7 Things About Marriage I Wish I’d Known As a Newlywed

wedding-feetMost of us step into marriage hoping for a lifetime of love and happiness, knowing far too little about what might give us our best shot at getting there. Many of us assume that because we’re in love, because we have common values and compatible dreams we’ve got everything we need to have a marriage that lasts.

Sure, lots of couples divorce. “But, honestly…” we think, “how hard could it be?”

The answer: Continue reading

7 Small Things Happy Couples Remember to Do Every Day

Offering CoffeeSo much in life is about the little things, isn’t it? The smell of fresh coffee. A cardinal on the bird feeder. The first crocus in spring.

Even so, most of us assume that our greatest happiness comes from life’s big events, like landing our dream job, getting married, or giving birth to a child. While these extraordinary moments create a brief spike in happiness, current research confirms that sustained happiness is derived from life’s ordinary, everyday stuff. Continue reading

10 Relationship Skills We Teach Kids That Grown-Ups Often Forget

Kind But Firm“Chew with your mouth closed!”
“Don’t hit your sister!”

So much of childhood is about learning the rules and then striving to follow them — at least occasionally.

While some rules are unreasonable — like being told to sit perfectly still at age five or made to skip recess, as I was, for doodling on my homework —  the basic relationship skills that we learned as children were, in fact, of great value. 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

9 Crucial Questions to Ask Yourself Before Calling the Divorce Attorney

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None of us gets married thinking that five, ten, even twenty years down the line we’d be so frustrated or miserable that we’d be considering divorce. Most of us step into marriage with hope and enthusiasm, determined to have ours be a marriage that lasts.

But marriage is difficult in ways few of us are prepared for. And rarely do we have all the tools we need for success. Nor do we have a guidebook or a road map to make the journey easier. Continue reading

What The Manicurist Said: Collective Wisdom For The Bride-to-Be

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It was a typical Saturday at the small neighborhood salon where I regularly go for my manicure and pedicure: a bevy of women giving and getting haircuts, perms and manicures, chatting in an upbeat banter over the background hum of classical music and blow dryers.

Across the room from where I was waiting, two young women sat side-by-side under a pair of hairdryers, giggling and pointing as they flipped through a dog-eared copy of Modern Bride.

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

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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 Marriage Vows You Couldn’t Possibly Have Known To Make On Your Wedding Day

il_340x270.350283133_gwbmLet’s be honest. Most of us are more likely to upgrade the operating system on our computer than to revise our marriage vows.

As I sat writing my vows on the eve of my wedding (okay, fine, now you know that I’m a big-time procrastinator) I was no better prepared to face the rigors of marriage than I was to pilot a jumbo jet. And, no surprise, like most soon-to-be newlyweds, the promises I made were idealistic and romantic— based on what I imagined it would take to create a marriage that lasts. Continue reading

Twelve Essential Qualities of Masterful Listening

“Perhaps the most important thing we ever give each other is our attention.” — Rachel Naomi Remen

For many of us, what someone says and what we hear may be wildly divergent.

“When can we talk?” can easily translate to “Uh, oh. I’m in the doghouse.”

“You look fine,” can become “he hates what I’m wearing.”Tin can phone

Clearly, listening is not simply about hearing the words someone says. Continue reading

The Shocking Truth About Thinking Big

resolutions-1Ahhh, January! The month of good intentions.

The month of diets begun and gym memberships opened, vices sworn off and new beginnings envisioned.

And now, one week in, it may well be the month of “I’ll start over next week.”

If you’re looking to make changes—and to actually succeed—I suggest you start small. Continue reading

Warning: Don’t Trust The Wall Street Journal To Give You Marriage Advice

You're LateImagine that one morning you sit down to breakfast and your partner hands you a copy of your annual review. There in a bright yellow folder is a formal evaluation, complete with pie charts and bar graphs, highlighting the areas in which your spouse thought you’d excelled and where you’d fallen short.

“Over all, your performance is up from last year. Sex has improved, both in frequency and enthusiasm, and you’re also more punctual, which, as you recall, was a big problem last year. However, you continue to be far too irritable about the house being messy, complaining an average of five times a week…”

Sound far-fetched? Insulting? A sure first step toward divorce? Continue reading

Thirty-five Things I’ve Learned In Thirty-five Years Of Marriage

iStock_000010401448XSmallLike most newlyweds, my husband and I stepped into marriage bright-eyed, optimistic and flat-out unprepared. We’d had terrible family role models and possessed virtually no tools, yet — let’s hear it for young love — we assumed that our marriage would be a rousing success. Continue reading

Give Your Spouse The Gift That Can’t Go Wrong

Happy smiling woman showing blank area on hand and looking isolaWhether you’re a big holiday shopper or a minimalist, here’s one holiday gift your spouse is guaranteed to enjoy.

There’s no need to wrap it and plenty of opportunity to use it.

This year, give your partner a break. Continue reading