Happy Relationships Blog

Archive for the ‘marriages’ Category

 

The notion of development has been hotly debated for centuries by men and women of knowledge, as demonstrated by the difficulty in accepting the theories of Darwinism.  Within relationships, this concept becomes even more significant, because if you understand the notion that you are developing a relationship, then you are better prepared to understand how to manage that development.  The simple reality is that we are not stagnate creatures.  And we develop both emotionally and intellectually, with the objective of each within a relationship developing both. 

Describe within your relationship how each handles the emotional and intellectual side.  

 

by Tim Kellis

www.HappyRelationships.com

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Lisa Says:

Tim,

I have a question and a couple of comments:

1. Do you address these issues from the standpoint that there may only be one partner in the marriage working toward solutions? Sometimes only one will see the pathway out of the conflicts, while the other refuses to discuss or work on any of them.

2. I love the fact that you mention the futility of ‘behavioral modification.’ People CAN change their behavior, but if the belief system and thought patterns of that person do not change, the modifications will break down quickly, or become a means of manipulation.

3. I’d like to see more regarding hidden and unresolved issues – it is something I will look for in your book when I begin reading it. These can be very debilitating in a relationship – it’s much better to discuss the ‘elephant in the room,’ and then things can be worked on.

Thank you for the invitation to the interview – looking forward to reading your book.

Tim Kellis Says: 

Lisa

Excellent question about one working on the relationship and not the other. My thought with this may be the approach that one is using in working on the relationship. I bet if you were to ask the other if he or she was interested in working on the relationship the answer may be yes, or it should be.

But if the approach to problems is based on the fear that problems may occur, instead of solving problems that do occur, then again the perspective is in the wrong direction.

I use a personal story to demonstrate my point. I worked on Wall Street as a semiconductor analyst, which basically means that I am one of dozens of analysts with opinions on the stocks I follow. I became negative on one in particular after being bullish on it, and the stock fell by 30%. After the market closed Intel bought the company and the stock doubled the next day.

My point is I was castigated on the chat rooms for being so stupid. Smart Money Magazine even wrote an article about me entitled “What Was He Thinking” about how stupid I was to downgrade the stock before Intel bought the Company. Professional investors know the difficulty in predicting where stock prices are going in the future.

The point is if you are addressing problems logically before they occur, or emotionally after they occur then you are basing your perspective on the underlying fear. The objective is to base your perspective on problems logically after they occur or emotionally before they occur. This is actually an extremely important difference between positive relationships and negative ones. And basing them emotionally before they occur basically means addressing the solution to problems before they come up with the goal of a happy outcome.

And yes to your point on behavior modification without an understanding of the underlying belief system and thought patterns. The reality is our character traits cause our behavior, and our character traits are nothing more than system of beliefs that we learned growing up. Obviously the objective is to have positive character traits, to be nice, but unfortunately in our material world we also learn negative character traits. Until these are changed solving problems in marriage becomes very difficult.

And the point about hidden or unresolved issues is until they are revealed you cannot address them because you do not know they exists. But the reality is anger is our way of exposing our insecurities. If we could only learn to neutralize our own defense mechanisms when our spouse gets mad then we could also learn to address anger, or sadness, when it is revealed.

Lisa I look forward to hearing more from you.

Sincerely

Tim Kellis

www.HappyRelationships.com


WendyK Says:

I don’t really have any questions. Sounds boring I guess. But we seem to be doing good. After nearly 13yrs of marriage we have our rough stops, our fights but honestly we can’t imagine NOT being married to each other. We both agreed when we got married, it was forever. No divorce option is there. We agreed it doesn’t exist to us. So we try to talk out our issues. I’ll admit we have times…………LOL but honestly we are best friends as well as lovers and we make a choice to be in this together. I think that’s a big thing for us. I think I’ll try to get your book, because it never hurts. And I honestly think that early in our marriage we read the FIVE LANGUAGES OF LOVE and it helped us ALOT to see that we had different ways of showing our love. Didn’t make it less, just that he saw love one way and I another.

hugs,

WendyK

Tim Kellis Says: 

WendyK

And congrats on your marriage. Sounds like you address conflicts in the appropriate manner. There are 2 paths taken with conflicts, arguments and disagreements, and the one I am trying to teach is through disagreements, which are logical discussions, even over emotional issues. Arguments, which are emotional discussions, are not resolvable. If you cannot address logically the why with conflicts then you have issues that become unresolvable which lead to what are referred to psychologically as “psychic lesions”, issues that become mental blocks because they are not resolved.

