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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

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