Category: Marriage & Relationships

Empathy and Mirror Neurons

Empathy differs from sympathy. Sympathy reflects an understanding of another person’ situation- but viewed through your own eyes. In contrast, empathy is what you feel when you can step outside of yourself and enter the internal world of another person. You experience the other’s emotions and conflict without abandoning or losing your own perspective. It involves being able “to see with the eyes of another, to hear with the ears of another, to feel with the heart of another” (Alfred

Posted in Depression, Family & Parenting, General, Grief, Marriage & Relationships, Personal Growth, Stress & Anxiety, Therapy Tagged with: , , ,

How Are Strong Marriages Like Healthy Gardens?

This is a question that I often put to couples who attend the premarital workshops I present. I like the question because it requires what are called “higher order thinking skills” – a more effective way of engaging new information that simply receiving it in a rote learning format. The answers I receive to this question are often quite insightful. Following are a few of those insights. Successful marriages, like gardens, must be cultivated. What sunlight, soil and water are to

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Get More Out of Life

Do you want more out of life, something different, a new way of doing things and yet you do not have a clear idea of how to bring this about? Perhaps you have tried everything you can think of but things are not improving. You may be feeling overwhelmed by the events in your life. You may have experienced a catastrophe, loss or trauma (recent or buried in the past) and your coping skills have been stretched to the limit.

Posted in Depression, Family & Parenting, General, Marriage & Relationships, Personal Growth, Retirement & Aging, Stress & Anxiety, Therapy

Marriage Can Be Miserable

When a couple marries, they can be truly miserable if they follow a few simple rules! When life is busy and stress levels are high, it is important to “do one’s own thing.”  Take time to unwind and relax; this is far more important than conversing with your spouse. If a conversation should happen to break out, be sure to react and avoid understanding what is being said to you. Feel free to be upset or annoyed; it is their

Posted in Depression, Family & Parenting, General, Marriage & Relationships, Personal Growth, Stress & Anxiety

Caught in the Middle: Supporting the Child Through Parental Divorce

Last week I learned that a young couple I know had recently separated.  I remembered their wedding and the promising future they imagined together.  I don’t know the circumstances of their separation but I do hope that they have tried hard to make their marriage work; that knowledge will be important to their children.  I also hope that they are committed to working on an effective partnership as co-parents to their two young girls.  I hope that they are supported

Posted in Family & Parenting, General, Marriage & Relationships

Male Midlife Crisis? Is It a Myth?

Do men go through a midlife crisis? Is there research to support such a concept or is this an “urban legend?” The books “Passages” and “Seasons of a Man’s Life” were published several years ago but were based on small samples of investigation. Yet, men in their early 50s or 60s arrive in my counselling office convinced that they are having a mid life crisis. Often they have been sent by their wives or families who are convinced that their

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Technology Divides

We gathered our children and grandchildren and headed to the west coast of Vancouver Island for a short family vacation. As in the past, we were anticipating the opportunity to enjoy each other’s company and remove ourselves from the demands of everyday life. We knew that there would be laughter, great food and long walks on the beach. On this particular trip, we brought along two versions of a board game called “Trains,” which all of us knew and enjoyed

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Cultivating Our Best Relationships

How we communicate on a daily basis with the significant people in our lives is more predictive of a strong relationship than anything other single factor. We likely underestimate the potential our daily interactions hold for helping us create great relationships with the people we care most about. When others tell us about positive happenings in their lives, our response can either be a step in building our relationship with them, or a step in undermining it. Although we may

Posted in Marriage & Relationships, Personal Growth

In Marriage It’s All About Balance

Compatibility comes up for discussion with couples, particularly when they are struggling.  Their differences in personality and attitude appear to be so great that they begin to question the viability of their relationship.  They begin to fear that they are “too different” to make it work. Research on divorce found that divorcing couples complained about the very qualities they used to love in each other.  The differences that had always been there, and that each had once admired in the

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When Sorry Isn’t Enough

Sue felt frustrated and alone. She and Jack had just had another spat, again over something which to her seemed trivial. As of late conflicts were happening more and more frequently between them, with Jack taking longer and longer to get over them. As usual, Sue apologized hoping to end the conflict quickly. She would say she was sorry for her part in the situation, then want to move on. Jack on the other hand would always want to continue

Posted in Marriage & Relationships