RECIPE FOR A SUCCESSFUL RELATIONSHIP!

Image“I won’t ever forget the first time I laid eyes on him.  I thought that I would just die if I couldn’t have him for my own.  He was so gorgeous and on top of that, he was nice to me.  I couldn’t get him off my mind . . . in fact, it was as if I was obsessed with him!”

Ever felt this way?  I thought so.  (Otherwise you’d not be likely to be reading my blog entry about attraction!)  I guess that if there were not such a thing as attraction and romance, the world population might be stunted a bit.  That having been said, let’s look at what “attraction” really amounts to, and just how many regrets it can (and oftentimes does) lead to.  If that’s the case, then just what on earth IS love, anyway!

I believe that love comes to us in many forms.  For example, our love for our children; our love for our parents; our love for our pets.  When it comes to romance, love and lust can be difficult to separate – especially in our youth.  A very important lesson that I had to learn the hard way (i.e. two divorces from unfaithful men) is that it is imperative for lasting love, that we become friends, first, (rather than to act on feelings of attraction.  By “act on” I mean, jump head-first into a romantic relationship with someone with whom we share amazing chemistry and not much else.)  How well I recall my mother having once, long ago, said to me, “Why don’t you just pick-out someone ordinary and give yourself TIME to fall in love?”  Oh my gosh!  Did THOSE words ever NOT COMPUTE!!  My thought at that time, and my response to her was, “If I don’t feel ATTRACTED to him, why on earth would I want to DATE him?”  Today I wish I had spoken my response aloud; maybe then, my mother could have talked-some-sense-into-me!

I’d had a history of being attracted to the handsome bad-boy types.  I found them exciting.  Attraction is fun and it’s exhilarating, and even addictive.  But it doesn’t last long when there are bills that can’t be paid, children who are getting sick leading to enormous medical bills, and the other everyday life sorts of problems.  Once the attraction is gone in a relationship that is based upon attraction, what’s left?  NOTHING! 

My husband and I became very good friends right from the start.  He wasn’t the “hottie” that my previous two husbands had been.  Thus, for an attraction to develop, I had to get to know him well, and allow the attraction to stem from our friendship, and to grow over time.  (Mind you, he’s not homely, but if I were back on the dating scene, I would pay very close attention to the moral-of-the-story, Beauty and the Beast!  He’s just rather plain compared to my ex’s.)  Consequently, when those old everyday problems that become overwhelming when stacked one-upon-the-next-one become too heavy, we always have our deep friendship to fall back upon!  It really works!

So what IS love?  For me, love is wanting what is best for my loved one as much as I want what is best for myself – EVEN if that means that I must make some sacrifices to participate in the achievement of his happiness.  It means that we will be two people who share singular goals for our future together.  Yes, it means being patient, respectful and kind.  What ingredients are necessary for this recipe to be successful?  Below is the recipe you can count on!

  • We must share the same common values.  Values that consist of the way in which we view: 
  • Faithfulness versus unfaithfulness in a relationship; 
  • Child-rearing values and beliefs;
  • Autonomy in a relationship;
  • Trust;
  • Commitment;
  • Open, respectful communication;
  • Compromise.

The list above requires a good deal of maturity on the part of both people in the relationship.  But for a relationship to work over the long haul, a relationship must contain the above ingredients.  Combine these ingredients, and your relationship will be successful and lasting; it will stand the test of time!

___________________________________________

(Copyright 2014 by JC Fredlund) Copyright 2014 by JC Fredlund (JC Eberhart, Past Pen Name): ©JC Fredlund and JC Fredlund’s Artistry Blog, 1974 – 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to JC Fredlund and the link to http://www.JCFredlund.wordpress.com blog is included with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Advertisements

ENTER RELATIONSHIP COUNSELING AT YOUR OWN RISK?

;Working together with help Working together with help

 

(In this article, to avoid confusion, I am using the word “counselor” for counselor and/or therapist.  I am using the word “she” making no implication that the  subject should be female, but to   avoid redundancy and confusion.)

Is your relationship or marriage not in as good a shape as it once was, or as you’d like it to be?   Have you been thinking about pursuing relationship/marriage counseling?  If you are, there are a few pieces of information you’ll do well to consider before making your selection of a relationship counselor.

Counselors are just people.  They have their own people-problems and issues just like everyone else in the world.  When you decide which counselor you want to use, the smart client interviews the counselor before making a major life decision to seek counseling from that particular professional.   Granted, doing this may cost you and your partner an extra visit fee, but believe me, it’s worth it.   If this seems expensive to you, you will each need to ask yourselves two questions,

  1. “Just how much is my relationship worth to me”, and
  2. “Just how long do I want my relationship to last?”  

