How Do I Get My Husband Excited About Our Marriage Again

It is not easy to keep a marriage exciting and creative each and every day.  If you think your husband is losing interest or even if you are struggling with finding joy in your daily interactions with your husband, then I want you to think about undergoing a paradigm shift.

You do not have to settle for a marriage that lacks enthusiasm, elation, eagerness, or exhilaration.

love account

It is not uncommon for married couples to find that their marriage is growing stale.  If you start noticing that your husband is simply checking out emotionally or complains about being bored and unfulfilled, don’t panic.

Everyone goes through periods in which they wonder what it is really all about. You may think that your husband is pulling away or becoming bored with you, but those notions are usually far from the truth.

Every relationship operates on the principle of what I call the marriage inertia trap.  As time goes by,  the marriage fall into a trap of predictable patterns.  Often times, these patterns are become humdrum and routine.

So if there are instances in which either you or your husband feel that your lives are becoming too predictable and you can’t easily find the excitement that existed in the early days, then I want you to temper those anxieties with the realization that this is an uncommon phenomenon.

It takes two people to make the marriage exciting, even thrilling.   If you believe that your hubby is blaming you for being complacent in making the marriage fun and he seems to be checking out, just know that it is never all on you.  That’s right. Both parties to a marriage share in making the marital union fun, unpredictable, and exciting.

Read this if you are looking for a ton of ideas on how to accomplish that!

How To Save Your Troubled Marriage

Now, I am not saying that you and your husband have failed if in every day of your married lives neither of you were able to interject some kind of spontaneous fun.

I think we can all agree that is an impractical expectation.  But what I want to talk about is shifting your paradigm about what a marriage can be and how both you and your husband can mold your future in such a way that those exciting and joyous moments are not figments of your past lives, but a part of your present and future.

The operable word is “mold”.  But first things, first.  Let me get back to my point about not blaming yourself if your husband is complaining and acting like your marriage is devoid of any exciting moments.  It is not all on you.  It is about what both of you want to do with the future.  That is what the conversation should be about.

So let’s talk a bit about why husband and wives can get lost in their marriage and set in their ways such that a form of “marital entropy” just takes over and reduces the relationship to predictable, boring, and unimaginative outcomes.

OK…so I threw out that word, “entropy”, but let’s make sure we all understand what it really means.  Entropy is when something moves from a state of order to disorder.  Let there be no doubt, marriages can be messy.  And as time goes by, the current of our married lives can just sweep us along.  Pretty soon we are looking back and wondering what happened to all the fun of yesteryear.

I have talked about this elsewhere on the website when we discussed top principles of making a marriage successful.  Did you know that it only takes about 66 days on average for a habit or routine to form?

Well, it is true.  And I am guessing that many of the things you and your husband do are products of many months or years of marital habits and routines.  Often such routines are normal and necessary things you each do as part of living your lives together.

Someone has to get the mail, pay the bills, pick up the paper.  Either you or your husband have to see fit to check on things around the house or apartment that might require maintenance.  Simply going to work is a routine.  Taking care of educating, feeding, clothing, and playing with your kids, if you have any, are all examples of routines.

Sometimes it is useful to look at things in a different way.  Sometimes you should think of yourself as becoming ungettable.  What does that mean?  Well, I talk all about it in this post!

Becoming The Ungettable Wife in Your Husband’s Mind

Over the course of a marriage you will begin to collect things.

I am not talking about objects or possessions.  Rather, I am referring to certain activities you and your husband may engage in.   Some of these things are good routines and habits….some are necessary activities…others may be unnecessary altogether, but through habit-forming, certain unwanted activities can become part of the mold of your married lives.

The routines of your life are seldom defined by the degree of excitement or thrill they bring to your marriage.  Rather, they are just, well…they are just somewhat boring behaviors you and your lover partake in.

Many of our routines can soak up the available time we have for each other. They can infringe on you and your husband’s capacity of having fun and doing things that are exciting simply because of the lack of available time or that the sheer volume of all there is to do in your marriage to just get from one day to the next. These activities you find can pull you and your husband away from each other. Without pruning the unnecessary routines of your marriage,  both of you can be easily left exhausted or unmotivated.

One of the key principles of a successful marriage is revitalization.  Think of it as the periodically renewal of the marriage.  What I am talking about is re-invigorating your marriage. And this is where you and your husband need to undergo a paradigm shift.

You both need to clear away some of the things you do to make room for renewing your marriage.  Think of it as clearing the deck.

Do away with some of these things that are either unnecessary and replace them with fun.  Allow room for the exciting activities you can do together.  Allow time for some adventures.  Learn to play with each other.  By doing these things, you create a positive feedback loop.  Soon, your husband will think of you’re in a different way.  He will equate seeing your face with something that leads to fun and excitement.

This whole focus on revitalizing your marriage starts with a serious conversation you have with your husband.  It is not fair for either of you to blame the other for a lack of excitement or enthusiasm in the marriage.  The fact is you are both to blame if you fail to act on the natural order of how marriage entropy acts upon a relationship.

Tell your husband that the two of you have a choice.  You can either continue to tread water and get caught up in the negative marriage undercurrent.  Or you both can realize what is happening  to the marriage and accept that feelings of boredom and  lack of excitement  with the marriage are not unusual feelings. Once you accept and become aware that you are trapped in a cycle of marriage mediocrity…..only then can you take action to do something about it.

How Do You Go About Increasing the Excitement in Your Marriage?

So what can you do?

Well there are tons of things you can do.   One idea is to play with each other. Make your “play” into an event and make it fun, exciting, and surprising.  It should be the type of experience that you and your husband can participate in that will help re-ignite the spark that might be missing in your marriage.  In a moment, I will give you an example of something you and your husband can do to trigger an evening of delight.

And once again, don’t feel bad if you are thinking that your marriage is missing that spark of excitement.  It happens.  I have experienced it in my marriage and it will happen again to both you and I.  It is just the natural course of how our marriages take shape.  We will all go through periods in which the marriage feels like it is stuck in first gear.  To rev up the marital engine, you need to take proactive steps liven up things a bit.  So turn the page and focus on actionable steps you can take to break up the pattern!

So here is an idea you can run with!

One way to get your husband thinking about you in a much more exciting way is to bring out the sexuality.  One of the best ways to get his attention is to act out of character for one night.

Of course, over the long run, you will want to engage in many very exciting sexual encounters over time. But it is not something you want to over do. This is where less is more.   I am not talking about the frequency of sex.  Rather, I am referring to those very special, exciting, and most importantly, surprising, sexual encounters.

As we discussed, it is easy for couples to get locked into a routine pattern.  This can even happen in the bedroom.  Well, it is time to remedy that.  If you have kids, get a baby sitter.  But I want you to plan a dinner with your husband.  Present it as a date.  Find a restaurant adjacent to a hotel.  Toward the end of the dinner, I want you to leave a sealed note (in envelope).  Tell your husband you want him to read it.  Then excuse yourself to go to the restroom.  Actually, what you are going to do is head over to the hotel.  In planning this, you would have already reserved a room.  Eventually curiosity will cause your husband to open the envelope.  He should find a key card to your hotel room and a brief sexy suggestion on exactly what you want him to do to you.  I think you can take it from there and feel free to be as creative as you wish.

I Think My Husband Is Having An Emotional Affair

It all starts off very innocently.  Your guy meets someone in the office or even online and as time goes by, he become more invested in this other person….this other woman.

Emotional affairs often take on that form.  It can come out of nowhere and over time,  slowly wrap up your husband into a cocoon of attraction. One week he seems normal, then slowly, but most definitely, you start picking up on some tell tale signs.

elaborate story

You notice that your husband has been somewhat distracted. Perhaps he is spending more time online.  Or maybe you he is working longer hours, getting home later, more often than not.

Possibly, the husband spends time staring off into the distance or gives you the impression that he is not “all there”.   Yet another sign of an emotional affair that is gaining traction is when you notice he is pulling away from.  You notice that your husband or lover seems less will  to share in intimate and joyful moments with you.

Opportunities for the two of you to be sexually intimate come and go.  Those comfortable roles you each established about how and when you talk to each each other or who initiates sex first or dives in for a hug first, become jumbled up.

Something is off and it is your sixth sense that keeps pinging you with those fleeting thoughts that your husband is acting different.

Trust is probably eroding.  Speaking of trust in marriage, if you are looking for some ideas on how to rebuild the broken bond, I cover off on that topic in this post:

How To Rebuild Trust In Your Broken Marriage

Emotional Affairs Can be Paralyzing to a Marriage

emotional affairs hurt

When a wife suspects that her husband might be having an emotional affair, it can be paralyzing.  On one hand, you don’t want to just immediately pounce on your hubby, because what if you are wrong?  What if your sixth sense is really just over anxiousness?

You have ask yourself, has your husband had a record of engaging in any types of affairs?  Has he acted distant before.

When you first notice things seem awry, you need to give it a little time to see just what might be causing the relationship to be off kilter.  Often, if communications between the two of you have been strong, he may be amenable to talking about it.

You can ask open ended questions to explore his readiness to discuss what might be on his mind.

So you don’t want to wait weeks or months to explore what might be contributing to his changed behavior.  But, nor does one want to rush to judgement.

All of these behaviors I described which your husband may be exhibiting could be due to any number of things, completely unrelated to an emotional affair.

Your husband could be having difficulty at work.  Perhaps he is up for promotion and things are not going well.  Maybe their is a long overdue project and he is late.

Maybe he heard from an old flame and is confused and hesitant about how he should proceed.

One should not assume that their spouse has fallen in love with another just because of some distracted or odd behavior that is occurring.

Though one should not delude themselves and pretend nothing is wrong.  Clearly, if you are picking up on some strange vibes from your husband, you will eventually want to get to the bottom of it.

Usually it is best to make gentle and supportive inquiries.  If that does not work, if your husband is not forthcoming, then try again later.

Gentle probing can sometimes lead to further discussions.

Now, if the secret that your husband is holding on to is indeed that they are having an emotional affair….then we have a lot to talk about.

But how would you really know?

Before we get into the details of an emotional affair, let’s make sure we are on the same page as to what one can do to save their marriage if a spouse is engaged in a traditional affair.

How To Save Your Marriage During An Affair

What is an Emotional Affair?

what is an affair of the heart

If your spouse admits to an emotional affair or you uncover undeniable evidence that he has betrayed your trust in the most intimate way, it can be devastating.

But before we go on, let’s make sure we are on the same page!

I mean, we hear about these words, “emotional affair”, but what does it really mean?

And what can you do about if you suspect or learn that your partner in life has fallen prey to an emotional, private tryst with another women?

For starters, let’s explain what an emotional affair is NOT.

It is not a physical relationship your husband has with another woman (or man). Sure, one can have a sexual relationship with another and it can lead to a strong emotional connection.  But in my definition of an “emotional affair”, I am drawing the line at sex.

So with an emotional affair, while the degree of intimacy can be high, it does not involve physical sexual relations.

I would also further expand the definition of what an emotional affair is NOT by excluding things like kissing or caressing.   I would characterize extramarital relationships  as those involving two willing partners who kiss, caress, and tenderly touch each other in an intimate way.

A subtle, but meaningful difference.

With an emotional affair, we have a situation that I would describe as an intimate affair of the heart and possibly an affair of the mind (one’s intellect).

Now, there is nothing wrong with loving another person’s mind.  I have great admiration for many people’s intellect.  But if I am fantasizing about another woman’s mind and her body…..and doing it frequently….along with going out of my way to communicate with her in intimate ways…..I have crossed the line.

This is what sometimes happens when a husband wanders into a strong emotional connection with another woman.  It can start quite innocently, but over time, something more intimate between the two can evolve.

Now, I don’t want you reading this thinking that every time your husband goes out the door and meets a woman, that he is incapable of having a normal and healthy relationship.

Men and women working and interact together everyday in many different environments and can enjoy each other’s company without developing an affair of the heart.

So a strong bond with another due to an admiration for their intellect is not the kind of relationship that typically becomes troublesome for a marriage, even if it involves another woman.

But what if your husband does develop a strong emotionally intimate attachment with another woman. Even if it does not involve overt sexual chemistry and attraction.  Even if such is the case, should your husband be allowed to keep that relationship private, without you knowing?

I don’t think so.  If your husband has a serious bond or intense infatuation with another woman without your knowledge, I don’t believe that is a marriage healthy behavior.

Also with an emotional affair, the other person involved does not necessarily have to be physically present.  Meaning that the person can be remote.

They could be on the other side of the country or even in another country.  Your husband could have become hooked on a dating site and is living out his fantasies in the privacy of his home study.

He may have met someone at a conference or a gathering of some kind and has kept up the communications either through reaching out online, texting, or phone calls.

Such an affair of the heart is usually not consummated in a sexual sense, but often there can be a very strong bond or connection, particularly if this kind of relationships has been going on for a while.

There are certain guys (husbands) that can become obsessive with their focus on the opposite sex and this can lead to either online behaviors which result in  emotional affairs or the need to compulsively text the individual.

Sometimes, the other woman is attracted to the attention they are getting and reciprocates and as time goes by the intensity of communications increases, thereby creating an emotional bond.

Arguably, this type of emotional affair is somewhat easier to break off because the genesis of the affair started with compulsive or obsession behavior and not with a healthy and natural development of loving feelings.

Though, if an individual has an obsessive personality or struggles with a disorder, it can be difficult to cease the behavior.  Counseling is usually needed.

While office romances  usually involve physical sex or intimacy, they can also stop short of a sexual relationship and take on the form of an emotional affair.

An emotional affair usually starts off innocently and grows over time, often eventually developing into a physical affair.

This is one of the reasons why wives fear the “emotional affair.  The concern is that the affair of the mind will lead to romance and physical sex.

No woman wants to think about their husband in the arms of another woman.

But what is more damaging to the existing relationship is the thought that the husband is growing to love another woman.  Even without sex or other forms of affectionate intimacy, which is essentially the characteristic of an emotional affair, this type of relationship threatens the bond of marriage on a level that can grow to create dysfunction within the marital union.

That is why this form of cheating  is thought to be worst in the mind of most wives.

