couples

From Work to Home

Ruth and I have supported many clients struggling with the transition between work life and home life. Increasingly, more couples complain that they are overstressed by their jobs and long work hours; they have little left in the tank upon returning home. Also, they often report that they have difficulty letting go of their experiences of the day. Hence, connection and quality time with their partners and families is substantially diminished. Furthermore, women especially have lamented that their mates disappoint, frustrate, or anger them by relating to them similarly to how they speak or behave at work.

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Here are some suggestions for ways to make the work-to-home transition smoother and more mutually satisfying:

  • Bolster your self-care, e.g. exercise, nutrition, sleep routine, to increase your stamina.

  • Request or arrange some remote work or perhaps flextime.

  • Upon returning from work, allow sufficient downtime to de-stress before connecting with your partner and other family members. Engage in a relaxing or energy-building activity.

  • Be mindful and intentional about leaving work behind and shifting gears.

  • Accept and respect each other’s individual differences.

  • Prioritize time to talk and broaden your conversation topics, especially beyond household management and job discussion. Also focus on active listening.

  • Gently and patiently inform your mate as to how you want them to be with and respond to you. Rather than criticizing or blaming, offer specific requests and encouragement for favorable communication and behavior (which you also model). Men often require some primers regarding sustaining attention and emotional expression.

  • Develop a few mutual interests and activities.

  • Arrange regularly-scheduled dates--at least three monthly, preferably more often.

What else do you already do to spark your relationship? Can you add something brand new for yourselves to this list? I’d love to hear from you at www.info@soulfulcouples.com.

I recommend discussing the above list with your partner and together considering additional ways of enhancing your connection and intimacy during your limited time together.

Toward love in action,

Your Relationship Coach,

Jim Sharon
(303) 796-7004
jim@energyforlife.us

Jim Sharon Headshot.jpg

Jim Sharon, EdD is a licensed psychologist and couples' coach who has over four decades of professional experience serving thousands as a counselor, as a life and relationship coach, and as a seminar and retreat facilitator. Dr. Sharon has authored two books and many professional publications, most recently, Secrets of a Soulful Marriage: Creating and Sustaining a Loving, Sacred Relationship (with Ruth Sharon, MS), published by SkyLight Paths, 2014. Jim and Ruth have been married since 1970, have raised three adult children, and have three young granddaughters.

Sparking!

Remember the excitement of courting, when you felt flutters in your heart and butterflies in your belly in anticipation of seeing each other—or sometimes merely thinking about each other?....Your romantic feelings may have gradually begun to fade….Eventually you may become resigned, believing that initial feeling of romance could not be rekindled. You may think, “I am just not in love anymore, or certainly not the way I was.”  

Excerpted from Secrets of a Soulful Marriage: Creating & Sustaining a Loving, Sacred Relationship. Jim Sharon, EdD and Ruth Sharon, MS, Skylight Paths Publishing, 2014.

It’s so easy and so very common for the grind of daily routines and tasks to detract from quality, enjoyable connection in your love relationship. This is likely to be particularly true for those of you who have been together for a long time. Often we relegate special moments together to special occasions, such as vacations or passionate lovemaking.

The good news is that many kinds of ordinary gestures and activities can serve to revitalize or refresh your connection. The advent of spring is especially timely and fortuitous for such a mutual rebirth.

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Here are some simple examples of ways to regularly enhance and energize your relating, any of which will increase your intimacy together:

  • Offer sincere, unqualified compliments, best done face-to-face.

  • Write sweet love notes and vary where you place them, e.g. on your partner’s pillow, in a cabinet, or in a dresser drawer.

  • Greet and offer goodbyes to one another with notable presence and perhaps in a spontaneous manner, via words, kisses, hugs, and/or touches.

  • Have an extended conversation about a topic that you rarely, if ever, engage in.

  • Demonstrate genuine curiosity about some aspect of your mate’s past or current life, thoughts, beliefs, feelings, or dreams through questions and deep listening. You may also decide to disclose related items about yourself.

  • Wear some type of stand-out outfit that grabs your mate’s attention, ranging from something cool or funky to beautiful to seductive.

  • Flirt unabashedly with your lover in enticing (not off-putting) ways.

