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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Disappointment in Love and Marriage?

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The only life worth living is a life you are truly and honestly passionate about.
Albert Einstein.

When you make the sacrifice in marriage, you’re sacrificing not to each other but to unity in a relationship. Joseph Campbell

If you don’t know where you’re going, you might not get there.
Yogi Berra

Here are three examples of love and romance going south. Think about what they have in common and how you might advise a friend:

Brian: You want to leave? Just like that?
Sandra: Well, you know, we just fell in together. You needed a place to stay and I offered you a room. It’s not working for me now.
Brian: It’s been two years; I thought we were doing great.
Sandra: Well, I’m thinking that I need a change.
Brian: “Wow, I thought you loved me.”
Sandra to friend: Sharing expenses and sex were nice but I’m just not into Brian.

My take on it: Don’t assume that you know your lover. Ask where he/she is headed.

What do you think? How would you advise a friend?

What about this situation?

Ella: “Turn off the T.V. We need to talk.”
Michael: “Just a minute, the Redskins are about to score!” (Redskin fans know this is really important.)
Ella: “You’re always watching TV; we need to talk. Now!”
Michael: “Why?”
Ella: “I want to get married and have a baby.”
Michael: “What? With me?” (Confounded)
Ella: “Yes, you. Why not? It’s been two years.”
Michael: “I like it this way. I’m not into marriage and children.”
Ella: “You never told me that?”
Michael: “You never asked.” (And, he goes back to the game. After all, it’s the Redskins.)

My take on it: If you really want children, or anything else, you better ask your lover before you’re really attached emotionally.

What do you think? How would you advise a friend.

Henry: “Hi honey. Thought I’d call and let you know what happened at lunch. A brilliant idea came to me as I was drinking my coffee. I’ll get home as soon as I can but, again, I may have to work all night.”
Mary: “What, again? I might as well be single. It seems like you’re spending more and more time at the lab.”
Henry: “ Science is demanding. But, my invention could revolutionize my business – and our life!”
Mary: “I didn’t get married to go to bed alone and bring up our children by my self! Maybe Ken from daycare can stay with the children while I go to my garden club meeting tonight.”
Henry: “Ken who?”
Mary: “Oh just a man I met at daycare. He likes the kids and seems safe.”

My take on it: Before you marry get it straight about time devoted to work and time devoted to personal life.

How would you advise a friend?

So, what do think these examples have in common?

I see lovers making –

Assumptions
Unilateral decisions
Reactive responses

What do you see?

I believe that assumptions and unilateral decision-making will almost certainly lead to disappointment among lovers. You can’t know what your lover wants without asking. “Where is this relationship headed” is a very good question.

Living together, sex, even marriage, can give you the feeling that you’re a couple without there being any verbalized commitment to how you’ll live as a couple. You may give your all only to find that for your lover –

The in-love feeling wasn’t there or died.
He/she is looking for someone better.
A permanent live-in lover is scary.
Etc.

Consider inviting your lover to share his/her hopes, dreams, and expectations and share yours. This along with planning can avoid much in the way of assumptions, unilateral decision-making, and disappointment. Compassionate, loving, articulate people can honestly share their hopes and dreams and determine whether they want to commit to a shared future (marriage).

Of course there is an alternative to talking things out – never commit yourself to anyone or anything; just drift along and see what happens. Maybe true love is a myth.

But, the result could be this –

You: “This place makes me feel young again!”
Friend: “Are you nuts. There’s no one here over twenty-five. It’s a pickup joint. Have you forgotten how old you are and that I’ve been happily married for twenty-five years.
You: “We’re not two old for this place. Let’s see what happens.”
Waitress: “Hi pops. Lose your daughter?”

Actually, years of drifting may not look so pretty. It’s the clearest path to loneliness in old age. (You may not care about that now but you will.)

Commitment to someone, commitment to worthwhile work, and looking forward to something positive in the future all lead to contentment.

I wish you the very best that life has to offer.

