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Marriage Enrichment and Conflicts

How to Avoid both Emotional Infidelity and Irrational Jealousy

  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.  Now because of social media, the following is a much longer version of the column I first wrote 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 …Read More

Genuine Intimacy in Marriage and Faith

Genuine Intimacy in Marriage and Faith The simultaneous experience of vulnerability and safety is not found exclusively in marriage.  The apostle Paul felt that people could be closer to God and to those they loved if they were not burdened with a spouse and children at home (see his extremely personal confession in the entire seventh chapter of his first letter to the Corinthians).  There is obvious truth in this, …Read More

Romans 14 on What is Clean

  Romans 14 as Applied to Marital Lovemaking   Let’s say that one of us wants to do something together sexually that our partner considers dirty or gross.  This does not apply to behaviors that are unsafe, painful, forceful, or degrading (such as spanking, vulgarities, or verbal insults).  If one of us has prayed about it and believes this activity is a gift from God to us both, the other …Read More

Turning Your Unhealthy Relationships Around

  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 …Read More

How to Prepare for YOUR MARITAL COUNSELING

  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   These are not my guidelines.  They are the ones most frequently presented in the many books I have read to help couples work through their disagreements and misunderstandings.  They are also the ones I have been taught in my training, and the ones I have seen to work best in my office.   I invite couples to print this out, make a copy …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