We’ve heard it before. Relationships can, and will (if we let them), fall in a rut. We know they take energy, we know they take effort, we’ve heard this all before. Amongst the extensive amount of stale relationship advice we’ve heard time and time again, this one stands out as most over-used.
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.
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
New Year, new you, nice try. We all fall into the same trap of “new year’s resolutions.” This time, year after year, gym prices become “discounted,” self-help books flood our Instagram feeds, and green shakes capitalize the end caps of our local supermarket. We are overwhelmed with the idea that we can change ourselves if we try just hard enough, so let’s push ourselves to reach that yearly goal. Unfortunately, it’s easy to fall into this cyclical way of thinking every year. Are you focusing your energy on changing the right things? Read More
Healthy relationships are vital to life. When cared for, relationships bring us joy. They bring us strength. They bring us connection. And so many other great things. But relationships are work! And, I’m not just talking about relationships that come with a lifelong commitment like a marriage or parenting, but friendships too.
Friendships are relationships we choose to have. We start to take this autonomy of deciding our friends when we are young, even before we truly understand what it means to be a friend. When I was in elementary school, I remember sitting around the dinner table with my family and one of my parents always would ask, “Did you make any new friends today?” I don’t remember what my answer was on a given day, but I’m sure I answered yes.
Back then, a friend was someone who held the door for you while coming inside from recess. Or someone who would trade you their peanut butter and jelly sandwich for your egg salad. Or maybe even the girl who has the pretty bow in her hair … maybe we’ve never actually played together, but she seems cool, so I’ll say she’s my friend. Read More
Social media has exacerbated the romanticism of your partner being your “#everything.” We constantly see Instagram posts about our friend’s boyfriend with captions like, “He’s my everything.” Facebook photos of a picture of a couple’s silhouette in the sunset with cute calligraphy typed over top, “She is my everything.” Or tweets of a sleeping spouse with hashtags of, “#myeverything.”
What? Where does that even stem from? What lead us to the problematic belief that our partners are the one and only person we need in our life? Read More
I am a recovering complainer.
We were having a picnic lunch on a beautiful May afternoon. There were three moms and four children. While the children played, the moms talked. I remember talking about my house. Actually, I did a lot of talking about my house. I had a lot of complaints. I live in a 117-year-old house that, by default, we are fixing up. It is one problem after another. Not only did I complain about all there is to fix, but I also complained about the layout, the size of the rooms, the lack of closets, the location of the bathrooms, the lack of air conditioning… I’ll stop there. The picnic ended. We parted ways.
Not long after the picnic, one of the three moms invited all of us over to her house. I parked in front and my daughter and I followed the sidewalk to the back of the house where there was a tiny backyard. We greeted each other and were given a tour of the house. I thought my house had small rooms. I thought my house had problems. Her living room was smaller than our office. There was one bedroom for four people, and it was smaller than my bedroom. The floor was uneven. It was dark. It was crowded. I was embarrassed. I had complained about my house and here she lived in a smaller, more run down home than I did. I felt terrible. Read More
Words to think about from our staff at PE
They have been married for 66 years. The wife lives in the family home. Her husband is in a full time care facility. She won’t drive much anymore and he can’t drive at all.
Every Sunday morning he hires the accessibility van to bring him home. If the bus is late picking him up, he knows she will worry. He calls her from his flip phone to give her a new ETA.
She cooks his favorite breakfast and has it ready as soon as he arrives. For a special treat for lunch, some Sunday’s she will go to the local fast food place and bring home his favorites. When she asks him what he wants for supper, he always answers “Whatever you make will be delicious.” They share and enjoy the comfort of eating their meals together at the dining room table; the same table that in the 50’s and 60’s sat a family of five, then six, and finally a family of seven.
These people are my parents.