Tag Archives: improve your marriage

MEDS

I recently attended therapy workshop by Dr. David Burns.  Dr. Burns’ book, The Feeling Good Handbook describes a type of therapy that is very similar to what I use with my clients.  The Feeling Good Handbook is a long time New York Times bestseller.  Dr. Burns was for many years a researcher and professor of psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania.  He is now a visiting professor of psychiatry at the Stanford University School of Medicine.  Many of the therapy topics that David Burns addresses are also addressed in my book, Perfect Circle.  Even though he is a psychiatrist, Dr. Burns has always been somewhat cautious about the use of anti-depressant medications.  In The Feeling Good Handbook he recommended using some anti-depressant medications for short periods of time (up to six months) but then suggested going off of them.  He has always felt that the cognitive behavioral therapy as outlined in his books was a superior and safer alternative to medications.  I pretty much say the same thing in my book Perfect Circle in chapter “D” of the ISLAND acrostic.  That chapter is “Deal with depression and anger”.  I believe that anti-depressant medications can be helpful but they should be monitored closely by a psychiatrist if they are going to be used.  My main argument is that they are generally safe or you could not have 200 million prescriptions written ever year, and they seem to work dramatically with a small number of my clients.

At the therapy workshop, Dr. Burns was much emphatic that anti-depressant medications are not any better than placebo (sugar) pills.  That is quite a statement for a psychiatrist to make.  He bases much of his argument on the work of Irving Kirsch and his book, The Emperor’s New Drugs.  Kirsch’s main point is that the drugs don’t really help more than placebo.  Both Burn’s and Kirsch argue for empirically based therapies for people with depression.  This is certainly worth considering.

She’s Perfect!

beautiful woman

She’s Perfect!

Take a look at Song of Solomon chapter 4 in the Bible.   It’s worth a quick read.  The husband is praising the beauty of his wife and he is really over the top and quite explicit in his praise of her body.  Then in verse 7, he sums in all up by saying she is “flawless or without spot or blemish”.  She is perfect!  Such is young love, but that is how he sees her.  No woman is actually perfect but that is how love works.

Of course this is a very non-subtle metaphor for how God sees the church, his bride, in Christ.  God looks at us in love and sees us perfect.  Not because we are perfect (we are not) but God see us in Christ.  This is same language in Ephesians chapter 5, where Paul tells husbands to love their wives as Christ loves the church.  It tells husbands to present their wives to God without spot or blemish.  How can this happen if we never start seeing them the way God does in Christ?

Now let’s talk man to man.  How do you view your wife?  Is she perfect in your eyes?  If not, maybe you are not loving her with the eyes of faith or from the perspective of grace.  This really is a choice.  Love looks past the faults and flaws and sees the perfection.  According to research, men who feel that they have “married up” have better marriages than those who do not.  Zig Zigler, the wildly successful motivational speaker always said that he had a great marriage simply because he counted himself so lucky to be married to his wife.  He placed her high above himself.  Let me ask you this, “What harm will actually result if you started seeing your wife as generally perfect”?  Maybe she will feel really loved…if you started acting like she was perfect.  Start with the concept that she is the standard of beauty, that she is correct and wise, heck, start thinking she is perfect.  You won’t be any worse than Solomon in love.

TUESDAY TURN IT AROUND TIP # 1 of TEN

Happy-Couple (3)

I am starting a new series of Tuesday blogs.  This series will provide ten transformative tips, each and every Tuesday to help you turn your marriage around.  I will also use words that start with t whenever I can.  So please check this blog every Tuesday.

The first tip to transform your marriage is to think more highly of your wife.  I am not joking when I say that successful marriages are ones in which the spouse thinks they got the better end of the deal.  There is even research to support the idea that people are more satisfied in marriage when they feel they have “married up”.  If you want to turn your marriage around – begin see your wife as better than yourself.  Notice all the good qualities that attracted you to her in the first place.  Even if you say you don’t love your wife now – you most likely still have a lot of things for which you respect her.  Dwell on these things.  A fundamental rule is that we treat people in accordance with how we feel about them.

My daughter once shook hands with President Obama and she also sat at a dinner table with Henry Kissinger.  In both cases she was excited about the encounters even we if we are talking about wildly different ends of the political spectrum (you young guns can look up Kissinger, but he was “the man” at one point).  My point is that it is the person’s position that calls for the high evaluation.  Now here is the 64 thousand dollar question.  What is a higher position than that of your wife?  If her position as your wife it is not a high one, it is because you made it so.

Look at it this way.  Either her marriage to you has made her more beautiful, lovely and holy with each passing day so that it is easy to remind yourself:  “I am so lucky to be married to someone as beautiful as her”.  Or, her marriage to you has been filled with hardship and a generally rough time, so that is easy to remind yourself:  “I am so lucky that she stayed with me and puts up with me”.  In either case you married up.  Loving her and consistently treating her as better than yourself will transform your marriage.

Bible verse to meditate on: Philippians 2:3

“Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.”  (ESV).

Motivation song to listen to:  Child of the wind by Bruce Cockburn.

Where he sings, “I love my sweet woman down to the core.”