  • Initiate doing and completing a chore or project that is beyond what you usually do.

  • Prepare a special meal or snack for your belovedusually enhanced by creating atmosphere with candlelight and music, or eaten in a different setting, such as the bedroom or outdoors.

  • Surprise your partner with an unexpected gift, activity, or experience. These need not be fancy or expensive.

  • Give your lover a bubble bath (perhaps with wine or champagne) and/or a partial or full-body massage.

  • Suggest something different on an in-home or on-the-town date night.

  • Plan a unique outing or excursion together. Three-day weekends interspersed between longer (or more exotic) vacations can be very meaningful and satisfying!

  • Think outside the box together in a creative problem-solving attempt.

What else do you already do to spark your relationship? Can you add something brand new for yourselves to this list? I’d love to hear from you at www.info@soulfulcouples.com.

Happy Sparking!

Your Relationship Coach,

Jim Sharon
(303) 796-7004
jim@energyforlife.us

Jim Sharon Headshot.jpg

Jim Sharon, EdD is a licensed psychologist and couples' coach who has over four decades of professional experience serving thousands as a counselor, as a life and relationship coach, and as a seminar and retreat facilitator. Dr. Sharon has authored two books and many professional publications, most recently, Secrets of a Soulful Marriage: Creating and Sustaining a Loving, Sacred Relationship (with Ruth Sharon, MS), published by SkyLight Paths, 2014. Jim and Ruth have been married since 1970, have raised three adult children, and have two young granddaughters.

I Really Need Your Love!

In this month dedicated to celebrating love, especially romantic love, I’d like to discuss the influence of much of the music written for lovers and for broken-hearted people.

A preponderance of love songs over the decades have included flagrant codependent messages reflecting obsession, desperation, and excessive reliance on a partner for stability, strength, or validation of one’s self-worth. Some songs speak of giving one’s entire self to the other, supposedly as a noble expression of devotion, while others refer to continually matched emotions--enmeshment. I will offer numerous examples of these romantic songs, many of which have been top hits, and I’ll also provide several examples of songs with healthy relationship motifs. Unfortunately, the latter are less common.

Over a hundred years ago (1913) Al Jolson sang You Made Me Love You that included these lyrics: “You made me love you; I didn’t want to do it...You made me happy sometimes...but there were times you made me feel so bad...You know you’ve got the brand of kisses that I’d die for.”

Tears on My Pillow, The Imperials, 1958: “(I have) pain in my heart caused by you.”

I Will Follow Him, Connie Francis, 1958:  “I must follow him, wherever he may go.”

Can’t Help Falling in Love, Elvis Presley, 1961: “Take my hand, take my whole life, too...for I can’t help falling in love with you.”

Hurt So Bad, Little Anthony and the Imperials, 1964: “Please don’t go, please don’t go...come back it hurts so bad, don’t make it hurt so bad, I’m begging you, please!”

Wives and Lovers, Jack Jones, 1964: “Hey, little girl, comb your hair, fix your make-up, soon he will open the door...Hey, little girl, better wear something pretty...Wives should always be lovers, too; run to his arms the moment he comes home to you.” (Notice the diminutive, little girl, while later in the song, the lyrics read, “Men will always be men.”)

You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’, Righteous Brothers, 1965: “Baby, baby, I'd get down on my knees for you, if you would only love me like you used to do...Baby, baby, baby, baby, I beg you please, please, please, please, I need your love, need your love, I need your love, I need your love.”

My World is Empty Without You, The Supremes, 1966: “My world is empty without you, babe...I find it hard for me to carry on...I need your strength, I need your tender touch...I need your love more than before; I can hardly carry on anymore.”

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Can’t Smile Without You, Barry Manilow, 1977: “I can’t smile without you...I feel sad when you’re sad; I feel glad when you’re glad.”

It’s Been Awhile, Staind, 2001: “It’s been awhile since I can say I was not addicted and it’s been awhile since I can say I love myself as well.”

Breakeven, The Script: 2008: “What am I supposed to do when the best part of me was always you and what am I supposed to say when I’m all choked up and you’re OK?...I’m falling to pieces.”

