Tag: family

Are You Ready for Marriage? 10 Questions to Consider When Choosing the Right Partner

by Becky Wengreen, MFTI

It’s the biggest decision of your life. Are you ready to consider it? What do you know about yourself that makes you feel it’s time to move towards that next step? Maybe you have met “the one”—how do you know? Is your readiness based on attraction and passion alone? Marriage means experiencing life with someone who stands with you —shoulder to shoulder as a willing and committed partner. It’s important to be sure you have enough information about yourself to increase your chances of picking the right one for longterm happiness.

Family and Marriage Therapy in UtahHere are 10 questions to help you do that. These 10 questions are open ended and broad; created to help you explore and expound upon key concepts and beliefs in your life style. They are not meant to measure your “sameness” with another but are an aid to bring about awareness—to stimulate insight and understanding about the system that governs the way you live, or hope to live. Whether you’re in a current relationship or not, take adequate time to explore your inner beliefs, tendencies, and expectations.

1) What are your core values?
Is there a motto you live by? What shapes your everyday actions with others? What practices and principles govern your decisions? What do you hold dear? What can’t you live without? Why? Why not? (This may include concepts such as honesty, compassion, commitment, respect, loyalty, humor, courage, fitness, service, etc.)

2) Do you rely on a higher power?
Do you depend upon or have faith in a higher power? Does that power take first place over a spouse? If so what is your devotion to this power and how much does it influence your daily life decisions. When do you worship? Why do you worship? How important is it that your partner worship with you?

3) What are your beliefs surrounding money and spending?
What do you imagine your role being in a committed relationship when it comes to financial stability? Will you work? Are you the sole support? Is debt allowed? What are your feelings about spending? What are necessities and what are wants? Do you expect your partner to work or contribute financially? How much?

4) Do you have a short term and long term plan?
Where do you see yourself in 6 months or in one year? What are your goals five years from now and what are the steps you have taken to get there? In ten years where would you like to live? What education do you plan to have or not have? Do you want a vocation? Would you like to move away? How do you imagine yourself living?

5) What is your definition of Family?
What does a family mean to you? If family is of great importance then what do you imagine your future family to look like? Do you want children? How many? How and where do you see yourself raising them? What role will you play in the family and what role do you see your future partner playing? What duties or responsibilities do each of you hold? How does the family function? What relationships take priority? Who talks to who, how and when?

6) Who do you turn to in times of heartache, financial trouble, or hard times?
Now that you have a committed partner, is there room for others? Do you have friends outside of your marriage? How much time is spent with them? What conversations can you share with friends and what remains with in the bounds of your partnership? How much time is devoted to people outside the relationship? Do you have friends together? Separate? Both? Neither?

8) What is your Answerability?
In other words, are you able to be open, honest and accountable to another? Are you approachable with feedback? How do you feel when you are in a position of accountability? Are you teachable? Are you a team player, a leader or a dictator? What is your level of openness? Would you call yourself and open or a closed book? If so does it change with your relationships?

9) Do I change when under pressure? Sick or anxious?
Does your personality change when you’re stressed? Do you get quiet or withdrawn? Do you push through even when you feel lousy or ill? Do you get anxious? How would your partner know when you are? Do you cry? What happens? Do you notice? Can you tell when you’re anxious about certain topics, circumstances or people?

10) What is sex about in your relationship?
What does sex mean to you? When, how and why? What place will it have in your future? How much weight does it carry in the relationship? Are you comfortable talking about it? Are you at peace with your own sexuality?

As you take a look at yourself, you may gain insight regarding a compatible partner. Also, ask yourself if your answers are evident in the way you live; in other words, would others be able to guess some of the answers by the way you conduct your life. Next blog we will discuss the best place to look for that special someone!

 

Call today to schedule and appointment with Becky at 801.272.3420

The Bachelor

By Jeff Bennion, ALMFT

The Bacheloris one of the most popular reality TV shows out there. It is tremendously popular, especially among women because it plays into many of their fantasies about love, desire and relationships: to be romanced, to be object of attention and desire, to be seen as beautiful, to be pursued by a handsome and successful man, to have a beautiful wedding. Recently, there was a great deal of outrage when the latest bachelor, Arie Ludendyk, unceremoniously dumped the woman he gave the rose to on the show’s finale, Becca Kufrin, and instead got engaged to the runner up, Lauren Burnham. There was so much anger, one state representative proposed legislation proposing to bar Mr. Ludendyk from entering his home state of Minnesota.

When I heard the news, however, I wasn’t surprised. I’m frankly surprised that any of these relationships last, because this is about the worst possible way to enter into a marriage (or any long term, committed relationship). Putting twenty people together and having someone choose which of these is the best doesn’t build a foundation for a stable and mutually trusting relationship, in fact it encourages the opposite, as it encourages the Bachelor to always be on the lookout for someone better than the woman he is currently with. (Reverse the genders, if you would like, with the equally harmful Bachelorette show.) When a relationship is built on that foundation, how can that idea suddenly be turned off? Why, after the beautiful couple say “I do” should that constant lookout for someone undefinably better suddenly and magically get turned off? And how often do people watching the show decide that they “deserve” to have a relationship like the one depicted on this show, and become discontented  when they compare their relationship to the slickly and expensively produced ones portrayed on this TV show?

