We welcome again a guest article by marriage therapist Michele Weiner-Davis who gives us 5 practical tips on how to prevent resentment from ruining your marriage.
When you and your spouse hit rough times, it seems that no matter what you do, things get worse.
You blame your spouse; your spouse blames you and nothing changes.
Out of desperation, you eventually step back from your situation and try to think more clearly. And thankfully, when you aren’t mired in the muck, you actually figure out more productive ways to handle your differences. You are determined to do better the next time a challenging situation rears its ugly head.
And then it happens. It feels like a déjà vu. The same old argument starts unfolding.
You and your spouse have been there so many times before.
And although you promised yourself that you would take the high road this time- to remain calm and loving in the face of controversy-your anger and resentment have another plan for you.
You are going to do the same old thing because you’re mad and resentful as hell and your spouse doesn’t deserve better treatment. All the brilliant planning for a better outcome goes right out the window.
Resentment wins. You lose. Sound familiar?
If you want to improve your relationship, you have to find ways to triumph over resentment so you can live up to the promises you make yourself to approach your spouse in more productive ways.
But the sixty-four thousand dollar question is, “How?” The following are five tips for rising above resentment.
If you need help giving up resentments, call Dr Tony Fiore at 714-745-1393 to schedule a consolation. To discover to what extent you hold anger expressed as resentment, join our mailing list and take our free Anger Quiz at http://188.8.131.52/contact/newsletter-signup/
To start the New Year off right, We are looking for 10 people to participate in the development of a new pilot anger skills building program for couples. One partner or both can participate in this unique distance learning program based on application of eight tools of anger management used by Dr Fiore in his local classes for 14 years.
Happy new Year to All!
To start the New Year off right, We are looking for 10 people to participate in the development of a new pilot anger skills building program for couples.
For Whom is the Program Designed?
One partner or both can participate in this unique distance learning program based on application of eight tools of anger management used by Dr Fiore in his local classes for 14 years.
This program is a perfect self-help tool for angry couples who need a supplement to therapy to learn specific anger management skills between sessions or between anger management classes.
“Lovehacks” provide an efficient method for keeping our marriages afloat during challenging or busy times. There are times when we simply lack the ability or the motivation to make hefty additional investment, and there’s no shame, says psychologist Dr Finkel, in doing little things to make the relationship a bit stronger than it would be otherwise.
How Love-Hacks can give your marriage a tune-up
To fix a truly troubled marriage takes much effort and commitment. But, many marriages or relationships just need a tune-up. One psychologist, Dr. Eli Finkel, calls these “Lovehacks” in his new and very well-researched and well-thought-out book “The All-or-Nothing Marriage: How the Best Marriages Work.”
Lovehacks provide an efficient method for keeping our marriages afloat during challenging or busy times. There are times when we simply lack the ability or the motivation to make hefty additional investment, and there’s no shame, says Dr Finkel, in doing little things to make the relationship a bit stronger than it would be otherwise.
Lovehacks, according to Dr Finkel, have three defining features. First, they don’t take much time – which is crucial for today’s very busy and stressed couples. Second, they don’t require any coordination with, or cooperation from, our spouse. This is very important in those marriages wherein one partner is working harder or is more motivated than the other to resuscitate things. Third, they don’t require a major change or shift in expectations as many other marital therapy interventions do.
When the timing is just not right to use all-in strategies to elevate your marriage or relationship to its next level of personal and relationship satisfaction or fulfillment, a series of researched strategies called lovehacks, although not simple, have the potential to greatly improve things – to give your relationship a tune-up, if you will. Some lovehacks are focused on buffing-up weaknesses in your marriage while others are focused on savoring and enhancing the strengths in your marriage.
Dealing with a narcissistic partner can be daunting and bring out incredible anger in you, especially If you don’t know what you are dealing with. We briefly describe narcissism, and how narcissists can greatly affect you, as their partner, and push all your buttons. You may decide to throw in the towel, but many such relationships a worth saving- If you learn how to disarm the narcissist while surviving (and even thriving) yourself.
Anger and partner narcissism: Betty and Jason
Betty and Jason had been married for 5 years and were now being seen in couples therapy because of almost constant conflict. Jason saw the problem as “Betty’s anger” which he couldn’t cope with and caused him to completely emotionally shut down. He constantly threatened divorce lamenting that he wished he had married a “sweet” girl. Betty said her anger was only because of him; she had many friends and no history of anger problems in any other relationship or areas of her life. But, she indeed was enraged with her husband who constantly berated and criticized her, tried to lower her self-esteem, could not satisfy her most basic needs as a woman, and constantly manipulated her by giving her hope for change and then completely reversing himself the next day. She called it “crazy-making.”
The first step in dealing with your narcissistic partner is to discern if it is something you want to do, as the task may be daunting. A discernment counselor may be of help to you in sorting things out.
