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The Big Day: Wedding Day or the Day After?

Mar 31st, 2009 by Dr. Gourgouris | 0

Many of us expect the biggest day of our lives to be the day we finally tie the knot! So many life-long expectations, dreams and aspirations are finally coming true. To have the “perfect wedding day” is often seen as the ultimate goal, and “bridezilla” is a humorous term often used for this phenomenon. However, it seems that the focus on being the center of attention, or on having the perfect party, really serves as a distraction from the true focus, which is this new eternal union.

Planning so many things that have to work out just right takes up great time and energy: the music, food, guests, seating arrangements, flowers, pictures, transportation, the wedding dress, hair styling, groomsmen and maids-of-honor (and their clothing), make-up, timing, the photographer…well, the list could go on and on.. It is, after all, a day that has been dreamed of or down-right planned for years in advance. The trimmings are abundant.

Amidst all the hoopla, however, comes amazing stress as the details of the “BIG EVENT” take over. It’s not uncommon for that very stress to cause hurt feelings when things don’t quite work as anticipated. Often the bride-to-be feels so overwhelmed and busy that she forgets to “check in” and see how others are feeling—her fiancée included. On the actual wedding day, running around during the event, the bride may not be able to even enjoy it! Many brides confirm that the wedding itself was exhausting, and that they felt quite empty and let down afterwards, almost like “that was it?”

All this expectation linked to having one perfect day (not to mention the honeymoon), can be expensive and start the marriage out with unnecessary stress (including debt). Simplifying the costs as well as the details will allow both the bride and groom to be able to focus on the spirit of the occasion, and the days after the “Big Day.” Simplifying can allow time to truly enjoy and visit with their guests and their families, instead of creating empty details for the “perfect” future wedding album.

For the success and longevity of a thriving and loving marriage, how important is the actual wedding day…really? President Spencer W. Kimball answers this question with great clarity and wisdom. He was once interviewing a young man returning from his mission and asked him what he was looking forward to the most when he got home. The young man answered, “I’ve been praying to marry the one I love.” Clearly this returning missionary had a girl back home with whom he was deeply in love and had planned on getting married.

President Kimball’s loving and wise response to this young man (and to all of us) was: “Don’t pray to marry the one you love, but pray to love the one you marry.” It’s not that the young man’s prayer was wrong, by any means, but that his prayer would be answered the day he got married, and the days thereafter.

It is the month, or the year, after the wedding, when those rose-colored glasses are gone, that we truly learn to love. It is the morning when we wake up to a crying baby after sleeping only two hours that we make a marriage union real. It is when you don’t really feel loving, but choose to act loving towards your new spouse that a marriage is truly born … not the wedding day or the honeymoon afterwards.

Praying continuously for an increase of love towards our spouse throughout our lifetime and acting upon those promptings is the real recipe for success. It is in the daily effort of thinking and praying about improving our spouse’s life that true love is found and grows.
So, it is true that the day of our wedding is a milestone in our eternal progression, a great day to celebrate with family and friends our eternal union. However, the greatest days start after the wedding day and continue for the remainder of our lives with daily, weekly, monthly and yearly deposits of loving prayers and actions.

Elia Gourgouris Ph.D.
www.LDSCoaching.com
303-523-6396


Dr. Elia Gourgouris is a nationally known speaker, relationship coach, and the president of LDSCoaching.com. With over 20 years of experience, he has inspired thousands of individuals and couples to find greater happiness and fulfillment, both in their careers and their personal lives. He holds a degree from UCLA and a Ph.D. in psychology. Dr. Gourgouris speaks to groups around the country regarding women’s issues, self esteem, communications skills, and relationships. He is also a favorite presenter at both BYU and BYU-ID Education Weeks, and Time Out for Women conferences. He is the author of “DTR: What You Need to Know Before You Get Married” and he has an upcoming CD entitled “The Multi-Platinum Marriage: Going from Just Surviving to Thriving!” He and his wife, Sona, live near Boulder, Colorado, with their children.

Valentine’s Day: Giving the perfect gift

Feb 10th, 2009 by Dr. Elia | 0

Valentine’s Day conjures up images of a dozen red roses, sentimental cards, a box of chocolates and a romantic dinner. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with that.

Let us examine however, how long these gifts really last. The cards are read and set aside within a few minutes. The dinner will probably be over in a couple of hours. The beautiful red roses, assuming that they’re fresh, will most likely last a good week. As for the box of chocolates, it’s anyone’s guess. At my house they’d be history before the day is over!

Valentine’s Day is the one day of the year when love takes center stage. Regardless of what stage in the relationship we’re in — dating, engaged, newlyweds, married with children or empty nesters — we all seem eager to express our love. Far too often the expression of love lasts about as long as Valentine’s Day itself. What happens on Feb. 15 and beyond?

