Couple U And The Future

IMG_8613Two years ago I launched Couple U as a place to put information for my patients. Now information is totally available and accessible.

I also thought couples could comment on my posts and share helpful ideas. For example, “Here’s what I found helpful, perhaps this could work for you.” This hasn’t worked out and that’s okay.

My patients are my first priority and my blogs will focus on their concerns. Posting will continue at its current pace because I’ve been very busy at the office. Hopefully, the posts will be useful to both my patients and those of you who aren’t seeing me professionally.

I will work to offer the best information available on healthy marital relationships. This information will continue to come out of research, professional training, and wisdom literature.

Research discovers facts by investigation. For example, researchers can investigate why some couples stay together and others separate. What are successful couples doing that others aren’t? Research findings may help you understand current and past trends and what they may mean to you. For example, half the population is single, more people are living together without marriage, and both partners are often working full-time. What might that mean to you?

Professional training includes research and what clinicians have discovered through practice. For example, you can teach listening skills and other skills. Clinicians can learn what is pre-marriage counseling and when you can do actual marriage counseling.

Wisdom literature (religion and philosophy) addresses what builds good character, strength, and a good life. It addresses how to gain the strength and courage to do what is right (Prayer is an example.). Wisdom literature survived over millennia because of its value.

Here are three quotes from wisdom literature –

An unexamined life is not worth living.
Socrates, (469 BC – 399 BC) Greek Philosopher

Prayer, meditation, mindfulness, and psychotherapy, use self-examination. Without self-examination you’re at the mercy of past unconscious programming and your instinctual drives. Socrates knew this millennia ago.

Here’s a quote from the Buddha:

To enjoy good health, to bring true happiness to one’s family, to bring peace to all, one must first discipline and control one’s own mind. If a man can control his mind he can find the way to Enlightenment, and all wisdom and virtue will naturally come to him. Buddha (6th to 4th century B.C.)

This quote could be part of today’s yoga class, martial arts, psychotherapy, or sermon.

You’ll like the next quote; it’s very relevant today.

32 But a man who commits adultery has no sense; whoever does so destroys himself. 33 Blows and disgrace are his lot, and his shame will never be wiped away. 34 For jealousy arouses a husband’s fury, and he will show no mercy when he takes revenge. 35 He will not accept any compensation; he will refuse a bribe, however great it is.
Proverbs 6 (10th and 6th century B.C.)

Adultery has created problems for millennia.

It’s important to consider findings from research, professional training and experience, and wisdom literature (religion and philosophy). All are useful.

Information is only a beginning point. But, it’s only marginally helpful. Knowing what to do isn’t the same as doing it. My blog will work at providing ways to help you both think and act wisely.

You may need encouragement, a reminder, psychotherapy, and/ or medication to help you gain the courage and self-control you need. Religion and psychotherapy can help you deal effectively with fear, depression, laziness, pride and resentment. Family, friends, and a healthy religious group can provide encouragement and strength.

Couple U will continue to connect you with helpful articles, blogs, websites and books. You may question why some of the information is on the site. For example, David Brooks’ book, The Road to Character, isn’t focused toward couples. It’s on the blog site because character development is essential to a good life. Jay Heinrichs,’ Thank You for Arguing, isn’t focused toward couples either. But, it’s a great book if you want to discuss something in a helpful way.

My part is to help you develop and keep up loving relationships in a beautiful and yet at times tragic world. Loving relationships are possible as you relax and deal realistically, lovingly, firmly, and compassionately with the truth about yourself, human nature, and the world you live in. You save yourself pain and gain satisfaction as you align your life with truth – the way things actually work.

My wife’s uncle, uncle told her and her sisters that people need three things:

Someone to love.
Something to do.
Something to look forward to.

I believe he’s very close to the truth.

I welcome you to the blog. Posting will be sporadic but, hopefully, useful. I hope that you have a great summer. Your comments are welcome.

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Lonely? Waiting For Love?

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Let us always meet each other with a smile, for the smile is the beginning of love. Mother Teresa

Loneliness is painful.

  • You want love, affection, and companionship; not loneliness.
  • You want to live with someone; not alone.
  • You want someone available for conversation, outings, etc.; not, “When can we get together?”

So what do you do while you’re waiting for that special person?

You remember, “Living alone doesn’t = loneliness?” It’s true. You can live alone and not be lonely. It just takes work.

True, living alone isn’t as convenient as saying to a husband or a wife, “Let’s go get some pizza.” You have to make calls, get ready, and get out of the house. It does take energy, persistence, and determination. But, living alone doesn’t = loneliness.

You may ask yourself, “Is it worth the effort?” All that calling and planning and then your friend opts out at the last-minute and you find yourself thinking unkind thoughts. You may even use a few words of a religious nature. Of course it’s irritating when people don’t follow through. But, my training and experience says it’s worth the effort to support healthy relationships.

You really need to get out of the house.

  • You need the positive energy that good people bring with them.
  • You need people to help you celebrate and mourn life’s events.
  • You need to hug and be hugged.

You’re free, of course, to retreat to the recliner, chips, and TV. It’s convenient and comfortable. Who doesn’t enjoy a good movie or a good book – especially if it’s a dark, rainy, miserable day? You really don’t have to do anything with friends. You can sit at home with your pets.

But, as I stated in the previous article, you suffer when you don’t accept life as it is for us humans. The truth is that you’re a biochemical electrical creature who’ s energized by good people. You actually really need good people in your life.

You may wish you were self-sufficient but actually life is too beautiful and too terrifying for that. Both wonderful and horrible things happen on planet earth. You need to travel with a group to celebrate good times and to find solace when difficult times arrive.

It all comes down to, “What are you willing to do?” What are you willing to do to keep yourself positive and healthy?

My professional, and personal, experience leads me to recommend your being proactive in at least three major ways:

  • Be ready to date so that you’re open to a new compatible person. For example –

Be social; stay used to being with people.
Don’t give in to anxiety, depression, and fatigue.
Get help if you need it so that you’re a positive person.

  • Develop and support loving supportive relationships as a single person so that you’re being loved as you are. You’ll do better if you’re not starved emotionally.
  • Robotically get yourself to events where it’s possible to meet new people around your age. Go whether you feel like it or not. Act like a robot who’s programed to go out.

You may not feel like doing any of these things and of course you don’t have to. However, isolating leads to depression, then to anxiety, and then to even more depression and anxiety as you realize how alone you really are. Your friends drift away. Family doesn’t find you very inviting. Few people are attracted to depressed and anxious people; they’re emotionally draining. It eventually comes down to you and your pets and even your dog may not seem as excited to see you. But, your life doesn’t have to come down to this.

Here are a few things that elevate mood and energy. –

  • Use music, religious faith, beauty, and meaningful work to energize you.
  • Buy an affectionate pet. Petting, touching, is good for you.
  • Use meditation to increase your ability to connect with yourself, others, nature, and God.

Passively waiting is rarely a good strategy. Give yourself a chance. Be ready so that if the right person shows up you’re emotionally there. Why should you use lose a good opportunity and let someone else enjoy the relationship?

You’re not alone! Family and friends can still give strength and courage. Groups give helpful ideas and encouragement. Physicians, professional psychotherapists, and counselors work to decrease depression and anxiety and help people stay focused on their goals. Support is available. Be courageous and get the help you need.

Here are my main points –

  • A single person need not live a lonely life.
  • It always takes an effort to stay connected with people.
  • It’s worth the effort.

If you’re feeling lonely ask yourself –

  1. What’s my next step so that I’m loving and enjoying people?
  2. How can I get myself to do what I know I need to do?
  3. What help do I need?

I wish you the very best.

Feel free to comment on the article in the space below. You can email me at cmosemann@cox.net if you have any questions.

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Forty-eight Years of Commitment – And Still Going

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9 Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. 10 For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow; but woe to him that is alone when he falleth, and hath not another to lift him up. 11 Again, if two lie together, then they have warmth; but how can one be warm [alone]? 12 And if a man prevail against him that is alone, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken. Ecclesiastes 4 ASV, The Bible

Commitments are a big deal. I was concerned about commitment right before I married my wife. I really wanted to be with my fiancee. Still a lifelong commitment is a daunting one.

My fiancee and I belonged to the same Christian denomination. Neither of us had close relatives who were divorced. The members of our churches seemed to stay together for life. They all kept their marriage vows – together for better or worse; no other sexual partners; till death do you part. And, they seemed to be okay with their arrangement. That was encouraging.
Our vows were spoken in front of relatives, friends, and church members. We were part of their group; they expected us to keep our vows to each other and to God.