The main weapon in your arsenal should be a tactic called “confrontational empathy” which is sort of like “tough love” in dealing with your partner. It involves standing up for yourself and setting limits at the same time as communicating great empathy for where the narcissist is coming from.
The conflict between trying to save a bad marriage or deciding to try and work it out is a decision faced by thousands of couples of all ages across the country. About 50% do end their marriage, but many later regret it and find that divorce didn’t improve their lives as much as they had hoped. Others in high-conflict marriages who divorce feel they made the right decision both for themselves and their children. Dr Fiore discusses five things to consider before making your decision.
The Story of Mary and Bill
Mary and Bill were a nice couple empty nesters. Married 20 years, hey had built a nice life together. Their mortgage was low, their children were in college and doing well, most of the time they got along with each other fairly well. But one day Mary told Bill she thought maybe they should get a divorce. This rocked Bill’s world as he had no idea that she had still been planning this. Sure, she mentioned it several years ago, but then things had actually improved, so Bill figured the storm had passed.
For Bill, the marriage wasn’t perfect, but then he had lower expectations. Most of his unhappiness was in reaction to her unhappiness. He was happy to keep things as they were even though they had little in common anymore. Mary complained that she was emotionally lonely in the marriage, that Bill didn’t communicate with her, that he drank too much, and that he rarely paid attention to her anymore. She suspected he was having at least an emotional affair with a co-worker, though Bill denied this, pleading that they were just close friends. Continue reading “Orange County Marriage Counselor Asks: Is Your Marriage Worth Saving?”
The process of deciding which path to take when your marriage is on the brink is called discernment. While there are many good reasons to leave your partner, studies show that even though things may look hopeless to you now, many times your marriage can be fixed. In the end, many couples are glad they stuck it out. To learn more about discernment, visit my discernment website at splitornotcounseling.com
We welcome this guest article by Dr Tina Tessina describing how conflict, resentment and anger around money issues can jeopardize a marriage or relationship. She also instructs couples on how to have discussions around money and provides resources on how to better budget to reduce financial stress and anger.
The most valuable thing in a long-term stable relationship is having a partnership, and most new couples don’t realize that money is a major factor in marital happiness. Money is one of the biggest generators of problems, arguments, and resentment in long-term relationships. Couples argue about spending, saving budgeting, and disparity in earnings. When couples have difficulty with money, it can lead to financial infidelity: out-of-control spending, lying and hiding finances; which can destroy the relationship. Overcoming money problems together and working as a team will strengthen the bond between you, and help you create a healthy, lasting partnership.
Money doesn’t have to be a wedge between you and your partner. It can be a great tool for learning more about one another and using money matters as a discussion point can help your relationship grow and thrive. Money can create misery or happiness, depending on how you manage it. Making long-term plans, helping reach goals and improving your quality of life are just some of the things you will be able to accomplish if you work together. Continue reading “Anger and Couple Finances: How to Avoid Financial Infidelity”
Share your different attitudes about money. Talk about how your families dealt with money, and what you liked and didn’t like about their style. Share your observations about how various friends handle money, and share what you think. Then make the discussion more personal by talking about how you feel about money, spending, saving, and your future dreams.
Discuss long-term joint financial goals (i.e. a new home, baby, education, travel, household repairs or retirement). The previous step should lead you naturally into a further discussion of your long-term goals, and into a discussion of specific steps you need to follow to reach them. Steps should include saving and/or raising money to realize your goals, and a plan for how long you think it will take.
Put your plan to work. Once you have the steps outlined, break the first couple steps down into small increments and choose steps for which each of you will take the responsibility in the coming week.
Establish separate checking accounts or personal spending budgets. As part of your plans, you may want to open separate checking accounts, savings accounts for building your dreams, and agree on budgets for personal spending from your available funds. How to Budget steps are in Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting about the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage.
Discuss how the plan is going on a weekly basis. Keep this discussion going every week, and keep each other informed about how your plans are going. This is a good time to discuss the bills that need to be paid, changes in income or expenses, and what you need to do to accommodate the changes.
Keep talking. No matter how well or poorly your finances are going at any given time; keep your financial discussions going. The more frequently you discuss your finances, the less difficult the discussions will be, and the more likely that you’ll make good financial choices.
I am pleased to offer this guest article by colleague Dr. Steve Rockman for couples who need to re-ignite that love feeling for each other. The advice given in this article is common sense in many ways and profoundly true! Establish a “Love Bank” and start making deposits. If you want more, start giving more! Be nicer to each other and be less critical.
