these traits and the opportunity to practice their development occurs. When we embrace the challenge of using our relationship as a means of self-development we open the possibility of shifting the trajectory not only of our relationship, but also of our life itself. And that is a big deal!

When It Comes To Togetherness In Relationships, More Isn’t Always Better

By Linda & Charlie Bloom

CoupleParkbenchPondThere’s not much question that an awful lot of relationships suffer from a deficiency of quality time together, a condition that greatly diminishes the experience
of connection shared by the couple. Other responsibilities and commitments have a way of winning the competition for our time, leaving us feeling resentful, frustrated, tired, lonely, or some combination of the above. While insufficient connection time is unquestionably a common phenomenon that afflicts many relationships, it is by no means a universal condition; in fact some relationships have the opposite problem.

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Linda & Charlie Bloom are authors of 101 Things I Wish I Knew When I Got Married & Secrets of Great Marriages.
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