Why You Need Not Marry the Wrong Person

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A letter from our VP:

The New York Times most read story of 2016 recently popped back up on the most popular list again, nearly a year after in first ran last May. As is often the case for the most popular story, the topic was love and relationships:Why You Will Marry the Wrong Person” by Alain de Botton.   A primary argument de Botton offers to support his pessimistic title is that couples entering the commitment of marriage can’t possibly know enough about themselves or each other to make an informed, data-driven decision to spend (or at least plan to spend) the rest of their lives together.  Our society is such that a person “in love” fails to get past the shiny veneer and discover the idiosyncrasies, the warts, the psychoses of their potential spouse…the ways in which they “are crazy.”  Even when preceded by years of dating, the curtain is pulled back only after vows have been exchanged.  Real life sets in and exposes expectations, personality quirks and manifestations of past hurts that can form a toxic brew – a vicious cycle of reactions and overreactions that severely test or even destroy the relationship. Read More

3 Quick Tips to Handle Holiday Conflict

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Imagine you are sitting at the outrageously decorated holiday table that your sister spent all morning setting.   Your most loved relatives are sitting around you, chatting, laughing, and grazing.  Your uncle starts up a conversation with your husband about politics from across the table.  He makes a comment about an immigration policy and you completely disagree with him.  You begin to feel agitated, your heart rate is increasing and your hands start to sweat.  On top of the agitation you are experiencing, your anxiety level starts to rise.  What is your husband thinking?  How much longer should you wait to hear your uncle out before you chime in with your opinion?  Should you chime in? Read More

To Do or Not to Do

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Time and time again, couples are faced with the struggle of defining their roles in their relationships.  Who will clean the bathroom this weekend?  Who is going to make dinner tomorrow? Who will wash the dishes tonight?  What may start out as a simple chore can catapult into a battle for acknowledgement, assurance, or even power.

How often are you faced with the struggle of doing the laundry for the third time this month because your partner doesn’t seem to be bothered when the laundry basket begins to topple over with dirty clothes?  You know it is their turn to do it, but you wish they would do it without you having to ask them. Read More

A Positive Posture Pays Off

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The plane landed and I hurriedly walked to meet my ride.  After having been gone for a five day business trip, I was eager to meet my family at my son’s flag football game.  After we shared hugs and heard about the kids’ week, my husband informed me that he had moved everything out of our office to install some carpet.  “Oh!”  I said, trying to manage my surprise.  He went on to say, “I labeled anything that I moved and organized it in bags and laundry baskets so you can find it.”  Unsure what to say next, I replied, “Wow, that was a lot of work!”  Inside, I was a mess of emotions ranging from, “Oh my, I wasn’t ready yet!” to, “I can’t believe he moved all my paperwork!  How will I find…” to, “He was just trying to finish a project we had been planning,” to, “Don’t blow up.  He put a lot of work into this.  Show him respect.  Calm down.  It had to be done at some point.” Read More

Be Accountabilibuddies

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One of the first things we learn about having a successful relationship is that there needs to be healthy, proactive communication.  Though, because we are all human, sometimes there is a lapse in this proactivity.  You can’t turn back time to fix a mistake, but what you can do is aid in the healing of the situation at hand.  One way to do this is to be accountable for your part of the relationship.

There are many things to be accountable for in a relationship, such as:

  • Your actions: Acknowledge what you did so that you can move forward with your partner.
  • Your words: The things you said can hurt just as much as your actions.  Remain accountable for even the small things that may have distressed your partner.
  • Your feelings: Take responsibility of yourself, own your feelings.  Express to your partner how you are feeling in regards to a certain situation.

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How to Deal with “Sexpectations” in Marriage

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When it comes to marriage, expectations are one of the first things a marriage counselor, coach, or premarital program will encourage you to put on the table and address. Oftentimes, people don’t even realize the rigidity of their expectations, or how many they actually have!

Adult couples often squirm in their seats when asked about their sexual expectations. For many, it’s a source of awkward unknowns or it becomes an emotionally charged conversation. Read More

You. Owe. Me.

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Recently, my husband and I had an argument about how to get rid of some junk in our garage.  I wanted to post it on Craig’s List for free.  He wanted to take it to the dump. I didn’t want to pay to get rid of it.  He didn’t want it sitting on our front yard.  We compromised and agreed that I could post it on Craig’s list for three days and if it wasn’t gone he could take it to the dump.  Three days later, very little of it had been picked up and my husband had figured out what could be taken to the Reuse Center and what needed to go to the dump. Read More

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. Read More

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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