Are You Using Your Judgment Or Just Being Judgmental?

Life requires us to make assessments, literally hundreds of times a day. We assess risk level, costs, benefits, and appropriateness of behaviors in specific situations.. We make these judgment calls in our relationships too, but we sometimes forget that they are personal, subjective  evaluations, and instead hold our views as being objectively , undeniably true. Taking a position in this way is a form of judgmentalism and can be hazardous to your health and to the health of your relationship.


Support and Feedback From Friends Isn’t Always Helpful

Everyone in Joan's life was telling her to get a divorce. Her husband Greg had been having a secret affair for months. His dishonesty was more painful to Joan than the affair itself. She doubted that she would ever be able to trust him again. "Get rid of him!" her sister pleaded. "Once a cheater always a cheater,” her best friend told her. Joan's friends meant well, but they were biased. They were distressed to see her in so much pain and they wanted the old Joan back again. Normally strong, Joan was now having trouble keeping her life together. To observers, it can appear simple and clear-cut that there are perpetrators and victims. On closer investigation, however, there is usually more to the story.


I Didn’t Know That

A funny thing happened to us on the way to writing our recently-published book featuring couples with long-term exemplary marriages: we got to be wrong about some of the beliefs that we had regarding the factors that we thought couples needed to experience in order to create great relationships. In other words, we discovered that we had unwittingly taken on some of the cultural myths that many people, including psychotherapists and marriage counselors have bought into regarding relationships. In speaking with over 50 couples, which admittedly doesn't constitute a huge sample, but nonetheless is a pretty significant number, we found a number of consistent themes running through their marriages.


Commitment Can Set You Free!

Yes, you read it right, and no, I’m not crazy. When I shared this observation with my single friend Howard, he looked at me as though I had taken permanent leave of my senses. I don't blame him for his reaction. It hadn't been that long ago that I had the same association with the dreaded "C word." It wasn't until after Linda and I had been together for several years that I stopped feeling like I was stuck in a trap and began to experience the liberating nature of true commitment.


If Your Work Eats The Lion’s Share of Your Energy, Your Marriage Will Starve

Matt’s parents divorced when he was four. His mother and two sisters raised him. His mother never remarried and the family struggled financially throughout Matt’s childhood. While growing up he continually vowed that he would never be poor again, and that his children would never lack any material thing they ever wanted. He married Deborah, who recognized in Matt, not only a man of great ambition, but also of kindness and compassion. However she also saw that his childhood experience had left him with unhealed emotional wounds. She loved him deeply and felt certain that her love would mend the insecurity that drove Matt to strive so relentlessly to succeed.


Not Enough Time for Intimacy?

Try the Bic Cure. 

Jason and Carolyn are a power couple. He’s an investment banker and she’s an attorney. They also have two daughters ages 7 and 5. They both share a commitment to provide quality parenting for their girls and share child-rearing responsibilities. In between jobs and child-care, they somehow manage to squeeze in regular workouts at the local gym. They also are on several community and neighborhood committees and volunteer at their...


Vulnerability Can Be Disarming

Arguments don't end when one person overpowers another. Submission to an intimidator might interrupt the heat of the battle, but at best, it's a temporary truce, not a permanent resolution. Even with a truce, there is generally a not-so-subtle tension that is present in the relationship because conflict has been driven underground. Bringing out the big guns- threats, name-calling, insults, loud yelling- always exacts a painfully high price. While you may win the battle for temporary dominance, you will, in all likelihood, lose the war. The “victory” will  involve a diminishment of trust, good will, caring and respect.


The Direct Path to Self-Awareness

The hidden power of the shadow.

“You can learn more about yourself in a week in a marriage than you can meditating for 10 years in a cave.”   —Stephen Levine  Carl Jung referred to as the “shadow” as the parts of ourselves that we judge as undesirable and try to conceal. One of the underlying objectives of psychotherapy is to bring our shadow into conscious awareness so that we can come to terms with ourselves with greater self-acceptance. For this reason, “shadow work” or the re-claiming of disowned parts of ourselves, is one of the most powerful things we can do to promote healing in ourselves and within all of our relationships. The shadow is not inherently negative, in fact it contains very powerful and necessary aspects that we deny our selves access to when we disown them. Shadow work involves more than just acknowledging shameful aspects of ourselves, but recognizing the healing and creative value of those qualities and holding them with respect, rather than contempt.