Sunday, August 12, 2012

Don't Try to Change Your Man

I love relationship books. I absolutely love them. Given that you’d think I was better at relationships, but maybe it’s just the opposite. Because I see my struggles I am fascinated by what psychology and medicine and theology and even astrology have to say about how to find, make, keep and grow in a loving relationship.

These books are my candy.

This week I’m reading an old favorite: “Change Your Mindset Not Your Man.” By Sally Watkins, MSW. Her advice is pointed and true to her idea—low on theory and heavy on making changes. And boy it’s not for sissies.

One of her main points—and she repeats it --is that most woman have relationship troubles because we lie to ourselves. The man is bad? Well, she says, what red flag did you choose to ignore? If the man is really bad and you are still there, then this is all about you, according to Sally. Yeah, hard to swallow stuff like that. But sometimes those buckets of cold water really are refreshing.

 You will not be surprised that much of her relationship advice is extremely relevant to couples in the caregiving mode. The best way to prevent resentment and burnout is self-care. Radical self-care. Take a day off and even a week off. Sounds crazy right? But a week away can help you to love that person again. And all those people saying, “How can I help?” and “If you need anything…” Call them in and hand over the keys and the schedule.

Yes, some people will think you are nuts, and your partner may think you are nuts, but just keep saying, “Being selfish is the most loving thing I can do for both of us.”

And check out Watkins book. Cancer is a relationship issue too. Cancer makes any relationship a “bad” one. By default you have relationship trouble when cancer is involved. It’s really too bad that oncologists don’t talk about this stuff. But then they are just trying to save bodies while we are trying to save lives.

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