Marriage Matters Monday – 5 Ways to Seek Pre-Martial Counseling


Please enjoy this informative piece by Philadelphia-based writer and mental health therapist Essence Cohen. I personally learned a lot from this article and I’m sure you will, too. Be sure to show Essence some Triple B love in the comments!

There are so many exciting activities surrounding your wedding day that you can lose focus of the importance of building the foundation for your actual marriage. The new experiences and unchartered waters you and your future spouse will explore will enhance your relationship but also test your commitment. Being prepared for these moments are actually more important than cake tasting, gown shopping and the bachelorette party. A pre-marital therapist or counselor is an excellent investment for you and your fiancé to help you both iron out the kinks that you are bound encounter when you make a vow to be with one another “for better or for worse”. Outlined below are five efficient ways and reasons to seek pre-marital counseling before your wedding day!

5) Learn Where Your Partner Stands. Determine what your partner’s thoughts are on premarital counseling before you begin calling around and possibly prematurely setting up an appointment. Counselors as resources to help us through many situations and it is important that you present this to your significant other so that they can begin to understand the benefits, and hopefully it will counteract any misnomers they may have about therapy.

4) Shop around. Just because you have an initial session with one counselor does not mean you have to commit to this person for the duration of your sessions. You and your partner should find someone who you feel can understand you and someone who you can relate to. Whether it be a particular gender, ethnicity or religious affiliation, shopping around until you find someone you two are comfortable with is one of the most efficient ways to find a pre-marital therapist/counselor. P.S. shopping around is great-as long as you two don’t mind filling out the initial assessment paperwork multiple times!

3) Spirituality and Religion. For most, marriage has both a spiritual and religious significance and history. When you consider this, it could be beneficial to seek a religious professional for marriage counseling as they are likely well versed in the purpose and foundation of marriage as you and your future spouse view it. If you are heavily connected to your higher being then this is perhaps the most favorable route for you to go…unless you are concerned about…

2) Anonymity. You may be reluctant to share the most pressing details of your relationship with someone who knows you two as a couple (i.e. your pastor). Being able to confide in someone who does not know either of you as a couple can offer a sense of relief because it allows to you release the feeling of someone “being in your business”! The truth of the matter is that both religious professionals and counselors are resources designed to help — and not judge — you.

1) Investing in your future. Counseling can be helpful at any stage of a relationship, however just like in the medical field; you have better outcomes when you focus on prevention and not just treatment. You are better equipped to deal with tough issues in your relationship when you have prepared for it verses when you are trying to figure out how to address it while it you are seeking counseling for the first time.

Triple B Sidebar: Here are two highly regarded pre-marriage counseling resources to consider. Don’t forget to mention Black Bridal Bliss sent you should you reach out to these professionals. Mary Pender Greene and Metropolitan Marriage & Family Therapy.

Break Up, Make Up or Wake Up?

Check out the “game show” that solves couples’ biggest relationship problems

[RELATIONSHIPS]<br /> Break Up, Make Up or Wake Up?

Dr. Young, we heard you loud and clear that our guest needs to BREAK UP with that low-down dirty dog. Our friends in the audience say …

Studio Audience:
Make up 1%
Wake up 21%
Break up 78%

Challenger #4 is Ronn Elmore, Psy.D.
( He’s a best-selling author and therapist based in Elk Grove, Calif. Listen up, Dr. Ronn …

How Hurricane Sandy Affected Women Small Business Owners

By Karin Kamp
Director of Digital Media, The Story Exchange


The aftermath of Hurricane Sandy will affect businesses for weeks, if not months. And for small businesses, the backbone of New York City’s economy, a blow from a disaster like Sandy can have a huge impact. Seth Pinsky, president of the New York City Economic Development Corporation, said on WNYC’s Brian Lehrer show that businesses of five employees or less account for 60 percent of all businesses, and companies with under 100 employees account for 98 percent of all businesses.