And to address your comment about “The 5 Languages of Love”, if this concept is addressed positively then it can be very helpful. This book has been a huge success. I was at a marriage conference about 6 months ago and Gary Chapman was one of the speakers. He spoke intelligently, eloquently, and very humorously. The languages (acts of service, physical touch, quality time, gifts, words of affirmation) do encompass a wide perspective of the different needs within relationships. If you could understand which one is more important then you can comprehend how best to understand your spouse.

The only problem with this approach is in reality it promotes a quid-pro-quo relationship in negative relationships. “If you give me physical contact then I will buy you things”, and this doesn’t work in negative relationships. Quid-pro-quo never works, the notion of conditional love. What is needed for successful relationships is unconditional love. In reality this concept is an extension of “Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus”, which promotes that the key is to appreciate the differences between men and women, and unfortunately the notion of “separate but equal” didn’t work as we have seen with our racial struggles.

And the other problem with that book, and this problem also shows the materialistic approach of the professionals, is its materialism. The reality is he is promoting labor, sex, behavior, money, and communication, but he misses the most important languages, internal languages. The reality is the 2 pillars of happiness, and really the key languages to success are respect and empathy. Unfortunately you will have difficulty finding professionals discuss these 2 concepts because they have yet to breach the ivory walls of the psychology industry.

Please keep in mind with my critical words about the pros, but we as a society expect them to solve our marriage problems and they have yet to do it.

Again, thanks for your comments.

Tim Kellis

www.HappyRelationships.com



Periodically I will post from Q & A Sessions I have on blog interviews.  Here is a question about what to do if your spouse gets on your nerves:


Dorothy Says:

So excited to see Tim out there! I just received his book in the mail…this book is excellent! I’ll throw a question out there to Tim. Tim, your book is about understanding your mate in order to improve the relationship. What if it’s impossible? What if you are with someone for 13 years and he just gets on your everlasting nerve? What if your daughter (not his) hates him and you side with your daughter? Is this a doomed relationship?

Tim Kellis Says: 

Dorothy

You bring up an excellent question, and one that shows how difficult marriages get with divorce, the notion of a child from a previous marriage.

I do want to address the question first of him getting on your nerves. Because we are so much more educated now than ever before many more of us are cognizant about what we can find wrong with our spouse. The quote I use in the book to demonstrate this point is:

“Our present condition is, Legislation without law; wisdom without a plan; constitution without a name; and what is strangely astonishing, perfect Independence contending for dependence…The mind of the multitude is left at random, and seeing no fixed object before them, they pursue such as fancy or opinion starts. Nothing is criminal; there is no such thing as treason; wherefore every one thinks himself at liberty to act as he pleases.”

What this in essence is saying is that you can argue over anything. Unfortunately the notion that you can find fault over anything leads to your relationship developing into a regressive state. And the reason for this is the perspective of the person being critical, which is backwards because of the fear that a subjective behavior which is not thought of ahead of time by the one behaving badly, could result in problems. The reality is there are 3 types of behavior, 2 which should result in anger, and the third which unfortunately cannot be resolved. If your husband is behaving illegally or immorally then you have every right to get angry with him, but if you are getting angry at him because of subjective behavior that you fear might lead to problems then you might be looking in the wrong direction.

And as far as your daughter goes, the only thought I have is the need to work together with your husband to handle the issue with your daughter. After all she is the youngest. Unfortunately I do not know the issues between the 3 of you, but in divorce you have to also deal with her other family, something I suspect may be a source of the conflict. Again, the goal is for the parents to work together raising the children, not the children and one parent battling the other parent.

Dorothy this may raise a few more questions so feel free to post them.

Thanks

Tim Kellis

www.HappyRelationships.com


Here is an excerpt from the book “Equality: The Quest for the Happy Marriage”  


A life-altering conversation

Only about a month later I would have a conversation with my friend Kent that would change my life forever.  I call this day the most important day of my life.  I had an epiphany. 

My plan with buying a house was to find roommates to help with the mortgage payments.  I had done this in Virginia.  I had two roommates which made my mortgage payments quite low.  In Dallas I convinced Kent to move in one of the two spare bedrooms I had.  I had bought a large three-bedroom house with two living areas on the west side of the Dallas/ Ft. Worth Airport. 