What then would make the perfect gift — the gift that keeps on giving all year long? We can start by making the effort to find out what makes our “valentine” feel the most loved. The best way to do that is to find a quiet moment, without any outside distractions and have a heart-to-heart conversation. Asking questions like, “what can I do to make your life a little easier” or “how can I be a better husband/wife” can go a long way toward discovering this potential gift.

I use the phrase “potential gift” because knowledge by itself is not enough. The last thing we want to do is ask those meaningful questions, receive honest answers, raise the expectation level and then … do nothing! We would be better off not even broaching the subject to begin with. The key to successful relationships is clearly defined expectations. If reality doesn’t match expectations then it leaves room for a lot of hurt feelings and disappointment. Remember that when expectations and reality match it equals happiness, and on those rare occasions when expectations exceed reality it equals joy!

One thing you can do to ensure that you get the most helpful feedback is to give your loved one some time to think about those question and perhaps even write down a few possible answers before you discuss them. As wonderful a gesture as it is, the likelihood of someone giving you an insightful answer on the spot is not too good. Most of us (hopefully) don’t spend a lot of time thinking about what we want to change in our spouse. So giving them a few hours or a day to think about what would truly be the most helpful change will give you both a better chance at success.

Once we’ve discovered what makes our valentine feel loved, it’s time to go to work. It begins with a sincere commitment to ourselves, to our love and to God that we will consciously and deliberately begin to express our love in the manner requested. Imagine the difference it will make in our relationships if daily deposits are made and received into the love account. Every day becomes an opportunity to put a smile in our loved one’s face. Whether it is an act of service or a kind word, a back rub or just spending alone time together, we can all be a little more loving to those whom we claim to love the most.

This everyday gift is sure to become the best Valentine’s Day present ever!

So let’s make sure we exceed the expectations and discover the joy in being in love again.


Dr. Elia Gourgouris is a nationally known speaker, relationship coach, and the president of LDSCoaching.com. With over 20 years of experience, he has inspired thousands of individuals and couples to find greater happiness and fulfillment, both in their careers and their personal lives. He holds a degree from UCLA and a Ph.D. in psychology. Dr. Gourgouris speaks to groups around the country regarding women’s issues, self esteem, communications skills, and relationships. He is also a favorite presenter at both BYU and BYU-ID Education Weeks, and Time Out for Women conferences. He is the author of “DTR: What You Need to Know Before You Get Married” and he has an upcoming CD entitled “The Multi-Platinum Marriage: Going from Just Surviving to Thriving!” He and his wife, Sona, live near Boulder, Colorado, with their children.

Is it My Fault or His?

Jan 25th, 2009 by Dr. Elia | 0

Dear Dr. Elia,

Years ago our bishop referred us to you and we had a handful of visits before we moved out of state. Life has certainly been an adventure since then but my marriage continues to be a source of great pain and confusion for me.

Do you think there are sometimes problems in a marriage that don’t really stem from the relationship but from one of the spouses personality disorders? Do you think a man who has had numerous secretive emotional and/or physical relationships outside his marriage, even after church disciplinary action, is reacting to “problems” in his marriage or problems in himself that are unacknowledged and unresolved? My spouse loves the idea of love, and the beginning intense period of a new relationship but lacks the ability to weather storms, cope with challenges, and generally stay committed through the ups and downs of family life. He continues to blame me for marital unhappiness, which to him means, his unhappiness. My happiness is never addressed. I feel like all the counseling in the world wouldn’t help us unless he finally acknowledges that the reasons he has violated marital vows are only about him. What do you think? There is a school of thought out there that if one is fulfilled in their relationship they won’t cheat. I say if you are the cheating kind there isn’t anything your spouse could do to make marriage more fulfilling for you.You have to change yourself.

MRS


Dear MRS,

You bring up some excellent points about marital relationships. In the
CD The Multi-Platinum Marriage: Going from Surviving to Thriving, I talk
about some of the issues in your marriage. First of all, there are 4 red
flags or what would be considered as “withdrawals” from you marital
account.

Number one on the list is Selfishness and Pride. Every form of sinful,
destructive or addictive behavior has its basis in selfishness. Of
course, your happiness is never addressed! It takes humility or in other
words, an absence of pride for your husband to admit that the reasons
for any violation of his marital vows are about him.

Unfortunately, I have known far too many men who have strayed from their
marital vows, even though they were married to wonderful, loving and
faithful wives. So I tend to agree with you in that the responsibility
lies with the individual. I’ve also known plenty of men who are “just
surviving” in their relationships and yet CHOOSE not to be unfaithful.

