How To Fix Low Self-Esteem In Your Marriage

Last week, we met Mimi and Jordan, a lovely young couple whose dating relationship was marked by Mimi being attracted to Jordan precisely because he did not fawn over her. Mimi, although very pretty, smart, and nice, had low self-esteem. She kept that well-hidden with great social skills but in her heart of hearts she did not believe in herself; she felt weak and unsure. Therefore, if a boy would be too admiring, she foolishly felt that it could only mean one thing: He would expect her to take leadership in the relationship and that was something she didn’t feel she could do. Jordan was reserved. He was a responsible person and a hard worker and did not seem to expect anything from Mimi except to be there for him. Oddly enough, once the marriage got underway, Mimi felt the absence of the very thing she had been afraid of in other boys — attention. Actually, this makes sense: The attention made her insecure while dating but once married she felt needy because of her own insecurities. The more she complained to Jordan, the more irritated he felt; she was no longer the same sweet girl he had been dating. Now that Mimi and Jordan have been married for six months and the marriage seems to be heading to that unnecessary and terrible place starting with the word “d,” is there a way to avert this tragic next step? Of course there is. Mimi and Jordan engaged in a short course of counseling to address three issues: Mimi, Jordan, and them. Issue #1: Mimi: Mimi needed a little time...

The Most Important Thing You Must Do When Dating

Mimi was all excited. She was getting ready for a first date with Jordan. She was looking forward to the date because she had heard such glowing reports about him from all his references: He was smart, likable, and a great earner. Jordan was punctual, a good quality. He smiled very pleasantly at Mimi as she opened the door. Jordan took Mimi to a coffee shop inside a hotel lobby not terribly far away. He was very proper; he did the polite things like opening doors for her but he also held himself back a little, too. When there were those awkward silences over coffee, Jordan didn’t seem to need to rush in to fill the silence or smile with embarrassment. He simply sipped his coffee slowly and carefully and waited patiently until one of them would think of something to say. Mimi, herself felt somewhat uncomfortable with those moments and Jordan didn’t rush in to salvage her from them. It felt to Mimi, in a strange sort of way, good: He was giving her space to be who she was, awkward and all. She would look up and be the one with the nervous smile. At the end of the date Mimi honestly didn’t know whether she had impressed this boy favorably or not. That was unusual; generally, they made it clear that they found her interesting and attractive. Instead of enjoying all that admiration, it would unsettle Mimi; if a boy needed her, then whom did she lean on? But Jordan was different; he held himself back and this was another example of it. As a result,...

Stop Being Needy Before You Start Dating

What do you think is the biggest dating mistake? Its being needy. What I mean is this: a person getting into a relationship has to be prepared to GIVE. Being a giver – as I’ve said before on this blog – is crucial. The reason is simple. If both people in the relationship are needy, then each is always expecting something/wanting something from the other. Neediness is like a bucket with holes in the bottom; you can never put in enough. WHY NEEDINESS IS LIKE A BUCKET WITH HOLES Let’s answer this important question by taking a zoom lense into a home with little children who are well-loved. Jimmy, 3, is building a lego tower and the whole thing won’t stay built. Down it comes! Jimmy doesn’t really know whether that means he is just stupid and incapable or whether that’s what is supposed to happen based on the laws of gravity. Jimmy hasn’t interacted with the world enough to really know. So, his dad, watching, says, “Good job!” Jimmy is puzzled. “But it came down!” he says. “Oh, yeah, that’s okay,” his dad answers. “When you put that many bricks on, it will come down. But you built it up real nice.” Now, Jimmy knows two things: he gets gravity and he gets that he is doing things the right way. Whew! He decides to put on fewer bricks next go-around to see what happens. Jimmy’s dad has done something really important for his development. By giving him simple feedback, he’s given his son the confidence to experiment without feeling shame or concern about his own capabilities. Now,...

4 More Warning Signs of an Unhealthy Relationship

To continue with PART II of our look at singles’ warning signs of an unhealthy relationship, here are the next four. Sign 4: You’re being isolated. This one is the opposite of #3. There, you didn’t feel “part of.” Here, you’re “all of.” In the beginning, this seems very flattering. You are the center of attention. But after a while, you look around and notice that there is no one else in your circle. Just you and this person. You realize that your family has been cut off and so have your friends. That’s a big warning sign that something is wrong. When someone does that, they take away your support system. When they have you to themselves, they can start to convince you that everyone else is wrong, sick, or no good. And without being able to talk to anyone about it, you start to become confused. That’s the goal. When you’re confused, you can turn to them more and more for answers. It’s a form of mind control. When you have no one else to turn to, then this person has so much more power over your thoughts and opinions and how you spend your time. After a while, you don’t even quite know who you are. It is because we can express ourselves to others–and hear their reaction—that we clarify our ideas. And our ideas are the basis of who we are. So, don’t let anyone cut you off from your friends and family. Sign 5: You’re always the bad one. When something goes wrong, does your significant other manage to be the victim and you...

Singles’ Top 3 Warning Signs of an Unhealthy Relationship

Part I When people have long-term marriages and things are bad, we can work on fixing them. It’s better to resolve problems so kids can grow up in a home with two loving parents. But you aren’t married and you have your life ahead of you, so why get bogged down with something hurtful when you don’t have to? Why suffer? Life was not meant for suffering, not in my opinion. Are you shocked to hear me say this? You thought I promote marriage. I do. If you’ve read my articles or if you know me, you know I am very pro-marriage. If you want to save your marriage, I will do everything in my power to help you. On the other hand, perhaps one of the reasons for so many non-committing singles is fear. Perhaps people have seen their recently-married friends get divorced within a year. Perhaps their own parents divorced or were unhappy. I have figured out a way around this fear. If singles would know exactly what to look for – and avoid it like the plague – then they can relax about their dating experience with everyone else. I think we were meant, like the Constitution says, to pursue happiness. Maybe it doesn’t come easily, not on a silver platter. But that doesn’t mean we can’t go for it. That’s why I wrote this. I want you to have a simple blueprint for your relationships that will help you stay on the road to pursuing happiness rather than being stuck in misery. I’ve boiled it down to the top seven warning signs that something is...
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