Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Just for fun in newsletter

Hi Friends,
If you are taking part in the "Just for fun" promotion in our newsletter and are emailing to get a gift or entered in the contest...please send the email to:

Happy New Year and keep blogging!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Déjà vu

Posted by Michele Olson

It’s that time of year again, when we begin to make promises to ourselves that if we were being honest, we can’t possibly achieve. I’ve got a “doable” thing you can actually get accomplished and it will broaden your thinking. Purchase a book called Marriage and Caste in America by Kay Hymowitz.

It’s an important read for everyone.


Did you accomplish the goal of reading Kay’s book? What you just read was the beginning of my December 2007 blog…a year ago! It’s still a great resolution and easier than losing 10 pounds and exercising for 2 hours every day!
Here's a great goal for 2009...

Become or increase your role as a Marriage Champion!

If your Marriage Myth Buster Guide is dog eared from use, we can get you a new one! Perhaps you never requested one…that’s a great first step in being a Marriage Champion! It’s as easy as sending us an email with your name and mailing address.

Sign up for our e-newsletter. It will keep you up to date on opportunities and thinkmarriage.org news. Visit our store on our website. Talk about the importance of healthy marriages to the people you know. Start a buzz!

Commit to commenting on this blog. Mark it as one of your "favorites." Even a line or two may spur someone else to a thought which could cause a domino effect that changes the world! (It’s that time of year to think big!)

Write a little reminder in your daily planner…set a goal of encouraging healthy relationships and marriage at least once a month in a way that suits your personality.

Consider investing in thinkmarriage.org, visit the donate page of our website.

What you do really does matter.

Can we count on you in 2009?
Let us hear how you've been a Marriage Champion or how you plan on becoming one in 2009!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Have you heard about Dr. Joshua Coleman?

Posted by Michele Olson
*Article posted with permission from Dr. Coleman

Dr. Joshua Coleman is an internationally known expert in parenting, couples, families, and relationships. He has appeared on ABC's 20/20, Good Morning America, The Today Show (U.S. and Australia), the BBC, and numerous news programs for FOX, ABC, and NBC television.

So, he’s got the credentials.

He’s written many books on marriage and family including a couple with interesting titles:

The Lazy Husband: How to Get Men to Do More Parenting and Housework
The Marriage Makeover: Finding Happiness in Imperfect Harmony

On June 18, 2000 he wrote a Father’s Day article that was published in the San Francisco Chronicle titled; When a Family Man Thinks Twice

This must read article candidly points out something you don’t often hear talked about; the other side of divorce. The loneliness you can’t imagine when all you think about is getting away from this person you married. The pain, the heartaches, the despair that a divorce brings into your life. It’s not about divorce where someone saved themselves from an abusive situation. It’s the 70% that happen that are considered low-conflict when everyone thought they would be better off.

It’s the wondering if it really had to end up like this.

Do yourself a favor and read it. Send it on to the people you know. Here’s where to do that.

What do you think?
Please leave a comment!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

You, Children and President Elect Obama’s Transition Team

Posted by Michele Olson

Do you think the kids “across the pond” are that different from kids here in America?

Probably not. Turns out that kids in England who participated in a poll would like a ban on divorce. If they ruled the world, that would be something they would get in place. It’s an interesting study on what kids are thinking.

Speaking of kids, and families and marriages…you have the opportunity to tell President Elect Obama and his transition team what you think about the social issues that his administration will be directly addressing. Click on this link and then under “Agenda” at the top of the screen, pick a social cause, and click “join the discussion.”

We need your help in letting the new administration know that marriage education is vitally important for our future. Explore our website at www.thinkmarriage.org for more information on the importance of marriage education and then let your voice be heard!


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Shopping with a Purpose

posted by Michele Olson

Why holiday shop 'till you drop when you can shop with a purpose?
thinkmarriage.org recently added a Store section (It's a cool tab on the left side of the website!) This is an area we want to grow and make very "user friendly" but for right now, we just wanted to get going! 

You can purchase thinkmarriage.org mugs- perfect for coffee, tea or hot coco, details are in the store area of our website.

You can also go to www.zazzle.com/thinkmarriage and purchase a wide variety of items like t-shirts for women and men, plus baby items! How about a thinkmarriage trucker hat or tie?

We'll continually add design options as time goes by, so check back often. Not only are you getting a great product, you're also supporting a great movement...the healthy relationships, healthy marriage movement. Check out the merchandise and let us know if there are some items you would like to see. Get all your holiday shopping done online, and feel great that you've been a marriage champion a long the way!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Long Distance Relationships

posted by Michele Olson

Say the words “Long Distance Relationship” to someone and the reaction will usually be a wince or a grimace. They don’t have a great reputation. From the time a first-time college student really understands the concept of a “hometown honey” to Hollywood’s blatant display of marriages falling apart because couples are never together, LDR’s are definitely not encouraged by many people.

There are many couples in the “real world” who have no choice but to live with long distance relationships over a period of time. The military is a prime example of living apart until Uncle Sam says you’re free to go! The age of internet dating has also opened up the possibility that Mr. or Mrs. Wonderful is across the country. Job transfers, ailing family and even the worsening economy can cause to people who would rather be together to live apart.

Fortunately there is technology, web sites and books that can help you put your best foot forward when it comes to long-distance relationships.

The first thing you have to do in such a relationship is really talk about it. What are your expectations? You need to know that you are on the same page when it comes to what your version of a long distance relationship means.

If one person has the expectation that you will talk every day and the other person thinks you’ll be texting once a week…there are going to be issues.

Speaking of texting…thank goodness for technology! Imagine the day when it would take weeks to get a letter somewhere. (Think Little House on the Prairie or any historical Hallmark Hall of Fame movie!)

If you haven’t already, you need to acquaint yourself with cell phones, texting, Skype (and you even get to see each other!), instant messaging, email and the whole host of options out there which will allow you to stay connected because of technology.

While researching this article, I came across a Separation Inventory you can take that will help prepare you for this unique path. The corresponding website actually says that the founder, Dr. Gregory T. Guldner who wrote the book Long-Distance Relationships: The Complete Guide is unavailable until Feb. 2009 as he’s serving our country in Afghanistan. Now that’s walking the talk!

If a long –distance relationship is a part of your life now or in the future, rest assured that there are many resources for you to help you with more than “making the heart grow fonder.”

The Commuter Marriage: Keep Your Relationship Close While You’re Apart by Tina B. Tessina

The Long-Distance Relationship Survival Guide: Secrets and Strategies from Successful Couples Who Have Gone the Distance by Chris Bell and Kate Brauer-Bell

Long-Distance Relationships: The Complete Guide by Dr. Gregory T. Guldner

Sampling of websites:




Any tips on how you have handled a long distance relationship? Please blog!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Are Moods Catchy?

posted by Michele Olson

You had a great day at work. Every song on the radio is your favorite as you head home for the evening. You pop in the door, put down your things and say hello to your spouse. Your spouse is not in a good mood. Things didn’t go well at work and there was an overdue bill in the mail.

What happens to your mood? According to three professors Elaine Hatfield,
University of Hawaii; John T. Cacioppo, Ohio State University and Richard L. Rapson
University of Hawaii – your emotions are contagious. Technically the term is; emotional contagion. Their study concludes that people do catch the emotions of others.*

The worst thing is; this can happen unconsciously. It may be happening before you know it. This subject has been studied since the 1800’s and practically every decade since. Originally scientists were interested in the idea of “mimicry”. Imagine yourself listening to someone tell you about a very intense experience such as an accident or an operation….if you could look in a mirror at that moment, your face would be reflecting what you think they experienced. Catching someone’s emotions is very similar.

In another study led by John M. Ruiz, Ph.D., assistant professor of clinical psychology at Washington State University, heart bypass patients with neurotic and anxious spouses were much more likely to be depressed 18 months after surgery -- independent of their own personality. This can be problematic because depression is known to put recovering cardiac patients at higher risk of further heart attacks and death.

Kathryn Matthews, a writer for Oprah’s “O” Magazine recently posted an article called
Marital Mood Leak: Feelings May Be Contagious. She points out that if you see that your spouse is anxious or depressed, you literally feel the pain. She does suggest a few ways to prevent “spousal mood infection.”

Make a plan ahead of time on how you will respond to negativity. That could mean leaving the situation by going for a walk. It may mean scheduling more alone time in your relationship or engaging in exercise alone or together. You may need to take the issue up with a counselor.

Find out if the problem is physical
Seasonal affective disorder is a real thing. Is your spouse cheerier when it’s sunny and nice? A special full-spectrum light may be what you need.

Play as a Team
The “O” article suggests couple therapy and of course we would like to suggest marriage education through an organization like thinkmarriage.org

Another great resource is a blog we did Aug. 22, 2007 in our blog archives, What Shamu Taught Me About Marriage.

The good news is that optimism is also catchy! Learning to communicate and resolve conflicts on issues like bad moods can go a long way in keeping your relationship strong.

Tell us your story…have you “caught a mood” from your spouse?

* E. Hatfield, J.T. Cacioppo, and R.L. Rapson, Primitive emotional contagion, Emotions and Social Behavior: Review of Personality and Social Psychology, 14, 151-177. M. S. Clark, Ed. (Sage, Newbury Park, 1992).

Monday, December 08, 2008

Kay Hymowitz and the Obama Era

Posted by Michele Olson

If you have followed this blog for any length of time, or look over at our recommended reading on the right hand column, you will know the name: Kay Hymowitz.

The Manhattan Institute for Policy Research has this overview of Kay’s work:

Kay S. Hymowitz is the William E. Simon fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a contributing editor of City Journal. She writes extensively on education and childhood in America.

Hymowitz is the author of the new book Marriage and Caste in America: Separate and Unequal Families in a Post-Marital Age, a compilation of some of her previously published City Journal essays. She examines the breakdown of marriage in the United States and how it threatens the nation's future. The book begins with the proposition that American marriage is designed to further "The Mission"—the shaping of children into self-reliant citizens and workers. Alarmingly, while the children of married parents tend to become married parents themselves eventually, the children of single parents tend not to, fueling a vicious cycle that, Ms. Hymowitz argues, has engendered "two Americas": one marriage-minded, one not; one economically successful, the other perpetually struggling. This is of particular concern to the African American community, in which married parents are increasingly rare. Her previous book, Liberation's Children: Parents and Kids in a Postmodern Age, was widely praised.

Kay also writes for major papers like the Washington Post. She just posted an article reiterating her research and viewpoints in light of President Elect Obama’s step into the White House.
She points out that at this time, Obama has the chance to revive what Lyndon Johnson called “the next and the more profound stage of the battle for civil rights.” She is speaking of the fact that since 1965, through economic recessions and booms, the black family has unraveled in ways that have little parallel in human culture.

Amid all the attention being paid to the economy and the social ills that lay at our doorstep, Kay is a voice reminding us that healthy marriages can be the foundation of the hope that we all so desperately need right now.

Let us hear your thoughts. Add to our blog!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Good Morning America Missed An Important Aspect

posted by Michele Olson

Good Morning America did a story this morning on the subject of marital check-ups…the topic of our November 18th blog. (Scroll back in the archives!) That’s where there is a link to the study.
While it’s great to get this concept on the table, we really wish they would have included marriage education as part of a check-up option, not just counseling. The program compared the idea to check-ups that you don’t neglect in the rest of your life…doctor, dentist...even your car.

A counselor mentions that often by the time people get to counseling, they already have pain or a “cavity” in the works. That’s an important distinction about healthy relationship education. While enhancing communication and conflict resolution skills is helpful when you are having some serious issues, it’s equally as important when things are just fine. The truth is we can all become better at these skills. Marriage is like anything else…easy to take for granted over time. Incorporating a healthy relationship class into your schedule is a good idea. Visit thinkmarriage.org and click on the classes tab to find out about classes in Wisconsin...or the Get Involved section to find out where classes might be around the country.

Feel free to let GMA know they missed an important aspect of the story by commenting on their story. (Hint, that's an excellent way to be a Marriage Champion!)

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Marriage on the Radio Every Week Day

posted by Michele Olson

Mark Gungor has announced that as of yesterday his radio show, titled appropriately enough The Mark Gungor Radio Show* will now be broadcasting live every weekday from 10am - 11am Central Time via internet. He, along with co-host Debbie Chavez tackle the tough issues that come up in marriages today.
Here's the link to the live broadcast. The show airs every weekday at 10:00am Central Time. Just click on the "Listen Live" link to tune in. Mark will take your questions during the show by phone at 866-966-MARK (866-966-6275) or you can email your question to radio@laughyourway.com

Mark is the creator of Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage Seminars, and a friend of thinkmarriage.org

Why not listen with your spouse? This would be a great way to introduce new topics of discussion into your own relationship while learning about marriage and healthy relationships.

Call in with a question or comment and tell them that "thinkmarriage.org" sent you!

*Note: The Mark Gungor radio show may contain religious content.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Parenting, Kids and Still Having a Marriage

posted by Michele Olson'

If you’ve ever been married, juggled careers and had kids…you are busy and probably tired!

It’s that simple. Talk about not enough hours in the day!

There’s an article in the Redbook Magazine entitled:
2 jobs, 2 kids – where does our marriage fit in?” that you will find interesting. It explores the lives of Meghan and Jeremy Wilker and their world of two fast paced careers, a toddler, a baby on the way and their marriage. The question becomes, how do they make time for themselves?

I’m sure if you are in a similar situation, you can relate.

In their circumstance, they realize that they are not making time for themselves. Even though there are no major issues right now, they are concerned that they will grow apart if they keep putting everything else ahead of their marriage.
The article explores their hot buttons and then some expert advice follows about what they can do about those issues.

One topic is the fact that they take each other for granted. They acknowledge that they get into a “comparison thing” about who is doing more work in their own estimation - who has more stress. When they first married and didn’t have children, this was not such an issue. There was simply more time. The article takes a realistic look at what this couple can do for their marriage.

You are anonymous on this blog, so tell us your story. How do you make time for your marriage in your busy life?