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At a recent conference that I attended, authors and researchers John and Julie Gottman talked about turning toward your spouse when difficult issues arise rather than away. I can’t agree more. This takes a willing attitude, persistence, hope, and openness . For a minute, imagine the image of facing toward your spouse rather than way. Then do that every day with each other and see how powerful it can be..As a married woman my husband and I have committed to always facing towards each other with our issues. I know that this has been key to our loving and successful forty year marriage.

Recently in my office, I have been challenged by clients in this area. They don’t turn towards their spouse in difficult times, they won’t, or they won’t look at what is inside themselves that is keeping them from doing this. If I can’t get these clients to try these, they may end up divorced. Sometimes people come to me after their second, third even fourth divorce and are finally ready to try facing toward their spouse instead of not dealing with issues

So let me mention a few reasons why you or someone you love may have trouble facing toward . Maybe in yours or their family growing up, people didn’t talk about anything deep. For example not talking about making a team (hurt, disappointment, self doubt , comfort and support), being rejected by your best friend, needing more time with your mother, problem solving about Mom or Dad’s drinking,etc. Another example could be speaking to each other respectfully instead of tolerating speaking in a thoughtless or demeaning manner. Many clients describe to me that as children either they or their parents were so busy that no one took the time to connect. This can happen even in very active sports families where someone is always at practice,a meet or a game. Take a few moments to recognize how it was for you in your family growing up. Whatever the reasons ,maybe you didn’t learn or practice turning towards each other and dealing with issues, start practicing this now.

When challenging as well as joyous issues arise, I wish for you to have the relationship that can offer comfort , problem solving, support and love. Don’t let it be too late. Start turning towards each other now.