back burner

What exactly does “back burner” mean?

Well this “back burner phrase is very popular in the therapy room, usually carrying quite a negative connotation with it. Couples struggling with their marital relationships, due to both internal and external stressors, readily admit to placing their romance “on the back burner”. This usually occurs shortly after children are born and when they are infants and toddlers.

This makes perfect sense given how adorable and dependent children are, not to mention all the adjustments and change that occurs once children are part of the equation. These stress factors are likely why close to a third of couples who separate do so during the first five years of having children.

Parental responsibilities added to work, extended family and social obligations can leave much less time and energy for romantic efforts. Dating may dwindle as evenings are spent bathing, story-telling and singing lullabies. Even time to just sit and chat with each other becomes more difficult to find.

Weekend opportunities are sacrificed for extra laundering, feedings, special food preparation and for simply special moments holding “little bundles of joy”. It becomes very easy to look at each other and agree, perhaps without even a word, to put the marital needs “on the back burner”.

This is, however, very dangerous.  Children benefit most from parents who are happy, work together and stay together creating a healthy and satisfying relationship.  No, this type of relationship does not come naturally. Just because it wasn’t taught in school doesn’t mean training and hard work aren’t required for excellence in marriage. There are many resources to help, ranging from marriage counselling, coaching, seminars and retreats to books, videos and good internet site materials.

We at Jeff Packer MSW & Associates Inc. have developed a seminar called “The Seven Spheres of Intimacy” that helps couples examine their current functioning across the spheres and develop priorities for enhancing marital intimacy.  Our trained counsellors in Oshawa work with couples throughout the Durham Region and world wide through internet on-line video-based counselling sessions.

For a consultation, assessment and to schedule your initial meeting Contact us today !

How many times do you hear this phrase from a spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend?  “We’ve grown apart”.

I wonder where and when we first heard this phrase? Was it in a movie or on a TV show?  Is it really true? Do people grow apart?  This sounds like an excuse to leave. Like the person who says this no longer has a say in the relationship. Perhaps they feel they have no ability to change, grow, develop and adopt new behaviours that will spark up and enhance the relationship.

Change in ourselves changes the way we relate with others. I don’t really think we grow apart as much as we make choices, a series of decisions that are not supportive to the relationship. Choices can be made arbitrarily, without considering the other’s opinion. Maybe we are not open to getting their feedback?  These can certainly take away from intimacy and reduce closeness. Another behaviour or action that is harmful to romance and dating relationships is not really hearing the other person’s concerns or feelings. These are just a few ways we can be choosing, whether we are aware of it or not, to create distance in the relationship.

Long before the break-up, the realization we are no longer close, both partners have usually made thousands of decisions against closeness, detrimental to the construction of a wonderful and amazing intimate romance.

Making positive choices and taking action for the relationship include politeness, calm negotiations, hearing one another and acting upon what is heard, punctuality and sharing of day-to-day tasks and chores to name just a few. Additionally, reading a few good books on ways to build a healthy romantic relationship (e.g. The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman or Love and Respect by Dr Emerson Eggeriches) can greatly assist couples in their journey toward romantic joy and satisfaction.

Combining this with coaching, before things are “too bad” is also a good idea. Our counsellors located in Oshawa are professionally trained to guide you to healthier communication, interpersonal skill development and toward the quality relationship you desire. Like the roots and branches of trees intertwined, gradually over time, so too can couples learn how to become closer, more caring, empathetic and understanding. Each person can choose to develop more positive and optimistic views which in turn increases positive feelings and behaviours toward one another.

To find out how we can help you grow together Contact us todaynature

“Safe Sex” What does it really mean?

A lot of people get nervous when they are faced with answering the question: What is safe sex?Quick standard answers involve: 1) “condoms and contraceptives”, or  2) “abstinence or no sex”. On the contrary, these are actually simplistic and misinformed responses that can contribute to risky business.

Healthy and informed messages, to adequately guide our teenagers in the complex area of sexuality, require more detailed conversations throughout the adolescent stage.  Although people often say this talk makes them “feel awkward”, it is important to push past this normal apprehension in order to prevent future problems and increase healthier decision-making down the road.

We can help you have quality conversations about:

  1. what sexuality is and what truly safe sexual expression is,
  2. what is involved in having a healthy and satisfying intimate relationship, and
  3. what to do if problems arise or possibly have already occurred.

There are lots of things that you can do! Explore how you can enhance your communication skills to open up conversations with your teenagers. Contact us today !