Thursday, December 29, 2011

What Are Your Relationship Intentions for the New Year?

Most of us tend to think about things we want to change about ourselves in the New Year. The most common resolution is to lose weight. Stopping smoking, and getting more sleep or exercise, are also common goals.

But what are your intentions for your relationship? What do you personally want to commit to changing about yourself that will improve your relationship? What would the two of you like to work on as a couple?

Now is a great time to have a conversation about how to make things work better for the two of you, and get the year started off on a great footing. May you and yours have a most happy and healthy 2012!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Divorce and the Holidays

We have a guest post today from my good friend, and matrimonial attorney, Amy DeShong. Navigating the holidays when you're divorced can be especially difficult. Amy offers some good tips:

How to Survive the Holidays

If you are going through a divorce, the holiday season can be a special nightmare.

The expectations of your family of origin and/or those of your in-laws are added to the demands placed upon you by your spouse, your kids, and your work place. If you are not employed, you may feel inadequate and horrible because you cannot provide the kind of gifts for your family that you may have given in the past. False expressions of “good cheer” are everywhere. You may feel guilty if you are the one who wants the divorce and your spouse may be all too good at pushing those buttons.

Here are some tips for getting through it all:

1. Place yourself in your children’s shoes. Really. When you are tempted to argue with your spouse, respond to an attack launched by your spouse, or even launch one of your own, stop, breathe, and think. Where are your kids at that very moment?

Are they in the next room? Are they in the back seat? Are they upstairs in your house? If so, they are within earshot. They are probably even straining to listen. Don’t kid yourself.

You cannot control your spouse any more than you can control the north wind. You can control your response to your spouse’s behavior. End any chance of things escalating into an argument. Acknowledge whatever legitimate point is in your spouse’s message and do your best to respond only to that. If you are wrong, say so and apologize. Offer to think about what he or she is telling you and tell him or her that you will respond at a later date. If you can, paraphrase the content of your spouse’s message, so that he or she sees that you have indeed heard it.

Example 1: “Jen, I understand that you are mad because I got here 30 minutes late and that is making you late for your doctor’s appointment. I got stuck at the office and I am sorry. I will make sure it does not happen again. If something happens that I cannot control, I will call you right away.”

Example 2: “I understand that you are very angry with me, but I do not think we can have a good conversation about it right now. Let’s see when we can talk about (lateness, money, whatever the problem is) when we are alone and we are better able to do it without yelling at each other.”

Example 3: “I hear you. This is something that our attorneys will have to discuss and advise about because I do not know what the answer is. I will call mine first thing in the morning and ask for his/her guidance.”

Example 4: “I hear you and I want to understand why you are so upset. As long as you are screaming at me, however, I just can’t do that.”

If none of this is possible, leave the room. Leave the house if you have to. Drive away. Whatever it takes to break the circuit. Try to envision your spouse as a co-worker. You wouldn’t launch into an intensely personal argument in the work place, even if you were unfairly attacked, would you?

2. If you normally use alcohol to get you through difficult family events, do not do it this year. Remain focused and alert. You want to be in full control of your ears and your mouth so that you can respond appropriately to any provocations. After having a few beers or too many glasses of nice wine, you will find it harder to keep your mouth shut.

3. If your spouse backs out of or tries to change a holiday custody agreement, is late for a pick up or drop off, or holds your kids hostage for an hour or two, go back to Tip #1. Give way.

This is hard. It’s really hard. Be that parent who takes the high road. Your kids don’t care who “wins” – they just know that if mom and dad spend the next 15 minutes fighting over pick up, drop off, or who does the driving, they’ll be late for or even miss their holiday concert. Unless your spouse’s conduct threatens an overnight or the holiday itself, it is rarely in your economic best interests to get your attorney involved.

4. Remember that your new relationship takes a back seat to the (reasonable) needs of your kids. If your significant other starts placing demands on you that are out of the blue and feel unfair and unreasonable, he or she is probably feeling insecure about his or her place in your heart. The holidays heighten our sensitivities to that stuff. Stop, hug, and talk. Your significant other may be worried about his or her role in your life – give him or her permission to directly tell you about those feelings, rather than acting out, so that you may respond appropriately.

5. Do the same with your kids. If it feels like they are making crazy demands, being especially needy, or seeking to manipulate you, ask them about their feelings and try to do so directly. Are they feeling threatened by your girlfriend? Are they terrified that if they show any kindness toward her, their mom will punish them? Are they worried that they are losing you?

6. Be patient with yourself. You are not perfect. Perfect people are very dull. All that stuff that always drives you nuts during the holidays is still out there, in addition to your divorce. If you continue to circle back to Tip #1, you will find yourself starting the New Year without regrets.

And I just told you not to drink!

Submitted by

Amy P. De Shong, Esquire
Fellow, American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers
Wisler Pearlstine, LLP
460 Norristown Road, Suite 110
Blue Bell, PA 19422-2326
Phone: (610) 825-8400
Fax: (610) 828-4887
(Copyright 12/21/11)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

How Do You Juggle Family Time Over the Holidays?

