How To Rehab Your Relationship

Going to good couples counseling is something like repairing an injury.  We’ve hurt each other with our words over time and have learned ways to limp along in our relationship, not quite as strong as it once was.  So going to marriage therapy for me is like digging in a wound, trying to line it up straight and strengthening what has been there all along.  This is work, people.  I’m not sitting on the sidelines anymore crying about my emotional boo-boos.  I’m in rehab.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I’m in it to win it.  So I’m doing the work even though I have moments of pain and discomfort.

A part of our regular practice these days is to talk more (so obvious, right?).  I don’t just mean talking about the family schedule or finances, but the things that have injured our relationship.  The hard stuff.  And because we can’t spend $200 an hour on all of our little stuff, it’s gotta start with us.  So our wonderful therapists, gave us this common Couples Dialogue to structure our conversations (or at least get us started).

I know, the name even sounds mamby-pamby, but if a couple can agree to the process then I tell you, this helps to reset the injury so that you can be strong again. [Read more…]

How to Prepare Your Marriage Relationship for Birth

If you’re expecting your first child, you and your partner have probably been on the receiving end of at least one of these phrases:

“You can’t really prepare for what your life will be like once that baby’s born.”

“Enjoy the time you have NOW while you still can!”

And one of the worst, “Your life as you know it will be over!”

Ugh. Seriously, who are people kidding when they utter such words! Isn’t a basic assumption that, indeed, having a baby is life-changing?? Yes, life will change once your first baby is born. It will be wonderful. It will be challenging. You and your partner’s relationship will change, but change is not necessarily a negative thing. I encourage expectant parents to invest time in their relationship now to be better equipped for the upcoming transition.

This may sound over-simplified, but I cannot stress enough the benefit that communication has on your relationship as you’re preparing to enter this new stage of your life together. Talk and talk often! But don’t limit your “baby talk” to [Read more…]

How To Know When To Get Relationship Help

One of my earliest posts for My Mommy Manual was How To Move Past the Nit-Pick.  I have taken my own advice.  There has been a lot of deep breathing, accentuating the positive, and looking toward the long distance.  However, it’s come to a point where I just cannot click and move on.  In fact, there’s been a lot of clicking, but we’re not moving on.  I am stuck with the question of how do I accept another’s shortcomings and still be authentic about what’s not working in our relationship.

My husband and I are at an impasse. We’re not communicating well. We’re not having sex. We can barely have a conversation right now without one of us taking a sassy tone with the other.

I’ve seen other relationships crack under the same pressure. He works too much. I feel over-burdened by having to manage all things related to the house. You know…keeping the house picked up (kids’ toys!), cleaning, laundry (oh the never-ending piles of laundry that need to be washed, folded or simply put away), meal planning and cooking, paying the bills and balancing the checkbook. Then there are our two boys with drop offs and pick-ups, soccer practice, swim class, homework and play dates.  Let’s not forget the trips to the library, Target or whatever other household need there is. I’ve asked Husband to do the dishes after meals that I cook and yes, he has had to put away a load of laundry now and again. He’s complained that he’s doing a lot more around the house and I’m not doing enough. Them are fighting words, Buster Brown.

[Read more…]

How to Know If It’s Time to Go

Remember last year when some publishers/publicists/agents had contacted me asking me to do book reviews? And I had said “of course” and then I received free copies of their books? Well, I’ve been *procrastinating*…but am now giving them the attention they deserve…

This book is one I wish I had in hand as I began thinking about my marriage and divorce. Not because it would have changed my decision, but because it would have helped me move forward with more determination and confidence. Why? Because this book explores what characteristics make a marriage or a relationship foundation-ally solid. And understanding those characteristics is worthwhile, whether you are hitting a rough spot or not.

I was hooked from page one, as a woman named Ann experiences one sleepless night after another and finds herself in a fantasy: leaving everything behind and running away from her broken marriage (that’s exactly what I did; actually, I went beyond the fantasy and moved out with babe in hand, in just an hour). [Read more…]

How To Find That Quality Time

‘Tis the season for back to school.  This is our first year at kindergarten and we are all so excited.  We have our school supplies, new clothes, new backpack, and new lunch bag.  Like many moms, I’m just as giddy as BigBoy and determined not to cry on the first day.  I still need to enter in the school calendar in my Outlook, but I’ll get to it after I drop him off. BigBoy’s soccer also starts next week and I need to enter those dates into my calendar too (practice on Thursday and games on Saturday).  Husband has soccer games on Tuesday nights and Sunday mornings. I have Jazzercise on Wednesday nights and Saturday mornings.  Like many families, we are scheduled to the hilt.

My biggest concern is that as a family we get so scheduled, that Husband and I don’t make time for us.  Since I am the social calendar keeper, I’m literally going to schedule in date nights and make sure that we have at least two per month.

I’ve written about the sex formula and as ridiculous as it sounds, I’ve discovered the need to plan and set expectations for nights devoted to our intimacy.  We don’t always follow the formula, but when we do it is great.  When we don’t, well let’s just say it’s a slippery slope (and not in a good way). [Read more…]

How To Add Sparkle to Your Relationship

Sex and the City 2 (c) 2010 HBO Films

Two of my girlfriends and I went to pay homage see Sex and the City 2 for an early birthday celebration.  The movie got me thinking about how I’ve changed and how my relationships have changed.  Sometimes I have a difficult time reconciling my single-dating life with my current life.  It’s like the person I thought I was turned on its axis.  I was a good dater.  Think about Carrie Bradshaw in her hey-day.  Now I’m a stay-at-home mom of two boys who cooks dinner almost every night.

What the hell happened? I wake up in a cold sweat sometimes remembering where I am.  Okay, well, it’s not that bad, but you get the picture. Lately I’ve been wondering, “Would I date my husband?”  Worse yet, would he date me? [Read more…]

How Relationships Go the Distance

When we got married, our dear friends and officiants gave us this great little sign that reads, “Kiss slowly, forgive quickly.”  I literally look at this sign every day, but didn’t get the depth of its instruction until reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s latest, Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage.

I’m talking about forgiveness, as in your ‘daily bread’ variety.  People talk about it all the time like it’s the key to everlasting relationships, but I never understood what the big deal was. (Sometimes, I can be a little thick-headed.  I like to think that I’m not, but yeah, I can be.) [Read more…]

How to Move Past the Nit-Pick

It’s amazing to me how many times I’ve asked my husband to pick up his underwear off the floor.  Here we are now three months later and I’m going to have to bring it up again.  Want to know what really fries my twinkies?  It’s when he comes home from soccer sweaty and peels the uniform off and leaves it there with the underwear on top.  C’mon, I’ve seen enough poop already today, don’t ya think?

Are there little things that your husband or S.O. does that can drive you mad?

[Read more…]

How to Survive Having Your House Painted

We live on a block of several old Victorian houses. Typically we are a DIY couple, capable of small electric and modest plumbing repairs. But last spring we needed a new paint job, new porch railings, new gutters and new balcony spindles. We decided it was best for the house (and marriage) if we contracted this work out.

A Contractor’s Market

There’s a contractor named Frank who’s a regular fixture on our street. He’s a wizard at carpentry, plumbing and painting. His yard sign basically moves from one house to the next, as most old Victorians need work – lots of work. [Read more…]