7 Ways to Avoid Marriage Madness

Stomping like a child, I stormed back and forth between our garage and house.  I was so angry!  Brad and I were packing for a trip to spend time with my family.  We were in a disagreement about where we were going to stay and how much time we were going to spend with my family while on the trip.  I thought he should want more time with my family.  Our interaction soured the whole trip.  This is my first recollection of my marriage making me mad.

Almost fifteen years in, and a few mad episodes later, here are some reflections on ways to minimize marriage madness.

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Why it’s Good to Have Expectations in Your Relationship

Have you ever heard of the “nocebo effect”?  No?  Me neither.

Have you heard of the “placebo effect”?  It’s the phenomenon where if you believe you are being treated for something, you feel the effects of it.  For example, if you are told the pill you are taking will cure your headache, you take it and assume your headache will go away.  When it does go away, you think nothing of it, except when you are told the pill you took is a sugar pill.  That’s the placebo effect.

Well, apparently the same goes for the opposite of the placebo effect – the nocebo effect.  If you believe that something is not going to work, it doesn’t.  If you are told the aspirin you are about to take is a dud and won’t work, it doesn’t – even if it’s the same kind of aspirin you always take for your headaches.

Can you imagine how the nocebo effect could affect your relationship? Read More

New Year, New You?


New Year, new you, nice try.  We all fall into the same trap of “new year’s resolutions.”  This time, year after year, gym prices become “discounted,” self-help books flood our Instagram feeds, and green shakes capitalize the end caps of our local supermarket.  We are overwhelmed with the idea that we can change ourselves if we try just hard enough, so let’s push ourselves to reach that yearly goal.  Unfortunately, it’s easy to fall into this cyclical way of thinking every year.  Are you focusing your energy on changing the right things? Read More

The Art of Jumping to Conclusions

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We all do it – we all make quick decisions without hearing the whole story.  It’s our human nature; we had to make these rapid pivots to stay alive as cave dwellers.  Imagine yourself as a Neanderthal – there’s a giant snake in front of you, blocking the entrance to your home.  Unfortunately for the snake, you don’t have time to research if it is poisonous or not, you just have to smash it with a rock so you can protect yourself and your family back in your cave.

We still do this, but instead of a giant snake in front of the entrance to our home, it’s the garbage over-spilling in the kitchen, the same garbage your partner promised to pitch out last night.  She knew you asked her to do it, since you did it the last two times.  She must have decided it wasn’t a priority to take out last night.  This thought is appalling, what did she do all last night?  Watch documentaries about people with weird addictions?  That’s more important than committing to your partnership? Read More

5 Easy Steps to Relax While on a Family Vacation

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Who doesn’t love to go on vacation? In the summer, we Minnesotans usually flock up north to a cabin on a lake. The warm sunshine, refreshing lake water, and lovely breeze are unbeatable – especially when you realize winter is only a few months away. But sometimes, the serenity vacation brings can be dampened by family dynamics and the little things that just drive you nuts. You know, your nephew waking you up at 6am, your father-in-laws tasteless jokes, and your husband’s grandma constantly tidying up when you’re trying to relax. It’s one thing to vacation with the family you grew up with, but it’s another thing to spend days with a family you are new to. Depending on how similar and different your family of origin was to your partner’s, your vacation might not be much of a vacation. Read More

Map Your Marriage

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Your marriage (or future marriage) will be the adventure of a lifetime.

You will literally journey through clearings of joy and fulfillment, canyons of darkness and life’s challenges, and valleys of hope, passion, and love. You will push and pull yourselves through the balance of staying connected to family and friends while establishing yourself as a couple, and you will have the potential to experience the freedom of growing alongside a partner who supports and encourages your individual growth.

It would be nice to have some guidelines, or a map of sorts, to help you out along the journey, would you agree?

Search no more. Read More

A Sneak Peek into a Golden Relationship

This is part four, the final part, of a mini interview series the team at PREPARE/ENRICH conducted during the month of May to celebrate anniversaries with couples like you.

As we approach the month of June, wedding season is upon us.  With weddings come anniversaries – many, many anniversaries.  Relationships are our priority here at P/E and we wanted to highlight the lives of some of our couples as they reach milestones in their relationships.  We have found that couples at all stages in their relationships have unique stories and great advice that we believe every couple could benefit from indulging in.  Take a few minutes out of your day to share in the laughs, well-rounded advice, and insights from our P/E family.

 

Introducing Gene and Karen Read More

Getting Down to the Brass Tacks about Marriage

This is part two of a mini interview series the team at PREPARE/ENRICH conducted during the month of May to celebrate anniversaries with couples like you.

As we approach the month of June, wedding season is upon us.  With weddings come anniversaries – many, many anniversaries.  Relationships are our priority here at P/E and we wanted to highlight the lives of some of our couples as they reach milestones in their relationships.  We have found that couples at all stages in their relationships have unique stories and great advice that we believe every couple could benefit from indulging in.  Take a few minutes out of your day to share in the laughs, well-rounded advice, and insights from our P/E family.

Introducing Laura and Darek

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Marriage is More than a Piece of Paper

This is part one of a mini interview series the team at PREPARE/ENRICH conducted during the month of May to celebrate anniversaries with couples like you.

As we approach the month of June, wedding season is upon us.  With weddings come anniversaries – many, many anniversaries.  Relationships are our priority here at P/E and we wanted to highlight the lives of some of our couples as they reach milestones in their relationships.  We have found that couples at all stages in their relationships have unique stories and great advice that we believe every couple could benefit from indulging in.  Take a few minutes out of your day to share in the laughs, well-rounded advice, and insights from our P/E family.

 

Introducing our first couple, Anna and Eric Read More

Sometimes the Issues Aren’t What They Seem

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My wife, Michelle, and I met with a couple that were fighting about how much time they should spend at her parents when they visited that weekend. We tried to get them to agree on the amount of time. He said 2 hours and she said 6 hours. Eventually, they compromised. He was at 4 hours and she was at 4 hours and 15 minutes. They couldn’t close the gap between the last 15 minutes.
Suddenly, it occurred to me. This isn’t about how much time they spend at her parent’s house. This was about something else. Negotiating a compromise wasn’t helping.

There are different levels to what couples fight about. Sometimes, the real issues aren’t the surface issues. Read More