What If You Suspect Your Husband of Having an Emotional Affair

what if your suspect your husband of cheating

So if you find yourself in a situation where you think your husband is engaging in an emotional affair or you strongly suspect such a thing is happening, what should you do?

As with most things, you have choices.  If communications within the marriage have been a strong suit, then create opportunities for your husband to open up. Point out that you sense that something seems wrong and create a dialogue around that topic. Gently probe, without accusing.

Share with your husband your “concern”.  Tell him you just want to encourage keeping things “open book”.

While this approach may not necessarily net any resolution, it creates an avenue for future discussions.

Then there is the slippery slope of trying to immediately confront your husband. The idea is to surprise attack your husband with your accusation, hoping to catch him off guard.

The notion is that the truth will come pouring out. But usually, this approach backfires.  Most husbands will immediately go into denial.  And what if your husband is not engaged in an affair of any kind.  The possibility of this approach going south is high.

You also end up back at square one. You will probably know even less about what is really going on or be more confused.  His denials will ring in your ears as hollow, then again, they could be true.

So in adopting the “surprise attack” you will usually not be much further along in getting to the truth.

How To Get To the Truth of What is Really Happening

getting to the truth of affair

 

What you want to do is accomplish two things.

One is to get to truth.  Of course, that is easier said than done.

Secondly, you want your husband to understand that his behavior is making you feel anxious and that you sense something is wrong.  But chose your words and tone carefully. You don’t want to lay any guilt trip on him by expressing that his behavior is creating friction and you fear for the marriage.   That would be too much for him to process.

Part of getting to the truth (assuming he is engaged in an emotional affair) is understanding why your husband entered into this behavior in the first place.

Was he wooed by this other woman?  Does he have certain obsessive tendencies? Is there some inadequacy in your relationship that caused him to stray emotionally?

But it all starts with getting the truth on the table, otherwise you can never get to the causes of his behavior.  Understand causes helps with arriving at solutions.

So What If You are Sure He Is Involved in an Emotional Tryst?

are you sure of his emotional betrayal

Your husband probably does not realize how much pain and dysfunction he is causing to the marriage by pursuing his emotional affair.

Men (and women) often have a way of compartmentalizing  and rationalizing things.  He probably figures since he and this other woman are not having sex or engaging in other inappropriate intimate, sexual behavior, then he is not doing anything wrong.

This kind of thinking is probably strongly and deeply embedded in his mind.  It is as if his psyche has given him permission to do this “thing” and while no one is the wiser, no one is really getting hurt.

At least that is how your husband probably sees it.

The husband is probably not even aware of the damage he is doing to the relationship and marriage by engaging in this emotional affair.

He most likely concluded long ago that what he is doing is making him feel good and has probably fooled himself into thinking that his emotional affair with this other woman is making him a better husband.

Crazy as it that may sound, the human brain can construct all kinds of rationalized nonsense.

So I would argue not to try and confront your husband.  That usually ends up being very counterproductive.  If you have not been successful in getting him to take your bait and open up about what is bothering him, it might be better to create an environment where he comes to you.

How do you accomplish that.?

Now, there is no one particular method that will guarantee success.  So let me get that out of the way.

The situation you may be dealing with may not be crystal clear.  Maybe your husband is having an emotional affair.  Maybe he is having a sexual affair.  Maybe neither of these things are happening.

So what you do to address the situation is predicated on how strongly you are convinced that your husband is hooking up with another woman on an emotional level.

If you feel certain based on evidence you have accumulated, then I would suggest you adopt a mini No Contact tactic to bring him to you. Perhaps it is best described as adopting the “Silent Treatment”.

You are not being mean or cruel or disrespectful.  You are simply coming out of your normal character and shutting down the initiation of communications with your husband.  In most cases, he will notice in a few hours.  Usually not more than a day.

Invariably, at some point in time, he will seek you out to discuss what is wrong. Only then should you tell him what is on your mind and how it is effecting you.  At this stage, just lay it out there as a possible explanation for his behavior.

Now, most husbands will be conditioned to go right into the denials about being unfaithful emotionally or sexually.

So unless the conversation is handled correctly, you might end up with a stalemate.  Even if you handle the discussion perfectly, it could still end up with no clear resolution.

He is likely to stick to his guns and you probably will not believe him.   The better approach is to keep things unemotional. Keep the blaming tones or veiled threats out of the picture.  I know that will be hard to do. But I believe it is the best tactic to get your husband to finally admit to his behavior.  Share with him your reasoning as to why you think he might be having an emotional affair.  Do so calmly, leaving open the possibility open that you could be wrong.

If that gets you nowhere, then you can consider trying a more aggressive approach.

You could simply tell your husband you are certain that he is engaged in an emotional or intimate affair.  Perhaps it could open up the discussion with your husband.  Explain to him, as rationally as you possibly can, that you only wish to get to the truth and then work on a solution.  Keep the emotions out.

Your husband is more likely to broach the subject if he believes you are not going to become overly emotional about the situation.

Tell him it will not make thing worst if he tells you the truth of what is going on. That is important.  Tell your husband that you just want the facts on the table…that he owes you the respect of telling you the truth.  Explain that with the truth coming out, while it will be hurtful for the short term, will serve to empower the relationship.

Clearly, these kind of discussions are never easy to have and they don’t always end up with a successful conclusion.  Your husband may not immediately admit to his emotional affair in the beginning.  But unless he can give you a rationale explanation for his recent behavior, it makes it impossible for your to understand what is really going on.

So think of it this way.  If you are not successful in the first act of this truth telling conversation, just know that you have placed the marriage front and center in his mind.

The fact that you have not threatened him or showed extreme anger actually should work to your advantage.

It gives your husband time to deal with the fear of telling your the truth and eventually, there is a reasonable chance your husband will fess up.

Then the two of your can begin working on addressing trust issues and strengthening your marriage.

 

 

Broken Marriage: My Husband Always Deceives and Misleads

Trust is the glue that holds marriages together.  When marital trust erodes, so does the relationship. What results is a broken marriage.  It is not unusual for me to be contacted by a client who is looking for help with restoring belief and confidence in their marriage.  I remember recently hearing from a lady who seemed beside herself with frustration and dissapointment.  She wanted to know why her husband lies so much.  It seemed that she would constantly catch him in lies, though she emphasized it was the little, mindless deceptions that bothered her the most.  She explained that her husband seems to have a default personality and it revolved around deceiving and misleading when it suited him.

liar

She was quiet upset that her marriage seemed to rest on a foundation of so many little lies. She explained that in most cases, there was really no reason for him to tell these little falsehoods.  It was as if he could not help himself.  She felt conflicted about what to do about it.

Should she confront him and get it all out on the table?  Should she simply ignore those occasions where he bends the truth and just stack it up as that is just the way he is?

Clearly, she was confused about why he felt compelled not to be fully honest with her on all matters involving their marriage.  She explained to me that the more she thought about his deceit, the more angry she would get and it was becoming apparent to her that the resentment she had for her husband was growing.

You may be thinking what if one of the lies was his failure to admit to his cheating behavior.  I weighed in on this topic in this post:

Should I Hate My Husband For Cheating on Me

Let’s get back to our case study.

As his wife, she has every reason to expect that her husband should be full on honest with her on all issues and matters the two of them deal with.  She was relieved to hear that because she was beginning to talk herself into just accepting his behavior as “par for the course“.

I explained to her that a marriage partner (whether it be a husband or wife) is walking a tight rope when they succumb to fudging the truth.  Practically speaking, lying to your wife or husband amounts to a “negative sum” outcome.

Let me explain what I mean by that.  Couples are constantly facing situations where they need to do or say something.  I think of these as relationship transactions.  What you want to do as a married couple is create a culture of love, support, and growth. The idea is the more positive transactions that occur between you and your spouse, the greater this positive culture can benefit.  I would characterize that as a “positive sum” relationship outcome.

Now, on the other hand, if for example, your husband is frequently stooping to lies, mistruths, and deceptions, then the balance of these transactions will contribute to a negative relationship sum outcome.

This is what my client was dealing with.  She told me that her marriage was not terrible and that she loved her husband very much, but it bothered her a lot that he would lie about the most ordinary of things.  Even when his lie was exposed, he would awkwardly try to wiggle out of it, often offering lame attempts at rationalization.

So what we did was talk about some of the reasons why husbands lie to help her understand the possible catalysts that cause him to behave in the way he does.   One of the more common things I see in relationships where the truth is regularly  bandied around like a rag doll, is that there are seldom consequences for the lies, even the little, seemingly innocent mistruths.

I explained to her that I don’t advocate that she should immediately strike her husband with a lightening bolt of righteousness and outrage when she catches him in a deception.  I think there first needs to be some groundwork laid down that clarifies expectations she has for her husband.  I also believe there is an opportunity to employ some behavior modification tactics.

What does this look like?

How can you create an environment in which your husband is motivated to keep the truth at the forefront of the marriage?

Well, if the two of you are fighting all the time, you will benefit from some improvement suggestions covered in this post.

How To Stop Fighting & Arguing From Ruining Your Marriage

OK, so let’s get back to how to get the husband to change his stripes.

I believe it starts with small acts repeated over and over again and a large amount of love and support.  I am not a big fan of sudden outbursts accusing one’s spouse of being a liar.  That usually does not get you very far.  Under that type of duress, the husband is unlikely to fall on his sword and tell the full truth and make that part of his future behavior.  What usually plays out is some version of the blame game.  You say this…..they say that. Before you know it,  we have an unhealthy relationship dynamic of people playing blamer and victim, which is a zero sum game.

Nor am I a fan of threats because it often can lead to the nuclear option of couples fighting to the bitter end.  Ultimatums seldom get you anywhere.

Also, ignoring the undesirable behavior (i.e. lies, deceptions, etc) is hardly a solution either.  Constantly ignoring the lies your husband fabricates gives him an unspoken green light to continue with the routine of telling little lies.

So what is one to do to stem this tide of lies, particularly if they take the form of an abundance of mistruths which is the problem my client was experiencing?  I will answer that but let’s talk a bit more about why lies emerge and which lies are worst.

We all lie, right?

It is true.  I lie.  You lie. Your husband lies.  Everybody lies.

So what does that say about us all?

I think it tells us that we have all learned to lie.  The temptation to do so varies depending on many variables and factors.  Sometimes a lie is constructed simply to avoid making someone feel bad.  That would be an example of a white lie.

But my client was not dealing with white lies.  She was dealing with a husband who habitually misled her or deceived her about things.  This would include outright lies and fabrications or deliberately sharing of partial information in an effort to disguise the full truth.

Her husband, along with us all, learned to lie at a very young age.  Studies reveal that children first learn to lie as early as age 3.  By age 8, every kid has mastered the art of lying.

And it is not difficult to master how to lie.   Though it can be difficult to disguise the lie as people tend to have also developed an innate sense of when they may be lied to.

So once again, what caused her husband to become such a habitual liar?

Well, right there is a clue.  Lying can become a habit or routine if you do it frequently enough.  You mind’s eye, which presumably weighs what is true versus false, can actually fool itself into believing things that simply are not true.  In other words, some people can lie and hardly even be aware of it or have the capabilility of  easily rationalizing the act of lying.

So this pattern of deception she is seeing from her husband could very well be partially a product of him consistently living his life with the proclivity to deceive and mislead.  That does not excuse his behavior.  But to change it, one must understand the genesis of the behavior.

What are some of the other reasons why her husband can so easily fall into the mode of  deception?

Some of common catalysts include insecurity (i.e. fear driving their behavior), ego (i.e. build themselves up), and control (i.e. as in a control freak).

We also have pathological liars who actually have developed the brainpower to keep all of their lies properly assembled in the right order.  Such folks actually have more white matter pathways in their brain which allows them to tell convincing lies.  Their pathological lying behavior may be due to impulse control issues and/or the desire to control and manipulate everything around them. Sometimes these people are very self centered or  suffer from a psychological condition called narcissistic personality disorder.

So what actions can a wife take to reverse her husband’s pattern of behavior in which lying and deception is too frequently practiced.

As I alluded to earlier, I think that negative forms of confrontation are counter productive.  There is a psychological principle called reactance.  For sake of this conversation, let’s stay with the husbands of the world.  Your husband (just like yourself) values certain freedoms.  And as crazy as it may sound, if your husband has become accustomed to bending the truth, then they may perceive that as a freedom.

If one tries to take away that freedom a person possesses to behave in a certain way, the force that is attempting to do so will be repelled.  Indeed, in our example, the husband will work hard to regain that freedom.  He will want that which he is told he can’t have or do.

Try and take away a perceived freedom and the person will react against that force, no matter how “right” and “justified” it is.  So we have that phenomenon acting upon a person.  We also have potentially other forces playing a role.  Fear is a huge reason why people lie.  Your husband could be lying partly because they fear being discovered.   They may fear losing face.  They may fear losing control.  They may fear their ego will take a hit.

So taking into account this landscape of things that influence your husband’s behavior, I would recommend a more deliberate, long term strategy of breaking down the pattern of lies,

It starts with ensuring your husband has nothing to lose (with you) when it comes to telling the truth about those things he may fear to tell you about.  If you catch him in an outright lie, go hug him and tell him (don’t confront) that you suspect you are not getting the full truth or the full story (whatever makes sense to say in the situation).  Encourage your husband to simply open up.  Tell him there will be zero repercussions.  When he tells you the truth, reward him.  Tell him how much you love him and how it makes you feel closer to him.  Explain to him that the lies hurt you inside, but his truths lift you up.

Now here comes the hard part, you have to manage the conversations (note: you will be doing this frequently over time to break down his pattern of lying) in such a way that your husband actually comes to believe there will be no repercussions. That won’t be easy to do in the beginning because he has probably spent a good part of his life fashioning a world inside his head that rationalizes his deceit.

Now, of course, this approach will not always be successful for some lies because the lie itself may be so painful and upsetting that the very thought of being supportive and molding your husband to be a truth teller is the fartherest thing on your mind.

These are the Big Lies.

Such lies that break down the foundation of the marriage and significantly erode trust have to be dealt with over time.  It involves your husband admitting to the breach of trust,  showing genuine regret, and receiving forgiveness (both from himself and you).

Marriages can be broken swiftly through an act of betrayal or the foundation of the relationship can suffer from a multitude of negative acts over time that weakens and eventually breaks the marriage.

