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By Chandrama Anderson

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About this blog: I am a LMFT specializing in couples counseling and have lived in and around Palo Alto since 1969. I worked in high-tech at Apple, Stanford University, and in Silicon Valley for 15 years before becoming a therapist. My background i...  (More)

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Marriage Interview 7: He Works 24 Hours a Day

Uploaded: May 4, 2015
Lui and Leon met at work in 2004 and began dating a month later. They married three months after that, and have been married for 10 years.

Lui says that Leon works 24 hours a day and she is lonely. I'm not sure how many hours he actually works, but I am sure she is lonely.

Lui tries to put herself into his shoes, and understand all the reasons for this, and they resolve it by forgiving each other (I realize this is an incomplete answer: What are they forgiving? How? Who is forgiving whom for what? Does Lui get some of what she needs from Leon, and some from her community of friends and family, work, kids?).

Working "all the time" is a hot topic in couple's therapy these days; long days, followed by work at home at night, international teams, plus travel. This often leads to couples feeling (and I would venture to agree) disconnected and resentful. This may be the start of a small trajectory in differing directions that over time can grow to problematic proportions (think of steering a huge ship and when a turn needs to be initiated).

Part of what we explore in couple's counseling is whether this much work is actually needed (fear of job loss, loss of productivity after 10 hours of work has been shown in a great deal of research, etc.) and if there are other reasons such as fear of intimacy (closeness, not sex), addiction to the speed of life and devices (which are incredible tools and also addictive), problems at home, underlying resentments, sleeping arrangements (whether the couple goes to bed at the same time a few nights a week, sex, kids in the couple's bed, etc.) and more.

One idea a couple shared with me is to take a sick or vacation day once a quarter and go spend the day together doing something that you love; maybe something you used to do when you were dating. Leave the kids at school, go off together, and enjoy one another.

As I've mentioned on Couple's Net before, Dr. John Gottman's prescription for busy couples is The 5 Magic Hours: Two minutes in the morning to hug and kiss and make eye contact, 20 minutes in the evening to talk and listen (10 minutes each person), and a two hour date every week.

Lui's Tips for other couples:

1. Respect each other in the first place.
2. Forgive each other.
3. When arguing, don't bring up everything, especially old topics.
4. Never cross the line, no matter how angry you are. [The line: Screaming. Raging. Physical blows or throwing things.

Comments

 +  Like this comment
Posted by sea reddy , a resident of College Terrace,
on May 8, 2015 at 2:31 pm

Just love each other!
Companionship is great for your heart and soul.

Respectfully


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Gemello, a resident of Gemello,
on May 8, 2015 at 3:31 pm

How can you live life through a book or on there advice like dr gotmans? Why not just google your way through life and never figure any thing out on your own. Plus He is a 73 year old man respectfully. But seriously what does he know about relationships today lady? Huh? Times have changed he was 30 in 1970! Gas was 25 cents a gallon.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Jenn, a resident of Fairmeadow,
on Jun 23, 2015 at 10:41 am

I love the Gottman theory. I know I've read it before, but it still means just as much. It's so easy to get caught up in the busyness of daily life and slowly move away from your spouse. Everyone needs a reminder to connect every once in a while.


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By Chandrama Anderson | 1 comment | 1,335 views

 

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