Category Archives: Marriage

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The Most Difficult Years of Marriage

I’ve been helping couples in the context of marriage counseling about a decade and half. In that time, I’ve noticed something: the prime number years of relationships are often the hardest  (i.e. 1, 3. 7, 11, 13, 17, 19, 23, 29…) Often, it seems these years correspond with significant transitions and pressure points in marriage. Learning the tools to handle these transitions and pressure points is essential to being satisfied in a relationship long term. Below are the questions I find couples asking during their “odd years”: Year 1: Where did the person I felt so in love with go?

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Give Peace a Chance…In your Marriage

By Samuel Rainey I’m sure you’ve seen it in a movie, or on the news. Some country breaks the demilitarized zone (DMZ) with an aircraft or some other object. The other country interprets this as an act of war and promptly opens fire, destroying it before it has a chance to hurt them. You don’t step foot into the DMZ unless you’re wanting to die, or start an all-out war. Unfortunately, many marriages are setup like warring countries. There are tragedies, betrayals, and offenses that have gone unresolved. These stories become the DMZ between the couple. As one woman said

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4 Do’s to Do Dating Right — Clearing Up the Confusion About Dating

How does dating work? How do people go from being strangers to committing their lives to each other?  Forty years ago, there was more structure to dating: a couple got to know each other, then decided to date each other exclusively, there may have been a promise ring, then an engagement ring, and then marriage. During this time period, there were markers for how a relationship was supposed to develop. Times have certainly changed. We now live in an age when there are no set rules and guidelines for dating. It is now more important than ever when dating to know

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The One Question to Ask Before Your Wedding

The early part of a relationship is filled with questions: What’s your favorite movie? Where did you grow up? What makes you good at your job? If the relationship is going well, you may graduate to more profound questions: What are your dreams? What are your fears? Will we take the next step together? Eventually, someone may pop THE question: Will you marry me? The decision to get married brings on a ton of "Who, What, When, Where" questions: Have you set the date? Where are you getting married? Who are you inviting? But before you start thinking about the big day, I

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Why Pre-Marital Counseling?

About 2.6 million couples will marry in the U.S. this year. About 45% of those couples will participate in pre-marriage counseling. Seems like a good idea. Some research suggests that couples who seek counseling before their wedding report a 30% higher marital success rate than those who did not. There are, of course, other factors that play into marital success. And pre-marriage counseling certainly isn’t a silver bullet. (Notably, less than 1% of couples that are considering re-marriage pursue pre-wedding therapy.) If, however, you’re considering therapy in advance of your wedding, it’s worth exploring the question of why. Here are

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Navigating Seasons

One of my favorite definitions of marriage is “moving through life together”. This journey is really just moving through a series of phases or seasons. More often than not, these phases are laid overtop of one another and you may even be in many concentric phases at once. Just like a summer, autumn, winter, and spring, the seasons of your life will not have a distinct beginning or end but will blend and dissolve as you move from one to the next. As our seasons of lives change, marriage can become stressed. For couples who ignore, minimize, or resist this

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The One Word You Shouldn’t Say in Your Marriage

We could probably think of a few words you shouldn’t say in your marriage (most of them fall into the name-calling category…), but one psychologist is saying there’s an everyday verb that shouldn’t be uttered at all—and we just used a variation of it twice in one paragraph (this is going to be tough)! Jeffrey Bernstein, Ph.D. wrote an interesting article on why the word “should” needs to be immediately dropped from your vocab when communicating with your partner. Turns out, this word causes a controlling, judgmental dynamic and negative energy between couples. Read the full blog post on thenest.com.

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Marriage at a 100-year low—and that’s a good thing

Brace yourselves for the latest evidence that Americans are fleeing the institution of marriage like Roger Sterling leaves wives. A report release Monday from Demographic Intelligence, which tracks marriage and birth trends in the United States, said marriage rates are the lowest in a century — 6.74 marriages per 1,000 people — and are projected to decline over the next decade. "Even though we have seen a modest recovery in the economy, the marriage rate continues to slowly decline," Demographic Intelligence president Sam Sturgeon says in the report. "A variety of factors — including sluggish job opportunities for the less

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A Happy Marriage Can Save Your Life (Says Science)

Happiness and health go hand-in-hand (and it's all thanks to your marriage) Healthy people aren’t just the happy ones—they’re now the ones committing to marriage. And if you thought that a significant other was more woe than it was worth, turns out you were painfully mistaken because a mate won’t just keep you happy; they’ll keep you living longer, too. In a study sure to tug at every inch of your heartstrings until they’re shredded to bits (because it’s that sweet), a team of researchers at the Harvard Radiation Oncology Program found that married cancer patients live longer than singles

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Redesign, renovate, or remodel?

Getting Your "Relationship House" in Order Sometimes it’s helpful to consider marriage like a home improvement show on HGTV. Over time, a marriage may need a fresh coat of paint and some new pillows, other times there is a lot more happening that needs more significant attention. When your relationship is struggling, you may simply need to focus on repair, but when the relational house is unstable more severe intervention is needed. Dr. John Gottman has spent his entire career trying to answer one question: What makes relationships work? There, are of course, hundreds of theories spanning hundreds of years that

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