The Surprising Benefit Of Being Less Helpful

Go on. Admit it.

You know it’s utterly fruitless, yet deep down, you’re still hoping to get your partner to change.

“Who couldn’t benefit from a bit of improvement?” you say. And who better than you to point out what to improve?

There’s no denying that we all have our rough edges and blind spots— some of us with rougher edges than others. Even so, the “helpful” commentary we offer is neither helpful nor welcome.

robert-weber-do-you-mind-if-i-say-something-helpful-about-your-personality-new-yorker-cartoonWhat if Continue reading

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

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

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