Waiting for Love, Avicii, 2015: “Monday left me broken; Tuesday I was through with hoping;

Wednesday my empty arms were open; Thursday waiting for love, waiting for love; Thank the stars it's Friday; I'm burning like a fire gone wild on Saturday; Guess I won't be coming to church on Sunday. I'll be waiting for love, waiting for love to come around.”

Here are several songs that have messages consistent with healthy relationships:

For All We Know, The Carpenters, 1971:  “Let’s take a lot of time to say, I knew you well, but only time will tell us so, and love may grow, for all we know.”

The Rose, Bette Midler, 1979: a potent, poetic song of encouragement (one of my favorites): “I say love it is a flower and you its only seed...It's the heart afraid of breaking that never learns to dance.  It's the dream afraid of waking that never takes the chance. It's the one who won't be taken who cannot seem to give...You think that love is only for the lucky and the strong. Just remember in the winter far beneath the bitter snows lies the seed that with the sun's love in the spring becomes the rose.”

I’ll Stand by You, The Pretenders, 1994: promotes honest, vulnerable conversation. The singer professes loyalty and commitment to a man in pain during his darkest hour. “Nothing you confess can make me love you less...I’ll never desert you; I’ll stand by you.”

Love and Some Verses, Sam Beam of Iron and Wine, 2004: a whimsical and compassionate song that depicts a committed deep and meaningful romance.

You Raise Me Up, Josh Groban, 2009: an upbeat song expressing strong gratitude: “You raise me up to more than I can be.”

See You Again, Carrie Underwood, 2013: “I won’t cry cause I know I’ll never be lonely...I’ll see you again...Sometimes I feel my heart is breaking, but I’ll stay strong.”

Unconditionally, Katy Perry, 2013: a beautiful ballad professing to love her partner without fear or reservations and inviting him to, “Let go and just be free.”

I would welcome your comments and additional contributions to these contrasting lists.

Toward positive influences,

Your Relationship Coach,

Jim Sharon
(303) 796-7004
jim@energyforlife.us

Jim Sharon Headshot.jpg

Jim Sharon, EdD is a licensed psychologist and couples' coach who has over four decades of professional experience serving thousands as a counselor, as a life and relationship coach, and as a seminar and retreat facilitator. Dr. Sharon has authored two books and many professional publications, most recently, Secrets of a Soulful Marriage: Creating and Sustaining a Loving, Sacred Relationship (with Ruth Sharon, MS), published by SkyLight Paths, 2014. Jim and Ruth have been married since 1970, have raised three adult children, and have two young granddaughters.

Tribute to THE Balabusta

My 98-year-old mother-in-law Shirley passed in early January, having by one month reached her long-time goal of living beyond her mother’s age. In an era of stay-at-home moms, Shirley was the quintessential balabusta—a Yiddish expression meaning “mistress of the house” or good housekeeper. She was the poster girl for a clean and organized household. All of her relatives teased Shirley about remaining within arm’s reach of her yellow sponge. To exemplify her systemized ways of doing things, she conscientiously kept the mustard to the right of the ketchup in her refrigerator. When dinner guests were due, Shirley inevitably set the table at least a day prior to their arrival.

A favorite story involves a half-smoked cigar my father in law left in an ashtray before going to bed at midnight. Shirley’s husband quizzically searched for it upon arising in the early morning. It seems Shirley had gotten up at 2:00 am, unable to sleep, and in the process of tidying up had tossed out the cigar. Due to various similar incidents, one of my sons-in-law coined the verb shirleying to depict such behavior, i.e., “Did you Shirley my glass?”

These comical incidents aside, my mother-in-law’s prominent love language was acts of service. She dutifully cooked, shopped for, and in all ways met the basic needs of her husband and three children. In addition to anchoring the household, Shirley managed to devote about ten hours weekly to cashiering at her husband’s neighborhood grocery store. Her main interests were playing piano, singing in a choir, playing a weekly mahjong game, and midday catnapping. Later in life she took painting classes and produced some skillful artwork.

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Loved by all relatives and widely appreciated for her easy-going, unassuming demeanor, Shirley constantly welcomed her extended family and family friends into her home. Adept at making all visitors very comfortable in her home, she proved the consummate hostess in every manner. She persisted in offering food and drinks to those who initially refused her hospitality. The epitome of Shirley’s heartful service was tirelessly caring for her aged, live-in mother for seven years prior to her mother’s death.

