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Newsletter Vol. #75

It's Sunday morning as I put together this newsletter and it is 8 degrees. A grim reminder of what is to come in regards to that yearly purge, where living in a tent becomes a punishment- it's called winter.
Back! Back! You mangy beast of damp, cold, long john needing unpleasantness. You're not welcome yet, you can't show your face until at least after Halloween.
Enough of that! I don't know about you, but I feel there needs to be at least another month of crunchy leaves and warm moments on the deck (where the wasps can drive me batty). I know there are at least 10 golf games left in this old body.

Reminder - Thursday, Sept. 21, Shapes at 1910 Pembina Hwy., 8 am until 9 pm. Pick up your "free" copy of my newest book, Communication And Relationships, get your copy signed, and take a look at the facilities if you have time.

The Quiz (Mothers) See answers below.

On average, what do mothers receive the most each Mother's Day?

Which television personality said all of his famed sweaters were knitted by his mother?

Greece - Then and Now, or How the Mighty Have Fallen

I was reading an article in which the Canadian Museum of History located in Gatineau, Québec has an exhibition covering 5000 years of Greek history. The exhibition makes the point that Greece was truly the founder of modern civilization. Homer-Iliad and Odyssey, Troy, Athenian democracy, Plato, Aristotle and Demosthenes-they were the glory that was Greece. That was then.

The next day I picked up the newspaper and read about the Greece that is now.
Anxious pensioners swarm closed bank branches Monday and long lines snaked outside ATM's as Greeks endured the first day of serious controls on their daily economic lives ahead of a referendum that could determine whether the country has to ditch the euro currency and return to the drachma.

It is quite sad and a little frightening to hear about Greece - the cradle of civilization, and its  economic woes. "Bankruptcy, messy Greek debt  default, $8.1 billion bailout," words that describe the results of a modern day inept political system.

I don't wish in any way for this to sound like rubbing it in, but I do believe that life style and a long-standing sense of entitlement have caught up to the people of Greece.

What do you think? Feedback-

What year was the modern holiday of Mother's Day first celebrated?

The novel and film "Postcards From the Edge" was written by actress Carrie Fisher about the relationship between her and whom?

The institution of "Marriage" is in trouble!

The institution of marriage is in trouble--have you heard that? I've read that 6 out of 10 marriages in the US, and 5 out of 10 marriages in Canada end in divorce. The New York Times reported that for the first time ever, more American women were living on their own than with a spouse. I suppose there are a great number of reasons for this trend and despite seeing a great many couples for marriage counselling in my practice, I can't put my finger on just one or two specific reasons why marriages are failing.

I believe we go into marriage with such high expectations for our partner and when fatigue from a job, financial responsibilities, kids, care of aging parents, in other words, the stress of living, begins to take the edge off our good behaviours- we don't adjust; we take things personally, and start to react.

A funny but sad story of expectations:

A young woman comes into see me and informs me that her marriage is on the rocks, and that her husband no longer loves her. I asked for some background why she feels this way and she informs me that he plays hockey at least one night a week, and in the summer plays golf at least once a week (this guy sounds like a real keeper to me). However, these behaviours are stated in such a way as one were to believe that this husband had abandoned her for another woman. And the final example of why she thought this marriage was failing was because he wanted a second television in the basement to watch sports. Her expectations were that he was to sit beside her on the chesterfield and they would always watch her shows -- together. I'm thinking as she shares this with me that I've been married 51 years and most certainly would not have made it this far if I couldn't watch my sports and had to watch more than 10 minutes of my wife's real estate and remodelling shows.

This is an example of how expectations for one's partner can seriously get in the way of marital harmony and can stress a relationship. It is rather over-the-top and trite when compared to many of the less dramatic but seriously "mean" ways partners treat each other when expectations are not met.

With some people, every day is supposed to be a "great day" and their partners are supposed to be consistently "up" even when they're not, and when they're not, something must be wrong. People don't talk, they keep things in, react, pick at each other, find fault and then blame the relationship for "not working".

Quite often depression plays a big part in the dissolution of a relationship. Life is hard, complex, with many stressors, and when people don't take care of themselves - as in poor eating habits, little exercise, few positive coping activities - they grind down, burnout and get angry.

Another factor that puts a great deal of stress on a relationship is sex, or lack of it. In the article, State Of Our Unions, George and Righton state, "Almost 80 per cent of men and 57 per cent of women say they're not having enough sex. Almost half of both sexes suspect other couples are having sex more often than they are, (of course, they aren't)." Part of the problem is that life gets in the way, and sexual intimacy is eroded by  stress, a lack of time, and poor communication between the partners. Most couples struggle with the work-life balance. When people are stressed, they don't feel very sexual. Women in particular tend to over-function in our society, so it's easy for sex to be at the bottom of the agenda. This can really threaten the stability of the relationship. Even though they say they want more sex, 48 per cent of men and 66 per cent of women would still prefer a good night's sleep.

I still believe the number one issue in relationships today is poor communication. Partners don't listen respectfully. They interrupt and judge each other, and argue that how they see the world is the correct way. So after a while they decide if you're not going to listen to me, why bother starting a conversation, and the relationship goes downhill. In regards to the speaking (respectfully) aspect of communication, it is said that 93% of communication is tone, inflection and body posture, and only 7% is content- it isn't what you say but how you say it, that is the message. I believe that Communication is the key to a working marriage.

In what type of device would you most likely find something known as a motherboard?

Marion Cunningham was chosen as the "best TV mom of all time" for what sitcom?

Write a testimonial

Those of you who have read "Communication And Relationships", would you be so kind as to write a brief testimonial (or a full length review if you are so inclined) about the book. Testimonials will help a great deal when I launch the book at McNally's later this year.

 Quiz Answers:  Flowers; Mr. Rogers; 1908; Debbie Reynolds; Computers; Happy Days

Have a great week and load up on leaf bags if you live near a tree.