The Best Marriage Advice You’ll Get

The effort required really isn’t very much.

It’s the energy that matches what you want that has to be exact.

If I bring you love, if I bring you peace, if I’m grateful for what you’ve done and are doing,

Will that help?

If I’m empathetic to your concerns and opinions, if I value what you do, what you say, and who you are,

Won’t that also help?

If I keep myself solid emotionally, while being patient with how you process and able to give you what you need, that also helps.

With minimal effort I can be trustworthy, kind, considerate of your feelings, and genuinely grateful for what you do and have done.

With every little effort I can listen, and wait to speak more thoughtfully.

  • I don’t have to avoid you.
  • I don’t need to fight and argue.
  • I don’t’ have to be submissive because you’re angry.

Can’t I be happy that we’re together? Happy that I’m doing something to make things better?  Happy that possibility still exists? Happy that with the changes I’m making in myself and how I respond differently to you?

I can be happy because I want to be, and focus on all the reasons and evidence that exists in my life that’s good.

I don’t have to put you down or criticize you, or complain to all my friends and family about you.

I can be more reasonable when we talk.

I don’t have to point out everything you’ve done wrong, even though I’m perfect and always right. J

I can help us more than I am.

I can be a good reason to stay together, and a good reason to believe that much better days are ahead.

I can love you better than I am.  And I don’t have to wait for you to change to do that.

If I care at all for you, I can show you I do because life is a fragile thing, and I’m not ready to lose you .

And I can get help, because I may not have the knowledge or understanding to do this as fully as I want to.

I can admit I don’t have all the answers for us while I do a little better at loving you, ad making you feel that I value you in my life.

Thank you for having this talk with me because I needed perspective. And that’s always a good thing.

Now I can choose differently so we have a real chance at happiness together.

I’m eager to get rid of some stress and I know you are too.

I can even read this to myself again, and anytime I lose sight of what I want with you.

 

Hidden Gems in Conflict Resolution

People can disagree and argue about almost anything, but there are only two real elements in conflicts:

1.  Who is more right?

2.  Who is more important?

As you think about this for yourself and your partner, can you think of any other reason that your conflicts exist?

It’s always going to be some version of those two things.​​​​​​​

​​​​​​​Sometimes people choose that being right is more important than having a happy marriage?

Years ago I remember being in a specific argument with my wife where I figured this out.

I had just proved that what I knew or thought, was more right than whatever point she was trying to make. And after a series of escalated words back and forth, the conversation ended.

Was she happy?  Definitely not.

Was I happy?  Not at all.

I realized in that moment that being right about whatever that thing was, wasn’t so important after all. In fact my attempts to prove I was more right had actually diminished the feeling of connection between us. 

That’s not at all what I wanted. It became a defining moment in our marriage that allowed me to completely shift my focus in conversations with her.

Let’s imagine that you want to talk to your partner about something important.

What’s your outcome? What do you want to happen as a result of the conversation?

Besides having a clear outcome, here’s a more important element I discovered.

  • How do you want to feel during the conversation?
  • And will that feeling help you to be more effective?
Under extra stress and pressure we all default to habitual emotional patterns that aren’t going to be supportive or resourceful.
-Some people get noticeably angry and irritated

-Some people get anxious and overwhelmed.

-Some people feel defensive and argumentative

-Some people shut down or feel sad.

So I realized I needed to choose the feeling I preferred to have before the conversation.

If you aren’t consciously choosing a more empowering emotion for yourself before

engaging in the conversation, you will repeat your own emotional patterns that may

not serve you, or having a happy marriage. 

When conflicts increase in marriage, people can waste alot of time blaming communication

when the source cause is the disconnected feelings between you both.

Reach out to talk with me if you’d like to learn more about repairing your marriage.

Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,
Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.  -Dr. Seuss
I

Will Valentine’s Day Ruin Your Relationship

What you may not know is that Valentine’s Day is the beginning of the end for many couples.

 

Here’s why:

Many people evaluate the happiness and success of their marriages and romantic love-lives, based on whether or not their expectations for Valentine’s Day are met.

