Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Do You Hold A Grudge Against Your Spouse?

posted by Michele Olson

If you our your spouse are holding a grudge against each other, your relationship is not headed in the right direction....forward! The key is forgiveness. It's an important part of a good relationship and it will improve your marriage.

Here are five steps you can take to go toward forgiveness if there is a grudge between you and your honey.

1) Set aside time to discuss the issue.

2) Explain why you are upset

3) Tell your spouse directly that you forgive them.

4)Do your best not to bring up the issue again.

5) Remind yourself that you have already forgiven your spouse if you find yourself thinking about the issue.

Another good question to ask yourself...have I blown this out of proportion? Will this matter in five years? Work hard at finding ways that fit within your personality to remove the obstacle of a grudge in your marriage. The energy and effort it will take on your part will be well worth it.

If you find you can't have the five step discussion above, perhaps you need to learn communication and conflict resolution skills, or worth with a relationship coach. Visit and click on the Learn tab to explore the online and in person opportunities available for you.

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Perfect Marriage

posted by Michele Olson

Did the headline of this blog make you want to know about a perfect marriage? Worried you don't have the perfect marriage? Relax. There is no such thing as a perfect marriage. Outside of the movie and TV screen, it doesn't exist. Real people are in every marriage and real people are not perfect. It's not gonna happen!

The word "perfect" also implies there is one right way to be married. Marriages are as unique as the people that are in them.

Now, that said, there is such a thing as a really great marriage!

Hilllary Rich and Helaina Laks Kravitz, M.D. writing for the Complete Idiot's Guide to The Perfect Marriage have a way to help us remember what makes a great marriage.

G= Good communication

R= Real partnership

E= Effort

A= Adaptability

T= Total commitment

Have all these elements working together and you are on the way to a great marriage. It also helps if each of the spouses in the marriage commit 100 percent to the marriage. This investment will bring a great return and it's well worth your time.

Add some flexibility because of the curve balls life throws at all of us, and you will be able to have a great marriage. Check out all the resources at We are committed to helping you have a great marriage!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

If You Like Statistics

posted by Michele Olson

Do you like numbers? Do you like to know what's happening in relationships, statistically?

Here are some statistics from their Feb. 2010 issue. How does it match up to what you are experiencing in your relationship?

How Similar (or not) are you?
3% say you are like mirror images
40% say your're more alike than different

22% say your different than alike

35% of you say your personalities are like yin and yang

How long did you date before getting married?

9% dated less than 6 months

27% dated six months to a year

35% dated 2 -3 years

15% dated 4-5 years

10% dated 6-9 years

4% dated 10 years or more

When did you know he was the one?

9% still aren't sure

6% knew after a few years

9% knew after a year

28% knew after a few months

23% knew immediately

25% knew after a few weeks

71% of you have nicknames for each other

50% of men say "I love you" lots during the day

51% of women say it.

Who controls the remote?

38% take turns deciding what to watch

27% of hubbies rule the remote
4% of women rule the remote

21% like the same shows and almost always agree on what to watch

Need a Couples Getaway

40% of you say it's been so long that you can't even remember the last time you skipped town together
30% take a couples trip once a year

3% go away constantly

Here's your chance to get away and do wonders for your marriage! Check out the workshop calendar at and keep checking back. We have many fall opportunities coming up for you and your spouse. There's even a cruise in Feb. 2011....explore!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

House of Hurt

posted by Michele Olson

Perhaps you caught this short story on ABC News and the extended story on Primetime. It’s about the Stewart family. Primetime followed the Stewart family for nine months during its turbulent transition, documenting their home life and attending multiple sessions with their divorce mediator, and with a family therapist and an attorney.
Although the family wants to move on, they can't sell their house and therefore neither can afford to move out. They went along with the idea of living together to ease the kids into the idea of divorce, but it's been a much longer journey than they originally imagined.

I would encourage you to read the story and watch the video. Not because you want to view the pain of another family, but because it could cause you to think twice about inflicting that kind of pain in your own.

The looks on the kids faces, the weariness, the despair…the desire to move on. We have to wonder if this couple had been participating in marriage education on a yearly basis if they would have come to this point in their marriage. Marriage education cannot cure everything, but it can go a long way in preventing the point of no return where many couples find themselves once they make the mental decision to entertain divorce.

Watch, learn and comment. Can you relate?

Are you participating in marriage education?

Monday, July 19, 2010

Have a Happier Marriage in 5 Minutes

posted by Michele Olson

The July 26th issue of Woman's World has an article that points us to a happier marriage in just five minutes. Who doesn't have five minutes when it comes to a happier marriage?

Review these six tips to see if you think it's worth your five minutes.

1) Reaffirm your love in "three." In a new survey of 3,000 married people, the happiest reaffirmed their love three key times a day. In the morning when you go your separate ways, in the evening when you meet again and at night before hitting the hay. If that is not part of your habit, that's an easy way to have a happier marriage.

2) According to two new studies sleeping apart does not mean you aren't still compatible lovers. Snoring and other things that lead to lack of sleep makes for grumpy people. A recent poll showed that 3 in 10 couples now sleep separately. If sleeping together means you aren't getting sleep, adjust your sleeping situation.

3) Ease into difficult situations. Enter into a subject softly sending a text that says the kids have really been fighting a lot latley over stupid things. I'd like to talk to talk about it tonight. This can help especially men with a fight or flee response. They can build up to the idea of talking about something in a calm and rational way.

4)Crying can strengthen your marriage. When you are together and tears are coming, let them come. It can increase your connection and build your relationship.

5)Do something good for someone else in the view of your spouse. Recent research shows we are attracted to our partners when they come to the aid of someone else. Lift something heavy for someone, open a door for a struggling person...let your spouse see you be a nice person.

6)Get enthused about your spouse's accomplishments. It's more crucial than helping your spouse through a crisis. Be very free with those pat on the backs.

See! None of them cost a cent or a great amount of time. You really could make life better in

your marriage by applying these just five minutes! Why not take five minutes and explore for more helpful tips on your healthy relationship?

What do you think? Have you seen these types of things improve your marriage?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Repair Your Relationship in 10 Seconds

posted by Michele Olson

You are in a spat with your loved one. No matter what either of you say, it’s not getting better. It’s not even coming out right and the fight is escalating. What if in the middle of this you held up a piece of paper that said; “Talk to me like I’m someone you love.”

Where would that take the conversation?

That’s the seed idea behind a book by therapist Nancy Dreyfus called Talk to Me Like I’m Someone You Love. She has also put together flash cards with phrases to halt any fight. You simply hold up the card that expresses what you are feeling.

These small gestures can speak a thousand words and are especially helpful for couples who have a hard time expressing what they want to say.

#15 I am your friend. It’s painful seeing how quickly I can become your enemy.

#92 I love you. I hate fighting. Can’t we just hug?

#4 All I want is of you to listen to me with an open heart.

#41 I realize I’m overreacting. Can you give me a minute to get sane again?

Nancy says it very well: “I created Talk to Me Like I’m Someone You Love for couples (and sometimes, parents and children) to transform unproductive, mean or just plain crummy interactions into moments of connection.”

Here is a sample of how it may sound in real life.

The book and flash cards may be just what you need to change the direction of your conversations.
Do you think this would work for you? Have you tried it? What were the results?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

What Do You Fight About?

posted by Michele Olson

Ask any American married couple what they fight about and you’ll probably hear things like; money, sex or household chores.
But in a fairly recent Redbook survey the winner at 20% was money.

Here’s how the survey broke down:
3% Flirting or cheating
5% Work
8% Household chores
8% Kids
9% Sex
9% Small daily issues
10% Affection or quality time
12% Other issues
16% Hardly ever argue
20% was the winner with MONEY

Take a look at your own relationship. Where do you fall in the statistics? Were you surprised by this breakdown?

Beth Kobliner, author of the New York Times best seller Get a Financial Life offers these tips:

1) Opposites attract. Spendy tends to marry thrifty. And it’s difficult for people to change their money ways…they think they are right. So speak frankly to each other about your tendencies. Don’t hide your pattern. Set realistic limits…agree on how much you will spend each week.

2) Establish ground rules. Some couples don’t talk about money except in their designated once a week “money talk” time. Keep a journal of your concerns, so you have an outlet for your worries or fears when it’s not that night of the week to talk about money.

3) Take a once a year check up about your money. Have a one day “money fest” to discuss long term goals, and what is currently happening. Sign up together on a website like Talk about paying down your debt and saving for the future.

You can’t talk about things you say? Then you need a online or in person workshop or coaching on how to communicate and resolve conflicts.

Don’t let cash be a divider in your family. Talk about money and watch your love dividends grow by leaps and bounds!

Monday, July 12, 2010

How to Afford Date Night

posted by Michele Olson

Couples always talk about the importance of date night, but in today’s economy…the change in the couch may be long gone. Here are a few ideas to help you afford a date night, and keep it on your calendar.

1) Get in on the calendar and don’t deviate from your plan.
It’s often been said the people who fail to plan, plan to fail. Your best intentions will not get you on a date. You have to schedule it and not see it as less important than any other event you schedule. Often we’ll see cancelling with our loved ones as less important that we would if we were cancelling with someone we were trying to impress for work. Set your date and stick to it. (Barring locust plagues and chicken pox only!)

2) Open a piggy bank just for your dates. Put your spare change every day, or designate $1 a day to go to the date fund. By putting small amounts away, you will always have some “fun money” to spend on a date. Do you cut coupons? Take the savings you received from being a smart shopper and designate that to go to your date night.

3) Check your cities newspaper and website. There are usually free events at museums, parks and all around town that can provide entertainment with little or no cost. You might even find a low cost high school or community play to attend.

4) Pay ahead. When you pay ahead for something, you are less likely to bail out and not go…which can help you get in the habit of date night. Explore half price coupons available at websites when you purchase a meal or a ticket.

5) Coffeehouses and book stores. Browse and talk while dreaming of some future plans you would like to do together. Why not spend time in the travel section and get to know where you would go if you had all the money in the world?

Let the creative juices flow. Take turns planning the date night for each other…so it can be a surprise. Get into the fun of being with someone. Make sure you have “date night” forever.

Need to talk about "us?" Why not start with a couples check from

Thursday, July 08, 2010

What's Happening on Your Behalf in Florida

posted by Michele Olson

Something is happening in Florida right now that you may or may not be aware of.

It's the annual Smart Marriages Conference and some of the best minds regarding marriage and healthy relationships are gathered to learn, share and work together to encourage marriage.

Diane Sollee is the founder of Smart Marriages. Here are some tips she offered in a recent Washington Post article.

Disagreements are normal. The trick is to learn how to manage disagreements without hostility and put-downs.

Couples who divorce and those who go the distance disagree the same amount and about all of the same basic things.

There are predictable challenge points in any marriage, including the first two years, the birth of the first baby, years 14 to 16 (when teenagers are often in the home) and the empty nest years.

No one stays the same. You promise to stay together till death do you part, but you can't promise to stay the same.

Don't avoid disagreements. They'll just fester and lead to distance, detachment and eventually detonate.

Listen and speak in a way your partner can't possibly doubt you love him or her. Give your partner your attention. Repeat what your partner said without sarcasm to show you get his or her point of view.

Learn to take time-outs.

Express appreciation often.

Be willing to make up after an argument; it's central to a happy marriage. A repair attempt -- even if it's clumsy or funny -- is crucial.

Some wisdom from Diane. Make sure you check out her website. Won't you join the marriage champions working so hard to make marriage and healthy relationship education available to everyone? The first step is to do all you can in your own marriage. Don't forget our website is here for you.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

The Lesson of the Seat Belt

posted by Michele Olson

An "Embrace Life" video by the Sussex Safer Roads Partnership in the United Kingdom has been spreading online in this country since early this year. If you haven’t seen it…take a moment to watch it.

The purpose of the video is to remind people to wear their seat belts because people in their families care and want them around. Great message.

We can also use it as a great reminder about the importance of marriage and family, and why it matters. What a void is left when there is a separation, divorce…the loss of the family unit for any reason.

The visual of surrounding each other with arms of safety is a great picture of what a satisfying, low-conflict home can mean in a life. The looks on the faces of the family as they look to one another speaks volumes without saying a word. At the moment of the “accident”, the family saves the moment by surrounding the person in danger. In a strong marriage, we help each other through the “accidents” of life.

At we want to spread the message that all your healthy relationships can be better. You can get the satisfying relationships you long for by learning some basic skills of communication and conflict resolution.