Your husband sounds like he has some unresolved issues that may even
predate meeting you. Until those are brought to the surface,
acknowledged and worked through, he will continue to struggle…and in
essence so will you. The idea that he likes “falling in love” and seeks
it elsewhere is a sign of emotional immaturity. The inability to weather
storms, cope with challenges, and stay the course through the ups and
downs of his marriage, is further evidence that he stills needs to “grow
up” emotionally.

In case you were wondering, the other 3 red flags in a marriage are,
lack of forgiveness, criticisms and control or unrighteous dominion.
Obviously there’s more information as to the deposits one can make to
create a thriving marriage! I’d love to hear your feedback after you
listen to the cd. Let me know if you have any other questions.

God bless,

Elia Gourgouris Ph.D.
303-523-6396
www.LDSCoaching.com

Communicating our Love Languages

Jul 28th, 2008 by Dr. Gourgouris | 0

Dear Dr. Elia,

I read your post about love languages, and I’m with you on that. My husband and I speak completely OPPOSITE languages! We’ve been working on it, and It hink we’ve made some progress. (At least we are working on it. )

However, sometimes even though we are both trying, I still feel like we are missing the boat totally. I think I’m doing the right thing and showing him I love him, yet somehow I haven’t communicated it right.

Other times I feel exasperated that I feel so NOT understood by him. He scratches his head even though I’ve tried my darndest to explain. He keeps wanting to SOLVE things, and all I want is his affection and understanding.

We are dedicated to our marriage, and I know there are larger issues looming in the world out there. But frankly, sometimes it’s a lonely proposition to think that we can’t make it work better than this.

What do you suggest?

Rebecca


Dear Rebecca,

I see your dilemma and it is more common than you might think. Most couples have very different love languages.

If you’d like to bridge the gap with your spouse, it is important to very clearly articulate your priorities in terms of what makes you feel the most loved. For example let’s say the most important aspect is Physical Affection, followed by Words of Appreciation…Then Acts of Service, Quality Time and finally Gifts. Share those with your husband and have him give you his list in terms of what makes him feel the most loved. It may not be the same as your list (like you said, you speak completely opposite languages.) The key to success is to be willing to go outside of your comfort zones and love your spouse the way that they need to be loved…not what might come easy. That’s real love because the well being of our spouse becomes of primary importance. Hopefully it will be reciprocated because as you make deposits into his account, he would be willing to make deposits into your “love account.” It becomes a win-win situation!

Elia Gourgouris Ph.D
303-523-6396
www.LDSCoaching.com

The Love Languages… It’s All Greek To Me!

May 16th, 2008 by Dr. Gourgouris | 0

Given that I am Greek and speak it fluently should automatically make me an expert right? But it wasn’t always so…The mystery of “love” and its accompanied language(s) has mystified a myriad of couples. According to best-selling author Dr. Gary Chapman these are the 5 languages of love: Quality Time, Physical Touch, Gifts, Acts of Service and Words of Appreciation.

Unfortunately for my wife and I, we got married before this book came out. Well wouldn’t you know it, in the first six months (still considered newlyweds) we both felt like we were working soooo hard on our marriage. However, we both also felt like we weren’t getting our needs met. How was that possible? So much love, hope and optimism about our eternal union, and yet not fully connecting. At the time it was puzzling to both of us…

Fortunately, we were able to set aside our hurt feelings and sit down and very openly and honestly discuss our differences. Perhaps being a man, or Greek, but most likely because of the family that I grew up in, Physical Touch was my love language. Let me clarify, that physical touch is not the same as sexual touch. It’s more like holding hands, hugs and kisses, back and feet rubs.

Well, I grew up in a home were my dad adored my mom and use to chase her around the house and hugged and kissed her a lot. When you’re a kid it’s kind of cute, but by the time I became a teenager it was “awful” to see my parents like that. So many times I felt like saying, “Please, get a room or something, I don’t want to see that!!!” But they were in love and that’s how they expressed it. So call it conditioning, modeling or just hard-wiring that’s my love language. So guess what, for the first six months of our marriage, I’m hugging and kissing my wife to death.

Unfortunately, that was not her love language. Rather, Words of Appreciation made her feel the most loved. So as you might guess by now, that was her primary expression. I had NEVER been thanked so many times about EVERYTHING I did. It actually was starting to annoy me (half-kidding). We were both doing what we had hoped the other person would give back in return. Only, until we discussed it and figure it out, it wasn’t working. I remember saying to her, “How could you not know how much I love you?” “I hug and kiss you all the time! I fill your love account daily” Her response startled me when she said, “Well, you’re putting your deposits into the wrong account.” Of course she said the same thing too…I tell you thank you all the time. Doesn’t that prove how much I love you?” You can guess my answer: “Wrong account.”

