Monthly Archives: March 2012
Whether you are talking among friends about relationships or you are sitting with a couple’s therapist, the concept of trust is likely to come up. For some it’s a question of “how do we rebuild trust?”, “How can I ever trust you again?” or even “I’m struggling to trust you due to a past relationship experience.” According to John Gottman, a leading researcher and writer on relationships and marriage, one of the fundamental issues for couples is trust and betrayal.
While each person may have varying ideas about what trust consists of, we can agree that culture, family background, media and personal experience among others influence our definition. Nevertheless, my experience is that the majority if couples’ arguments are less about the actual words being said, and more about the underlying theme of trust.
Here are just a few questions that I have found resonate with my couples during arguments:
- Can I trust you to take care of me?
- Can I trust you not to hurt me?
- Can I trust that you will be there for me?
- Can I trust that you are being honest?
- Can I trust you not to be unfaithful?
- Can I trust you not to do drugs or drink (typically for couples in recovery)
A question commonly asked in couple’s therapy is about building, strengthening or re-establishing trust. The short answer is that trust is realized in the ordinary moments, rather than extraordinary ones. Although trust can be broken in extraordinary moments that are momentous and perhaps dramatic, such as discovering an affair, it tends not to be easily mended by grand events or gestures. That means that every day there are small, even seemingly simple opportunities when you make a decision to either turn towards or turn away from your partner. Read the rest of this entry
The face of family in 2012 is constantly changing. Not only do we have more single-parent families, blended families and same-sex parent households, but we also have more diverse families. This diversity may come in the package of race, religion, ethnicity, culture, and language and on and on. Since many of the previously mentioned don’t fit into the stereotypical box of what family is supposed to look like, these couples and families often find themselves making up their own rules as they go. For my purposes, I am going to focus on the multicultural couple and family.
I have experienced firsthand both the joys and challenges of being part of a multicultural family. Subsequently, I have developed a great interest in working with individuals, couples & families from such diverse backgrounds and specialize in working in this area.
It can be a wonderfully enriching and exciting experience to be part of a multicultural couple or family; varying traditions, ideologies, values, cuisines & languages all coming into one home. But what happens when these couples or families hit a speed bump? Oftentimes, differences in culture can become a source of conflict and even a divide in these relationships.
In an effort to better serve our diverse community by promoting awareness, I have highlighted 10 issues/questions unique to multicultural couples & families from both my clinical work and personal experience.
- Roles: Who has what responsibilities? Who has a job? Who cleans the home? Who makes dinner? Who makes the rules?
- Loyalty vs. independence: How much time is appropriate and comfortable to spend with family of origin? How much money is appropriate and comfortable to spend on family of origin? How much time do we spend away from family of origin?
- Hierarchy: My culture is patriarchal. My culture is matriarchal. Whose opinion is most valued and respected in the family? Read the rest of this entry