Making Marriages Work

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Everyone has co…

Everyone has complaints about their partner.  If the complaint is bothersome enough to talk about, find a way to begin softly, maybe with a compliment or as a request of what you want rather than a compliant about what you don’t like.


April 10, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

How Effective Are You In An Emotionally Intelligent Relationship?

Circle your answer to the following questions.                      Image

1.   I am able to remain calm when having a disagreement with my spouse.
      Yes                                                              No

2.   If I find myself starting to get upset when we disagree or he or she is talking with me about a problem, I can find a way to calm myself down, even if it means that I need to take a break.
     Yes                                                              No

3.   We have many more positive things happen in our daily lives, than negative ones.
      Yes                                                             No

4.   We can share struggles that we have with others without giving each other unsolicited advice.
      Yes                                                              No

Click here to take the rest of the test and determine your score.

March 28, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

What Does “Commitment” Mean To You?

For some people, commitment means “forever, no matter what happens“.  For others, it may indicate “as long as I can”.

We have met couples over our journey as couples counselors who come from both ends of the perspective.

What a difference the definition makes.  When couples are able to think of their marriage as one that will survive, they meet challenges and differences with a much different perspective.  Their attitude is one of getting to the root of the problem and finding a solution.

Couples who are committed, up to a point, have the option of a divorce as something in their realm of possibilities and are far less likely to change their own behavior as a step toward finding a solution.

Which definition of commitment best fits for you?

February 29, 2012 Posted by | commitment and marriage, marriage advice | Leave a comment

Rituals Are Healthy For Relationships

Rituals are healthy for relationships. They provide continuity and connection for couples, families and friends.

One of our rituals as a couple involves journaling important events that occur throughout the year. 

Every year, on our wedding anniversary, we turn over a new page. We read the previous year and always choose one other year to remember., sharing stories and memories of our lives together

What rituals do you have?

September 14, 2011 Posted by | marriage advice, marriages, rituals | Leave a comment

Tip of the Week

Learn one new thing about your partner today.

July 31, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Focus on the Positives in Your Marriage

Look at the good that is there … in your relationship and within yourself and your partner.  Sure, there are problems in every marriage.  No one is perfect and no relationship is perfect.  The more you notice … and acknowledge what is good and what you like, the more likely it is that you will get more of that back.

So often when we see couples, one of their main complaints is that the other is negative, critical or nagging.  Look for ways to be sure that your spouse understands that you love him or her … and that you like him or her.  Accentuate the goodness and notice the results.

John Gottman, PhD, the famous researcher of marriages, found a formula of 5 positives for every 1 negative in healthy relationships.  When that ratio is present, couples are able to sail through problems, disagreements and challenges because they have a reservoir of good will.  It is easy to work with someone with whom you have a positive relationship.

While it is easiest when both focus on positives, one person can bring change alone.

When the music changes, so does the dance.

June 21, 2011 Posted by | feelings, helping your partner feel good about self, love, marriage advice, marriages, positivity | 2 Comments

Avoiding the Seduction of a Fight

Some people are able to remain calm during a disagreement while others avoid conflict completely.  Still others blow up quickly and seem to enjoy the fight.

Steve and Cindy fought a lot.  Their friends referred to them as “The Bickersons” and kept their contact with them as a couple to a minimum, especially when it included drinking.

While their fights did not include throwing things or hitting each other … yet, there was still a lot of passion and volatility.

Steve and Cindy  liked their passion.  It went quite well in their bedroom; however, it was pretty destructive to their feelings about themselves and each other and, now that they had 2 children, they were especially concerned about their style.

Cindy and Steve agreed that they could share equally in the escalation of the fighting.  They could agree on that when they were calm, that is.  Otherwise, things quickly deteriorated to blaming and accusing the other of being the aggressor.

Both also agreed that they knew each other’s “hot spots” and even confessed to using them to gain power in fights.  They also acknowledged that they really had difficulty resisting the fight when it started.  Both felt a need to prove their point or win the argument.

Click here to read the rest of the article about resisting the pull of an argument.

April 29, 2011 Posted by | communication, marriage advice, resolving conflict | Leave a comment

Have You Fallen Out of Love?

If so, you may not be making your marriage a priority.

It is so easy for life … jobs, children, golf, social activities, to take on more importance than a marriage.

When the flames are not fanned, the fire dies.

Couples who do not tend to the garden grow a lot of weeds and the garden loses its important crop.

It is so easy to turn to other interesting people or to find the things that you do NOT like about your partner when the marriage is not a priority.

April 14, 2011 Posted by | falling back in love, love, marriage advice, marriages | Leave a comment

10 Strategies to Protect Your Marriage in a Step Family Or My Stepchildren Are Stressing My Marriage!

Living in a step family can be dangerous to a marriage.

It is not easy to rear children.  Each child is different and requires thoughtful work and planning for the best way to teach and discipline.  It may be hard when you are married to your child’s parent.  It can be many times harder when you are not married to your child’s parent … and you are married to someone else!

In all marriages, there are disagreements.  (While some couples may say that they never disagree, that does not mean that they like and agree with everything that their spouse does, they may just not talk about it.)  Money, sex, children and in-laws are the top 4 but we could name the top 25 pretty easily.

All perpetual issues are heightened in a step family.

Differences in parenting may also be one of those perpetual issues that couples argue over.  When the children are the birth children of your spouse, it is often easier to believe that you both have the same goal in mind.  When the other parent is a step parent, however, that is often not so easy.  Stepchildren make it much more complicated.

It is too easy to let the parenting disagreements bleed over into the fabric of the marital relationship, especially in a step family.  When someone that you care about criticizes your child or your success as a parent, good feelings erode and, over time, can erode good feelings about each other and about the marriage.

Nurturing a marriage is hard as well when there are children around. Life is just busier and time together is often hard to get. When some of those children are stepchildren and may actually resent you being a part of their family, it is hard to find quality time as a couple.  High quality time (it’s not always possible to have high quantity) is crucial to maintain a healthy and viable marriage.  It is paramount to keeping the love alive, especially in a step family.

Click here to read the rest of the article on protecting your marriage in a step family.

February 7, 2011 Posted by | blended family, marriage advice, Step-families, stepchildren | Leave a comment

Affairs: Dangerous for Relationships

Affairs are painful and dangerous for relationships.  They bring feelings of extreme hurt, betrayal and anger. The revelation of the affair can be one of the most painful things that happens in a marriage. Once the secret has been uncovered, couples face tumultuous emotions and a series of high intensity exchanges and crises.  We have a great deal of expertise with this problem, have helped many couples navigate this territory and would be happy to help you through this time.

Marriages Can Recover From An Affair

Many marriages do, however, recover from the revelation of an affair.  Often both partners express the opinion, months, sometimes years down the road, that in some crazy way, the affair was a “gift” for the marriage as they have become stronger and recovered or developed the skills required for true intimacy.

Click here to read the rest of the article.

January 5, 2011 Posted by | affairs, cheating spouse, infidelity, marriages | Leave a comment