If you were investing in a new car, my guess is that you would do some serious research and looking around for the perfect car for you.   By the same token, whenever a couple seeks counseling together, they are making one of the most major investments in their future that they will perhaps, ever make. 

Upon entering any form of counseling, there are some extremely important points of which you should be aware.  You both have some serious work ahead of you before you make that phone call to schedule that first appointment.

  • Ask yourself whether or not you know any “couple” who has sought relationship counseling.  Next, ask yourself (and them) whether or not their experience with their counselor culminated in them reaching their personal goals for their relationship.   counseling clipart1<a Also ask them whether or not they personally feel as though their counseling experience benefitted their relationship in a positive and constructive way.
  • If the couple to which I refer answers “yes” to all of the above questions, you are on the right track.  You should consider asking them for their therapist’s name and phone number.
  • Once you know the counselor’s name, look up the counselor’s licensing board to find out whether or not he/she has had any complaints filed against her.  (i.e. If she is a social worker, “Google” the Board of Social Workers; if she is a counselor or other type of therapist, “Google” The Board of Behavior Health and Therapy; if a psychologist, “Google” the Board of Psychology, and so on.)  Licensing boards make this information public so that the public can become aware of the competence (or lack thereof) of the therapist they are considering.

Once you schedule an appointment with the counselor of your choice, attend that first session.  But!  Go to that session prepared!  Take along with you a list of questions you will ask her in this session.  That list should include the following questions, and any other concerns you may have:

  1. Do you determine our counseling goals or do you let us determine them?  (It is YOUR relationship, therefore, it is imperative that you and your partner’s goals for the relationship are respected.)
  2. May we see and share in our counseling plan?  (The methods the counselor uses to help you and your partner achieve your goals, should be conducive to bringing the two of you closer to each other.)
  3. Have other clients who have come to you for relationship help been satisfied with your guidance?  (Look for honesty in her response to this question.  Reality is that whether or not a couple is satisfied with counseling depends largely upon the two peole who are IN the relationship and whether or not they did the work she assigned to them.) 
  4. Will you be seeing us individually or together as a couple?  (The counselor will need to meet with you and your partner both ways – together and separately.  Exactly how many sessions, will depend on the issues you’ve brought to her.  She will usually begin seeing each of you individually so that she can assess and analyze the seriousness of your relationship problems and the best method for assisting you both in resolving your relationsip problems.)

I always find it very interesting that people get-together in a relationship or marriage believing that because they are in-love, everything will just be coming-up-roses!  In fairy tales, this makes sense.  In reality, you have each come from very different and unique family backgrounds.  In each of your families, there were different communication patterns utilized, different problem-solving skills utilized, different issues and manner of resolving them; or like many people, perhaps one of you were brought-up in a dysfunctional family where none of these  skills were developed at all.  Whichever the case for the two of you, chances are that your partner’s family’s way of dealing with everyday kinds of issues was very different from yours!  Like it or not, everyone is a product of their environment (family environment) upon having grown-up and left home!  If you are to deal in reality, you will realize that combining two different backgrounds is seldom an easy task.  Thus, the therapist’s work is cut-out-for-her and so is YOURS!

Understand that when any couple undergoes counseling/therapy together,

  1. They are each making a major commitment to themselves and to each other to do all of the work recommended by the therapist;
  2. Both are making an enormously positive investment in their respective futures;
  3. If doing the work assigned them by the counselor, both people are laying themselves out, wide-open on the table (their emotions, dreams, thoughts, wishes, fears, problems) in front of each other and the counselor.  Therefore, each person is allowing themselves to be totally vulnerable.  THIS IS THE REASON THAT YOU MUST EXERCISE EXTREME CAUTION IN WHOM YOU SELECT TO GUIDE YOU THROUGH THE COUNSELING PROCESS!

Too many times, couples have simply chosen a name out of their telephone directory, and then entrusted their most precious possession, their relationship, to a professional who did not serve them well.  Going into something so serious in any kind of lacqidasicle manner has cost some individuals their relationship! 

Never lose sight of the fact that it is the two of YOU who must live with the outcome of your counseling, and no one else!  Then,  and only then, proceed with caution.

____________________________________

JC is a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor who has assisted countless couples over the years, with resolving issues stemming from and surrounding their mood altering substance use related issues.

(Copyright 2014 by JC Fredlund) Copyright 2014 by JC Fredlund (JC Eberhart, Past Pen Name): ©JC Fredlund and JC Fredlund’s Artistry Blog, 1974 – 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to JC Fredlund and the link to http://www.JCFredlund.wordpress.com blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Aside

If Only Humans Would Open Their Hearts (Post has been moved to my PittyCityDogBlog!)

