Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A Really Nice Review

Thanks so much to therapist, Jamie Zewe for a great review!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

365 Days to "I Do"

The following is reprinted by permission from  It is an interview with therapist and author, Dr. Janet Blair Page, about her book, "Get Married This Year: 365 Days to 'I Do.'"

“Get Married This Year: 365 Days to ‘I Do’”
By Whitney Baker

Sure, we all want to find “the right guy,” but how do we successfully approach such a task?  In her new book Get Married This Year: 365 Days to “I Do,” relationship expert, professor and psychotherapist Dr. Janet Blair Page shares her easy-to-follow 12-month plan to help readers not only get married this year but to build a loving andlong-lasting relationship with the man of their dreams.  We had the chance to interview Dr. Page, during which she shared her personal story of true love. She also expanded on the steps of her program and discussed why her plan really works.

 Can you tell us about your book and why you wrote it?

In 1984, I began teaching a course at Emory University called “Before a Year Is Over, I’ll Be Married.”  The way people meet and date has changed over the last three decades, but the problems haven’t changed: they feel like they’re not meeting enough eligible people, or if they are, they keep facing the same relationship love blocks over and over again.  As a psychotherapist — divorced and remarried myself — I was not only able to empathize with many of the women, but I have personally been on the same path and have my own backlog of bloopers.  I’ve also experienced the joys of a good marriage, and it’s the most wonderful way I can think to spend your life.  This book offers the experience I have gathered.
Your first bit of advice is to get to know yourself.  What does a woman need to do to truly know herself? 

To truly know herself a woman has to be scrupulously honest about whom she is and has been.  A positive realism toward herself and all others in her life is the definition of mental health.  She also needs to be aware of her effect on others – life is a team sport – be open to caring and competent critique from people with low to no agendas.  If she has personal pain, she needs to have the courage to heal; and if change in her behavior or attitude would be advisable, she needs to be willing to make it happen.

Before a woman can “find the right guy” (month 6), she must figure out what that means to her.  What advice do you have for someone at this stage in her journey to love?

“The right guy” is not only the best possible man for you but also one with whom you are absolutely willing to put in whatever it takes to make your relationship succeed.  You trust and respect each other, have shared your goals and desires, enjoy the comfort of being honest with each other, and love each other unconditionally.  You crave being together but are able to be apart without having to worry about the other person’s behavior.  You both understand mutuality and are capable of truth telling.  (The truth — as inconvenient as it can sometimes be — usually comes out one way or another.  Wouldn’t you rather it be on your terms?).  You feel even better about yourself being with him and loving him with your brain as well as your whole heart.

Do you believe that this timeline works for all women?  If not, whom wouldn’t it work for?

It depends on your starting point.  For women who have already accomplished some of the tasks – they knew what they wanted in a man and how to spot a keeper but not how to date or create a close relationship, for example – a year works.  But realistically, many women won’t be able to become self-aware or good at self-marketing and dating, de-cluttering their lives, communicating, and connecting beautifully with a man in 365 days.  Succeeding at every stage in the 12-month program is much more important than meeting the timeline.

I’m not worried about the women who aren’t married in 365 days as long as they have fixed their old, ineffective behaviors and are in a place to go out and find their soul mate.  The ones I worry about (and who I’d especially like to help) are the ones who continue to drag an ineligible man behind them for years.  Keeping my game plan in mind can help them transition to a more effective dating strategies.

Wouldn’t some relationships benefit from dating for longer than 365 days?

There’s a difference between a couple who both know that they want to be married to each other and just haven’t set a date yet and a relationship where one party is simply a placeholder while the other party figures out what s/he wants. After 365 days, he should know if he is interested in marrying you and will have let you know by thought, words, and actions.  That said, keep in mind that men like to control the when and how, and unless you think he will never get around to it, bide your time and let him be the conquering hero.

Do you think your program can benefit a man in the same way it benefits a woman?  Why or why not?

Yes!  I know it can.  Many men took my class, and all seem to like the “pull no punches but have a sense of humor” approach.  Also, most of my clients are men, and while they are less likely to buy a book or take a class, they experience the same pain, if not more, in love.  They are very welcoming of any rules that can alleviate hurt and promote success.  Marriage and being in love is of tremendous benefit to men, and they know it.  I’ve spent a great deal of time in my practice learning how men feel and interact in relationships.  My program is not only effective for men, but I’ve developed it to help women be effective in dating them by using my experience with men in therapy.

My favorite success story is my older daughter’s.  When Tasha got serious about getting married, she flew down from New York and took my course.  She listened to the lecture audio and kept the workbook with her at all times.  When she went back home, we scheduled regular consults about where she was going and whom she was dating.  Tasha religiously stuck to the big three: going out three times a week somewhere, anywhere it was possible to meet someone to date or someone who could be a conduit to someone to date; keeping an open mind about her type of man; and only dating qualified males.  She told me about a guy she met in a bar while shooting pool.  Eric was younger, a writer and an intellectual.  He seemed shy, and he wasn’t her type, she said.  I encouraged her to pursue it anyway.