In June, we’ll celebrate 48 years of marriage. We kept our commitment to God and to each other. We stayed with our denomination. We’re still active members of our church. I’m grateful we’ve worked out our differences and accepted each other’s imperfections. We’ve benefited from our arrangement. We have –

1. An agreed upon moral/ethical code. Our moral and ethical code is a time honored one prescribed by our religious group. We have both agreed to abide by it. As a result, we didn’t have to create something new.

2. Emotional security. I don’t have to compete with other men; she doesn’t have to compete with other women. We’re not looking for somebody better.

3. Affection and sex. They’re readily available. We don’t have to hunt for a lover.

4. No worries about sexually transmitted diseases. It’s a closed sexual system.

5. Physical security. Someone’s there if you’re sick, disabled, or just need help with the computer.

6. Good memories. A lifetime of photo’s and memories of being together and being with our children.

7. Secure children. Our children, and grandchildren, are wanted and have security. They don’t have to worry about their family dissolving and their home disappearing. It’s not mom’s place or dad’s place? It’s mom and dad’s place.

8. Energy to put into the community. Security issues, companionship issues, and “where do I belong issues” are resolved. Energy can be directed other places.

9. The support of our church. Our government is less likely to need to take care of us because we have the support of each other and our church.

10. A place to socialize and contribute. The same religion has united us and given us a place, our church community, to socialize and contribute.

I’m glad that I made commitments to my wife, God, and my religious community. My wife and I have benefited and so have our children and the community. Making a clear commitment and keeping the commitment is necessary for the well-being of any venture. Why should building a home and a family be any different? It’s something to think about.

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We’re Already a Couple. You Really Want to Get Married?

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A wise person decides slowly but abides by these decisions. Arthur Ashe

Are you willing to go from “I” to “we?” I know, it’s a big decision. While most people say they would prefer marriage, the number of singles continues to rise. Being a couple and getting married probably seems risky if you’re single.

This article is about how to decrease your risk and increase your odds of having a loving, stable, marriage, and home. Marriage research is looking at what the risk factors are and have found these risk factors –

1. Many sexual partners.
2. Living with a partner before marriage.
3. Few guests at a marriage.

You might think that sexual experiences and living with someone prepare us for marriage. But, finding someone you can commit to, committing to them in marriage, and doing it in a ceremony before a family and friends seems to build a good foundation for a home.

Now, you may find this discouraging and/or unbelievable. Take time to check the research on this site and on the rest of the internet. Let me know if I’m not looking at things correctly. I’ll be glad to read what you send me.

I advise you, and anyone you partner with, to think through how past decisions may have affected your relationships. Think about it. How has your past changed you and how has your partner’s past changed him/her? The two of you can learn from all of your experiences.

As you review the past and think about the future, do you sense that you’re ready to move from a focus on “me” to a focus on “we.” Even though you feel in love, it’s still important to consciously decide whether you’re willing to allow yourself to be physically and emotionally coupled to another person. Are you willing to share your life with another person when it includes your energy, your time, your money, and your sexual experiences?

Both of you can do what you like when you’re single. Being coupled means your spouse has a legitimate claim on your body, energy, time, and money. Your partner is naturally interested in where you want to live, the hours you work, your rules for child-rearing, and how you spend and save your money.

Keep in mind that walking hand-in-hand with your partner does not mean losing your identity. The two of you can allow a healthy separation that respects your own values, personal interests, and abilities. You can pursue your own interests and your own friends. The way you pursue them does need to be supportive of your relationship with your partner.

The relationships that seem do well are those in which both partners have freely decided that they want to be with their partner. They’ve moved beyond consumer relationships and leaving the door open for a trade later on. They’ve stopped looking for someone better, made a commitment to their partner, and married. They’ve shut the door on other sexual relationships.

Are you ready to commit to a partner and live as a couple? Are you willing to go from “I” to “we”? Are you willing to make the necessary tradeoffs? Commitment provides a strong foundation on which to build a home. Are you willing to make one to your partner and in front of others? Is your partner ready to make this commitment?

Keeping in mind the three risk factors, take the time to learn how to be a great partner, find a great partner, and form a relationship that can evolve into a commitment and a marriage. Learn what you need to learn so that you can have the results you desire.

