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Marriage Enrichment and Conflicts


  HOW TO PREPARE FOR YOUR MARITAL COUNSELING          To get ready for marital counseling, to avoid either of you being expected to work on something you don’t want to address, and to make sure you hit the floor running, you would both do well to: Write down your hopes for any marital counseling you may do. Make your goals specific, focusing on behavior. List separately any goals you’d want …Read More

Marriage Helpers from the Seattle Love Lab

Dr. John Gottman’s research has demonstrated seven communication styles which will cause a couple to be truly happy with each other. Elaborate explanations for these helpful habits can be found in Gottman’s book, Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work (New York: Three Rivers Press, 1999). Enhance your love maps Regularly work at trying to get a fresh understanding of your mate. Maintain an active curiosity about what your mate is thinking, feeling …Read More

Award-Winning Research: Preventing Divorce

A recent issue of Psychotherapy Networker reviews 25 years of research on counseling, and concludes that the most convincing and influential work was done by Dr. John Gottman on marriage and divorce. (Dr. Gottman was also the only researcher listed in the top ten most influential therapists.) Originally a mathematician, Gottman’s research was well designed and funded. Over 3000 couples agreed to come periodically to spend weekends in his “Love Lab” overlooking …Read More

Guidelines for Resolving Marital Conflicts

GROUND RULES FOR SETTLING MARITAL CONFLICTS   1.  Set aside a place as a “workshop” for practicing these ground rules. Use it only to settle disagreements, so avoid using the sanctuaries of the kitchen, bedroom, eating area, or the TV room where you relax. Perhaps use the living room or deck. 2.  You may set aside a certain time of the week to do this on a regular basis, for …Read More

Disengaging from Partner Discussions

    THE ART OF DISENGAGEMENT   Sometimes disengagement is very painful for one partner, who may for the moment be clinging to or pursuing the mate in order to unload his or her distress. Other times, roles can be reversed. This article is for both of you.  To be done without creating new problems, healthy disengagement requires a 4-step process: Understanding, Envisioning, Preparing, and Succeeding.  Understanding Understand and remember …Read More

How to Fire Up Your Love Life

I couldn’t resist this shameless cheese-tart title. I’m just hoping you won’t have to buy your Maxim or Cosmo this month. If they printed this, they’d lose readers. Because our focus here will be on the primary sex organ, the brain, I won’t need to mention any body parts or sexual acts. I am going to give you a technique though, one move that should heat up your bedroom better than anything you’ve ever done. I …Read More

Double Standards in Marriage

When marriage allows one of its partners privileges the other doesn’t have, it is a double standard. Most marriages have quite a few, by mutual agreement, which is no big deal. It’s a problem when most of the double standards favor the same partner. Any double standard is trouble when, according to unbiased and well informed experts, the underprivileged partner is undeserving of his or her lower status. The problem …Read More

Resolving Power Imbalance in Marriage

Last week’s column was about double standards, which are privileges given to one spouse but not the other. We learned that when power and privilege are distributed unevenly in a marriage, those underprivileged spouses over time come to believe they are indeed second-class, unworthy of being trusted. They take more and more of their identity, worth, confidence, and direction from their arrogant, over-privileged spouses, which makes the power imbalance grow larger every …Read More

The Win-Win Endgame for a Gridlocked Marriage

My heart goes out to couples who seem forever caught between a rock and a hard place in their marriage. When they talk with each other about anything personal, it seems like they have to choose between either being kind to their mates by quietly absorbing disrespect, or else standing up for themselves honestly, only to be put down all the more for doing so. It’s suck it up, or …Read More