Beyond Blue

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I have decided to dedicate a post on Thursday to therapy, and offer you the many tips I have learned on the couch. They will be a good reminder for me, as well, of something small I can concentrate on. Many of them are published in my book, “The Pocket Therapist: An Emotional Survival Kit.

My mentor Mike reminds me on a regular basis that marriage is about compromise between two givers. He and his wife, Vickie, have a rule that whoever feels more strongly about something—skipping dinner with the country club snobs, flying south to visit with the hillbilly relatives—gets her way. He told me to try it out in my own relationship.

So when America decided it no longer needed or could afford to build and renovate homes—when the housing market was officially flushed down the toilet with the rest of the economy and practically all architects became unemployed—Eric and I sat down with our budget and crossed off lots of “desired but not necessary” items.

The house, for Eric, was a non-negotiable. His type of living organism requires the space of a three-bedroom house to thrive, whereas I could inhabit a junk closet … as long as there was space and an outlet for my HappyLite. On the other hand, sending the kids to St. Mary’s was at the top of my list, as I wanted them to get some religion from a source other than myself, so that they wouldn’t associate all things spiritual with “crazy.”

So, following Mike’s advice, whenever we run up against a situation like our budget, we ask each other one simple question: “What is most important to you?” And, as long as I’m not about to get my period, this system seems to work.

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