 

Valentine’s Day’s unmet expectations often turn into the final straw of a year’s worth of unfulfilling romantic love. Unfortunately, the increasing result of this disappointment often leads to affairs and ultimately divorce.

 

According to a study of divorce filings by AttorneyFee.com, and Avvo.com, both legal referral sites,

they found that February is the busiest month of the year for divorce filings. People seeking referrals

for divorce increase about 40% in February, with the biggest spike on the day after Valentine’s Day.

 

A number of cheating websites for married individuals seeking affairs, report that the day after Valentine’s Day is their #1 day for new sign ups.

 

What expectations do you have around Valentine’s Day?

 

If you are in a struggling relationship, Valentine’s Day might remind you of your romantic dream

about love that was lost. Of course thinking about the love you don’t have will only make you

bitter, sad and resentful.

 

You cannot save a year of disappointment and unhappiness by doing any of these most

socially popular things; giving a greeting card, candy, obligatory dinner, or a dozen roses.

 

Let’s get real:

  • Can candy save a love-less marriage?
  • Can a dozen roses overcome an affair?
  • Can a greeting card restore intimacy and passion?
  • Can a forced attempt at a romantic dinner improve couple communication?

Instead, change your thinking about the Day with these 3 things:

  1. Have Perspective– The value of your relationship is not contingent upon one day’s expectations, and unrealistic romantic desires. Do not let this one day decide the fate of your relationship. You are where you are in your relationship for many reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with Valentine’s Day.

 

  1. Focus on Giving to Your Partner- You could make the day about valuing them. Show your appreciation for your partner in whatever way is most genuine for you. If you are willing to let go of your romanticized expectations, you will not be held emotionally hostage by the day. Even if you are hurt and bitter, you can still find something to appreciate about your partner.

 

  1. Start Working towards Something Better– Make a commitment to improve the standard for loving your partner. Even if you think they are completely to blame for any relationship challenges, perhaps you have not been so perfect. A relationship is a shared responsibility and any interactions require two participants. Take responsibility for your part.

 

Today’s the day you can begin to shift and improve your relationship.

 

Winning the game of love happens through what you give, not from demands or attempts to control the other person.

 

The success of your relationship will always be reflected by what you do and fail to do.

 

Want my support? Reach out to talk with me here. 

Want to do it yourself?  Read The 90-Minute Marriage Miracle

 

 

Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,

Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.  -Dr. Seuss

3 Reasons Your Marriage Isn’t Already Great

Not everyone is ready to hear the truth but here it is…

If your marriage isn’t already great you’re making any of these 3 big mistakes:

  1. You don’t care enough.  

When I work with couples I look for proof of deep caring.

I look for actual evidence that people are willing to do whatever it takes to fix their marriage. I look for people who are willing to make it a priority in their lives. Is that you?

  1. You think you care. 

Because you’re stressed or unhappy doesn’t mean you care deeply.

It’s inconvenient to feel disconnected with your partner, or to be unable to communicate, or to always be arguing, or to be walking on eggshells around each other, or to have poor affection and intimacy.

It can even be painful, but what steps are you taking to change it? Thinking you care is not evidence of doing whatever is needed to get rid of the problems between you.

  1. You”ll waste more time. 

Unless a decision is made immediately to fix your marriage or find great help and hire them, you”ll go through the motions of searching for answers but nothing will change.

This is simply more proof that you don’t care enough to fix the problem once and for all. You can blame your partner but that doesn’t really do anything at all.

Here’s Evidence of Deep Caring

  1. You take responsibility for your role in the disconnect.
  2. You tell yourself the truth about how important this is or isn’t to you. 
  3. You make the adjustments that prove you care deeply. 
  4. You find the answers and implement them right away, or you get the best help you can, and follow their guidance to the best of your ability. 

Do anything else and it’s all superficial caring. A game of pretending to be working on fixing the problems that goes on and on, yet nothing changes.

If you’re doing that you need to care more about your happiness.

What’s your truth?

