When Infatuation Leads To Dead Butterflies

Love is a verb. This is one of the great truths about love that our culture fails to teach, one that, even when we understand the principle, we need to remember it and practice it over and over again. I think of marriage or any long-term, committed relationship with a willing, open partner as an opportunity to practice loving – the active form of the verb – day after day and year after year until it becomes second nature. The culture teaches us that we’re supposed to know how to love from the day one. What that really means is that we think we’re supposed to feel in love early on. This isn’t possible. Like any skill, it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert at loving. From the practice the feelings arise – a nice frosting on the cake of love – but we don’t practice loving so thatClick here to continue reading...

The Scars of First Heartbreak

There’s nothing like the first. The first family. The first friend. The first kiss. The first job. The first baby. The first heartbreak.

The first time or experience or relationship lays the groove of a blueprint for how we navigate later, similar experiences. Our first experience of a family that occurs in our family of origin creates a groove in psyche called “family”, much like the groove in a vinyl album. When the needle of a later experience sets down on the groove of “family”, you will automatically think about your family of origin, and the overarching feeling of what it was like to be in your family will color your expectations of current or future family. Likewise, our first experience of marriage is often our parents’ marriage; what we learned, saw, and absorbed there affects our expectations, hopes, and fears around our own marriage possibly more than any other … Click here to continue reading...

Flags Versus Red Flags

One of the most common questions I’m asked during a coaching session is, “What are red flags? You say that if I’m suffering from relationship anxiety and I’m in a healthy and secure relationship without red flags then the anxiety is a manifestation of pain that needs attention as opposed to intuition that I’m in the wrong relationship. But what exactly are these red flags?”

It doesn’t matter that I list the red flags explicitly in my course and succinctly here on my site; people need to hear directly from my mouth that whatever particular hook they’re struggling with doesn’t constitute a red flag. I understand this completely. When fear takes hold, one of the stories it spins is that you’re unique and that the messages that you’re reading about anxiety don’t apply to you. Fear can do this around health anxiety, money anxiety, social anxiety, any anxiety. When fear … Click here to continue reading...

A Moment in My Marriage

There are moments in my marriage that take my breath away.

Last Sunday on Mother’s Day, the four of us spent several hours working on my garden. My garden is one of my sanctuaries, but every year the grass from the lawn finds its way into my vegetable beds and by mid-summer they’re overrun with weeds. Last autumn we realized that we needed to make a border around the garden to prevent the grass from crawling over, so my request for Mother’s Day was my family’s help to create this barrier. This required renting a heavy piece of equipment to cut the sod then transporting twenty, sixty-pound bags of rock from the store into my garden. I’m all for women’s empowerment but I knew I wouldn’t be able to manage this one on my own. My husband was more than happy to help.

We worked all day together. While my … Click here to continue reading...

What You Choose Determines What Comes Next

Transitions, as breaking and renewal points, offer choice-points that determine how we unfold into the next stage of our lives. Many people find me during their wedding transition when when they’re broken open not only by relationship anxiety but also by the earthquake of feelings that erupt because of the transition itself. The same is true for the transition into parenthood, career changes, moves, and deaths. Because we’re not schooled in the language of transitions and we’re terrified of big feelings, people tend to feel burdened by what feels like an unfair onslaught of anxiety: “Why does everyone else seem to happy when I’m so sad and anxious?” My response, as I’ve shared many times here and in my courses, is, “You’re one of the lucky ones. You’re being shown your core stories, and the seeds you plant now toward healing the flawed stories will serve you in your next … Click here to continue reading...