Please read my other posts on some of the things you can do to address the big lies.  You will discover that the truth is itching to be set free.

Marriage Issues: Why Won’t My Husband Talk To Me?

One of the most frustrating problems I hear about from my clients revolves around the persistent breakdowns in communications between a husband and wife.  I often hear from some of my female clients who complain that their husband won’t open up and talk to them.  When I press them for more details, they explain that their guy will banter back and forth on occasion, but most of the time he just shuts down and will get annoyed or even angry when attempts are made to open up the dialogue.

sad stick figure girl

Fixing Communication Problems in Your Marriage Starts With Understanding Differences

Now, if you think about it, it would at first seem like the whole problem of communication breakdowns could be easily fixed, right?  I mean, if a couple are not talking much, then the solution seems obvious.  Just talk more, right?

Of course talking is not the sole solution to making people happy.  So how do you go about making your husband happy with you?  I explored some ideas in this post:

What Can I Do to Make My Husband Happy With Our Marriage

But as most people realize, the solution of  telling people to make more time for each other and “talk more” is not really much of a solution.  It assumes the husband and wife are always motivated to engage in genuine and constructive dialogue and that they are aligned on when they should talk and how to talk to each other.

It also assumes that men and women are similar in their communication preferences and that is simply not true.  Women tend to seek connections with their husbands by talking about things which are impacting them on an emotional level.  Men, on the other hand, are quite different about reaching out and making that emotional connection women emotionally hunger for.  I can’t tell you how many times I have been told, “he doesn’t have a clue“.

I am sure you have also heard of the phrase, “speak your mind“.  What I find interesting is more often than not, women will literally share what is on their mind and sometimes while their thoughts may appear to be somewhat scrambled from the perspective of a “man”, their desire and willingness to share their thoughts and feelings is a perfectly natural response to the situation or emotional challenge they may be facing.  By speaking their mind, the wife is able to root out internal conflicts and better process the many notions they may be reflecting on. As a result of this process, women will often come to terms with what they are feeling and what they should do or think about something.

The husband is less likely to share what is on his mind.  He tends to be less willing to open up and share any of the “internalizing” that actually may be happening within his mind.  Part of this behavior is learned behavior.  Maybe his father or mentors were the strong silent type.  “Don’t show them you are hurting” is a Man’s motto.

Another part of why men tend not to open up is in part due to their preferred attachment style.  Some guys practice what I would call the “avoidance attachment style”.  A guy may actually keep things close to the vest, so to speak, because they do not want to open themselves up or become or be perceived as vulnerable.  This type of attachment style may cause them to be less comfortable with making commitments and more likely to avoid intimacy.

Now I might get some argument from the guys out there, but I think women tend to have a healthier and more proactive way of dealing with communications.  In my opinion, women, in general, probably have a more advanced way of creating connections with people around them due to their preferred communication style.  Unfortunately, sometimes when you get a husband and wife coming at each other with a different communication preference, you get disconnects.

Guys, listen up!

You need to realize that for most women, talking to you is multi-faceted experience.

It is their way of creating that bond that is so important in a marriage.  It is a way to express their love and connect.  It is their way to share what is on their mind and work out worries and anxieties that might be bottled up or to collaborate with the one they love as they seek to figure things out for the future.

A lot guys, on the other hand, have a different take on communication in general.  They are more choosy when they are ready to open up.  They often prefer to go within themselves and avoid talking about things that otherwise might make them uncomfortable or anxious.  If they have insecurities or anxieties, the thought of  talking about them a lot is usually the last thing they want to do.  They often need time to work it out in a quiet place or through a distraction.  Hence, their communication preference may very well be to bunker down and ride it out.  The thought of sharing a lot of these intimate feelings going on inside their mind make them uncomfortable and trying to get a guy to talk about things before they are ready is likely to backfire.

Husbands Prefer to Act on Things – Not Talk it Out

Women often talk to share and explore their feelings.  For example, if they had a problem at work, they may very well want to talk it all out.  Men on the other hand, may hear a few sentences from their wife about these problems and issues and immediately start searching for a solution.  Or if the conversation is going on too long, the guy could be searching for an escape.  They may be thinking, “enough already, just get to the point”.

When you husband starts acting distant, you have some choices.  I discuss your options here:

Help With Getting Your Distant Husband Back

A guy will tend to listen, somewhat impatiently to what you are saying and then immediately switch over to their problem solving mode.  They will internalize what their wife or girlfriend is saying, then dissect it and offer up a solution.

In most of these cases, your husband may be trying to genuinely help you with the situation you are talking about.  But on another level, they could be ready for the conversation to be over.  So when they offer up their solution, but then the conversations takes a bend into another direction, they may possibly feel that their solution was ignored and meanwhile it seems that they are still stuck in this endless conversation that they have long been ready to escape.

Why is this?  Why is it that your husband can easily shut down on the communication front?  Did you do something wrong?  Is there something wrong with your husband?  These questions are not easy to answer because there are so many variables and individual  situations and preferences involved.  But more often than not, men are not the great communicators of our species.

Men tend to be geared toward problem solving and value self reliance. Women tend to be geared toward problem sharing and value collaboration.  Now bear in mind, these are generalities, but they tend to be true across the population. Yet when a guy is confronted with a problem that his wife is sharing with him and realizes that his solution offered is seemingly rejected,  he can shut down.  And it doesn’t always have to be a problem or issue that his wife is bringing up.  It could be she simply wants to talk and and connect.

So what is happening in this communication exchange that makes men and women  misconnect?  Not surprisingly, it is truly quite complex.  In most of these situations, the husband’s wife is not unilaterally rejecting his advice.  What the husband does not realize is that the wife is more motivated by simply talking about her situation and sharing information.  It is more likely than not, she already knows the solution, if a solution is needed.  She is more motivated by sharing her emotions and talking intimately about the situation, whatever it is. This brand of communication is how she feels fulfilled and emotionally connected.

Often, the husband does not get this.  He is coming into this communication exchange from an entirely different perspective. All he hears is his wife telling him about something.  He figures he has to solve it.  He may also not be in the mood for a long conversation. He may have his mind on doing something all together different.  But at the moment he has his wife in front of him pouring out her heart (indeed something he may be somewhat uncomfortable about depending on his attachment style).

So we end up having a disconnect which can lead to a deteriation of the quality of the conversation or even an abrupt end.  If this happens enough over time, your husband may form certain coping strategies such as avoidance or quick “in and out” of conversations.  After a while, the wife will come to believe that her husband’s simply does not want to talk to her.  She feels ignored and not valued.  She may also feel perplexed by why her loving husband seems so ill equipped to engage and be supportive.  To the wife, it is almost like he wishes to avoid her. And she would be right to some extent.  For most guys, it is not their first preference to sit down and have long, chatty, supportive and intimate conversations with their wife.  They can quickly grow weary of such a trend. They may come to think of their wife as being too needy and her efforts at emotional attachment may make them feel antsy and uncomfortable.  This reaction often has nothing to do with the wife, but more to do with the husband’s emotional attachment preferences.  It could also be due to some baggage they brought into the relationship from previous experiences.

Husbands and Wives: Two Sides of the Same Coin

You see, men and women are two sides of the same coin.  We are the same in so many ways, but can also be very different in a lot of ways.  And one such way where differences manifest themselves is in the way men and women communicate with each other.

Unfortunately, when the husband and wife undergo communication snafus such as the kind I have described, it leads to them both feeling like they are not getting what they need from the exchange.  The husband is looking to escape the onslaught of all these words from his wife and does not realize she is trying to emotionally connect and gain some loving support.  What results is often a clumsy or hurried attempt by the husband to solve the problem.  Or worse, diminish the importance of the matter.  This can lead to preaching or “talking down” types of husband to wife communication exchanges.

Meanwhile, the wife is getting very little value from opening up and sharing.  She become disatisfied and perhaps resentful.  All she wanted was her husband to listen to her situation and engage a little.  If he said just a few sentences and nodded sympathetically and offered some emotional and physical support (i.e. hugging) that would have made him into a communication genius.

But unfortunately, these little communication mishaps will mount up.  Over time, this can create a domino effect and as a result, certain unhealthy patterns and routines emerge.  This is the stage when women will come to me and tell me their husband seldom talks or opens up.  And when he does, it usually is to tell her something like:

You are getting too worked up over this”

“Haven’t  I told you before that you need to do…”

I know it can sound primitive, but a lot of men need to retreat to their man cave and ponder over things and be alone.  They may not be ready to process everything in a lengthy conversation.  It is often not their first preference and a big reason is that men and women are wired differently.  Their brain chemistry is different in some subtle ways.

Women gravitate more to words.  This is how many women work through many of their problems.  They want to share and process and seek to get in touch with their feelings.  She may just need to be heard and so talking to her husband is a natural progression.  Men gravitate more toward actions.  They hear something from their wife, they figure they need to solve this problem and like a fireman they are motivated to put out the fire.  But what often results is a total disconnection. The wife does not want to be doused with water (so to speak!), rather she wants to be bathed with attention and support.  We are talking simple engagement.  Yet, from the wife’s perspective, it is lacking.

Your Husband Needs to be Primed to Open Up

Men love to be doing something.  They want to be engaged in an activity where they can act on the fire that burns inside them.  And when they need their “cave time” to decompress, that is usually not a good time to try and get your man to open up or have lengthy discussions.  So when the wife “comes a calling” ready to share and dialogue, and the husband is getting ready to go into his cave or god forbid is already in the “cave”, you can be assured any communication exchange is more likely to be combustible from a negative sense.

So the advice I offer to wives that contact me for help in these situations is to recognize these differences in communication preferences.  Sometimes an effective tactic to employ with your husband is to do join him in an energetic, physical activity.  It could be anything such as a fitness workout or anything physical.  Men also tend to be more emotionally available after making love when their oxytocin is flowing.  In these situation,  he is more likely to open up and talk about things, because remember, many guy’s first impulse need is “to act” or be engaged in action.

 

How To Have A Good Marriage

Everyday I hear from couples who ask me what is the happy marriage recipe.  We all want the good marriage.

People want to know what it is they can do to better their relationship and strengthen their bond.  Sometimes they are looking for just a little help to improve their communications.   Sometimes they need some assistance with reducing conflict.  Some even need marriage help with overcoming problems like emotional affairs and just plain boredom.

All of these things can hamper a marriage.  But here is what I find to be most often the case.   Often, it is not singular things that causes issues within a marriage. Struggling couples more often have problems across a spectrum of areas.  And when you think about it, that should not be too surprising.

Small marital issues can springboard into large problems, which can lead to dysfunctions in other areas of the marriage.  How can you be sure that your marriage is worth saving?  I tackle that topic in this post…

How To Know If You Should Try To Save Your Marriage

But there is something amazing people can do much more of that can transform a stale or weak marriage to one that is among the best.

 

mark twain

Good Marriages Grow from Commitment

If you find yourself in a troubled marriage situation, don’t despair.

What I have described plagues the vast majority of relationships.  Just because the couple struggles in multiple areas of their relationship does not doom them.  It does not mean they should throw in the towel.  It does not suggest that that their husband or wife or themselves are bad people.  Not at all.  It simply means that marriages are complicated entities. And in a little bit,  I am going to teach you something that will amaze you.  While our problems can be numerous, you might be surprised to find that there is usually on key trigger.  Find that trigger and correct it, you might  just springboard your marriage to the next level.

But hey, I am not just going to sugar coat the complexities surrounding how men and women (or everyone for that matter) connect.

Think about it.  We bring two people together who are not completely compatible.  And by the way, no one in this world is completely compatible with their mate.

I know, I know!  We all want to think that there is a soul mate out there for us or that we have possible found our marital soul mate.   If you feel this way, fine!  We can agree to disagree.  My feeling is that two souls can draw so much closer together if they work at it.  I agree, though, some couples have a head start given their attachment styles.

Think of this way…

So we have two people who have some isses from the get go insofar as meshing together.  Ok, that is not unuusal.  But it is a tall order to expect that two people can be brought together through the institution of marriage and become ONE.   I just does not happen without effort and continued education on the principles of successful relationships.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  All couples should strive to be ONE.  It is a worthwhile endeavor and should be an ongoing goal.  But along the way, every marriage should expect a somewhat bumpy road.  Some couples will travel along the road more smoothly.  Indeed, their marital experience may be so solid that they will need very little in terms of marriage help.

Others will have more difficulty as they travel along the path of marriage.  But, look, as I said, this is not a terrible thing.  The history of marriage suggest that facing some difficult times is expected.  And we will have some couples that will face significant challenges. Obviously, this is not a desirable marital state, but it not something we should ignore.  Couples need to learn what causes such serious relationship dysfunctions and act proactively to avoid or minimize these problematic outcomes.

I think it is best if people start off with this understanding about their relationship.  I not preaching negativism here.  Rather, I am trying to keep people marching along with an informed sense of pragmatism.

So yes, marriages are very complicated and it should not be terribly disappointing and certainly not surprising if trouble rears its ugly head. Is there a secret recipe that can take you to the top of the marriage satisfaction scale?

No there is not.  But I have written a post that offers you some novel ways to grow the level of contentment…

What Are The Secrets To A Satisfying Marriage

Hence, it begs the question what one can do to insulate themselves from the common problems of marriage?  What can one do to have a good marriage?  It is a simple question, but the answer is much more involved.

Kindness and Appreciation are Pillars of Successful Marriages

I strongly believe it starts with the principle of kindness.  It seems like such a simple soluiton to say that giving and receiving kindness can result in remarkable improvements in a marriage.  One would think that given all the complexities and stresses and pressures of marriage, that gestures of kindness would only make a dent in improving the foundation of the the marriage.

But as unbelievable as it may sound, when a couple fully commits themselves to adopting a posture of kindness and appreciation in most of their dealings, wonderful things can happen.

But why?  Why does such a singular thing….something as basic as being kind to your spouse…have an out sized positive benefit for so many married individuals?

Well, let me start with the science behind it.  Some time ago, a study was performed that lasted decades.  I think of it as the Kindness Study.  A psychologist by the name of John Gottman was the force behind much of this work.  He created what was to become known as the Love Lab in his quest to study what was the ingredients of a successful marriage.

