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

10 Dumb Relationship Issues You Need To Quit Getting Worked-Up About

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Raise your hand if your spouse does something that drives you totally bonkers.

The wet towel on the floor. The toilet seat left up. The kitchen scissors that never end up back in the drawer.

Marriage is chock full of these petty irritations. Sometimes we joke about them. Sometimes we gnash our teeth over them.

Still, most of us would agree that putting the empty orange juice container back in the fridge is hardly worth getting ourselves all in a twist.

But, what is?

The mortgage payment mailed late?
The milk left out to spoil?
Consistent lateness?
A bad attitude?

Maybe.

Then again, maybe not. Continue reading

Why “Good Enough” Marriages Are Actually Great!

Cute couple in love with smiley, red heart and hugging.February is the month that relationship books hit the bookshelves, and every day brings a new research study or feature article asking the question, “How can a couple best keep love alive?” Continue reading

What Valentine’s Day Can Teach Us About The True Meaning of Love

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.CC_valentines_chocolate

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

“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