February 3, 2012 at 11:17 am , by Lauren Piro
Newlyweds Isabella and Ryan assumed that married life would be blissful and easy. Kids, right? Read on to find out how they learned to communicate (and keep their problems off the internet!), and find the full story here.
Isabella’s turn: Isabella comes from a very close-knit, traditional family. Her mother’s home was always immaculate, Isabella is very close to her sister, and everyone in her family knew they had responsibilities. Then she married scruffy, free-spirited Ryan, and found that their home life was, well, different. To Isabella, Ryan is a slob stuck in a dead-end job. He never helps around the house and resents the fact that she makes more money than he does (even though she knows he could be a successful comic-book writer if he put his mind to it). Tensions were rising, and then Isabella stumbled upon the real kicker. Ryan had been keeping a blog (which had garnered a bunch of readers!) complaining about life with Isabella. She feels betrayed and wonders how well she knows him at all.
Ryan’s turn: Isabella is overreacting—he’s only using a the blog as a way to express his feelings, and likes the advice he gets from his readers. He says it’s like anonymous group therapy, that’s all. Ryan’s life has always been a bit difficult. His parents had him at a very young age, his dad was an alcoholic, and recently they got a divorce, which Ryan took pretty hard. For awhile, Isabella made his life better—she was romantic and caring, and he loved spending time with her. But now, she just nags him as soon as she gets home from work. He feels like nothing in his life is working right now (including his dull job), so he took to the internet to sort things out. It’s not a big deal. Why can’t Isabella just drop it?
The counselor’s turn: Like many couples, Ryan and Isabella didn’t think it was important to discuss how they would handle everyday tasks once they got married. They seem trivial, but responsibilities like managing housework can quickly cause fighting and marital disappointment. Ryan’s blog was definitely hurtful, but it helped the couple finally get their feelings and problems out in the open. After working with the counselor, each agreed to try harder. They created a chore schedule to organize their household management in way that worked for both of them, and Isabella curbed her constant nagging, trading her resentment for better communication. Ryan apologized for hurting Isabella and minimizing her concerns, and admitted that it bothered him that Isabella was the family breadwinner. The counselor recognized that Ryan had a tough childhood, but told him it was time to change the outcome of his story and earn some self-worth. The couple decided that Ryan would enroll in art school to kick-off his new career, and before long their closeness returned.
February 24, 2011 at 3:44 pm , by Jennifer Castoro
The mouths of babes, indeed. This progressive little lady sure knows what she wants! We have a feeling Miss Independent will have that job, and a great man, too (when she’s old enough, of course). And maybe more all-grown-up, married ladies wish they took her advice!
Tell us, what advice would you give to your unmarried self, if you could turn back the clock to this little one’s age? Is there anything you wish you’d done or settled before you tied the knot?
January 6, 2011 at 2:57 pm , by Jennifer Castoro
We know your list of resolutions grows longer by the day. And while slimming down, getting healthy, reading more books and your other must-dos are definitely important, keeping your marriage strong and healthy should be near (or at) the top of your priorities. Even if last year was a great one for you and your spouse, there are surely still things to improve on, and if you’ve run into some trouble lately, now is the perfect time to get to work on making your partnership a happy one. Because as every couple, young and old, can agree, a peaceful marriage takes a little effort!
The experts behind our Can This Marriage Be Saved? column have seen every issue under the sun, from the serious to the silly, that cause fights between spouses. Here are some of their top suggestions of what to do to make your marriage a solid, happy, loving and lasting one.
1.Trust each other. Trust is the cornerstone of a healthy marriage, and being secure in your relationship will help you fully commit to it.
2. Communicate. Say what you mean, mean what you say, and leave the mind-reading to Madam Sofie’s taro cards.
3. Fight fair. You may win the battle but you’ll lose the war, and your marriage along with it, if you always go for the lowest blow. Anger is inevitable, and what matters is how you deal with it.
4. Quit the power struggles. Respect and accept each other’s differences. Whether your way to get the upper hand is to be passive-aggressive or domineering, one-upmanship is dangerous cycle.
5. Talk about money. Financial issues are often cited as the number-one trigger for divorce, and they often mask other, deeper issues within the marriage. Your money styles don’t have to match, but you have to be honest about them.
6. Have sex. So simple yet so complicated. Though they’re bound to happen to any long-wed couple, sexual issues can influence all other aspects of a marriage. It’s a short leap from questioning a sex life to questioning the health of a marriage altogether.
7. Be parenting teammates. When you undermine each other in front of your kids, you’re setting them up to do the same when they’re married adults. You should be allies, not adversaries.
What’s your secret to a happy marriage? Do you have any tips for getting through the tough times, working together or staying in love? Have anything to add to our experts’ advice? Share them in the comments!
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Marriage tips courtesy of Seven Secrets of a Happy Marriage, by Margery D. Rosen and the editors of Ladies’ Home Journal, Workman Publishing (c) 2002.
September 14, 2009 at 6:04 pm , by Jennifer Castoro
Aah, men. We love them, we hate them, we use them as pillows and punching bags (not literally, of course) and psychologists all in one. And no matter how baffling their behavior, we always try to figure them out! Analyzing what he meant when he said this and how he looked when he did that can provide hours upon hours of entertainment, can’t it? I’m Jen, your neighborhood relationships blogger. I’ve been in a serious relationship for a few years, and though I’ve promised my wonderful, loving, understanding boyfriend I won’t share too much (hi, honey!), I have to dish at least a little! I’ll also have some guest bloggers that are blissfully wed to get a little married-lady perspective.
Currently on my mind is a rather weighty topic. (Is it too soon to get serious? I hardly know you!) Right now, I live by myself, and my partner lives by himself, and we’ve been thinking about merging the selves under one roof. The discussion started for various reasons, but it mostly came up because we’re ready to really commit. Of course, there are tons of pros (and cons) we’ve been weighing endlessly cheaper rent, more enjoyable grocery-shopping trips and dinners eaten together versus less privacy, more-cramped quarters and having to share a bathroom–but I’m glad we’re really thinking it through before we take the jump.