If you are like most families, there are more people to visit over the holidays, than there are days to do it! His family. Her family. Extended families. And of course, if you're already a blended family with step-children, things get even more complicated!

The holidays are stressful to begin with. We tend to eat too much, spend to much, sleep too little, and so forth. Add all of the family obligations into the mix and it's enough to make you want to hibernate until Ground Hog's Day!

How do YOU juggle all the family obligations and maintain some sense of sanity? I'd love to hear your ideas.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Stress and the Holidays

Do you find that during this time of year, you and your spouse or significant other are especially testy? Maybe it's the kids wanting everything they see on TV, or whatever they think their friends are getting. Maybe you've already blown the budget. Maybe decorating and shopping and holiday parties have you sleep deprived and cranky. Maybe you're expecting visits from inlaws, or traveling during this busy period. No doubt about it, from Thanksgiving until the New Year is the most hectic, stressful time for most of us.

So how should you handle it? First of all, remember, "under stress, we regress." So do your spouse and kids. Cut them some slack. And for yourself - remember that it's not about perfection. The holidays will be lovely, even if there isn't as big a budget as you would like, and even if you gain a pound or two. Relax. Make it a point to get the sleep you need and also exercise - even if it means saying "no" to baking a couple more batches of cookies or to one more shopping trip.

Take five minutes once or twice a day to just do some deep breathing and center yourself. Relax by soaking in a hot tub. When you are rested and relaxed, you will accomplish more in less time - so you're really not losing any time. And encourage your family members to do the same. If the holidays are making them manic, remind them to stop, take a deep breath, relax.

Most of all - maintain perspective. It's not so much about gifts and decorations and food. It's about enjoying reaching out to family and friends we often don't see throughout the year. It's about peace, joy, love, hope for a bright and healthy new year. Remembering what's most important will help you manage the holiday chaos.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Another Great Amazon Review!

Many thanks to Grady for this review:

5.0 out of 5 stars Accessible Information from a Relationship Expert, December 7, 2011
By Grady Harp (Los Angeles, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(TOP 10 REVIEWER) (VINE VOICE) (REAL NAME) This review is from: Divorce-Proof Your Marriage Before You Say "I Do" (Paperback)
Dr. Lee A. Bowers is a psychologist in Pennsylvania who must have one of the most devoted clientele ever! In this brief but very well turned book she presents seven conversations essential to assure that coupling in a relationship will be successful before marriage. She presents this material in a manner that is warmly supportive and is obviously intended for uses by same sex couples as well as heterosexual couples, as much for people who simply want a solid non-married relationship as well as for those who are considering marriage, and for those in relationships who need to refresh their minds and lives and support systems to continue the march toward a solid togetherness.

Dr. Bowers sets her book into chapters, each chapter devoted to the seven essential conversations of the title: Idiosyncrasies, Money, Children and Pets, Core Values, Friends and Family, Sex and Gender Roles, and Communication. In each of these chapters she explains (or re-explains in a fresh way!) the importance of coming to agreement on the potential bumps in the road that a committed relationship can encounter. The seven conversations seem obvious at first, but read the manner in which the good doctor explains the approaches to both sides of a potential problem and the reader will find a wealth of homespun information that is wise and full of rich guidance. Little things, such as a man's proclivity to hag the television for sports programs and keep the controls in his hand; how money is perceived - as an equal earner versus a wage earner and homemaker; uncovering how each partner feels about not only children but also pets!; setting aside time for meaningful communication, etc etc.

Yes, much of what Dr. Bowers writes has been said before, but the way she makes her points is by giving examples of couples with whom she has dealt on every point she makes - a technique that makes the importance of the 'conversation' shine more brightly and certainly more clearly. For couples and for those thinking of coupling, this is a very fine book. Grady Harp, December 11

Thursday, December 1, 2011

My Recent Interview

Hi Everyone!

I was recently interviewed for "The Lit Chick Show." Thought you might like to watch!

Monday, November 28, 2011

New 5 Star Amazon Review

Many thanks to PaulK for his Five Star Review of "Divorce Proof"

" A must read for anyone (or better yet any couple) contemplating entering a committed relationship. Very well written with a wealth of illustrative examples drawn from the experiences of couples faced with the all too common, but often unanticipated or under estimated, complexities of a shared life. Especially relevant to the challenges that a happy, mutually satisfying, and enduring relationship faces today, this book provides the insights for conversations that support a greater understanding, mutual appreciation and intimacy essential to any successful relationship."

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Thanksgiving Message

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!

On this day, we take time to focus on the things for which we're grateful. besides all the material blessings you may have, be sure to think about the blessings in your relationships. Family, spouse, best friend - what are the things about that person that you especially treasure? Have you told them lately?

Unfortunately, all too often, we neglect to tell those people closest to us how much they matter in our lives. What are the little, or not so little things, they do that you most appreciate?

