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by Mira and Charles on September 19th, 2014
Well, it looks like we’ve actually learned something from that terrible incident in which football player Ray Rice punched his girlfriend Janay unconscious in a hotel elevator. Because, you see, Janay is no longer his girlfriend.
Not because she left him after he knocked her lights out. But because she went on to marry him. And not only marry him but defend him after his team and the NFL let him go.
That’s when all hell broke loose. Janay Rice was widely criticized all over the place for staying with him instead of leaving him. And that’s when we started learning something.
For once it didn’t stop with the self-righteous criticizing the clueless. Instead something really good happened. On Twitter a real dialogue emerged with the appearance of two hashtags: #WhyIStayed and #WhyILeft.
For once in this noisy, brainless, judgmental culture, the possibility emerged of real understanding: Understanding why a woman like Janay might have stayed with a man who not only hurt her but humiliated her. Understanding how women like her ultimately found what they needed to escape being trapped in violence, fear, and shame. Not judgment. Real understanding.
And this understanding emerged as women and some men in the 140-character platform that Twitter provides told the story of why they both stayed and then left.
Some examples chosen at random: Read the rest of this entry. »
by Mira and Charles on September 5th, 2014
A lot of kids are very anxious when school begins. They are afraid they won’t make friends or that no one will like them. They are afraid of not doing well. They are afraid of the teacher. Kids’ fears are endless: one kid is afraid of the janitor, another of the cafeteria, another of arithmetic.
And there are a lot of reasons for these fears. Maybe it’s a new school. Maybe they have an allergy or disability. Maybe they’ve had bad experiences in the past. And sometimes it’s all a mystery: it’s hard for them to say what they’re afraid of or for anyone to understand where this came from.
The question is, What should you as a parent do about it?
The biggest mistake parents make is Read the rest of this entry. »
by Mira and Charles on August 27th, 2014
Last time we outlined the procedure for working rapidly and painlessly to a resolution of a conflict between you and your partner. Now I’ve got some tips for you about how to make the process glitch-free.
Here are the tips: Read the rest of this entry. »
by Mira and Charles on August 22nd, 2014
Last time we talked about what a lousy job most couples make of trying to work out a solution to their conflicts. We showed all the things people do wrong. Things that end up with a disheartening fight instead of the hopefulness of a solution.
But how DO you do it right?
You’d be surprised at how easy it is to do it right. The procedure is very simple and straightforward, but you do have to follow it! Otherwise you’ll land back in the soup. This procedure is what everyday couples actually do who manage to avoid conflict and yet find their way to real solutions to their conflicts.
Here are the steps: Read the rest of this entry. »
by Mira and Charles on August 20th, 2014
If you want to see something really horrifying, just watch a couple try to solve a conflict by negotiating their way to an agreement. Most of them can’t do it! I’ve worked with couples for something like 40,000 hours, and what you see is anything but two people trying to solve a problem. Even really smart people struggle with this. Even people who negotiate for a living have trouble!
Here’s what you see instead of good old problem solving:
by Mira and Charles on August 8th, 2014
You know that image of the sweet older couple walking down the street holding hands? We’re all touched when we see something like that. We hope that’s us one day, growing old with someone we love, having a loving companion as we age.
And it can happen. It happens all the time. But here’s something else that happens all too often, except that people don’t always see it: it’s when an older couple just can’t stand each other. When they fight all the time. When their children dread the parents’ visit because it means watching their parents’ say shockingly mean things to each other.
Instead of a lifetime of patience and compromise and understanding leading to the promised land of companionship and affection, there is Read the rest of this entry. »
by Mira and Charles on August 1st, 2014
Last time we talked about what stress implosions are and how they work. The point being that this is the mechanism by which stress destroys marriages. Most marriages are stress vulnerable, and most of our lives are filled with stress. This is a recipe for disaster. At the end of that post we said we’d show you how to dial back the stress.
Now I know something about you, which is that Read the rest of this entry. »
by Mira and Charles on July 23rd, 2014
I know what you’re wondering: What IS a stress implosion?
Well, you know already, even if you don’t know you know. Stress implosion may be the number one reason why relationships deteriorate, and here’s a very ordinary example of how it works.
The alarm goes off in the morning and you have to get yourself and your kids out of the house, while your spouse is trying to do the same thing. You’re all sleepy, rushed, getting in each other’s way. And as you’re trying to get through your morning getaway, things happen. You can’t find your keys, your partner can’t find clean underwear, one of your kids can’t find his homework and starts fighting with your other kid, someone drops a raw egg on the floor, the toast burns…and on and on it goes.
And all the while your stress level is rising and rising. You’re going to be late for work. You’re going to arrive frazzled. The day is starting off crappy.
And here’s how the stress implosion comes in. As the morning getaway gets Read the rest of this entry. »
by Mira and Charles on July 9th, 2014
Figuring out why things go wrong on first dates
He was in his early 30s, handsome, doing well in his career, a really good guy from a good family. Exactly the kind of guy you’d want your sister to marry.
He met a woman, they talked and texted, and finally met for casual drinks and dinner. Afterwards he was really high about the date. They had a lot in common, he thought, and got along really well. Certainly there was enough good stuff going on to warrant a second date. He started texting her about it, and she seemed to want it. Then, boom!, he got a text from her saying, uh, no, “let’s just be friends.”
He was shaken. Totally hadn’t seen this coming. And like a million other people who’ve been dropped or dumped with no good reason that they can see, he started with the post mortems. Hmmm…maybe it was Read the rest of this entry. »
by Mira and Charles on June 30th, 2014
Well, now that we’re up to part 7, this series (which started here) is now officially the longest series we’ve had going on our site. But the response has been great, so on we go!
And with each one of these entries, we’ve asked ourselves, What’s one simple, easy-to-do thing couples can do to make their love last?
Today the tip has to do with making sure there is more of the good stuff in your relationship. And all this really requires is a conversation and a commitment, and you’re done!
The problem we’re addressing today is the way people put their relationships last. Here’s life for 99.9% of couples: Read the rest of this entry. »