Having been a therapist for over thirty years, I am always pleased to find new ways of helping couples. A few years ago, I discovered a treatment approach by Willard Harley that’s short term and practical. Combined with other techniques that I use, this approach has proven effective. Furthermore, it offers hope to relationships that seem hopeless. I’ve had several successful cases where one member had fallen out of love, ready to leave the relationship. If you’re interested, read on. Continue reading “Can I Fall Back in Love After The Thrill Is Gone?”
Feeling emotionally connected and emotionally close in a relationship is often a matter of learning to regularly satisfy each other’s needs. If you get “yours” you are much more likely to want to give them “theirs.” The Love Bank concept is a great way to kind of keep track of things to maintain balance.
Outside Stressors, called “thirds” can destroy your marriage no matter how much you love each other. Successful couples of course should love each other, but they also must have skills to deal with common stressors of married life. Moreover, they need additional skills to deal with each other around these stressors, says Dr. Tony Fiore, who has seen hundreds of individuals and couples in relationship trouble.
What are these “thirds” that are destructive to a relationship?
A destructive third can be anything that prevents a couple from having a close bond, having each other’s back and prioritizing their relationship. Thirds can create havoc in a marriage, yet the problem is not strictly a marriage problem per se. The real problem is inability of a couple to successfully deal with an outside stress threatening the marriage.
Common thirds that I see in Couples Counseling in Orange County are:
Anger or poor impulse control
Parenting or Children Stress
Substance Abuse (including excessive drinking) by one partner
Outside stressors called “thirds” can destroy a relationship no matter how much partners love each other. Three of them are:
(1) Poor anger management: anger or other negativity is a significant factor in marriage failure. Take this online quiz to determine to what extent anger is an issue in your relationship – and what to do about it.
(2) Parenting stress: Successful couples find a way to prioritize their relationship and still be good parents. This often requires planning special times for the two of you – while grandma watches the kids. It may also require that you physically sleep with each other instead of with a child (yes, some parents have their partner regularly sleep in another room while their insecure child is allowed to sleep in the couple’s bed with the other parent)
I am pleased to offer a guest blog by Michelle Weiner-Davis, whom I have known for many years, and popular author of "The Sex -Starved Marriage." She gives practical and sensible advice for both partners on what to do if one spouse doesn't want to have sex.
When a Spouse Doesn’t Want to Have Sex
It has been two months since Janet and Mark have had sex. They’re hardly speaking to each other. If you asked Janet about this, she would say that their home has become a battle zone-they fight about every little thing. Janet goes out of her way to avoid Mark to protect herself from his wrath.
Mark tells a different story. His anger, he believes, is justified. He is fed up with Janet’s lack of interest in their sexual relationship. “She never initiates sex. She recoils when I try to kiss or hug her. I’m tired of being rejected.” To cope with his unhappiness, Mark spends longer hours at work and busies himself on his computer at night, deepening the chasm between them.
Both Mark and Janet think that the other one is to blame for the problems between them. They have hit an impasse. The result: A sex-starved marriage. And sex-starved marriages are surprisingly common. In fact, in about one in three marriages, one spouse has a considerably larger sexual appetite than the other. This in and of itself is not a problem-it’s how couples handle their difference that matters.
If you are the lower desire partner, find time and a way to have sex anyway as a gift to your partner. If you are the higher desire partner, figure out what turns your spouse on, speak from your heart and ask for what you want instead of complaining.
Many couples who have tried marriage counseling feel it doesn’t work. However, Dr. Anthony Fiore, a therapist who has treated hundreds of Orange County couples during the past 30 years, disagrees. He argues that marriage counseling is as important therapy tool as it ever was. However, for it to be effective, the timing has to be right. The therapist has to make sure that both parties in a troubled relationship are totally committed. Discernment Counseling is the all-too-often omitted first step.
A guide for Orange County couples on the brink of divorce
Many couples come to me after they’ve tried traditional marriage counseling. They’re usually frustrated and depressed. One of the most common things they say is: “We tried marriage counseling and it didn’t work!”
If you feel this way, you’re not alone. But, as you’ll see, there’s hope at the end of the rainbow.
What’s wrong with marriage counseling?
I don’t think there’s anything particularly “wrong” with marriage counseling. (If I did, I wouldn’t still be offering it to Orange County couples on the brink of separation.)
The problem with traditional marriage counseling isn’t related to the therapy itself, or the way it’s delivered. The problem with marriage counseling involves when it’s delivered.
All too often, however, both parties aren’t fully committed to their partner and the relationship.
Marriage counseling has a much better chance of working with mixed-agenda couples on the brink if you have a discernment process first. Without separate "buy-in" from both partners as a pre-requisite to marriage counseling and a firm plan, marriage therapy is doomed to fail.
Would Discernment Counseling work for you? Does Discernment Counseling make sense to you? What Discernment Counseling resources are available in Orange County? Do you wish it had been available sooner? Share your comments, experiences, or questions below, as comments. Note: your email will not appear when your comment appears, after moderation.