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Board Certified Counselor, MFT 32370
1 Baldwin Ave. #311
San Mateo, CA 94401
Tel. 650.685.8390


Tune Up Your Relationships!
Anne Rawley Saldich, Ph.D., MFT

We tune up the car, the copier, the computer. It's understood that things need professional, expert maintenance, that it costs time and money to keep our tools and toys in good operating condition.

Rarely do we think of tuning up our relationships before they run out of gas or break down. Yet, a tune-up with a coach may be one of your best investments.

Tiffany and Bernard Schram are fictional names for real people. She is a licensed patent attorney who chooses to be an at-home-mom while their two boys are preschoolers. He's a successful real estate broker whose income provides many luxuries.

Before marriage they had intelligent discussions about purpose, values, lifestyle, money, sex, children - things that are often argued about, and they decided how to handle most of them. However, that's theory. Six years down the line is reality: Bernie is never home on weekends because that's a prime selling time. At dinner he is often on the phone because that's a good time to make appointments and after dinner he is not home frequently because he is keeping those appointments.

Although both Tiffany and Bernard are devoted to family values it is Tiffany who does the Endless List with regard to the children, simply because Bernard is not there and someone has to set standards, make play dates, chauffeur the children hither and yon. These are wearing, wearying tasks. Not much intellectual stimulation there, and not much with Bernard who is always tired on Tiffany's time. Love-making has become "Slam bam, thank you ma'em," a sure way to chill a heart.

Gradually their lives have developed on parallel tracks. Tiffany has her friends and Bernard has his "contacts".

This situation is comparable to Maria Montessori's "teachable moment" with children. There is a time, if you are aware, when a child is ready to learn a particular thing. That's where Tiffany and Bernard are, except they are not aware. Despite their best efforts to find time for each other they are always separated by children's needs, household issues and modern technology: the phone, the television, the computer; or, the social shuffle: dinner guests, extended family, you name it. Seldom are they alone in a peaceful way.

They can continue like this, cruising towards a crisis, or they can have an understanding that every year they are going to take time out for a tune-up. This is best done when there is nothing "wrong". But, if they have a professional review their purpose and values in the context of how they actually live their lives it is possible for patterns to emerge that are good for the relationship and should be enhanced, and for others that are self-defeating to be corrected before the family is at risk.

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