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Entries in Marriage and children (6)

Saturday
Feb132016

How to Keep Your Relationship Thriving through Change?

You feel good about your spouse. The two of you have worked through some issues and are in a comfortable place. Conflict is at a minimum and your communication seems to be okay. Then one day your wife comes home and tells you she is pregnant. While you are both excited with the thought of starting a family, you silently worry about the future. Your company is not doing all that well and you are hearing rumors about lay-offs. Your wife is so excited about the baby that she begins to talk about all the plans she has for remodeling the house and buying things for the baby. Somewhere in the third trimester, she comes home and says she really wants to quit her job once the baby is born and stay at home.

And thus, a whole new world of tension and conflict ensues.

You begin to get angry. You don’t understand why your wife does not appreciate the pressures you are having at work and the insecurity of the job. You fight with your wife about every single purchase she makes for the baby and adamantly refuse to consider any remodeling of the house. Instead of seeing your wife as the loving partner she once was, you now start to see another side to her. Someone who wants what she wants no matter how much money is in the bank—a person who is not in touch with reality. A capricious woman who does not appreciate your circumstances. You are torn between wanting to be a good husband and father with the fear that you will be unable to provide what is needed. You secretly resent your wife and the baby for putting you this situation—a place of feeling inadequate and incompetent.

Your wife does not understand your anger. She is so excited about becoming a mother and desperately wants to be home with the baby. She resents your controlling attitude and resistance to what she feels would be the best for the baby. She wishes you would have a “can do” attitude and reassure her that you will do what it takes to financially provide for the family until she feels ready to go back to work. The more you communicate your disapproval and resistance to her ideas, the more she finds a way to make you feel guilty and inadequate.

And thus, the dance of disappointment and resentment begins.

Major changes will test your relationship and marriage. Changes create uncertainty, loss and anxious anticipation. Roles, identities, needs and resources are challenged and a new way of being is required. During major times change it is important to honor the process—everyone will deal with the loss of the old and transitioning to the new in their own way and time. And if a couple has opposing needs and coping strategies, then going through the change together will create even more tension. Don’t be surprised if you discover aspects of your mate (and yourself) that you didn’t see before. With every new challenge that life brings us, so does the opportunity to learn something new about ourselves and the people we love.

Change always includes the opportunity to grow together.

Here are some things to consider as you and your significant other traverse the rocky landscape of change.

  1. Remember that you are both experiencing some form of loss. The loss of a way of life, an identity, a sense of security, money, a relationship, or a loved one (if the change involves a death). Be kind and gentle with each other and give each other the space to grieve the old way of being (even if the change is positive).
  2. Don’t get too attached to how you think things should work out. Everyone has a picture or fantasy about how life should look on the other side of change. Trying to “make” this happen is what causes unnecessary turmoil. Be open to allowing the “new” to emerge in its own time and way. Be open to how things will look as you both influence the journey together.
  3. Give each other a “pass” every now and then. When people are scared or hurting, sometimes they handle it with grace and sometimes not. Instead of getting defensive or striking back, ask more questions so you can learn more about your spouses’ fears rather than insisting they see things your way.
  4. Keep the communication open. Talk about what is really going on and why you are feeling the way you do. Listen to the same from your spouse. This is a time to be a generous listener and really understand your partner in life. Practice understanding, empathy and acceptance. Practice this again and again.
  5. Be creative in your problem-solving. With major change comes lots of issues to figure out and problems to solve. Once you both feel heard and understood, the problem-solving happens with more ease. You are more likely to find solutions that work for both of you.

Remember, change will keep coming. You can’t stop it. Take advantage of the opportunity to strengthen your relationship and grow together. Remember you are on the same side. Support each other’s concerns. You will get through it—you simply have no other choice.

If you and your spouse (or significant other) are going through a major life change, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I'm here to help. I provide personalized counseling and coaching. Take advantage of the opportunity to receive the support and guidance you deserve. You don’t need to wait. You can begin the process today.

Be well,

Julie

About me: www.julieorlov.com/about

About The Pathway to Love at-home program: www.julieorlov.com/pathway-to-love

About your relationship: Get your Free Relationship Assessment Quiz at www.julieorlov.com/quiz

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Friday
May092014

7 Ways to Deal with Your Empty Nest

It's that time of year. The school year is coming to a close and for those of you who are parents, this means dealing with endings and preparing yourself and your children for new beginnings that lie ahead.  