The evidence and proof of caring are found only in what you are doing. 

Have you read my book and used the ideas?

Have you spoken with me and followed my advice?

Why not?

 

Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot

Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.  -Dr. Seuss

 

5 Ways to End the Disappointment

Too many marriages are in crisis today.

The number of client inquiries that I get about affairs and sexting continues to surprise me.

Here are some easy things to do:

 Get Access to Your Partner’s Phone

I’ve talked about this before. If your partner is hesitant about giving you access I would take that as a danger sign. There is no reasonable reason why you shouldn’t be able to access your partner’s phone messages and email anytime you want.  Show them this article if they resist.

If a marriage is about trust, openness, and transparency, and your partner wants to hide and cover-up, get help right away.

  1. Value Your Partner.

Be certain that they feel deeply cared for and appreciated by you. It’s far too easy to take them for granted when things are Ok. And that neglect has a hefty price.

You must understand what THEY need, not what you need.

  1. Offset Your Own Stress

What are you doing to take care of your own stress? Stress builds up from work, kids, family obligations, health issues, financial pressures, etc…When you neglect yourself your emotional stability shifts and inevitably interferes with beneficial couple interactions. The more stress you are under the less you are able to demonstrate valuing your partner.

  1. Take an Interest in Their Work Environment

Since many affairs happen from the workplace, Make sure that you are participating in and sharing your partner’s work life. Go there if possible. Communicate during the day. Express your interest and curiosity about their work and the people they work with.

  1. Pay Attention

Subtle changes occur when a partner is having an affair. Their mood changes. Guilt can produce anger directed at you or withdrawal. These behaviors can become obvious well into the affair, but frequently exist right away. With our fast-paced digitally driven lives we often overlook what’s right in front of us.

End the Disappointment of an Unhappy Marriage

Get help. Don’t waste precious time trying to figure it out on your own.

Read my book.  You’ll learn what works and what doesn’t.

Talk with me.  You’ll get direct answers for any relationship challenge.

 

 

Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,

Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.  -Dr. Seuss

5 Real Reasons that Cause Couples to Separate

It’s easy to feel attracted to someone. But that doesn’t mean the relationship will last.

When the feelings of connection start to diminish, the foundation of the relationship begins to crumble. Without an understanding of why that’s happening, or the right help, things are likely to get worse.

Here are 5 Real Reasons Couples Separate:

  1. Whether your love is deep enough for each other.

The feelings of chemistry and deep connection that create higher levels of devotion also mute conflicts. That must be shared. One person may be head-over-heels in love and willing to do anything for their partner, only to find they get very little back. That wears thin quickly.

  1. Whether you are on the same page about what’s most important to you both.

When you are out of alignment on the things that matter, they will become a never ending source of conflict. These always revolve around which partner is more right, and which partner is more important. There is no remedy when you are caught up in proving you are right and your partner is wrong. No one wins.

  1. Whether you are mature enough to share your life with another person.

Not everyone is ready to be in a committed long term relationship. They think they are, but still might want to feel independent based on how they define it, often at direct odds with their partner’s rules for love. Lasting intimate relationships are not; love when I feel like it, and tantrums. A high level of commitment is required for the relationship to last. A willingness to get love or sex is not the same as giving and initiating what’s needed.

  1. Whether you are with each other for meaningful reasons or superficial ones.

The reasons that couples get together often come from a fantasized ideal about relationships. The right person matters far more than any reason; They will make me happy, I want a family, They are successful, They are extremely attractive, The sex is great, The have lots of potential, I don’t want to be alone, It’s easier than dating and I said I would get married by age 31.  These are not lasting reasons to be together.

      5. Whether you are willing to accept each other imperfections.

None of us is perfect, but it’s easier to see your partner’s imperfections. When you focus on what’s missing or everything they do wrong, you miss all their great qualities.  The longer you focus on those things that bug you, the less you will be able to see what you loved.

  • Will you be more in love or less, by the end of 2018?
  • Will you feel more deeply connected or more separate?