If Only Humans Would Open Their Hearts.

Grandparents: The Best Gift of ALL

The snowflakes were falling, one-by-one; no two alike in their intricate shapes and sizes.  Large, billowy soft, and no doubt slippery beneath the feet, they rapidly accumulated everywhere.  Gazing out the window of our fireplace warmed living-room, we shared in a mutual sympathy for the slow moving travelers as each one continued to ever so cautiously trudge forth amid the end-of-day traffic.  The growing darkness served to intensify their already treacherous journeys.

Grandma and grandpa had arrived at our home earlier that day to once again share in the children’s excitement over the decorating of the Christmas tree.  That process had always been a very special family one.  We had nearly completed the adorning of our majestically tall tree when our attention had been diverted by the lovely, whiteness of the new fallen snow outside; a snowfall that had arrived as if just in time to enhance our Christmas spirit.

Christmas TreeWe turned our attention back to the tree and placed the large, shiny silver star atop.  As we turned on the lights and  stood back marveling at the beauty before us, the “oohs” and “aahs” of the children could be heard.  Sharing in their Christmas joy, we grown-ups exchanged glances that conveyed the joy and gratitude from deep within our hearts at being blest, once again, with sharing this heartwarming occasion.

Suddenly, amidst the silence, a tiny voice could be heard singing a familiar tune.  There sat our five year old daughter, huddled close to the tree, singing “Silent Night”.  Inspired by her Christmas spirit, we all joined-in and sang along.  It seemed as though Grandma and Grandpa especially enjoyed the nostalgia of sharing the familiar carols of their many Christmas’ in years gone-by.   Singing the carols together had become a treasured family tradition.  As I sang along, my thoughts were carried back to the many years past when we’d sung those same, beautiful Christmas Carols on Christmas Eve.

Voices tiring at last, the children asked Grandpa to again recite Charles Dickens, “A Christmas Carol” for them.  Smiling, he gathered both children in his outstretched arms and beside him in the overstuffed chair they now shared.  This year, I, too, sat down to listen.  I soon found myself totally captived by his uniquely appealing story-telling voice.  My gaze became fixed upon that very special man.  The silver-greying of his hair, seemed somehow more apparent than ever before as the aged ring of his voice carried a noticeable, weary tone that hadn’t seemed to penetrate my consciousness before.  Had I just never taken the time before to listen and to observe him so closely?  Could it have been the deep surge of sentiment filling my heart as the children and I were so visibly captivated by his every word?

I wondered silently as my gaze became focused upon Grandma who sat across the room, deeply engrossed in her crocheting.  She was completely unaware of my gaze having become fixed upon her hands.  Those tender, loving hands that had grown wrinkled with age and the countless years of hard work she’d toiled away at in order to bless our family with the home we all, now shared.  I noticed her tired hands endeavoring to use that familiar old crotchet hook as adeptly as she once had.  Those lovely hands that, despite the wear and tear of the years, still managed to crotchet some of the most magnificent creations I’d ever seen.  I watched silently as my heart overflowed with love for her.

Filled with a warm, deep sense of gratitude, I became fully aware of the privilege of that evening together – the privilege of having them there with us.  For once again, they were filling their irreplaceable role in that very priceless, family moment.  Realizing the endless amounts of love they have bestowed upon two generations of children at this time each year brought a tear of joy to my eye; and I was reminded of how their presence there with us, was, truly, the best gift of all.

(Copyright 2014 by JC Fredlund) Copyright 1974 – 2014 by JC Fredlund (JC Eberhart, Past Pen Name): ©JC Fredlund and JC Fredlund’s Artistry Blog, 1974 – 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to JC Fredlund and the link to http://www.JCFredlund.wordpress.com blog is included with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Man’s Best Friend

Unaware, at first, that my glance was focused upon him, he laid resting, his chin whiskers white with age.  His once mischievously sparkling eyes turned slowly up to meet mine, their expression of ever-ready enthusiasm for a lively romp together now replaced by one of weariness that comes with age.  It was as if I could read his thoughts, for his eyes conveyed an unquestionable sense of peace and contentment.

His life, having been a very full and happy one, seemed to leave him with nothing more to be desired.  It seemed that his only wish now was to be with those of us who have always loved and cared for him and that he be permitted his well-deserved periods of quiet solitude and understanding – understanding of his gradually increasing ‘grouchy moods’ when Old Father Time has so unfairly nagged at his once ‘patient to a fault’ good nature.

