“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” – Dr. Suess
There are countless workshops, magazine articles, discussions and movies about dating, love and marriage. So what is necessary to have healthy relationships or a loving marriage? In his article, Couples Relationships: Acceptance, Assertiveness and Accommodation, Daniel Bochner, PhD outlines and describes what he calls the foundations of a healthy marriage:
“The three “A”s, acceptance, accommodation and assertiveness, are the hallmarks of a good relationship. If partners are to turn the natural chemistry of their initial relationship into an enduring love, they must accept one another’s differences, accommodate one another’s preferences, and assert their own preferences where important.”
Assertiveness is often the most misunderstood and hardest to attain because it requires we know ourselves and our feelings and beliefs so that we can communicate naturally and in a healthy way while respecting the right of others who have a different opinion or viewpoint. “Studies show that assertive communication can help build personal confidence, assist with managing stress and anger, and improve coping skills for emotional health and well-being,” says psychologist Sari Shepphird. “Assertive communication is the perfect midpoint between aggressiveness and passivity — you avoid needlessly hurting others, yet you are sure to see results.”
In his book, Speaking the Truth in Love : A Christian Approach to Assertiveness, Henry Virkler, PhD provides practical guidelines for clinicians working from a Christian perspective with ways to assist their clients on assertiveness and boundary issues. Some assertiveness books wrestle with the biblical perspective and encourage clients to be assertive but never get to the behavioral steps to take for success. This book lays out those steps while addressing the cognitive-thinking and self-talk changes, which must occur for clients who want to go from a passive lifestyle to a more assertive lifestyle. By working affirmation into assertiveness, the text helps clinicians be assertive without being aggressive. This book also attempts to reconcile assertiveness with biblical concepts such as submitting to one another, turning the other cheek, humility and serving one another.
See the continuing education course based on Virkler’s book here at www.GenesisCE.org. The course helps Mental Health Professionals fulfill CE credits and is available for Psychologists, LCSW, LPC, LMFT, LMHC, LSSP and more: approved by APA, ASWB, NBCC, NAADAC and most states for School Psychology.
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