7 Things No Spouse Can Be Expected To Do

Business Woman With Arrows And Questions Sign Above Isolated OnWant to guess?

Hint: I’m not talking about the laundry or housework or some wild, exotic move in the bedroom.

And no, this has nothing to do with being able to bake a souffle, or adhere to a budget, or be cheerful about putting your cranky toddler to bed.

The main thing that no spouse can be expected to do is… 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

Surviving Infidelity: A Step-by-Step Guide to Healing

Holding HandsIt’s the first question most people ask when seeking couples therapy after an affair: “Can my marriage survive?”

Most are relieved that the answer is, yes. 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

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

young businesswoman

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

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

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