What Can I Do If My Partner Won’t Go To Couples Therapy?

There’s no getting around it. Your marriage is in trouble and it’s time to get help.iStock_000025095355XSmall

Yet, despite all the good reasons you offered and how nicely you asked, your spouse is dead set against therapy and is unwilling to budge. Continue reading

Does Your Marriage Need A Boost? Try Some Tenderness

Be kind whenever possible.
It is always possible.
-Dalai Lama

Three seconds. Just enough time to slam on my brakes, grab ahold of the steering wheel and hope for the best. Between good brakes and good luck, I stopped barely an inch short of the car that had suddenly pulled out in front of me. Continue reading

How to Forgive Even If You’re A World-Class Grudge Holder

It happens to all of us. We want to forgive someone and we find that we can’t.Business Woman All we can do is think about the wrong that has been done to us— and each time we do, we’re as hurt and angry as the day we were betrayed.

If you’re like most people, when you’ve been betrayed, every waking hour can be filled with your outrage. Every song or movie, every sunset, every time someone says the word “love” or “friendship”, a switch flips inside you and there you are, once again, all worked up and upset.

People will spend years— or a lifetime— replaying and reliving the details of their injury, failing to recognize the toll it takes on their life.

Forgiveness is difficult, but it isn’t impossible, especially when you know what forgiveness is and what it is not. Continue reading

How To Make An Award Winning No-Holds-Barred Apology

Knowing the secrets of a really good apology can mean the difference between this:

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And this:

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Most of us learned to apologize back when we were in preschool and as far as I can tell, few people have upgraded their approach since then.

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

Complaining: The Anti-Problem Solver We Know And Love

Last April, at the annual Couples Conference in Manhattan Beach, therapist Michelle Weiner Davis said, “When women tell you that they’ve tried everything, what they really mean is that they’ve said everything.”

Precisely, I thought. Every day clients announce “I’ve tried everything” when the truth is they’ve barely begun to consider their options, let alone act on them.

Like the woman who came in last week for her first appointment. Continue reading

When One Partner Is Out and The Other Is In

What To Do When Your Spouse Wants A Divorce And You Still Think There’s Hope

Anyone who’s been in a relationship for more than ten minutes knows that no two people will see eye-to-eye about everything. One’s wearing a sweater while the other is fanning herself. One puts ketchup on eggs while the other is horrified.

Fine, you say. There’s no need to agree. You can like tomato and I’ll like tomahto.

But what if your iStock_000008507563XSmalldifference is about something more serious than diction or condiments or setting the thermostat? What if one of you desperately wants to hold your marriage together while the other has met with an attorney and is now spending every spare moment looking at apartments on Craig’s list?

You can’t very well agree to disagree about this.

If you were to poll twenty-five couples therapists, at least twenty-four of us would say Continue reading