The next article builds on this one. We’ll begin with commitment and move on to what a delightful home consists of. Stick with me on this one; you’ll be glad you did.

Share the article with your family and friends. Look at the articles and websites on the blog. Establishing a great relationship and marriage and a secure, warm home are important.

Single Again?

Unless you love someone nothing else makes sense.  Anonymous

Listen, if you’re single again and discouraged about finding a partner, there’s hope.  Here’s a checklist for those who want a life-long relationship.  It’s worth working for since there is little that influences the course of your life more than the choice of a partner.  So, if you’re single and want more than “let’s live together and see what happens”, this checklist is for you –

1. Are you ready to be a good partner?  Review my earlier post, “What Do You Mean? I Think That I’m A Great Partner.”  Ensure that you’ll be great partner.

2. Are you able to financially support yourself, a partner, and children should the need arise. You need to know that you’ll be okay financially.

3. Are you willing to give another person influence on how your energy, time, and money and are spent?  You’ll want influence and so will your partner.  You can’t be happily coupled and live a single lifestyle.

4. Are you clear on your sexual identity?  Deception is unethical and unkind.  You can’t be what you’re not.

5. Are you willing to say what you want sexually?  Be authentic.

6. Are you willing to hear what your partner needs and wants sexually?

7. Are you clear on what you want in a partner given your personality and goals?  Who would be a good fit for you?  How much would the two of you need to compromise to have a good life together?

8. Is your potential partner ready for a loving partnership? Is he/she –

  • Able to love and respect people?
  • Enjoying his/her personal life and work?
  • Willing to move from a single lifestyle to a coupled one?
  • Willing to work with a consultant who can help with issues like religion, a place to live, money, and sex?
  • Committed to making decisions based on a solid moral foundation?  You can build nothing with a deceiver and/or a thief.

9. Are you willing to interact with your potential partner’s family?  Is he/she willing to interact with yours? Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, birthdays and anniversaries will come around and you’ll need to deal with them.

10. Are you willing to deal realistically with –

  • Alcohol and drug abuse/addiction?
  • Continuous arguing with no resolution in sight?
  • An unwillingness to express an opinion?
  • An insistence on having one’s way?
  • Infidelity?
  • Physical and emotional abuse?
  • Deception?
  • An unwillingness to forgive?

The basic concept is –

  • Be ready for a relationship.
  • Find a partner who’s ready for a relationship.
  • Find a partner who’s headed in the same direction you are.
  • Find a qualified advisor and use him/her.
  • Realize that commitment is essential for emotional and economic security.

Get the information you need so that you’re successful. Clergy and therapists can answer specific questions and help you evaluate your relationship.  You may find that couples who have good relationships are good mentors. Classes, books, and blog sites, like this one, can help.

 The rewards are great for those who truly get ready for a relationship and for those who wisely choose a partner.  A healthy relationship is truly life-giving.  

 

We Just Went Over The Holidays; You Want Me To Go Again?

“Whoever pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor.” Proverbs 21:21. The Bible
“Do not let kindness and truth leave you; …. So you will find favor and good repute in the sight of God and man.” Proverbs 3:3, 4. The Bible

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We’ve just celebrated the ancient religious holidays of Christmas and Hanukkah. Now we’re beginning a new year with new resolutions. As you consider what you want for your life in 2015, consider a religious community if you’re not part of one. They’ve existed for thousands of years in every part of our world. And, they’ve existed for a reason. For example, they –

  • Provide a place to connect with people and the immanent and transcendent which many of us call God.
  • Celebrate the stages of life: birth, becoming an adult, marriage, and death.
  • Teach us how to carry the roles of husband, wife, father, mother.
  • Teach us basic principles of how to live a moral and ethical life, how to love, and how to get the strength to do this.
  • Provide opportunities for deep friendship and mutual support over a period of years; perhaps a lifetime.
  • Provide support in times of emotional and financial need.
  • Provide opportunities to serve and develop one’s abilities.
  • Help us move toward being content and compassionate and away from the sense that we are never enough and never have enough.
  • Help us to deal with the meaning of life, suffering, and death.
  • Provide for a stable community over the years.

