Love.

Sunday Inspiration.     Post by David Joel Miller.

Child and adult on beach

Love.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Love.

“A friend is someone who knows all about you and still loves you.”

― Elbert Hubbard

“If you judge people, you have no time to love them.”

― Mother Teresa

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”

― Martin Luther King Jr., A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches

Wanted to share some inspirational quotes with you.  Today seemed like a good time to do this. If any of these quotes strike a chord with you, please share them.

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Affection.

Sunday Inspiration.   Post By David Joel Miller.

Affection.

Affectionate

Affection.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

“Any time is the right time to love someone.”

“You don’t have to be perfect to be loved.”

“Love holds things together.”

Wanted to share some inspirational quotes with you.  Today seemed like a good time to do this. If any of these quotes strike a chord with you please share them.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

Sunday Inspiration    Post By David Joel Miller.

Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine’s Day.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Happy Valentine’s Day.

“A friend is someone who knows all about you and still loves you.”

― Elbert Hubbard

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”

― Lao Tzu

Wanted to share some inspirational quotes with you.  Sunday seemed like a good time to do this. If any of these quotes strike a chord with you please share them.

Friendship

Sunday Inspiration    Post By David Joel Miller.

Friend.

Friendship

Friendship
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

“A friend is someone who knows all about you and still loves you.”

― Elbert Hubbard

Wanted to share some inspirational quotes with you.  Sunday seemed like a good time to do this. If any of these quotes strike a chord with you please share them.

5 Paths to a better relationship.

By David Joel Miller.

Do these things to help create a good relationship.

Couples

Creating a better Relationship
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Couples relationships start off headed in the direction of bliss and somehow, for so many, they end up in the pit of suffering.  How did your relationship get so far off track? If you’re not sure you may need to take a look at the Relationship Destroyers and see how many of these you are practicing. But regardless of how your relationship got off track, are you ready and willing to take some steps to get headed in the right direction again?

It is easy to slip into blaming your partner, while blame may feel good in the moment it won’t change anything. If you are thinking you want to see some changes, consider what changes you want to see and how willing are you to do the work to get this relationship headed in the right direction.

Think of relationships like moving a couch. Really hard for one person to move it very far or fast. But two people together can get the job done. So if you feel like your partner has put their end of the relationship couch down you may need to pick yours up first to help them get willing to make some moves again.

Here are five paths you could consider that may lead to a better relationship.

Good relationships require investing time.

Spend time together if you want to be together. When you first became a couple the two of you spent every moment possible together. Then along the way life happened. You get busy with jobs, children and all kinds of outside commitments. Eventually, you had to reestablish your separate life. You had to start doing more and more things without your partner around. Eventually, you look up and wonder if you two have any interest in spending time together.

For couples to stay close they need to invest some of that precious time in the relationship.

Figure out where you are going. What do you really want out of this relationship?

Initially, the goal of couples is mostly just being together. Most couples never think about what they want from the relationship beyond the together part. Time goes by and then what happens?  You start to wonder now that you are together why aren’t things perfect? Children often happen so does work, family and other commitments and the goal of being a couple may get forgotten.

You wonder about those dreams and values you had before the couple thing came into your life. Are you two on the same page now? What is important? Religious values, or money and things? If you didn’t explore your goals and values during the early stages now is the time to do it. Now is always the time.

Have that talk about where you see your life going. Do you see yourself being together as old retired people? Or are you only staying together or the sake of the children? How would you know if this was a good relationship? Does that mean the same thing to both of you?

Shared goals and values is a pathway to a good relationship.

When your relationship is not working try a new path.

What are you willing to change about yourself and this relationship to make this work? Do you know any happy couples? What do they do that you are not doing? Is this relationship worth putting some work into? Would any relationship? Before you jump to the conclusion that you need to end this relationship and look for someone new think about what brought you and your partner together in the first place. Are you willing to try again with the partner you have already invested so much time and emotion with?

Clean your own wreckage out of the way.

For many couples the reason things are not going well is because of the unfinished business of childhood, that baggage you are still carrying. How much baggage do you have? Are you willing to work on you to make this relationship successful? Or do you still expect your partner to supply all the missing parts for your emotional life? No partner will be able to always meet your needs. You need to learn how to meet those yourself and then see how together you can create something that is better than either of you would be separately.

What price are you willing to pay for a good relationship?

What will you do or give up to have this relationship? The highest prices we pay in life are the things we buy with time and sacrifices, not the things that cost us money. Can you accept that you are wrong some of the time? Are you willing to go along with things your partner wants to do even when they make you uncomfortable?

Many people discover that the things they enjoyed about their partner when they were dating scare them after they become a couple. Does that exciting person now seem irresponsible? Does that confident person now seem controlling?

Try being more accepting and open to new experiences the way you two were when you first started out together and see if that is not a path back to that relationship you once had. Just know that no one gets back to exactly where they began that relationship, what you want is to find that happy place you once were at, only a little farther down the road of life. Plan on growing together.

Those are some ideas for new directions you might take your relationship as a way to make it better. Have you found any other ways to create the relationship you want?

