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Grit – How Much Do You Have and What Is Your Score?

I've often been described as a "pit bull," especially by my husband. He's not referring to the kind of bite, but the trait of tenacity, thankfully. Friends and family will regularly remark that they don't know what drives my passion and perseverance at my age, especially when so many of them are slowing down. I think they think I'm a little crazy. I think they're onto something, but I like to think of myself as a little obsessive, with happy, episodic "manias." (Case in point: We've been updating our house and land, so I've often found myself edging and mulching garden beds, lifting out huge rocks and hauling cuttings until well into darkness. When I get a "bug in my bonnet" about the preferred new color of a room I'll repaint it three times until it's right. I've been practically living at Home Depot and Homegoods, picking out materials, pillows, and general stuff, all in a driving unstoppable desire to improve the form and function of our house). My husband should be nominated as a CNN Hero, for his enormous patience and support, putting up with what I think is my big supply of Grit.

The dictionary defines grit as "firmness of character; indomitable spirit; pluck."  People refer to the quality of "grit" as the presence of persistence and passion. It's the "drive" you see in some folks and not others, and often seems to be related to the daily grind around some project or situation. People who demonstrate laziness or "wimpyness" aren't thought of as having much grit.

Angela Duckworth, a professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, identified a Grit Scale to assess how much of it you may have, and also to identify traits that might predict success. The complete test appears in her bestselling book, “Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance." If you're curious about your own score go to the "Resources" page of my website www.SusanLager.com to take the quick ten question test. With all my own crazy tenacity I wasn't surprised when I scored high on the scale. See what the test may reveal about you!  

“Marital Peace After An Affair” – BlogTalk Radio Show Wed. 7/27/16 8:30 PM EDT

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In this thirty minute episode I’ll co-host with Dr. Laura Louis, author of the popular book, “Marital Peace,” which is a valuable resource for supporting couples throughout the challenges of marriage.

Dr. Louis has specialized in helping distant couples heal after infidelity, and in the program discusses some of the ways she recommends rebuilding trust, rekindling intimacy and enhancing communication. Her therapeutic approach has been influenced through trainings in Brazil, Mexico, London and Haiti, as well as hundreds of transformative seminars all over the world.

Don’t miss this vital program if you and your spouse have endured or feel at risk for an affair! Learn some key tools to not only help avoid infidelity, but to restore trust, build forgiveness, and promote growth after an affair. You too can achieve marital peace after this traumatic development.

Call in live with questions or comments at 877-497-9046.

If you can’t make the live show you can listen to the podcast afterward at: www.BlogTalkRadio.com/SusanLager

One way or another, I hope you can join us!

Ashley Madison Hack: Divorce Not An Inevitable Outcome!

If you or your spouse has been exposed as using the Ashley Madison site to seek an affair, stop and take a deep breath! (Apparently thousands of people have already flocked to lawyers to pull the trigger on impulsively decided divorces).  Driven by the hurt and humiliation of public exposure and profound betrayal, as a discovering spouse you are understandably experiencing the first waves of trauma that this news usually brings. Vengeance and assuaging the broken trust through divorce may seem like the only solution to you at this point.

As the unfaithful spouse you are probably traumatized in different ways: what may have seemed like a discreet, compartmentalized adventure without victims now feels real in its damaging consequences. You are now either bathed in shame and fear, or furious that you can no longer “have your cake and eat it too.” However justified you may feel for your infidelity you know that your world is about to become unravelled. You are about to take the hit for everything wrong with the marriage, and cannot imagine ever being forgiven. If you stay married you imagine a lifetime in the “doghouse.” Whichever end you’re on, the impulse on both sides is often to give up and get a divorce, convinced that healing and reconciliation would be impossible.

As a couples therapist who, for many years has worked with thousands of couples reeling from infidelity, I have a few strong pieces of advice:

  • Slow down!
  • Take some deep breaths!
  • Don’t make any rash decisions now!
  • Don’t impulsively file for divorce!

Here are some things you may NOT be aware of:

  • Many marriages can not only be saved, but strengthened after the trauma of infidelity. It requires a lot of determination, hard work, vision, and a good couples therapist the spouses both trust.
  • Many couples who impulsively divorce deeply regret that decision later on.
  • Children are often the biggest victims, especially in a contentious divorce.
  • If you don’t know what direction to take regarding your damaged marriage there is an alternative to couples therapy called Discernment Counseling. This is a brief treatment designed for couples where one spouse is leaning toward a divorce and the other wants to stay married. It is not geared toward tools and skills for repair, but instead focuses on helping partners make a decision about a direction for the marriage. Only trained Discernment Counselors can provide this service.
  • There are terrific books and support groups for couples wrestling with infidelity.
  • If you do decide to get a divorce you can have a healing, constructive process through Collaborative Law. Divorce doesn’t have to be an impoverishing dog fight.
  • There may be hope. There is help.