Feeling unappreciated is one of the biggest complaints I hear when I'm working with couples. Make sure, during this season of giving thanks, that you express your gratitude to the people you most cherish.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Culture of Marriage Around The World

Today we have a guest blog from Neeraj Sachdeva, a PhD candidate who writes about freelancing and self-improvement, often together. You can read about his take on the Essence of Friendship . He also invites you to complete a free test to find your current motivation levels.

Marriage, as a sacred institution, marks an important point in everyone’s life; and one day, it will be just as important in mine. Most of the 25 long and interesting years that I have spent until now have been based on these ideals, and marriage…nay….a successful marriage is something that I look forward to. As we grow and come into our own, we realize that there are some harsh truths to life – nothing is permanent, compatibility is the foundation of relationships, love will only take you so far and more…

So far I have led an interesting life, spending considerable amount of time outside my home country. This post is part confession, part obligation and in some part, information on what marriage, to me, has come to mean.
My folks still claim that marriage is a sacred institution and it marks an important point in one’s life. I still agree with them. Growing up in India was fascinating, to say the least. Spending countless evenings at weddings and being told that someday it will be my turn seems like a memory in continuous loop, one that will always remain.

Indian weddings are notoriously big and pompous in exhibition, leading me to believe that marriage is not really an institution, as my parents made it out to be. Yet, it is. Irrespective of how big the celebrations get, the bride and groom - by the end - are left to their own devices. Tradition still dictates – and people follow – that the newlywed couple must live with the groom’s parents. This is the protective nature of Indian families, and a testament to how difficult marriage and adjustment for women can be, after the day that marks a new chapter in their lives. Indian culture demands respect and obligatory following of whatever is ordered. I was born into this culture, but I seem to have grown out of it. Or so I thought.

Most of my formative years were spent in England, living out of two suitcases, moving from one apartment to another. We as humans value independence, and rightly rejoice it. Yet, I was surprised when married people around me demanded independence and ‘some time alone’ from their spouse. Countless movies had prepared me for the life ahead in England, and I realized that even though marriage was still looked upon, it was by no means a necessity or a norm. On my part, my parents call it corruption of thoughts, but I call it growing up.

Married life in England was not much different from that in India. Well, maybe, a little lonelier. Less people and nuclear families meant that there was little interaction between different married couples. Moreover, many independent and ‘lost’ parts of those couple often found themselves in bed with an independent and ‘lost’ part of another couple. This was heartbreaking, and truly demystified marriage as an institution. The worst was still to come.

The idea of ‘snow-day’ in England was very exciting. Finland has over 100 snow-days; only, they don’t call them snow-day. They call them winter; just regular, plain old winter. So by the age of 24, following in the footsteps of the girl I loved – Finnish – I moved to Finland. There I learnt something new about marriage, something that would shake my foundations and make me question the age-old wisdom my parents so hopefully imparted.

Finland, just like Sweden, has a high divorce rate of 51%. Just a number, right? But imagine this, 51% of the couples, divorce. That is, one in every 2 marriages falls apart, completely. Yet, I learnt that such a high divorce rate did not represent great sadness and frustration in the people of this cold Nordic country – as I thought I would discover. Instead, people were happy and independent, enjoying the finer aspects of their single, and to my discovery, lonely life.

So is divorce really such a bad thing? It would seem not. But rest assured, I don’t intend to think about getting a divorce, even before I get married.
So in this mish-mash of cultures, where do I now stand? I currently straddle the borders of India, England and Finland, emotionally and mentally. When it comes to marriage, I still consider it to be a sacred institution and only wish to marry once, and follow my elders. But there is an addendum – if things were to break down, I would keep my head held high and my integrity intact. Does that make me less scared? Hell no!

The differences in culture that I have encountered have opened my eyes, and italicized everything that is beautiful about how similar yet different we all are. Marrying into another culture is such an interesting yet difficult proposition. It comes with its own issues and its own problems. Getting to know someone and then getting to know their culture requires time and effort on anyone’s part, and there is no guarantee for success. But if you try, you can be better prepared, can learn to enjoy the differences and savor the similarities that make marriage a beautiful institution.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Talking About the Tough Stuff

Most couples have certain subjects that are taboo - or at least very difficult to talk about. My book, "Divorce Proof Your Marriage Before You Say 'I Do' helps couples with these conversations. But what are the topics in YOUR relationship that need to be discussed but are being swept under the carpet? Does it relate to children? money? sex?

I'd love for us to get a conversation going on this blog about those difficult to talk about subjects.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Practical Love

Today, guest blogger, Kenneth Weane, Ph.D., returns with his thoughts about "Practical Love."

The two best indicators of the outcome of marriage counseling are the simple questions. Do you still love him (her)? If you knew then what you know now, would you still have gotten married?

What didn’t you know? That is the typical follow up question. What indeed? Most common are answers about previous relationships, the controlling ways of the partner, and surprisingly often money issue. Two of the three are about what I call the practicality of love – how people deal with practical issues in their love relationship.

Love has many dimensions. Too often the practicality of love is ignored by those caught in the emotional roller coaster. While affect is wonderful, especially during those early days of wonder and sexuality, the practical issues soon rise to the surface. Problems must be solved and finances must be dealt with.

