■ can you relate?
BR IC A
Local therapist Brenda Strausz helps
solve your relating problems.
After 25 years of marriage,
my husband and I seem to be in a big rut
— our relationship just seems dull and
boring. Any suggestions?
—Reader, fi-om Commerce
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Dear Commerce reader
This point in your marriage is a great
time to reconnect
with your partner
and create a phe-
ship. The most
It must be your top
priority now. Set
aside daily time to
talk, sharing your
ideas, hopes and
fears. Some couples
find it useful to write
letters to each other
about their feelings,
and afterwards, have
a dialogue about the
content. Make time
to connect during
the day, too. A quick, "Hi, I love you,"
phone call can mean the world to your
spouse. Make a commitment to do caring
acts for each other daily; it can be as sim-
ple as a surprise cappuccino waiting for
her or a love note in his briefcase. Pick
a hobby you can do together. It could be
biking, tennis, walking or hiking. Take
turns planning regular fin outings — like
an overnight getaway in Ann Arbor or
a picnic at the beach —or research out-
ings together. I remind my clients (and
myself) that love is much more than a
feeling; it is an action, a verb, a decision.
Have a wonderfiil next 25-plus years of
Marriage Fitness by Mort Fertel
fi rirgativ :_irturtru
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42 • APRIL 2007 • platillilin
I have been very happy at
my job until the company hired Ms.
Negativity. She is not only a complainer
and gossiper but criticizes my work.
Dear Ferndale reader,
It sounds like there
is an energy vampire
in your workplace.
It is vital for your
mental health that
you do not take her
like to spread their
misery. As long as
you are working and
her behavior is most
certainly not about
you. But setting
boundaries with her
is crucial in main-
taining a workable
Negativity, it is re-
ally hard for me to
get my work done
when someone is
looking over my shoulder. I promise
not to do that to you, either." As far as
the gossip and complaining, validating
her without engaging her may work. "I
can tell you are really upset about that."
If she doesn't take the hint that you
don't want to engage in negativity, you
may have to say something like, "I am
sorry, but it makes me uncomfortable to
discuss other people in the workplace."
Keep reminding yourself that we can't
change people (darn!) — but we can
change how we choose to respond.
Coping with Dcult People: The Proven-
Effective Battle Plan That. Has Helped
Millions Deal with the Troublemakers
in Their Lives at Home and at Work by
Brenda Strausz, M.A., is a local psychotherapist,
parent educator, certified relationship coach and
certified hypnotherapist. E-mail her your questions
at firstname.lastname@example.org .