Valentine’s Day. The day that happy couples exchange kisses and chocolate and go out for a candle-lit dinner. And unhappy couples feel worse about their marriage than on any other day of the year.
With all the pressure to be romantic and passionate, to feel like starry-eyed lovers, to somehow resurrect the mystery and allure you felt in the early days of courtship — after a long day of work and a race home to pick up the kids, after picking up their pizza and your dry cleaning and double-checking with the babysitter — even reasonably happy couples may wonder are we happy enough?
And struggling couples? All the hype and heart-studded hoopla can push them over the edge.
Valentine’s Day generates record-breaking flower sales and the exchange of over a billion boxes of chocolate. It also triggers a dramatic increase in the number of calls made to divorce attorneys. Continue reading →
Let’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 →
Imagine 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…”
Like 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 →
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.
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.
Be kind whenever possible.
It is always possible.
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 →