It’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
If 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
They 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
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
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
It’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
It’s true. There are some conversations you’d rather not have.
Like 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
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
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. Maybe 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
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? I 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