The MIL Chronicles
The MIL Chronicles
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Ask The Expert

Laura Temin LMFT, LPC
Achievement Strategies, Inc.
Roswell, GA. 30076
770-998-3881

Trained not only in counseling psychology, Laura Temin has a license and specific focus and passion for Marriage and Family Therapy. With a diverse training background that includes Gottman’s Couples Method and Therapy, Sue Johnson’s Emotionally Focused Therapy, and even Clinical Hypnotherapy, Laura understands how all things work together to shape the people we are and the relationships we have.

Easy to talk to, non judgmental, and caring is how she is described. Her clients always wish they had found her sooner. Laura’s professional experience, and advice are truly invaluable. Contact Laura today for a free 20 minute consultation!

www.achieve-able.com

For our Winter Newsletter, we asked Laura her advice to couples that succumb to the inevitable in a comfortable marriage, how to get back to love after being on the brink of divorce; and her fundamental advice on succeeding for the many seasons of a lasting marriage.

Over time, it’s so easy to begin to take your spouse and the comforts of being married for granted. And when kids enter the picture, it becomes inevitable. What do you say to couples/ wives that come to you with this issue?

This is a common occurrence for many couples. The first thing I must do for my clients is to replace blame with understanding and corrective experiences. Taking a person for granted is usually not the result of lack of respect or lack of love. It is usually an unintentional response to self-care. Let me explain. In the beginning of our relationship, we are in the building stage. We make time for one another and do things for one another. We are attentive, thoughtful, forgiving and generous with our energy and resources. Our partner and relationship is forced into the priority position, and therefore everything else is put aside for our relationship.

But when the building phase no longer requires that constant attention, we move into the maintenance stage so that we can address life’s other demands. When we have enough time and energy, it is easy to remain appreciative. When the demands of life feel larger than our personal resources, we have less of ourselves to give, and we focus less on our spouse and more on our immediate pressures. The more pressures we face, the busier our lives become, the more we use our precious moments to refuel ourselves, and our relationship becomes taxed. Some people refuel by connecting. Other people refuel by disengaging and going inside of themselves. If we don’t understand what is going on, it is easy to take it personally.

Just understanding that helps put things in perspective. Often, it is important to understand the differences between them in terms of their learning and processing styles. Then we develop a plan on how to help one another feel valued and appreciated even in the busy times.

Happy marriages require a solid base of friendship, appreciation and admiration. It is the seemingly small, day to day rituals, such as how we speak to one another, how we respond to one another and the importance we place on one another’s hopes and dreams, pressures and demands that keep us feeling close and connected. Most of us have never learned to think in this way, or been taught these skills and the appropriate mindset, so we need to not only learn the lingo, but see it modeled. Together we learn and practice seeing one another from this perspective, which begins the process of strengthening the relationship.

When a couple has gone through a really tough time, when the “stuff” has hit the fan so to speak, barely surviving getting divorced, how do they get back to love and being in love?

John Gottman’s research shows that couples in crisis wait 6 years before they seek therapy. It’s no wonder that people are barely surviving by the time they come for help. Some couples are ready to divorce at this time and use therapy as a way to formalize the divorce. The others really want to make their marriage work but don’t know how. For them, this is the perfect opportunity to take their relationship from surviving to thriving.

When couples are at odds for years, or even for weeks, both parties feel unheard and misunderstood. The living environment can feel empty, lonely or toxic. In order to get the couple back to the place of love, the first order of business is building a WE mentality versus a ME mentality. This involves developing an atmosphere of trust, admiration and appreciation. That is a process. Among the elements in the process, we need to notice our responses to hurt and the behavior patterns that follow, and we need to learn to see those patterns as the villain, not one another. I have found that the way to reignite the flames of love is to clean up the pain from the past and renew the feelings of appreciation and admiration through awareness and action.

Developing the ability to engage in non-judgmental communication invites discussion and creates an environment where our spouse can share their thoughts without defensiveness. When we can step into their shoes they are more willing to step into ours, and we both feel heard and respected, making it easier to work towards solutions.

This issue is about love, and marriage, and the comfort that comes with being in a loving partnership. With this said, there are many phases/seasons in a lasting marriage. What is your fundamental advice to couples on getting through all the phases more in love with one another than when they first got married?

New love is beautiful and hopeful and filled with dreams. The truth is that it takes lots of time to really know someone and all of us are less than perfect:). I think God sets it up that we remain starry eyed long enough to marry so that we can be invested enough to do the hard work that needs to be done when our marriage falls off the pedestal into reality.

I have seen that the most difficult and questionable situations build the strongest, most solid relationships when couples work as a team. The best advice I can offer is the gift I receive from the couples I have had the privilege of working with. What I have seen is that you can turn any disaster into a stepping stone when the strong partner takes the hand of the weaker partner and shows them love, forgiveness and compassion. Today you may be the strong partner. Tomorrow you may become the weak partner. We will all make mistakes. We will all disappoint one another. No one is immune. But when we make mistakes, if we are truly remorseful and truly interested in making amends even the most hurtful act can be forgiven and surpassed.

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