For more on this topic see:

Relationships

Family Problems

Couples Therapy 

Want to sign up for my mailing list?

Get the latest updates on my books, due out later this year by signing up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also be notified about live training opportunities and free or discounted books. Sign up here – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books

19 features your potential mate should have.

By David Joel Miller.

You know the features you want in your next car. What features should be on your requirements list for a life spouse and partner?

19 suggested features you should be shopping for in a potential mate.

Couples

Creating a better Relationship
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

If you are currently in a relationship – how many of these features does your current mate have? How many do you have and how might you install more of your desired features in the relationship you already have. It is a lot cheaper and more effective to improve the relationship you have than to trade it in on a new one.

1. You have common goals, dreams, and values.

When you are taking a life journey it helps to have a common destination in mind. If you are all about family and that partner of yours would prefer to avoid children and relatives you are headed for a fork in the road.

Religious and political differences are not insurmountable but if you potential partner plans to be a missionary recruiting for a religion you do not share, neither of you are likely to be happy.

Does one of you expect the woman to be a stay at home mother while the other is thinking dual-career relationship?

2. They trust you, which helps you trust them.

Starting a relationship off when one of you has “trust issues” is a dangerous journey.

Behaving in ways that reduce or damage that trust makes for a relationship headed in the wrong direction.

Partners who do not trust each other are at an extra risk to become controlling. Over time that control can turn to abuse.

3. They know about your defects and accept you anyway.

Far too many relationships begin by one or both of the parties hiding their true selves. If you feel you can’t be who you truly are around this other person then reconsider the relationship. Over time it will get incredibly difficult to hide your inner self.

If that other person can’t accept you for who you are in the beginning, eventually they will feel tricked and trapped. A relationship that begins with deception is headed for disaster.

4. They can tell you the things they like about you.

If your potential partner spends most of your together time talking about the things that are wrong with you and insists you need to change – beware.

Couples who, in the midst of conflict can still think of things they like about each other can work through difficulties. If that potential partner can’t see anything good about you, then you will never be their first choice.

Why would you prefer to be with a person who sees you as inherently defective? You are better off alone than in a relationship that will constantly pull you down.

5. You feel good when you are with them.

You should not have to suffer to be with this other person. Times together should feel like fun. If it feels scary, unhappy or anxiety provoking to be with this other person, your nerves, the ones that signal you emotionally, are telling you to beware.

6. You are their star, not a supporting role.

Supporting roles are second place behind the star. If you are just a person to be with, eventually your partner will look for someone to be in the starring role opposite them in their life script.

You deserve to be the first choice in someone’s life.

7. They make time for you, not make you fit their schedule.

A good relationship is built on shared experiences. You need to know that this other person would like to be with you more than to be doing something else.

Granted life is busy these days and earning a living can take a lot of time. But you need to know that this partner of yours will make you and your needs a priority.

8. You do not have to give up “me” for there to be an “US.”

In the early stages of relationships, people want to be together a lot. For the relationship to thrive there will need to be a time when you each are able to have your own separate lives as well as your life together. Do you have to give up family or friends to be with this person? Are their hobbies or activities that you enjoy that the other person insists you give up to be with them?

Is this about them controlling you and trying to change you to be acceptable to them or are they right that you need to give up some unhealthy people in your life?

9. They do not expect you to always be available when they want you.

A healthy relationship is when there is give and take. If your potential partner demands you make them your one and only priority then this is a bad sign. Your partner should want to be with you but also should understand that there are times when other people and activities need your attention.

10. They do not need to get everything their way and win all the arguments.

Does this significant other of yours insist that they need to get their way all the time? Or can they compromise? Does giving in feel like losing to them?

11. They fit in with your family and friends not cut you off from them.

A good relationship should be a compliment to your existing life not a replacement for those other relationships in your life.

12. They are able to admit when they are wrong.

The longer you are with someone the more times each of you will find out that you made a mistake. Being able to admit those mistakes and move on will help heal any conflicts you two may have.

Some people can admit their errors and try to change. Other people will keep arguing till they make you wrong. Before long you will begin to think either you are going crazy or this person just can’t accept ever being wrong.

A person who thinks they are never wrong can be extremely difficult to live with after a very short time.

13. They are rarely boring.

Relationships do not need to be thrill rides full of adrenaline. But if you find yourself being bored when you are around this other person, you are in for a lot more boring when they are the primary person in your life.

15. Being with them is not a competition.

A relationship is a collaboration, not a competition. Constantly trying to outdo each other becomes old. Look for someone who can enjoy your triumphs and for whom you can cheer, not a partner that always needs to upstage you.

16. They admit their problems and are working on them.

If your potential partner is working to become the best they can be there is always room for improvement. It is the very annoying person who insists that the way they are is “just the way I am” and that you need to change to accommodate them. If they are not willing to work on themselves, they are not likely to be willing to work on the relationship when those inevitable problems arise.

17. They are not moody and let you know why they are feeling down or distant.

Someone who is constantly moody is not someone you can create a happy relationship with. Understand we all have our moods. Some people struggle with serious mental illnesses, depression or anxiety. You can still have a great relationship together.

