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

retirement

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. Read More

3 Ways to Get the Best Marriage Prep

computer

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? Read More

Why You Should Pick A Fight With Your Partner

Portrait of a young unhappy African American couple lying on the bed and arguingA few years ago PREPARE/ENRICH conducted a survey of over 50,000 married couples. It turned out that 78% of couples reported that they go out of their way to avoid conflict with their partner.

Maybe we could interpret this as a good thing—that the majority of couples are simply extra polite and courteous to their partner, not wanting to upset them.

Unfortunately, this is not the case. Avoiding conflict was listed as one of the top five conflict-related problems for couples. “Why is it a problem?” you might ask. “Isn’t it a good thing to get along with your spouse?” Yes, it is, for the most part. Read More

Fighting Fair

Conflict in relationships is inevitable. You can try to avoid it by tamping down negative emotions and brushing seemingly minor issues under the rug, boxing_gloves_fighting_fairbut at some point, they will come back to bite you. Many times this is in the form of a blowup that is completely disproportional to whatever seemed to trigger it. You end up fighting not only about the topic at hand but ten other previously unaddressed issues as well.

As uncomfortable as it can be, the best way to avoid this situation and grow as a couple is to deal with issues as they occur. Studies have shown that it is not whether a couple fights that predicts divorce, but how they fight. Read More