Anyone in the greater Boston area wanting more information, feel free to contact me at The Couples Center PLLC, in Portsmouth, NH: 603-431-7131.

 

Couples Therapy In Portsmouth, NH: Addressing Disconnection In Marriage

If there’s one central problem I deal with most frequently in my work as a couples therapist, I’d say it’s disconnection in marriage. It can happen through over- involvement with children, work, hobbies, family or hyper focus on self. It’s a defensive posture, masking some internal fears. Left unexplored, it can ruin a marriage.

Often, the stage is set early in life as spouses adopt certain attachment stances in relation to early nurturing or lack of it. *(See my “resources” page at www.SusanLager.com and take the Adult Attachment Style Survey to find out about your own leanings toward healthy connection or disconnection – you may be surprised!)

Significant research findings indicate that spouses who spend more time together are generally much happier in their marriages than those who don’t.

If you’ve lost touch with your spouse, it’s time to register for a couples’ retreat, to revisit or re-learn the behaviors which helped you to bond when you were courting, and to become more conscious of the defensive behaviors the two of you have adopted over the years.

Meredith Richardson, a talented mediator, collaborative lawyer, and conflict coach and I will be presenting a couples’ retreat May 16-18 at the Victoria Inn in Hampton, NH.  It’s a charming bed and breakfast on the seacoast which we plan to have all for ourselves for the weekend, so there will be ample privacy as well as space to do this important work.

You could also join us for a Couples Retreat on beautiful Star Island, off the coast of Maine and NH, from June 21-25. It’s another ideal setting for reflection and learning.

For more information, or to register, contact me at: 603-431-7131

or call Meredith at: 207-439-4267.

Space is limited, so don’t wait too long – your marriage calls!

 

BlogTalk Radio 2/26/14 8 PM EST Show: “Marriage and Money: A Love Story?”

As we all get ready to pay our taxes, this is a particularly relevant show now!

In this 40 minute episode, I will co-host with Meredith Richardson, a talented and feisty lawyer, mediator, and conflict coach. Together we’ll focus on the central issues and some common pattterns couples play out related to finances during their marriages, or in their divorces.

* Learn about some key behaviors which are often indicators of marital strength and collaboration, or not.

* Find out about 4 new behaviors which can help you and your spouse to do better in this area.

* Learn about some critical legal issues you need to know about filing taxes jointly.

To listen in, or to join us live on the air with questions or comments,  call toll-free 877-497-9046. 

If you can’t make the live show, catch the recording at: The Couplespeak Relationship Forum

Whatever you do, don’t miss this episode!

Valentine’s Day is Over. Now Build Lasting Love!

How’s this for a unique couples retreat?

Hopefully, those of you in committed relationships had a lovely Valentine’s Day, filled with sweets and loving exchanges with your special someone.

But now that the one day marking affection and love has gone by, it’s time to really dig in and explore all the daily ways you and your partner show and tell love for each other. This inevitably involves developing effective ways to manage conflict, when the rose-colored glasses come off, as you become a more seasoned couple.

Join the dynamic mediator and conflict coach Meredith Richardson, and me for a special Couples Retreat at the lovely Victoria Inn for an experiential weekend designed to build better connection, communication and reduced conflict.

We’ll have this cozy inn all to ourselves for this special event, Friday, May 16th through Sunday morning, May 18th, 2014.

For more information about registering: Call Meredith Richardson 207-439-4267 or email: [email protected]

Staying In The Couplespeak™ Game

As a couples therapist I routinely talk to my clients about the ambiguous road ahead of them in working on repairing and enriching their relationships. The work is generally fraught with uncertainty and likely setbacks, as is the case with most hard earned changes. This discussion always involves the issue of what each partner needs to “stay in the game,” or what would they minimally require of themselves and each other to maintain hope, energy and good faith in the process.

What each of us needs to “stay in the game” applies to any endeavor which doesn’t produce immediate lovely results. Last week, after three years of often grueling work, I received my official documentation awarding me the trademark for the name “Couplespeak.” I had invented the name for a division of my company which would provide coaching products and services live and online. Getting the trademark with proprietorial rights to the name required me to write books, articles, eBooks, develop workshops, training programs, blogs, videos, a BlogTalk Radio program, and to manage multiple internet platforms.