She accepted the date – nothing to lose and a possible gain.  Then she told me he suggested they do show-and-tell and wasn’t that “cool.”  I thought, “A match!”  It was the request of someone who wanted guaranteed talking points and was accepted as a smooth move.  Eric brought old coins that she found intriguing, and she was also impressed by the history lesson that went with them because she had wanted someone smart.  And that was it.  They were and are perfect together.  Although it’s always a great joy to me to know that that couples I’ve helped get together are still happily married, it’s particularly great when I get a treasure for a son-in-law.

To find your Mr. Right – and get married this year – visit Amazon to purchase Get Married This Year: 365 to “I Do.”  For more information on Dr. Page’s book, therapy and classes, visit her website.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Is Divorce Right For You?

Therapist and author, Margaret Paul, Ph.D., has an excellent blog called "Inner Bonding."  Today's post is on how to make a decision about whether or not divorce is right for you.  It's well worth reading, if that's a question you've asked yourself:

Sunday, February 12, 2012

A Newlywed Discusses Pre-Marital Counseling

Hi Everyone,

We have a guest article today from newlywed, Sarah Thaman (  It's great to have her perspective!

On paper, my husband and I come from similar backgrounds. We were both raised in areas of Kentucky, we both have loving families, and we both went to private religious schools. Our financial and economical backgrounds are similar, we both participated in sports growing up, and we met in college, as we attended the same school. However, it’s only when we started really getting to know each other that the differences appeared.

We started dating my Junior and his Senior year of college. In regular “getting to know each other” talk, we discussed things like religion (he was raised Catholic, I was raised Christian/Baptist), families (his parents are divorced, mine are married), finances (how we would spend and save), and what we wanted our futures to look like. I was always taught to casually lay out the deal breakers early on in the game when it came to relationships. I wanted to have kids, be a stay-at-home mom, religion was to be a critical part of our relationship, and there were certain expectations I had of my husband when it came to leadership. I had been “groomed” to discuss such things early on, because to me, it was important to figure out if the man I was dating agreed with this, before we fell deeply in love and decided to get married. I didn’t want to be one of those girls who threw caution to the wind and realized I married a man who didn’t value any of the things I valued further down the road. We wanted to “divorce proof” our marriage, especially since my husband experienced divorce in his family.

While most of this dialogue was initiated by me, I think both of us were in a place in our lives where we weren’t playing games when it came to our future, so these discussions came naturally as we looked towards graduation. They say you know when you meet “the one,” and I don’t really believe in fate, but I think we both knew we were suited for each other in a way that meant we could seriously discuss marriage. Don’t get me wrong, we had a lot of fun and our early dating wasn’t all “serious” -- but at the same time, we knew marriage was a real possibility for us if things progressed as we both hoped.

Fast forward two and half years. We were engaged and ready for the pre-marital counseling provided by the church where we were going to be married. While I thought we had discussed pretty much every topic under the sun (and not always agreed 100 percent, this isn’t a fairy tale ya’ll), I was surprised when things we hadn’t talked about in detail came up.

While it is some of the differences in personality and background that make us complement each other so well, it’s those differences that brought up things to talk about. How would we discipline our kids? How would we divide up the household duties? How would we divide up family time between our extended family? Who would manage the bills? Even how we’ll “fight” with each other, was discussed. While some of these are minor details and didn’t provide us with much of a challenge, we enjoyed plotting things out together.

In our pre-martial counseling, we also had a full day where we joined with other engaged couples and had a lot of group discussion about personalities. In one exercise we were to all call out character traits we felt were necessary in our spouse, and that we valued as individuals. Words like loyalty, kindness, and patience were overarching trends. And it’s pretty true, if everyone stuck to these values, would there be as many divorces? If we woke up every morning and thought, “I will be loyal, I will be kind, and I will be patient,” there would be far less to fight about.

I think we both came into marriage with a clear understanding that no one is perfect, that marriage takes work, and there are days when it’s harder to love each other than others. But we both looked at marriage as a gift and a challenge that brings great reward. Although I’ve only been married for six months, I know that we are in for the long haul. We both took our vows very seriously, and because we put so much out on the table for discussion and “argued” so many things out early on in the game, I believe we are in a better position than the average newlyweds. I’m not pretending like we have all the answers, or we’ll never have struggles, but

I firmly believe that if couples take these steps, they’ll be able to divorce proof their marriage, or decide that marriage may not be right for them.

About the author: Sarah is a newlywed and enjoys sharing her wedding and relationship advice. Outside of newlywed life, she writes about fashion handbags for Handbag Heaven, plays with her precious puppy Luna, and plans up a future that includes and a mighty cool bucket list full of awesome travel destinations!

Friday, February 3, 2012

What Causes the Most Arguments Between Couples?

I just read a great article from The Couples Institute that says most arguments stem from unmet expectations. I think they're right on target. I encourage you to read this: