I have had the privilege to listen to quite a few couples since I began practicing as a therapist in 2006. One of the most common problems I've noted is that individuals in unhealthy relationships tend to love selfishly.
Selfish loves comes from the perspective of, "What can you do for me?" or "How can you make me feel better?" Selfish love prioritizes the needs of the individual over the needs of the relationship.
Successful marriages are grounded in compassionate love. Compassionate love prioritizes the needs of the relationship, i.e. the needs of both people. People who love compassionately are not satisfied with focusing only on their needs. Compassionate lovers simultaneously prioritize the needs of both themselves and their partner.
Compassionate lovers ask the question, "What is it that we both need for us to both feel fulfilled in this relationship?" and "How can we work together to make those desires our reality?"
A compassionate lover recognizes that if both partners give the relationship what it needs to thrive, then the relationship will reward them with a sense of satisfaction and fulfillment that cannot be easily matched.
If you and/or your spouse is/are experiencing challenges with loving compassionately, contact the office of Imagine Me Counseling, LLC. We are successful, results-driven therapists who are passionate about helping our couples build marriages worth fighting for.
Imagine Me Counseling, LLC
I think I have to schedule sex...oops I mean date night(s)(s)(s) this week!
I know that sounds ridiculous. The thought of scheduling sex, I mean, date night makes me a bit uncomfortable. But, the thought of mommy and daddy time with my hunk-of-a-husband helps me to work through any discomfort I might have.
See here's the thing... once upon a time I lived in the land of Rest & Relaxation. In this land I had three children: Ryan II (17), Michael Joshua (13), and Raven Michelle (9). While they weren't grown, they were old enough to be by themselves so that I and my hunk-of-a-husband (that's his real name y'all) could have weekly date nights.
All of our date nights were extremely fun, but one took the cake. That's when we moved from the land of Rest & Relaxation to the land of #IGot4Kids. The land of IGot4Kids is great. Its a lot of fun. I'm constantly surrounded by beautiful people, and the laughter never ends. But, in the land of IGod4Kids, there is very little sleep, as kid #4, Brandon Alexander prefers his first feeding of every single day to be at 3:00am. This new land leaves very little time for unscheduled events, and the exhaustion of doing your part in this land will often result in you collapsing into bed. This is very different than the land of Rest & Relaxation where the quiet nights lulled you to sleep.
This busy, hectic place requires me to prioritize and respect my date/sex life so much that I literally put it on my calendar. There's sooo much more I could share with you about this new land, but suffice it to say if you are also in this land, or if you live in one of our neighboring communities (#IGot3Kids, #WeHaveCrazyJobs #IHelpEverybody, #NobodyHelpsMe, or #WhatIsSleep) and you want to make sure that you continue to have a healthy sex life...just for a little while... you may want to put date/sex night(s)(s)(s) on your calendar.
It won't be like this always...it shouldn't be like this always...but while it is remember that sex is too important to the health of your marriage to forget about it!
With us living in a society that is composed of homes in which both spouses working a full-time job is the norm, it can be difficult to spend any time with each other. As much as I love my husband and he loves me, we can go from 9am to 5pm without hearing each other's voice. Then comes the kids! Like most couples - we text each other throughout the day, but there is something about being in the physical presence of someone who truly loves and adores you! It is not uncommon to find us hiding on our deck after dinner and yelling at kids to go away because your mom and dad are off duty! We need that time with each. No matter how short it is, it helps us to be the best version of ourselves!
Spending time with someone who loves you can rejuvenate your spirit in a way that nothing else can. I know that our busy lives can make it difficult, but we all have to make sure to prioritize our time together.
I have read several pieces that provide an exact amount of time that spouses should spend together. On average the writers recommended somewhere between 15-20 minutes of time together daily.
While I do agree that we should spend time together daily, I encourage you to ignore the clock on the wall and focus more on the quality of the time. If in the moment your focus is on:
Make sure to set aside time daily to connect face-to-face with each other.