Shortly after Kent moved in we stayed up late one night talking about our different upbringings.  We sat up literally for hours in a tête-à-tête; each of us trying to prove who had the more difficult childhood.  The only problem with my argument was that every time Kent mentioned his problem he ended by saying he still loved his father.  And the point of his comment was that his father had to be more difficult than mine because it was written in the article in the pool house.  Plus, except for my dad’s many prejudices he is really a nice guy, which is the best way to describe him.  Today my dad gets along with everybody even my mom.  When he is not mad he is like a big teddy bear. 

Just like my conversations with Laurie I went through the litany of complaints about my bad parents.  I started out by saying my parents did “this”, explaining one of the many faults I had found with my parents, and he would respond by saying that “my dad sent me to military school, and I still love him”.  And I would say, “but my parents did something else”, and he would say his father never showed any love for him, and he still loved his father.  I would bring up something else my parents did that destroyed my childhood, and he would respond with “my father never had the time to attend any of my school events because he was so busy at work, but I still love him”.  This one really hit home because my dad never missed any sporting event I had ever played in.  He loved his sports and seeing his kids involved in them.  Like I said, this went on for hours.  He broke me down.  I ran out of arguments, and for probably the first time in my life I admitted I was wrong. 

The conversation brought me to tears.  Ten years would pass before I would cry again.  What Kent taught me that wonderful night was the pain I had as a child didn’t matter.  They were my parents and they taught me what I needed to know about life to be successful.  They did the best that they could with their limited resources and we turned out to be pretty good kids.  I actually got on the phone with them in tears telling them how much I loved them and thanked them for being such great parents.  I even called up Laurie in tears telling her of my epiphany about my parents. 

This was important to me because it opened up my mind to my future.  I no longer had the anger of my childhood clouding up my conscious and unconscious mind.  I could look at life objectively.  I learned what is probably the most important lesson in life.  I believe that maturity actually begins when you come to this realization.  Mental growth really begins when you let go of the painful memories of the past.  The difference between a truly healthy positive mind and an unhealthy negative mind is the healthy one has forgiven his or her parents for being parents.  There have been no rulebooks on raising kids.  My parents thought the best way was with the belt, but they did it in love. 

The reality is most parents love their children, they just might not be able to show it but you cannot live the rest of your life blaming your parents or anyone else for the problems in life.  If you think about your parents from their perspective you would probably have to understand that your parents love you, regardless of how they treated you, they brought you into this world.  Think about that!!! 

I have looked back at that lesson for many years and have been forever grateful for the lesson Kent taught me.  This lesson brings me to the point of this book.  I have learned the most important thing you can teach yourself to have a healthy mind, which is an absolute necessity for a healthy relationship.  If you can forgive your parents for the way they brought you up then you can get over the past and begin to live for the future. 

Again, it is faultfinding vs. problem solving.  Faultfinding is having those negative experiences of the past and then having you interpret that they may occur in the future, except this time it is not by your parents but by someone else, your partner.  If you want a happy and healthy relationship then it is absolutely essential that you look at your partner for who he or she is, not by who your parents are.  Your partner is obviously not your parent. 

Problem solving is looking at each problem as it occurs objectively, with an open mind, without the painful experiences caused by someone else.  Life is actually quite simple today; we are the ones who make it more difficult.  We can eat.  We have houses over our heads.  We have cars, cellular telephones, all of the trappings in life.  But getting along with our partner is actually easier than not getting along.  We don’t need to make life more difficult than it really is. 

Since that conversation with Kent I have never found fault in anything my parents have ever done to me.  I have actually looked at all of the good things they have taught me.  I am not a bad person, and it is thanks to them.  I like to joke that my goal in life is to simply stay out of jail, though seriously speaking my parents have taught me how to live a morally good life. 

If you can get over your past you can live your future!!!  

by Tim Kellis

www.HappyRelationships.com

Can Love Last: The Fate of Romance Over Time
By Steven P. Mitchell, PhD.

Introduction:

If Radical Honesty is ridiculous to the point of being hilarious, then Can Love Last: The Fate of Romance Over Time by Stephen A. Mitchell, Ph.D. is equally frightening. What is amazing is the book is so intelligently written!