What that other person needs to be able to do is to communicate with you about their moods and to let you know that these moody times are about them not about it being your job to make them feel any one way. They also need to be working on themselves not expecting you to adapt yourself to their mood.

18. They are past the impulsive years and ready to be responsible.

Growing up is a process. Many people go through impulsive times. They make choices, try on new things and grow.

Make sure that your potential partner is past those stages before it becomes too serious.

It is not fun to stay home with the children while your partner is off in another city having fun.

Do they work? Pay their bills and are they off probation? You are getting their past as part of the deal. Is their wreckage involved? Are student loans in default?

19. They are not trying to change you.

Change is a part of life. In any relationship, both people change over time. You want to be changing in the same direction and also be accepting of the way your partner changes.

What is especially bad for any relationship is when one party in the relationship insists that the other person change to suit them.

Be wary of someone who says they would be willing to like you if only you could change into someone else more to their liking.

Want to sign up for my mailing list?

Get the latest updates on my books, due out later this year by signing up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also be notified about live training opportunities and free or discounted books. Sign up here – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam and you can unsubscribe at any time.

There are 19 features your potential mate should have. There are likely others features you may have on your list. What features would make someone an “ideal” partner for you?For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings, and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended books.

Does US mean no more ME? Relationship strain.

By David Joel Miller

 

Can your relationship survive?

Unhappy Family

Unhappy Family.
Photo courtesy of Flickr (coffeehistorian).

The client comes for counseling, sometimes it is a couple, sometimes they have already spit or divorced and the client comes alone. The complaints are remarkably similar.

In the beginning this relationship was so perfect. We spent a lot of time together, couldn’t wait to be together and then things started to change.

Starting a new relationship sets off a series of changes in everyone’s life. Some of these changes are enjoyable, falling in love is better than most drugs. But that new relationship also sets off stress. Those seeds of change planted at the start of the relationship become the weeds of disappointment later on.

In the process of creating an US the couple finds themselves distancing from people who have been in their life before the relationship. Most of us have full lives, even when we say that there is something missing, like love, still to make room for the new partner something has to go.

The picture I get of this person entering a new relationship is sort of like my desk. It is full. No matter how much I clean it off more stuff appears and fills it up. So anytime I add a new thing, a book I want to read, something else I planned to look at gets covered up or if I push that new book onto the desk something falls off the other side.

Is your relationship overly full like that?

So to make room for that new love, you see less of old friends. Maybe your new partner doesn’t like some of your friends, so you stop seeing them. There may be conflicts between your partner’s interests and expectations and what your family expects. So you change a little and then your relationships with family and friends, those relationships change in response.

As the relationship progresses all sorts of conflicts arise. Where do you spend holidays? Do you go to activates with your friends and family or your partners?  As your new love takes you away from your established relationship your family and friends may push back.

You may be expected for a holiday meal with one part of the extended family and another part is angry because they expected you. You can see how the conflicts mount up.

You may decide to adopt the customs of one person or the other or you may compromise. Either way life activities outside the relationship will change. You have to stop doing some things to make way for others.

Creating an US in your relationship.

At this stage couples come to counseling for help in creating space for an US. They need help in setting boundaries with people outside the relationship. They may also need help setting boundaries within the relationship.

The resentments may accumulate. You have given up a lot to make this relationship work and now you wonder what happened to ME since we became US?

Not losing ME in your relationship.

He came home from work after a hard day and she wasn’t there, out with her girlfriends again. She used to call him about every little decision now she calls her mother and tells him what her mom said she should do.

He used to want to be with her all the time. Now he spends Friday night out with the guys. Soon Friday turns into 3 or 4 nights a week. He starts going to the gym or running every day.

The time they used to spend together each now wants time apart. Often one or the other partner thinks the other is having an affair, sometimes they are, but most of the time they just decide to go back to doing the things they did before they got into this relationship, before WE and US started to obliterate the “ME.”

Rarely does a couple both start the US to Me change at the same time.

So as the process of reestablishing ME begins to take shape, The relationship undergoes a new strain, creating separateness within togetherness.

Relationship counselors have looked a lot at the progression of relationships. We are seeing that relationships, and people in them go through a series of changes. If one partner’s changes are out of step with the others then there can be problems in the relationship.

Sometimes that first embrace gets too tight and one person may push the other away.

This is a time to look at how the relationship is progressing not to think you picked the wrong person. Healthy relationships change over time.

There can be ME’s for both partners within the US. It takes time, understanding and effort to create that space within the loving relationship.

Frequently the two of you become three or more and then the relationship stress mounts. Do you have to give up being that loving couple to be a family? Can there still be a ME and US and an ALL OF US?

Making it a Family.

Family can and do make these transitions. It helps if you know they are coming. If these inevitable relationship strains and changes are making you wonder if you made the right choice in the first place, consider relationship or family counseling.

All relationships continue to change and starting over with a new partner means going through these relationship changes all over again. Couples who are willing to work at navigating the changes that always come, end up navigating those changes together.

Want to sign up for my mailing list?

Get the latest updates on my books, due out later this year by signing up for my newsletter. Newsletter subscribers will also be notified about live training opportunities and free or discounted books. Sign up here – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books