Has your business suffered a loss due to Sandy? Here are a some helpful resources:
The New York City Economic Development Corporation is coordinating resources for businesses that have been affected by the storm, including low interest loans. has a page dedicated to Hurricane Sandy Business Recovery Information
The state of NJ is offering assistance for self-employed in affected counties.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has a page dedicated to Hurricane Sandy and resources available.

We wanted to find out how small business owners are coping in the days after Sandy. So The Story Exchange asked small business owners in the metropolitan area how their businesses are faring. Here are some stories women told us.

Mary Pender Greene, LCSW-R, CGP, Owner MPG Consulting

I am a psychotherapist with a clinical supervision and consulting practice in midtown Manhattan. For the past several days since Hurricane Sandy, I have not been able to travel to my office to meet with clients… Many of my clients are already in crisis (anxiety, depression, grief), so the disruption and chaos caused by Sandy is felt even more acutely. Not being able to come to my office to talk about these feeling and issues has caused profound angst and fear. I have been able to lessen the upset by finding creative solutions that allowed me to be present for them during this difficult time. I have been texting, emailing and Skyping with them when electronic power allows. These methods have helped me to maintain a connection with my clients and have lessened their feelings of isolation and vulnerability. It is still very difficult, if not impossible, to get in and out of the city. I am concerned for the patients who need to travel into NYC for psychiatric evaluations. I am also concerned for those who are taking anti-depressant or anti-anxiety medications who need their prescriptions filled at local pharmacies that have been impacted by the storm. A traumatic event may bring up past trauma experiences for stable clients and sometimes cause them to become destabilized. The goal is to prevent extended isolation.

Maria Vizzi, Owner, Indoor Environmental Solutions, Inc., Bronx, NYC

The impact [on my business, dryer ventilation cleaning, air duct cleaning and sanitizing] has been felt in several ways. Our technicians have been impacted personally on various levels and some of them were unable to work and our office staff who uses public transportation were unable to come to the office. Our clients, individuals and resident and property managers of co-ops, condos and townhouse communities in the tri-state area were impacted and they couldn’t be serviced.

Another client, the New York City Fire Department and EMS, for which we clean the air ducts and dryers, were rightfully prioritizing emergency response, and all our work for them has been stalled for the moment. The difficulty in getting gas for our fleet has been a problem but we are driving as far as Connecticut to gas up our vans one by one. We are coping by being available and by accommodating everyone’s situation as best we can… Our staff has been communicating with our clients, calling and emailing to re-schedule appointments. Our concerns are being empathetic to the current situation on all fronts.

Elise Ainsworth, Owner Scotch Plains Montessori, Scotch Plains, NJ

We are a childcare provider caring for children ages 1 to 7. My business has been affected tremendously. Due to the hurricane, we currently have no power in the area and also at the school location, so we have been forced to close the school all week. We have parents that still have to go to work and are forced to find childcare elsewhere. We are not state or goverment funded so we make our money from the parents. The damages that we have suffered is consider an act of god and my insurance company will not cover for natural disasters and income lost due to the hurricane.

Barbara Bruce-Ross, Owner, B.Witching Bath Co., Ridgewood & Hawthorne NJ

We have two company-owned retail stores and sell our products over the internet and to 700 other retailers nationwide. Our corporate building was without power for a couple days, but today we were back online and all our employees reported for work. We spent the day shipping orders and making upgrades to our break room, kitchen area and corporate bathroom that includes a shower. Many of our employee family’s are without power, heat and hot water. Although we are a small business, we thought it would be beneficial to get our shower up and running to help provide our familes with a way to get cleaned up, get warm food in their belly and a provide place for children to watch videos. With a quick run to the local Home Depot, we were able to get the supplies we needed to make some quick upgrades and make everyone is a little more comfortable.

Liz Elting, Co-founder, TransPerfect, Manhattan

Headquartered in NYC, my team and I are among the companies who have spent numbers of business hours without power or access to our main headquarters. We are a language services and technology solutions company with offices all over the world, serving clients on a global basis, so we needed to ensure continuity of service even in the face of an unprecedented disaster. Fortunately, we’ve been able to accomplish this goal by providing 24-hour support to our New York headquarters by re-routing work to our west coast offices and to western Europe. On a personal level, our employees are out in the community doing what they can to help their neighbors. One longtime employee has told me she had over 25 people come to her home on the edge of the power outage grid in lower Manhattan. Her power stayed on through the storm, and she has been providing showers, cell phone charging, computer charging and meals to people who she meets in the street and some who have knocked on her door.

