Peter Pearson

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Do you have a partner with a habit or flaw you’d like to eliminate, tweak or fix? Let’s turn it into a Valentine's Day Couples Game where you can design your ideal partner.

Part One

You can now design your ideal mate. Pick from any of the traits described below and even add a lot more. Go wild. Create a list of all the positive traits you wish for in your mate. Your dream partner can now be assembled like ordering a new car.

It might be easiest to print this list so you can circle your favorites and add others.

  • Intelligent
  • Sensitive
  • Interesting
  • Fun loving
  • Wants as many kids as I do
  • Great parent
  • Has many exciting interests
  • Attractive
  • Values good health
  • Enjoys their work
  • Likes animals
  • Honest
  • Loves me for who I am
  • Great sense of humor
  • Enjoys sex about as often as I do
  • Loves taking care of others
  • Gives me all the space I want when I want it
  • Sparkling conversationalist
  • Loves cooking for me
  • Enjoys the same foods, movies, music and sports
  • Manages money well and is a great investor
  • Extroverted and fun in social situations
  • Introverted and likes quiet, serene romantic settings
  • Likes to exercise
  • Great travel companion
  • Has the same sense of adventure
  • Loves what they do professionally and the sky is the limit
  • Knows just how much to tease me
  • Trustworthy
  • Wants to talk when I do
  • Is interested in my day if I want to talk about it
  • Is willing to go to therapy (just in case)

Wow, what an ideal partner. And he or she is all yours. Just keep reading.

Part Two

Now that you have described your dream partner, let’s do part two. For every four positive traits, you now need to include one irritant. Because we are all flawed creatures, we have to balance the picture.

Look at the list below and choose one characteristic for every four on your original list. What are you willing to live with in order to have all those juicy positives? In this scenario, the negatives are fixed and pretty permanent.
Remember the ratio is 4:1. Count your list of positive traits and divide by 4 to see how many traits you need to select from the list below.

  • Insecure
  • Bi-polar
  • Narcissistic
  • Passive aggressive
  • Conflict avoidant
  • Hairy back
  • Lazy
  • Not interested in sex when I am
  • Addicted to TV or video games
  • Doesn’t want the same number of kids I do
  • Poor kisser
  • Loves eating junk foods
  • Messy
  • Forgets birthdays and anniversaries
  • Unmotivated
  • Stingy
  • Jealous
  • Insecure
  • Really embarrassing fashion style
  • Nags
  • Chews with mouth open
  • Snores loud enough to scare small animals
  • No sense of humor
  • Watches way too much T.V
  • Rarely expresses emotions
  • Trapped in go nowhere job and doesn’t mind it
  • Spends way over the budget
  • Interrupts and doesn’t listen well
  • Swears a lot
  • Tendency toward chronic depression
  • Too much overweight or underweight
  • No common activities
  • Has unpleasant friends
  • Bad health

There you have it – a real live human being who is complex, annoying, loving, and full of contradictions.

Part Three

Make a Valentine’s Day Commitment. For the day before, the day of and the day after, experiment with accepting your partner’s irritating traits. Increase your positive recognition of your partner’s pluses and overlook their negatives.

Valentine’s Day has become way too commercial. Isn’t this better than any box of candy?

Also, do your best to evaluate yourself against these lists and look at the ratio you bring to your relationship. Do you see the same plusses and minuses as your partner sees in you?

If you do part three, congratulations. Please share any discoveries or how hard it is to resist blaming and criticizing for those 3 days.

We look forward to reading your results on the blog!

And Happy Valentine’s Day.

About 

Peter Pearson, Ph.D., Relationship & Teamwork Expert for Entrepreneur Couples

Pete has been training and coaching couples to become a strong team since 1984 when he co-founded The Couples Institute with his psychologist wife, Ellyn Bader.

Their popular book, “Tell Me No Lies,” is about being honest with compassion and growing stronger as a couple.

Pete has been featured on over 50 radio and television programs including “The Today Show,” "Good Morning America,” and "CBS Early Morning News,” and quoted in major publications including “The New York Times,” “Oprah Magazine,” “Redbook,” “Cosmopolitan,” and “Business Insider.”


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Kathy Hardie-Williams, M.Ed, MS, NCC, MFT, LPC

Thank you so much, Ellyn! I have several couples I will use this with this week!

Best,

Kathy

Johna769
Johna769
7 years ago

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A Glossary of Terms that are sometimes Confusing

Couples Therapy is a counseling procedure that seeks to improve the adjustment of two people who have created an interdependent relationship. There are no standard procedures to help two people improve their adjustments to each other. Generally, a more experienced therapist will offer more perspectives and tools to a couple. Length of treatment will depend on severity of problems, motivation and skills of the therapist. A couple can be dating, living together, married or separating and may be gay, lesbian or heterosexual.

Marriage Therapy is a term often used interchangeably with marriage counseling. The term marriage implies two people have created a union sanctioned by a government or religious institution. The methods used in marriage counseling, marriage therapy and couples therapy are interchangeable and depend more on the specific challenges of each unique couple.

Psychotherapy is one or more processes to help improve psychological and emotional functioning. Examples are psychoanalysis, cognitive therapy, behavior therapy, Gestalt therapy, Transactional Analysis, Rational-Emotive therapy, or group therapy. Many forms of psychotherapy are blends of different approaches. For example, newer forms of psychotherapy called energy psychology draw upon recent advances in brain and neuroscience. These approaches often build on cognitive behavioral methods.

Clinical Psychologist. After graduating from college, it usually takes about five years of graduate school to get a Ph.D. in Psycholgy. It then requires an additional two years of supervision and passing a written (and often) an oral exam. There are a few states that allow psychologists to prescribe medications (with additional training) but that is uncommon.

Psychiatrist. After graduation from medical school, there is a generally a 4-year psychiatric residency. After the completion of this training, psychiatrists must pass an exam issued by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology to obtain certification and legally practice in the field. Psychiatrists can prescribe medications.

Clinical Social Worker. This profession usually requires two years of study after obtaining an undergraduate degree. While specific licensure requirements vary by state, most require clinical social workers to obtain 3,000 hours or 2 years of supervised clinical experience, after obtaining a Masters degree. Social workers can also specialize in diverse fields such as human services management, social welfare analysis, community organizing, social and community development, and social and political research.

Marriage and Family Therapist. Obtaining this license requires a Masters degree which takes approximately two years of post graduate study. The license also requires 3000 hours of supervised work and passing written exams.

The Couples Institute. We have assembled a group of top notch therapists at The Couples Institute. Whatever marriage help or marriage advice you are looking for, we are here to serve you. While most other therapists see only a few couples a week, we specialize in marriage and couples relationships, working to develop and bring you the most current and effective approaches to couples therapy. For more information about couples therapy or marriage counseling, see our couples therapy section.