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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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Time Matters

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“Time is a created thing. To say ‘I don’t have time,’ is like saying, ‘don’t want to.”  Lao Tzu

“Time is a game played beautifully by children.”  Heraclitus

“Lost time is never found again.” Benjamin Franklin

Time matters more to me at seventy-three than it did at twenty-three. At twenty-three time seemed to stretch out forever. I couldn’t image forty-three much less seventy-three. Now I know that time has limits. It can’t be saved. You spend it. And, I know that how it’s spent pretty much determines my future. Love, respect, and prosperity tend to come to those who spend time wisely.

Time spent foolishly can result in isolation and poverty. Think wisely about time. Ask yourself, do you take time to –

  • Relax?
  • Eat nutritionally and regularly?
  • Sleep?
  • Exercise?
  • Connect with your partner?
  • Enjoy your children?
  • Stay connected with friends?
  • Continue to learn?
  • Consider the spiritual side of life?
  • Plan for the future?

All of the above activities help you to stay in balance. For example, meditation, contemplation, and prayer help you to relax and connect with yourself and the world you live in. Taking care of your body with nutritious food, sleep, and exercise gives you energy to invest in what’s important. Time with good people results in attention, affection, and love. Personal time gives space for play and doing nothing if you want to. Planning for the future gives your life direction and learning new things enriches your life.

It’s important for you and your partner to think through how to balance out time. Failure to plan can result in things like excessive spending and an excessive amount of time devoted to work. It can also result in time being devoted to things like fun computer activities that isolate you from family and friends. The result is that you feel disconnected with both yourself and others.

Think about how you’re spending your daily allowance of twenty-four hours? Talk it over with your partner. Be sure your time is wisely invested. Time does matter.

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There’s A Way Out of Loneliness

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Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty.  Mother Teresa

“There are no words to express the abyss between isolation and having one ally. It may be conceded to the mathematician that four is twice two. But two is not twice one; two is two thousand times one.” G.K. Chesterton

Loneliness thrives when you’re disconnected with yourself and others. Today, as a culture, half of Americans live alone. Many have given up on the religious communities whose work it is to lovingly give us, wisdom, help us find a sense of purpose, and help connect us with others and God. These are places to celebrate our joys and to find compassion and comfort in our time of sorrow.

We need community and we seem to do better when we sense a connection with an ultimate sense of being that many call God. We have known this for millennia.

Loneliness can have it’s roots in the past. For example, some of you may have experienced –

Neglect. (Why would anyone want me?)
Chaos. (Who can I depend on?)
Bullying. (Why can’t I be defended?)
Rejection. (Why wouldn’t I get rejected again?)
Isolation. (How could I fit in?)
Disappointment. (Why would things work out now?)
Aloneness. (Why would someone look out for me now?)

These lead to disappointment, disillusionment, and hurt. Sometimes you can feel so hurt that you feel consumed by it. Beauty, truth, and love may feel far away. You’re not good enough; others, including God, aren’t good enough. Therefore, why would you try to find a friend? To avoid rejection, you might tell yourself that happy people live in fantasy; that they have nothing to teach you; that there’s no hope for you. But, inside, you know you need and want a friend.

There is hope –

There are people who choose to be compassionate and loving. You can be one of them.

Good, wise, people can help you be a friend and find a friend. You can choose to focus on what is good, beautiful, and true.

You can move from judgment to compassion.

Consider compassion toward yourself and others. Everyone has his/her own pain to deal with. Some had deal with the results of war and natural disasters. Some may be been deceived and think that alcoholism, drug abuse, intimidation, compulsive devotion to work, etc., are good for them. We’re all in the process of learning to live as we go along.

Connecting with yourself and others, of course, is the only way to reduce loneliness. To do that you have to be compassionate, loving, and graciously firm about what is and is not acceptable to you.

1.Learn to know yourself and be compassionate and firm with yourself.

