Ears to Hear

“Check out this one,” my wife said as she handed me her phone. I turned from what I was doing and glanced at the nearby house for sale, noting its far out-of-reach price.
“Looks great,” I replied, wondering why my wife was doing this to herself and what the point was. She couldn’t possibly be serious about the idea of moving, and even so, I thought, we couldn’t really afford to upgrade. Our current mortgage was quite manageable thanks to purchasing a modest home over a decade ago when prices were lower, plus refinancing when mortgage rates were historically low. Why would we mess with that?

On the other hand, since buying our house our family of three had become a family of six. Over the years we had worked hard to optimize the use of space in our house, and yet, I had to admit, we were bursting at the seams. Most pressing, our college freshman daughter, whose departure provided temporary relief, lacked a bedroom to move back into. Her younger sister had taken hers over the day she moved out. “We’ll figure something out” I assured her…mostly trying to assure myself. Day after day the pattern continued–my wife showing me houses that I didn’t think were realistic, which I communicated through deafening silence. I grew frustrated as my wife slid towards despair. Something had to give. Read More

How Your Relationship is Like a Pineapple

Two nearly overripe pineapples sat on the cutting board in front of me.   I had been walking by these pineapples for days thinking, “Who is going to cut up the pineapples?” I finally came to the conclusion that if I didn’t, they would go to waste. As I cut them I thought “Why did my husband buy these? Why didn’t he cut them up? It’s a lot of work to cut up a pineapple. Is he expecting me to cut them up? Why does he buy laborious fruit and not prepare it? Why can’t I at least be thankful that he is buying fresh fruit?”

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Here’s a Secret to a Happier Relationship

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.

But what if we told you that putting in the effort in a new and exciting way can actually make you a happier couple? Read More

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

7 Reasons Why This Year’s Valentine’s Day Won’t Be Like Last Year’s

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

Who can you trust with your relationship?

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?

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Intentional Parenting

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.

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