Religion and politics used to be the taboo subjects in our society, which made discussing them before marriage both important and often avoided. Today, we don’t talk about money. We don’t mention credit cards. We don’t say anything about student loans. If the subject can’t be avoided – usually because one person has notable and well-known wealth – a prenuptial agreement is the form of discussion, which tells very little about how the two people actually think and feel about the Benjamins.

Surprisingly, when both partners are entering a second marriage, they are even less likely to discuss money. They think it would look like they were looking for something rather than wanting to reassure their partner that they are really quite self-sufficient. It is often the potential spouse who is actually most eager to get material benefit from the marriage who will be most dismissive. The words, “Come on, we’re both responsible adults” should be a red flag. Usually the one saying it really means I’m looking for a teat to suck.

Which brings us to the real crux of the practical side of love – how are we as a couple going to solve problems? While some books advocate a simple, the man knows best, approach to relationships, most of us recognize that couples need a process by which those concrete decisions are made. There has to be a sense of teamwork and fairness if love is to endure.
If you have a doubt in the back of your head, perhaps you should create a small problem to be solved. One way to do that is to set up a situation in nature. Few things test a person’s ability to work with others to solve problems and the person’s willingness to do his (her) share than rafting down a roiling river. Playing paintball is another good test of a person’s capacity to be on a team. Heck, just go camping and leave out some of the equipment so that there is a small crisis.

You don’t like the outdoors? Okay, start a small redecorating project and make sure it is one that has a built in difficulty. For example make sure the paint you want to use won’t cover the last paint job. Be sure that the bathtub you are removing is a really cumbersome one. Sometimes counselors will come up with a task if a couple in pre-marital counseling needs one. I like asking couples to work on a story prompted by a psychological testing picture. On retreats I used building a clay project without any words (including writing). How do you as a couple come to agreement on the project to say nothing of the execution?

I want to close with a story from my years of practice. I had taken about 45 of my clients on a white water rafting trip. One woman, Linda, was an intelligent lady whose life had been spent raising seven children. Her husband, Tom, was fairly well known in engineering circles. He was in great demand as a consultant. In their marriage he was clearly the leader, which was fine with Linda. But there was something that she couldn’t articulate, something that made her unhappy in the relationship. The problem certainly didn’t appear to be related to the material and practical side of their life. He earned well. They lived in a nice home in a decent community.

Linda was in a therapy group in which she received much positive stroking but in which the men also wondered what on earth was her complaint when Tom seemed like such a good man and provider.

I was in the sweep raft where I could help any of the rafts that were in trouble. About a third of the way down the river we came on Tom standing on a rock. The others in the raft had thrown him out. Why? Because he had been ruining their trip. At every rapid or eddy he had tried to study the problem, figure out just how to proceed. The result was that instead of getting good runs, the raft had been stuck on almost every rock. Bob’s problem solving approach was excellent engineering but horrible for life.
Both Linda and Tom grew as a result of the trip. Linda was better able to articulate the issue, and Tom for the first time understood that maybe part of the problem that seemed to be hiding in the marriage came from him.
The practical part of a relationship is very important if you don’t want to end up stuck on those rocks.

Brief Bio:

A New Englander by upbringing and inclination, Kenneth Weene is a teacher, psychologist and pastoral counselor by education. He is a writer by passion.

Ken’s short stories and poetry have appeared in numerous publications including Sol Spirits, Palo Verde Pages, Vox Poetica Clutching at Straws, The Word Place, Legendary, Sex and Murder Magazine, The New Flesh Magazine, The Santa Fe Literary Review, Daily Flashes of Erotica Quarterly, Bewildering Stories, A Word With You Press, Mirror Dance, and The Aurorean.

Ken’s novels, Widow’s Walk and Memoirs From the Asylum are published by All Things That Matter Press. ATTMP will soon be bringing out Tales From the Dew Drop Inne: Because there’s one in every town. Widow’s Walk is of particular relevance to those who are interested in relationships, love, and family.

To learn more about Ken’s writing visit:
For a trailer about Widow’s Walk visit:

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

How To Have a Healthy Argument

The following is re-posted from the Marriage Help Center's Blog. To subscribe, go to:

In the heat of the moment, we often operate out of anger, bitterness, resentment, and all the other stuff that keeps us living below the line. When EMOTIONS run high, INTELLIGENCE runs low. This leads to blow-outs, attacks, and saying hurtful things. Nobody wins. No resolution is found and one more thing gets added to the pile of resentful ammunition for the next battle.

Is it possible to bring up issues in a productive and effective way? Is it possible to be heard and to come to a resolution? There is a formula, a science, a method, but it takes PRACTICE.

Here are a few simple tools to having a PRODUCTIVE argument.

Timing is everything: When there is an issue that you would like to address ask your partner to make time to sit down with you. Spur of the moment arguments tend to escalate because they feel like a sudden attack. They also tend to be walked out on because something else was planned or comes up. Set a time and don't allow for distractions or interruptions.
Set-up: Sit down with your partner in a dyad. Remember the dyad rules, knee to knee, maintain eye contact, and when one person is speaking, the other person is listening. This creates focus on the issue at hand and eliminates distractions. If you know this issue could become heated, choose a public place, like a coffee shop or restaurant to avoid blow-ups.