Thousands of couples passed through the love lab and the science researchers looked at just about everything they could think of from physiological responses such as heart rate, blood pressure, even the amount of sweat.

Now the kind of analysis they did was not purely physiological in nature.  They asked tons of questions and followed these couples for years as they sought the magic marriage formula.

After doing this for years, they compiled their data and essentially came up with groupings of couples, some which they called “masters” and others which they called “disasters”.

Something amazing was discovered with those who are considered masters of their marriage relationship.  I think of it as amazing because it is so simple to master, yet I see so many couples doing the opposite.  Knowing what this is…knowing in advance how you and your beloved spouse should interact can help you form a very successful marriage.

So what is this amazing outcome.  It comes down to being kind.  Kindness, if it was a muscle, would be something you and your husband or wife would want to exercise as often as possible.

Ok, so guess what?  I am not joking about exercising your “kindness muscle”.  Let me come back to that a bit later.  First, let’s finish our discussion about how kindness, appreciation, and respect are the pillars of a successful marriage.

Bidding is Your Way to Connect With Your Spouse

You see, this brilliant psychologist (Gottman) and his team, spent many long hours and many long years studying and evaluating the ingredients of marital success. He tracked the couples he was studying for years.  In the world of relationship psychology, they refer to this as a longitudinal study.  What he found in abundance, among those  couples that were highly functioning, was a process he called, “bidding”.

Think of it this way.  You and your significant other are sitting on the porch in your back yard.  It could be anywhere, but in my example, let’s just assume you guys are at home.  You turn to your spouse and say something like, “hey look over there, I think that squirrel it going to get into your bird feeder”.

In my example, the reason why you would say something like this is because you know your spouse loves that bird feeder and enjoys watching all sorts of animals coming in for a meal.  So you offer your comment in the spirit of what can be referred to as a “bid”.  You are in effect bidding for a response and are seeking to make a connection.  That is an appreciative gesture and if and when your spouse accepts your bid and turns toward you to engage in the discussion, the two of you are building intimacy.  You are making little deposits into the bank account of trust and respect.

Imagine this happening over and over again.  As times goes by, what you end up with is a highly functional couple.  In studying couples, what Gottman found was that these incidents of bonding and connection in the form of bidding to connect with the other person’s  is healthy and builds the relationship.

Whereas on the other hand, if you make a bid to your husband or wife, and they turn away from you and mutter something like, “just leave me be, can’t you see I am trying to relax”.  Such responses, when they occur with frequency, are highly predictive of relationships that will likely fail.

In the study, couples that were together after six years, had a “bid” which resulted in a positive “turns toward outcome” about 87% of the time.  These little behaviors which are exhibited between couples are remarkably predictive of which relationships that will last for the longer term.

So how do you integrate this simple, but effective behavior in your relationship?

Do each of us have a kindness gene?

Are we limited by our personality?

Well, the short answer is that while some of us are more inclined to employ kindness, appreciation, and respect in our daily lives, just because your current make up is not inclined to exhibit a lot of examples of kindness and appreciation; you can learn.

Kindness is not unlike a muscle.  The very neurons of your brain can be retrained to LEAD WITH KINDNESS.  It is never too late to make thoughtful “bids” to your lover and strengthen your marriage. Remember, though, it takes two to tango.

Studies reveal that new habit and routines can be formed over time.  It usually takes on average about 66 days, though it can be much sooner with something like this, particularly if you and your spouse are both committed. Imagine how much happier you and your spouse could be if you both made a concerted effort to make bids of kindness back and forth to each other.

Marriage Survival For Struggling Couples

It can be tough out there in the land of Marriage.  

Given that men and women are incredible complicated creatures seeking to join together as one, it is not difficult to understand why they can struggle together. Now, this does not mean you and your spouse are doomed to struggle, grapple, scratch, and claw your way to happiness.  Not at all.  But sometimes it feels that way, doesn’t it?  

You probably wonder what kind of cruel joke Mother Nature is playing on our species such that husbands and wives are sometimes thought of as coming from two different planets (i.e. Mars & Venus)!  You might wonder, why must my husband (or wife) and I struggle so much just to be content?

The way I look at it, everybody on the planet is uniquely different, with their own particular settings and dialing in what fits with your own personal likes and dislikes is just the natural order of things.

First off, if you have not taken measure of this post, then dig in because it provides you with a lengthy overview of how to strengthen your marriage.

Marital Advice on Strengthening Your Marriage

But know this.  You will never find someone who is completely compatible with your version of the ideal Man or Woman.  Relationships and interpersonal connections just don’t work that way. We are not robots or androids that can be specifically programmed to match up ideally with our mate.

When we get married, our view of the future is full of promise.  Our wedding day is embedded in our minds.  I think that is a great thing because as a couple, you want to continually build upon that connection.

principles

Connecting With Your Soul Mate

We have  billions of human beings wandering around mother earth in search of their own brand fulfillment and a huge part of that is finding and connecting with their soulmate.

I rather like that word, “connecting”, when describing relationships between the sexes.  It is quite descriptive because it suggests that men and women are making efforts to draw closer together and most importantly the word “connecting” informs us that their efforts are continuous….that they are always working at becoming a union.

Learn more about how to save your marriage if you feel trouble around the corner.

How To Save Your Troubled Marriage

As a couple, you do not start off as a perfect union, nor will you ever achieve that state of perfection. You should think of your marriage as continuous process of trying to improve that connection between you and your spouse.  The sooner you realize that men and women are never exactly dialed in to fit together with perfect precision, the sooner you will be able to accept your spouse’s imperfections. It turns out that is an important realization.  Those who do not understand this fall victim to the grass is greener syndrome.  I see this all the time.

People get frustrated and fed up, throw up their hands and decide they are going to break it off with their spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend. Then they go looking for someone else to spend their life with, only later to realize that the “dream man” or “dream woman” is often just that….a dream.

Now I think there is something else that interesting going on with our use of words today!  Take for example, that most wonderful of relationship phrases, “Soul Mate”.  Did you ever notice it can be spelled two different ways….though it has the same meaning?  There is the version, “soul mate” which consists of two words, “soul” and “mate”.  Then we have the word people also use which is “soulmate”.  In this usage, the meaning is the same, but now both parts of the phrase are connected.  So, what does it all mean??

Perhaps it means that your friendly author of this article is going slightly insane! All of these break ups I deal with has finally taken its toll, right!  Now hold it now….that is not true!  At least, I hope it is not!  Let’s just agree that what we can learn from this little vocabulary lesson is that we are all “souls” seeking to find a “mate”.  This is what evolutionary biologists would say is coded into our DNA. It is one of the driving forces of our behavior here on this lovely planet, right?  It’s to find someone to mate with and by doing so, we advance the species.  Life goes on.

So is that what it’s all about?

I think not.  I like to think that there is something magical about all of us, men and woman, being here…existing in each other’s space.  

We are of the same species, but man and woman are somewhat different in very special ways.  Not just in the obvious physical ways.  But we also have a somewhat different way of responding to certain things emotionally.  The ways in which attraction builds in each of us is largely the same, but there are differences that are not just defined by personality, but also by our sex. We mature at different rates.  We have somewhat different motivations that influence our decision making on matters such as romance, communication, conflict, and others.

So what is the magic that pulls us souls together to mate?  Is it the universal need to propagate the earth?  Well, that is a big part of it.  Biologists can’t be all wrong, right!  But I think there is another powerful force that acts upon us all.  It serves as a connecting force and causes us “souls” to find and bond with our “mate”.  It is the most amazing and mysterious of all forces and it is called LOVE.

So I declare, from this day forward, that when you see the word, “Soulmate”, let it be known that what we have is a fruitful union of two people who have joined together through the force of love.  Let’s not break them up by taking the “soul” away from “mate”.

Surviving Marriage: The Plight of Struggling Couples

It is not easy being a couple and while we enter into the marriage with all the right intentions and full of excitement, invariably the constant challenge of staying connected can get the best of us.  Remember, connecting with your spouse is a continuous process.  Both you and your spouse are entirely different people and to expect that is will be easy to fuse together…..well, it obviously is not.  In addition, over time, both of your are changing in many ways.  It is the natural order of how things unfold.

Somehow, through all of this, the two of you are suppose to stay tightly connected and “live happily ever after”, right?   Yep, that is a pretty tough challenge.  But you do have a powerful force working with you.  The two of your brought it into existence and it exists just for the both of you.  It is called.love.  So don’t let this article on Marriage Survival take you down the road of depression.  You are better off understanding the problems and what causes them. This is how you arrive at potential solutions.

So what are the problems between husbands and wives?  What are the things that can pull apart that connection you have worked so hard to make with your husband or wife?  As I explained, loving someone and connecting with them over the long run is a constant process of push and pull.  For some, the challenge can be very arduous.  But knowing and understanding is your key to success.  Only when you understand the nature of the problem(s), can you do something about it.

“Lions and Tigers and Bears Oh My

When Dorothy, from “The Wizard of Oz”, was skipping down the Yellow Brick Road, she was quite frightened of the world she found herself in.  Everywhere she turned, there seemed to be danger looming and her problems were mounting. But once she took time to understand and confront them, most of them dissolved away.  The fearful lion turned out to be a cowardly lion.  The frightful scarecrow, was just searching for insight.  And the evil witch, it turned out, could be easily defeated..

That is what we are going to do with this special Guide on marriage survival for struggling couples.  To give you an appreciation of the wide scope of problems that can confront you and your husband or wife, let’s first list all of those relationship issues that rise to the level as being a significant hurdle for you and your spouse to overcome.  What we are doing here is “seeking first to understand”….that is your pathway to solutions.

Now, what I want you to do is conduct an honest appraisal of your marriage.  I would like you to go through the list of key marriage problems that I summarize below and identify any of those that you feel exist in your relationship.  Then I want you to do a simple tally of the problems you checked off.  At the end of my article, I will provide you with a very simple way to evaluate the health of your marriage based on your final tally.

Bear in mind, this is not a validated, proven assessment tool.  But we are not talking rocket science here.  If you recognize that several of these problems described below exist in your marriage, then you have your work cut out for you.

But don’t be intimidated if that is the case.  Every marriage needs some work. And even if you just check off a few, remember, achieving a “fit” and fulfilling marriage is a continuous improvement process.   .

Let’s call it the Marriage Chaos List.

Ok, is that too scary sounding?

If so, then just call it the “What’s the Heck Wrong With our Marriage List”.

What I want you to do is to carefully review this list and identify those issues that apply to your situation.  Be honest, but try not to over analyze.  I think every marriage has ingredients from each of these problems.  Just check off those that you deem to be a clear and present obstacle in your relationship.   

