Marital Therapy May Increase Sex

Posted by Sharon Jackson

A U.S. survey of counseling professionals recently found that the top reason couples fight is not about sex and money, but that neither partner feels important or valued by the other.  The survey, “Marital Therapy May Increase Sex.” 

Dr. Phyllis Goldberg, Ph.D [Marriage and Family therapist] has this to say about whether Marital therapy may increase sex:  “It’s true that more frequent intimacy can be the result of a successful marital therapy experience because the underlying problems causing the alienation have been addressed.  But the issues for relationships in trouble are complicated.  And sometimes one of the partners is already emotionally out the door and is coming for sessions to appease the other partner or because there are children involved.  So much depends on factors such as the duration of the marital difficulties, whether infidelity is an issue, if both partners are committed to saving the marriage and how invested each is in being right. So saying that marital therapy may increase sex is misleading, an oversimplification and doesn’t do the subject justice.”

Emotional Opposites in Relationships

Posted by Sharon Jackson

“Of all the ways that opposites attract, the thorniest may be when emotionally giving types pair up with types who are emotionally reserved.”  The Wall Street Journal has a really interesting article called,

 “Show me the Love….Or Not,”  that asks the question, “How do two very emotionally different people in an intimate relationship, make it work?”

Dr. Phyllis Goldberg, Ph.D and Marriage and Family Therapist says, ” Opposites often do attract in relationships, especially when one sees qualities in the other they wish they had.  But when the honeymoon is over, these once appealing traits can feel burdensome.  For introverts who need their space, a more extroverted partner can seem needy.  Just as a demonstrative partner can experience one who is more self-contained as rejecting.  Of course, these are sweeping generalizations that should be taken in context.  In any marriage, an understanding of what each other wants in the affection arena and a willingness to compromise goes a long way. “

New Study on Empathy in Relationships

By Sharon Jackson

“Men like to know when their wife or girlfriend is happy while women really want the man in their life to know when they are upset,”  according to a new study published by the American Psychological Association.  The article titled, “Women Happier in Relationships When Men Feel Their Pain,”    “The study involved a diverse sample of couples and found that men’s and women’s perceptions of their significant other’s empathy, and their abilities to tell when the other is happy or upset, are linked to relationship satisfaction in distinctive ways.”

Fatima Aydin, Ph.D, licensed Psychologist, says this study shows as an inherent difference between men and women, not so much around the display of empathy per se, but more about how life experiences actually bring about a sense of satisfaction in each gender.

Aydin continues to say, “Women, in general, feel more fulfilled when they are able to fully experience their emotions, whether positive or negative.  They are not always looking for a solution to a problem or conflict to get rid of a negative emotional state, be it sadness, anger or disappointment. The simple act of feeling them is grounding and gratifying of its own accord and typically helps to dissipate the negativity associated with the experience. ”

“Yet men often attempt to move their partners out of a state of negative emotion by offering solutions, or intentionally forcing them into a positive emotional state which typically ends up infuriating the women in their lives.  If men only realized that instead of offering solutions, all they needed to do was to sit back, relax and simply listen, then many conflicts would be avoided.  Women would then start to feel more fulfilled in their relationships, because they will not only feel they were heard but were allowed to fully experience whatever it is that they are going through.

I definitely agree with the observations made in this study and Dr. Aydin.  It’s less threatening when my husband sees me happy and of course it makes him feel good compared to when I am upset.  However, it shows a level of greater sensitivity towards me, on his part, when he recognizes and validates my more negative feelings.  The sad or angry feelings are the ones many people tend to run away from because it brings up uncomfortable.  When my spouse is willing to stay present and affirm me during those moments, it gives me a greater sense of trust, comfort and safety, which in turn generates satisfaction in our relationship.

Money and Vulnerabilty

By Sharon Jackson

Money is one of those topics that can be a hot button for many people, especially people in new relationships or even in long-term relationships.  It’s a charged subject.  The article, “Buy, Sell, or Hold your Relationship, explores the territory of money as it relates to those feelings of commitment, trust, vulnerability and control in intimate relationships.

Licensed Psychotherapist, Linda Garcia-Rose has this to say about the Forbes article: “Let’s start with a positive about this article. When I ask couples, “How much time a week do you spend on your relationships?” Many do not understand what I mean.  To edify, “How much time a week do you spend at work?” How much time a week do you spend at the gym?” The point being, most people do not consciously spend time working on their relationships as they do other areas of their lives.  So the work analogy certainly has some value.  I agree that many people who are successful in their careers are not successful in their relationships.  However, treating an intimate relationship as something one…”should buy, sell or hold,” is disturbing on so many levels from a therapeutic perspective.”

“In this world of instant gratification, it is easy enough to end a relationship instead of working on it. Certainly some do not work and analyzing what is working and areas of improvement are key components of having a healthy relationship.  But selling or trading in your partner is not the answer!”

The Marriage Plot

By Sharon Jackson

“When Elizabeth Weil and Dan Duane married  in July 2000, they made a straightforward pact; no cheating, no dying. Other less dramatic problems might lie on the horizon, like money (both are writers) and religion (she’s Jewish, he’s not).  Over time, neither of these issues created difficulties, but nine years and two daughters later Weil came up with the idea of improving their good marriage by undertaking a year of marital-skills improvement- a project she wrote about for The New York Times Magazine. Reluctantly, her husband agreed to the plan, even though both were aware of an old saying, “If you’re going to poke around the bushes, you’d better be prepared to scare out some snakes.” Click here, to continue reading, “The Marriage Plot; No Cheating, No Dying.

Licensed Psychotherapist, Linda Garcia-Rose has this to say to about whether it’s helpful or can make things worse to try to fix something that ain’t broke: “Some might call it, “….scrupulous, self-imposed scrutiny,” others might call it a journey of self-actualization.  Many people come to therapy only when they are in crisis.  Quite often, when their relationship is past the point-of-no-return.  Therefore, I find the reasoning that Weil and Duane go in search of improving their, “good marriage” to be exciting.  Just like a professional musician or athlete, training to perform even better.

“The issue I have from a therapeutic perspective is that they do not seem to persevere in any one treatment. I encourage clients to shop for a therapist and/or method which works for them.  However, therapy is a process not a quick fix or flavor of the day.  Frequently, issues and emotions may be energized and exacerbated as part of this process.  Meaning it often gets worse before it gets better!”

Like Elizabeth Weil, I believe anything can be better, and for some relationships it may be a good idea to get down and dirty and dig up all those issues that are getting in the way of having a healthy or healthier connection with your mate, by seeing a therapist.  Who wouldn’t want a more loving, supportive, and closer relationship with their partner?