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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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.

My Contribution to a Happy Home

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Love begins by taking care of the closest ones – the ones at home.
Mother Teresa

I love to come home to the warmth and laughter there. I want to do what I need to do to maintain a happy, healthy, home. A garden needs water, fertilizer, and someone to remove the weeds. The atmosphere of a home also needs tending to. Here’s what I work at –

1. Sound ethics and morality. I work at following the teachings of my Christian church, the professional ethics of the National Associations of Social workers, and the regulations of the Social Work Board of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Noble ethics and morality are life giving to everyone.

2. Control issues. I want to remember that I only have control over my attitude. That’s about it. I can’t control others or the world I live it. I make my decisions and so do others. It’s good to remember that.

3. Self-control. Only my self-control will allow me to live out noble ethical and moral ideals. Only my self-control will provide the opportunity for others to live with me safely. I want people to be safe with me and to trust me.

4. Healthy rules. I can avoid chaos with a few rules that I kindly and consistently enforce. I learned this when my wife and I trained my dog. I also learned that rewards help my dog to live by my rules. Rules and rewards are something to consider.

5. Growing up. I want to be a more mature, loving, compassionate person. My support for this comes from my family, church, prayer, and my professional life. I’ve learned that I need the wisdom and support of others.

6. Appreciation. I work to verbalize and demonstrate my appreciation. I know that lack of appreciation can be discouraging.

7. Freedom. I want to be free of obsessive-compulsiveness behavior, complaining and resentment. I want to relax and enjoy my life as it is. War, corruption, illness, poverty, abuse, and erupting volcano’s aren’t new. I want to help people as I can and then shift my attention to what is beautiful, good, and true. Is this uncaring? I don’t think so.

8. Shared resources. I want to share my money, skills, and time. It feels good to do something significant for someone else. Altruism is a good thing. I want to help people realize their dreams.

9. Celebration. It’s a good thing to celebrate success. I want to celebrate the successes of others without envy and jealousy.

10. Excellence. I can choose to work for excellence and humbly accept that perfection is impossible. I don’t want to expect perfection of myself and others. It’s discouraging and a waste of good time.

Our homes and gardens take work but they’re worth it. What can you work on to develop and keep warm loving relationships in your home?

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.