One of the best things I was ever taught in my psychology classes at university was by professor Dr Jodie Bradnam, who taught the 'Love, Sex and Relationships' class.
Jodie taught me her secret for marriage and it really stuck with me. So much so, that I use it with my couples counselling clients.
The Behavioural Marriage Jar
Anyhow, the 'Marriage Jar' is a simple concept that the mind can easily 'get.' It is amazing how this simple idea can adjust one's behaviour every day. Basically, it works like this: When you are first together, the jar is full. As time goes by, the jar empties. For every kind gesture, kiss, supportive comment, intimate moment, lunch pack made, etcetera, two marbles go in. For every sarcastic remark, episode of not listening or avoidance of connection, five marbles come out. (Ratio 2:5)
The Love Note Marriage Jar
The “Marriage Jar” can even be a real jar. Some people put post-it notes of gratitude in a bowl or jar for the other person to read. So that the partner knows they are appreciated and the little things don't go unnoticed. Notes that say, 'I love it when you bathe the kids without me asking.' 'You looked so hot the other night when we went out. ' I was impressed at your skills changing my car battery.' 'Thanks for paying that parking fine.' These little notes can mean so much to a couple that are under financial strain, have little time for date nights, or have a multitude of pressures.
The Empty Marriage Jar
When the marriage jar is running on empty for long periods, it cannot be sustained. One person will inevitably ditch the relationship, or release the pressure of conflict with a third party (cheating). These simple concepts are preventative measures. The marriage jar needs to be replenished regularly. It should be cherished and FED DAILY.
What Fills the Marriage Jar?
Kindness, thoughtfulness, appreciation, nurturing and encouragement are just a few things that can fill a marriage jar.
Say, "Thank you." Say, "I fancy you." Say, "I think you are beautiful."
Instead of noticing what your partner does not do, focus on the positives. We can't control another person, but we can reinforce behaviour that we like
Couples Counselling: Get some new strategies for conflict resolution. Better communication. Do a workshop. Invest in your relationship.
Learning your partner's Love Language will also give you brownie points. Go to: www.5lovelanguages.com
Remember the golden rule for our base needs from our partners. Think of it as the bottom (foundation) of a relationship pyramid: The currency for men is Admiration and Praise. The currency for women is Safety (emotional, physical, financial, spiritual, personal growth) and Protection.
Let's have a chat over a cuppa.
It is an interesting phenomenon when people problem solve for us with phrases like, "You should..." It usually reveals the motives, fears and aspirations of the person talking.
Now, I know it can be annoying when parents and authority figures say it. My Mother's favourite mantra was. "You should..." It often annoyed me and gave me pain - especially during my teen years when I was super insecure about myself, my body, my place in the world. I did not feel like I was enough by myself. I saw it as unwarranted, constant criticism. It was offered whether I wanted it or not.
I wish I had have known what I know now about 'should' phrases. If we are clever, we can learn from these phrases and take the personal out of the statements we hear. Did you know that people often project (unconsciously) onto us what they are thinking or judging about themselves? If you exchange "You should..." with "I should..." it makes more sense.
For example, my mother was quite dominatng and gave out advice (criticism) like it was her job to correct the world. My mother was very unfulfilled in her life. She never worked after she married and it is obvious to me now that Mum needed something more to achieve than being a mother and a wife. Her hobbies did not fill the gap inside of her. But I think that she lost her confidence to go back into the workforce or to follow her dreams.
My mother's favourite mantras were probably similar to the ones you hear. They went like this:
"You should lose some weight." "We were proud of you when..." "Your natural hair colour is so beautiful..." "Never be a housewife..." "You should be an artist..."
But... What was she saying really?
"I should lose some weight."
"I wish I never left europe."
"My hair is going grey and thinning."
"I hate being a housewife."
"I want to go live in an artists' colony."
I really noticed this phenomenon of projecting (acutely) recently during a visit with a family member, because her mantras of unsolicited advice sounded exactly like my mother's. This lady's projections were very similar. She was obviously feeling unfulfilled being a housewife. It was a case of deja vu indeed. She said, "Ghita, you should buy a place in Tasmania, find a rich farmer husband and..." (Note: I have never been to Tassie and I have no interest in farming. Which she would know if she knew me at all.)
But you see, she was sowing her unconscious/ semi-conscious thoughts. (Hold this space for whether this family member does in fact end up being married to a Tasmanian farmer.)
Importantly, no one likes unsolicited advice, right? But consider that it is just projection. When your parent, family member or righteous friend/ colleague takes captaincy of what you should do with your life, remember that you can rebel, feel annoyed, feel oppressed and dominated OR... You can look at it in a different way and reframe the statement that they offer as wistful thinking. Not "You should... but "I should..."
You might say to yourself, "Eureka! I wish I had have thought of that before."
Sometimes, "You should...", "You must...", You ought to...", "You seriously..." "You never...", and "Why don't you...?" are projections of that person's limiting beliefs, career ceilings, beliefs about money and status, unfulfilled dreams, fear, self-doubt, feelings of insecurity etcetera. And sometimes people would rather throw a solution out than to really listen to you.
Anyway, I hope this blog helps to deal with people who offer unsolicited advice.
Happy May! You know, most people find that one hour is not enough for a first counselling session, because there is so much to their story to tell. So, this month's offer is perfect for new clients. During my birthday month of May, the 3for2 Special offers three hours for the price of two (a great deal) which is especially great for couples on a budget - A saving of $200.
For individuals, it works out better than the GP Referral Concession fees for an individual having three sessions.
Couples $400 - Save $200
Individuals $200 - Save $100
The offer is valid for three months from purchase to give you plenty of time to use it. Best method for getting the best from your session is to have two 1.5 hour sessions. Although, naturally you can decide how you want to structure it.
Examples of How to Best Use These Hours:
3 Hours for the Price of 2 Special: This special is valid for Counselling and Couples Counselling only.
Note that this deal is offering 3 hours, not necessarily 3 sessions and is a prepaid website offer only.
Please read the terms and conditions on my website: Expires May 24th 2021.
Let's chat over a cuppa.