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Sheri Stritof

Sheri\'s Marriage Blog

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Another Reason to Keep Your Promises

Tuesday May 27, 2014
I like what Michelle Gielan has to say about keeping your promises.
"When we don't keep a promise to someone, it communicates to that person that we don't value him or her. We have chosen to put something else ahead of our commitment. Even when we break small promises, others learn that they cannot count on us. Tiny fissures develop in our relationships marked by broken promises."

An example of not keeping promises and breaking down trust in a relationship is the stormy and sad marriage of Sofya and Leo Tolstoy. Reading their diaries was difficult for me. They both promised to be there for one another, and they both yearned to be understood, yet through their many years together they couldn't or wouldn't give that gift to one another.

Leo Tolstoy: "Nobody will ever understand me."

Sofya Tolstoy: "He has never taken the trouble to understand me, and does not know me in the least."

Source: Source: William L. Shirer. Love and Hatred: The Troubled Marriage of Leo & Sonja Tolstoy. 1994. backcover.

Poll: Do you keep your word? Vote!

Make Memorial Day More Than A Day Off Work

Sunday May 25, 2014
Although many folks don't give a second thought to why Memorial Day is a holiday, Memorial Day is a day to remember those who have died -- especially remembering those who died protecting our country.

Although my dad died many years after his service in the U.S. Navy, he is always in my thoughts on Memorial Day. Part of my family history is how my mom's engagement ring was sunk at Pearl Harbor in 1941.

Memorial Day is a day to remember and to talk about those memories. It can also be a day to discuss the hard topics of death and dying. If you are one of the married couples who has put off discussing your thoughts and feelings about these sensitive topics, make some time this Memorial Day weekend to at least begin this conversation with each other.

Full Article:
     Memorial Day Thoughts and Activities

Related:
     History of Memorial Day
     Dialogue Questions on Death and Dying

Lawyers' Advice

Friday May 23, 2014
The 62-year marriage of Al and Mary Link was highlighted in Tamara Browning's article in 2010 in The Taunton Gazette, "How to Have a Happy Marriage Late in Life." It's a good article. Disclaimer: A Google Alert on "stritof" led us to the article.
Quoting Making Marriage Last published by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, Browning wrote "Not all marriages fail for the same reason, and there's usually not one reason for the breakdown of a particular marriage ... However, failed expectations or unmet needs, communication problems and lifestyle changes may contribute to divorce among long-term marriages."

We paraphrased the AAML's tips we like best and added links to our content:

  • Consider your spouse to be your friend.
  • Keep your sense of humor.
  • Make having fun with your spouse a priority.
  • Think twice before you demean your spouse anywhere.
  • Remember the importance of listening.
  • Fight fair.
  • When you make a mistake, admit it.
  • If your spouse deserves an apology, be sincere when you apologize and follow through on what you say you will do or won't do.
  • Be willing to forgive.
  • Accept that you can't change your spouse.

Browning's article on long-term marriage also mentioned the happiest couples have their own space, interests, and friends, but do not let their individual careers or activities become more important than their marriage. Her article reminded us of a book we reviewed a few years ago, Divorce lawyer's Guide to Staying Married. Both are worth reading.

When Was the Last Time You Gave Your Spouse a Compliment?

Wednesday May 21, 2014
If you can't remember .. that is not a good sign.

At least once each day, compliment your spouse. Complimenting your spouse will increase his/her self-confidence. It's good for your own sense of self-worth too.

Poll: When was the last time you gave your spouse a compliment? Vote!

Related:
     Is Negativity Hurting Your Marriage
     Kindness in Marriage

How to Support a Friend After Infidelity

Monday May 19, 2014
Do you have a friend who has an unfaithful spouse? Many people find themselves wondering what to say or do in this situation.

The most important thing you can do for this friend is to be there and to express your love and concern. Dr. Tammy Nelson gives additional advice about what never to say and gives suggestions of things you should say and do when a friend has been cheated on.

Dr. Nelson also mentions that the worst thing you can tell someone is to leave. She also knocks down the myth that "once a cheater always a cheater" because that statement is not always true.

