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Strengthen Your Marriage

Friday April 18, 2014
Are you wondering how you can strengthen your marriage?

A starting point is to talk with each other about these lists of things some husbands and wives want from marriage.

Here are a few more things you can do to enhance your marriage.

  • Cuddle, snuggle, hold hands, hug, and kiss your spouse.
  • Walk together -- both physically and emotionally.
  • Eat at least one meal a day together.
  • Talk with one another during dinner.
  • Commit to having date nights.
  • One of the keys to great sex is communication. If you are having sexual problems, discuss them.
  • Share your feelings with your spouse.
  • Leave love notes and special messages somewhere to be found by your spouse.
  • Continue to build intimacy in your marriage.
  • Put your spouse first on your priority list.

Share your best marriage advice in ten words or less.

Do You Believe in Soul Mates?

Wednesday April 16, 2014
Comments about individuals believing they are marrying their soul mates are often mentioned in press releases and stories about long lasting marriages. Soul mate movie themes are popular, too.

We heard engaged couples on Engaged Encounter Weekends talking about how they found their soul mates. Advertisements for match making services try to sell the idea that you can find your soul mate by taking their tests.

If you believe in the idea of only one soul mate for each person, you may assume that a partnership of two soul mates should be able to handle challenging times easily. That may not always be the case.

Douglas LaBier, Ph.D., describes a soul mate as an "idealized lover", an "unattainable ideal", and a "flawed pursuit". But he also believes that by having a mature love relationship with openness, letting go of control, and making time for each other, you can have a soul mate experience with your spouse.

"I think there's a way to grow and develop the soul mate experience with your partner. It's attainable in reality, but only when it's part of mature adult love. That is, it emerges from a sustainable adult relationship -- a blend of erotic desire, friendship, and respect and support of each other's growth and development as independent, different human beings."
Source: Douglas LaBier, Ph.D. "Your Soul Mate Fantasy: How to Make It A Reality." PsychologyToday.com. 4/19/2010.

     Do you think you married your soul mate? Vote! ~ View Results

Passover Tips for Jewish-Christian Couples

Monday April 14, 2014
During the celebration of major religious celebrations such as Passover and Easter, interfaith couples may find themselves wondering how to be supportive of differing faith traditions.

Here are some tips for interfaith marriages dealing with the issue of different spring holiday celebrations.

     Passover Seder Meal Menus
     Preparing for Passover
     Interfaith Marriage Dos and Don'ts

Mad Men and Marriage

Friday April 11, 2014
Mad Men, the popular television series on AMC, began its seventh and fnal season on Sunday, April 13, 2014. I will admit to enjoying the series. Did you know there are at least four things you can learn about marriage by watching Mad Men?

Jon Hamm of Mad Men

I haven't noticed any particularly really happily married couples on the show. There are some deeply dysfunctional and toxic relationships portrayed, yet the show can remind youl to not allow your marriage to fall in a rut or to give your career a higher priority.

You May Also Like:
     Mad Men Cheat Sheet: What You Need to Know for Season Seven
     Syllabus -- Mad Men: Gender & Historiography
     Mad Men Official Web Site

Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

The Smirk

Thursday April 10, 2014
Every now and then I can get into a bad mood for no special reason. Sort of a "just because" mood. The last time it was probably due to lack of spring here and a windy, cold, rainy day. Then I saw Bob smirk.

The Smirk

I don't like seeing a smirk on a politician's face, or on a salesperson's face, or on an appliance repair person's face, or really on anyone's face. But I really really didn't like seeing a smirk on Bob' face.

To me, a smirk is a negative expression that is a not-so-subtle way of being arrogant, smug, sarcastic, or dismissive. You can avoid miscommunication in your marriage by not expecting your spouse to be a mind reader.

Share what you're thinking! And don't smirk!

A Simple Fix

Tuesday April 8, 2014
Hopefully, most of you know that expecting your spouse to be a mind reader is a big mistake. Having that type of expectation usually leads to conflict.

Saying "When we assume that other people know what we're thinking and what we are expecting of them, we do them a real disservice," Heidi Grant Halvorson offers a simple fix for this type of relationship miscommunication: "Remove the phrase 'It goes without saying' from your mental lexicon, because it is total rubbish."

Halvorson's a article is worth reading!

Do Pedestals Make Successful Marriages?

Sunday April 6, 2014
While I agree that it is important to have positive expectations of one another and your marriage, we think putting one another on a pedestal or looking at your marriage through rose-colored glasses could lead to problems.

Sure, every married couple is unique, but generally, issues and problems will arise in a marriage and they won't evaporate magically into thin air even if love is blind. But that's not what some researchers believe.

Dr. Sandra Murray: "I wouldn't argue that people are 'deluding' themselves. Rather, people are seeing their partner through an optimistic [or] idealistic lens. Generally that is beneficial for relationships because seeing a partner in the best possible light gives people greater reason to believe that they can deal with problems within their relationships."
Source: Zosia Bielski. Put your partner on a pedestal? You might have a happier marriage." TheGlobeandMail.com. 3/1/2011.

The University at Buffalo study mentioned in the April 2011 edition of Psychological Science, "Tempting Fate or Inviting Happiness?: Unrealistic Idealization Prevents the Decline of Marital Satisfaction", involved 222 couples over a period of 3 years.

Karen Hopkin: "People who had seemingly unrealistic expectations of their spouses were nonetheless happier than more realistic mates in a marriage's early years ... they found that people who maintained the most unrealistic view of their better halves were actually the most satisfied with their marriage. When the honeymoon's over, it could be that those who idealize their mates may be more likely to forgive the transgressions that arise when people are no longer on their best behavior. Whatever the reason, the study suggests that couples should exchange rings -- and rose-colored glasses."
Source: Karen Hopkin. "Mate Idealization Makes for Happy Early Marriage. ScientificAmerican.com. 3/2/2011.

I think the study needed to cover a longer period of time -- at least ten years. Twenty years would be even better. Your thoughts?

Have Lunch With Your Spouse

Thursday April 3, 2014
If you are looking for a way to have a date each week with your spouse, consider meeting for lunch. Lunch dates generally aren't as expensive as going out to dinner, and if your kids are in school, getting together at lunch can solve the problem of having to pay for a baby sitter.

Photo  Larry Stritof

Poll: How Often Do You and Your Spouse Date One Another? Vote

Photo Larry Stritof

April Fool's Day -- Laughter Yes, Anger and Hurt No

Tuesday April 1, 2014
Don't let tricks and jokes hurt your marriage. Our first April Fool's Day together was a disaster.

Don't let teasing go too far.

Here are a few things to remember about tricking one another:
     Some jokes just aren't funny.
     Some things just can't be joked about.
     Some areas of our lives are not good for teasing.
     Some remarks can really hurt, even if they are said in jest.

So be careful on April Fool's Day. Do take delight in one another, but be sensitive, too!

Really? Conscious Uncoupling?

Thursday March 27, 2014
Gwyneth Paltrow created quite the buzz with her announcement of her separation from her husband of ten years, Chris Martin.

Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin

I don't think it was the separation that had people clicking on her web site. It was her use of the phrase "consciously uncouple."

Isn't this really another way to say irreconciliable differences or having a good divorce?

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