By Chandrama Anderson
E-mail Chandrama Anderson
About this blog: About this blog: I am a LMFT specializing in couples counseling and grief and have lived in Silicon Valley since 1969. I'm the president of Connect2 Marriage Counseling. I worked in high-tech at Apple, Stanford University, and in ... (More)
About this blog: About this blog: I am a LMFT specializing in couples counseling and grief and have lived in Silicon Valley since 1969. I'm the president of Connect2 Marriage Counseling. I worked in high-tech at Apple, Stanford University, and in Silicon Valley for 15 years before becoming a therapist. My background in high-tech is helpful in understanding local couples' dynamics and the pressures of living here. I am a wife, mom, sister, friend, author, and lifelong advocate for causes I believe in (such as marriage equality). My parents are both deceased. My son graduated culinary school and is heading toward a degree in Sociology. I enjoy reading, hiking, water fitness, movies, 49ers and Stanford football, Giants baseball, and riding a tandem bike with my husband. I love the beach and mountains; nature is my place of restoration. In my work with couples, and in this blog, I combine knowledge from many fields to bring you my best ideas, tips, tools and skills, plus book and movie reviews, and musings to help you be your genuine self, find your own voice, and have a happy and healthy relationship. Don't be surprised to hear about brain research and business skills, self-soothing techniques from all walks of life, suggestions and experiments, and anything that lights my passion for couples. (Author and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Calif. Lic # MFC 45204.) (Hide)
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Santa Says . . . Only Two in Marriage
Uploaded: Sep 15, 2016
I met Santa today (or at least he looks like Santa), and I asked him what make a marriage last. There were two things Santa told me that he believes are the key ingredients.
First, have two in your marriage, not six (her parents/his parents – or hers and hers/his and his). When you commit to your beloved, your relationship becomes your top priority, and you have to let go of having your parents guide you. This doesn’t mean you can’t talk to your parents, or even ask for advice now and then. But it does mean that your parents don’t guide or control your relationship. It means having your partner be your best friend, not your mom or dad. It means choosing your relationship over the pull of your families.
Don’t get me wrong – I am pro-family. I am just a little bit more pro-couple.
Not only did Santa share this tidbit of wisdom with me, I know it’s a huge problem for certain couples because I’ve heard so much about it in the therapy room. And I’ve seen it across cultures. In cultures where it is implicit that you are supposed to honor your elders, it can be more complicated to make the shift to your partner.
All of you were influenced by the family you grew up in – that’s just the way it is. You saw, listened, and noticed your parent’s marriage (and/or divorce), and that influence carries over into adult relationships. You need to do the work to understand your family system, and each others’ family system, and learn:
- What do you want to keep?
- What don’t you want to continue?
- Who is driving your relationship?
- What values and principles will you abide by in this marriage?
- How to deal with in-laws needs, requests, demands.
- Essentially, what works for BOTH of you?
Santa’s second tip is to spend time together doing things you both enjoy, and spend time apart doing things you each enjoy separately.
Be a whole person; come to your marriage as two whole people. Then, 1 + 1 = more than 2. Rather than being needy (although all of you need and deserve care, love, respect, etc.), being whole allows your relationship to be the frosting on the cake. Sweet. And when you need one another you are the top priority.
Thanks for talking, Santa.
What is it worth to you?
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