For those of you that have graduating seniors, like myself, it is a more poignant time of year. It is the time to begin the process of launching your children out into the world. It is the time to deal with your own feelings as your role as parent shifts into a different gear. And as cliche as it sounds, if this is your last child going off to college or adventures of his own, it is your time to deal with the empty nest.

I must confess that while I have helped many mothers and fathers work their way through this time, experiencing this first hand is quite a different story.  So I've decided to share my own process with you in hopes that it will help validate yours. Yours may look different than mine, or the transition you are going through may be different, but I promise you the issues and tasks that must be addressed in order to make your way through to the other side are quite similar. So in the interest of helping you understand what waters must be navigated and how best to do this, read on.

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Sunday
Oct132013

Parenting: When to hold on and when to let go

One of the most important aspects to parenting comes in the form of letting go. While newborns require the experience of attachment, as children get older, parents must face the sometimes painful task of creating healthy separation from their children. And while newborns come into this world completely dependent upon others for their survival, as they grow up, they must learn to separate and individuate. This is the cycle of life. This is the unique quality that parent-child relationships have.

Children at different stages of development require different levels of separation and independence. Sound judgment and common sense often lead the way. Better yet, reading a great parenting book or following a great blog (no personal accolades intended :-)) can help give you the information you need to support you along the way. It doesn't matter if you stumble. What matters is that you understand the importance in preparing your children for adulthood in age appropriate ways. In other words, don't unconsciously protect your children from growing up. Don't enable them to stay dependent, insecure, and fearful. Your job is to support and make choices that lend themselves toward helping your children become independent and live a great life. 

And believe it or not, this starts from the very beginning. Babies need the space to crawl and explore their environment. Toddlers need the freedom to learn that actions have consequences. School aged kids need to discover how the world works and their place within it. And adolescents need to know that they have the confidence and competence to go and make a life for themselves.

Letting go and allowing your children to make and learn from their own choices is fundamental. Encouraging your children to take risks, stretch and grow is vital. Modeling the art of separating and letting go is mandated.

So why is separating from our children so difficult for so many?

Here are just a few of the multitude of reasons why parents hang on—too long!!

If you find it difficult to separate from your children or allow your children to separate from you, you might identify with one or more of the following dynamics: (Click Read in Browser to access full article. Parents and future parents will not want to miss this one!

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Sunday
Jun162013

Is Your Spouse Your Roommate or Your Lover?

You can't believe it's summer already. Another school year has gone by. You are trying to decide where to go on vacation and any idea you have seems like a lot of effort. If you're really honest, the idea of a family vacation seems exhausting. Taking a long weekend away by yourself sounds so much more enticing. You look across the kitchen table at your husband. He is busy writing out checks and reminds you that he will be working late next week so you will need to pick up the kids from their various afternoon activities.

Things are comfortable between the two of you. After all, you’ve been married for almost two decades. The household runs smoothly. The kids' needs are taken care of. But you realize that you and your husband have settled into a life together that feels more like roommates and less like lovers. Over the years your sex life has slowly withered away to an early morning quickie every other month or so.  You think back on the days when your sex life was good. You made an effort to wear sexy lingerie—he made an effort to seduce you in the ways you liked—you both made an effort to mix it up and have fun. Now it seems like passion is the last thing on your minds, settling instead for a comfy night on the couch watching TV until it's time to get some sleep. And while you still have warm feelings for your spouse, that flame seems almost extinguished. Tonight as you sit across from your husband, you feel lonely, longing to reignite some passion—longing to look at him as your lover, once again.

If this scenario sounds familiar, you are not alone. Many couples after some years have gone by, or when the kids have moved out, look at each other as if they were compatible roommates. And for many, there comes a time when that comfort level is no longer acceptable. Couples hit a cross road every few years and for most couples, this cross road will be met at least once, if not more, throughout the lifetime of their relationship.

If you are experiencing the roommate blues, here are five things you can do to bring passion back into your relationship. Click Read in Browser to access full article

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Sunday
Jul222012

Dealing With “The Empty Nest”

Many parents, who have devoted their time, energy, and identity on parenting, hit a crisis when the children are gone. Many couples, who have devoted their time, energy, and identity on parenting, will also find themselves in crisis when their last child leaves the home. This is not only common but a natural milestone that couples hit as they move through their lives. This time of year is the time that many young adults leave the nest for college or for good. It is important to address all the issues that surface during this important milestone, both on an individual as well as relational level. Here is my 4 step process for dealing with an empty nest.

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