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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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Shifting From Logistics Mode to Intimacy Mode in Marriage

habits priorities sex space Nov 11, 2020

After seventeen or so years of living together and carefully examining our habits, we started to notice the importance of mode switching in relationships.

All relationships have a variety of modes. For instance, we often get caught in logistics mode. This is the mode where we become like two startup cofounders, spending our days coordinating calendars, executing on important to-dos, and thinking ahead to upcoming events, trips, and kids activities.

Then there’s parent mode. This is the...

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3 Ways to Build Relationship Resiliency in Challenging Times

habits science stress Nov 05, 2020

 

Right now, the last thing you're likely thinking about is optimizing your marriage. If you live in the U.S., it's a time of deep uncertainty, stress, and anxiety.

So we thought we'd change it up today. We're going to break from our ordinary format and just give you three ultra-efficient tips for boosting relationship resiliency in stressful times like these. 

 

1. Take 3 long slow breaths.

Your breath is like an inner portal to a state of calm. For one thing, your breath...

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2 Tips for Dealing With Recycled Issues in Marriage

conflict fairness stress Oct 28, 2020

There’s something strange about conflicts in marriage.

Modern couples could fight about thousands of things. Life these days, after all, is messy, complicated, and full of an endless stream of logistical challenges, to-dos, and parenting dilemmas.

And yet, when it comes to what we actually fight about, most of us have a pretty short list. The same three to five recycled conflicts just keep popping up, again and again.

For us, it's three things: balancing time spent with each...

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Marriage doesn’t have to be hard. Good habits make it easier.

 

Over the last few years, we've immersed ourselves in the cultural conversation on marriage. What we've found is that just about everyone, from bloggers to therapists to celebrities, seems intent on promoting the same marital cliché: marriage is hard.

It's a platitude that is at least partially true. Early on in marriage, it's helpful to hear this. For us, for example, we walked into marriage with all sorts of misguided ideas. We thought marriage would be more like...

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Navigating and Resolving Political Conflicts in Marriage

conflict fairness stress Oct 13, 2020

Ah, politics.

It’s on everyone’s mind these days. And, let's face it, conditions of polarization and disagreement haven’t just intensified in government, society, and the media. They've also intensified in marriage.

Some couples experience the most extreme form of these political conflicts, with one partner representing the far Left and the other the far Right. In the US right now, this looks like an ardent Biden supporter and an ardent Trump supporter, struggling each...

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The Power of Creating Physical and Mental Space in Marriage

 

Over the last six or so months, many couples have experienced the disappearance of space. Physical space is gone. We used to have work, business trips, the gym, and all sorts of other events and activities in life that provided this kind of physical space and separation from each other.

But that’s only part of the problem. We are also experiencing the disappearance of mental space. This form of space is less tangible but perhaps even more significant. It’s space from...

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