So the solution to this very important issue in a marriage is to discover your own love language and then ask your spouse to do the same. Once this discovery takes place, that’s when the hard part comes in. You need to make a decision to love your spouse the way they need to feel loved, not what comes easy or natural to you. It’s in the getting outside of our comfort zone and “stretching” that true love and service can be found.

The change to our marriage took place the very next night when she cooked a delicious dinner. I expressed words of appreciation by saying thank you and complimented her on her cooking. The results were almost magical: she started hugging and kissing me and I’ve been saying thank you ever since!

Elia Gourgouris Ph.D.
www.LDSCoaching.com
303-523-6396


Dr. Elia Gourgouris is a nationally known speaker, relationship coach, and the president of LDSCoaching.com. With over 20 years of experience, he has inspired thousands of individuals and couples to find greater happiness and fulfillment, both in their careers and their personal lives. He holds a degree from UCLA and a Ph.D. in psychology. Dr. Gourgouris speaks to groups around the country regarding women’s issues, self esteem, communications skills, and relationships. He is also a favorite presenter at both BYU and BYU-ID Education Weeks, and Time Out for Women conferences. He is the author of “DTR: What You Need to Know Before You Get Married” and he has an upcoming CD entitled “The Multi-Platinum Marriage: Going from Just Surviving to Thriving!” He and his wife, Sona, live near Boulder, Colorado, with their children.

DTR: What You Should Know Before You Get Married!

May 16th, 2008 by Dr. Gourgouris | 0

One of my all time favorite quotes on marriage comes from President Kimball who said, “Don’t pray to marry the one you love, pray to love the one you marry.”

And yet, most of us who are in love and desire to make that lifelong commitment, usually pray for the opportunity to marry the one we love. Now there’s nothing wrong with that particular prayer. After all we are asking the Lord to grant us the righteous desire to enter into an eternal covenant with someone we love. We get engaged, we set the date for the big event, we plan the wedding, the invitations, the cake (hopefully triple layered), the music, the dress and so on. These are wonderful things for a young couple to do together. It’s partly tradition but also the beginning of making mutual decisions together.

The big day of the wedding finally arrives and all our dreams, hopes and aspirations are fulfilled! Everyone is happy! So much optimism and love fills the air! The honeymoon is about to begin and that particular prayer has been answered!

Now what’s next, is the real question. In my experience in working with thousands of couples, I’ve heard many say, “Well he/she “changed” after we got married. When I’ve inquired further a certain pattern begins to develop.

It’s what I call the concept of Deposits v.s. Withdrawals. Deposits are the love languages put into action. When we date the “one and only” we tend to make more deposits and less withdrawals. If we didn’t, then that relationship would soon become “my ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend.” Why would I continue to date someone when there are more withdrawals than deposits made?

So now we’re engaged and the deposits are piling on: we are kind, we open doors, we show up on time smelling good, looking great, sometimes with flowers in hand. We talk and look into each other’s eyes, we listen attentively for hours on end and we can’t wait to be together again! All of these are deposits into the relationship account, or as I like to call it the TRUST FUND!

How about after marriage? What happens then? In my experience, when couples say he/she changed, that’s what they mean. Typically withdrawals tend to go up and deposits start to diminish. So now your once robust “trust fund” starts to erode. Sometimes it happens slowly by starting to take our spouse for granted…by not being quite as patient or kind, by giving less compliments etc. Sometimes the withdrawals are quick and overwhelming. Any breach of trust would fall in that category. So now the marriage has depleted the “trust fund” and is living “paycheck to emotional paycheck” if you will. Things are ok for the time being. If there’s a crisis however and little left in the “trust-fund” because of the lack of deposits, then the relationship that started with so much promise will face great difficulties.

Now the wisdom of President Kimball’s quote makes a lot more sense, doesn’t it? To pray to love the one you marry is an ongoing, life-long exercise in making loving deposits. The trust fund is always full and the marriage goes from just surviving (paycheck to emotional paycheck) to absolutely thriving!!!

Elia Gourgouris Ph.D.
www.LDSCoaching.com
303-523-6396


Dr. Elia Gourgouris is a nationally known speaker, relationship coach, and the president of LDSCoaching.com. With over 20 years of experience, he has inspired thousands of individuals and couples to find greater happiness and fulfillment, both in their careers and their personal lives. He holds a degree from UCLA and a Ph.D. in psychology. Dr. Gourgouris speaks to groups around the country regarding women’s issues, self esteem, communications skills, and relationships. He is also a favorite presenter at both BYU and BYU-ID Education Weeks, and Time Out for Women conferences. He is the author of “DTR: What You Need to Know Before You Get Married” and he has an upcoming CD entitled “The Multi-Platinum Marriage: Going from Just Surviving to Thriving!” He and his wife, Sona, live near Boulder, Colorado, with their children.