Put the gloves down: If you are entering into the discussion in "attack
mode", your partner's gloves will go up and they won't hear anything you say. Change your “state” before going into the argument. Go in with an open mind and a willingness to listen. Remind yourself of what you want; a happy and healthy relationship! This will require you to listen as well and see things from the other person’s perspective.

Words are weapons: Choose your words wisely. The wording used sets the tone for the talk. Avoid escalator words such as "never", "always", and "need". Start the discussion by letting your partner know your intentions and your desires. When we present a list of 'needs' or 'complaints' or 'expectations', it draws out feelings of inferiority and not being good enough. Try to follow this format:

o 1st State your intention. E.g. “My intention is to have a closer relationship with you, and not have this barrier between us because I love you so much.”

o A: What I desire from you is (or for our relationship or for our family, etc) _______________________________. (BE SPECIFIC, for example "I desire more alone time with you.”)

o B: What I heard you say is ________________________________.

o A: Clarify if they didn't hear you correctly. Again, do not become defensive if they heard you incorrectly. Be specific and try using different words to help them understand what it is you truly desire.

o B: So what you desire from me is _________________________? (Ensure you are listening to what they are saying, not what you think they mean).

o B: What I think about that is _____________________________ and how I feel about that is ______________________________. And what I'm willing to do about that is _______________________________.

· 5. If necessary, involve a third party to mediate. This could be a mutual friend or family member that you both trust or a coach.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

A Post From Seed For Couples

Below is a great post/tweet I just read from Seeds for Couples. It's some excellent tips for a healthy marriage:

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

What About Money?

Many studies have shown that money is the single biggest issue over which couples disagree. How money is to be handled is often not discussed before marraige, and it needs to be. The rule of not talking about money or politics may be appropriate at a party, but not if you're planning to spend the rest of your life with someone!

Money represents different things to different people. For some, money is power. S/he who makes the most gets to decide how it's spent. For others, it is status, and for still others, security. Are you a spender or a saver? Do you have an investment and/or retirement plan? Are you saving for something big like a house or college education? How do you feel about debt? Are you living within your means? Do you hoard money?

Fist, you need to know your own feelings and attitudes about money, and then, your partner's. These are important and necessary discussions to have. I'd love to hear from some of you - how have you handled money in your marriages? What has worked for you and what hasn't worked?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Four Little Words that Could Get Your Marriage Back on Track

We have another guest blogger today. Dana Flannery is a marriage celebrant and Website Marketing Consultant. She has written dozens of articles for brides and same sex couples preparing for a life time together. Here's what she has to say:

Sometimes the biggest change can be the simplest and there are four simple little words that could help you make the change that saves your marriage. No, not, “I love you, but” or “yes dear, I will”, not even “You’re right, I’m sorry”…. Conflict resolution is not about giving in to what the other person demands or just avoiding fights, it’s about expressing how you feel and giving your partner clear instructions on what you need – “I feel, I need” the four little words that could save your marriage!

The Argument Circle

Are you a grudge holder? Nit picker? Nagger? Closed book? Our own behaviors are hard for us to recognize and even harder for our partners to ignore. This can establish a damaging and unrelenting cycle where a single argument is never really concluded, allowing it to be built upon with every additional incident until a marriage turns sour.

Identifying the problem

If simply identifying the exact problem in your marriage was that easy, nobody would ever get divorced. They say there are three sides to every story, his, hers and the truth and nobody can see all three.

Instead of taking on such an overwhelming task, take the smaller step of identifying which feelings are lighting the fire in an argument. For example, your partner is late for dinner, you worked hard but it’s gone cold and it’s not the first time. Your reaction may be anger even though what you are feeling is frustration or hurt. Identifying the feeling isn’t as easy as you might think. Throughout our lives, we develop emotional protection mechanisms and in “fight or flight” situations, we race to our protected state, be it anger, depression, rage, hurt or even denial. The first step is to rule out your default protective state and get to the core of what you are feeling.

Angrily shouting at your partner for being late is different to telling them “I feel unappreciated” which is the actual, real problem.

Remember though, you must always express it as “I feel (emotion)” never “I feel like you are always…….” This is about how you feel, not about their behaviour.

Tell Them How To Fix It

Just about every marriage suffers communication problems to some degree. If you feel you’ve been telling your partner the same thing over and over again (they’ll call it nagging) it may be that they are not sure how to resolve the issue. A clear statement of what you need done will rule out any communication problems.

So, instead of ranting about being late, give your partner a clear, easy to follow instruction for correcting the situation:

“I need you to call if you are going to be late”

Put it into Practice

Your partner now understands how you are feeling and they have a clear instruction on how to correct their behavior. If need be, ask them to repeat it back to you to be sure that there are no communication issues. Your partner may respond with their own feelings and needs “I feel pressured. I need you to understand how busy my job can be”

Once you’ve identified a way to resolve the problem together, work at putting the new conditions into place. When your partner calls to tell you they’re delayed, make sure you show that you appreciate the call and that you understand that they have a high pressure job.

