Is Depression Destroying Your Relationship?

Depression is a relationship killer. It destroys emotional and physical intimacy and often drives partners in separate directions -- creating isolation and loneliness. It can turn previously intimate companions into distant, unkind strangers. The numbers bear out the destruction that depression can cause. Recent studies indicate that 40% of couples who seek counseling for marital distress have a partner battling depression. Divorce is 9 times more likely when one partner suffers from depression. While the specific effects of depression differ from relationship to relationship, there are distinctive patterns that tend to emerge in couples where one partner is depressed and yet, when previou

Sexual Satisfaction and Relationships: "Let's Marvin Gaye and Get it On!"

“We never have sex anymore. I feel rejected…unloved…alone.” “It’s like we’re roommates. We rarely make love, and when we do it’s passionless -- we’re just going through the motions.” As therapists, we hear these types of statements often – from both wives and husbands (don’t believe the stereotypes). And we know that sexual satisfaction is a significant contributor to overall relationship contentment. Simply put, when a partner is unhappy with their sex life, they are generally unhappy with the relationship. We also know that sexual intimacy and connection can be difficult terrain for couples to navigate. Each partner brings into the relationship their beliefs and expectations about wh

Getting the Relationship You Want

“If you do not take a step forward, you will always be in the same place.” -Nora Roberts Change is Scary. And Hard. And Risky. But as the somewhat silly quote above reminds us, if you don’t change -- then things stay the same. I often meet individually with each member of a couple to hear their concerns about their marriage. Most of the time they talk about how terrified they are of making a change. As bad as things are, they’re scared and afraid of doing anything that will make things worse. And they’re right, making a change in their marriage is risky. Changing the dynamic in the way they interact with one another will be challenging. But sometimes you have to be willing to risk what you

Why Do Most Relationships Fail?

“What’s the reason most relationships fail? Is it affairs, boredom, lack of sex, lack of communication?” That’s the question I’m asked most often. As any experienced therapist can tell you, couples come to therapy for a multitude of reasons. The list will not surprise you – conflict over finances, sex, and in-laws; challenges with roles in marriage, work-life balance, parenting, and the transition to being empty-nesters. Sometimes, it’s in preparation for marriage and sometimes it’s to make one last attempt “at saving our relationship.” Zach Brittle who is a therapist and contributor to the Gottman Blog writes that the thing he hears most often is, “We’re having trouble communicating.” I he

Do Over!

Do Over! In his new book Do Over, Jon Acuff points out that as kids we believed we had the power to declare a “Do Over” when we wanted to start again. When we missed the mark, we’d just start over. If we miss-hit the ball, we’d yell out “Do Over” and try again. When the drawing wasn’t quite right, we’d crumple up the paper, throw it away, grab a new sheet and start again. We didn’t give a second thought to making a second attempt. Jon points out that somewhere along the way we stopped believing in the power to declare a “Do Over.” He describes so eloquently what happens -- We feel stuck. We stop opening doors. We start to think we already know where they all le

Nature Deficit Disorder

"If you hold to Nature, to the simplicity that is in her, to the small detail that scarcely one man sees, which can so unexpectedly grow into something great and boundless; if you have this love for insignificant things and seek, simply as one who serves, to win the confidence of what seems to be poor: then everything will become easier for you, more coherent and somehow more conciliatory, not perhaps in the understanding, which lags wondering behind, but in your innermost consciousness, wakefulness and knowing." Rainer Maria Rilke-"Letters to a Young Poet" Get outside! It's good for your brain, and good for your soul. I believe we would have less Attention Deficit Disorder if we had les

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