Mind you, all the while I’ve had a full time private psychotherapy practice, and started with very little interest in the internet and tech devices three years ago. But I loved the name “Couplespeak,” and believed that if I could live long enough I could grow it into something really significant. The whole process required that to finish, I stay in the game, the Couplespeak game. I had to devise ways of making myself accountable, and maintaining my passion for the project. I had to enlist the support of my friends and family. I had to learn when to take breaks and when to force myself back into the effort. Just as anyone requires in any big, meaningful project, I needed to keep up my faith in myself, and my faith in the work itself. And now, just as anyone would, I’ll need to allow this “finish” to become the remarkable start of something else, a new game…..

Best Regards,
Susan Lager

www.SusanLager.com

PS. For copies of my new books about staying sane in the relationship game, go to Amazon:  http://amzn.to/12ALenB  

Finishing A Project

I’m in the home stretch for the completion of my second book, “Become Relationship Smart Without A Lifetime Of Therapy.”

I think I now understand first hand what the dilemma is for so many people about finishing a project! When you’re involved in a project which is meaningful to you it’s like getting married. You make a supposed commitment to do your best and hang in there “in sickness and in health.” You often do it publicly, like having a wedding. You tell your friends and family about it, and they become invested as well, so if you bag it, it’s similar to the humiliation of a divorce – you feel like a failure who’s let everyone down. Or worse, people don’t take you seriously after that around your passions and projects.

Is the solution to just not try to accomplish too much to avoid all this aggravation? No, I think it’s a better idea to closely monitor your negative self talk and your possible self sabotaging behaviors, then remind yourself why you bothered with the project to begin with, to reinforce your motivation to get to the finish line. I’m going to do just that with the book. Not think about it too much, and plow forward, reminding myself why I’ve bothered. When you see the book posted on Amazon.com you’ll know I made it to the finish line. If and when you read the book, you too will know why I bothered.

Cheers,
Susan Lager

Love Is Not Enough!

For all of you hopeless romantics out there who think that love conquers all, I have news for you – it’s a delusion! Love is not enough!!

If you’ve been in a relationship where you excuse various kinds of chronic disrespectful, unkind or unfair behaviors, “because deep down I know he (she) loves me,” then I would recommend that you stop and examine a few critical things very closely.

For a limited time, I’ll be offering one hour phone consultations to be used in conjunction with my latest original article, “Love Is Not Enough.” We’ll explore the six major factors which may help you decide if you are wasting precious time, hope, and energy in a dead relationship, or whether there’s a happier pulse which can be amplified.

Contact me by email at: [email protected] or simply call my office at: 603-431-7131 for information about pricing and availability.

Cheers,
Susan Lager

Keeping Agreements With Yourself And Others

Hi Reader,

I’ve had a number of psychotherapy sessions this week, mostly with couples about how critical it is to honor agreements made with eachother, and how the breaking of agreements erodes trust. The discussion generally led to the issue of promises made to oneself, and how that’s part of the whole deal. And I’m thinking, “of course, you can’t bail out on your partner or yourself! It breaks faith!”

Then I get home, it’s 10:00 P.M., and first thing I do is reneg on my promise to myself to not eat carbs late at night. Oh well, the world won’t come to an end if my butt is two inches bigger……

Then I check my emails and again notice the one about technical difficulties with my new website, requiring alot more alien, left-brained problem-solving, so my solution is to bag the whole mess, and maybe follow that fantasy of becoming a roadcrew signholder, and not have to think so much! Who ever needed a website anyway? Oh, I forgot to mention the trademark fiasco, and my quick solution for that:  I get some return calls from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office telling me time’s almost up to produce all the goods and services I’ve filed a trademark for, otherwise it’s even more money for an extension. (hidden meaning: they took me SERIOUSLY, and expect me to make good on my promise!)  What are they, crazy? My solution? Who needs a trademark anyway? Did anyone ever get killed because they lacked one? So, gentle reader, if you’ve ever wanted to shoot yourself for breaking agreements to your partner or yourself,  or even thinking about it, chances are your fancy therapist knows all too well how you feel.

Goodnight for now,
Susan Lager

P.S. Maybe I’ll surprise you and actually have that website up as promised in July: www.HowToBeABetterCouple.com

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Susan Lager

I am a licensed, board certified pyschotherapist and relationship coach in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Through my psychotherapy or coaching services, I can provide you with skills and tools to transform your life.

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