What to Do Besides Shop for Groceries & Worry About the Virus

IMG_0804Looking for something helpful—and inspiring—to do now that you’re stuck in the house together… or will be soon?

My colleague Anne Nelson, an internationally credentialed coach with a passion for helping couples get unstuck in their relationships, has putting together a free video interview series, Marriage Mastery: Transforming Conflict into Connection and Avoidance into Intimacy.

In it, she’s interviewed 29 relationship experts, including me, to get our best, most practical advice for achieving a fulfilling, enriching, fun, intimate marriage.

I’ll be talking tomorrow, March 15th, about the power one partner has to make lasting, positive change, no matter how stuck or discouraged they are, even if their partner isn’t ready to join in the effort.

It all starts today, March 14, and you can sign up here at no cost:

Make Your Marriage What You Want It To Be. Sign Up Here.

Once you do, you’ll discover expert advice on how to build a marriage that lasts a lifetime. You’ll learn how to communicate intimately without chronic conflict, how to improve your teamwork in life and in parenting, and how to enrich your sexual intimacy.

We’re covering what character disorders look like (and how to cultivate a great marriage when one or both members of the couple have one), and how to rebuild trust between people.

Plus, you’ll discover the difference between power and control in a marriage, and how to parent well without losing your identity as a couple.

In short, you’ll walk away with the tools and knowledge you need to cultivate a marriage that is more sane and more fun; a relationship that not only lasts, but serves as a source of great joy and self-discovery.

If you’d like to join the conversation, reserve your spot here, at no cost:

Your Marriage Is Worth Fighting For. Discover How To Make It Fulfilling! 

Consider this a “one-stop shop” for optimizing your marriage—and it’s all complimentary!
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As always, I welcome your comments and questions.

Surviving Infidelity: A Step-by-Step Guide to Healing

Holding HandsIt’s the first question most people ask when seeking couples therapy after an affair: “Can my marriage survive?”

Most are relieved that the answer is, yes. Continue reading

7 Relationship Myths Smart Couples Don’t Fall For

hands-raisedIf you think marriage is hard, raise your hand.

Yep. You and everyone.

Yet, when the going gets rough, it’s as if we develop amnesia about how universally challenging marriage can be and think, instead, that our struggles are a sign that things have gone terribly wrong.

We don’t say, “No big deal. We’ll get through it. All couples struggle.”

What we do is freak out. Continue reading

The Surprising Truth About What Makes Happy Couples Happy

Senior couple kiss situation in white isolated backgroundThey make it look easy, don’t they?

You know, those cheerful couples you see chatting away in the grocery line, holding hands in the movie theater; the ones who’ve been married forever and they’ve still got their spark.

Ever wonder, how do they do it? What do they know that I don’t?

Back when I was struggling in my marriage, everyone looked happier than my husband and I. Continue reading

“If You Really Loved Me…” and Other Desperate Measures For Getting Our Way

Marriage is an alliance entered into by a man who
can’t sleep with the window shut, and a woman
who can’t sleep with the window open.
— George Bernard Shaw

iStock_000015015850XSmall

Frustrating, isn’t it?

You ask your partner for something and the answer is no.

Yet, you still want it. It’s important. So you ask again, this time hoping the answer will be yes.

But what if it’s not? What’s your plan B? Continue reading

10 Surefire Ways To Turn A Small Fight Into A Big One

bombIt’s no secret. Couples have fights.

But not all fights are created equal. Some start small and stay small while others pick up steam as they go and leave a mess in their wake.

And the difference in outcomes is not random.

Have you ever seen a fight coming a mile away and done nothing to stop it?

Or worse, just for the heck of it you did your best to provoke it?

Sometimes we’re like that. We’re short-fused or irritable or maybe we’re bored. Or, as a friend likes to say, we’re simply a fight looking for something to pick itself on.

Other times, the last thing we want is yet another knock-down-drag-out about unloading the dishwasher, but we feel powerless to stop it.

The truth is: we’re not. Continue reading

How To Talk With Your Spouse About The Things You Don’t Want To Talk About

It’s true. There are some conversations you’d rather not have.

Woman With Brown Box On Her Head - IsolatedLike the one about the credit card or your mother-in-law or how you hardly ever have sex.

Maybe you need to talk about quitting your job or having another baby, or how you lie awake worrying that your marriage is in trouble, or that you never have fun. Maybe you think your partner is having an affair.

And the very idea of bringing it up fills you with dread.

Maybe tomorrow, you say. Maybe next week.

Then again, maybe not. Continue reading

Mastering The Art of Shutting Up

Say no more!

Face it. When it comes to marital conflict, most of us don’t know when to hush up.

If you’re anything like me, it’s hard… no, let’s be honest… it’s downright impossible to resist throwing in that one last clever comeback, that sigh, that snarky retort— even though it’s guaranteed to get the two of you all fired-up. And not in a good way.

Most of the time it seems that nothing can keep us from jumping onto the old hamster wheel and taking a run. Not even our wisest, sanest voice asking us if the thing we’re fighting about is actually worth it, suggesting we drop it, begging us to, just this once, zip our lips.

For some reason, we can’t. Or, we won’t. Continue reading

Fights Driving You Crazy? Try These Three Words

Say you’re about to get into one of your typical fights. The fight you’ve had ten thousand times before and it always ends badly. The one where you say this and your partner says that and the next thing you know you’ve turned into a matched pair of lunatics.

Maybe you slam a door or you yell. Screen Shot 2013-09-22 at 9.04.47 AMMaybe you turn into an ice queen or a sniper or you go silent as stone. Whatever your style, if you’re like most couples, when trouble brews you do the one thing that’s 100% guaranteed to get you into a fight. You get sucked in.

What if instead of “going with the flow,” one of you gets a grip on your sanity and says: Let’s. Back. Up.

Short, sweet, and incredibly powerful— if you have the wherewithal to not only say it but do it.

Let’s back up is the next best thing to Continue reading

Marriage Advice You Should Definitely Ignore

As a newcomer to the world of marriage blogs, I’ve been spending a lot of time checking out what relationship advice others have for their readers. What I’ve found has run the gamut from truly thought-provoking and inspiring to useless and impractical. The most troubling, however, is the overly romantic and idealistic advice— advice that perpetuates dangerous myths about marriage that can send a struggling couple right over the edge at a time when what they need is support.

Are they kidding? Open book and  butterfliesI thought when reading a recent Huffington Post blog that talked about couples striving to be “two souls merging into a beloved unity.” How useful is it, I wondered, to set the bar just this side of the stratosphere by telling couples that together they can make “time stand still?” Countless bloggers talked about soul mates in perfect harmony and a surprising number of them used the word “bliss.”

When I sit across from a struggling couple, bliss is the farthest thing from their minds. In fact, Continue reading