  1. Trying to change your spouse – This is a case in which you come into the marriage knowing full well what your partner is all about including all of their idiosyncrasies and unattractive attributes; but you are determined to shape them into the man or woman of your dreams.  These efforts usually fall flat on there face causing resistance, resentment, and ultimately a lot of conflict.
  2. Lack of effective communications – This is a big one.  Communications is one of my 5 Synergistic Principles of a successful marriage. In the beginning, all the two of you wanted to do is talk and talk and talk.  It was magical and exciting and you just could not get enough of each other it seemed.  You would both spend long, seemingly endless hours talking on the phone or in person.  You probably thought, “wow, we are really connecting on so many levels”. But what happens over time is that the two lovers, who seldom could be pulled apart from each other, slowly settle into some familiar habits and routines.  And for many, this communication groove that they have fallen into seems a bit less exciting, maybe even boring. Now, due to the breakdowns in communications, conflicts and disagreements are occurring with greater frequency and disrupting your lives.     
  3. Money Issues –  One would think that when two people come together and share in the costs of living, that financial stress would be minimized.  But what actually happens is that the synergy surrounding the marriage can cause the couple to begin accumulating more material possessions.  You start off as newlyweds with hardly anything and after awhile you look around and realize that you have lots of stuff, some of it purchased on credit.  Maybe there is a new automobile or possibly you and your spouse have purchased a home. Perhaps you have children and I need not tell you how that can put additional stress on your finances.   As time goes by, this phenomenon of “material possession accumulation” begins to take its toll.  And when you factor in that both of you may have come into the marriage with a different set of ideas about managing finances, it is not difficult to see how all these things can collide and bring about some serious conflict.
  4. Lack of Sexual Intimacy – Most relationship experts agree that if the couple is experiencing problems with either the frequency of sexual relations and/or the level of satisfaction in your sex life, then the marriage is at risk.  Can we conclude that the marriage is at high risk or doomed just because husband and wife are not hooking up enough.  I say No, at least in most cases.  There are a lot of other important moving parts that make up a marriage, so let’s not just throw in the towel quite yet if hubby and wife are struggling in this department.  But this is one area of your relationship that needs to improve if either of you are not satisfied. Indeed, couples that experience a healthy and vibrant sex life are among the most successful when measuring marital bliss.  
  5. Emotional Affairs – It’s one thing when you discover that your spouse has cheated on you.  The very thought that they have slept with someone else is shocking, painful, and the feeling of betrayal is one of the rawest emotions a human can experience.  But what might even hurt more is to discover that your lover actually is not just chasing after sex, but has bonded with another individual on an emotional level.  Emotional affairs can also include, non-sexual affairs in which your spouse is romantically obsessed with another person at work or online.  Whichever the case, this is one of the most serious problems a marriage can face.
  6. Unwillingness to Forgive – The one thing we can always count on is that during the course of our marriages, both husband and wife will say or do something and things will get all screwed up.  Perhaps what happened was an accident or possibly the individual knew full well what they were doing.  Whatever happened, just know that we all make mistakes.  And one of the biggest mistakes we can make….the mother of all mistakes…is not to forgive the person we love who committed the mistake.  I realize, sometimes the nature and severity of the offense can make it very difficult to forgive.  And since we are talking somewhat in generalities, it is hard to analyze exactly what course of action is appropriate for every given offense.  But know, that at the end of whatever process you and your spouse end up going through to reconcile, true and heartfelt forgiveness has to close the curtain.  It is when we get petty and mean spirited, withholding forgiveness and constantly reminding the person of their mistake(s)…it is this type of behavior that suck the energy and spirit out of a marriage.  If forgiveness is not occurring in your marriage, then your relationship is dysfunctional.
  7. Lack of  Positivity/Appreciation – There is probably no better lightening rod for measuring a dysfunctional and unhappy marriage than evaluating whether it is plagued with negativity and a disregard for showing kindness and appreciation to your spouse.  If I had a magic wand and could grant every couple in the land one wish, I would declare that all married couples be given the fullest dose of behaving with kindness and appreciation.  That is how important I believe this type of behavior truly is in our lives.  Appreciation is a form of Kindness/Positivity which is the cornerstone of my 5 Synergistic Marriage model . And it’s not just me who thinks this way.  Social scientists have studied the most successful marriages that have lasted decades and it is acting with positivity and kindness that wins in the end.
  8. Lack of Quality Time Together – Since we are on the subject of the 5 Synergistic Principles for a successful marriage, why not touch on another.  When we are newly married or seriously dating, spending quality alone time seldom seems a problem.  We owe a big assist to all of those love chemicals rampaging through our brains.  Eventually, the buzz of romance begins to wear thin and unfortunately, the inertia of life makes prisoners of us all….taking away that special quality time we use to frequently spend with our spouse.  The reason this element of your relationship is so important is because without time “alone” with your husband (or wife),  you are unable to bond, communicate, have sex, discuss problems, and simply just relax with someone you feel safe and happy with.
  9. Division of Household Duties – It is surprising sometimes the things that can stir up fuss.  I think every couple will struggle to some degree in this department.  Depending on the personalities involved, resentments and frustrations can accumulate over time and eventually spill out.  From a logical perspective, it should not be very difficult for a couple to divide up the duties and just get it done.  But how often do men and women act exclusively in the world of logic! My experience is that more often than not, conflict over the household chores is more of a symptom of a larger problem.  What you have to discover, in order to arrive at a solution, is determine what is causing so much conflict over this topic.  Is somebody a clean freak or a slob?  Does your spouse think you are incredibly lazy because you did not do your household chores on a particular day?  That is probably not the whole story.  There is usually an underlying cause for the blow up over the household duties.
  10. Unwillingness to Have Kids – This issue can evolve into a serious marital problem if not resolved expeditiously.  What we have here are multiple issues colliding and this can create a very volatile cocktail of emotions.  Coming into the marriage, there may have been an understanding on the topic of having children.  If later it turns out that one of the marriage partners backs away from their commitment, things can turn sour fast.
  11. Differences in Parenting Strategies –  I once met a couple who love each other very much.  They connected on so many different levels and I have little doubt their marriage will be sound for many years to come. But one of the problems they discussed with me was their conflicts over how to discipline their children.  The husband was reared in a family where clear lines of authority had to be established and reinforced.  This meant rules needed to be enforced and there were no grey areas.  If someone violated a rule of the house or exhibited troubling behavior, there would be clear and immediate punishment.  This often was in the form of a whipping.  On the other hand, the wife grew up in a much less strict household and the use of positive reinforcement, patience, and timeouts was more the rule.  This difference in how to administer punishment to the kids was a constant sore spot, sometimes rising to fights over how to discipline the children.  Clearly, there was serious issues of anger and resentment from the wife.  This is what brought them to me as they sought out some coaching advice on how to deal with both problems (i.e. how to discipline their kids and how to deal with the the hole this was causing in their marriage).
  12. Conflict over the In-Laws – It’s funny, but when I mention to people how they get along with their “in-laws”, I very often get this big smile, followed by what sounds like a practiced answer.  When I probe further, the truth comes pouring out.  More often than not, at least one set of in-laws are described in such a way that I immediately think of all those movies in which the in-laws are horrible, perhaps even a little bit crazy.  I tend to look at things a little bit differently than most other relationship coaches. Ok, so what if you have some in-laws that are difficult to connect with?!  You are not married to them.  Indeed, the way I look at this whole issue is to put some “math” to the problem.  What does that mean?  Well, it’s like this.  You have two sets of in-laws, right?  So that is 4 people right there.  In most cases your in-laws will have children, right?  And there might be a grandfather or grandmother in the mix and even a favorite uncle or two.  So now we are dealing with maybe 8 or 10 people that make up the in-law family group.  So ask yourself, what are the odds that you will get along with, let’s say 10 people you met for the first time?  I would say the odds are very low.  So lower your expectations.  Don’t expect your in-laws will be your favorite people, but know that the odds are usually stacked in your favor because most in-laws will open up their hearts to you so as to please their daughter or son.
  13. Boredom – If you list this as one of the key problem areas of your marriage, then guess what, “so have millions of others”.  We all get bored at some time with those we love most.  For some, their degree of boredom can be a barrier to a fit and healthy marriage. When things get boring, be careful where you point the finger.  We are all guilty of contributing to the problem of boredom in relationships.  Yep, that is right; and we all need to up our game in making our relationships more interesting and engaging.  The main reason for relationships becoming dull is that boredom is like a cancer.  It attaches itself to all marriages and slowly whittles away.  Expect it, but don’t embrace it. When a client and I are talking and they start telling me how bored they are with their spouse, complaining that he (or she) offers little in the way of excitement; I always turn the question around and ask the individual to write down 10 things they have done to create excitement in the marriage.  You see, boredom is a product of two people and what they choose to do or not do.  A boring marriage can never be entirely blamed on just one person. It takes both people to address the problem.
  14. Neglecting Your Partner –  This is a big, big problem for relationships.  When I see “neglect” operating full force within a marriage, then I am seeing what I call the “Marriage Black Hole Effect”  Once neglect sets in, such as ignoring your spouse, becoming a workaholic, or succumbing to addictive behaviors, then the relationship can swiftly break apart.  Ignoring your wife’s (or husband’s) needs is a destructive pattern of behavior.  Think of a relationship as a black hole.  Imagine that you are caught up along the event horizon which is whirling around this giant black monstrosity.  The more often you are neglectful, the faster you swirl and the closer you come to taking the plunge.  And once you fall into the relationship black hole, you get stretched and torn apart.  This is what neglect looks like over time.  It utterly destroys marriages.
  15. Depriving Your Partner – Do you enjoy the highest levels of marital bliss?  Well, if so, it is very likely you and your honey are scoring high in this category. When couples are sensitive to their  partner’s needs, taking time from their own agenda to be attentive to their spouse, then mark that down as marriage job well done.  So what does relationship deprivation look like?  Imagine heavy doses of affection, caring and loving behavior….well it would be the opposite of these behaviors.  One of the 5 Principles of Highly Effective Couples that I covered in the huge guide I wrote for this website (i.e. “How To Save Your Troubled Marriage”) describes in great detail the principle, “Becoming the Best Version of Yourself”.  In order to achieve this objective, your spouse has to support and encourage you to realize your personal goal.  Without their support, you will not realize your personal goals and resentments will form.  If the marriage partner withholds their blessings and deprive you of your personal needs, both you and the marriage will suffer.  
  16. Attacking and Criticizing Your Partner – Negativity rains down on us from all sorts of places.  So when you are receiving wave after wave of criticism from your wife or husband, the feeling of being pushed down can weigh on you.  In successful marriages, the partners lift each other up. Playing the blame game will just slowly rip you away from each other.  Remember, a relationship is like a bank.  The more deposits of positivity you both can make to it, the greater the security and capital you build in your marriage account.  If a couple spends too much of their time carving up each other with nagging and nitpicking behavior,  it will negatively weigh on the marriage and empty the emotional bank account.  If you feel compelled to say something negative to your spouse, stop and think about what you wish to say.  Find a softer, more positive way of communicating.  Think about how you would feel if someone directed the same words to you.  This approach works for some, but unfortunately when I coach couples about some of their negative communication tendencies, one or both may not even realize that what they are saying could be perceived in a negative way.  It is as if they have blinders on regarding what qualifies as blaming or fussy remarks.  When I explore their behavior in more detail, the individual will sometimes hide behind the pretense of, “I was just being honest” or “I was just kidding” and the ever so popular, “Sorry, but I was just in a bad mood”.  Your relationship bank account only keeps track of the positive deposits and negative withdrawals.  It does not care about feeble excuses.  But it will reward the couple with higher interest if the balance of their emotional bank account grows.
  17. Personal Annoying Habits – We all have them, right?  We all can say and do things that can be annoying and upset the positive vibes.  What causes certain personal habits to bother people can be complicated.  Your challenge as a couple is to discuss those things that your significant other finds bothersome and learn to curtail it.  Now, how difficult is that?  Well, it seems it is pretty darn hard for many because this issue comes up a lot.  It seems that we all have personal habits that can nearly drive our mate crazy. But often we wait for our spouse to bring it up and by then it’s too late.  The trick is to initiate the conversation yourself.  Ask your husband or wife, what things you do that causes them to feel annoyed.  This is one of those big grown up conversations and quite frankly, I really do understand why it is hard to carry out.  Seldom do we invite our spouse to tell us something that will probably hurt our feelings a bit.  But the alternative is to ignore discussing such issues and hope these annoying habits will just go away.  That course of action will assuredly result in some kind of blow up.  Annoying habits rarely just vanish.  Have you ever heard the sound of chalk screeching on a blackboard?  Do your remember how it made you cringe and want to just run away from the sound?  This is how your spouse probably feels about some of the things you do.  Most likely, you are not even aware of what you are doing. It is better to just get things out in the open..  Annoying habits  have a way of just being mostly ignored, meanwhile our hidden intolerance for them accumulates and finally something sets it off and everything explodes. If you wish to avoid the relationship big bang, then be proactive and be first.  Ask your partner to be honest and tell you what you do that annoys them.  Then flip it around and you tell your partner what you find annoying. But stick with the “high hard ones” which means don’t bring up petty stuff.  If handled this way, you are making deposits into your marital bank account that will pay off in the long run.
  18. Controlling Your Partner – This problem in marriages can have devastating results. I think to some degree we all seek to control things around us. It seems everywhere we turn, we are faced with uncertainty.  This can create anxiousness and insecurity.  So naturally, we develop these coping strategies to attempt to govern our environment and influence the future.  Unfortunately, trying to exert control of your potential destinies, large and small, is a slippery slope.  I am reminded of the story of the little boy who attempted to stop a dyke from leaking by placing his finger in a hole to stop the leak.  But imagine if another leak sprung, so another finger was used; then another leak and another, and another.  Controlling behaviors operate in the same fashion.  Somebody is trying to stop things from happening or influence things in a certain way, but it is utterly impossible to completely succeed. Our personalities in how we cope with the uncertainties of life vary.  Have you ever met those individuals who are just really, “chill”.  Not much bothers them and they tend not to try to overly exert their preferences on others.  Then we have others who feel like they have to be in charge of everything.  When they are not, they feel somewhat helpless and vulnerable.   Show me someone who is very controlling and I will show you a person that has internal fears outside the norm, that is anxious far too much, and possibly a person with some unusual insecurities or obsessive tendencies.  I think we all fit that picture to some degree, but a problem arises when certain people exhibit a high degree of these behaviors. Hence, the control freak is born.  And when this type of person starts acting out their controlling behavior in a marriage, it can be either suffocating and/or explosive, depending on how the significant other responds to the controlling behavior.  I consider this one of the more serious of marital problems because it touches on deep personal and psychological factors.  So it is not possible to wave a hand and make this person’s controlling behavior easily dissappear.  It takes longer to work through this type of problem and it starts with discussing and understanding the nature of what causes a person to behave in this manner.  Then you move toward strategies to help this person manage and arrest this behavior.
  19. Putting Yourself First – There is a leak in your marriage that needs to be fixed.  So you call the relationship plumber.  When this individual arrives they take a look at what is causing some of the misfortunes of the relationship, then sits you both down and with a stern gaze tell each of you that the relationship has sprung a leak in a very vital area.  He tells you that there is a hole in the marriage and it is growing faster and the leak is in your emotional relationship bank account.  He goes on to tell you that if this leak is not sealed, some of the love and trust you have built up will escape.  Selfishness is the cause of the leak, he tell you both, and if you don’t stop acting in a self centered way, the entire plumbing will have to be replaced.   Putting yourself first, frequently ahead of your spouse, is the type of selfish behavior that acts as a corrosive agent.  I am a big fan of each individual within a relationship, seeking to realize their potential.  But if it is at the expense of the spouse, that type of selfishness with grate on even the strongest of marriages.
  20. Not Listening to Your Spouse – Do you ever get the feeling that your better half is just going through the motions of pretending they are listening to you?  Or worse, do they just outright ignore you when you speak or fail to show much if any empathy?  Look, we all have concerns that are weighing on us and having a spouse you trust that is willing to simply listen and offer support is a huge communication boost.  If this is missing in your relationship, then those feelings of feeling “close” and “connected” to your spouse will suffer.  Demonstrating love is many things, of which one is simply being willing to sit quietly and lend an ear.  The magic of this type of communication wisdom is that you don’t even need to come up with a solution.  Often, the person pouring out their heart, already knows what they should or should not do.  What they are looking for is a means to offload some of the frustration or disappointment they may be feeling.  By just quietly shouldering their pain by actively listening can be a powerful way of demonstrating your love and support.  I often have clients who tell me that their spouse should already know that “I love them” and support whatever they are going through.  My response to them is that loving support demonstrated through active listening is like a “commodity”.  You need to keep, as often as needed, refueling their tank.  It is not that your spouse doesn’t appreciate that you take the time to listen…they do and trust me…you are slowly making deposits in the love bank.  But we humans are vulnerable creatures and often need reassurance. Show me a good listener and I will show you an individual with a foundation for a very successful marriage.

How Does Your Marriage Fare?

Nobody’s marriage is without problems.  I have listed 20 of the top problems confronting couples.  Each one of these problems, depending on the severity, can cause weakness in the relationship.  There are a few of these problems that are more troubling if they persist.  

Is this a complete list of all issues that can bring down a marriage?  

I think you know the answer.  It is impossible to account for every unique problem that creates dysfunction.  I left a few off such as a spouse’s friends and health issues as there is considerable information available about these problems and while they occur, they are not among the leading causes of a marital split, although both can lead to issues.

So it’s now time to rate yourself.  Go back through the list I provided and honestly ask yourself if you and your spouse are experiencing the “problem” at such a level that it is very noticeable and has created conflict, damage, or injury to your marriage.