What you do and fail to do for your partner will always be reflected in the outcome of your relationship. In today’s digitally distracted world, couples tend to neglect each other far more than they realize. It easily leads to disconnect, unhappiness, emotional and physical affairs, and divorce.

For straight answers about making love last read The 90-Minute Marriage Miracle.

Reach out for relationship support here.

 

 

Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,

Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.  -Dr. Seuss

Why 2 Million Marriages Crash and Burn Each Year

No one is intentionally creating unhappiness in their marriage. It happens because people don’t have the skills needed to live and love happily ever after.

Your marriage will model many of the behaviors that you saw in your parents’ interactions. That’s just a conditioned reality.

That experience can be a recipe for success, or a recipe for unhappiness.

If what you saw back then wasn’t joyful, affectionate, loving and communicative, your marriage is likely to be challenging.

Why?

Because having a great relationship is a skill. It’s a learned behavior.

No different than flying a plane.

You can learn how to do that really well. But you have to get an expert to either model that for you, or to teach you.

You will not figure out how to fly a plane on your own, and you won’t have a successful marriage if you don’t have the skills.

To pretend you’re a pilot when you’re not will end in disaster.

To imagine that you have the skills for a happy and deeply fulfilling marriage may not be accurate, if that isn’t what exits in your life right now.

You could think of lots or reasons why it isn’t that way, but the truth is whatever it is.

Your success won’t come because you want it to, or because you love your partner.

It will come because you were willing to learn the skills to pilot your marriage successfully.

  • Wanting it to work isn’t enough.
  • Hoping it’s going to get better will end in disappointment.
  • Learning and doing what works is all that matters.

What you and your partner know about sustaining love for a lifetime will always be reflected in your results.

Each year over 2 million couples divorce. It’s not because they’ve fallen out of love. It’s because they didn’t know what to do to keep love alive for a lifetime.

Here are easy ways to learn the skills:

Read The 90-Minute Marriage Miracle

Reach out and talk to me here.

 

 

Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,

Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.  -Dr. Seuss

The Only 2 Real Marriage Issues to Fix

Having a great marriage isn’t a hard thing to do. Telling ourselves the truth is more difficult. And that’s what keeps people stuck in unhappy and unfulfilling marriages.

  1. You don’t how to have a happy marriage-

This was an unpleasant truth that I had to tell myself years ago.  I really didn’t know what I was doing, even though I wanted to blame my wife for everything wrong in our marriage.

  • Did I know how to prevent conflicts or resolve them peacefully? Nope!
  • Did I know what to do to keep our chemistry and intimacy high? Thought I did, but not really.
  • Did I know how to keep communication open and easy? Definitely not!
  • Did I understand what she needed from me the most? Absolutely not.
  • Did I know how to affair proof our marriage? Not a clue.

Why not?

Who was going to teach me all of these things? My dad who left when I was 15? The couples counselor we went to who blamed me for everything wrong in the marriage, and suggested we get a divorce?

You may know there are over 50,000 traditional couples counselors in the US, yet over 2 million divorces each year. Many are not teaching people what works and what doesn’t very effectively.

  1. You and your partner look at life and marriage differently-

Another truth that I had to tell myself was that:

I didn’t understand women very well.

My wife and I had different rules for love. Different rules for what being married meant, and different needs.

We certainly didn’t see eye to eye on lots of issues. Did talking about her version and my version of events with a couples counselor help us?

No! It only caused us to feel more separate and bitter.

When I solved these 2 real marriage issues, our relationship went from unhappy to amazing.

In my opinion, most people don’t need couples counseling. They need to be educated on what works and what doesn’t, and why.

They need simple skills, tools and strategies to have happy marriages that lasts forever.

That’s what I teach.

Reach out to me here if you want to solve these issues for good. I’d like to help you do that.

 

Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot. 

Nothing is going to get better. It’s not. – Dr. Seuss

 

My Personal Plea to You About Your Partner’s Phone

Do Not Take Your Marriage For Granted

It’s the Ok marriage that often leads to pain.

I have to warn you.

