Couples Counseling Articles

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Love, Loneliness and Connection

My attorney married his college sweetheart after she finished medical school.

They were married only a short time, which he describes as the loneliest three years of his life.

To this day, he has never remarried.

In 2018, loneliness emerged as a silent epidemic in North America.

In today’s almost-post-quarantine-world, we have a national health crisis on our hands.

Oddly, loneliness is not defined by our surroundings nor does it have a direct relationship to distance or geography.

We can feel lonely and emotionally alone even in beautiful space with people we love.

It’s an internal sense or comfort level and is distinct from solitude.

Solitude is an opportunity for rest and rejuvenation. It’s voluntary and tends to enhance our personal growth, creativity and well-being. It brings up emotions…but in a good way.

Loneliness feels heavy and is burdened with shame. Stigma surrounds it and creates an unconscious desire to escape. The brain says, “Anywhere but here.”

In research circles, there is an evolution in thinking about loneliness and its link to depression, anxiety and addiction.

Meanwhile, most people have become experts at suppressing loneliness with magical thinking and….let’s admit it….our over use of electronic devices.

When that doesn’t work, we withdraw, stay busy or self-medicate with something or someone.

As unrelenting as the state of loneliness may seem, it is reversible.

First, we can lift the burden of shame by recognizing and acknowledging that we all need human connection as much as we need food and water.

Then we can de-stigmatize loneliness by talking about our experiences and understanding it for what it is:

a near-universal human condition we can do something about.

New Normals Will Come and Go

Just for today, I’m unwilling to listen to noise about the new normal.

In normal times, most of us forget we’re even there.

We’re on autopilot and rarely give normal a second thought until a new normal wants to take over.

First, we protest. Then we problem-solve and adjust….over and over again.

That’s what we do and humans are really, really good at it.

We are natural-born problem solvers. And you could say, we take normal for granted until it’s gone.

Taking things for granted may seem like a harsh term…. especially at a time when people are searching for security and stability.

But step-by-step we know how to connect, share, problem solve and make change happen.

It takes focus and energy. And sometimes…. it takes an intervention.

Still, it seems important to remind ourselves.

Because it’s easy to forget the miracles and the smallest normals that make our lives extraordinary.

For example,

You swallow about 2,000 times a day or once every 30 seconds on average….

Blink about 14,000 times per day and touch your face 16 times per hour, on average.

All virtually invisible to us….

until we try not to blink, swallow….

or touch our face.

We Got The Wrong Message!

Somehow, we got the message that love is mystical and magical. That it appears, then disappears. Motivates us. Confuses us. And, of course, we have no control over it.

Not true!

Over the past 10 years or so we’ve learned a lot about love. Brain science has completely changed our understanding of what’s possible when it comes to shaping a loving relationship.

So much so that our whole culture is shifting and personal expectations are growing. Have you noticed? While we used to settle for good enough, today we want connection.

We want to be cherished, accepted, respected and understood. We want more from our partners and while it doesn’t have to be perfect… we believe we deserve better.

Continue Reading We Got The Wrong Message!

What Are You Creating?

For as long as I can remember, most people I know fell in love and started creating the wedding. Who and how many to invite? Find the right venue. Live music or DJ? What kind of food and when do we taste the cake? Get these questions answered then swing into action.

The profits around organizing and implementing weddings are huge. It’s an industry that’s not going away. Just a quick Google search reveals there are more than 2.5 million weddings in the US annually valued at well over $50 billion. Yes. Billion.

Today, there’s a new kind of creating going on.

Over time, it’s likely to have more dominance and prestige because you cannot buy or duplicate it: Creating an intimate partnership that works.

How do we create an intimate partnership where we are doing great things AND still accessible, responsive and emotionally engaged with each other?

How do we show up in relationship in ways that serve our partner AND the world?

Happy couples of the future, the ones that want to be close 20 years from now, are asking these questions. If you’re aspiring to a happy 20+ year marriage, consider organizing an intimate partnership.

If you’re planning an average life by working harder, longer hours and making more money to build a bigger house, consider the alternative: gifting your partner and humanity with your brilliance.