Posts Tagged ‘marriage help’

I had a wonderful session with a couple today where we talked about the hallmark of truly first rate listening. Here’s what we arrived at.

First rate listening transforms THE LISTENER.

Yes, it’s wonderful to be listened to and listening is a gift to do for anyone you care about.

And, the real halmark of great listening is that every time you really do it well — that is listen to learn from your spouse — it’s a chance to become a more open, more understanding and more educated you.

So, next time you’re listening, notice if it’s changing YOU.

Want more on how to do this kind of listening? Watch a video of me teaching about listening here.

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I have been working with a number of wonderful military families.  It’s a stressful life — many of these couples have spent the VAST majority of their marriage with one spouse deployed and the other trying to hang in there on the home front.

Then, when the deployed spouse gets home, it’s hard.  Really hard.  And often hard in surprising ways.  One of the most common themes I hear is that, instead of having a romantic reunion, the couple finds themselves in a sexless, tense marriage.

What can you do if your marriage, no matter what the reason, feels like roommates instead of lovers? Here are a few things to try.

1.  Focus on rediscovering romance.  What made things sizzle when you first became romantically engaged?  What activities did you enjoy doing together?  What new things did you try?   Try putting down all the wear and tear and daily grind, at least for a week or two, and focus on spending fun time together.  Try something new.  Revisit an old haunt.  Ship the kids to a friend’s house for the weekend and go hiking just as a couple.   Enjoying each other’s company is an important piece of laying the groundwork to get the chemistry sizzling again.

2.  Explore concerns.  Your job, as the spouse wanting to bring the sizzle back, is to be a concerns sleuth.  Warmly, gently ask your spouse to help you understand what are the thoughts and feelings he/she has around sex these days.  Your job is to listen with open ears — even if things are hard to hear.  Your job is to make it possible for your spouse to share that they are worried that having sex will lead to a flood of uncontrollable emotions (especially likely for military spouses with PTSD) or that they find the extra pounds you put on not so attractive (very hard to hear, and very good to know!) or that they feel guilty touching you because their thoughts (or more) have strayed.  These are all hard to hear, and at the same time, understanding your spouse’s, likely very real concerns, will put you back on a path of being a TEAM to figuring out how to move forwards.

3.  Sometime NIKE has it right– just do it!  Sometimes, one spouse is just never in the mood.  It happens a lot when you’re getting older, stressed out, too busy and/or just slow-to-warm up.  Sometimes, as un-romantic as this sounds, scheduling a night, or morning, or afternoon for sex is really helpful.  When it’s “date” time, light some candles, put on music, put fresh sheets on in the bed, and, well, test what happens if you both just give it a whirl.  Then talk about what you could do on your next “date” to improve the experience for you both.


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I got an invitation this week to attend a talk by Peter Wood about his book “A Bee in the Mouth.”  While I haven’t read the book, the description caught my attention.

Why are Americans so angry? Politicians launch preemptive strikes against their opponents; journalists pursue vendettas against public figures; talking heads spit venom at each other on wrathful radio and television shows. In the past, we disagreed with others, sometimes strongly, but we heard them out. Now we want to obliterate their opinions. Our public life seems more and more dominated by expressions of ungoverned rage.

Yes, why do any of us tolerate so much anger?  Why we like it in the public domain is for Wood to explore, I’m more concerned with how much trouble anger in our private lives causes.

Nothing ruins a perfectly good marriage faster than anger.  In fact, I put together a video all about the topic a few weeks ago for Power of Two Online.

Without further ado, my top 10 ways that anger can ruin a perfectly good marriage (or any other relationship for that matter!).

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