Why Depressed Children May Be Prone to the Holiday Blues


If your child is depressed or is prone to depression, you may not be surprised to know that the stress of the season may actually lead to the holiday blues in your child.

Holidays and Stress

Stress is an unavoidable part of life, but some children are simply more prone t0 depression as a result of life stressors. While festivities may be fun for some, a
depression-prone child may find chaos in holiday parties, crowds, or a disruption of his daily routine.

If your child has recently lost a loved one or pet, or experienced a significant life change, like a family divorce or move, the holiday season may seem especially hard to cope with.

What Parents Can Do

If your child is prone to depression, watch closely for changes in his mood, behavior, and daily functioning. If you notice that his behaviors or daily patterns have changed, contact your child’s mental health provider.

Additional symptoms of depression in children may be:

If your child has suffered a recent loss, allow him to grieve and acknowledge his feelings. Your child may take comfort in keeping old traditions alive or amending them to fit new family dynamics.

Children are also very attuned to their parents’ and caregivers’ feelings and moods. So, try not to let the stress of the season affect you negatively.

The holiday season is all about enjoying and helping one another — try not to worry about meeting unrealistic holiday ideals, and aim for what works best for your entire family

Avshalom Caspi, Karen Sugden, Terrie E. Moffitt, Alan Taylor,
Ian W. Craig, HonaLee Harrington, Joseph McClay, Jonathan Mill, Judy Martin, Anthony Braithwaite, Richie Poulton. “Influence of Life Stress on Depression: Moderation by a Polymorphism in the 5-HTT Gene.” Science July 18, 2003 301: 386-389.
Mary Pender Greene, LCSW-R, CGP. Tips to Cut Down on Holiday Depression. New York Amsterdam News. Nov. 19, 2009 100(47): 26-27.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Depression? National Institute on Mental Health. Accessed: November 30, 2010.

Get a Move On: Active Dates to Enjoy with Your Partner

Time to get physical with your guy.

Chitchat over buttered dinner rolls can be cozy, but you might want to
get out of your chairs and work up a sweat (no, not that … yet!).
“Since most dates involve a lot of sitting—and eating—getting physical
is a great and healthy change of pace,” says psychotherapist Mary Pender
Greene, a relationship expert in New York City. Active dates can help
spark laughter and new conversation even as they help you stay fit. So take advantage of the last dog days of summer and row a boat together on a nearby lake. The sheer spontaneity of it will yank you out of your comfort zone and remind you of romance pre-kids. Lace up your hiking boots and take a trek, picnic basket in hand. Enjoy the sunset while sipping chilled champagne and savoring seasonal berries. Or learn a new activity together,
like how to swing a golf club or swivel your hips in a tango class.
Beyond obvious benefits, sharing newfound physicality can also help
build your emotional bond—very sexy indeed.

Birth Control for Men? Could it Work?

By Herina Ayot
After years of development, male contraception is closer to shelves than ever. Will brothers buy in?

Birth Control for Men: Could it Work?
Male birth control pill may soon be a reality

“If you have to choose to keep one and lose the other—gun to your head—which do you lose? Your eyes or your penis?”

My favorite pastime is a long dinner with great food, better friends, and of course a cocktail (or four.) The last time I attended one of these, a friend of mine called the waiter over for extra input, and posed that question.

All the men present opted to keep their reproductive organ at the expense of their sight.  Their reasons:  “Stevie Wonder gets his, too” and “Ray Charles was a typical ladies’ man.” These men would rather go blind, than to lose their ability to have sex. Literally.

But the question doesn’t apply to women, many of whom enjoy sex, but aren’t defined by it. It’s especially relevant now that researchers are having serious conversations about the possibility of a male birth control hitting the market as soon as 2015. The method, while reversible, could reduce a man’s sperm count to zero, cutting off any immediate possibility of reproduction.

