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Keeping Score is Bad. Accountability is Good. But what's the difference?

conflict fairness roles stress Sep 02, 2020

It’s date night. You've arranged the childcare. And you and your partner have a clear agreement to meet at 6pm.

There’s just one problem. It’s now 6:15pm, and your partner is nowhere to be found.

You feel angry and rightly so. You text them: "WHERE ARE YOU?" When your partner finally does arrive, at 6:20pm, how do you respond?

It's a question worth asking because your response in moments like these has the power to strengthen or destroy your connection. When...

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Your Spouse is Into Something Weird (What Do You Do?)

conflict habits stress Aug 26, 2020

A couple months ago, Nate took up a bizarre practice. After reading the recently released book Breath by James Nestor, he became convinced of the benefits of nasal breathing (breathing through your nose instead of your mouth).

The scientific case for nasal breathing is robust. A vast body of evidence shows that simply breathing through your nose improves sleep quality, reduces stress, and enhances our ability to absorb oxygen.

There’s just one problem. How do you breathe...

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How to Eliminate Envy and Jealousy (And Improve Your Marriage in the Process)

conflict science stress Aug 19, 2020

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 so...

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How can you tell the difference between big and little problems in marriage?

The last several months have been hard on everyone. We've heard this from countless couples. We’ve also heard them say, “Sometimes, I can't tell whether we are just having a bad day or whether something is really wrong.”

At the individual level, this can show up as having trouble distinguishing life's ordinary upsets from something more serious: chronic anxiety, depression, or burnout.

In marriage, this can show up as having trouble distinguishing everyday tiffs...

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When do Friendships Outside of Marriage Turn Into Entanglements?

affairs conflict sex Jul 22, 2020

 

Will and Jada Smith recently introduced a new word into the vernacular of marriage: “entanglements." It’s their way of referring to the people outside your marriage who blur the line between friendship and an emotional or actual affair.

We thought this whole idea of “entanglements" raised a fascinating question: when does a relationship outside of marriage become something more like an emotional affair? When does it begin to undermine intimacy and trust in...

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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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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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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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