Tagged: Marriage and Family Therapy

To Have and To Hold

I recently attended the wedding of a great friend.  This beautiful event was supported by a spectacular venue, decorations, and charming dresses.  And most importantly, loving people.  As the event began, the pastor took her spot under an elegant wood arch aligned with flowers.  She opened with a speech to remind the audience, friends and family of our role in this matrimony.  As we listened, we became confidants.  As we watched the couple exchange vows, we became advocates for their happiness.  We were not just gathered here to witness, but to become collaborators in the entirety of this marriage journey.

We are called to provide support, to help in times of struggle, heal in times of pain and celebrate in times of joy to those of our friends who include us in their special day.  We have a part in this union and this family throughout the many years they remain married.


This, of course, got me thinking.  I thought about all the people seated in the chairs beside me and standing near the couple.  I thought about their journey and the importance of the role I was about to play in the lives of others.

Marriage is a time for happiness and celebration.  But Marriage is most importantly a time when our selfish ways are put aside and we grow in love.  Relationships that support the marriage are essential for that growth to happen.

As I continue to read books from leaders, mentors, and professional athletes, I learn that people need direction from different avenues and various people.  We are all shaped by our families, our communities, our teachers, and our peers.  We are all snapped by our relationships.

I have been to numerous weddings throughout the past 10 years, and I had to ask myself how have I continued to support those individuals and families?

When we put on suits and ties, pretty dresses and dazzling shoes, we are not just attending one event for that relationship, but we are asked to continue to provide support and understanding for the marriage journey and each of its partners.

I was moved by the pastor engaging the attendies in the discussion to support marriage in it’s longevity.  Community is an intricate part of supporting marriages.  We can not do this alone.


My name is Laurie Kjelstrom, M.A.  I am a Marriage and Family Therapist Intern who is passionate about helping Marriages sustain happiness and helping families live healthy lives.  

If you are in California, please call me today for a consultation: 714-747-4393


How I Found Happiness and You Can Too

If you recall Einstein was responsible for the theory of relativity.  He said, “Time is relative.”   It also turns out that some other findings by Isaac Newton lead to that discovery.  Now, I know little about theses theories, little about astronomy, and much less about physics.  I do know one thing, however.  The more I searched for and longed for happiness myself, the more I learned about where to find it.  You see, happiness is also relative.  It is relative to the observer who is measuring it.  It is relative to what sort of ruler you are using to gauge where it is you want to go.

For me, the happiness ruler was finding an equilibrium.  It was finding a balance between work and play.  It was figuring out how to be content as a constant searcher.  It was learning how to know and trust myself, and make up my own definition for happy.


Now I recently, after ten years of searching, found a profession that I love and I am good at.  I am a Marriage and Family Therapist who still gets to incorporate an enjoyment for writing and research into the profession.  I continue to gain insight and education by some of the best in the field.  Once that part of the ruler was settled, much more seemed to be measurable.


What I’ve learned in the Search for Happiness:



1. Self- Help books or articles that proclaim to know “How to Find Happiness” are shining moments like the motivational video that I posted last night.  They give you a boost to start your engine.  Once the engine starts, it is up to you to find that path. No book, article, or moment can get you there.

2. Learning how to live in the now has increased my happiness significantly.  This is not because I am not a planner.  I plan.  In fact I have my planner scheduled out to May of 2014.  Learning how to live in the now required that I do one thing at a time.  If I am eating, I eat.  If I am writing, I write.  If I am watching a movie, I watch that movie.  I noticed that decreasing the busy-ness that I had created in my life, decreased anxiety and increased enjoying life’s moments.

3. Bad Habits replaced with good ones.  I was in my old hometown this October when a girlfriend of mine mentioned that she had stopped giving her kids milk because of all the hormones.  This got me thinking a lot.  Although it is difficult to ever be perfect, I made some very important changes in regards to eating more organic, taking more vitamins, and exercising.  Exercising releases dopamine and (at least for me) eating organic and getting the proper vitamins has helped significantly.

4. Taking up a hobby that resembles nothing close to work.  For me, I began DIY.  I had a passion for crafts and art growing up, so I wanted to bring that back into my adult life.  Now I enjoy my job and writing, but it was important for me to pick a hobby that allowed my mind to get as far away from thinking as possible.

5. I always used to say never instead of never saying always.  It has been important in my search for happiness to learn about balance in all areas.  I stopped (most of the time) using words that imply all or nothing such as never and always.  Sometimes I slip up and sometimes I don’t.  I allow myself grace to not eat organic sometimes or to miss days at the gym. Staying consistent leads to happiness more than extreme life changes of short duration. 

Finding happiness now is relative, because you will journey through figuring out how to be happy over and over again.  And now will be relative to where you are in your life and what you are doing.  Cheers to finding your happiness now and constantly enjoying the ride.