Think about how important these things really are. In addition, couples will probably find that a religious organization will –

  • See marriage as sacred with the couple accountable to God and the community as well as to each other.
  • Provide healthy role models for men and women.
  • Encourage men to spend time with their wives and children and develop close relationships.
  • Provide community support for couples: mentors, books, video’s, conferences and people to talk to about the challenges of being a couple.
  • Religious organizations pass on thousands of years of wisdom – how to live a good life vs a foolish one. They teach us how to love and be loved. They teach us what is morally good, morally justifiable and acceptable in the community.

Trust in God and the modeling and support of a healthy religious group seems to allow people to develop positive traits such as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, benevolence, faithfulness, gentleness, humility, self-restraint, and courage; it provides a genuine opportunity for personal transformation.

Spiritual communities give you and me opportunities to be truly altruistic, to serve others. Working for the good of our community, nation, and world takes us away from self-absorption, personal problems, and the drive for ever more personal success. Altruism widens our world and allows us to escape the narrow world of “me” which can never satisfy and bring happiness. Altruism teaches us the value of self-sacrifice and the certain knowledge that we’ve done something truly worthwhile.

Think about it. Would regular participation in a religious organization be supportive to you and your partner? Participation not just attendance is the key.

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Feel free to comment on the article. I always appreciate feedback.

I Haven’t Had Such A Good Laugh Since ______!

“Laughter is an instant vacation.”

Milton Berle

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One of my brothers-in-law read my last post,”What Do You Mean? I Think That I’m a Great Partner,” and remarked that I hadn’t included humor in my list of desirable characteristics. That remark hit home. I use humor on a daily basis. So, of course, I included “Is able to see himself/herself with a sense of humor.” We do funny things like putting Cheerios in the refrigerator and our car keys in the trunk. (It may not be funny then but later it is, “Can you believe what I did?) That’s why comedians have been able to make a fortune using material from their own families. In this Christmas season I’m very grateful for the opportunity to laugh and have fun with those I love. Laughter is good for us and our partner.

For example, as a psychotherapist I deal with the anxiety and depression of others. As people express their pain, I feel it. The anxiety and depression rub off. As result, I’ve developed a routine that includes meditation, prayer, and humor. Humor is helpful because it helps me to see the light side of life. There’s more to life than anxiety and depression.It helps me to get ready for the day. At the end of the day, I can use humor to help me leave my work at work. Currently I’m using an audio version of P. G. Wodehouse’s novels and short stories. He provides a wonderful diversion and I can feel my mood lift.

As a matter of general interest, Norman Cousins, an editor of the “Saturday Review” for thirty years, used humor to fight a life-threatening form of arthritis that was thought to be incurable.You can read about his experience in the Anatomy of an Illness as Described by the Patient. He saw humor as a powerful tool to help the body fight illness.

You can use humor to –

Lift your mood
Distract you from negative thoughts
Help you relax
Deescalate your anger (But, avoid sarcasm)
Put you into a playful frame of mind

Our view of life can narrow to a point where all we’re aware of is the depressing side of life. Humor has a way of helping us to relax and broaden our view so that we see more than the problems we’re dealing with. The problems exist but so do the birds, sunsets, and good people.

So if you get stressed during this holiday season,

Read or listen to a humorous book
Read the comics
Check out the cartoons in the New Yorker
Deliberately look for humorous movies and TV shows
See the humor in everyday life – if you have children or a pet this one could be very easy.

I still like to watch reruns of Carol Burnett, Tim Conway, and Don Knott’s. I love to watch The Apple Dumpling Gang. (Do you remember Tim Conway and Don Knott’s accidentally burning down the army’s fort in “The Apple Dumpling Gang 2”?) Some of these people will be part of my life for as long as I can still think. I love them.

Sit down and watch a silly movie like the “12 Dates of Christmas.” Relax and rethink how important it really is to have the perfect Christmas or anything else. Perfection isn’t for this world and it isn’t necessary. Enjoy the show, the Christmas lights, hot chocolate, a little something to eat, and the companionship of the people you love. Let yourself enjoy the ambience of the best things in life: connection with people, beauty, delightful sounds, good smells, and delightful tastes.

Let yourself be delighted by what’s good in the world and for at least a time, take a break from work and duty and have a good laugh. You’ll live longer and better, and people will love to be with you. You have my money back guarantee!