2. Get comfort by expressing your pain to a compassionate person.

3. Give up demanding that life be your way; it doesn’t work.

4. Accept that it’s a struggle to be a person with kindness and integrity. Work at it.

5. Find compassion for others. They have their own challenges.

6. Live in the now. The past is gone; the future’s unknown.

7. Accept that nothing in life stays the same. Appreciate what you have.

8. Learn to be a good judge of people.

9. Join groups with kind people of integrity.

10. Move from self-focus to asking what the world needs from you and contribute.

Dealing with loneliness may seem like a daunting task. It can take courage and strength. You don’t need to work on it alone. Be willing to allow others to help you. This is a worthwhile task. You owe it to yourself to truly live.

You Need To Be Appreciated!

42109184_s Remember: people move toward pleasure; away from pain.

Sometimes I go about my life and forget that I really need appreciation my wife. I need appreciation to keep her as a friend, partner, and lover. I need to remember and offer what she needs from me. By doing this, I can create good memories within her.

You can create great memories for your partner by knowing and doing what your partner needs. Know what gives your partner the feeling of being loved and tended to. If you do this, your partner can receive what he/she really needs from you; you’ll receive the satisfaction that comes from doing something truly worthwhile. Contribute freely with no thought of return; otherwise it really doesn’t count as an act of love.

Knowing what your partner needs and wants and doing those things is what will draw your partner to you. Your partner will want to spend more time with you as a result of good memories from the past. Kind, loving acts are the glue. By themselves, appearance and sex aren’t sufficient to keep someone close to you.

Here are some more things to remember  –

1. Combine truth with kindness. “A little bit of sugar helps the medicine go down.”

2. Make your word be your bond. Allow your partner to count on you.

3. Let your words be kind, clear, direct, and brief especially when voicing displeasure. It will help your partner understand what you’re trying to communicate.

4. Tolerate the opinions of your partner. You could be wrong.

5. Graciously concede when you’re wrong. DO NOT attempt to explain yourself.

6. Give up resentment and revenge. They only lead to depression, anxiety, and physical illness.

7. Make amends to your partner when you harm him/her. Be clear that you are remorseful about the harm you’ve caused.

8. Be compassionate. Feel the pain of your partner and respond. Contribute to his/her welfare. Give more than you take.

9. DO NOT be a dream killer. Allow your partner to express his/her dreams without critiquing them.

10. Evaluate your current relationship. Lower your expectations when they’re too high.

Appreciation is crucial. Be aware of the good, the true, and the beautiful. Contribute to your partner so that you’ve done something truly worthwhile for another person.

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What Do You Appreciate?

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“True happiness is to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future, not to amuse ourselves with either hopes or fears but to rest satisfied with what we have, which is sufficient, for he that is so wants nothing. The greatest blessings of mankind are within us and within our reach. A wise man is content with his lot, whatever it may be, without wishing for what he has not.” Seneca

Not long ago, while I was watching a video on the universe, I realized how incredible it was to be on this small planet we call earth; how incredible to be floating through space and to realize that I was floating through the immensity of a galaxy. What an opportunity it is to just experience life and to be aware of. To appreciate what I have daily. Appreciation makes me feel alive.

Do you know that it’s really impossible to be happy without being grateful for what you already have? It’s impossible to be grateful and appreciative of your partner without recognizing the contribution your partner is making. There is no true appreciation without this. And, without appreciation the relationship will scour as you’ll focus on your partners shortcomings. Appreciation can make you feel alive, happy, and content.

The road to satisfaction is paved with appreciation of what your partner contributes, an acknowledgement of the shortcomings in yourself that you need to work on, and doing those things that your partner appreciates.
Appreciation needs to be programmed in. It’s worth it – everyone feels better. I personally feel much more alive, happy and content when I am aware of the good in this world and in others. How about you?

“When you arise in the morning, give thanks for the morning light, for your life and strength. Give thanks for your food and the joy of living, If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies with yourself.” Tecumseh

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