Same sex relationships

Ballroom, photo by Lioness65, Frankfurt, Germany, gay couplesWhen I write about relationships it is important to understand that the same applies to same sex relationships except for marriage, which is not legally permitted in this country, yet. A gay couple who wishes to make a relationship commitment can do this in a ceremony which is similar to a marriage. Any civil celebrant can perform such a celebration and I have not come across one who would not be happy to do so. One day in this country, we will progress to the point when we can have legal marriages between same sex couples, and I as a celebrant look forward to that day.

They came to me to be married and
I explained that in this country
same sex marriages were not permitted
I felt so sorry that I was the messenger of
such an antiquated way of thinking
nevertheless, we planned a beautiful ceremony
which involved everything that a
heterosexual couple would experience
the only difference was that there were
no State documents signed
yet the moment was captured in
a sentimental ceremony which will
provide an exceptional memory
to all those who were at the ceremony

Ballroom, photo by Lioness65, Frankfurt, Germany, gay couples

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Timing is vital

Clock, photo by Henning Buchholz, Bremen, Germany, high priorityWhen good intentions become failures, then our timing could be out of sinc. Timing is vital in any plan of action, even for simple discussions. How often do we begin to say something, feeling confident and enthusiastic, and then the whole situation deteriorates into struggling in emotional quicksand? The more we struggle the worst it becomes and we wonder how it happened? Perhaps we didn’t consider whether it was appropriate to bring the matter up, no matter how simple it seemed. Perhaps we didn’t consider whether the other person was in the mood to deal with the matter. Perhaps we didn’t consider how capable we were at that point to express the matter appropriately. Or a combination of all of these things. When we pause and plan how to express ourselves, especially taking into consideration how right the timing is, then the interaction has more of a chance of being successful.

Stephanie had learnt from a young age
not to jump into the emotional deep end!
her father had a volatile personality
whether he was drunk or not, and so
before she spoke about anything delicate to anyone
she’d ask “are you free to speak for a moment?”
this usually prepared the other person
and it spared her unnecessary hurt!
how easy would it be if it were protocol for us
to first ask this question, just as we
automatically say “please” and “thank you”,
checking that the timing is right, could
protect us from abusive personalities
whilst respecting each others availability to
be fully present in a discussion

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Blueprint for your ideal relationship

Tourists checking a map, photo by Jorc Navarro, Barcelona, Spain, planning relationshipsBlueprints are commonly used for important productions, everything from buildings to machinery to gardens and so on. Otherwise known as plans and/or designs, it’s not unusual for people to expect this for successful outcomes. It is easy to have a fulfilling relationship if you are both willing to make a blueprint for your ideal relationship. It means planning at the beginning of the relationship what you want and what you don’t want in your life together. Then making an agreement to go to any lengths to resolve conflict early before it contaminates everything and to nurture your loving relationship. Maintenance is what we do to keep a beautiful garden, or home or car and it’s also what we need to do for our relationships.

they met through a mutual friend and
their relationship strengthened day by day
when he proposed she was not surprised
although they seemed in agreement about
the type of lifestyle they valued
they worked out what was
acceptable and what wasn’t
and how to sort out conflict
a blueprint for their ideal relationship
and it’s paid off because they’ve
had a healthy balance in their relationship
of being friends and lovers
and this has lasted many years
through the ups and downs of life

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Feelings of Deprivation

All you need is, photo by Sam LeVan, Philadelphia, United States, best therapyParents and teachers have the important role of setting limits for children. However, some people forget to be loving and are too strict in this role. This causes feelings of deprivation in children which influence them negatively all their lives. Deprivation is one of the basic symptoms of addiction. Addicted people try to feed the feelings of deprivation by rewarding themselves to excess. This leads to lack of self discipline and they are compelled to keep rewarding themselves to their own detriment. The solution is to find a method that resolves the deprivation experienced and creates feelings of love. This varies with the individual but it can be done successfully with or without therapy. Self help groups are a loving fellowship and play an important healing role in this process.

whenever I promised myself to eat healthy and avoid
what’s unhealthy for my diabetes and weight gain
all the good intentions kept failing!
overcome by the strongest feelings of deprivation
my resolve weakened which led to
eating something not on my food plan but
I remembered how I mastered my nicotine addiction with
18yrs of abstinence, freedom from chain smoking now
but that feeling of rewarding myself no matter how
short lived was connected to the amount of strictness
I experienced as a child and I was in touch with that so
when I gave in it was like rewarding the crying child inside
then I found a food plan for Carbohydrate Addicts and
my feelings of deprivation and cravings were resolved
what’s more I feel loved and normal while losing weight
my diabetes blood sugar count is lowering steadily

All you need is, photo by Sam LeVan, Philadelphia, United States, best therapy

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Beach wedding

sunset, photo by Aneta B., Elblag, Poland, romantic loveOften people appreciate the elegance of a wedding but not the church ceremony. They love the formal outfits – the bridal dress and the suave groom’s suit. Many couples fancy a beach wedding. It’s a beautiful choice and easily attainable. After the marriage, there is the choice of where to celebrate the union – in the backyard of their home, a reception house, or on a boat. Nevertheless at some time or other they want photos on the beach in their outfits.

