Relationship conflicts come in all sorts of flavors.
There’s the power struggle, the fight over decision rights, or the argument about money.
There’s the classic fairness fight, the dispute over the exact 50/50 balance of housework, child care, and the thousand or so other random logistics of modern life.
But there’s also a subtler, more surreptitious, form of conflict. We call it the I-miss-you fight.
We experienced it just last week. Kaley was away all week for an...
Marriage is a lot like owning a car. You don’t have to take it in for regular tune-ups, nor do you have to change its oil or fill up its tires. But sooner or later, this haphazard approach is likely to leave you stranded on the side of the road or with no car at all.
The same is true in marriage. You don’t have to reveal all of those microscopic truths: the subtle resentment you feel when cleaning up after your partner or the irritation that springs from feeling controlled....
Lately, we’ve been thinking about two seemingly opposite ways to build connection in relationships.
On one side, there’s safety.
In a chaotic and crazy world, we need this. It’s the feeling of structure, support, and routine that reminds us everything is going to be alright.
On the other, there’s adventure.
When we take risks, do something new, and explore the edges of our comfort zone, we also grow together.
Both safety and adventure build...
Has this ever happened to you?
You notice something about a friend, something they have that you wish you had.
The perfect body - I wish I looked more like that.
Effortless success at work - why is everything so hard for me?
Their annoyingly upbeat mental state - I wish I had that energy.
Or maybe you experience this with another couple you know.
They go on amazing trips – we never go on vacations like those.
Their seemingly relaxed and stress-free life – why are we...
We’ve all been there.
It’s the end of a long, hard, day. You’re exhausted. So is your partner. And, all of a sudden, everything they do becomes excruciatingly annoying: the way they chew their food, the way they cut you off in the kitchen on your way to the fridge, or that thing they said at dinner.
Avoiding conflict in these conditions is like avoiding getting soaked during a massive rain storm. Sometimes, it feels inevitable.
But what if you...
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...
What's one of the primary challenges modern couples face in the bedroom?
Researchers have a fancy name for it: sexual desire discrepancy or SDD.
It's a challenge that basically just comes down to this: one partner wants it but the other doesn’t.
It sounds so simple. And yet this disconnect in sex drive brings up all sorts of complicated dynamics of power.
From the perspective of the high drive partner – the partner who generally wants to have more sex – this dynamic...
You can take all sorts of surveys and assessments to better understand the strength of your relationship. But we want to propose that a single question—what we call "The Brag Test"—can tell you everything you need to know about the strength of your marriage.
We know what you're thinking. "What is the Brag Test and what can it tell me about my marriage?"
It’s basically this.
When you're talking about your partner in front of other people—friends, work...
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...
At some point along the journey of marriage, we've all had this thought. We’ve all contemplated thoughts like: if only my partner appreciated me more or loved me more or listened better, things would be different.
It's a thought based on an assumption, the assumption that change starts, not from within, but when our partner finally gets it together.
The problem? You don't control your partner. If you did, your efforts to change them would have achieved astounding...