Clearly, Ms. Balabusta humbly earned love and admiration from family, friends, and many acquaintances for her unceasing graciousness and genuinely sweet nature.

Your Relationship Coach,

Jim Sharon
(303) 796-7004
jim@energyforlife.us

Jim Sharon Headshot.jpg

Jim Sharon, EdD is a licensed psychologist and couples' coach who has over four decades of professional experience serving thousands as a counselor, as a life and relationship coach, and as a seminar and retreat facilitator. Dr. Sharon has authored two books and many professional publications, most recently, Secrets of a Soulful Marriage: Creating and Sustaining a Loving, Sacred Relationship (with Ruth Sharon, MS), published by SkyLight Paths, 2014. Jim and Ruth have been married since 1970, have raised three adult children, and have two young granddaughters.

Putting the Holy in Holiday

I’m old enough to have sadly witnessed decades of increasing commercialization of Thanksgiving, Chanukah, and Christmas in our country. Holiday advertising has started earlier and is more prolific than ever. In recent years, Thanksgiving celebrations are often interrupted by Black Friday shopping, which actually begins on Thanksgiving itself, to be followed by Cyber Monday. Most stores keep longer hours for weeks leading to Christmas.

Furthermore, as much as I enjoy sports, I shake my head at the preponderance of ever-longer games attended and televised on days set aside for prayer, reflection, and family connection.

I’m fine with enjoying special holiday meals and gift exchange. Yet, I’m obviously concerned with what appears to me as a cultural decline of intention to highlight the sacredness of the season’s prominent holidays, and a resulting decreased attention to observing the holiness of these days. Frankly, I believe that our preoccupation with shopping, poring over material items, and being entertained (including via Thanksgiving parades) on the seasonal holy days reflects the cultural values we’ve come to adopt throughout the year. Many of us publicly lament the insidious undermining of our moral fabric and mounting daily stress that pervade our nation.

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I implore us, one by one, to restore the intended significance of our major holidays for the sake of our own hearts, health, intimacy, and sense of spirit, let alone for the betterment of our society. May each of us personally consider how we might enhance our:

  • Contemplation of the meaning or significance of the holidays

  • Expression of deep gratitude, joy, and spirit on these occasions

  • Closeness with family and friends on these most special days.

Toward genuine fulfillment,

Your Relationship Coach,

Jim Sharon
(303) 796-7004
jim@energyforlife.us

Jim Sharon Headshot.jpg

Jim Sharon, EdD is a licensed psychologist and couples' coach who has over four decades of professional experience serving thousands as a counselor, as a life and relationship coach, and as a seminar and retreat facilitator. Dr. Sharon has authored two books and many professional publications, most recently, Secrets of a Soulful Marriage: Creating and Sustaining a Loving, Sacred Relationship (with Ruth Sharon, MS), published by SkyLight Paths, 2014. Jim and Ruth have been married since 1970, have raised three adult children, and have two young granddaughters.

Turkey Time Talk

Everyone realizes that Thanksgiving Day is an annual holiday set aside for family and friends to gather, play games, watch football, and feast together. I suggest that optimally, Thanksgiving also offers a special opportunity to reflect on and express what we’re deeply grateful for in our lives.

No surprise, couples feel more nurtured, supported, empowered, and closer with their partners when they regularly express gratitude and appreciation for each other. Marking out certain occasions for such substantive sharing tends to especially enhance your love relationship.

Here are some specific questions to share with your partner, family or friends, that I trust will enrich your Thanksgiving together and strengthen each of you individually, as a couple and as a family.

  1. What are three qualities that you very much appreciate or admire about that person?

  2. What really lights you up about him or her?

  3. What are several ways that you feel particularly grateful about your relationship?

Hopefully, these questions will stimulate you and your mate (or others) to engage in further mutually-affirming conversation.

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And personally speaking, Ruth and I would be very grateful if you would write a brief Facebook review of your experience of us and/or of our work: https://www.facebook.com/SoulfulCouples/

If you’ve read our book, Secrets of a Soulful Marriage, we’d also really appreciate your posting a 1 to 2 sentence review of the book on Amazon. Just go here to leave a review.

