Select Page

Additional parenting and marriage tips are available every week on our homepage.
Top Ten Parenting Tips | Top Ten Marriage and Relationship Tips

Top Ten Marriage and Relationship Tips #1: The 5 Most Common Causes of Divorce

Leave a Comment

This is the first of the Top Ten Marriage/Relationships Tips that we have found in our 4 decades of speaking to and working with couples throughout the world. This first one puts a new twist on the five most common reasons people give for splitting up or divorcing. The thought is that if these are the five problems or points of disagreement that cause divorce, then total, open communication about each of them may be the five best ways to protect and improve a marriage. The five are Finances, Sex, Parenting, Goals, and Beliefs. How completely do you communicate about each of these. Do you know everything there is to know about each other on each of the five?

For some suggestions about how to maximize your togetherness on these critical relationship subjects:

Video Article Podcast

Top Ten Marriage and Relationship Tips #2: Relish Rather Than Resent Your Differences

Leave a Comment

What is a couple to do if they love each other but are very different from each other and frequently find that they are bothered by things the other person does? First of all change your definition of a good marriage from “Two people who always agree and think alike” to “Two strong, independent people who have chosen to be interdependent but who remain who they are and each bring their unique strengths and views into a synergistic relationship.”

For further insights and practical how-tos on this tip:

Article Podcast Video

Painting by Brian Kershisnik

Top Ten Marriage and Relationship Tips #3: Work Harder at Changing Yourself Than at Changing Your Spouse

Leave a Comment

Three suggestions about what to work hardest on:

1. Good Marriages inevitably improve people’s parenting, but it doesn’t necessarily work the other way around. Work hardest on your marriage relationship and second hardest on your parenting.

2. You may have gone into marriage thinking that you would be able to change your spouse into the person you wanted—into the person who will fulfill all your needs. Stop thinking that and work hardest on changing yourself.

3. Consider this question: Whose happiness do you think you have more control over, your spouse’s or your own? Work hardest on his or her happiness, and in that process you will make yourself happier.

For further insights and practical how-tos on this tip:

Article 1 Article 2 Podcast Video

Painting by Brian Kershisnik

Top Ten Marriage and Relationship Tips #4: Learn and Practice the Three Best Methods of Marital Conflict Resolution

Leave a Comment

Instead of worrying about disagreeing, worry about resolving differences positively. And instead of worrying if your children see you disagreeing (hopefully not violently or angrily), just be sure they also see you resolving things and making up.

There are three methods of marital conflict resolution that seem to always have a positive effect:

1. Rogerian Technique: Have a rule that you have to paraphrase back whatever your spouse has said to his or her satisfaction before you can make your own next point. This will force you to really listen to and understand each other.

2. “Go to the Balcony”. If an argument starts escalating, call a timeout and each of you take a little walk—go “to the balcony”—or go change clothes or do something else for 10 or 15 minutes to reset and get a bigger perspective, and then reconvene when you are both calmer and more collected.

3. Have a “Sunday Session” together each week where you review the past week, plan the next week, and “clear the air” on any bad feelings or unresolved differences from the past week.

For further insights and practical how-tos on this tip:

Article Video Podcast

Painting by Brian Kershisnik

Top Ten Marriage and Relationship Tips #5: Discover, Promise, and Implement Total Commitment

Leave a Comment

Real, full-on, no-caveat, nothing-held-back marriage commitment brings with it life’s greatest security and well-being. Complete commitment can actually become a kind of magic. It is the magic of synergy–of a combination where the total is greater than the sum of its parts; where one plus one can equal more than two. Much more.

Cohabitation or marriages that start with some kind of conditional commitment—the “let’s see how it works out” variety—are fragile and undependable and far more likely to break up when the going gets tough. Instead of saying “Let’s see if we can get through some tough times and then make a full commitment” we should be saying (and understanding) that “it is the total commitment that will get us through the tough times!”

For more practical ideas and how-tos on this subject:

Article 1 Article 2 Podcast

Top Ten Marriage and Relationship Tips #6: Implement The 5 C’s of a Great Marriage

Leave a Comment

In our four decades of working with families and observing all kinds of marriage situations, we have become convinced that there are five elements that maximize the chances for a marriage to be nourishing, loving, enduring and, yes, endlessly romantic. They are Commitment, Compatibility, Courtship, Chastity, and Celebration.