I am seeing an increase in clients who discover their partners are having sexting affairs.

Just in case you don’t know, Sexting is the texting of images and/or words that are sexually explicit.

Imagine that you discover your partner has been sexting with another person. You pick up their phone and see nude images and words to describe a variety of sexual acts that your spouse wants to have with this other person.

You’re not going to feel good about it.

Sometimes the sexting is rationalized as; they didn’t have physical sex, and it’s really not that big a deal. Sometimes the sexting they admit has been going on for years.

You’re definitely not going to like that.

Other times the sexting is the tip of the iceberg to a full blown affair that has been going on for a long time.

Now you’ll have to decide what you are going to do.

In every one of these situations that I deal with, I always ask about the state of the marriage before these affairs were discovered.

In almost everyone one of these situations, the marriages are described as Ok, or alright.

Here’s the ugly truth:

When I dig deeper, the marriages were far from Ok or being alright. Most of these people who have been betrayed admit that they had thought about getting a divorce years prior to the acts I’ve mentioned, but things were mostly Ok so they didn’t.

Couples are all too often sleep walking through life together, and the discovery of sexting and physical affairs is the brutal wake up call.

In my opinion, the sexting and the affairs are all symptoms of a marriage that has been struggling for some time. But the partners didn’t see any urgency to fix it and things seemed mostly Ok.

Please be smart:

Can you access your partner’s phone? Will they happily give you their smartphone and password?

This should not create a disagreement. If you are in happy, deeply connected, and trust filled relationship, there will never be an issue using your partner’s phone.

My wife has access to my smart phone any time she wants. She uses it often even though she has her own phone, which she can’t find from time to time. And I have access to my wife’s phone and password.

I want it to be that way. There is no valid reason on earth why I would need to hide my phone from her, nor should she feel the need to hide her phone and password from me.  The moment that occurs, trust has been lost, and the relationship despite all good appearances, is entering dysfunction.

If you find resistance to being able to access your partner’s phone please share this article with them.

If your marriage is simply Ok, or less than Ok, I urge you to reach out for help.

An Ok marriage is always on the edge of not being Ok.  An Ok marriage will not become happy, or great, or even good by itself. There is no upside to an OK marriage without effort to change it.

Without help very little happiness is possible.

 

 

Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,

Nothing is going to get better. It’s not. –Dr Seuss

 

Lessons of Love; Benign Neglect

So people fall in love, get married, maybe have kids, and it’s happily ever after….right?

That’s what I used to believe happened.

 

Now that I’m married….we’re good…not much more to do here.

I’ve got a career to get to, a family to support, the marriage will take care of itself….right?

 

This is how couples fall out of love with each other

And this is the recipe for the failure of countless marriages.  

 

I hear it all the time.

 

“I’m not in love with them anymore.” 

 

Maybe that’s where you are.

 

If  you’ve read my book The 90-Minute Marriage Miracle, I talk about the impact of benign neglect.

  • How we don’t mean to make other things more important than our marriage but we do.
  • How we don’t mean to put our careers and our kids ahead of each other, but we do.
  • We don’t mean to take each other for granted but we do.
  • We often believe as I once did, that the marriage will kind of take care of itself.

And my marriage failed.

And the marriages of over 2 million people in the US fail each year.

 

The biggest mistake of all is thinking that things are good, when they are in fact not. 

Maybe you just don’t know any better…yet. 

Do not wait for the symptoms to appear;

  • Increasing conflicts
  • Communication struggles
  • Fading Intimacy
  • Disappearing Affection
  • Questions of Trust

You can save your marriage before it gets deep into the dysfunction phase.

You can even save your marriage when you think it’s over.

 

But that takes an openness to learn what will turn things around,

and a willing partner who hasn’t decided quite yet that they’re done.

 

There’s alot more at stake than most people realize. 

Talk to me.

  1. You’ll know what the real problem is.
  2. You’ll know what the answer to it is.
  3. And you’ll know what to do next.

 

In the famous words of Dr. Seuss;

Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,

nothing is going to get better. It’s not.