Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs: Esteem

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs: Esteem

You are almost at the top of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs when you reach esteem.  Feeling really good about this climb up the pyramid, aren’t you?  Well, let’s check out what you should feel good about in this section!

Within this stage, esteem means achievement, mastery, independence and respect.  There are two different kinds of esteem: cognitive and aesthetic.  Cognitive is the mental mastery of knowledge and meaning.  Aesthetic is the external factors that assist us in finding beauty and/or balance in life.  So, ask yourself these questions when checking in on whether you are working on, at, or have conquered self-esteem.

– What brings me internal happiness?

– What stage of life am I in?  Am I content and at peace?

– How do I view myself?  How do others view me?

– How does my culture define independence and have I achieved it?

– What small thing brings me joy?  What big thing brings me joy?

– How flexible am I with change?

– What do I do for self-care?  What are my hobbies/activities?  How frequently do I participate in these?

– What am I grateful for today?

If you find it difficult in answering a few of these questions, then re-evaluate what is not making your heart content.  If you need assistance, Family First Counseling, is here to help you work your way to obtaining self-esteem.  Call us today!

Ways to “Affair-Proof” Your Marriage!!!

affair regret

Ideally we who enter into the union of marriage/relationship do not do so with intent of  failing. No one usually unites in marriage thinking “well once I am divorced…” Of course there are always exceptions to rules. You have people who marry to stay in the USA and those who marry for money etc… Usually there is a mutual understanding between these couples who do not marry for love. While surfing the web this week I came across an article written by Megan Northrup titled Immunized Against Infidelity: “Affair-proofing” Your Marriage; the article is based on a book written Dr. Shirley Glass. Here are some of the things I found most interesting about the article.

Many couples naively insist that they don’t have to worry about infidelity. “It will never happen to us.” Unfortunately, infidelity is surprisingly prevalent in our society. Conservative estimates suggest that between 20 and 25 percent of all Americans will have extramarital sex sometime during their married life (Atkins, Baucom, & Jacobson, 2001). That’s up to one out of four. And the idea that infidelity only happens to bad people in miserable marriages is a myth. It can and does happen, even to good people in happy relationships.

Today’s leading marriage experts have come up with many strategies for preventing infidelity from infiltrating your marriage. As you review the six preventive measures provided below, keep in mind that no one-time event or promise will affair-proof your marriage. Complete fidelity takes constant, conscientious effort. But the work is well worth the joy of having a husband or wife who is your faithful, lifelong best friend. Consider the wise words of author Peggy Vaughn: “Preventing affairs is not like having a one-time inoculation – or even getting occasional booster shots. It’s more like taking a pill every day for the rest of your life.”

Prioritize Your Marriage

“The No. 1 cause for the breakdown in marriages today is the same issue that causes infidelity. Couples aren’t prioritizing their marriage,” says Michele Weiner-Davis, a marriage and family therapist and author. “People spend time on their careers, their kids, community affairs, hobbies, sports. But they take their spouses for granted. It just doesn’t work that way.” In other words, to have a strong marriage, your spouse must come first.

  • Set aside time to spend with just your spouse.
  • Consciously commit to putting your marriage first. That means your spouse comes before everything and everyone else-even your kids.
  • Each day tell your spouse how important he or she is to you.
  • Talk about your commitment to each other. What do you love about being married? Why do you want to stay together? When you’ve had hard times, how did you get through them?
  • Write a “mission statement” for your marriage. Frame it and put it in your bedroom, where it will be a visual reminder of your commitment to each other. You might frame it with your marriage certificate.

Avoid Temptation

Experts are increasingly concerned about two temptation arenas: the workplace and the Internet. One recent study showed that 73 percent of men and 42 percent of women who have extramarital affairs meet their partners at work. Be extremely careful with workplace relationships.

  • Don’t take lunch or coffee breaks with the same person all the time.
  • When you travel with co-workers, meet in public rooms, not in a room with a bed.
  • Meet in groups, if possible.
  • Don’t drink and dance with co-workers at conferences or office parties.
  • Avoid cordial kisses and hugs.
  • Avoid frequent conversations about your personal life and feelings.

On-line relationships are also an increasing problem. Innocent chat room visits can endanger a marriage when someone discovers a “cyberspace soulmate.” When the honesty that’s missing in a marriage gets spilled out on the computer screen, emotional affairs can result, sometimes leading to adultery. Preventive measures include:

  • Avoid discussing emotional topics or personal problems over the Internet.
  • Avoid chat rooms and Internet sites designed for meeting people and socializing.
  • If necessary, limit your time on-line.
  • Use the Internet for productive activities such as researching family history or medical issues, not for making cyber-friends.

