We’ve heard it before. Relationships can, and will (if we let them), fall in a rut. We know they take energy, we know they take effort, we’ve heard this all before. Amongst the extensive amount of stale relationship advice we’ve heard time and time again, this one stands out as most over-used.
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.
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
A brief synopsis on what happens every year on Valentine’s Day and what you can do this year to make it better than ever.
1. This year you will open up and communicate to your partner what you want for Valentine’s Day, figuratively and literally. It’s time to be assertive and vulnerable with your partner. You will both appreciate that you were able to open up and say what you are really thinking. Read More
National Marriage Week is quickly approaching!
At PREPARE/ENRICH, we recognize and understand the importance of building strong marriages—and not just during this designated week in February.
We understand the positive impact that marriage has on individuals, children, families, and communities—physically, socially, emotionally, and economically.
We understand the need for valid, effective, and accessible tools that help clergy, counselors, and communities provide the support needed to make marriages last a lifetime.
We understand that it can be hard to know whether you are using the right tools—
In a growing field of options, who can you trust?
Did you know that only about 8% of New Year’s resolutions are actually followed through?
Shocking, right? This is because we tend to make lavish goals that seem farfetched, like exercising 30 hours a week while balancing 2 kids’ schedules or going to every state in the United States this year. These resolutions tend to get thrown to the side to make room for other, every day priorities, like going to the grocery store, or spending that vacation money on your child’s traveling hockey team.
While we tend to make unobtainable resolutions for the New Year, many people still feel like the New Year is a fresh start, whether or not we make resolutions. Researchers call this feeling the “fresh start effect” 1 . They have found that we tend to motivate ourselves into good habits by using a new beginning (like the start of the week, month, year, season, etc.) as a marker to put past behavior behind us and focus on being better. It brings opportunity to reflect on the previous year and anticipate what you want the New Year to look like.
Healthy relationships are vital to life. When cared for, relationships bring us joy. They bring us strength. They bring us connection. And so many other great things. But relationships are work! And, I’m not just talking about relationships that come with a lifelong commitment like a marriage or parenting, but friendships too.
Friendships are relationships we choose to have. We start to take this autonomy of deciding our friends when we are young, even before we truly understand what it means to be a friend. When I was in elementary school, I remember sitting around the dinner table with my family and one of my parents always would ask, “Did you make any new friends today?” I don’t remember what my answer was on a given day, but I’m sure I answered yes.
Back then, a friend was someone who held the door for you while coming inside from recess. Or someone who would trade you their peanut butter and jelly sandwich for your egg salad. Or maybe even the girl who has the pretty bow in her hair … maybe we’ve never actually played together, but she seems cool, so I’ll say she’s my friend. Read More
Social media has exacerbated the romanticism of your partner being your “#everything.” We constantly see Instagram posts about our friend’s boyfriend with captions like, “He’s my everything.” Facebook photos of a picture of a couple’s silhouette in the sunset with cute calligraphy typed over top, “She is my everything.” Or tweets of a sleeping spouse with hashtags of, “#myeverything.”
What? Where does that even stem from? What lead us to the problematic belief that our partners are the one and only person we need in our life? Read More
My husband and I have lived in our house for four years. There are still rooms I consider “unfinished” and boxes shoved in closets. You would think that four years would be enough time to get completely settled in. While we have made significant improvements to the quality of our yard, it is still a constant work in progress. In the last couple of years, our small deck, that seemed nice enough four years ago, has slowly devolved to a state of warped, loose planks and even one that fell off completely.
I’ve learned that being a homeowner is a lot of (ongoing) work, whether we choose to do the work or not. You might even say it’s kind of like being married or in a long-term relationship. Read More