We hear about Darwin’s natural selection and think that species ruthlessly compete until all of them go extinct except one. In capitalism, we think that companies ruthlessly compete until one becomes overwhelmingly dominant. The Bachelor takes this idea to the dating world. The problem is, in each of these situations (biology, business, and relationships) that idea is wrong. Species do all they can to avoidp directly competing with each other. They try to find unique niches where they are best adapted to thrive, and they leave other niches where other species can attempt to do the same. Businesses will try to change their offerings in contrast to their competition in order to provide a feature that is uniquely compelling to a certain segment of the market. And in relationships, people don’t all line up on a stage and hope they get picked. At least not if they hope to be happy in a relationship. Successfully partnered people have determined their unique abilities and gifts and then found someone who appreciates their unique and individualized value as a person.

Relationships cannot be determined, and much less formed, through multiple choice. Each relationship is a yes or no, true or false question. If no, move on to the next one, with valuable lessons learned about yourself. If yes, then go deeper and take it to the next level of intimacy risking ever-deeper growth, self-examination and self-disclosure. In that process, you build something beautiful together.

There is an anonymous quote titled “The Marriage Box” that reads,

Most people get married believing a myth that marriage is beautiful box full of all the things they have longed for; Companionship, intimacy, friendship, etc… The truth is, that marriage at the start is an empty box, you must put something in before you can take anything out. There is no love in marriage, love is in people, and people put love in marriage. There is no romance in marriage, you have to infuse it into your marriage. A couple must learn the art, and form the habit of giving, loving, serving, praising, of keeping the box full. If you take out more than you put in, the box will be empty.

That’s why, when I watch the Bachelor, I see twenty-one beautifully wrapped yet empty boxes. Nothing on that program shows people how to put anything of long term value into their marriage (relationship) boxes. By that omission, it tells a very dangerous lie that it’s the appeal of the box that matters the most, not what you put in it. I cannot think of a more damaging idea to bring into a long term relationship and hope that it can last.

Call today to schedule and appointment with Jeff at 801.272.3420

Marriage Mythbusters: Mindreading

By Jeff Bennion, LMFT

Very often, what we think we should have gets in the way of what we do have. Couples will come into my office complaining about what they don’t have, and it blinds them to what they have and what they can have. Marriage can be a wonderful experience, leading to growth and happiness for each partner as well as their children, but it is often made more difficult by unrealistic and even harmful myths that are propagated by society and the media. Much of our time in therapy is spent “busting” these marriage myths.

Just like the popular TV Show “Mythbusters” that takes a look at various widely believed stories and puts them to the test, in this series of blog posts I thought we’d examine some popular but unhealthy marriage myths, and replace them with a more helpful and realistic idea.

One that I hear frequently in session is when the sentence starts with, “He/she should know that I…”  It is wonderful to have someone who gets us, and the popular idea of the “soulmate” is someone who knows you so well, he or she can read your mind. The first one up on the docket is the idea that your spouse, your “soulmate” should know what you’re thinking and feeling at every moment.

Soul Mates

If you have this belief, it is important to ask yourself where you got this idea, and how it may be harming your relationship, and preventing you from truly enjoying the person you are with. While it might be nice to have someone so in tune with our every thought, a more valuable skill in a partner is someone who will listen to you supportively and help you to express yourself.

In reality, more important than knowing what someone else is helping your spouse know that his or her feelings are safe and welcome, and one of the best ways to help your partner with that is to ask open questions. Open questions are questions that invite the person to reflect, to do deeper, and they also express that the questioner is really interested in what the person is thinking or feeling.

Here are some examples of open questions that would be good to ask, and some examples of some questions NOT to ask. Bad questions are ones that are accusatory, and aren’t really about getting an answer.

Open questions Closed questions
  • You seem a little down today. I’d like to hear more about what you might be feeling.
  • Why are you always so grumpy?
  • Tell about some of your favorite experiences you’ve had eating dinner.
  • Why can’t you ever get it through your head that I hate Italian food?
  • How can I better support you in your career?
  • When are you going to get around to finally applying for that promotion?
  • Is there some kind of physical expression of affection that might help you feel loved in this moment?
  • Why won’t you have sex with me more often?

Of course, sincerity counts too. If the open questions are just a way to manipulate your partner into doing something you already want

Letting go of our unrealistic  and unhealthy idea of our spouse as a mind reader, and replacing that idea with a willingness to be open and communicate can lead to a big improvement. No one is perfect, but with love and support, it can really make life better. As someone once said, “everyone comes with baggage. Find someone who loves you enough to help you unpack.

veryone-comes-with-baggage-find-someone-who-loves-you-enough-to-help-you-unpack

Call today to schedule and appointment with Jeff at 801.272.3420

What WE want to be

By Christopher D. Adams, AMFT

Max De Pree an American Business man who died in August of 2017 was known to have said,

“We cannot become who we want to be by remaining what we are.”

Stronger Family relationships Becoming is a process of forward progression. Often times however, couples define their relationship by the hurts of the past (but she said… or how could he if…). Those hurts DO matter and they need to be validated and understood so as to not allow them to be repeated in the future and yet they need not define the marriage. When couples begin to use statements like, we are it interrupts the ability to become something better.

Couples are only limited by what they believe they can become together. That belief may need some tender persuasion, as it may have been lost in the quagmire of hurt and mistrust. In some instances one partner bears, seemingly alone, the hopes of something better. Don’t walk alone. Let us walk with you until you and your partner can lift together and choose what the marriage will become.

When we believe in what we can become, we change who we have been and together, we define what we will be.

Christopher D. Adams

Call today to schedule and appointment with Chris at 801.272.3420