Dr. Mitchell expands Nietzsche’s theory in Thus Spoke Zarathustra that God is dead (Zarathustra was an ancient philosopher who philosophized on the concept of monotheism, or the belief in one God) written just before Nietzsche went crazy, by concluding the relationship is dead, that long-term love is impossible.

How does he do this? Dr. Mitchell elaborates that the only path to a long-term relationship is by deadening the emotions by taking Freud’s sexual theory to its fiery conclusion. 

Details:

If you want to read a book that clearly shows the essence of the genre of relationship books consists of merely describing negative relationships, then this is the one to read. He first bases his theory of the relationship on Freud’s conclusion that we are animals just like the rest of the animal world. “…The human being is not even ‘master in his own house’: we do not even run our minds. Mind is…a ‘hierarchy of superordinated and subordinated agencies, a labyrinth of impulses striving independently of one another toward action.’” Unbelievably, the notion that our bodies rule our mind, that thinking is not an active process, is still believed in psychology today.

And when it comes to love and romance, well really sex, Dr. Mitchell states that Freud concluded our relationship problems were caused by a “psychosexual inhibition, a constraint in the capacity to arrive at and sustain desire itself, a kind of psychological flaccidity. A man might be capable of performing the physical act, going through the motions, but without passion, without intense desire.”

He follows this with a comment Freud made in 1916 that “Society must undertake as one of its more important educative tasks to tame and restrict the sexual instinct…Otherwise the instinct would break down every dam and wash away the laboriously erected work of civilization.”

In other words, the basis of the author’s conclusion of the relationship is it eventually peters out. Notice there is no theory from a female perspective. In a most extreme example of circular logic, the path to happiness is by developing emotionally to an extremely unhappy state-of-mind.

This theory is followed up with the conclusion a romantic, loving, harmonious relationship is impossible because, “it easily degrades into something else, much less captivating, much less enlivening, such as sober respect or purely sexual diversion, predictable companionship, or hatred, guilt, and self-pity.” In other words, because we are animals without the use of our minds then our biological beings eventually take over this predictable relationship we are supposed to have with the person we fell in love with.

This book is an extremely significant cop-out on the psychological industry’s inability at understanding the problems in negative relationships to the point of being able to fix them. “Romantic love has been regarded as, at best, a brief prelude to a more stable, ambivalent love.”

Does the author use case studies to present his point? Of course he does, but his case studies are the most extreme of any written. Amazingly, Dr. Mitchell points out that childhood traumas provide the foundation for the problems, but does he fix them? No. A number of his male patients are impotent. One requires the services of a dominatrix for sexual relief while another masturbates in public.

The author does give us a hint of his own psychological health when he states, “the momentary aggressive fantasies I generate in relation to strangers are nothing compared with the intensity of the homicidal fantasies I harbor toward those I live with and love most deeply.”

So does this book help unhappy couples? Not even close!

by Tim Kellis

www.HappyRelationships.com

 

Radical Honesty 
by Brad Blanton, PhD.

Introduction: 

If you want to find a book that clearly demonstrates not much more than a degree is required to publish a book on relationships, look no further than Radical Honesty by Brad Blanton, Ph.D. Please keep in mind the words in quotes do actually come from the book.

Even the person writing the foreword to the book has trouble with its contents. The foreword begins with “I don’t agree with everything Brad Blanton has to say…”

Details:

This book is also one of the best examples of authors revealing their own insecurities in the writing. Dr. Blanton wears his over-sized ego on his sleeve, like a badge of honor. As he explains in the section on why he is writing this book, “I am writing this book to become famous…I want to be smarter than anyone else. More precisely, I want to be thought to be smarter than everyone else.”

He shows his intelligence with his fantasy about being questioned on a morning talk show about his book. “I love to imagine putting down one of those dumb-assed interviewers on the morning talk shows for their sniveling, wimpy ways, pushing people to hurry up and say something…I love hating them because it makes me certain that although I may be bad, I am not as fucked up as those people.”

He then follows up with “I want to make money from writing this book…I am already rich but I’m greedy and I want more than most people have.” In one section where he teaches his patients the process of telling the truth he says, “the client loves me and thinks I am greater than Socrates.” “Every asshole who writes a book is a neurotic megalomaniac just like me.”

Does anything else need to be said about our Dr.?