Remember that infidelity doesn’t always include sex. Emotional infidelity can breach marital trust and become as debilitating to your marriage as physical adultery. If you are sharing intimate emotional closeness with someone of the opposite sex other than your spouse in any arena, including the Internet, stop!

Know Your Boundaries

Experts say friendships with members of the opposite sex are possible and healthy if both parties know their boundaries. As one author puts it, you have to take an honest look at yourself and admit that maybe you can’t always “handle it.” When you honestly admit what might be a temptation to you, you will know where to draw the line.

  • Know your own vulnerabilities. Are you especially curious about people? Are you extremely empathetic? Do you invite other people to share their problems with you? What might lead you to get emotionally involved with someone else unwittingly or with good intentions?
  • Don’t be afraid to put up emotional “walls” around yourself and your marriage. No marriage is invulnerable. All marriages need protection. You cannot have intimate relationships with opposite sex co-workers and friends and still have a great relationship with your spouse.
  • Together with your spouse, set guidelines for how each of you will behave around members of the opposite sex. For example, you may decide neither of you will dance with someone of the opposite sex. Make these guidelines an agreement you hold each other accountable for.
  • Instead of spending time alone with friends of the opposite sex, make friends with the person as a couple. Have him or her bring a partner and go to dinner with you and your spouse, for example, instead of going to lunch alone.

If you’re wondering whether you’ve overstepped any boundaries, Dr. Shirley Glass says three signs indicate that a friendship between people of the opposite sex has crossed the line into infidelity: (1) emotional intimacy, (2) sexual tension, and (3) secrecy. Also, ask yourself, “Do I say or do things with this person that I wouldn’t want my spouse to see or hear?” If so, it’s time to take a step back and re-draw your boundaries.

Learn Conflict Resolution Skills

According to Dr. Carlfred Broderick, “Perhaps the most important single preventative of adultery is a developed and well-oiled mechanism for dealing with strain in the marriage.” It is crucial that you talk to your spouse about conflicts. Harboring resentment towards a spouse may lead you to seek sympathy from others, which opens you up to emotional attachments outside the marriage. Faithful marriage partners discuss their frustrations openly and honestly and try to reach fair compromises.

  • Be clear. Don’t expect your spouse to know what you’re thinking. If you’re concerned about something, don’t wait for your spouse to notice-tell him or her.
  • When you want to bring up a problem, don’t assign blame. The following statement, for example, blames the other person and is not likely to end in a happy resolution: “The kitchen is a mess and it’s all your fault!” Instead, try something like this: “The dishes didn’t get washed and I think it’s your dish day.”
  • Don’t store up frustrations. Talk about what’s on your mind. It’s harder to deal with resentment productively when you’ve been stewing over it and growing more and more upset until you’re ready to burst.
  • Compromise. When you have a conflict, sit down and think about what you really need versus what you want and what you are willing to give up. Work out a solution that combines each of your individual needs
  • If you have serious resentment over unresolved conflicts, consider seeking help from a qualified professional marriage counselor.

For more help on dealing with marital conflict, see Dr. Gottman’s “Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work.” Principles five and six guide couples through dealing with minor and major marital conflicts and avoiding resentment.

Rekindle Romance

Dr. Kevin Leman believes that “as a general rule, satisfied partners do not wander. . . . If marriage partners are getting enough attention, affection, and sexual fulfillment at home, they are not likely to stray into an affair.” This tends to be particularly true of women, who are more likely to have an affair because they feel unhappy or unfulfilled in their marriage than for any other reason.

Dr. Glass points out that when someone has an affair, it doesn’t necessarily mean he or she isn’t “getting enough” at home. It could mean he or she isn’t giving enough. Either way, adding romance to your marriage will help protect against you or your spouse looking elsewhere.

Here are some guidelines for romantic success, suggested by experts Howard Markman, Scott Stanley, and Susan Bloomberg, in their book Fighting for Your Marriage. Take a look at the guidelines and create your own plan for romance in your relationship:

  • Focus on being romantic. Send flowers, romantic email messages, whisper suggestive desires during dinner, or touch his or her leg under the table. At the same time, don’t focus on orgasms or other outcomes. Simply talking as friends and sharing fun times are aphrodisiacs.
  • Focus on wooing your partner, as opposed to taking his or her love for granted. Win his or her love on a daily basis.
  • Be sensitive to your partner’s rhythms, needs, and wishes. Maybe your spouse is a morning person and you are an evening person when it comes to ideal times for intimacy. If so, push yourself to be romantically interested during your partner’s preferred times.
  • Be imaginative and creative. Let your partner know that you care and are attracted to her and want her, but do it in a variety of ways. For example, you might suggest going to work an hour late, or choose an intimate rendezvous at another unplanned time.
  • Be a great lover. When having sex, kiss and touch sensual spots that your partner enjoys—the earlobe, neck, back, or wherever. Talk together about the love areas that are pleasurable and share in mutually enjoyable and agreeable lovemaking.
  • Share initiating of lovemaking. Initiate intimacies at unexpected times and places.

