By Chandrama Anderson
E-mail Chandrama Anderson
About this blog: About this blog: I am a LMFT specializing in couples counseling and grief and have lived in Silicon Valley since 1969. I'm the president of Connect2 Marriage Counseling. I worked in high-tech at Apple, Stanford University, and in ... (More)
About this blog: About this blog: I am a LMFT specializing in couples counseling and grief and have lived in Silicon Valley since 1969. I'm the president of Connect2 Marriage Counseling. I worked in high-tech at Apple, Stanford University, and in Silicon Valley for 15 years before becoming a therapist. My background in high-tech is helpful in understanding local couples' dynamics and the pressures of living here. I am a wife, mom, sister, friend, author, and lifelong advocate for causes I believe in (such as marriage equality). My parents are both deceased. My son graduated culinary school and is heading toward a degree in Sociology. I enjoy reading, hiking, water fitness, movies, 49ers and Stanford football, Giants baseball, and riding a tandem bike with my husband. I love the beach and mountains; nature is my place of restoration. In my work with couples, and in this blog, I combine knowledge from many fields to bring you my best ideas, tips, tools and skills, plus book and movie reviews, and musings to help you be your genuine self, find your own voice, and have a happy and healthy relationship. Don't be surprised to hear about brain research and business skills, self-soothing techniques from all walks of life, suggestions and experiments, and anything that lights my passion for couples. (Author and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Calif. Lic # MFC 45204.) (Hide)
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I’ve been sick with a bad cold that has put me back to basics (sleep, eat). My husband is working FT (at a stressful job). My brother in-law is here this week, and my step-sons, too.
Normally, I would be taking care of shopping and meals for all, plus doing my work (not quite FT). And this time, I can’t. Having my husband cook and take care of me is lovely – and it’s hard for me to just relax and accept his care. I feel uncomfortable sitting on the couch reading when he’s tired after a long day and is in the kitchen fixing food. He usually helps me make supper.
Yet this time we can’t share responsibilities equally. And I have to deal with my own feelings of discomfort. I was brought up to carry my own weight, and to help others. I was not brought up to receive or take.
I was talking to a man at a holiday party in December. He said he doesn’t feel okay “taking” from his partner (i.e., letting her do things for him). I suggested he consider thinking of it as receiving vs. taking.
The definitions of take are:
- to get into one's hold or possession by voluntary action.
- to hold, grasp, or grip.
- to get into one's hands, possession, control, etc.
The definitions of receive, on the other hand, are:
- to take into one's possession something offered or delivered.
- to have (something) bestowed, conferred, etc.
- to have delivered or brought to one.
When you allow yourself to receive from your partner, you allow them to offer, to bestow upon you. When you take, there is an edge of control.
In your marriage, do you take? Receive? Give? Offer? Bestow? Is it equal in your relationship? Does one do most of the giving and the other taking or receiving? Is it working for both of you?
Consider what it would look like for you to offer with a good heart and to receive with a good heart.
In a healthy couple’s relationship, balance usually shifts back and forth, like a seesaw. If one end is stuck in the dirt and the other up in the air, there’s likely some work to be done.