Making Sense of Messy Transitions

The days are getting longer. The snow piles are slowly beginning to disappear. Winter is transitioning to spring.

The P/E office is in a state of disarray. Walls have been torn down, sheets of plastic hang from the ceiling, and the smell of fresh paint lingers. Staff is transitioning to a new collaborative office space. 

Transitions are messy. Between the starkness of winter and the promising warmth of spring, there are a lot of half-snow-half-rain, slushy, gray days (at least in Minnesota.)  In the office, people are displaced from their desks, moving to temporary work spaces with their belongings in boxes around their feet. Extension cords snake across the floor as we wait for electrical work to be completed before people move into their permanent spots.

Transitions that disrupt our physical environment can be a pain. But in examples like these, we usually have a sense of what the end state will be: spring will arrive in full force, days will be warm enough to go without a jacket, and winter will be but a memory. Our office will eventually be finished, we’ll settle into our new space, and enjoy our exciting, collaborative environment.

But what about transitions that are more ambiguous, such as those in our life and relationships? Read More

7 Ways to Avoid Marriage Madness

Stomping like a child, I stormed back and forth between our garage and house.  I was so angry!  Brad and I were packing for a trip to spend time with my family.  We were in a disagreement about where we were going to stay and how much time we were going to spend with my family while on the trip.  I thought he should want more time with my family.  Our interaction soured the whole trip.  This is my first recollection of my marriage making me mad.

Almost fifteen years in, and a few mad episodes later, here are some reflections on ways to minimize marriage madness.

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Why it’s Good to Have Expectations in Your Relationship

Have you ever heard of the “nocebo effect”?  No?  Me neither.

Have you heard of the “placebo effect”?  It’s the phenomenon where if you believe you are being treated for something, you feel the effects of it.  For example, if you are told the pill you are taking will cure your headache, you take it and assume your headache will go away.  When it does go away, you think nothing of it, except when you are told the pill you took is a sugar pill.  That’s the placebo effect.

Well, apparently the same goes for the opposite of the placebo effect – the nocebo effect.  If you believe that something is not going to work, it doesn’t.  If you are told the aspirin you are about to take is a dud and won’t work, it doesn’t – even if it’s the same kind of aspirin you always take for your headaches.

Can you imagine how the nocebo effect could affect your relationship? Read More