Archive for December, 2010

What was the Home that “Built” You?

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

     This article, as many are, was inspired by my daughter, Brittany.  She is a song loving sentimental young woman who always likes to help her Daddy out with regard to finding themes for my articles.  It was she who turned me on to the song “I LOVED HER FIRST” which was our “first dance” at her wedding last year.  Have you heard the song “THE HOUSE THAT BUILT ME” by Miranda Lambert?  She won the CMA award for best female vocalist of the year.

     Some of the lyrics include:

“I know you can’t go home again    I had to come back one last time        

 Ma’am I know you don’t know me from Adam.       But these handprints on the front steps are mine.

Up those stairs in that little back bedroom          Is where I did my homework and learned to play guitar                                                                                                  

 I’ll bet you didn’t know under that live oak              My favorite dog is buried in the yard.

I thought if I could touch this place or feel it              This brokenness inside me might start healing …”           

Apparently the writer had lost herself and was in a lot of pain and hoped that by going back to the house that “built” her she might start healing.              

     The emphasis of this article is to ask you in what kind of house did you grow up?  How did it “build” you? Was it a home – a loving sanctuary with a caring mentoring family and lots of fun times OR was it a house in which you were unhappy with many painful memories?  Or somewhere in between?  Do you have any desire to go back and see the home, or homes, in which you grew up?  Your gut reaction – joyful or sad? As you further reflect on the house, what kind of memories and emotions emerge?

     John Bradshaw, in a provocative book called HOMECOMING, takes you through a series of exercises that elicit feelings associated with certain age experiences in the home.  These emotional regression exercises help you bring back certain subconscious memories and feelings that were important in wiring the limbic portion of your brain. Those recorded experiences set the tone for your intimate relationships and capacity to create a healthy family. You may want to explore those experiences.

     As a parent it is good to hear our two children remember fondly the loving and fun times associated with their home in Kennesaw where they grew up. They go back periodically to visit the house and the neighborhood that “built” them.  Both say they want to build the same kind of home for their family as it unfolds.

      As you move forward in life, what kind of home are you “building”?  Will it be one that when you look back in time you can feel proud that you put a lot of heart and soul, and fun times, into it?  Will it be one that you can rejoice in that it “built” you and your family well?!

P.S. Brittany is a health and wellness educator.  Check out her web sites: and

How to Make a Relationship Work

Saturday, December 4th, 2010

 1.  BE READY AND COMMITTED:  Being “ready” means having the personal maturity to enter into, maintain, and continually work on creating a wonderful relationship.   Sometimes a bit of ”clean-up” is necessary

2.  RELATIONSHIP IS TOP PRIORITY:  Your time management, thoughts, and action are indicators of the importance of the relationship.

 3.  RESPECT & TRUST= LOVE.  Respect and trust are the basic building blocks of a loving relationship.  If missing, there is no love.  Don’t kid yourself, many do.


 5. COMMUNICATE:  SPEAK & LISTEN  Be clear, assertive, and empathic – both verbally and non-verbally.

 6. COMPROMISE=WIN-WIN  Be flexible, get rid of your “hardening of the categories”. You don’t have to be “right”.  Find a solution that both of you can live with.

 7. FORGIVE QUICKLY AND GRACEFULLY   Holding on, and in, is dangerous. Start each day with fresh forgiveness. People that don’t ask for forgiveness and grudge holders are doomed to a failed relationship.

 8. HAVE A SENSE OF HUMOR  Try laughing and being angry at the same time. Bring forth smiles in your partner.

 9. SHARE POWER AS EQUALS.  Be a team with agreed upon domains and responsibilities. Synergistic teamwork leads to successful reaching of shared goals.

 10. PLAY WELL AND OFTEN.  Positive energy comes in, stress goes out.  Fun unites. Know how to play well together.

 11. LIGHT THE CANDLE OF ROMANCE.    Invite intimacy warmly. Know how to create romantic moments.

 12. BE SENSUALLY CONNECTED. Physical closeness is vital for continued connection. Go to bed together, snuggle without having any material blocking touch.

 13. FINANCIAL PARTNERSHIP: Communicate, negotiate, compromise, and then agree about income production and spending priorities. Be trustworthy in carrying out what has been agreed upon.

 14. BE VULNERABLE WITH APPROPRIATE BOUNDARIES.  Intimacy is about being safe, physically and emotionally, with your partner. 

 15. CELEBRATE LIFE EVENTS.  People who celebrate are happier and closer. There are many occasions to celebrate if you look for them.

 16. BE EACH OTHER’S BEST FRIEND.  There is no greater compliment to give to your partner. You are truly there for the other.

  17. PARENT WELL TOGETHER: If you have children be the best parents you can be. “The best gift you can give your children is two parents who love each other.”


     The above list is not meant to be exhaustive.  It is meant as a guideline, in need of amplification and application specific to each couple.  I invite you to look at yourself, see if you practice the above guidelines, and then evaluate your relationship.


How to Screw Up a Relationship

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

1.  JUDGE  Appoint yourself as the one truly inspired and anointed determiner of what is right and wrong in the relationship.  Judges usually are absolutist in their pronouncements.  They know what is best.

2.  CRITICIZE  This is the second part of the famous one-two punch- JUDGE & CRITICIZE. Look for and find what’s “wrong” with your partner.  Practice saying, “You shouldn’t do that”.

3.  CONTROL  Most judges and criticizers tend to be control freaks.  Ambivalence and ambiguity  are intolerable.  “My way or the highway” is their motto.

4. WITHDRAW  People who run away emotionally usually are quite fear ridden and/or they use  it as a way to punish the other.  They are not open or vulnerable, nor are they easy to  reconnect with.  They tend to be stubborn and unreachable.  These people feel the only way to be safe is to shut down and hide.

 5.  PLEASE  Pleasers appear to be the “good guy”, the saintly one.  Beware, however, for they  tend not to be credible in their words or believable in actions taken.  They are keeping peace at any price and are afraid to assert themselves or express their true feelings.  Therefore the partner stays in a quandary wondering who this mystery person really is.

6. CHANGE  the other.  CHANGERS try many ways to make-over their partner.  They decide who or what their partner should be and then cajole, manipulate, force, or entice them to change.  Thus the partner usually feels inadequate and undesirable.  Such behavior rarely results in closeness or trust.

7.  ABUSE  These people have given up subtle attempts to control or change behavior in their  partner.   These people are mean as they verbally, physically, and/or sexually abuse their partner.  These people are not safe to be with and should be escaped from.  People who stay  with abusers tend to be weak PLEASERS who are trying to change or fix their partners.  Such methods do not work.

  Most people have a tendency to act in some of these ways occasionally but, hopefully are continually working on improving these weaknesses.  These “screw up” behaviors will ruin the possibility of a healthy relationship.