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Ask Dr. Greg
Ask Dr. Greg
Ask Psychologist Dr. Greg Klassen
This page is reserved for your questions and curiosity about relationship, growth, spirituality and just about anything related to the human process of life. So, go ahead and ask that question you think is too simple, too embarrassing or just plain confounding. I promise to keep your identity private and others will likely benefit from your willingness to ask. So… ask away and we will all learn together!
I am so frustrated! I keep trying to get my partner to couples therapy, but they refuse. We really need the help and I don't know what to do. What can I do to get them to go with me?
I really understand the frustration you mention here. How often have any of us tried desperately to bring about change in a relationship only to find we are the only person who believes the relationship has a problem or is willing to work toward change? The painful truth is that you can not force anyone to change or do anything they are unwilling to do. But wait, there is something you can do in this situation! “Be” the change you wish to achieve in your relationship. Think of it as dancing with your partner. When you are ready to try some new “steps” in the dance, don’t wait for them to make the first move. Go yourself and get the help you need to take the lead and change the way you act and react with others. They are not able to do the old dance if you refuse to join and, instead, do something new. I guarantee you will get their attention and, more often, a partner who begins trying new relational “dance steps”.
I am looking for some tool to improve my communication skill with my husband. Is there anything that you find to be most helpful in helping us understand each other?
If I were to pick one mantra for communication it would be a quotation from Stephen Covey; “Seek first to understand, then be understood.” Most conflict or troubled communication ends when you take the time to actually understand what the person is trying to communicate instead of both focusing on trying to push their views on the other person. When you stop to listen, you may realize you are talking about two different things, or have insight into a view that you had never considered. Either way, someone who has been listened to will be more open to hearing you as well and finding a compromise if needed. More often, I find that people have a pretty good idea of what promotes good communication and are able to list the fundamentals. The problem is more in using those “tools” when emotion starts to escalate. When current conflict or relational patterns bump into unfinished business, like fears,insecurities or unhealthy relational patterns from our past, we go into survival mode and all those wonderful communication skill go out the window. The most effective way to improve your communication is usually not adding another “tool,” but healing from the emotional triggers that prevent you from using what your already have.
I've been dating my girlfriend for almost a year now and have some concerns about our differences and wondering if we are really a good match for each other. I've heard the saying, 'Opposites attract', but they also say 'Birds of a feather flock together.' What's most true for marriage?
In my experience, the more similarities between partners, the easier the relationship will be. Notice, I didn’t say “better,” just “easier.” It is true that different skill sets and abilities can help cover weaknesses in the other partner, but the reality is that the more different partners are the more compromises will have to be negotiated. All couples will have to negotiate some, but the fewer the areas of differences the more simple things will be. I find that the greater indicator of future marital happiness hinges more on how the process of negotiating differences takes place. Are differences dismissed, ignored or bullied, or are they confronted and worked out until both feel content with the compromise. In other words, I would never advise marrying someone until you have worked out numerous differences and conflicts so that you know you have someone you can trust when you don’t see “eye to eye”.
“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvels of reality.”