Remember, we are talking about finding a distinction between what falls within a normal range of behavior and occurrence versus a frequent, repetitious behavior that hinders the bond between the two of you.  So with that assessment scale in mind, simply tally how many of these problems you feel exist within your relationship.

Use the Assessment Guide below to help you with evaluating the condition of your marriage.  I do have one caveat I wish to add.  If your relationship is having serious issues with at least two or more of Numbers 2, 5, 7, 8, 14 or 16, then all “bets are off” regarding the usefulness of the Assessment Guide.  Each of these problems I just referenced are what I consider essential to resolve.  If you fall prey to any of those specific problems, it does not necessarily mean your marriage is on the rocks. But you and your spouse need to get very serious at addressing the problem(s).   

Marriage Assessment Guide

3 or Less –  Congratulations, it appears you have a strong marriage. Like most couples you have some room for improvement, but the two of you are bonding well and doing a lot of things correctly to strengthen the union.

4 to 5 – Depending on the specific problem factors you checked off, your marriage is probably on a reasonably solid foundation.  You have some work to do and you have taken the first step by becoming more aware of the opportunity areas.

6 to 7 – Things are probably somewhat topsy turvy in this couple’s marital relations.  It’s probably time to seek self help or professional assistance to right the ship. You may be on the verge of crisis or have already been close to meltdown a few times.

8 or more –  This relationship is most likely the picture of dysfunction.  While it is not time to give up, it is clear from the number of key problems being experienced, immediate and professional help is most likely needed.  Now there is another possibility.  I call it “rater error”.  Now don’t get mad at me, but it is possible that your standard in judging your marriage against these problem categories is high.  So it may be that your relationship is not quite as bad as you think. As I have said before, one has to be careful in drawing definitive conclusions from assessment tools.

The Synergistic Marriage Model

It can be a confusing time when you and your spouse are struggling with your marriage.  Being realistic about your problems and acknowledging that you both have to work hard to bring about change in a dysfunctional relationship are your first two critical steps.

You would be surprised at the number of people I have coached that cannot even describe the extent of their problems.  Like a tree in a forest, they are unable to see the big picture of the key causes of their problems, never mind working on resolving them.

You sometimes need to step away so you have the benefit of perspective.  Even an exercise such as the one in this article, can be a huge and important step in identifying the problems.  My experience is that many couples muddle their way through their marriage, failing to take stock of the health of the Marriage Bank.  It can be eye opening when you complete an assessment of the health of your relationship. And once the findings are known, just having that information can be a springboard to taking action to correct the problems.

But where does one start? In many cases, the typical marriage will usually suffer from multiple problems.  That is why I developed what I call the 5 Synergistic Marriage Principles.  They consist of:

  1. Spending Time Together Alone
  2. Making Positivity & Kindness Your Marriage Brand
  3. Achieving Communications that are both Balanced and Transformative
  4. Seeking Your Individual Potential
  5. Frequently Revitalize Your Relationship

It is not practical to try and resolve a web of marital problems without having some kind of template that addresses the most meaningful things that impact a relationship.  If you are looking to gain the most benefit in the most efficient way, then put your focus on excelling with each of the 5 Synergistic Principles.  To learn a great deal more about the merits of this approach, you can read all about it at:

 http://mymarriagehelper.com/how-to-save-your-troubled-marriage/

In closing, this brings me to my last point.  I would like to hear from you.  Below, you will see there is a comment section that allows you to offer up your “story”. Let me know what kind of problems you may be encountering in your relationship.  Ask me any question.  I look forward to potentially helping you with whatever issues you and your spouse may be struggling with.

Marital Advice on Strengthening Your Marriage

There is no question about it!  Strengthening your marriage is not something you can do all by yourself.  It is often advantageous to get marital advice to help you with some of the relationship problems you and your spouse may be experiencing.

Why is it so difficult for husbands or wives to reach out to get help with their marriage?

I think the reason is two fold.  Let me first introduce you to the concept of Relationship Inertia.  Strange word, isn’t it? Just try repeating the word, “inertia”, 20 times and after awhile it sounds like you are speaking gibberish!  But I want you to remember this concept.

So why do married couples, seeking to strengthen their marriage, have difficulty reaching out for help?  Well part of it is because they have not read this wonderful post!!  Just kidding.  But do take a look at it because I walk you through all the things that make up a successful marriage.

How To Save Your Troubled Marriage

It’s partly because the force of inertia within a marriage is like an invisible hand that just keeps things moving in the same direction….like a train on a track.

So what happens when the marriage is on the wrong track?

broken relationship

This force which governs physical laws of the universe and in this case our marital outcomes, just seems to prevent us from stopping what we have grown accustomed to doing. So the couple just keeps living life, forming unhealthy patterns,  repeating many of the same mistakes over and over. After a while, the weight of their problems finally starts to wear on the marriage.  But It may take a long time before the married couple takes any action.  By then, it may be too late. The marriage could be in shambles.

When we wait that long, our actions are best characterized as reactive as opposed to proactive.  In my experience, when a married couple is reacting to problems, it makes the task of strengthening the marriage all the more difficult. I think of this problem as a form of Marital Behavioral Inertia.  We develop these unhealthy routines in how we interact with our spouses and as time goes by, they become rooted within the marriage itself. And here is the real scoop, often times we are not even aware we are in a marriage trouble zone.  So we don’t even seek help or advice.

Denial Is Not a River in Egypt!

The second key reason why husbands and wives do not snap to attention and try to get help is one or both of them are in denial.   It’s hard to solve a problem, unless the marital parties recognize that they have a problem.

I can’t tell you how many times I have gotten comments from my clients telling me that their spouse just “doesn’t get it” or are “blind” to the issues in the marriage.  Sometimes, the husband or wife just does not want to accept their role in helping make the marriage right.  They may take the position that they are doing nothing wrong, so why change.

If you think you are among the many couples out there that are struggling to keep their marriage strong, then take a moment and read my survival guide for struggling spouses.

Marriage Survival For Struggling Couples

There are many reasons why married couples can’t agree to seek marital advice in order to strengthen the relationship.   These reasons include:

  • Fear of angering their marriage partner
  • Embarrassment of admitting their marriage is suffering
  • Lack of financial resources to seek marital counseling
  • Inability to act due to depression or a total sense of failure

So I am not surprised that dysfunctional marriages can largely exist for long periods of time before marital advice is sought.  But I have some good news! Seldom to couples completely give up. After all, couples invest a good amount of time in the relationship.  They will continue to forge ahead with the hope things will get better.  The problem though is they just often don’t know what to do….where to turn.

Is Your Relationship Full To the Brim?

Most of us are conditioned to see the world as a glass half full.  When we enter into a lifelong commitment with our spouse, we don’t want to throw in the towel as we enter into troubled times.

What we need is a push.  Hopefully, that is why you came to my website.  You are looking for ways in which your marriage can escape the choppy waters. You are looking for ways to make your marriage much better, right?

My advice is if you expect something transformative to happen in your marriage, then you should expect that it will require a significant departure from the routines you and your husband or wife have grown accustom to.

So how in the heck are you going to accomplish all of that?

Strengthening Your Marriage When in Troubled Water

There is this terrific song by Simon and Garfunkel called, “Bridge Over Troubled Water”.  When I hear it, I think of troubled marriages.  The song, recorded in 1970 is both beautiful and incredibly instructive to those willing to listen and learn.

In almost every situation in which I dispense of marital advice, I am dealing with individuals who feel partially broken.  They feel down and out.  They often feel frustrated and helpless.  Their sense of self has diminished.  Tears come easily. What they need is a savior who can come to their aid.  Someone or something to ease their pain and help them feel better.

Just as in the lyrics of the song, “when you are weary, feeling small, when tears are in your eyes, I will dry them all”; a savior comes to offer support.  In the song, the savior is represented by a bridge:

“Like a bridge over troubled water, I will lay me down”

In real life, your bridge to a better tomorrow is more likely to be a competent marriage coach (counselor) or a Marriage Improvement System represented by a series of e-books, videos, and/or audio tapes.

Usually, somebody in the marriage has to make that first bold step. You have heard of the definition of insanity, right?

This rather brilliant, somewhat funny looking guy (Albert Einstein) supposedly described insanity as  “doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results”.  

Now for those literature purists out there, let it be said that old Albert really may not be responsible for this quote as the proof of authorship is still contested.  

By my thinking, whoever said it, had it right in a BIG way!

When I think about my clients, so many of them churned through months and years of unhappy marriages without taking the proactive step to turn it around. If you are caught up in vortex of bad marriage patterns, it is time to BUST out of it!

Bad Marriage Busters

Inertia is a bi@ch, so say some!

It just keeps dragging you along, if you let it.  But guess what?  This post is all about learning to be a “Bad Marriage Buster”.  If you are in a bad marriage, then something has to happen to stop the runaway inertia of negative patterns.

Are you ready to sign on!  I sure hope so.  Because it’s going to take some courage on your part.  You will need to break the old bad patterns that have taken control of your marriage.

Let’s first talk about some of these bad patterns which can rob you and your spouse of happiness.  It’s crazy, isn’t it.  We know that some of the things we do in our relationship with our husband or wife are not healthy, but we do them anyway.

Inertia can suck!

But guess what!  We are going to put a face on it.  Flush it out, so we can recognize what we are dealing with.

The Bad Patterns In our Married Lives

As has been demonstrated through the sheer numbers of marriages that fail, unhealthy relationship patterns can take hold and chip away over time.  These patterns are the kind of routines you and your lover want to avoid.  Sometimes these behaviors take root because one or both of the married partners bring them into the marriage.

Now, why would we want to do that?

Well, sometimes we are not even aware. And sometimes we rush into relationships without knowing what we may be getting ourselves into.  

Were both you and your spouse really ready for marriage when you tied the knot?

I think the honest answer to that question for most everyone is Yes, No, and Maybe. So let me underscore the obvious….be sure you know your significant other as well as you possible can before you take the plunge. .  Take time to learn about all of their strengths and weaknesses.

Many marriage experts believe that detailed knowledge and insights about your boyfriend or girlfriend prior to the marriage can be very helpful in assessing the future success of a marriage.

Now, I realize that many of my readers are past that point.  Your are probably already married and are looking to understand how to deal with negative patterns and routines.

You are looking for reversal strategies.  You are trying to change or modify the negative patterns and replace them with healthier routines.

I will delve into some of the things you should be trying to accomplish.  But I am a firm believer that it is best to take a hard look at your marriage, so you can recognize exactly what you are dealing with. Now, there are a lot of bad patterns out there that can adversely impact a relationship.  I am going to focus primarily on the high hard ones.

Three of the common bad patterns couples experience include:

1. Frequent Fighting:  

I am still amazed at how often couples will wage war with each other when deep inside they realize that fighting with the spouse is a zero sum game.

In case you are wondering what a “zero sum game” means, let me expound.

When you fight, you might score a few points during a skirmish here or a battle there.  But you are doing it at the expense of the “love of your life”.  If you are keeping an internal scoreboard…and 90% of the people who fight usually do …you have already lost.

Indeed, a point could be made that when you fight with your husband or wife, you both lose.  You are both making “withdrawals” to your “marriage trust account”.

So if you insist on keeping score, just know that when you fight, not only do you enter into a potentially damaging pattern, but you are both losing points…making withdrawals.

2.  Controlling Behavior:  

I see this behavior a lot in marriages and while it is not bound by gender, I honestly see it more often with males, than females.  Now, let it be understood, we all exhibit controlling behaviors.  It is our way of trying to manage our lives within the constraints of chaos.

Yep….that is what I said.  Everyday, we enter into a battle with chaos.

I think “chaos” is like a cousin to “inertia”.  Both of these principles have a runaway aspect to them.  You have heard of Murphy’s Law, right?  Well, that is the offspring of Chaos!

I think, oftentimes, in order to deal with our fragile grip on the world around us, we can turn to obsessive, controlling behaviors.

So without a doubt, there is a psychological component with your husband’s or wife’s desire to be overly controlling.  The trick is recognizing when controlling behavior is… you guessed it…”out of control”.

If you see this in yourself, own up to it and get help with managing it.

If you frequently observe this behavior in your husband or wife, talk to them about it and discuss how the behavior is adversely affecting the marriage.

Now, I don’t wish to sound the alarms of doom and gloom.  Life is not nearly as crazy as it sometimes seems to be.  But we would be foolish to ignore the fact that many things around us are outside of our control.

But guess what?  There is one thing couples have a great deal of control over.  And that is the way they treat each other and the “attitude” they exhibit each and every day.

3. Very Little Sex:  

Ok, today I will not be talking a lot about the importance of sexual intimacy in your relationship.  That is such an important topic, that I will save it for its own post.

But clearly, things can unfold in marriages in such a way that sexual intimacy between the couples goes missing.

Or perhaps the sex in the marriage is still present, but one or both partners are dissatisfied with the quality and/or frequency.  And this can be very problematic because a lack of sexual intimacy can lead to other negative patterns such as resentment or it can springboard to another serious negative relationship pattern such as “withdrawal of affection” or “seeking sex outside of the marriage.

This is why one needs to clearly identify and understand the bad patterns that wedge their way into marriages.  Some of these negative trends can lead to a dangerous      domino effect in which one bad pattern leads to another and another.  Left unchecked, the entire marriage can be at risk.

The Positive Patterns for Strengthening Your Marriage

So enough of the negative patterns!  Let’s turn our attention to positive patterns both you and your spouse can practice in order to strengthen your marriage.

The very first post I wrote for this website dealt with the 5 essential Principles you and your husband or wife need to practice in order to have a successful marriage.

How To Save Your Troubled Marriage

I presented this information in the form of a training module.  If you have not done so already, go read it because it will help you and your spouse get your heads screwed on right.  It is an excellent template on how to deal with the business of improving your marriage.

If I had to offer the “Mother of all Marital Advice” it would revolve around these 5 synergistic principles.  And that is the cool thing about it.  Each of these principles work together to help make your relationship strong.

I am sure you have heard of the quote, “the sum of the parts are greater than the whole”.  

If you think of your marriage as an “engine” with a lot of moving parts, you will realize that some parts are more important than others.

