My Happy Marriage

February 6, 2016

It took nearly 18 years together to learn to be truly happy. Perhaps we are slow learners; I’m pretty sure I am. For one thing, I had to learn to choose recovery instead of addiction. That was 13 years ago. I don’t think a truly happy marriage can exist if one partner is pursuing an active addiction. Even being an intermittent, functional alcoholic–as I once was–is a barrier to the kind of relationship which is authentic and includes profound bonding and deep communication.

Saying goodbye to addiction:

Perhaps I should define my terms. “Intermittent” alcoholics have periods of time when they drink normally or not at all. In my case, when I went on diets several times a year, I would not drink at all for weeks or months. “Obviously, I don’t have an alcohol problem,” I’d say to myself, because denial is not just a river in Egypt. When the diet was over though, I’d have one glass of wine at dinner, and within a few weeks I’d be drinking every day and too much. “Functional alcoholic” means I had a job, I never drank while working, and very few people knew that I had a drinking problem–only those who had seen me ruin a special occasion because sometimes I could not control how much I drank or my behavior after the first glass of wine. Sadly, it was primarily those who were nearest and dearest to me who witnessed or were hurt by those occasions; recalling this brings back the regrets I will always have.

By grace, the day my younger son’s first child was born, everything changed. Holding that precious baby, and overcome with love for him and for my children and their children, I knew that continuing to drink would fatally compromise those relationships. I stopped drinking that day, and never looked back. 90 AA meetings in 90 days, working the steps, making amends–through grace I did it all. The results have been profoundly positive. The classic alcoholic’s fear that I would never again have fun was the opposite of the facts.

“I love you just as you are.”

Just as important, on the road to a truly happy marriage, I had to become totally willing to accept and affirm my husband just as he is. I think it was a turning point when I began to feel and say, “Not only do I love you, but I am 100% satisfied with you.”

Having a deeply joyful and committed marriage is grace, it’s joy, it’s one of the greatest sources of gratitude in my life. In future posts, I will have more to say about this path and how it can be your path as well.

Blessings to you and yours, dear reader! Please visit me at http://www.coupleswisdom.com.


Lifelong passion is your birthright.

July 11, 2008

Rumi says:

The most alive moment comes when

those who love each other meet each

other’s eyes and in what flows

between them then….

To see your face….

I weep for that.

Our tears improve the earth…your gratitude,

your laughing, always  your qualities

increase the soul…

Yesterday I spoke with a colleague who, like me, works with people who are struggling to find their way back to the passionate sexuality which is their birthright. She is a rare physician–someone who knows how to restore or repair the physical functioning which is the foundation for joyful lovemaking. We spoke especially of women in midlife–women who may worry that their libido is gone for good. If you are one of  these, you are not alone! Please know that somewhere within you, your libido is alive and well.

If you are a man who worries that you can’t do what you once could do, please know that being a good lover is not dependent on any particular physical ability. Become a lover who can connect heart energy to the body. If you do that, you will always be able to give and receive pleasure.

You can’t lose your libido! It’s built into your DNA. While what we call “libido” make seem to take a vacation now and then, the ability to find pleasure in loving touch is present in all human beings from birth to death. The form of that touch and the form of response to it may change with age, illness, medication and relationship ups and downs, but the ability to be a lover is permanent. That fact does not change even with paralysis, cancer or other illness, advanced age, pregnancy, PMS, menopause, or diminished erectile capacity. Grey hair, no hair, wrinkles, weight gain, increases in waist measurement, decreases in height or breast size, aches and pains–the list of things that can’t vanquish your libido goes on and on!

My patients come to me for help with the relationship skills that open or reopen the door to passionate lovemaking. Once medical problems have been ruled out or addressed, we can turn to the anger, resentment and rusty communication skills that cause so many lonely nights. Layers of anger can in fact be penetrated and dissolved! Learning what your two bodies need this year can be enlightening, as can becoming skillful about sharing this information with your partner. Changing your approach to lovemaking so that there is no way to do it wrong changes things.

Learning to see today’s lovemaking as a precious opportunity to express your loving essence can open your heart. Remembering that we don’t have an unlimited number of chances to be loving in this life helps with that too. Today could be the last one. May we all embrace the next opportunity to be the love which is our essence. As Echard Tolle teaches, learning to be fully present in this moment is the key to joy. So much of couple therapy is about the healing which allows us to be fully present with our partner. One small success in physical sharing with your partner can begin the process of change. On this day, may you seek and find that one small success.