A Little Restraint Goes a Long Way

It happens all the time – one of us does or says something and it triggers a harsh reaction. To break the habit of reactivity, try this mindfulness tool to develop the virtue of restraint. While often associated with Buddhist meditation, Mindfulness has in fact been a feature of many religions under different names, including…

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Experience is not always the best teacher

Lots of people think that dating (and being sexually intimate) with a number of different people before marriage is an essential part of  forming a successful union. But is this kind of  ‘experience’ the best way to prepare for marriage? Many people think that having a few failed relationships is helpful in preparing them (or…

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The Epic Battle in Every Marriage

If there is one thing that the seasons of Lent and Easter bring into focus, it’s the struggle between good and evil. At its heart, the Easter story is an epic tale of Perfect Love (Jesus Christ) facing down and conquering Evil. It’s not just an historic struggle – it goes on every day in…

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Two Sides to Relationship Repair

Periods of disconnection are an unfortunate part of every marriage. Relationship Repair takes both an initiator and receiver. Disconnection has happened frequently in our marriage, even for newlyweds. It might have been the result of a hurtful action, a careless comment, an argument, or just insufficient time together. We’ve written about a number of disconnection…

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Stonewalling: A Silent Killer in Marriage

Stonewalling – aka ‘the silent treatment’ – is common in many marriages. Never helpful and poorly understood, we ignore it at our risk. Stonewalling is the practice of withdrawing from an interaction, shutting down and closing ourselves off from the other. We may be physically still present, but we become un-responsive, emotionally withdrawn, and non-communicative.…

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Defending our hearts

Photo by Giulia Bertelli on Unsplash

Is defensiveness crippling your relationship? Do you feel regularly on edge, reactive and punchy? Read on for our process for managing defensiveness. Recently, Byron shared a new idea with Francine. Instead of encouragement, Francine responded with “when will you get time to do that?!” The conversation immediately terminated in gloomy withdrawal. Afterwards we unpacked the…

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Displacing Contempt with Respect

Want to give your marriage heart burn? Try treating each other with contempt. Contempt has been identified as a corrosive relationship pattern among couples headed for bust. An expression of despisal, contempt is the toxic cousin to criticism. Contempt is a devastating weapon when deployed by manipulative abusers, where the recipient is beaten down by…

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Making a change for the better

Change is difficult. It can also be complicated. Despite our best intentions, sustained change often eludes us. We’ve had many spouses tell us that their husband or wife promised to change, and things were good for a while, but then there was a relapse. Their good intentions were not enough to sustain their energy for…

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Perfectly Imperfect Marriages

Despite the promises of Hollywood and fairytales, the perfect marriage is the one that helps us grow the most. And that’s not likely to be a marriage without hardship or trouble. Yesterday, as we were preparing to run a training session later on, we had ‘one’. An argument of sorts. It was more like a ‘splat’…

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Marital Conflict Gone Global

When conflict arises in a marriage, it’s not uncommon for us to seek validation for being upset. So we look for ways to strengthen our case and justify our complaint against the other. If the issue has been building for a while, the temptation to globalise our complaint intensifies. Globalisation is a form of exaggeration.…

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