You take away one important part, the engine will either not start or stall.  Be with all of the key parts in place, something magical happens…you get combustion…and then suddenly the vehicle starts moving, capable of doing all kinds of things.

You see, marriages operate in a similar way.  There are lots and lots of parts that make up a marriage.  There are dozens upon dozens of components.  And when you start thinking about them all, it’s not unusual to go glassy eyed.

A common question I get from a reader or client is “Chris, where do I start?  My marriage is in such a mess and I have read so many things about what to do. I am utterly confused.”

Believe me, I understand.  I too have read hundreds of relationship self help books purporting to be amazing guides on how to reconstruct your marriage.

Most of the time the information is either far too generic, without any real substance or actionable plans or they go in the other direction where you are provided with a 68 point Relationship Fitness Plan that you are assured (beyond a shadow of a doubt!) will make your marriage stronger.

So I know it can get confusing.  I will tell you upfront that getting your marriage on the right track is not going to be an easy undertaking.  But it indeed is achievable and it helps with focusing on the essential elements that make up every successful marriage.

So you ask, “what are these 5 principles, Chris?”.  

At least, that is what I hope your are thinking!  The five critical principles you need to adopt to embrace a happy and fulfilling marriage are:

  1. Treat Each Other With Kindness & Positivity
  2. Embrace Balanced and Transformative Communication
  3. Seek to Become the Best Version of Yourself
  4. Spend Time Together Alone With Your Spouse
  5. Periodically Revitalize Your Relationship

Instead of going into all kinds of details about these principles, I would like you to click on the link I provided above and come up to speed on your own.

In the future, I will be writing a comprehensive series of e-books on these 5 essential marriage principles.  That is how important I believe them to be.

Now, let’s turn our attention to how to break the unhealthy marriage patterns than can pull both of you down.  

The Keys to Breaking the Unhealthy Relationship Patterns

If you are like me, you enjoy breaking things.

I think this force of inertia which propels the bad marriage patterns, seemingly forever, is the second worst force acting upon a marriage.

So you ask, “By golly Chris, what then is the worst force?   

Well of course, it has to be the force that we ourselves exert within the relationship in the form of negative patterns.

So there you have it.  There are two forces that work together and run amok.  One force that seems to be outside of the relationship, a force we call inertia.  It is always there..always pulling us along..irrespective of whether we wish to go in the direction it is taking us.

Then there is another force.  A force that acts within the relationship.  Indeed, husband and wife have given birth to this force through their actions or lack of actions.

And often times, when this force takes the form of negative routines…bad behaviors…it can easily morph itself into destructive patterns.

Sometimes these destructive marital patterns can come upon very quickly, but more often, such patterns unfold over time, increasing in their scope and worsening in the degree they pull your marriage apart.

Don’t you just hate these bad patterns that can overwhelm the good that is in your mariage?

Let’s do something about them.  Let’s go BREAKING BAD!

Breaking the Bad Marital Patterns

The Emmy winning cable show, “Breaking Bad”, illustrates well how a once well connected couple can over time develop patterns that result in a highly dysfunctional marriage.

Of course, it sure does not help when the husband is obsessed with cooking crystal meth!

But that was not the only problem in this marriage, was it?  When you add up all the transgressions that took place between this couple, it covered the gambit from deceit, addiction, betrayal, spousal violence, financial deception, and depression.

No doubt, the main character, Walter White, was the catalyst of most of these marital issues. And he was in so deep….addicted to his obsession with his newly found occupation (cooking meth)…that I seriously doubt if the typical marital advice could have done much to strengthen the marriage.

What was needed to shake up that marriage and bring it back to some form of normalcy was a transformative event.

The wife in this case used a form of No Contact.  She insisted the husband move out and treated him like he did not exist.  Eventually, the shock and realization that his wife and son’s life would continue without him triggered a “reckoning with the truth”.

Sometimes it takes something extraordinary to break the serious negative patterns that build up in a couple’s relationship.

Sometime’s it’s just one person (the husband or wife) that needs to have a “reckoning with the truth”.

Scientific studies show that to break the negative patterns that can interfere with a marriage, one needs to replace the negative patterns with new healthier patterns and stick with them for approximately 60 days for them to become habit.

Remember, we are creatures of habit.  So it is paramount we adopt positive routines…habits…patterns….whatever you wish to call them.

It is entirely possible that good routines can replace the bad routines even sooner than the 60 days I quoted above.  The study shows some people are able to form and stick to these new, healthy marital patterns even sooner.  It varies from individual to individual.

Marital Lessons from Groundhog Day

Another lesson of breaking old, negative patterns comes from the popular movie, “Groundhog Day”.  I think you know it!

Bill Murray, who played a weatherman, kept waking up every morning to the SAME day. The movie provided a reflection upon who we really are and in the beginning of the movie, the character played by Bill Murray, was self centred, deceitful, selfish, and unkind.

As the movie played out, with the character waking up and facing the same people and same situation, we see the character experiment with almost every form of behavior in order to draw closer to a certain specific woman.

Working from his core belief system which revolved around deceit and selfishness, the character failed each and every time he tried woo this particular woman.

Caught up in a sort of time loop, in which the same day was repeated thousands of times, his efforts seemed futile.

Finally, what allowed him to break away from his unsuccessful patterns was the realization that when you seek to connect with another human being, it must be from a position of SELFLESSNESS and KINDNESS.  

Only when the character exhibited these behaviors and they became his natural patterns, did he meet with success.

So readers, please go back to my discussion above about the 5 synergistic principles of a successful marriage.  These are the negative pattern busters!

What you want to do is replace the old, bad patterns, with the good, newer patterns.

And one more BIG TIP!

Exhibiting genuine “KINDNESS & POSITIVITY” in your marriage is the greatest Principle of them all.

So How Does One Get Started With Turning a Marriage Around?

1. Please Stop Blaming Yourself

 

At least half of my clients feel upset and responsible that they have done something wrong to cause the marriage to get off track.  Well guess what….we all do something wrong at times.

We also do things that are helpful to the marriage. So, let’s keep things in balance!

The past is behind us and the future is ahead of us….and we only have the here, NOW.   So live in the present.  Learn from the past, but quit assigning blame to yourself or to others.  It is all about shaping the NOW, so you and your spouse can have a better tomorrow.

If you find yourself caught up in self blaming thoughts, I want you to remember something important.  Thinking that way is a negative pattern in itself.  We want to end the bad patterns, not add to them.

Negative thinking only reinforces the relationship blues and takes away from hope.  Head for the hope.  Hope is about shaping your future.

You subconscious mind is a powerful thing.  All kinds of negativity can flow from it and bury you deep into the muck.

The way to trump the subconscious mind is to embrace positive thinking.  Start with reading all of my articles because they show you a way to a more positive outcome.

Take up yoga or exercise to clear up the internal stress and anxiety that naturally affects us all.

  1.  Learn From Your Past and  Forgive Yourself

Whatever you think you did to contribute to your marital woes, forgive yourself.  You must forgive yourself because living in your mind’s past, filled with negative thoughts, is a pattern you do not want to take with you.

The future is your playground.  It is full of potential where you and your spouse can weave new patterns that will enable your relationship to shine.

  1.  Recognize Where Negative Marital Patterns Come From

Our bad Patterns in marriage come from many places.

They come from laziness and indifference.   Some people are just not motivated to change and as a result, keep playing a losing hand.

If your spouse falls into that category, remind them of the jackpot they are playing for (i.e. healthy and fulfilled marriage) and show them what they can lose (i.e. a wonderful spouse).

Our negative patterns often arrive from our past experiences and can hitch a ride right into our marriage.

Sometimes, a husband or wife are not even aware that they embrace patterns that are detrimental to their marriage.

Maybe the individual got away for a while with acting selfish or being mean spirited.  Individuals who are this way simply need a tough love wake up call.

Sometimes, our negative patterns emerge from our ignorance about how to act in a marriage. Every marriage goes through a period of trial and error.  If the couple is willing and eager to improve….you are in great shape.  Get some education and start applying the essential principles.

Undesirable patterns can also just slowly creep into a marriage.  Humans tend to default to their own agenda and needs. This is why it’s good to do a status check in order to see where you both are in the marriage in terms of your levels of satisfaction.

Often times, one or the other marital partner has some concerns, but they go unmentioned.  There needs to be a process in place for the couple to assess their own marriage.  A marriage is constantly changing, ebbing and flowing.  Pay attention to the warning signs.

  1. Decipher the Warning Clues Like Detective Columbo

Way back in the day, there use to be a popular detective show called, Columbo.  It is now in rerun and is still worth a watch because it can be instructive about a great many things.

One thing I found interesting about this show was the bumbling detective whose name was Columbo.  He was actually quite brilliant.  He was an expert in deciphering clues.

Indeed, he never lost a case.

So how did he accomplish that brilliant track record?  Was it the amazing forensic talents he possessed?  No.

Was it his ability to intimidate the suspects?  No, it was not that either.

Columbo was such a genius because he was a keen observer of human behavior. He would go out of his way to make the people around him relaxed and at ease. He would ask non threatening questions to learn more.  And he would listen. Then he would ask more questions in a nice manner.  He would even use humor to relax this suspects .

Then guess what?  Yep…you are right!  He would listen more.  Columbo was a natural.  He was non threatening and friendly, often empathizing with the people surrounding the case.

Eventually, Columbo would have asked so many questions and had gotten so much information, he would be able to draw a picture in his mind about the case and what had really happened.

A couple needs to be like Columbo.  They need to ask each questions about how they feel things are going.  And they need to listen…really listen to each other.  They need to have good humor.

Even if one of the marital partners are unsure as to the veracity of the concern, they need to ask more questions in a supportive manner to better understand the problem.

But the bottom line is that there must be an open, non threatening environment in which both individuals of the marriage can learn what they can do more of or less of.  And they should be able to talk about it without assigning blame.

Yes indeed…every good marriage has a little “Columbo” in it.

  1.  Take Stock of Your Situation

So you have picked up on some signs and are now taking stock of your current marital situation.  But let me give you a little more advice.  This process should feel completely natural.  

It should not be  complicated.  Nor should it feel like a formal process.  Don’t go whipping out some worksheets and checking them off.  That is usually a huge turn off.

Just remember, figuring out what is truly the opportunity areas should feel informal and occur naturally.  Doing it in little steps.  Don’t make it into a big deal or someone could get spooked.

It could be pillow talk one evening.  Don’t do it when you are making love. That’s a big turn off for most men.

Sometimes a little wine can set the mood.  Every couple is unique in how they communicate, so you will have a good idea of what the most receptive times might be to explore things.

Finally, to get the ball rolling, start off with asking your spouse, what “You” could do differently to make the marriage better.

  1. Agree on What You Both Want to Achieve

The process of discovering these negative patterns, whether they be big bad patterns or just smaller, less desirable patterns…the process should be a natural part of how the wife and husband communicates.

Once you identify the opportunity area, then agree on a solution and move forward with it.

If you feel your marriage is disabled or crippled due to the number of serious bad relationship patterns that exist, then you and your spouse will most likely benefit from implementing a marriage fitness system.

Something such as the 5 synergistic principles I described earlier.  If you want to start with something powerful, and you both buy-in, then start with the Principle of Kindness.  Make that your core action.  Commit to integrating much more Kindness within your relationship.  It is highly synergistic and researchers show this attribute of marriage is the leading predictor of success.

  1. Imagine

One of the greatest song ever written is called, “Imagine”, by former Beatle, John Lennon.

What makes this song so powerful and instructive is its simple, core message.  The beauty of the music also lies in the composition of the melody which draw us into a positive experience of actually imagining such a world that John Lennon was telling us about.

My favorite line and there are many, is:

Imagine all the people living for today…”

I think what we can take from this little pearl of wisdom is that a big part of breaking the bad old marriage patterns is learning to live in the moment.

Jonathan Goethe, a 19 century deep thinker and lyrical poet, told us:

The present moment is a powerful goddess”

If the couple can put their past failures behind them and get in tune with the present….focusing their efforts in the present moments to create new and better patterns, just imagine what these two people are capable of doing.

Remember, inertia which preys on marriages lives in the past and whipsaws you into the future. Inertia is often not your friend.  It will resist your efforts to stop it.

If you get caught into it slip stream of its momentum, it might just take you and your spouse to a place you do not desire to go.  Break the Pied Pier spell of Marriage Inertia by living in the present moment and asking each other what you want to see changed.

  1. Aspire to be the Best Version of Yourself

When couples come to me for advice, they are often surprised that I will talk to them about becoming the best version of themselves.

I usually will get these bugged eyed stares or long silences, followed by, “Chris, don’t you want us to work on things together?”

Of course I do, I tell them.

But part of making the marriage work for both couples is to acknowledge that each person should strive to become the best version of themselves.

By doing so, their confidence will grow and their needs of individual fulfillment and freedom will be met.  Indeed, each spouse should support the other’s desire to fulfill their personal goals.

Marriages are interesting, aren’t they?

On one hand, they are partnerships between two different people, neither perfectly compatible with the other.  This is where we see the push and pull of forces that act positively and negatively on the relationship.

But marriages are also entities (for lack of a better word) in which two people strive to be ONE.

I think both pursuits are well worth your best efforts!  And you can accomplish this goal and still seek to improve your individual “self”.

  1.  Revitalize Your Relationship

One of the best pattern breakers in a marriage is one of the 5 Synergistic Principles, namely, “Revitalize Your Relationship”.

Look, no matter how wonderful you and your spouse are, your relationship can get caught up in routines and habits that may not be destructive, but are dull. This is going to happen.  And happen again.

So knowing this ahead of time, you will want to do some things to rekindle the energy. I discuss several ideas in my 30,000 word post for which I provided link above.

Do yourself and your husband or wife a favor and go check it out!

23 Hot Relationship Issues Facing Married Couples Today

As you explore my website, I want to give you a heads up as to some of the things I will be talking about in future posts.  I like to call them “Relationship Guides”, because I strive to deliver the highest quality and detailed content to my readers.  So think of this particular relationship article as a preview of what is coming soon.  Just like at the movies, I want to give you a peek at some of the hot relationship issues that demand greater focus, but particularly I want you to know that there are some creative solutions available to you.

love account

I strongly believe in “passing it forward”.  All of the things I have learned in my business of coaching individuals on their relationships has been both rewarding and enlightening.  My own set of personal experiences and the academic research and studies I have performed have informed my own views.  So what I want to offer to my readers is a special kind of tonic for the very life of their marriage.