With the introduction of the birth control pill in the early 1960s, women were finally able enjoy the freedom to have sex without the fear of an unwanted pregnancy. But men may not be so inclined to take such a medication. Psychotherapist and relationship expert, Mary Pender Greene says, “Men in general are very committed to the idea that being able to reproduce has a lot to do with how successful they are as men. Regardless of culture, men have historically been looked to for producing offspring. It’s a big deal.”

My male friends have a hard time with the idea of parting with their sexual organ because for them, it is a big part of their identity.  Is it possible that there may be a great deal of resistance in the African American community to the male birth control concept because so much of a man’s ego is tied up in his sexuality and his ability to reproduce? A man who is up there in age, with children to brag about, is still often reluctant to get a vasectomy, a contrast to a woman’s willingness to take short and long term birth control, get her
tubes tied, or have other surgeries to prevent a pregnancy she doesn’t want, despite numerous side effects.

Back at the dinner table, opinions vary on the issue of male contraception and vasectomies:

“Divorce rate is high. People remarry. The new woman might want to have a child. You want to keep your options open.”

“If I was done having kids, I would consider it. In a way, it would be liberating not to have to worry about knocking someone up. I would never ask a woman to do something I wasn’t willing to do myself. Birth control for women has crazy side effects sometimes. And tubal ligation is stupid and risky. It’s just too much unnecessary surgery for my wife. Some dudes are so ignorant like its only about them, or that it makes them less of a man because they can’t drop babies at will.”

“We are so comfortable with the responsibility being on the woman,” said Chris Kazi Rolle, activist and life coach. “‘Why do I need to take a pill? If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.’
With the history of medicine in this country, there is this fear that [scientists] have to do years of research and I have to wait to see how many people get sick first before I take something that is new on this market. I think many men would agree. ‘What if my sperm doesn’t come back?’”

Society regards the man as the head of the traditional household and it is most often his name that is kept going in a family. Pender Greene comments, “For a man, so much of his manhood is based on how successful he is in conquering. A man having multiple children, whether married or not, is more accepted. For a woman, this is not so. It has less to do with race and ethnicity than it does economic status.” She harks on the idea that the more money somebody has, the more they can compete economically and compensate for
not being able to have children. When they have less money, they tend to show that they are a success by having more children.

Historically, African American men have been on the lower rung of the socioeconomic ladder, so while the issue may not be directly related to race, it is indirectly. “I see people struggle with this all the time. When the male in the relationship is not able to reproduce, it impacts his sense of self differently than it would for a woman.  A woman is more likely to be willing to adopt if it’s a matter of wanting children. For a man, it’s more about how they feel about themselves and what the world is going to think of them,” says Pender Greene.

Therefore, making a decision to take birth control would be much harder for men who don’t have a lot of money and are worried about risking not having children. In contrast, though research is lacking, Pender Greene suspects that the more educated and aware a person is, the more likely they are to be open to birth control, in terms of taking a non traditional approach. “There are many younger [educated] men who tend to have strong feelings about wanting more control over when they become fathers. I’ve worked with men who thought that their partner was on birth control when they were not, and finding
out the truth about it later had been very devastating,” says Pender Greene. “Using birth control themselves allows men to take control in that way…This approach gives them the ability to plan for parenthood and protect their career trajectory.”

Previously, it has been more of a challenge to stop a man from generating millions of sperm in contrast to a woman’s single egg a month, but the new procedure, in clinical trials, is thought to be 100 percent effective. Like the Depo-Provera shot for women, it requires men to receive an injection in the Vas deferens with a gel and works by breaking apart sperm.

Dr. Christina Wang, a professor at the UCLA Medical Center reminds us that market research on over 9000 men from 9 countries including the US indicated that about 50% of men would be willing to use male contraception. But would the reception be the same amongst African American men? We’ll find out soon enough…

Read more on this topic here and continue the conversation with writer, Herina Ayot. She tweets @ReeExperience.,porno,,,