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When Feedback in Marriage Turns from Helpful to Annoying

communication habits stress Jan 20, 2021

If you were to distill down the learnings from the thousands of studies conducted on the psychology of marriage, you're likely to end up with a conclusion like this: Communication is good. Not talking to each other is bad.

But that's only part of the story. Because open communication and feedback in marriage is a lot like eating kale or broccoli in a balanced diet. It's good -- to a point. The moment you start overdoing it, new problems emerge. 

No, we're not talking...

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How to Discover What You're Really Fighting About in Marriage

The other day, we had an argument that got pretty heated. It was over how to prioritize our time on a Sunday afternoon. Kaley wanted to meet up with a friend. Nate wanted to do an activity together as a family.

The conversation started out well. But then, it went off the rails. At some point, we both felt frustrated and angry. We both felt like the other person wasn't really hearing us.

In that moment, we realized we had a choice between two very different paths. The first...

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Is power balanced in your marriage?

conflict fairness sex Jan 06, 2021

Power.

It’s the marital equivalent of the Wi-Fi network in your house. It’s an invisible force and yet it’s always there, operating in the background. And, just like your Wi-Fi, when power goes out of whack, you feel an instant surge of irritation, anger, and sometimes even rage.

When we started writing The 80/80 Marriage, one of our primary goals was to better understand the dynamics of power in marriage. We had both experienced first-hand the sting of resentment that...

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5 powerful marriage habits for a happy new year in 2021

habits priorities sex Dec 30, 2020

Ah, 2020.

If you're like just about everyone we know, this was a really strange and difficult year.

And, again, if you're like just about everyone we know, the challenges of civil unrest, a divisive election, and (let's not forget) a global pandemic may have taken a toll on your marriage.

Maybe you fight more.

Maybe you're frustrated more easily.

Maybe you feel like you have no space and that you're living on top of each other.

Or maybe you find that, like the economy, your sex life has...

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Looking Back on the (Hard to See) Gifts of 2020 for Your Marriage

There are so many ways to describe 2020. But we think some of the most accurate descriptions come from the various T-shirt memes circling the Internet...

 

In just about every conversation these days, someone, at some point, says something like, “2020 has been a horrible year."

And, of course, there are valid reasons for viewing this last year as a social, political, and public health dumpster fire. Racial unrest. A divisive election. And the global pandemic that has kept us...

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Where's the line between being selfish and self care in marriage?

conflict priorities stress Dec 15, 2020

Here are two common traps in marriage.

The first is getting so lost in errands, to-dos, and the thousand or so other demands of domestic life that you forget about caring for yourself. At the end of the day, you feel scattered, tense, and exhausted. You’ve been carrying the weight of your family system but you haven’t been caring for yourself.

The second is this problem in reverse. It's overdoing self care. Instead of following through on important logistics or doing the things...

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End Conflicts in Marriage Using 'The Gandhi Move' (a.k.a. Non-Complementary Behavior)

One of the unique quirks of the human brain is its propensity to mirror the states of others. When we see an eight week old baby smile, we can’t help but smile. It just sort of happens.

But the opposite is also true. When we experience our partner's irritation and anger, we get pissed. We feel an instant surge of irritation and anger. It just sort of happens. 

Psychologists have a name for this phenomenon. They call it “complementary behavior." It’s a fancy way of...

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6 Questions to Reignite the Spark of Conversation in Marriage

communication habits stress Dec 02, 2020

Has this ever happened to you?

You and your partner finally carve out time to be alone together. You go on date night or you take a weekend away together or maybe you just take 45 minutes to walk around the neighborhood.

But then, as you enter into this precious time reserved for connection, you stare blankly at each other wondering, “Shouldn't we have more to talk about?"

It’s a marital predicament experienced by couples at all stages, by newlyweds, those who have lived...

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3 Tips for Eliminating Drama During a Covid-19 Pandemic Thanksgiving

It’s Thanksgiving (the good news)!

Covid-19 rates are peaking (the bad news).

And that means that all the drama we normally experience at Thanksgiving -- the strange political discussions or the arguments over whether the stuffing should be gluten-free -- now includes all sorts of new emotionally explosive questions.

Questions like:

  • "Do we still try to eat a turkey dinner together but just do it outside in the freezing cold, huddled around a patio heater?"
  • "Isn't there some way to...
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4 Ways to Transition From Work Life to Family Life in Marriage

habits priorities stress Nov 18, 2020

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.

If...

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