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April 2014


I. What is alcoholism? A. Chronic, progressive, incurable, fatal disease that is characterized by loss of control over alcohol and other sedatives. 1. Chronic—you’ve had the problem for a little while. 2. Progressive– Grows on you; gets worse; going to take more alcohol to get a good buzz. 3. Incurable– Always going to have it; after years of recovery; even after you stop the temptation will always be there. 4. Fatal– Does kill …Read More

Relapse Repair

What caused my relapse (inner circle violation)? What had I neglected from the program I was working (outer circle, preventive behaviors)? For how long? Why? What else should I have (and can now) put in that outer circle as recovery behaviors? What slips had I ignored, not made amends for (middle circle)? What else should I have (and can now) put in that middle circle as slips to report? What …Read More

Reversing Unhealthy Relationships

It seems to me that most Americans have one or more people somewhere in their family or friends that they just can’t get along with. The way it feels is like, “I just don’t feel comfortable around them. I can’t be myself. They make me feel and act crazy, so I prefer to avoid them.” To create and maintain healthy relationships with our friends and family members, we all need …Read More

Understanding Each Other: His Needs, Her Needs

Twenty years ago psychologist Willard Harley’s book His Needs, Her Needs became very popular. His research found men to need primarily the following five things from their wives, in this order: sexual fulfillment, recreational companionship, an attractive spouse, domestic support, and admiration. Women on the other hand, he found reported needing the following from their husbands: affection, conversation, honesty and openness, financial support, and family commitment. My own experience would change these lists …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

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

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

Understanding Each Other: Emotional Infidelity vs. Excessive Jealousy

Of all the columns I’ve written, this is the one I’ve had the most requests to send out, and to expand and revise. The following is a 60% longer version of a column I wrote three years ago. Though it will talk about marriage, it is also meant for those in long-term committed love relationships. The opportunity to have a healthy friendship with the opposite sex comes often to married people—at work, …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