Gold Medal Marriage

raceThe 2016 Rio Olympics have come to a close and for those who have watched, we have been inspired by seeing the fruits of the Olympians’ years of preparation and labor.  What can we learn from Olympians to inspire our pursuit of a “Gold Medal Marriage”?

  • Olympians work at it every day. They daily-discipline themselves to do what they ought to do, not what they want to do. In marriage that may mean holding our tongue, doing the dishes, or actively listening to each other.
  • Olympians build on each other’s strengths. Synchronized swimming teams identify who is the best person to do the lifting and who is the best person to be lifted. Once those roles are identified, the coach trains each person to excel in their role.  What are your strengths?  What are your partner’s strengths?  Have you defined roles and responsibilities to align with each other’s strengths? Read More

Pursuer vs. Distancer

hand holding

I fight with my husband from time to time. It happens because conflict happens. We disagree, but then we figure it out and move forward. Sounds easy, right? Not exactly, but it is easier now that he and I understand more about ourselves and our relationship.

Until just recently, every time we disagreed, we would find ourselves frustrated and in this cycle. I’d move closer, he’d move farther away. Thinking he needed space, I’d reluctantly back off. He’d feel comfortable again and move closer. Just as I’d warm up to being close again, he’d start to retreat, needing more space. We stumbled in and out of this pattern for years. Not entirely understanding why, but understanding this was us. 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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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

Forgiveness – Part 2: Seeking and Granting

forgiveness_gandhi

Whether you’ve been together for 5 years or 50, at some point in your relationship you will be faced with a situation that requires you to either seek or grant forgiveness. When we think of conscious forgiveness, we often associate it with a major betrayal such as infidelity or abuse. However, as Laura wrote about in the previous post, there are minor, every day lapses in thoughtfulness or judgement that require us to forgive our partner, albeit perhaps on a more subconscious level. Read More

Make Valentine’s Day Your Own

Make Valentine's Day Your Own

Oh, Valentine’s Day. There is so much buildup, so much pressure, to make it the most romantic day of the year.

Often we find ourselves buying the flowers, the sappy cards, the candy (many times at the last minute), or booking an overpriced room at a fancy hotel only to end up getting in a spat about where to park the car right before you check in, and just like that, the mood is lost and the evening ruined. On the other hand, if the day is spent like any other day, we feel as if we’re somehow missing out, that our relationship isn’t as strong, or passionate, or loving as the ones we see plastered across social media.

Why do we put so much pressure on ourselves to make this one day perfect when our relationships and the paths we’ve walked together are usually far from flawless? Why do we tend to subscribe to the cookie cutter notions of romance when we all have different preferences and ideas about what we consider romantic?
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