So today; wear your seat belt.

Next, explore and sign up for a couples check-up. Visit the Learn tab and see what kind of workshop you can attend. Look to our recommended reading list and read more about healthy relationships. Buy a book or T shirt from our store. Get your Free Marriage Myth Buster Guide and become a card carrying Marriage Champion.
Give a monetary gift to help our non profit spread the mission of healthy relationships.

Today, wear your seat belt and do something to move toward learning how to communicate and resolve conflicts in a healthy way. The results of not wearing a seat belt and not communicating can be the same; tragedy for the family.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Kids Opinions to Make You Smile

posted by Michele Olson

This is one of those gems going around the internet...shared with me and now with you.

It gives some insight as to how kids actually do view us. Read and comment with some stories from your home, or the kids in your life. We'd love to laugh with you.

-You got to find somebody who likes the same stuff. Like, if you like sports, she should like it that you like sports, and she should keep the chips and dip coming.
-- Alan, age 10

-No person really decides before they grow up who they're going to marry. God decides it all way before, and you get to find out later who you're stuck with.
-- Kristen, age 10

Twenty-three is the best age because you know the person FOREVER by then.
-- Camille, age 10

You might have to guess, based on whether they seem to be yelling at the same kids.
-- Derrick, age 8

Both don't want any more kids.
-- Lori, age 8

-Dates are for having fun, and people should use them to get to know each other. Even boys have something to say if you listen long enough.
-- Lynnette, age 8 (isn't she a treasure)

On the first date, they just tell each other lies and that usually gets them interested enough to go for a second date.
-- Martin, age 10

When they're rich.
-- Pam, age 7

-The law says you have to be eighteen, so I wouldn't want to mess with that.
- - Curt, age 7

-The rule goes like this: If you kiss someone, then you should marry them and have kids with them. It's the right thing to do.
- - Howard, age 8

It's better for girls to be single but not for boys. Boys need someone to clean up after them. -- Anita, age 9 (bless you child )

There sure would be a lot of kids to explain, wouldn't there?
-- Kelvin, age 8

And the #1 Favorite is ........
Tell your wife that she looks pretty, even if she looks like a dump truck . -- Ricky, age 10

We have to add, there is a better way to make your marriage work than letting the other know they resemble a dump truck! Take advantage of the couples check ups for single, engaged and married...and click on the learn tab to view all the available classes at

Blog some comments...which kid's comment was your favorite?

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Do You Really Know What Domestic Violence Is?

Posted by Michele Olson

As we head into a weekend of fun, food, friends and fireworks..and honoring our independence…make sure you are truly a free person.

Many people who are involved in domestic violence would not label it that way. They think only hitting or punching is domestic violence. But, that’s not the case. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, it’s described as:
physical, mental, sexual or emotional abuse in an intimate relationship.

When one person uses abusive tactics to gain power and control over a partner or former partner, that’s domestic violence.

If you are victim, you can get help by calling the National Domestic Violence hotline, toll free, 24 hours a day at 1-800-799-7233 (That’s 1-800-799-SAFE) You can also visit:

There’s no excuse for domestic violence. You do not have to be a victim of domestic violence.

If you are a victim of any of these behaviors; take action. There are also safe shelters you can check into.

Are you a victim?

You are made to feel as if you are walking on eggshells to keep the peace.
You feel like a prisoner in your own home.
You are yelled at frequently and called hurtful names.
Your mate is unpredictable or has sudden mood swings.
You are threatened with violence.
Things are broken in your presence, you are hit with things.
You get hateful or threatening looks.
You are shoved, slapped or hit.
Your children are abused.
You are kept from seeing family or friends.
Your pets are hurt.
You are followed, spied on, or your abuser shows up at your job, school, or a friend’s home.
Your phone calls are listened to or you are kept from using the phone.
You have sex or affection forced upon you.
You are falsely accused of having affairs.
You have no control of money and are given very little.
You are not allowed to get or keep a job.
You have been pushed to make a commitment before you are ready.
Your partner has a history of battering in other relationships.
You are often the brunt of anger but then get an apology and receive flowers, gifts and promises.

*Adapted from The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

Seek professional help if you are a victim of domestic violence. Here's to a safe, violence free 4th for everyone.