If you write a review by December 15, 2018, we will enter you in a drawing to receive a $50 gift card toward dinner at your choice of several fine restaurants. Just send us a quick email to inform us that you participated.

Toward gratitude overflowing!

Your Relationship Coach,

Jim Sharon
(303) 796-7004
jim@energyforlife.us

Jim Sharon Headshot.jpg

Jim Sharon, EdD is a licensed psychologist and couples' coach who has over four decades of professional experience serving thousands as a counselor, as a life and relationship coach, and as a seminar and retreat facilitator. Dr. Sharon has authored two books and many professional publications, most recently, Secrets of a Soulful Marriage: Creating and Sustaining a Loving, Sacred Relationship (with Ruth Sharon, MS), published by SkyLight Paths, 2014. Jim and Ruth have been married since 1970, have raised three adult children, and have two young granddaughters.

A Vital Journey

While you read my blog, I invite you to reminisce about one of your really special vacations, or visualize a trip you dream about taking and what doing so would mean to you.

As Jews from birth, my wife Ruth and I have aspired for decades to visit our homeland Israel. As Sufi mystics and peacemakers, we have worked for years to unite the Abrahamic traditions and have envisioned engaging in unifying dialogues in Israel. Finally, at the respective ages of nearly 72 and 70, we were blessed to spend two full weeks in Israel (following five days enjoying Greece), traveling through many Israeli cities and towns.

Before departing, many friends and clients wished us a fun trip. My typical reply was that I not only expected to have fun, but I anticipated our trip being profoundly meaningful. My desires and dreams were realized and in some ways exceeded.

Rather than depicting our journey as a travelogue, I want to highlight experiences that deeply touched my heart.

Firstly, about 90% of the residents and merchants we encountered were very kind and helpful to us. Many seemed eager to inquire about us, to provide directions, and to offer information—sometimes (much) more than we requested. More than a few people went beyond the call of duty to assist or serve us. We felt really happy to witness Jews and Arabs coexisting peacefully and seamlessly in many parts of the country. It was very special to speak with Arabs, sometimes mentioning our Sufi involvement.

During part of our time in Jerusalem and Haifa, we were very privileged to stay, as pre-arranged, in three homes of fellow Servas (a vetted international peace organization) members. Each host proved very welcoming, gracious, and delighted to serve us. In a short time, we felt like friends or family members with each person! We learned a lot about each other’s lives and countries, although a few of the hosts have visited the U.S.

Swimming in the calm turquoise green water at two Haifa beaches served as a refreshing plunge into the beauty of Israeli nature. A palette of gorgeous flowers proliferated throughout Israel (except in the Southern desert).

We thrilled to the heart-rendering music of Three Women; Three Mother Tongues, a trio of women representing Israeli and U.S. Jews and Israeli Arabs. Composers of their songs, these women blended their three languages, often singing each other’s, as they crooned and played various instruments to melodic, peace-centered tunes.

Certified Israeli tour guide Rabbi Eitan Levy fed us a smorgasbord of fascinating info about Israeli history and architecture as he led us on a day-long walk through the Old City of Jerusalem. We toured the Jewish, Christian, and a bit of the Muslim quarters and shuks (bazaars). We strolled in awe of the ancient history and sites, some dating a few thousand years!

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As expected, the supreme heart-light of our trip was the two-hour Kaballic (mystical Judaism) study period we spent in the famous mystical city Tzefat (Safed) with Kabbalist scholar and artist David Friedman. In his profound wisdom, depth, and warmth, David refreshed and embellished some of our Kaballic understanding, while providing rich gems of new knowledge in response to our crafted questions.

I choked up many times during Ruth’s Bat Mitzvah in the outdoor ancient ruins of a Bar'am synagogue (built in the first century A.D.). A Jewish girl typically becomes a Bat Mitzvah at either age 12 or 13; Ruth finally formalized becoming a Bat Mitzvah at age 70, which is Israel’s age. This was such an extraordinary experience that Ruth will write her own blog about it.

Ruth and I keep celebrating how well we travelled together, how much we consistently enjoy each other on vacations, and our ultra rich love for one another throughout our shared adventures during this glorious little country that is filled with huge spirit.