To Forgive or Not to Forgive….

If your partner is unwilling to respond to your emotional needs (not forgetful but unwilling) you may need to consider therapy or even more dramatic measures. While many marriages can be saved, some are better broken, especially when one partner exhibits grossly inappropriate behavior such as violence or control.

But if you see that your partner is actively trying to respond to your emotional needs and working on communication problems, then maybe your problems can be resolved and maybe you’ll find your happy ever after…after all.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Things to Discuss Before Getting Married

Today we have a guest blogger, Rohitesh Naik. Although I don't believe he's read the book, it's amazing how his article essentially sumarizes it!

Gеttіng mаrried iѕ vеry еxсitіng! Fіrѕt thе рroрosаl, then thе rіng, аnd оf cоurse thе bіg daу!

But getting mаrrіеd іsn't onlу abоut thе wеddіng-the qualіtу оf the marriage thаt fоllоwѕ іѕ whаt rеаlly сountѕ. So hоw dо уоu makе sure уou ѕtаrt on thе rіght рath? Rеаd оn for thе 10 mоst іmрortant thіngѕ уоu shоuld disсuѕѕ bеfоrе marriagе.

1. Decіsіon Mаking

Sincе marrіаgе іs аll abоut соmрrоmіsе, thе аrt оf nеgоtіаtіon іs an imроrtant ѕkill. Make ѕure уоu and yоur pаrtnеr agreе аbоut hоw the relatіоnship ѕhould wоrk. Shаrіng deсіsіоnѕ аnd deсіding tоgethеr whо should dесіdе whаt rеquirеѕ lіѕtening, nеgotіаting, аnd рrоblеm-solvіng ѕkills. You don't nееd tо bе pеrfeсt аt іt, but yоu both neеd to undеrѕtand what уou're working to.

2. Chorеѕ аnd Tаѕks

Arе уоu taking сarе оf lаundrу аnd сleanіng whіle уоu mаn doеs уаrd аnd hоuѕеwork? You ѕhоuld never аѕsume theѕе tаskѕ wіll be divviеd uр-talk аbout thеm. Relаtіоnѕhіp rоlеs hаve bеen chаnging fоr уearѕ and dіffеr frоm fаmіly tо fаmіly. Talking abоut thеsе tаskѕ bеforе mаrrіagе gives yоu a foundatіоn tо build later disсuѕѕіonѕ if and whеn you fіnd уоu аrеn't hарру wіth thе ѕіtuаtіоn.

3. Chіldren

Dо you bоth wаnt сhildren? Hоw mаnу? And іf уоu dо hаvе сhіldrеn, how dо уou рlаn tо raise thеm? Fоr ѕomе people havіng chіldrеn sееms lіkе an obvіоuѕ pаrt оf marrіage-but not еverуone. Diѕсusѕіng hоw manу сhildrеn you wаnt bеfоre mаrrіаgе cаn ѕаvе уou thе trоuble of finding оut yоur partnеr nеver wаntѕ kіdѕ after marrіаge.

4. Rеligіоn and Vаluеѕ

You'rе probablу аlrеаdy mаrrуing someоnе whо ѕhares the sаmе vаlues аѕ уоu. But religіon and vаluеѕ аre importаnt to diѕcuѕѕ bеcauѕe реоple uѕuаllу tаkе theѕе thіngѕ much more ѕeriоuslу aftеr marriagе, and еѕресiаllу ѕеrіоuѕ аftеr having сhildrеn.

5. Connесtion tо Famіly

Will yоu sреnd Chriѕtmаs Eve wіth hіs fаmіly, аnd Chrіstmаs day wіth yours? Thеѕе detailѕ mаy nоt seеm tоo imрortаnt nоw, but theу саn bеcome a mаjor sоurсe оf соnflict wіth famіlіeѕ іf everyоnе fееlѕ thеу'rе nоt getting enough оf уour time. Familу devotion cаn cauѕе futurе conflict if уоu hаvеn't aссeрted оnе аnоthеrѕ imрortаnсe оf family.

6. Cаreers

Cаreеr pathѕ usuаllу changе оver tіmе, ѕо yоu need tо know that your раrtnеr wіll be suрроrtіve аnd rеsрeсtful оf уоur dесіsіоns wіth уоur сarееr, аnd that yоu wіll be thе ѕаmе with thеіrѕ.

7. Sex

You ѕhоuld bе аblе to оpеnly and frееlу dіsсuѕs sеx wіth yоur pаrtnеr. Alwаys be ореn аnd honеѕt аnd willing to cоmmuniсаte abоut іt. Mаkе ѕurе thаt you cаn both talk аbоut sex сomfоrtаblу becаuse ѕеx thаt's nevеr dіѕсuѕѕеd саn beсomе unѕаtiѕfуіng to оnе оr bоth оf уоu.