Couple Bonding

Finally, to “affair-proof” your marriage, strengthen and deepen the bond between you and your spouse. “The more a couple knows each other, the better off they are. If you strengthen the bond between the couple, there is not so much temptation to look elsewhere,” says psychologist Susan Townsend.

  • Spend time having meaningful conversations. Set aside a few minutes each day to talk with your spouse. Talk about what you did during the day, what you’ve been thinking about, what you’re feeling. Avoid discussing conflicts during this time.
  • If these conversations don’t come naturally, try sitting down facing each other and doing something relaxing at the same time, like having a cup of coffee or listening to music you both like.
  • Go out on a date with your spouse once a week and choose an activity you enjoy doing together, such as watching a movie, eating out, dancing, bowling. Consider the cost of a babysitter an investment in your marriage and family.
  • Share your fondest dreams with your spouse, no matter how impossible or outlandish they might seem.
  • Be honest with your spouse. Don’t keep secrets from him or her.
  • Regularly attend church, synagogue, or mosque with your spouse. Nurturing your spirituality together can be a powerful way to increase your bond.

So what do you think?


Piggy Bank Deposits

PiggyBankDepositsEvery action, every word, every deed you and your child share is being recorded in their piggy bank of memories. Every time you are with your child, you are creating a memory.  Are you depositing coins of love, guidance, and patience?  or Are you depositing coins of criticism, harshness, and really not listening.  The bank of memories you create and deposit with your children is a record of your history with them.  Be mindful to deposit wisely.



Treat others the same way you want them to treat you (Luke 6:31)

There are some things that we can control, and some things that are just out of our control. The things that we have control over are our words, actions, ideas, efforts, and behavior. Things that we do not have control over are other people’s actions and words. We also have not control over other people’s feelings, behavior, or ideas. Regardless of what other people say to you choose to respond to them the way you want to be treated. It is not about them, but about you and your character. Do not break your integrity when others choose to be ignorant or disrespectful. If you do they win. Treat others the way you want to be treated is and has been the golden rule for a long time, we just don’t put it into practice too often. The pebble, dropped in a pool, can make ripples to the furthest shore.

The way to happiness
is made much brighter by
applying the precept, “Try to treat
others as you would want them
to treat you.”

“I Do” but Would You Do it Again???

How can I be sure

My husband and I have been a couple for over 20 years. This month we will celebrate our 19th wedding anniversary. 19….yikes!!!! How could this be possible when I’m only 25 years old? We have family members as well as friends who ask…How do you manage marriage for so many years and you guys continue to smile and genuinely seem happy to be together? Our answer is always the same…….we are happy to be together!!! Mutual respect, trust for one another as well as positive communication goes a long way. The response is usually “that is easier said than done.” Yes, sometimes this is true…I will be the first to admit that marriage is hard work. Usually, not as hard when you find “Mr. or Mrs. Right” and don’t settle for “Mr. or Mrs. Right Now.” My husband and I were friends before we entered into our relationship. We have spent the majority of our adult lives together. The respect and trust were there from the beginning and has grown…….The communication, on the other hand is a work in progress!!! There may be something to Men are From Mars and Women are from Venus. However, we both still agree that we are worth the work!!! And I would not change a thing… has made us who we are today and we have two beautiful kiddos from our union. And, yes I would absolutely do it all over again!!!

Heritage or Hatred!!!

The South Carolina and American flags flying at half-staff behind the Confederate flag erected in front of the State Congress building in Columbia, South Carolina on June 19, 2015.

 In wake of the horrific act that occurred in Charleston, South Carolina…I am left wondering why we are pondering if the Confederate flag should continue to fly at the state capitol? I have not lived in South Carolina in over 20 years but the flag was flying when I lived there and every time I visit. I have heard that the flag is a symbol of heritage and not race related. I have also heard that African Americans should not bring up slavery and/or segregation every time something that may have been racially motivated occurs…..hmmm….very interesting. Isn’t slavery/segregation apart of our heritage? Should we minimize the minority struggle to make the majority feel better? Any flag representing racism has no place at a state capitol. What do you think this says to the minorities who reside in South Carolina?

What do you think, Heritage or Hatred?