Last week my husband and I went to see our marriage therapist, and we’ve been seeing her 15 out of our 16 year marriage.  On average, we see her 2 to 3 times a year.  There have been some years that we had to see her 6 months straight because we were going through some things.  I believe she is one of the reasons that our marriage continues to strengthen.  It is not that she is so incredibly talented, it is because when there is a snag in our relationship we don’t hesitate to seek assistance.  It has proven to be a safe place to yell, curse, cry, console and work on our marriage.  There’s no shame involved and I am happy to tell anyone I meet.

Why Wait?

I see so many couples that wait too long before they seek the assistance of a therapist.  Counseling should not be the last effort that you make on your relationship.  It should be the first!  Remember, therapists are not magical and are most effective when both parties are still emotionally connected to each other and the relationship.

In a nutshell … YES!  During this past week, I had two new teenage clients come in.  This is nothing new, I work with teenagers all of the time.  I really love working with teens because they can be so open and raw.  What truly troubles me are when the parents come in that want help for their children but are unwilling to take a look at themselves or their relationships.  They just want me to fix their kid and blame everybody else for their problems.

That is why I am on my soapbox today to tell parents that troubled kids are not raised in a vacuum.  Children don’t magically come home with problems.  Usually their problems start at home… Yes, at home!!

The primary relationship in the home is where everything begins.  You are the model for happiness, problem solving, communication, resiliency and a host of other strengthening characteristics that children need as they grow up.  Your relationship matters to your children.  It might never be verbalized from them, however, it does.  When you ignore the problems that you are dealing with in your adult relationship; children pretty soon get the message that they can start ignoring important things in their lives also (i.e., school, being honest, poor choices in friends, saying no to drugs/alcohol).  Children can also exhibit a lack of motivation, difficulty concentrating, lack focus, poor self image, low self-esteem, difficulty making friends or keeping them.

Parent: “The kids have no idea we are not happy!”  

Myth: My Kid(s) Have No Idea That Our Marriage Is Failing/ Or I Am Miserable

Don’t fool yourself!  They might not know the details but children are the masters of non-verbal communication.  When there is pain in your home, best believe everybody feels it.

Parent: “It would take too long to fix all of the problems in our home, we just need you to work on our son and see if he is using drugs!.”

Myth:  It Will Take Too Long To Fix My Marriage

It can take less than 15 minutes a day to transform your marriage.  And it will take another 15 minutes a day to work on your family transformation.  The beauty in this arrangement is that the second 15 minutes will have miraculous results because you will be working as a loving parenting team.

A great relationship doesn’t guarantee successful parenting results but it sure does lay a hell of a foundation! Many Blessings!

Dating After A Breakup

My really good friend has recently separated from her husband and she is now facing the dating universe, and she is not alone.  So many people I know and am working with in my practice are struggling with getting back on the saddle.  So, I wanted to dedicate some time on the subject.

There are many ways to get back on to the dating scene, such as, Internet sites, bar, club, matchmaking services, personal ads, hook-ups by friends and a few others.  All of these avenues have the potential to work and get you a date.  However, before you start dating I think you should start off with asking yourself a few questions.

What do I want?

Are you interested in just casually dating or do you want to get married?  Some people are looking for just a sexual partner with no entanglements, some want a long term committed relationship or companion.  When you can decide what kind of relationship you are looking for, you are then better equipped to go out into the dating world and find someone who has similar goals.

What type of partner am I looking for?

You need to know what type of person you want to spend time with.  Write down all of the qualities that you would like to have in your mate.  Pay special attention to their internal characteristics, and not just physical attributes.  Don’t be surprised if you write down some of the good qualities that your ex-partner possessed.  

Who do I want to be?

Figure out what type of mate you want to be.  You need to figure out what happened in your previous relationship and why it didn’t work.  What part did you play in it?  This requires taking a relationship inventory of yourself.  Am I selfish in my relationships, do I work too much or too little?  Do I hold back or do I have unrealistic expectations of my mate or about certain relationship roles?  Once you have figured that out… make a commitment to yourself to do it differently.  If you can learn from past mistakes and not repeat them you are paving the way for better relationships.

Forgiveness

Forgiveness is the only way to move on.  Heal your heart by letting go of the hurt and disappointments of past relationships, and staying focused on the present.

Therapy can help if you get stuck.  A therapist can help you in 5 sessions or less on doing a relationship inventory and opening the path of forgiveness.

Subscribe to In Love with Keisha … we will be exploring the dating world for the entire month of October.  Tell your friends, and share on FaceBook.  

FILED: Dating, Love, Marriage