Blessings to each of you!

Your Relationship Coach,

Jim Sharon
(303) 796-7004
jim@energyforlife.us

Jim Sharon Headshot.jpg

Jim Sharon, EdD is a licensed psychologist and couples' coach who has over four decades of professional experience serving thousands as a counselor, as a life and relationship coach, and as a seminar and retreat facilitator. Dr. Sharon has authored two books and many professional publications, most recently, Secrets of a Soulful Marriage: Creating and Sustaining a Loving, Sacred Relationship (with Ruth Sharon, MS), published by SkyLight Paths, 2014. Jim and Ruth have been married since 1970, have raised three adult children, and have two young granddaughters.

Four Worlds Part 4: Spirituality in Partnership

This blog concerning spirituality with your partner is the final one of a four-part series on the Four Worlds. Spirituality is a significant or even foundational element of many people’s lives (as it is for Ruth and me). However, for many others, it is non-relatable, or an area that is lightly touched upon - or outright avoided. Some folks consider themselves both spiritual and religious; others endorse just one of those terms.

Spiritual experiences may involve any one or combination of the following:

  • Intentional expression of various virtues, e.g. kindness, forgiveness, selfless service

  • Prayer within and/or outside of a religious institution

  • Appreciation of beauty, as in nature or an art form, and/or active involvement with them

  • Gratitude for and/or awe about the workings of the universe

  • Meditation

  • Mystical or metaphysical practices, activities, or encounters

  • Ritual expression

  • Spiritual dialogue

  • Spiritual/religious study through reading

  • Other forms of inspiration

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Deepening Your Spiritual Connection With Your Partner

I invite you to arrange several times with your partner to substantively address these questions:

  1. Which, if any, of the above forms of spirituality do you most enjoy and value? How do they benefit you?

  2. What in life do you regard as especially holy or sacred?

  3. What areas or forms of spirituality would you currently want to develop?

  4. What are some ways in which you’d like your mate to support your spiritual growth, perhaps holding you accountable for certain activities or practices?

Do not assume that either you or your mate already know your answers to these questions. Rigorously engaging in a conversation with your partner is likely to create some fresh awareness or openings for both of you. Furthermore, I predict that you’ll each be enriched and feel more connected by a lively discussion about the spiritual aspects of your lives.

Please share with us your reactions to and realizations from this recommended exercise in the comments below, or join the conversation on our Facebook page.

Hoping and trusting you’ll value your discussions,

Your Relationship Coach,

Jim Sharon
(303) 796-7004
jim@energyforlife.us
 

Jim Sharon Headshot.jpg

Jim Sharon, EdD is a licensed psychologist and couples' coach who has over four decades of professional experience serving thousands as a counselor, as a life and relationship coach, and as a seminar and retreat facilitator. Dr. Sharon has authored two books and many professional publications, most recently, Secrets of a Soulful Marriage: Creating and Sustaining a Loving, Sacred Relationship (with Ruth Sharon, MS), published by SkyLight Paths, 2014. Jim and Ruth have been married since 1970, have raised three adult children, and have two young granddaughters.

Four Worlds Part 3: Mental, Not Judgemental

This blog, the third of a four-part series on the Four Worlds, is focused on the mental aspect. I will touch on several components of mental activity and primarily address an area that I consider especially empowering for individuals and in relationships.

One form of couple's intimacy that often gets downplayed involves intellectual, topical, philosophical, or political discussions. Sharing such information and opinions can be stimulating and educational for both partners. Many folks also enjoy mentally-broadening outings like attending lectures, thought-evoking movies or plays, going through museums, and joining book discussion groups. Some prefer board or card games or working on puzzles together, some of which can prove very mentally challenging.

Which of these activities do you most often participate in and enjoy? Which ones would you like to further develop? Are there other types of mental engagement that you and your partner find particularly satisfying or meaningful?

