By Chandrama Anderson
E-mail Chandrama Anderson
About this blog: About this blog: I am a LMFT specializing in couples counseling and grief and have lived in Silicon Valley since 1969. I'm the president of Connect2 Marriage Counseling. I worked in high-tech at Apple, Stanford University, and in ... (More)
About this blog: About this blog: I am a LMFT specializing in couples counseling and grief and have lived in Silicon Valley since 1969. I'm the president of Connect2 Marriage Counseling. I worked in high-tech at Apple, Stanford University, and in Silicon Valley for 15 years before becoming a therapist. My background in high-tech is helpful in understanding local couples' dynamics and the pressures of living here. I am a wife, mom, sister, friend, author, and lifelong advocate for causes I believe in (such as marriage equality). My parents are both deceased. My son graduated culinary school and is heading toward a degree in Sociology. I enjoy reading, hiking, water fitness, movies, 49ers and Stanford football, Giants baseball, and riding a tandem bike with my husband. I love the beach and mountains; nature is my place of restoration. In my work with couples, and in this blog, I combine knowledge from many fields to bring you my best ideas, tips, tools and skills, plus book and movie reviews, and musings to help you be your genuine self, find your own voice, and have a happy and healthy relationship. Don't be surprised to hear about brain research and business skills, self-soothing techniques from all walks of life, suggestions and experiments, and anything that lights my passion for couples. (Author and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Calif. Lic # MFC 45204.) (Hide)
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We had dinner with our friends recently and learned that their son kept a "Permanent Record" of things his parents had done wrong during his childhood (e.g., they never had a dog).
While it was funny, and piece of their family fabric and storytelling, the sad truth is that many of you keep a Permanent Record on your partner: You didn't do this, you did do that, you never . . . you always . . . You know what's on your list, and perhaps you even know what's on his or her list.
All couples have difficulties at one time or another. To a certain degree, you are roughing up each others' edges just by being in intimate proximity, and hopefully, shining them. Dr. John Gottman who runs the "Love Lab" in Seattle where he has done tremendous research on couples and which ones last, says there has to be a 5:1 ratio of positive interactions to negative ones. It's good you get a buy on that one, since you're human and you will do or say things at times that won't work very well for your partner!
But if you meet the five positive interactions for every one of the zingers, and give love in the way your partner best receives it, you are filling each others love tank, as Gary Chapman describes in The 5 Love Languages. That gives you a chance to build a Permanent Record that is positive. How would that be to live with every day? Could you handle it?
So, what would it look, feel, or sound like to be creating a positive Permanent Record? What can you do today? I tell couples, "You are each 100% responsible for getting to this point." Being responsible means being able to respond.
What do you do with the Permanent Record you're carrying around already? How much of it is from childhood and carried over by the neural pathways in your brain that are wired for survival, while also seeking secure attachment and love? What's been added in your adult life? Do you have the desire to excavate your Permanent Record, look at it in the light of day, decide how it serves you and how it holds you back?