Pursuer vs. Distancer

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I fight with my husband from time to time. It happens because conflict happens. We disagree, but then we figure it out and move forward. Sounds easy, right? Not exactly, but it is easier now that he and I understand more about ourselves and our relationship.

Until just recently, every time we disagreed, we would find ourselves frustrated and in this cycle. I’d move closer, he’d move farther away. Thinking he needed space, I’d reluctantly back off. He’d feel comfortable again and move closer. Just as I’d warm up to being close again, he’d start to retreat, needing more space. We stumbled in and out of this pattern for years. Not entirely understanding why, but understanding this was us. (more…)

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Monopoly, Money, and Marriage

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“I will buy water works from you for $250,” my husband offered.  We were playing our first family game of Monopoly.  Sitting around the board was my daughter who is eight, my son who is ten, my husband Brad, and myself.  Having played board games with my husband for 13 plus years, I knew what kind of overall “game player” he was – aggressive.  However, I had never played Monopoly with him.  He was definitely aggressive, buying up properties left and right and making deals on the side.

As the game went on, greed was evident, as well as spending all your money, taking big chances, and mortgaging property to pay bills.  I found myself reflecting on what we were indirectly teaching our kids about money by the way he and I were playing the game. I worried that Brad and I were modeling behaviors and values that we did not espouse in our management of money. (more…)

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The Rules of Taking a Time-Out

alarmclock“We kept fighting and fighting and yelling and screaming and eventually we solved the whole problem completely!” Said no spouse, ever.

One of the most significant tools I help couples learn to implement into their conflict process is the time-out. Though I’m sure this term makes you think of a toddler sitting in the corner of a kitchen on their mini-stool with a parent standing over them shaking their finger, a time-out in the context of a marriage is a powerful and honorable thing to do.

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When Money Changes, Marriage Changes

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When we think of retirement, we usually think about it in terms of money. Will we have enough to travel? Will we have enough to spoil our grandkids? Will we have enough to help our children? And most importantly, will we have enough money to live out our lives the way we want to?

When money changes because of retirement, other changes in the marriage happen without much consideration.

I recently sat down with several couples to learn about how retirement impacted their marriages. All had been married for over 25 years, with one couple even approaching their 60th wedding anniversary! To learn from the stories they shared, let’s consider the story of Mark and Marion. (more…)

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3 Ways to Get the Best Marriage Prep

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Expectations are high when planning a wedding. There is this need to find the perfect dress, delicious food, a picturesque location, and a photographer who can capture those special moments. Luckily, premarital counseling is becoming part of the wedding planning experience, but that begs the question – Do couples have high expectations for their marriage prep?

Is anyone actually searching for the perfect program that combines guidance, assessment, and skill-building exercises? (more…)

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Make Your Next Date Memorable

Couples at all stages may sometimes struggle with date ideas.  Whether you are a long-term, committed couple looking to change up your date routine, or a fresh couple looking for some new ideas, we have provided a list of fun, cheap dates that are bound to spark the butterflies.

According to Larson & Arp’s book, $10 Great Dates, a worthwhile date has a couple common elements: quality time together, time away from your regular routine, a shared activity, and conversation.  All of these date ideas will provide you with the foundation to make your date something memorable. (more…)

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Not enough

Today, I woke up and thought, I didn’t get enough sleep. I got ready for the day, made breakfast, and ran out the door thinking, I don’t have enough time to get to work by 8:00am. Once I got to the office, I glanced at my schedule for the day and thought; I don’t have enough time in the workday to complete all of these tasks.

My common thought throughout this morning was “not enough.”

It’s really unfortunate that my first four hours of this beautiful Tuesday were spent feeling largely inadequate. (more…)

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Why it’s important to CARE

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In our last post we talked about the “expectation filter” and how unrealistic and/or uncommunicated expectations have a tendency to change our perception of, and possibly even be detrimental to, our relationship.

However, wouldn’t it be somewhat of an unrealistic expectation in itself to think that we would never set expectations for our relationship or our partner?

The fact is, having expectations can be a good thing. Expectations not only create accountability and establish boundaries, but they can also inspire us to be better people, if not for ourselves then for our partner.

So then what’s the problem? Shouldn’t that mean that the more epic our expectations, the greater our opportunity for growth? Well, not necessarily. (more…)

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