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

I am a Recovering Complainer

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I am a recovering complainer.

We were having a picnic lunch on a beautiful May afternoon.  There were three moms and four children.  While the children played, the moms talked. I remember talking about my house.  Actually, I did a lot of talking about my house.  I had a lot of complaints.  I live in a 117-year-old house that, by default, we are fixing up.  It is one problem after another. Not only did I complain about all there is to fix, but I also complained about the layout, the size of the rooms, the lack of closets, the location of the bathrooms, the lack of air conditioning…  I’ll stop there.  The picnic ended.  We parted ways.

Not long after the picnic, one of the three moms invited all of us over to her house. I parked in front and my daughter and I followed the sidewalk to the back of the house where there was a tiny backyard.  We greeted each other and were given a tour of the house.  I thought my house had small rooms.  I thought my house had problems.  Her living room was smaller than our office. There was one bedroom for four people, and it was smaller than my bedroom.  The floor was uneven.  It was dark.  It was crowded.  I was embarrassed.  I had complained about my house and here she lived in a smaller, more run down home than I did.  I felt terribleRead More

5 Easy Steps to Relax While on a Family Vacation

cabin

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