The basic tenet of the book sounds like it makes sense. If you want to have a successful relationship then you must be honest with your partner at all times. Sounds simple enough. After all, the unfortunate fact about people with insecurities is they hide behind what psychologically is referred to as the “true self” with a “false self”. As Dr. Blanton states many times throughout the book, “how we are all liars”. Although, he must have some crystal ball to know that everyone lies. He apparently doesn’t realize people in positive relationships are always honest with their partners. After all, they have nothing to hide because they do not behave in a manner their partner would not agree with. The person who tells the truth is the most free, most alive kind of adult human being you’ll ever see.

Blanton’s logic is the only way to remove the insecurities of the false self is to be honest about the sources behind the insecurities. He does begin by discussing the psychological problems of adults who have been raised as children by unhealthy parents. Honest enough.

The book takes an amazingly bizarre twist in logic after this. First he explains that moralism “is characterized by hysterical faith in the mind. We are all sick to death from moralism. The world of human beings may die from it.” And later, “Moralism is a disease in which ‘good’ and ‘bad’ become more important than ‘alive’ or ‘dead.’” Unfortunately, the Dr. doesn’t understand one extremely significant key to the positive relationship is treating your partner in a moral fashion. Treat others as you would want to be treated, i.e., empathy, is a central tenet to the teachings of religion.

In wonderful Freudian fashion, the book attempts to explain that the mind “is a terrible thing; waste it,” dutifully following the most basic premise of the founder of psychoanalysis. He follows this with “Minds are developed and lead us away from the experience of being,” trying to conclude not that the mind is nonexistent, but it is the source of our mental troubles. “The secret of the good life is not suffocating in the mind’s bullshit.” He really shows his own mental state when he declares, “The mind resists freedom. Freedom is antithetical to mind…The mind is a bullshit machine.” He sums up his theory of the mind in his description of “growth from birth to maturity consists of: 1. the birth of being, 2. the growth of the mind, 3. a period of domination of the being by the mind, 4. liberation of the being from the mind, and finally 5. a mind used by the being.” In other words, he is saying the mind may develop but the goal of the positive relationship is to suppress it by letting our bodies and brains dictate our behavior!

The most illogical aspect of this book is the author’s attempt at justifying anger as part of his truth-at-any-cost theory. “The wayanger is expressed has everything to do with the outcome of an argument.” He basically states that if you tell the whole truth and express your anger directly at the cause when doing so then you get over the anger and move on.

So what is the cause of the anger? That he doesn’t cover. Also, he states that if you don’t express your anger then you must be denying it. Honest Brad doesn’t realize that if we are going to get over our anger then we must figure out its source, not rationalize its existence. But his logic, “We human beings are all selfish and unfair and it’s worse than useless to pretend we aren’t.”

So what is his psychological theory on mental problems? “Neurosis is essentially a refusal to accept what is happening in the present. Neurosis involves denying the truth about any form of excitement, here and now,” committing the same blunder of mainstream psychology by not understanding how yesterday’s negative experiences impact today’s thoughts and feelings.

And how successful is he with his patients? He describes one couple he had been treating because the guy decided to leave his girlfriend to move in with another. He convinces the scorned woman to meet with this ex-boyfriend and tell him the truth about her feelings. They talk together, they sleep together, he returns to his new girlfriend. Afterwards she feels okay, he commits suicide! After all, “No change matters…All change is futile…avoiding change…is an equally futile way to live.”

The most incredible section is his advice on sex. The first bit makes sense. You should tell your partner everything about your sex life from the past. This is as important as anything else in your background positive couples share with each other. He also says couples should be open about their desires together. Fair enough. But then he rationalizes sex with other people. “If you do have sex with other people together or separately (italics mine), be sure to tell each other what it was like for you and how you felt and feel about the other person…Whether you are monogamous or polygamous is not the most critical factor in having a successful couple. Whether or not you tell the truth is (italics his).” He further states, after all, “one-night stands are just as good as lifetime relationships.”

So how successful has Dr. Blanton been? He has been married four times. Also, he comments about kicking patients out of his office if they do not follow what he tells them to do. “What bothers me more and more is that even though we are right, if we kicked everyone out who deserved being kicked out for not cooperating with us for his or her own good, there might not be anyone left, including ourselves.” Now there is a revelation!

Our mind is the great gift from God. How can we rationalize not using it?

 


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