Jay Kent-Ferraro, Ph.D.: "The problem is it's too simple and fails to appreciate the complexity of why people cheat in the first place, let alone predicting whether or not they are capable of betraying you again - an important question to ask if you are a victim of infidelity ... [It] is really a defense mechanism and it too has a purpose: To protect you from getting hurt by never trusting anyone again. Don't do that! Instead, get smart by understanding what drives someone to betray and determining the "purpose" of the affair."
Source: Jay Kent-Ferraro. "Once a Cheater, Always a Cheater... Maybe Not." HuffingtonPost.com. 1/02/2012.

Read the Full Article:
     Never Say This To A Friend Who's Been Cheated On

You May Also Like:
     Can Your Marriage Survive a Cheating Spouse?
     Ways to Deal With Betrayal
     Repair and Save Your Marriage
     Why You Should Apologize

Don't Let Money Issues Hurt Your Marriage

Saturday May 17, 2014
Kimberly Palmer, at U.S. News and World Report, wrote two articles discussing married couples and separate bank accounts. In one article, "Tips for the Second Time," referring to marriage counselors' warnings, she wrote "... separate spending accounts can lead to secretive behavior that's destructive to a marriage".

In the other article, "Accountability: His and Hers," quoting investment firm owner Candace Bahr, Palmer writes "She recommends keeping assets, retirement accounts, and credit in one's own name." Connected to the article is a video that interviews a couple who has separate accounts and a successful marriage.

So what should couples do? My recommendation: Do what works best for your marriage and at least once each year, you should discuss your finances in depth with your spouse -- including whether or not joint or separate accounts are working for the two of you.

Full Articles:
     "Tips for the Second Time"      "Accountability: His and Hers"

Polls:
     What type of checking/savings accounts do the two of you have? Vote!
     Do finances create conflict in your marriage? Vote!

Related:
     Joint or Separate Checking Accounts
     Managing Household Checking Accounts Together
     Financial Questions for Couples to Discuss

When Was the Last Time You Set Some Goals in Your Marriage?

Wednesday May 14, 2014
We're sure you don't need to be reminded of the importance of the two of you setting goals together. But when was the last time you actually sat down, discussed goals and plans for your future? Then ... did you write them down, prioritize them, and come up with action plans to get working towards meeting those goals?

Related:
     Know Your Values and Ideals
     How to Make Mutual Decisions
     Ten Ways to Create More Intimacy

Have a Vacation in Your Back Yard

Monday May 12, 2014
One of the greatest ways to create positive memories for both yourselves and your children is to travel and take vacations. However, as many couples have tight budgets, the idea of a summer vacation may be out of reach for you.

Photo: Ted Stritof

You don't have to travel all around the world to make a vacation memorable. Planning a vacation in your own locale and back yard can create great memories.

Read the Full Article:
     Back Yard Vacations

Poll:
     How often do you and your spouse date one another? Vote!

Related:
     Have a One Night Stand Together
     Month of Dates
     Dating Rules for Married Couples

Photo: Ted Stritof

Importance of Having Fun Together

Thursday May 8, 2014
Having fun together is something you should NOT procrastinate about even if deciding how to have fun is a challenge. Sometimes what I considered fun and what Bob considered fun was totally different.

Working in the garden was fun for Bob but I truly disliked gardening. I love dancing and think it is great fun but Bob thought we were too mismatched height wise and he didn't enjoy dancing.

So did we ever have fun? Sure! We found things we both considered fun and made doing those things together a priority.

How do you have fun, recharge, or unplug as a couple? Please share your tips.

What Made You Choose Your Spouse?

Saturday May 3, 2014
Choosing the right person to marry is not an easy decision but it appears there are similarities in how people make that choice. According to Katy Steinmetz of Time.com, religion and politics were the top two factors important to people in choosing a spouse. Steinmetz's article lists traits, issues, and attitudes listed by more than 5,000 couples.

Couple Chemistry

Before you get married, we recommend that couples discuss important issues, especially these four issues.

  • Your ages
  • Finances
  • Sexual compatibility
  • Mutual responsibility

What made you decide to get married? Please share your story.

Photo: Muratsen / iStockphoto

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