Family

3 Tips to Take Your Marriage from Good to Great

Good marriages are healthy marriages. They’re built on a foundation of love, trust, safety, commitment and respect. Great marriages have these elements, too. But they go further.

Below, John Harrison, LPCC, a counselor and coach who specializes in working with couples, shares three ways to transform a good marriage into a great one. His tips are simple and straightforward. But these are not quick, empty fixes. Instead, they are steps we must take on a regular basis to enhance our relationship and connect on a deeper, truer level with our one and only. 

Challenge each other
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ADHD and ADD

Maintaining a Household When Both Partners Have ADHD

Maintaining a household is hard enough. But when both partners have ADHD, there are extra challenges. These kinds of responsibilities require planning and prioritizing and performing and completing often boring tasks -- all of which is difficult for adults with ADHD. (Because people with ADHD have impairments in executive functioning.)

“It’s very unlikely that both partners have the same kind of ADHD. What usually happens is that one of them takes the place of the non-ADHD partner,” said
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Family

When a Loved One Asks You for Relationship Advice

Why do you think he said that? What do you think her behavior meant? What do you think I should do?

So many of us turn to our loved ones and friends for relationship advice. And they come to us. They want to rehash and make sense of what happened and figure out how to proceed.

But it’s important to be careful about the counsel we provide. Because our advice -- though meant to be helpful -- might be anything but.

For one, it’s very likely that we’re biased and share advice from our own relationships, experiences and perspective.
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General

The Difference Between Sex & Love for Men

As a psychotherapist who specializes in emotions, and as a woman with my own personal history of serial monogamy, I have come to realize that some men channel their need for love, intimacy, soothing, care, and comfort into sexual desire.

Here are some examples:

Dylan wants sex when he feels sad because he likes the comfort the physical holding provides. Dylan, like most people, wants to be held when he is sad. In fact, the need to be held when we feel sad is biologically programmed into our brains.

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Books

4 Tips for Really Hearing Someone Even When It’s Hard

How often do we actually listen to other people when they’re talking? I mean listening without focusing on how we’re going to respond, without interrupting, without debating what they’re saying, without getting defensive. Probably less often than we like to think, even though listening is incredibly important. It’s important for building beautiful relationships and for navigating every area of our lives.

We need to listen carefully at work to our bosses and colleagues. We need to listen carefully to our clients. We need to listen carefully to our partners and our kids and to all of our loved ones. This is how we gain a deeper understanding of the people we’re interacting with. This is how we avoid misinterpretations and miscommunication. It’s how we resolve conflict. And it’s how we genuinely connect and strengthen our bonds.
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General

Rekindling the Spark in a Long-Term Marriage

People tend to work very hard to get into that “once-in-a-lifetime” relationship. The honeymoon phase of courting and dating requires great effort to let the other know that she is special, that he is “the one.”

Falling in love with your partner for the first time is all-consuming. Maintaining the love and affection once a relationship is well-established also requires effort. Often the responsibilities of life, work, and children may get in the way of focusing on the love and happiness that one feels toward his or her spouse. Your spouse may start to feel more like your roommate than your lover. It is possible, and actually enjoyable, to recapture the romance and fall back in love.

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General

The Boys in the Boat — a Metaphor for Marriage

When you dream of a great marriage, what do you see? Spouses enjoying being together, basically in harmony for a lifetime?

Or does “happily married” sound to you like an impossible dream?

Cynicism about marriage is common these days. Fairytales that finish with “and they lived happily ever after” don’t mention a key ingredient in marriage. Nor do novels and movies give credence to the importance of this element: Teamwork.
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Disorders

Why Men Stay Away from Therapy — and Why It’s Actually a Perfect Match

A man went to see psychologist Ryan Howes solely because his wife wanted him to. She wanted him to work on his communication and become more comfortable with intimacy. He wanted to be anywhere but there.

Many men feel this way about therapy.* And many men avoid it -- even when they’re struggling and need it most. They often see attending therapy as a “sign of weakness or inadequacy,” said Jean Fitzpatrick, LP, a psychotherapist who has extensive experience working with both men and women and whose practice focuses on relationship and career issues. In particular, men over 50 tend to have a harder time being vulnerable and putting their feelings into words, she said.

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Anger

The Art of Apologizing

Apologizing is hard. If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of a halfhearted apology, you know how demoralizing that feels. In stark contrast, a good apology is elixir for relationship wounds.

Mara and Jack had been living together for a year. While dusting, Mara accidentally knocked over a glass figurine and it shattered against the tile floor. Unfortunately, it was the cherished award Jack received as an honor for his fine work in advertising.

Mara’s first impulse was to hide the evidence. She was panicked about how Jack would react. She entertained fantasies of running away to avoid his anger and upset.
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Anger

3 Ways Couples Get Stuck and How to Move Through It

Every couple gets stuck. After all, relationships take work, and conflict is inevitable. Sometimes, we might be on different pages. Sometimes, we might unwittingly do things that keep us and our partners spinning our wheels.

Below, Ashley Thorn, a licensed marriage and family therapist, shared three ways couples commonly get stuck and how you can move forward when it happens to you. Because that’s the great thing: You aren’t stuck forever. You can use certain techniques to help you reconnect to your partner and enhance your relationship.
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Anger

4 Steps to Surviving Infidelity

Of all the things someone can do to ruin a relationship, cheating is usually considered to be the most unforgivable. But if statistics are true, then nearly half of us will encounter infidelity at some point in our lives -- either our partner’s or our own.

Reactions to infidelity depend on many factors. Evidence suggests that, in the context of heterosexual relationships, men find it more difficult to forgive a sexual affair while women take emotional infidelity much harder. It is also much easier to move beyond an affair that’s voluntarily disclosed by the cheating partner than one that’s unexpectedly discovered.

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General

5 Ways to Make Love Thrive

You may have discovered that despite your best intentions, you can’t control the course of love. While the experience of love is replete with awe and wonder, how to create conditions for it is not a great mystery. Rather than exhaust ourselves trying to control people, we’d be wiser to make skillful efforts to create these five conditions, culled over 35 years of being a marriage and family therapist.
Mindfulness

John Gottman, a psychologist an author of
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