by Mira and Charles on September 30th, 2015
A recent piece in the NYTimes tells a story of love and family restored after divorce. No, the marriage wasn’t restored. And no, the kind of love that brings people into a relationship wasn’t restored either. But here is a real, and realistic, picture of happy family life post-divorce.
Let’s call this family restoration. The divorce is a given. The grownups are definitely moving on to new lives, perhaps new relationships. But the grownups get along like grownups, and there is the possible of real affection between them. The co-parenting may not go more smoothly than co-parenting does in the typical marriage, but it happens without any unnecessary disagreement. And the family spends happy, comfortable time together. Not a grim facade of fake getting along. But real family feeling—the kind that makes the kids happy to be there, and the grownups too.
Is this a fairy tale? Not at all. It happens all the time, in big ways and small, such as this heartwarming story of Read the rest of this entry. »
by Mira and Charles on September 23rd, 2015
Ripped from the headlines
Was just interviewed by CNN on this topic based on our award-winning book The Emotional Energy Factor (which has a 5-star rating on Amazon!)…but first a disclaimer. We don’t do politics here. I’ll be talking about some candidates, but please understand: if I don’t slam a candidate you hate, that’s doesn’t mean I like that candidate. And if I don’t fawn over a candidate you love, that doesn’t mean I hate that candidate. This is about you, not the election.
OK, then. The CNN interview was about Donald Trump’s talking about Jeb Bush being “low energy” and about himself being “high energy.” And that’s not the only time emotional energy had something to do with the campaign. Vice President Joe Biden was reported to say that he doesn’t know if he has the emotional energy for a run for the presidency, given that his son Beau died only a couple of months ago.
So what does emotional energy have to do with campaigning?
A lot. But first of all, calling Jeb Bush “low energy” is Read the rest of this entry. »
by Mira and Charles on September 1st, 2015
“Is this the person I’ve been looking for?” Part 2
Last time we talked about a NY Times article about a woman who grilled a man on their very first date. Grilled and drilled. Asked him every question she could think of about who he really was and what he liked and what he really wanted out of life: children? Chinese food? church? You name it, she asked about it.
Because, of course, she didn’t want to waste any more of her time in go-nowhere relationships. (And by the way: he loved her inquisition. So we ended the last blog with a question: “Was this a good move on her part?” Should a first date be about an inquisition or about just flirtation and chitchat?
Women I’ve talked to—patients over the years and women I’ve queried about this exact question in the last few weeks—are mostly of the opinion that Read the rest of this entry. »
by Mira and Charles on August 17th, 2015
Well, we got up this morning to find an email from our wonderful literary agent waiting for us. It seems there was an article in today’s New York times that mentioned Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay.
He went on to say, “Nice to know your book has become so iconic.”
What a lovely thought! Our book an icon, a very image, of self-help literature or, as we like to call it, bibliotherapy! But it’s way more than an icon. It’s a tool, one that has changed the lives of countless people.
TGTL, as we call it, has been mostly used by people who’ve been together for a while and are now wondering if they should continue together or move on separately. But the Times article, entitled “An Inquisition on Their First Date, and Then a Slow Burn,” is about someone using TGTL on their very first date, and I wonder what you’ll think Read the rest of this entry. »
by Mira and Charles on August 13th, 2015
A patient I work with said something really interesting this morning. Now we all have to deal with a lot of stress, but this guy—believe me!—has a lot more stress in his life than most of us. And I asked him which was more painful: all the stress he lived with or not being able to talk to his wife Emma about the issues that caused him stress.
His answer surprised me. “Fifteen percent the stress itself; 85 percent not being able to talk with Emma about it.”
I knew that both things bothered him, but the ratio was astounding. The vast majority of his burden wasn’t the stressors in his life; it was not being able to share his stress with the person who shared his life.
Now of course we all know that it helps to share our burdens with someone. But does it Read the rest of this entry. »
by Mira and Charles on August 8th, 2015
I think about this all the time, of course, what with it being my work and all—and my life too, since I’ve been married to the same person my whole adult life. How can you have a good, happy, satisfying, pretty darned OK marriage without a lot of work? And by “work” I mean long hideous boring conversations and harrowing sacrifices.
How do you do that? CAN you even do that?
Well, actually it’s pretty easy. You only need three things.
First, Read the rest of this entry. »
by Mira and Charles on July 30th, 2015
Here we have yet another entry in our ripped-from-the-headlines series. This time we were interviewed by a prominent European newspaper. The topic? Do on-line matchmaking services know what they’re doing, and in any case how the hell do you go about finding a mate?
Q. From your experience, would you say it’s possible to apply scientific findings from behavioral psychology, sociology and psychology to match making?
CHI: Well, you can apply scientific findings from behavioral psychology, sociology and psychology to match making, but will it work very well? So far, the results have not Read the rest of this entry. »
by Mira and Charles on July 14th, 2015
Following up on last time, which was about if it was really true that “no one is happily married.”
And there I mentioned that much of how this question gets answered depends on our expectations. So I promised to write about what it’s reasonable to expect from marriage.
This is a really important question! And that’s because almost always we are content in life if reality comes at least close to matching our expectations. Life is a game of setting appropriate expectations.
So what about marriage? What should you expect? Read the rest of this entry. »
by Mira and Charles on June 26th, 2015
I’ve heard from a lot of people that they don’t know anyone who’s happily married. Usually these are people between 30 and 60. Younger people know a lot of newlyweds, and older people come from circle in which everyone who can get divorced has gotten divorced.
So is this really true? Do most people know only very few happily married people? Are there really so few happily married people out there?
Well, it depends a lot on who you ask and how you gather data. I have no doubt that the people who told me they don’t know any happily married folk were Read the rest of this entry. »
by Mira and Charles on June 10th, 2015
A woman recently wrote to an advice columnist about her desire to move out of her house and live in apartment by herself. She’d still stay married. She had no desire to take a lover. She welcomed her husband and kids to visit her. But she wanted to live alone. And she wondered if her desire for this was unhealthy.
We’ll get to that issue in a moment. But first, let’s look at the question of when a marriage stops being a marriage. How far can you go in changing the deal before you get to the point where there isn’t any deal any more?
Most people get married with Read the rest of this entry. »