this was the second marriage for both
they loved each other like never before,
their marriage was on the beach
he wore a white dinner suit and
she a beautiful strapless wedding dress
the ceremony was so romantic and
as the waves splashed along
the sound was mesmerising
I spoke the words that
formalised their marriage and
made them husband and wife
it was twilight and cool with the sea wind
once the photos were done everyone went inside
to the restaurant which was on the beach and
during the pre-dinner drinks the bride and groom
had the rest of their photos taken on the beach
once they were finished they joined us and
we had the most delicious French cuisine
as entrancing classical guitars and piped music
played softly in the background
we could see the beach with it’s ocean view
how spectacular yet so simple

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Codependence and pets

My dogs 1, photo by Debbie Miller, Monroe United  States,  love a petWhen we want to live functional lives, a solution is to get a pet. A codependent flips between manipulation, attempts at controlling, and becoming an enabler causing the victim to remain dependent. Codependence and pets means that the need to overwhelm someone with love is then directed to a creature who thrives on such devotion. So the behaviour is diverted to a healthier end. When a mother wishes to avoid being over-protective towards her growing children, I as a therapist recommend that they get a pet. This way the pet will not suffer from too much affection and it will keep her busy looking after and training the pet.

my children were 11 and 12
it was time to let go in order to avoid
too much mothering, or so I thought
so I got a German Shepherd called Kara
who at 6 months couldn’t even walk,
due to an overwhelming fear,
so I taught her to walk and I
loved her and called her my baby
she just bloomed and so did
my kids who were learning
how to be confident and independent
childrearing was a success thanks to
Kara, who I still miss a lot
but now that I’m alone I have a cat, Midnight,
who’s my baby to coo over
much to my adult children’s relief
no doubt!

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The clown in addiction

Clowns 2, photo by Sasha Davas, Australia, double bindIn life we need fun and laughter to stay healthy. When it is missing then we turn to substances and or processes that lift our spirits. Unfortunately, using such means results in repetitive behaviour which is not fulfilling because eventually whatever we do isn’t enough. The clown in addiction can be a cover up for immense unhappiness and low self esteem. In other circumstances, the clown is a fun performance for the audience to enjoy.

as she spoke to me about the sadness and abuse
she had experienced all her life up till now
she chuckled often at the most traumatic recollections
as a therapist I was obliged to give her feedback on this
pointing out that incongruous behaviour was not unusual
in codependence and addictions
she quickly understood the message about
the clown in addiction
and this insight, although it hurt a little
no pain no gain they say
helped her to be more authentic about
her feelings and therefore closer
to resolving the turmoil inside
serenity at last

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Love and intimacy

Beauty 4, photo by herbert sandoval, Guatemala,  Guatemala,  close togetherSome people spend a lifetime in relationships that are dysfunctional, either constantly arguing or amazingly superficial and boring. What is missing in these relationships is a combination of love and intimacy. This may mean making an effort to create intimate pastimes like massage sessions on a regular basis. This activity involves relaxation and touch which are so important to creating and maintaining love in a relationship, as well as contributing to a person’s wellbeing.

he said that his forte was massage
and she enjoyed every minute
then when it was her turn to reciprocate
she worried that her talents did not
lay in that area but
once she started to gently stroke his body
she was overcome by a feeling of wellbeing
and this made her feel as special as
when she was on the receiving end
giving can be as satisfying as receiving
and the closeness resulted in
love and intimacy beyond
what they had experienced before

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Family cat

Gato 1, photo by Ivan Soares Ferrer, Embu, Brazil, purring delight We brought back a Siamese kitten from New Zealand and he settled nicely in our family. This family cat became a loved pet, lifting our spirits. Siamese cats, although aloof, are very talkative and some are very affectionate. When there is a pet in the family everyone learns the art of unconditional love, as well as how to live with grief.

our cat stopped eating and
just sat on the bed quietly
this was unusual so we
took him to the vet who
gave us the sad news
that he was seriously ill
and needed to be put to sleep
we said our goodbyes
and on the way home
the whole family cried
uncontrollably!
that’s how much that pet
was loved and totally missed

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Intimacy

Peek by Tom Denham, Palm Bay, USA
Peek by Tom Denham, Palm Bay, USA

People need intimacy to feel fulfilled in life. Intimacy means more than just sex. Intimacy means being close enough to someone so that we are able to be honest about our innermost feelings – positive or negative. Intimacy can make us feel blissful and complete. Without intimacy we slip into dishonesty, defensiveness and ego inflation. Although a strength, intimacy can be fearful to contemplate. Sometimes in a relationship we argue because the ‘making up’ process brings back the intimacy that has slipped away.

they were arguing more and more
and came to me to see what was wrong
as we spoke about their life process
it became apparent that they were
both absorbed with their own work
and had little time left for their
relationship enjoyments
and they had not noticed that
this meant there was a lack of
intimacy between them unless
they argued and then ‘made up’
simple but important to know
and rectifiable

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