My sentimental thoughts were only momentarily interrupted when he arose slowly and a bit shakily to curl up in the chair, beside me.  It occurred to me that he oftentimes repeats that same gesture of affection now, seeming to prefer our quiet companionship and restfulness to his previous younger days of neverending, boundless energy.

I gently petted his soft fur, and as he slowly drifted to sleep, my thoughts wandered back to those days long ago . . . . .

We had decided that our three-year-old son might enjoy a pet of his own to love and help care for.  So we had traveled to a kennel where we found numerous dogs of all sizes, shapes and colors.  They all began jumping up anxiously against the fences that held them inside their orphanage-like home.  It was as if they were each competing with the others for our attention.  They seemed to know why we’d come and each appeared to be desperately hoping that we would choose him or her.  We petted many little wet noses and soft paws as they groped out to touch us.

Suddenly, our attention was caught by a little black dog (a Schipperke) who was huddled alone in a corner at the far end of a kennel.  He wasn’t sharing in the other’s enthusiastic attempts at performing for us.  Moving closer we could see that his coat lacked the bright sheen of those of the other dogs, but, instead, appeared to be dull and snarled.

Noticing our concern, the kennel owner explained that he’d been a sort of misfit since his birth and that even at six months of age the other dos had refused to accept  him.  It was evident to us that he’d given up hope of ever gaining the acceptence of the other dogs.  With the hope that we might win his trust, we decided to adopt the lonely little outcast huddled there in silent solitude.

Realizing that he’s never before had any real contact with humans, we expected that it would take time to win his trust and love.  To our delight we were to discover just one of the many wonders of the nature of “man’s best friend.”  He seemed almost immediately to sense our desire to give him a whole new kind of homelife – one filled with love and trust.

In return, he assumed his role as an affectionate pet, court jester and trustworthy watchdog.  We marveled again and again at his amazing transformation from daytime loving, energetic playmate into our nocturnal sharp-eared watchdog whose ferocious sounding bark would have frightened away even the most brave of nightly intruders.

As time passed we watched his puppyhood with all of it’s playful antics, evolve into a more mature personality.  However, he never really outgrew many of his puppy characteristics: his knack for becoming stranded in snowdrifts (because of his small size); his shaking like a leaf with fear during thunderstorms and his refusal to eat or drink when it became necessary to board him if we vacationed without him.  Like many dogs, he’s never outgrown his dislike of baths.  He never fails to saturate all of us by briskly shaking off the excess moisture afterward before making his ritualistic ‘mad dash’ down the stairs and out the back door to seek refuge inside our fenced-in yard.

Then, of course, there were his reigning days of the reincarnated ‘Don Juan’ syndrome.  After careful consideration we had a long talk with our neighborhood veterinarian whose strong recommendation was that we’d best put an end to his seemingly incurable roving ways.  Upon following his advice we discovered that the very minor surgery involved served to domesticate our pet even more and saved the neighborhood female dog owners numerous headaches.

There was, of course, the time just before his surgery that he disappeared from our yard.  We were beside ourselves with worry and sadness.  Three days later as I watched out the front window, I saw a small black dog who looked exactly like Skipper!  I found out who the people were that lived in that house and I made a phone call to them.  The dad explained to me that they’d had the dog for a few days now and his children had fallen in love with him.  The man at the other end of the line was not anxious to consider parting with the dog.  So, in desperation, I asked him to put the phone to the dog’s ear.  There was a silence at the other end of the line.  Needless to say, I could only imagine how crazy the man must have thought me to be.  So, I said, “If the dog doesn’t respond to my voice, he’s yours.  But! If he does respond, you’ll have to admit that he belongs to me!  “Okay . . . ” I heard the man say at the other end of the line.  I shouted loudly, “Skipper!  Hey Skipper!  Come here Skipper!”  The dog responded by barking up a storm.  The man returned the handset to his ear and in a defeated sounding voice tone, said, “Well, I guess I can’t deny that he sure knows you!”  Within minutes I was across the street rescuing our precious dog.

Looking down at him now, so many years later, I found myself wondering whether there is any being who is so loyal, loving and trusting.  I realized that he had, indeed, become one of the family right from that first day seven years ago.   It wasn’t difficult just then to fully understand why his kind has, for centuries, been labeled “Man’s Best Friend.”  For whatever trials or tribulations are set before him, he repeatedly gives his master his love without question . . . without expecting anything in return.

Once again, my reminiscing was interrupted as I felt him nuzzle closer.  As I reached down to pet him gently, he raised his head with chin whiskers white as snow and his eyes looked up at me as if to say, “You’ve always understood.”