8. Monеy

Arе you а sаvеr whіlе yоur pаrtnеr іs а ѕрender? Mоneу trоubleѕ arе the lеаding cauѕe оf rеlаtіоnѕhір рrоblems, and it'ѕ impоrtаnt tо dіѕсuss thеm befоrе they gеt out оf contrоl. Agrее on budgetѕ and mоnеy sреndіng habitѕ thаt fit bоth оf yоur neеdѕ.

9. Tіmе Togеther

Do уоu рlаn on ѕрendіng еvеrу Sunday wіth yоur pаrtnеr watching mоviеѕ? Yоur раrtner mау havе ѕomethіng elѕe раned fоr theіr Sundaуѕ. Dіѕcuss thеѕе thingѕ and dоn't аѕѕumе whаt your раrtnеr wоuld lіkе to do-it cаn lеad tо unnеcеѕѕarу diѕарpоintmеnt.

10. Drugs, Alcоhol, Gаmblіng

By thе time уou dеcidе tо get marrіed to yоur partnеr, уоu'rе рrobаblу аlrеаdy wеll awаrе оf аnу аddiсtіоns they maу have. If somethіng іs serіouѕ enоugh to rеquіrе help, dіscuѕs how уou'll handlе іt tоgеther. Dеcide іf оnе of bоth оf уou ѕhould ѕeek сounѕeling and be surе уоu аgree аnd deаl wіth іt togethеr..

About the Author : Rohitesh Naik, a Freelance writer and a Internet Marketer who presently writes about the Upcoming Verizon Phones. It includes all the the news and updates about New Verizon Phones.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Grieving the Losses That Come With Divorce

The following is an article I wrote for the website:

No matter how easy or difficult, friendly or acrimonious your divorce, there will always be a certain amount of grief to be experienced. Just like with the death of a loved one, the death of a marriage is accompanied by sadness, anger, guilt, and, eventually, acceptance. Even if you are the one who wanted the divorce, you will experience grief.

Children rarely escape unscathed in a divorce. It hurts them, even if ultimately, the divorce is better for them than seeing and hearing their parents constantly fighting. Their lives change. They may lose a certain sense of security. They may be going back and forth between two homes – at least one of which is new, and therefore strange, to them.

On some level, children will miss a nuclear home and the absent parent, even if, on the surface, they have sided with one over the other, or if they appear to be unphased by the changes. Sometimes a divorce requires a move, and maybe a new neighborhood or new school. Maybe a once stay at home Mom will have to go back to work. Life will be different for them in many ways, and change is always at least a little frightening.

Everyone in the family suffers financially from a divorce. The bottom line is that it takes more money to support two households than it does one. That means sacrifices are made on everyone’s part. Sometimes it means downsizing a house, or having no money for any discretionary spending. I’ve seen so many people struggle financially as a result of divorce, and while they may not regret the divorce, they often underestimate the financial struggle it is.

If one person wanted the divorce and the other didn’t, the person who is left often feels alone. They miss the presence of a partner in the house and they feel lonely. Sometimes they also feel unprepared to handle the things their spouse used to take care of, whether that’s balancing the checkbook, doing yard work, or laundry, cooking, or helping the kids with homework. And of course, the person you once loved very much, is no longer in your life in the same way, and that is a huge loss.

Socially, divorce brings about many challenging changes, and usually a lot of loss. Couples who were friends with you and your spouse will often struggle with mixed loyalties. Rather than chose one over the other, they will often pull back all together. You will likely not be invited to things that are more couples’ oriented. Most likely, you will need to develop a new social life as a single person and that can be difficult and scary. Divorce support groups can be a wonderful place to start.

Maybe the greatest loss is the loss of the hopes and dreams that you invested in your marriage. There was a time when you were very much in love and you had visions of what your life would be like together. You made a lot of plans and spent time and energy in the expectation that you would together create whatever your personal version of that white picket fence was. And then, it either didn’t happen, or it all came tumbling down.

But the good news is that we human beings are a resilient bunch. You will go through the grieving process and eventually get to that point of acceptance, and you will have learned a tremendous amount about yourself in the process. Life will be different, but different is neither good nor bad, it’s just different. And about those hopes and dreams – they don’t have to die. You’re older and more experienced and probably have some other ideas now about what you’d like, but by all means, hold onto those hopes and dreams. With all you’ve learned and experienced, you’ll have a clearer path for getting there, even if the picket fence is green next time!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Never Being Childish About Children

Today, I have a guest blogger. Trevor Munday is a marketer for Vanquis Bank,, has an interest in psychology and been happily married for ten years and counting.

It seems in today's society, things often happen in reverse: couples have kids, move in together and finally get married. Sometimes these relationships work out, but statistics would suggest that for the majority, this is too much intensity on a relationship at an early stage of its development. Although couples can stay together for the sake of children, a relationship often suffers if the participants feel that the focus is on children, and not on each other. The best types of relationships stem from a mutual admiration that is furthered by the addition of children; this is also the most stable environment in which to raise a child.

