Map Your Marriage

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Your marriage (or future marriage) will be the adventure of a lifetime.

You will literally journey through clearings of joy and fulfillment, canyons of darkness and life’s challenges, and valleys of hope, passion, and love. You will push and pull yourselves through the balance of staying connected to family and friends while establishing yourself as a couple, and you will have the potential to experience the freedom of growing alongside a partner who supports and encourages your individual growth.

It would be nice to have some guidelines, or a map of sorts, to help you out along the journey, would you agree?

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Sometimes the Issues Aren’t What They Seem

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My wife, Michelle, and I met with a couple that were fighting about how much time they should spend at her parents when they visited that weekend. We tried to get them to agree on the amount of time. He said 2 hours and she said 6 hours. Eventually, they compromised. He was at 4 hours and she was at 4 hours and 15 minutes. They couldn’t close the gap between the last 15 minutes.
Suddenly, it occurred to me. This isn’t about how much time they spend at her parent’s house. This was about something else. Negotiating a compromise wasn’t helping.

There are different levels to what couples fight about. Sometimes, the real issues aren’t the surface issues. Read More

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

How Being Vulnerable Changed Our Relationship

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Counseling seems scary.
But here’s a secret that could protect your future marriage- it’s not scary!

See, it isn’t counseling itself that is nerve-racking (though seeking help does often come with a stigma), but rather, it is the knowledge that at that counseling appointment, you will have to be vulnerable. You will be asked to bare your heart and soul – that’s what makes most people run the other direction. Then add your fiancé sitting next to you on that couch ALSO being vulnerable – you can see why many couples are unwilling to consider premarital as a part of their pre-wedding preparations.

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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

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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3 Things You Can Do to Prioritize Your Marriage Today

priority-01All marriages require work! Your marriage doesn’t reach perfection the moment you tie the knot, and your relationship won’t remain strong unless the two of you team up and make a commitment to work on it continuously. Life is busy, and it can be easy to let your marriage take the backseat when other people or deadlines seem pressing. In these situations, it is important to understand what it really means to make your relationship with your spouse a priority. Read More

On Gratitude: Three Lessons This Realist Needs to Learn

By: Taylor A. Moss, M.S., LMFTA, NIC

rain_coupleI am a realist. Often people describe us as glass-half-empty-people, but I say I describe the glass as it is. In actuality.

In my life this looks like a lot of direct communication, analysis, planning. I plan for what I think will happen, not what I hope will happen or fear might occur. If I am wrong I adjust my understanding of the situation and plan accordingly for next time.

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