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As a coach and counselor, as well as in my own life, I devote a lot of attention to attitudes, beliefs and intentions. I'm especially attuned to re-examining my attitudes and beliefs and their effects on others during this annual observation of the Jewish High Holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Each year I use this 10-day period and the weeks that precede it as a marker for self-assessment and for adjusting some of my attitudes and beliefs that lead to my actions. Furthermore, I commit myself to setting new intentions and goals that are aligned with my values and life purposes. This new year, I'm focused on being more respectful in some of my communication with my wife Ruth and on collaborating more effectively with her as we develop new Soulful Couples offerings. I'm also intending to become less judgmental and instead, more compassionate.

Periodically, I use other markers, especially the Jewish holiday of Pesach (Passover), to refine my thinking, intentions, and ensuing behavior. What markers do you carve out for yourself to take inventory of your thought processes, to refine them as needed/desired, and to (re)formulate potent, purposeful goals?

One powerful practice I'd like to suggest is carefully considering your thoughts before speaking them. This practice not only helps to stave off the proverbial foot-in-mouth disease, but also serves to advance your mental acuity and communication effectiveness--noble areas for developing mastery!

As always, Ruth and I welcome your responses to questions posed in this blog and any additional reactions or comments you'd like to share. You can also join the conversation on our Facebook page.

Toward honoring and developing our mental gifts,

Your Relationship Coach,

Jim Sharon
(303) 796-7004
jim@energyforlife.us
 

Jim Sharon Headshot.jpg

Jim Sharon, EdD is a licensed psychologist and couples' coach who has over four decades of professional experience serving thousands as a counselor, as a life and relationship coach, and as a seminar and retreat facilitator. Dr. Sharon has authored two books and many professional publications, most recently, Secrets of a Soulful Marriage: Creating and Sustaining a Loving, Sacred Relationship (with Ruth Sharon, MS), published by SkyLight Paths, 2014. Jim and Ruth have been married since 1970, have raised three adult children, and have two young granddaughters.

Re-Connecting During the Dance of Distance

Conflicts with your partner so often occur when the two of you are not in sync. The dance of distance or disconnection happens in a variety of circumstances and for a number of reasons. Some examples are:

  • Each person has a different set of needs in the moment, e.g. one is eager to engage in conversation while the other just wants to complete a project or read a book
  • Energies aren't aligned at the time, e.g. one is in high gear and the other is moving slowly or simply wanting to relax
  • The two of you are operating in different realms, e.g. one wants emotional support while the other feels like exercising or meditating
  • You're encountering a clash of perceptions, beliefs, or values
  • You each are communicating on a different wavelength, e.g. one is expressing feelings while the other is attending to specific content
  • Your love languages don't jibe, particularly during times of strong need, e.g. desiring words of affirmation versus requesting physical contact

When you and your partner are out of step together, consider the following basic, yet effective ways to reconnect:

  • Be aware of when you feel disconnected from your partner, noticing accompanying emotions, bodily reactions, thoughts, attitudes, and behavior. It will be helpful to identify any of these that represent patterns for you.
  • Make an effort to be present, understanding, and compassionate with yourself and your partner amidst your differences.
  • Discuss the current situation with your mate as clearly and cleanly as possible, using I statements to express your feelings, desires, needs, values, and/or requests. Refrain from labeling, blaming/shaming, discounting or demeaning your partner.
  • Ask your beloved questions to clarify his/her intentions, needs, emotions, etc. Paraphrase some of what you hear to show (attempted) understanding.
  • If necessary, decide to handle the next similar situation with less reactivity and more skill.

Life presents numerous opportunities and challenges to tolerate, accept, and sometimes even appreciate individual differences. Intimate relationships can often provoke our egos and serve as viable tests of our willingness and ability to accommodate one another - to graciously, constructively resolve conflicts.

Toward graceful dancing,

Your Relationship Coach,

Jim Sharon
(303) 796-7004
jim@energyforlife.us
 

Jim Sharon Headshot.jpg

Jim Sharon, EdD is a licensed psychologist and couples' coach who has over four decades of professional experience serving thousands as a counselor, as a life and relationship coach, and as a seminar and retreat facilitator. Dr. Sharon has authored two books and many professional publications, most recently, Secrets of a Soulful Marriage: Creating and Sustaining a Loving, Sacred Relationship (with Ruth Sharon, MS), published by SkyLight Paths, 2014. Jim and Ruth have been married since 1970, have raised three adult children, and have two young granddaughters.