Month: October 2015

happy marriage

Keys to a Successful Marriage

keys to a successful marriageWhat are the keys to a successful marriage or relationship?  Many articles and books have been written on this subject. Advice regarding how to have a good relationship or marriage can be found almost as far back as when humans started keeping written records. There is some good advice out there and some that is not very helpful. There are the conservative comments about just sticking it out no matter what and some less traditional.  For example, some might suggest “looking outside of your relationship for that which is missing.” The advice is given with the intent of keeping the partners together no matter what.

In the last few decades there has been more actual research carried out to give some scientific basis to the question of “what leads to a successful and satisfying relationship?” One of the experts in the field of couple and marriage relationships is John Gottman. He has been studying couples for decades and has found certain practices leave a relationship in a more vulnerable position making it more likely that the relationship will end.  But, some practices strengthen a relationship.

Interaction patterns he has found to affect relationships in a negative manner include:

  • showing contempt
  • defensiveness
  • criticism
  • shutting the other person out (i.e. Silent treatment)

These are all interactions that prevent open communication which could lead to problem solving.  Gottman proposes that there are several steps that partners may take in moving away from problematic or conflicting interactions.

divorceHe has stated that one step involves paying more positive attention to your partner. Couples who are experiencing conflict tend to focus on the negatives in each other and in their relationship. That is, they look at the partner through a negative lens failing to see positive attributes or actions. When one becomes aware of this practice, it is important to consciously focus on the positive attributes or actions of the other person. This is at times difficult if the relationship has deteriorated and is in a crisis mode. If that is the case, couple’s counseling may be helpful in assisting the couple to move out of the crisis mode.

Other steps that may help partners have a better relationship include showing interest in the partner’s life. It is important to listen to your partner as they talk about their day, hopes, and activities engaging in conversation to show interest in their lives. Showing verbal and physical affection also shows our partners that they are important. It could be as simple as smiling, holding hands, giving a hug or saying “I love you” or “take care.”

Other steps include being appreciative and showing concern for their well-being.

Gottman also found that to build a loving and successful relationship the positive interactions must outweigh the negative ones. He has found in his research that there is a ratio that seems to provide the right balance. He has stated that for every negative interaction there must be five positive ones to keep the relationship in a good place.

Relationships are challenging at times but there is an upside to having a successful and loving relationship. Successful relationships lead us to feel more satisfied with our lives and also contribute to a healthier and less stressful lifestyle. On the other hand, relationships that experience conflict often lead us to feel less satisfied with our lives and to feel stress.

These steps have been proven to work and applying them to our relationships brings about the positive outcome we want to experience as we move through life with our partner.  Use these keys to a successful marriage or relationship and begin experiencing the joy you both deserve.   If you need guidance, call a qualified couple’s counselor like Maria Rodrigquez-Fischer.  Maria can be reached at 919-401-8261.

bipolar disorder

Bipolar Disorder

Many times people use the term “bipolar” to refer to someone who may be exhibiting certain behaviors that may be considered atypical or out of the ordinary in certain situations. The behaviors or symptoms that some people are referring to might, in fact, have nothing to do with a diagnosis of bipolar disorder.

Bipolar disorder is a disorder of the brain that leads to unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and often leads to difficulties performing day-to-day tasks. The symptoms may be experienced in a moderate to severe manner. The symptoms of bipolar disorder affect individuals in their ability to relate to those around them in every social situation. Yet, bipolar disorder is a treatable illness that when managed effectively, allows individuals to lead a full and productive life.

Researchers believe that there is no single cause that leads to bipolar disorder. Factors that they have identified as being connected to this disorder include genetics, brain structure and function, and other environmental factors.            

Bipolar disorder, as the name states, encompasses two intense emotional states that occur in distinct periods called "mood episodes." There is a state where persons experience manic episodes and then there is the state of depressive episodes. At times both emotional states may be experienced almost simultaneously. During a manic episode, a person may feel overly joyful or excited, irritable, or distracted.  During a manic episode, a person may also go from one thing to another quickly, have an unrealistic view of one’s own abilities, or engage in risky behavior. Those are just a few symptoms or behaviors that may be exhibited during a manic episode.  In a depressive episode a person may experience sadness, hopelessness, lack of interest in typical activities, lack of motivation, suicidal ideation, and problems concentrating or remembering things.

Although bipolar disorder cannot be cured, it can be treated effectively over the long-term. It is important to seek medical and mental health support to manage this disorder. The first step to alleviating difficulties is to find out the proper diagnosis. To have an effective treatment plan one should include a combination of medication and psychotherapy.

Getting Help:

  • Connect with a doctor about treatment.
  • Seek a mental health specialist like Maria Rodriguez-Fischer, 919-401-8261.
  • Eat nutritious meals on a regular basis.
  • Sleep is very important.
  • Stay on your medication.
  • Learn about signs signaling a shift into depression or mania.
  • Expect your symptoms to improve gradually, not immediately.

Bipolar Disorders

For more information or assistance, call Maria Rodriguez-Fischer at 919-401-8261.

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happy marriage

Keys to a Successful Marriage

What are the keys to a successful marriage or relationship?  Many articles and books have been written on this subject. …