If they were put into an equation, they would look like this: C+C+C+C+C=MM (Maximized Marriage).

What we like about each of these five qualities is that they can all be worked on and progressively strengthened and improved. They also provide a good checklist or an evaluation framework for your marriage. Ask yourself the five questions: How am I doing on C and how could I do better? It’s a question that can be asked about each of the C’s over and over because there is no ceiling, no limit!

For additional ideas on how to improve on each:

Article Podcast Video

Top Ten Marriage and Relationship Tips #7: Trade Independence for Interdependence

Leave a Comment

We live in a world where independence is the perceived goal of almost everyone, and the hoped-for outcome of everything we do. But there is something better. Much better!

It is interdependence!

In an interdependent marriage or relationship, two people essentially trade their independence for something better. They learn that, through total commitment and genuine love, a certain synergy can develop where the total is greater than the sum of its parts. Within the confidence and security of their marriage, they each drop their facades and egos and allow a vulnerability and accept each other’s help. They compensate for each other’s weaknesses, complement each other’s strengths, and create a new entity of oneness without losing their separate individuality. They develop a wonderful, almost magical interdependence that combines synergy, symbiosis, and synchronicity.

For more detail and how-tos on interdependence:

Podcast Article

Painting by Brian Kershisnik

Top Ten Marriage and Relationship Tips #8: The Joining of Two Families

Leave a Comment

Whether we like it or not, marriage is not just between two people. It is between two families. The more that fact is honored and embraced, the better! We have friends who began to refer to their in-laws as “in-loves” and we liked the idea so much we copied it.

If we are parents, we should think of the marriage of a son or daughter as just the gaining of an additional son or daughter. We should think of the family of that new son or daughter as a merger with our family and make every effort to make them even more than friends. Visits, calls, and every other kind of communication should be proactively pursued so we get to know them and love them. If you are the one getting married, or even if that marriage happened a long time ago, make a point of prioritizing your spouse’s family and thinking of them as your family. Anything less will be cheating yourself as well as them!

For practical ideas on how to do this:

Podcast Article

Top Ten Marriage and Relationship Tips #9: Make it a Three-way Partnership

Leave a Comment

To have an eternal marriage, we need an Eternal Managing Partner. When a married couple begins to see a spiritual dimension to their union, it can make a two-way partnership into a three-way partnership and can bring a kind of holiness and perspective into the marriage that lifts it above the daily struggles and deepens the love and commitment.

A large majority of Americans believe in some form of higher power and engage in some kind of prayer. It is only natural to want help from this higher source on the most important relationship of our lives. Approaching marriage spiritually gives it a dimension and a level of commitment that improves its chances of lasting and flourishing.

Getting away together as a couple to communicate and plan and enjoy each other without the kids or cares or distractions of the world can have a powerful strengthening effect, but there is another kind of getting away with a third partner, and it is called prayer. When a couple recognizes not only their interdependence with each other but also their dependence on the Divine, something wonderful happens to a marriage–a new perspective comes, and a kind of help that only the Spirit can bring.

If we think of a husband and a wife as the two lower corners of a triangle, and God as the top point, then the closer we each draw ourselves toward the top, the closer we will find ourselves to each other.

For more ideas and approaches to this spiritual perspective in marriage:

Podcast Article 1 Article 2

Painting by Caitlin Connolly

Top Ten Marriage and Relationship Tips #10: Believe in the Micro and the Micro of Marriage

Leave a Comment

There are plenty of discouraging statistics out there about the decline of marriage and worrisome public opinion polls showing a shocking rise in the number of people who don’t think marriage is any longer relevant.

And sometimes these kinds of statistics and polls can tend to make us lose hope for the future of the institution of marriage and even discourage us a little about our own marriages and our ability to continue to strengthen them.

But there is another side to this coin. The fact is that the very best marriages in history are happening right now. Today’s good marriages are very good marriages, representing more equal partnerships and the meeting of more physical, mental, social and emotional needs than marriages have ever met before.

For more data and commentary on what is happening to marriage on the macro, and ideas on how you can be optimistic and positive about the future of your own marriage and of marriage continuing as the most important institution of all time:

Podcast Article 1 Article 2 Article 3 Article 4

Pin It on Pinterest