The renowned author, Stephen Covey, pointed out that it is most wise to “first seek to understand”.  So I commend you for your efforts to better understand what is causing your marriage to suffer.  All of your inquiries and research has led you here to MyMarriageHelper.com.  I aim not to disappoint you.  You have suffered enough, but I think the fact that you are now “here” indicates you have the motivation and dedication to find solutions.  And trust, that is a huge success factor.

Hot Relationship Issues Facing Couples

My other websites give you an idea of my philosophy.  If you give generously to others, they in turn will return the good deed.  As you peruse my website, I encourage you to read and learn and then I want you to share your own experiences.  At the end of each lengthy article (or “guide) that I write, you will always have an opportunity to offer your two cents.  If you are struggling with a marital problem, I want to hear about it.  If you have some specific ideas on things that you did that “worked”  or “did not work” for your particular situation, I want to hear about it!

There is a community of readers who visit all of my websites and to the extent you have questions to ask or relationship wisdom to share, we want to hear from you.  The minds of many almost always outweigh the mind of “one”.

I will always strive to answer your comments and you should know that your own marital experiences or advice will almost always prove to be very useful to the larger audience.  I have seen this happen frequently and it can be powerful.  My readers will visit my websites and bring with them their own unique story.  Sometimes they will painfully share that story and shed a few tears, but once it is out they feel better. And I want to hear these stories because we often find ourselves in the same predicament.  Sometimes just sharing your story…..your particular marital or relationship challenge…can be therapeutic.  And the benefit of doing this is not just helpful to yourself, but when others visit my websites and read the other stories from visitors, often times similar to their own, they are relieved to know they are not alone.

I am just a huge believer in the telling of stories.  It very much part of our human history. From the moment we existed as a tribe…even before reading and writing, humans shared their stories and passed it on from one generation to another.  Well, here we are today, and the power and insights gained from relating and reliving our “stories” is still very much of the social fabric (e.g. social media).  Just the process of telling one’s story or listening to another’s, can be self healing, motivational, and instructive.

You can do this anonymously in the comment section below.  This has been my relationship advice model since day one.  Give freely to those in need, the highest quality of content, tested by practical experience and research findings.  If the audience member needs a higher level of relationship information, I will make that available as well.  And then I will encourage the community of visitors to engage by asking questions and/or sharing their story.

So what would Yoda say about all of this!  Yes, that’s right….I believe in small, little creatures that can pass on the wisdom!

“Always Pass on What You Have Learned”  or this little gem… “You must unlearn what you have learned.”,  or this one…”Many of the truths that we cling to depend on our point of view”

As I explained, I have utilized this approach at my other relationship recovery websites which include exboyfriendrecovery.com and exgirlfriendrecovery.com.  I built these websites from scratch as an extension of my relationship coaching business and the reaction was so profound, with so many requests for more detail and requests for help with various individual situations, I decided to write several comprehensive relationship recovery e-books for people to purchase as it was impractical for me to take on more relationship clients.

Because of the demand from my audience for a marriage specific website, I created www.mymarriagehelper.com.  I plan on writing and publishing my 7th e-book on the topic of achieving Marriage Success and it will be my most comprehensive project ever.  Typically, my e-books are 300-400 pages in length, full of original, creative content, illustrations, and other little surprises.. If you are interested, the  e-books that are available now (in downloadable text and audio formats) include:

“ExBoyfriend Recovery  Pro System”

“ExGirlfriend Recovery Pro System”

“The Texting Bible – Your Constant Relationship Companion”

“The No Contact Rule Book”

“The 10 Commandments of Winning Back Your Ex”

“Secrets of Attracting Men”

“The Ungettable Girl”

My next publication will be targeted for those of you who are trying to optimize their chances of a successful marriage.  It will be the Marriage “Bible” for all things you should know on how to improve your marital relationship with your spouse. The release date will be in 2016.  For now, the working title will be:

“The Synergistic Marriage System: A Complete Guide From A-Z

A Sample of  Hot Relationship Topics To Come

As promised, I would like to give you a preview of what you can expect from this website in the way of future content!  You will not need to become a member or pay any monthly fee to access the premium content.  It will be here for you to enjoy and learn.  And I will be here as well, answering questions and sharing my wisdom and tapping into yours.

So, let’s get right into summarizing some of the major posts (i.e. Guides) I will be writing for this website in the near future.   Just remember to keep checking back periodically. And as time goes by, this website, www.MyMarriageHelper.com, will grow larger in content and in reach. I will also be soon offering you a free newsletter with wonderful tips and tactics on how to maximize your chances of having a happy and fulfilling marriage.  If you wish to get a taste or sample of what is coming, feel free to visit me at:

exboyfriendrecovey.com

exgirlfriendrecovery.com

Spend a few minutes at these websites to get an idea of the information I freely make available to my audience.

What I have found from experience is that as one starts to peel back all the layers of each person’s specific problems within their marriage, we end up touching on things many of us have in common.

We also will uncover some things that are unusual or situations that have not yet occurred for most people.  I plan on writing about all of these topics and more. Here are some examples:

A Preview of Future “My Marriage Helper” Topics

  • How to Get your Ex Husband or Wife Back

In this future “Guide”, I am going to walk you through a step by step game plan you may wish to adopt if you and your Ex have separated. You could be experiencing a trial separation, formal separation, or perhaps your spouse is drifting away in a big way and you want them back.  We are going to talk about some of the practical strategies you can focus on.  We going to discuss the Do’s and Don’ts.  When we are through, you will have a game plan on how to proceed.

  • How To Know If Your Marriage is Worth Saving

In this hard hitting, honest assessment of marriages that have gone far off the tracks, we will examine what are things that you need to consider to get the relationship back on track.  I will discuss if there is ever a time when you just throw in the marriage towel.  We will explore whether there are clear signs that two married people are doomed.  Couples invest some much of themselves into a marriage, so is there ever a time when they should just call it quits?

  • Does the No Contact Rule Work in a Marriage?

I will be taking up this fascinating topic as it pertains to whether you should consider utilizing a “No Contact Period”. We will discuss the strengths and downside of adopting the Marital No Contact Rule.  We will cover what types of marriages might be good candidates for such an approach.  We will also talk about the role of utilizing a “Timeout” in your relationship.  We will focus on what it is exactly and how this strategy can potentially help move things in the right direction.

  • Marriage Struggles and Hardships: The Top Ten Problems Plaguing Relationships

In this lengthy guide, I will walk you down the yellow brick road as you face some of your worst fears about the stability of your marital status.  We will face down some of the top problems plaguing your relationship and by seeking to understand the underlying causes of these issues, you will discover the most effective solutions.

  • Marriage and Broken Trust

Trust and marriage should be one and the same.  If you remove trust from the marriage, then the “union” is broken.  Unfortunately, many marriages suffer from a lack of trust.  In this future post, I will talk about how trust erodes within a marriage and what you both can do to stem the tide and reverse the untrustworthy feelings that creep into a relationship.

  • Marriage and Money Matters (a Holy Trinity)

When you and your partner have tied the knot, what might be the best way to handle finances?  Well, we will get into that, as well as explore why this frequent marital issue should move down to the bottom of your list of problems, once you adopt a simple plan.

  • Marriage and Your Emotional Health (a Holy Trinity)

A healthy marriage is a union of two people who are both physically and emotionally healthy.  One affects the other.  We will talk about the role the Holy Trinity plays within the framework of marriage and health.  Also, look forward to learning about what the latest studies reveal to us about how to improve your emotional health.

  • Marriage and Conflict  (How to Fight Fair) or “Why are we Fussing so Much!”

Hopefully, this will be one of the most popular Guides that I write because the opportunity for a couple to learn how to avoid conflict can be exceptionally impactful.  We will also explore what causes conflict and how you should deal with it when it rears its ugly head.  If you are in one of those marital situations where it seems that all you and your spouse do is fight and fuss and pick on each other way to frequently…then this is a free relationship guide you will definitely want to sink your teeth in….or scratch and claw your way to….or tear into (Ok! I will stop now!)

  • How to deal with a Do Nothing (Checked Out) Spouse

Sometimes I get this question about dead beat spouses.  These are men or women who are simply not engaged with their marriage or possibly even the world around them.  They tend to exhibit a lazy demeanor, requiring the other marital partner to do all the thinking and work within their married life.  Why do people behave this way?  Can you change this behavior?  Should your try?  Some might say, “you knew what you were getting yourself into when you married him (her)”.  Well, I think you probably didn’t and yes…there are certainly things that can be done to help remedy this problem. We will explore this topic in depth.

  • Recovery from Separation or Divorce

There is hardly anything more painful than the period immediately following the break up between two people.  I will be writing a guide that deals with how you can utilize the Holy Trinity of health, wealth, and relationships to enable yourself to not only recover from the pain of break-up, separation or divorce, but actually lift yourself up and become the best version of yourself.  Are you dying to become the “Ungettable Girl” or the “Unbelievable Guy”?  If not, I am going to walk you through a game plan on how to get there!

  • Marriage Advice for Newlyweds

Every day somebody gets married.  I frequently get questions from those of you who have not been married very long, wondering about what unique challenges you might face in your first few months and years of marriage.  Well, things can move pretty fast in those early days of marriage, so I want to help you prepare for how to drive safely through some of the marital traffic jams you may encounter.

  • Marriage Advice for Struggling Older Couples

In this special article, I will be sharing some of my thoughts for those couples who have been married for a good while and who are really struggling with their marriage.  We will discuss why we sometimes find ourselves caught up in what seems to be a slow grind in which the magic and mystery of the relationship is coming to an end.  We will discuss how this endless cycle of old routines and habits have taken over your marriage and what you might do to break the pattern.

  • How do Couples Prepare for Marriage

I think this will be one of the most important guides you will read on my website because I will be discussing what you should consider before you commit to getting married.  We will talk about the predictive values of some of the marriage compatibility assessments out there. (note: I am not a huge fan) I will offer an alternative as to what you should be considering when making the marriage decision.  And once you and your loved one are both on board with tying the knot, we will walk you through some of the things you should expect just prior to getting married and what you can do to insulate your marriage from trouble in those early years.

  • Married or Non-Married Couples Living Apart

Long distance relationships can be hard, but I am living proof that they can also be very successful.  I will be tackling this frequently asked question about how couples cope when they are separated by a long distance.  This article will cover those who are presently married and those individuals engaged to be married and how they can blunt the impact of living apart.  We will explore some of the common problems of long distance relationships and a game plan you can implement to overcome this unique challenge.

  • Married Couples Planning for children

One of my most popular topics with my readers is how do they prepare for a new addition to their family.  What are the common problems they may encounter?  How will the relationship be affected before the child?  What can you do to ensure a smooth transition?  I will not only provide first hand information from my experiences, but we will survey the best practices that experts have to offer.

  • Marriage Challenges & Solutions after the Baby

This is the flip side of the previous mentioned article.  Once the baby comes, how will it impact your marriage?  What unique challenges are there for the wife versus the husband?  What are some of the things you can do as a couple to keep the marriage healthy and vibrant?  I will be covering these topics and more.

  • Previously Married Persons Seeking Relationships

It’s a jungle out there right?  Well, I can’t begin to tell you how often I get questions from men and women who have experienced failed relationships and are now seeking to avoid falling into the same marital traps.  With 7 of 10 people failing on their second try at marriage, you best have a proven game plan if you want to avoid a second broken marriage.

  • How to Spice up Your Marriage

Why is it that when I talk about spicing up your married life, people often think I am talking about sex.  Ok, so it is true, we will get into why sexual intimacy is important to relationships!  But I promise we will talk a lot about some other things which will help ignite the flame.  Everyone seems to understand that the lack of sex or problems with sexual satisfaction is a key problem between some couples.  We will explore why understanding something, does not always or easily translate to solving the problem.  Sometimes you need a little intervention.  We will get into this notion of how best to ignite the sexual flame of marriage and you might be a bit surprised at how easy it is to get things heated up in the bedroom more consistently..

  • Using Text Messages to Enhance Your Marriage

Recently,  I wrote and published what may very well be the most comprehensive book on texting and relationships.  It is called “The Texting Bible”.  So I have quite a bit to share with you on the topic of strategic texting as it applies to just about every angle of romance, relationships, and recovery.  In today’s world, the use of texting as one of the primary ways of connecting with your significant other in terms of exploring and amplifying the relationship cannot be ignored.  Indeed, becoming proficient in how to use texting in all areas of the relationship is growing in importance.  Whether you are seeking to “text your Ex” or utilize texting as an attraction strategy or even using texting to build “excitement”….there are certain rules and guidelines you should know about.

  • Married Couples and Former Lovers

Interestingly, this topic creates intense curiosity among my readers.  Perhaps it is because psychologically we are always comparing ourselves with the competition and are very curious creatures.  Well, we are going to tackle this topic and help you understand the good, bad, and ugly when it comes to discussing or seeing former lovers.

  • Married Couples and In-Laws

How could I not talk about the topic of the in-laws?  I certainly will not avoid this subject because I have some great news for you and some interesting suggestions.

  • Marriage and Jealousy

When I think of the deadly sins of married life, jealous definitely takes a front row seat.  I will explain why you and/or spouse are jealous and why some jealousy is healthy.  We will explore how this stick of relationship dynamite can empower your relations with your partner or can damage it.  Just as dynamite can be used for good purposes, it can also be destructive.  So get ready to learn how to bottle up this potent emotion and discover what to do with it when it makes an appearance.

  • Marriage and Cheating

Just a moment ago I mentioned the “deadly sins” a married couple needs to be on the lookout for.  Well, with “cheating” we have arrived at the mother lode of things that can poison and utterly destroy your marital bliss.  I will walk you down the path of a perfectly decent person who succumbs to cheating and we will follow their woeful story.  But instead of just painting the sky completely gray, I will leave you with some thoughts on how a marriage can recover from this deadliest of sins.