Don't focus on the quantity of time, just focus on the quality of time.
As always, Imagine Me Counseling is here to help you build #AMarriageWorthFightingFor!
Beyonce’s “Lemonade” album provided an unexpected glimpse into the challenges of her marriage. As I listened to this raw expression of love and pain, I was in awe of the many lessons that women can learn about the emotional effort that it takes to build a marriage worth fighting for. Through music and passion, Beyonce explicates concepts that I have found to be priceless in my role as marriage counselor and wife.
While the lessons are myriad, for the sake of time, this particular blog will solely focus on seven of the concepts that Beyonce has shared with us about Building a Marriage Worth Fighting For.
If you believe that your marriage will escape challenges, then you do not truly understand marriage. There will be multiple times that you consider giving up and walking away from your spouse all together. Your relationship will have its share of problems, and yes, some of these problems will be heartbreaking. But, if both spouses are willing and dedicated to working through it, they can overcome these obstacles together.
2. A marriage can heal after infidelity.
Here’s the startling truth, over 94% of marriages are impacted by some version of infidelity; physical, emotional, and/or cyber. It is more common than anyone is willing to discuss. Infidelity can have an impact that requires spouses to grieve the loss of what they thought their marriage would be. Yet, despite its devastating impact, it is possible for a marriage to heal from and through infidelity.
3. Talk to someone about the challenges that you are going through.
The entire Lemonade album was Beyonce’s raw attempt to communicate about her experiences. So often women suffer in silence. They receive little to no support with the concerns that they are facing in their relationships. Women have been acculturated to believe that talking about our pain is problematic. However, it is the silence that multiplies our pain. Please find a safe person to speak to about your concerns and get help. We have to learn to speak up about what we are going through and what we need. There is power in developing a strong, loving, and caring support system.
4. Trust your own voice
Too often women’s voices have been disempowered by society and family. Unfortunately, women who speak up are often deemed crazy. What is even more concerning is that Black women who speak up are often described as an angry bitch. Ask yourself, what’s worst being unhappy so that people won’t label you crazy; or trusting your voice and being happy despite people periodically confusing your passion for anger. Whichever you choose, the choice resides in your decision to use or not use your voice.
5. Speak up about what you need to remain in this relationship
Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for women to become content with accepting whatever their spouses are willing to contribute to their marriage. We are afraid that if we speak up we will lose our significant others. The truth is that your self-advocacy might indeed result in the loss of your relationship. But, which would you rather lose, your relationship or your ability to live life according to what you believe is best for you? If you don’t say what you want and mean, you will surely lose the most valuable thing you have…yourself.
6. Don’t care what other people think about your decision to fight for your marriage
The eyes of the world were on Beyonce after the notorious elevator event. It would have been easy for her to focus on what others thought about her and her marriage. But, instead she focused on what she believed was best for her and chose to focus her energy on building a marriage worth fighting for. I am convinced that this was the very moment that “Lemonade” was born. She chose to be the creator of her story and tell it in a way that would bring healing to both her and her relationship.
7. Figure out how you can contribute to building a marriage worth fighting for, but know that it is both of your responsibilities to create it.
In the first picture we see an image of a humbled Jay Z that is literally laying at his wife’s feet. In the second image see a picture from an after party that Beyonce threw for her couple friends following the 2016 VMA’s.
Both images reflect a spouse who recognizes that there is something that both of them need to do to protect and build a healthy marriage. Jay Z demonstrates his need to fully love every inch of his wife, down to the soles of her feet and Beyonce has created a circle of friends who (hopefully) share similar beliefs regarding marriage as she Jay Z. There is no easy way to build a marriage worth fighting for, but when both spouses are engaged the guarantee of success is infinitely higher.
If you believe that you and your spouse desire help with “Building a Marriage Worth Fighting For” feel free to contact Imagine Me Counseling, LLC at 314-744-9027 or www.imaginemecounseling.com for an appointment. Help is literally a click or phone call away.