What Shamu Taught Me About a Happy Marriage – by Amy Sutherland, New York Times

What Shamu Taught Me About a Happy Marriage

New York Times

As I wash dishes at the kitchen sink, my husband paces behind me, irritated. “Have you seen my keys?” he snarls, then huffs out a loud sigh and stomps from the room with our dog, Dixie, at his heels, anxious over her favorite human’s upset.

In the past I would have been right behind Dixie. I would have turned off the faucet and joined the hunt while trying to soothe my husband with bromides like, “Don’t worry, they’ll turn up.” But that only made him angrier, and a simple case of missing keys soon would become a full-blown angst-ridden drama starring the two of us and our poor nervous dog.

Amy Sutherland is the author of “Kicked, Bitten and Scratched: Life and Lessons at the Premier School for Exotic Animal Trainers” (Viking, June 2006). She lives in Boston and in Portland, Me.

“Two Classes, Divided by ‘I Do’” by Jason DeParle, New York Times

Two Classes, Divided by ‘I Do’


ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Jessica Schairer has so much in common with her boss, Chris Faulkner, that a visitor to the day care center they run might get them confused.

They are both friendly white women from modest Midwestern backgrounds who left for college with conventional hopes of marriage, motherhood and career. They both have children in elementary school. They pass their days in similar ways: juggling toddlers, coaching teachers and swapping small secrets that mark them as friends. They even got tattoos together. Though Ms. Faulkner, as the boss, earns more money, the difference is a gap, not a chasm.

But a friendship that evokes parity by day becomes a study of inequality at night…

Read more…

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?

It’s Ok to Let Your Children See You Fight

By Sharon Jackson

The New York Times Blog featured an article, “It’s Ok To Let Your Children Fight.” Click here  to read the full article. Conflict in any form is always a delicate matter to navigate well, and when children are involved, it requires even more skill.

Psychiatrist, Barbara Bartlik, M.D. had this to say about fighting in front of children: “Some children are traumatized by hearing their parents argue, especially when the arguments turn abusive or violent. The effect on children is worse when they are the subject of the dispute. Often, they assume that their parents are arguing about them, even when they are not.”

“Elizabeth Weil in her article,”It’s O.K. for Children to See Their Parents Fight?,” points out that exposing children to a certain amount of arguing may actually be beneficial. It teaches children to stand up for themselves, and that their feelings are important. This is particularly meaningful for girls, who hesitate to express their opinions. Children of both genders learn how to compromise and negotiate by observing their parents argue constructively. They also realize that parents can have very different opinions, while continuing to love and respect one another. In addition, children find it reassuring when their parents make up.”

“I tell the couples I treat in therapy that they should reassure their children that it is normal for parents to argue, that even when they are angry they still love one another, and that the children are not the reason for the argument.”