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Why Speed Is the Enemy of Understanding in Relationships

communication habits space Jul 10, 2024


When you and your partner start fighting, all sorts of things happen.

Your heart rate increases.

Stress hormones pulse through your body.

Your muscles clench.

You become more defensive, less curious.

But there's something else that changes, something so subtle that it often flies under the radar of our awareness: everything speeds up.

The conversation shifts from a meandering 40 mph drive through the countryside to a 120 mph drag race.

And, just like driving, having contentious...

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These Outsiders Can Make Marriage Impossible


One of the most profound marriage insights comes down to some simple math.

There’s the two of you: you and your partner.

And then there are your “thirds.”

Now, this idea alone isn’t groundbreaking. It’s not going to radically change your life.

But here’s something that might. Marriage therapist and author Stan Takin argues that these “thirds” pose one of the greatest threats to the health of a marriage.

A third could be your friend or...

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How to Relax? The Real Kind, Not the Netflix Kind

habits space stress Jun 11, 2024


In this age of constant distraction and stimulation, we've forgotten how to relax.


Let us count the ways.

Parenting -- this task fills our days with endless emotional, mental, and old-school physical labor. 

Work -- there's no such thing as a 9am to 5pm anymore. Nowadays, work involves the always-on, Whac-a-Mole-style, task of answering texts, calls, and emails at all hours.

Phones -- they now gobble up all the time that's leftover. The wait at the store. The delay at...

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How Avoid the RKO (Relationship Knock Out)


There is an invisible urge out there, destroying relationships everywhere.

It often shows up while talking about money, politics, social planning, or parenting.

It surfaces anytime you feel defensive, like your partner has just accused you of even the slightest marital misdeed.

They might question your latest purchase. Did you really need that supplemental butt cushion for the car?

They might question your politics. Are you really voting for that guy again?

Or they might...

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How Much Slack Do You Have in Your System of Marriage?

habits priorities space stress May 13, 2024


The management scientist Edward Deming once said, "Every system is perfectly designed to get the results it gets."

Now, Deming was talking about large organizations and companies. But his insight applies perfectly to relationships for two reasons.

First, his words offer an important reminder. The results you and your partner are getting -- both good and bad -- aren't happening by random chance. They're created by an underlying system of habits, perfectly designed to give you those...

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Why Your Partner Should NOT Be Your Everything


Here's a passage from Esther Perel's Mating in Captivity that just about knocked us off our chairs the first time we read it:

Today, we turn to one person to provide what an entire village once did: a sense of grounding, meaning, and continuity. At the same time, we expect our committed relationships to be romantic as well as emotionally and sexually fulfilling. Is it any wonder that so many relationships crumble under the weight of it all?

Perel's big insight? That we now expect ...

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Marriage is Like a Boat - What Do You Need to Throw Off It?

 Imagine your relationship as a boat.

In this boat, you've got you and your partner. You might also have a kid or three. And then you've got parents, in-laws, friends, and extended family hanging off the stern.

Oh, and don't forget about things like careers, financial planning, daily logistics, shopping, Instagram and TikTok time, house repairs, laundry, cleaning, school events, and the thousand or so other things that take up space on this boat of marriage and life.

Now imagine what...

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Try Out This Summer Family Vacation Hack

stress vacation May 13, 2024


Summer family vacations are a time of connection, joy, and fun.

They're also often the emotional equivalent of running an ultra-marathon or completing a full Ironman Triathlon.


During an ordinary workday, we have built-in breaks from each other. We go to school, go to meetings, check our email, or run errands around town alone.

During a day on vacation, however, this sprint-and-recover world of breaks flips upside down. We wake up, together. We eat, together. We drive long...

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4 Ways to Transition From Work Life to Family Life in Marriage

habits priorities stress May 01, 2024

Originally published in Inc. Magazine.

Does this sound familiar?

You've just finished a long day, full of emails, Zoom calls, deadlines, and to-dos. You're now making the shift from work mode to family mode. But, for some reason, you just can't seem to turn it off.

You keep thinking about that meeting, that call you need to make, or all the things you weren't able to get to. You're living in yesterday, tomorrow, and five years from now, finding it impossible to slow down and be here now.


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Are You the Glommer or the Splitter?

There's an invisible tug-of-war happening in your relationship.

It's not about who does the dishes.

It's not about who tucks in the kids at bedtime.

It's about connection.

And in just about every couple we've encountered, partners unconsciously take on one of two roles.

First there's The Glommer. This is the partner who most craves connection. They just can't get enough quality time and deep conversation. They're always craving more of their partner.

Then there's The Splitter....

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