Although it may be a "red flag" to some to be discussing children at the onset of a relationship, children can quickly become a deal-breaker further into a marriage. Most men will not want to be tied into such an important decision early into a relationship, but being able to discuss aspirations, thoughts and practical considerations shows maturity and pragmatism. Even if one doesn't feel ready for the responsibility of children earlier on in life, people's attitudes change along with their social circumstances, and as more friends in your immediate circles start to have kids themselves, this can add to the pressure a couple may feel to have children of their own.

This needs to be a joint decision, if in a situation where one partner is fervently trying for children when the other secretly does not want any, calamity and relationship disaster are sure to follow. Open discussion, even agreement to a timetable (reviewing the domestic finances and job/time balance in one or two years) sounds clinical, but is an intelligent discussion and a responsible attitude to have when looking to bring a new life into the world.

Ensuring that this life-changing decision is a frequent discussion point (as opposed to being a bomb that is dropped at a critical moment) ensures that emotions and feelings will be even, and less of the usual reactions that we frequently fall into when confronting difficult decisions, or ones that potentially involve a great deal of change cause conflict and argument. Even if things don't happen according to plan, having had the issue in mind for a discussion point will leave both partners in a much better state to cope emotionally and intellectually with the preparation and arrival of a new child.

Monday, October 10, 2011

In case you're already dealing with a divorce

Thanks to guest contributor, Neltje Maynez, Writer/Editor at for the article, below. Although "Divorce Proof Your Marriage" is obviously best read PRIOR to tying the knot, some of you are also still dealing with an untying. Naltje offer some good advice:

A couple of years ago, I had the most unpleasant time of going through a divorce of my parents. They had been dealing with problems for a long time―but I never thought that they would reach the point of divorce. It was painful, and I still feel like I am dealing with the consequences. Luckily, I was older when it happened, so I didn't feel so affected by it. But, it's not like it was easy.

However, my parents are still having a hard time with it. I am pretty sure that if they had some counseling, or advice, their divorce could have been less painful, or at least less time-consuming. It seems like more and more people are getting divorced. I was talking with my mom, who had a small support group for divorced people and she gave me 5 tips when it came to divorce.

1) Clean Break
This is one of the most important steps of a divorce. If the papers have been filed and you are legally divorced―it's over. Do not linger with the thought of them coming back. Respect yourself and realize that your marriage is done. Although the words may be harsh―it's better to realize it now than to hold on to a wish that they will come back. Get rid of the things that they have in your place, and get your stuff back. Delete their contact info from your phone. You don't want to be tempted to want to call them back.

2) Time
Healing from a divorce takes time. You will want to get back in the dating scene because you are lonely, but don't do it. That could only lead to more heartbreak in the future. Know that even if it seems really hard, you can do it. Be strong for yourself.

3) Let it Out
Let's be honest, getting a divorce is tough. Don't try to be the hero and bottle all of your emotions inside. You have got to learn that it is ok to feel the way you do―it's normal. However, you don't want to be bitter for the rest of you life. Being angry and hurt is a normal part of being divorced, but don't let it consume you forever.

4) Treat Yourself
Think of your divorce as something that can help make you even better than you already are. If you have gain a little bit of weight, start going to the gym. Start taking care of yourself. You can even start new hobbies that you have always wanted to try.

5) Look to the Future
You are an awesome individual that can do anything that you put your mind to. Don't let a divorce bring you down. It may hurt for a little bit, or even hurt for a long time, but you can do it. Start making goals for yourself. If you have been stuck in a career that you hate, go back to school and change it.

My mom told me that these tips helped her―even years after her divorce. If you are someone that is experiencing this pain, try these tips. Divorce will never be hard, but these tips can help you on your journey. Who knows? Most people that get divorced often find that they are happier without the person they divorced. It will take time to get used to it―but if you let yourself―you can be happier and even more successful.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

What Do You Wish You'd Known Before You Got Married?

I can't tell you how many times I've talked to couples a few years into their marriages, who are finding out all kinds of differences that they have. I often ask, "didn't you talk about these things before you got married?" Usually, the answer is "no." What are the things you wish you'd known about either your partner or yourself, before you took that walk down the aisle?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Things Unsaid

Throughout my career, I’ve found it doesn’t matter if a couple has been together for two weeks, two years or 20; there are always differences and baggage that get swept under the carpet of life but never really go away.  The better equipped we are to know what the important questions are in life and how to go about finding the answers and solutions, the longer and stronger our relationships will be.  After all, isn’t that the point of a committed partnership?  "Divorce Proof" takes couples by the hand and helps them have those conversations.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Birth Announcement!

  • "Divorce Proof Your Marriage Before You Say 'I Do' - Seven Essential Conversations" is officially out there in the world!
  • They say that taking a book from concept to publication is a lot like giving birth.  I really doubt that.  The gestation is a lot longer (about two years actively- 30 years less conciously), but it really wasn't that painful, just time consuming.  I had lots of good support people helping me every step of the way.  If you're thinking about writing a first book, I'd be happy to share my experiences with you.  In the meantime, here it is - TADA!
  •  Let me know what you think!