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Couples Counseling – 6 Truths

Photo by Cari Ann Wayman

I’ve seen it happen so many times: In casual conversation, without really thinking about it, I start a sentence off with, “Our couples counselor…” and I’m startled when I see the eyebrows raise.

Amid what has become my utterly ordinary reality–we see a couples counselor–I forget myself. I forget that for most people, working with a couples counselor is the sort of thing you’d only reveal to intimate friends and family (and perhaps not even then).

But this is my truth: my partner of seven-plus years and I work with a couples counselor, and have done so since about the two-year mark of our relationship.

25 Things to Avoid for Better Relationships

Photo by Karrah Kobus
Life is relationships. The rest is just details. ~Dr. Scott Sticksel

Last week, I had lunch with my colleagues.

One guy from a different department (I’ll call him Dave) joined us at our table. I’ve only interacted with Dave a couple of times before, so I don’t know him very well.

When we all started to eat, Dave began expressively describing the problems he was facing at work.

He then went on to talk about some of his college experiences.

Next, he explained an issue his family was going through and what he was doing to resolve it.

With surprising ease, he transitioned to narrate, in great detail, a near-death experience he’d had five years before.

That brought us to the end of lunch.

Death of My Father

Photo by Shannnnon
Editor’s Note

Reading this made me cry. It contains an important lesson. Take a minute to read this story and reflect on its lessons.

If you admire someone you should go ahead and tell them. People never get the flowers when they can still smell them. ~Kanye West

I lost my dad in 2003 when I was 22 years old.

I still remember the day it happened like it was yesterday. My mom woke me up and told me that my dad had called and believes he’s having a heart attack.

I jumped in my car and drove over to his home to see how he was. On my way over there, I called him and asked if he needed me to call an ambulance. He responded “yes”. So I called 911.

8 Lessons on Love

Photo by Shannon
Keep your heart open for as long as you can, as wide as you can, for others and especially for yourself. ~Morrie Schwartz

I distinctly remember the time I first thought about love.

I was 5 years old. It was a bright, sunny day outside and my mother told me that she and Dad no longer loved each other; and that they wouldn’t be living together anymore. My little 5-year old world was rocked.

I remember trying to take it all in—to process it all as fast as a 5-year old brain could. Thoughts rushed through my mind one after the other. I would no longer be living with one of them and seeing them everyday.

5 Lessons from Ending a Friendship

Photo by Simon Pais
In this world of change, nothing which comes stays, and nothing which goes is lost. ~Anne Sophie Swetchine

Starting at a new school on the other side of town at the already awkward age of 13, I was desperate for the kind of friendship I could lose myself in. I was completely uncomfortable in my own skin and wanted someone I could join forces with, someone that could take some of the focus off of me.

We met in the lunchroom–the worst possible place for a middle ‘schooler’ who has yet to make any friends. So you could say the friendship was sparked by a sort of quiet desperation.

Finding Beauty in the Imperfections

Photo by Alex Stoddard
Love isn’t a state of caring. It is an active noun, like struggle. To love someone is to strive to accept that person exactly the way he or she is, right here and now.

There are certain things in life that we can’t master simply by memorizing a set of facts or figures. We must navigate our way using past experiences and current feelings, attempting to find what’s “right” when “right” is only a matter of opinion.

Relationships, especially romantic ones, are just one of these things.

Ever since I started dating at the immature age of 15, I’ve always evaluated other people’s relationships. I pay careful attention to the dynamic between two people, taking mental note of the things that other people’s partners do and don’t do for them.

How to Have a Healthy Relationship

Photo by aeschleah
All the flowers of all the tomorrows are in the seeds of today. ~Proverb

Our relationships with the people around us are among the most important aspects in our lives. That’s why we go through such an emotional roller coaster ride when our relationship is in trouble and we crave to have that healthy relationship.

The possibility of losing the one we love and the relationship we’ve invested so much time in can be utterly daunting.

Take me for example. I consider myself to be in a loving, satisfying and healthy relationship with my partner. But from my perspective, it wasn’t always like that.

7 Lessons from a Broken Heart

Photo by Rosie Hardy
Editor’s Note

Even though this story contains life lessons from a broken heart (a painful break up), its lessons are applicable to many other life situations. I highly recommend reading this, even if you are not going through a broken heart.

We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations. ~Charles R. Swindoll

Nine months ago, as I carted my meager belongings into my parents house–a move that was supposed to be temporary–my world came crashing down. It was an apocalypse I was anything but prepared for.

After envisioning a walk down the aisle, my relationship of six years came to a screeching, and quite unexpected, halt. My heart was broken. I lost several freelance jobs I had come to count on, and my already shaky income became non-existent. Worst of all, I endured a blow to my self esteem that left me curled up on the couch unable to do anything more than sleep and sob.

How to Save a Marriage: 5 Steps

Photo by Shannon
The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother. ~Theodore Hesburgh

In the past month I found out that three marriages of close friends are in trouble.

When I heard about the first one, a husband who recently left his marriage, I cried. It seemed worse than death. With death there is love. With separation or divorce, there is often anger, despair and fear.

I found out about the next one, a marriage in trouble for the second time (that I know of), and I felt sad. They had tried to improve a trouble spot, but it seems they fell backwards again. Why aren’t they holding on for dear life? I asked myself.

By the time I heard about the third one, however, I felt resignation. Or at least I didn’t feel as shocked. I suppose when you hear about something repeatedly, it no longer surprises you.

Secret to a Healthy Relationship

Jeremy & Tina. Feb 12, 2009. Wedding day. Kauai, Hawaii.

When it comes to relationships, we all want love, security and support—all can be fulfilled by a healthy relationship. Aside from wanting the security that comes with a healthy relationship, we also want to appear to the world that our relationship is in fact a healthy one.

It’s funny that to the outside world, we try to display an image of perfection… with roses, smiles and rainbows.

But in reality, no matter how hard we try to appear perfect and got-our-stuff-together, on some level, we are also flawed humans trying to cover up that we’re not perfect.

I am one of these flawed humans. I think part of the reality of being human is that we make mistakes, we lose our patience, and that we aren’t perfect. This is the basis for all relationships— healthy or otherwise.

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