Resources for Creating a Safer, Saner, More Loving World

Carmageddon’s Gift for Detoured Couples, Families

Carmageddon

Promptly at 7 p.m. Friday, contract traffic workers in Day-Glo coveralls began systematically shutting down one turn lane after another at Ventura Boulevard and Sherman Oaks Avenue. Finally, they moved in and placed red-orange cones, traffic barricades and signs to block the onramp to the 405 Freeway.

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As Carmageddon began, Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony announced they’re calling it quits on their seven year marriage. While bumps and detours are normal for any relationship, Carmageddon may be just what the doctor ordered for struggling Southern California couples.

If you’re one of the estimated 60-75% of Southern Californians considering a detour that could send your marriage and family down the off-ramp, Carmageddon could be your chance at a new beginning.

Whether you’re inching along the 405 (hopefully not the 10-mile stretch that’s closed for nearly three days) or sitting back until the Ventura and Sherman Oaks Avenue onramp reopens, taking 15-20 minutes to reconnect with a loved one could make Carmageddon a weekend you’ll remember for good reasons.

In person or by phone (preferably in person), reach out to a loved one to touch base, in order, in these five areas. The exercise, known as the PAIRS Daily Temperature Reading, has helped many thousands of couples and families create happier, healthier relationships. It can be a valuable first step to restoring communication, connection and intimacy that can become the foundation of new possibilities for your family.

  • Appreciations: Take turns saying aloud things you appreciate about each other. Be sincere and specific. Even after the 405 reopens, get in the habit of acknowledging loved ones for the positive things they do. It builds self-worth, good will, helps keep relationships from becoming vulnerable to negative outside influences, and may boost the immune system.
  • New Information: Let each other know what’s new in your life, whether it’s about school, work, family, community, traffic, or anything else important to you. Keeping up-to-date with each other is vital to healthy relationships and shows you value one another.
  • Puzzles: If there’s anything you’re wondering about connected to the other person, ask about it. It’s important not to make assumptions, which are often wrong. Ask when something is puzzling you. Whether or not you get an answer, it’s important to let others know what you’re wondering about and give the person a chance to provide an answer or other information.
  • Concerns with Recommendations: Is there something bothering you about a behavior of the other person? If so, say what it is (specifically focused on the behavior, not the person), how it makes you feel, and what you suggest doing instead. With good will, most differences can be worked out. It’s much different to bring up a concern as part of your regular daily temperature readings instead of letting them build up until they come out wrong.
  • Wishes, Hopes, and Dreams: Share what your wishes, hopes and dreams are – for the day, week, your life, or anywhere in between – and listen as you learn about the dreams of someone you love. It’s a big world out there. You are the witness to the lives of the people you’re closest to and they’re your witnesses. When possible, help make each others’ dreams come true.

Taking 15-20 minutes during Carmageddon to do the Daily Temperature Reading can be as valuable a gift as those extra lanes through the Sepulveda Pass.

RELATED:

Five Steps for Healthy Relationships

Step Back from the Brink of Divorce

California Healthy Marriage Coalition

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July 2011
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