This week Dr. Secrest answers a few questions about her new book, Marriage is a Business. If you have a question you’d like to ask, send it along and she’ll do her best to answer in a future blog.
1. What is your favorite part of this book?
That would have to be the part explaining the different reasons why we need to manage our feelings. For example, regardless of how successful we are in our careers, we still have to understand and remember that emotional self-management is necessary to some degree to allow us to stay successful in those jobs, those career paths. And, we’re not corporate robots – feelings are what make us humans unique! And so the same rules apply in marriage: successful, long-lasting relationships owe something to each partner’s ability to manage their feelings well.
2. Are the stories in the book true ones?
Yes and yes! Yes, they are true and yes, any identifying information (i.e., names, ages, issues, etc.) is obscured to protect the confidentiality of each person. In the mental health world, we take confidentiality very seriously. We protect the privacy of clients so they can more comfortably discuss with us the issues that affect them. Some people have survived tragedies and traumas, others have unfortunate circumstances; many people go through a variety of life-changing events. All of us have stories to tell… we just work to avoid being hampered, burdened, or overwhelmed by the events we encounter.
3. How did you come up with the idea to start using business skills in marriage counseling?
The overall idea came to me about 10 years ago. With clients, I like to incorporate into my work real life examples of tools that can be useful for them. On occasion, corporate couples would seek help in my office, examples from their jobs were used and…voila! The similarities between marital, family, and corporate structure fit smoothly, and seemed to fill a gap concerning how to manage concrete, day-to-day issues that can cause a lot of conflict and friction between a couple. Additional business concepts, like the policies and procedures, board meetings, etc. were eventually added; even couples contributed their own spin to the business model; and so on. I’d like to write more on the similarities between the business model and marriages…we’re actually working on that now!
4. Why does it work?
It works because (a) it’s logical, and there’s logic in the world – stability, foundational consistency, etc., and (b) it’s a model that allows people to relate their working environment, something they can excel in already, to their marital environment. This approach honors the intellectual side of the marital relationship, and it also keeps us focused. Then, to all this concrete problem-solving and goal making, we add the world of feelings and again, take a focused, practical approach that can truly help us take stock, take responsibility, take action and go on to be happy, in love, intimate with each other, etc.