(Copyright 2014 by JC Fredlund) Copyright 1974 – 2014 by JC Fredlund (JC Eberhart, Past Pen Name): ©JC Fredlund and JC Fredlund’s Artistry Blog, 1974 – 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to JC Fredlund and the link to http://www.JCFredlund.wordpress.com blog is included with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

“Abby Lee”

Grama Jeanie holding AbbyA tiny baby with beautiful eyes
Sent from heaven, out of the skies
Waited to greet me as you slumbered away
In your hospital room, I longed to stay.
Tiny fingers and tinier toes
Dark, pretty hair and a sweet button nose
When you let out a cry
it was a loud, strong sound
clearly not worried about the people around.
When the nurse took you from us
To irrigate your nose
Above all sounds in the building
Your healthy cries rose!
Tiny, but strong, your small arms flailed,
Little legs began kicking
The surprised nurse paled.
Aha! Thought I, to myself
This child will be no one to be left on a shelf!
She’s a robust spirit
Who is full of life
With a will made of iron
She’ll wage a determined life!
A force to be reckoned with
This infant will be
Yet the loveliest branch
On our family tree.
My heart overflowed with anticipation
At the wonderment of meeting
This tiny creation!
For, prior to this,
I’d touched you just once . . .
For before you were born,
Your mama, you see,
Was quite incredibly good to me.
Inside her tummy you’d stuck your bottom out
Your mama let me touch you . . .
So excited was I, that I nearly had to shout!
When suddenly I was aware
That my arms began to ache
With longing to hold you . . .
I could hardly wait!
Now little sweetheart, you’re finally here
How I treasure the moments
I can hold you near.
You’ve your daddy’s smile and dimpled chin . . .
Oftentimes when you giggle,
You wrinkle your nose
Just like HE did.
For truly, sweet angel,
You’re our gift from heaven above
God’s way of telling us
How very much we’re loved.

(Copyright 2014 by JC Fredlund) Copyright 2008 – 2014 by JC Fredlund (JC Eberhart, Past Pen Name): ©JC Fredlund and JC Fredlund’s Artistry Blog, 1974 – 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to JC Fredlund and the link to http://www.JCFredlund.wordpress.com blog is included with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Aside

TREASURED INCIDENTAL FAMILY MEMBERS

Many people have children who, over the years, bring home at least one lost cat or dog who ends up joining the family. My children were no different. Some of these little rag-a-muffins turned out to be some of our most loved and treasured family members.

My daughter also brought home lost PEOPLE! One (I won’t mention names) to this day is an individual who I love like my own and have, for years now, referred to him as my surrogate son. This individual has brought more joy, laughter and love into my life than the proverbial barrel-full-of-monkeys! With our years of support and encouragement, he graduated from college and today helps OTHER lost individuals in his role as a county probation officer! Needless to say, I beam with pride and love each time I think of him . . . a true gift to our family AND to society.

Must these special gifts come to us by way of family? Absolutely NOT! One of the greatest sources of joy during the decade of my forties, was my almost-stepson! This treasure who I love with all my heart was victim to a merciless affliction known as Bi-Polar Disorder. For five years he was an intrical part of my life and caring for him became my priority. He’d had a particularly rough childhood and a journey through his teens filled with perils unlike most of us would be able to imagine. Although his father and I ended our relationship, my heart will always be filled with love and gratitude for the gift of this courageous and beautiful young man.

I’ve recently had a VERY SPECIAL gift come into my life about which I am especially excited. (Yes, THIS one was brought into my life by family.) She is an especially beautiful little girl aged ten, who came to me with an open heart and open arms. She has a smile that would charm even the most cantancerous of ogres! I’d known her hardly any time at all when her mother informed me that she had asked when she can come and stay overnight with me! I was very nearly moved to tears by this trusting, loving little girl’s open heart and can hardly wait to have her over as my guest! (I trust that her mother, who is ALSO very special, will know when the time is right and will give the green light!) Very soon, this child-jewel will BECOME MY GRANDDAUGHTER! I can hardly wait to have this new little blessing become an intrical part of our family and of my life. I will THEN be able to be the proud grandmother of FOUR GRANDCHILDREN (well, one of them, of course, is still on the way!)..

They say that counting our blessings can make all the difference in the joy we either do or do not feel inside our hearts each day. Well, I have to tell you that today and everyday, MY heart overflows with joy at the thought of my many, many blessings!

Copyright by JC Eberhart 2006: 

© JC Eberhart and JC Eberhart’s Blog, 1974 – 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to JC Eberhart and JC Eberhart’s Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Previous Older Entries

%d bloggers like this: