Couplespeak™ Blog

Are We Having Fun Yet?

As usual in June, I’ve noticed more cancellations for therapy and coaching sessions lately. People are capitalizing on the random glorious weather, and understandably wanting to leave their problems behind, and have some fun! The beaches are starting to get more active, the lobster joints busier, and the garden shops are humming. I love this time of year in Maine and New Hampshire as it comes alive with tourists and locals spending time and money enjoying themselves. The therapist in me has a word of caution, however:  Remember that “fun” isn’t just about where you are and what you’re doing, but whom you’re with, and whether the activity, timing, and unfolding of it  feels mutually desirable. Unless you love your solitude as “fun”, remember that “fun” is usually about something co-created and often negotiated. It won’t be fun for your partner if you jam something they feel is unsavory down their throat, like dump-picking, or long hikes in the woods in 90 degree weather.  Remember to negotiate what you both do, and how and when you do it! Then when you ask, “Are we having fun yet?”, you’ll probably get a resounding, “OH, YES!!

Off to the beach,
Susan Lager

PS.  If you have kids, try to do things you enjoy also. It will be more fun for all.

Revised Christmas…. Better?

Hello Reader,

Here’s a simple entry about the power of simplicity. Our family is in a very labor intensive phase of careers, all of us simultaneously. Too much to do, never enough time, but lots of drive and purpose.

We’re in the midst of a social experiment — none of the usual elaborate decorations, painstaking gift choices, piles of money spent, and frenetic preparation. Instead, very simple sprucing up, a special, but no fuss Christmas day dinner, donations to a few, favorite charities, and together, the next day, a trip to Boston to the Museum of Fine Arts, historic sight-seeing, a delicious brunch, and later, dinner in some exotic restaurant in Back Bay.  No pressure, no racing around, no fuss, no worry!  Simplicity, meaningful giving, and family time……..

Good night,
Susan Lager

PS. Check out my new Facebook page: Susan R. Lager On Facebook

PSS. Enter your answers in my holiday poll at the bottom of this blog–I’m interested in your thoughts.

Swimming With Sharks

Well Hello Again, Reader!

I realize I’ve been incognito for awhile this summer. Guess why?  I work in New Hampshire, and live in Maine, on both coasts where we have alot of ocean, beaches, and now, of all things, SHARKS!!!! People who live in this area generally feel frantic to enjoy the measly amount of warm weather for maybe two months, so must of us play alot of hooky and head for the water. But this year, we have company in the form of 12 foot Blue Sharks, and Great Whites swimming along with us!  And I cannot bring myself to stay on the sand now that my close friend Kathy has turned me into what a Great White would consider a “seal lookalike” by getting me hooked on wet-suit swimming. While all the other (smart) folks squeamishly dip their ankles in the frigid water and run back onto the sand, there we are bobbing about in our suits for hours, cool and happy as clams, self righteous, oblivious sharkbait, surfers without the boards…..

Ain’t life grand?

Susan Lager

P.S. When (and If) I get out of the water, I’ll get back to you with lots more about couples on my soon to be born, (but now pesky) website

At Home Vacations

Hi Reader,

It’s mid summer, hotter than Hell, and the perfect time for enjoying your hometown if you can’t get away. Here are ten tips for the perfect at-home vacation I’ll share with you:

1. Treat your home as a hotel for the “vacation” time.

2. Avoid all the usual dull, dreary, daily chores. Commit to not doing any dishes, laundry, or bills for now. If you don’t love cooking, get take-out or eat in restaurants.

3. Get unplugged. Stay away from email and phone messages. If you don’t want everyone to think you’ve been abducted by aliens, leave a friendly message on your machine saying you’re “vacating”.

4. Do some research with your Significant Other about events and resources in your area.

5. Divide the time up, and take turns treating eachother to special days playing “tourists”, each taking initiative on your day for all the plans and logistics.

6. Commit to going to some new places you haven’t been before, or new activities to you both.

7. If your self-care routines usually feel like drudgery, relax. Have an extra glass of wine or miss a workout. It won’t kill you.

8. Connect with some friends in a new way. Remember, now you have the time.

9. Sleep late if you want. Relax all your rules.

10. Talk about things close to your heart. Avoid hot-button issues.

Before you know it, you’ll be on “island time” having a wonderful vacation without the worry about your plane getting hijacked, your passport getting stolen, or your wallet getting depleted. Enjoy!

Happy trails,
Susan Lager

Quality Time For Couples

Hello Reader,

What do Hullavators, J-Bars, Slide and Set Saddles, new bathing suits, trailer balls, hitches, Thermos coolers, Porta-Potties, ice cream cones, picnic lunches, juicy novels, and sunsets have in common?

You guessed it! Summertime fun in the sun on a favorite lake, with not only kayaks, but now with our little cruising motorboat! This is the sequel to “Father’s Day Celebration With Determination”: what started as a gift to the Husband and Father of quality family time for the day, now unfolds into carving out regular quality time as a couple — no cellphones, no laptops, no “homework”, no dishes, no bills, no laundry, no distractions from the shear pleasure of precious time together. It never comes easily or automatically, it requires planning, creativity, collaboration, commitment, and a capacity for joy. If you value it in your relationship, the returns will be immense. (Keep in mind that if you create experiences which involve some novelty, something out of your ordinary routine, you will be ramping up supplies of dopamine and norepinephrine, the “pleasure” chemicals in your brain associated with romantic love!)  So your house will be a bit messier, and your voicemail will be full, but no one will get killed if you create wonderful memories together. It’s the “glue” in intimate partnerships, and most of us preserve too little time for quality time together. So start dreaming and together planning some experiences this summer, away from the stressors and routines of your everyday life. Think of all the money you’ll save on marriage counseling down the road!

Susan Lager

P.S. Look for my latest published articles about couple’s issues at: 

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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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