Couplespeak™ Blog

The “We Don’t Communicate” Myth

The number one complaint couples refer to when they call with a therapy request is “We don’t communicate.” Sound familiar? And oddly, unless partners are each bound and gagged (that’s another post, I think), or living separately in parts of the world without telephones, video or email, they communicate – maybe not clearly, or respectively, or productively, but they COMMUNICATE.


Communication can be an eye roll, a grimace, a smile, a turning away, a raised eyebrow, a frown, a touch, silence, a scream, a laugh, etc. They are all ways of sending a message. Our 15 month old granddaughter speaks only about 20 actual words at this point, but communicates quite clearly and purposefully with pointing, head shaking, smiling, hand waving, hugs, cries, shrieks, squeals or laughs. Because the family doesn’t expect many actual words we all pay attention to what she’s “saying” and try to respond in a tuned in way.


Our 9 year old Lab has never said one word but also communicates very clearly and consistently with groans, sighs, tail wags, kisses, stares, or nudges. And he runs the household! He usually gets what he wants without ever saying one word.


So maybe, the issue is really “We don’t send or receive clear signals,  We don’t listen. We don’t pay attention. We don’t tune in.”

Rescheduled BlogTalk Radio Episode: “Workplace Relationships: Dealing with the Dreaded Drama of Conflict”

Due to technical issues with BlogTalk Radio, unfortunately last week’s episode never aired, and has been rescheduled to Wednesday, September 23rd at 8:30 PM.  My apologies for any inconvenience.

DO tune in to the rescheduled episode if you’ve experienced conflict at work and have felt dread and indecision about what to do. Or, if you have a manager who doesn’t handle conflict productively, you end up getting the short end of the stick, and again, dread dealing with the issue, then this show is for you!

My co-host Pattie Porter, The Texas Conflict Coach, is an expert in the field of conflict management, and will share her insights about the issues, along with some critical tools you can use to manage these situations more confidently and effectively.

Call 877-497-9046 to join us live on the air with questions or comments. If you can’t make the live show you can listen to the recording afterward at your convenience at:

Hats Off to Market Basket Employees And Their Champion, Arthur T. Demoulas

If you live in New England as I do, unless you’ve been hanging out under a rock, you’re probably aware of the enormous drama playing out between the employees of the Market Basket supermarket chain and the corporate players who orchestrated a hostile takeover of the company, away from Arthur T. Demoulas, the beloved CEO of many years.

Apparently, a  relative, Arthur S Demoulas, was instrumental in the takeover, playing out an old, generational financial feud with the Arthur T. side of the family. The feud has unfolded now into the current vision for the supermarket chain, with Arthur T. representing a more humanistic, personal, more employee-friendly and neighborhood-friendly mission for the company, while Arthur S. is viewed as the embodiment of corporate greed, planning to radically raise prices, and streamline employee policies, among other things.

What has been amazing to watch as a consumer and as a therapist, is the level of love, loyalty and support this ousted family-friendly CEO has garnered from not only employees, but shoppers all over New England. The unfolding “strike” among non-unionized workers, and the boycott of all the stores, lobbying for Arthur T.’s reinstatement, has been an awe inspiring example of what can happen when people have felt respected and cared about – how they will risk everything to stand up for people who represent ideals which are important to them, especially when those values are now threatened. This unfolding drama also illustrates how much difference one person can make in a system, how much impact we all potentially can have!

I would think it would be a wake up call for all employers about the huge impact treating their employees well can have, not only on morale, but also on the profitability of their businesses. Happy employees = good business. Employers who think they can motivate their staff with bullying, intimidation, and punishments are themselves relics of the Dark Ages. Inevitably, they will fail because employees need to feel appreciated, respected and defended, otherwise they will understandably be disloyal and unproductive.

And so, hats off to Arthur T., and to all you Market Basket employees for your courage, tenacity, and loyalty, in standing up for what your deserve and what you value. May you and Arthur T. prevail! ….And may all the rest of us take inspiration from your example.

Silent Partner, Silent Wife

Hello Reader,

I have exciting news! Today I produced my first-in-a-series free teleseminar entitled “Silent Partner, Silent Wife”, featuring Katherine Frick as my first “guest expert”! It was a really interesting and informative hour about all the ways women become silent in their relationships. We dealt with all the related issues we see play out in our psychotherapy practices and in our own lives, ranging from causes, to consequences, and to possibilities for breaking the silence. I think many women will strongly relate to this topic, and may benefit from listening to the recording. It is a private offering available only for subscribers to my website: How To Be A Better Couple.

Check it out and enjoy!

Susan Lager

Egypt’s Quest For Freedom

Hello Reader,

Along with millions of others worldwide, I’ve been transfixed by the daily struggles of the Egyptian people to cast away the repressive regime of Mubarak and his secret police enforcers. I too, was gleeful yesterday when news came out that he was stepping down, and that “step one” of the revolution had prevailed. I’ve found the parallels between this movement and the dynamics of a healthy self, and healthy relationships, very clear. The Egyptian people, just as most adults, need to feel that their voices are heard, and that they have power to effect change in their own lives. They need to feel respected and acknowledged about their needs, and not humored or stonewalled, as they have been. All people, contrary to the patriarchal thinking of autocratic rulers, need to have this sense of “agency” in their lives, and in all their meaningful relationships, whether it’s with their government, or with their partners. Over the course of time, this push toward voice and prerogative, cannot be squashed with healthy, happy consequences, in countries, or in marriages, in workplaces, or in friendships. So it may very well be Yemen next, and Jordan, and Saudi Arabia, and maybe someday even Iran, who knows?

What we can each do in our own small way is to make sure that we foster relationships with ourselves, and with all significant others, that honor voice and ultimately “freedom.”

What a Good Night!
Susan Lager

Blog Talk Radio Host

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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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