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80/80 Marriage

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How to Navigate the Sex/Stability Paradox in Challenging Times

coronavirus risk sex space Jun 18, 2020

 

“The challenge for modern couples lies in reconciling the need for what's safe and predictable with the wish to pursue what's exciting, mysterious, and awe-inspiring."

 

These are the words of Esther Perel, the master theorist of sex and eroticism in marriage. Her big idea is that marriage consists of two conflicting aims. On one side, we crave security, comfort, and safety. On the other, we crave adventure, excitement, and sometimes even risk.

Ideally, these...

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The Best Way to Change Your Partner (Hint: It's All About You)

conflict fairness stress Jun 10, 2020

 

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...

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Non-Complementary Behavior: A Radical Tool for Ending Arguments in Marriage

conflict fairness stress Jun 04, 2020

 

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...

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Closing the Pandemic Gender Gap between Men and Women in Marriage

coronavirus fairness roles May 21, 2020

 

Last week, the New York Times reported a stunning statistic in an article entitled, "Nearly Half of Men Say They Do most of the Home Schooling. 3 Percent of Women Agree." According to a recent survey, 45 percent of men say they are spending more time homeschooling or helping their children with distance-learning during this crisis. 80 percent of women, by contrast, say they are spending more time homeschooling or helping their children. And, as the article's headline...

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How much risk is too much during the coronavirus pandemic?

conflict coronavirus risk May 14, 2020

 

Couples have always had to navigate differences in risk. And yet, over the last couple months, the potential for explosive conflict around risk has grown exponentially. Because now, everything is risky.

Should you get a haircut? Or is that taking on too much risk?

Should you get a check up at the doctor? Is going or not going the bigger risk?

Should you let your child play with a friend? Or will that turn your kid into a disease vector?

If you're lucky, you and your partner agree on...

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How to Overcome Resentment in Marriage

conflict fairness May 12, 2020

 

We interviewed over 100 people about their marriages for our book The 80/80 Marriage. One of the things we discovered is that resentment might just be the primary emotion in modern married life.

It’s that bitter sting that lands when your partner makes plans without asking you. It's the irritation you feel when you're doing more, caring more, or trying harder (at least from your point of view).

What's the source of resentment?

The feeling that things aren't fair....

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How to Prepare Your Marriage for Death

coronavirus death May 12, 2020

 

We know, could there be a more depressing way to start a newsletter?

Probably not. But, let’s face it, we are in the midst of a global pandemic, witnessing the spread of a disease that is killing thousands of people each day.

Hopefully, you won’t get coronavirus. And if you do, hopefully you won’t end up in the hospital or worse, dying.

But it might be worth using this moment, when death has been thrust into the forefront of life, as a catalyst to consider whether you...

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How to Divide Up Chores and Housework When Crisis Hits

 

Most working couples have tasted the amazing benefits of outsourcing. Things like having a school with administrators and teachers where you can send your kids. Having a cleaner who comes by every once in a while. Or having a babysitter who watches the little ones when you go out on date night.

Outsourcing is often the ultimate antidote to resentment and fights over what is or isn’t fair. So it follows that the temporary death of outsourcing results in a reemergence of all sorts...

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How to End Conflict in Marriage by Not Being So Serious

conflict stress May 12, 2020

 

Quarantine sucks. Watching the economy and the stock market tumble is unnerving. And hearing about the deaths of thousands of people each day can feel almost unbearable.

This steady stream of horrifying news and information results in a state we like to call “super serious mode." It’s a state that goes hand-in-hand with feeling stressed, uncertain, and totally out of control.

In this state, you might notice that you stop laughing, smiling, or having much fun at all with...

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How to Have a Happy and Healthy Sex Life in The Midst of Coronavirus Quarantine

coronavirus sex May 12, 2020

 

We thought we’d ask because this is a real question for many couples. 

In the abstract, getting stuck together in a small space for months at a time sounds downright erotic. Don’t people travel long distances and pay tons of money for that sort of thing?

But then there's the reality of quarantine. The daily stream of heart-wrenching news updates. The background hum of stress and anxiety. And the fact that you now see each other, your pets, and your...

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