Relationship Rule to Break: We need to be fair when splitting household tasks

I remember my Kindergarten days and how my teacher would tell us “wait your turn”, “now it is time to clean up”, and “everyone needs to do their share.” The early sense of fairness and the expectation that tasks will be distributed evenly seems to become part of each of … Continue reading

Relationship Rule to Break: We can’t have any fun until we solve our problems

There is an unspoken rule in relationships that partners can’t have any fun together until they “get over” the significant problems they face or stop having any kind of conflict. The truth is, all relationships have issues, and if you wait until they are resolved to start enjoying each other again, … Continue reading

Relationship Rule to Break: We need to be able to resolve all our conflicts

Couples often come to counseling with the expectation that they must resolve all of their issues in order to have a healthy, happy marriage. This is simply not true. In fact, marriage researcher, John Gottman and his associates, find that 69% of a couple’s marital conflicts CANNOT be resolved! That’s … Continue reading

Relationship Rules to Break: I shouldn’t have to ask for the things that make me feel loved

“How can he not know how horribly inappropriate it was to give me a blender for my birthday?” “Does she not get that I can’t just spill my guts on demand? Why is she all up in my face with “What’s wrong? Talk to me!” “Do I have to write … Continue reading

Relationship Rule to Break: In marriage we merge into one

“You complete me.” Tom Cruise’s famous line to his girlfriend in the classic romantic comedy Jerry Maguire captures the illusion of romantic love. Married or committed couples should merge into one: share the same interests; agree on everything; spend every moment together — right? Only in Hollywood. It probably comes … Continue reading

Relationship Rule to Break: It takes two to argue. . .

. . .and the partner doing the most talking is the one to blame. The tension of arguments, defining and expressing our own differing opinions, comprises some of the real pleasures of being in a mature relationship. Run fast, however, from any relationship rule about arguments that encourages blame. I … Continue reading

Relationship Rule to Break: Relationships should not be mundane

You’ve probably heard plenty of times that you should “spice things up” in your relationship, or “keep things exciting” in order to keep your relationship alive. Everywhere we go, we are bombarded with the message that we need to constantly be doing things in order to have a great relationship, … Continue reading

Relationship Rule to Break: Never argue in front of the kids

Many of us make it to adulthood with the belief that a perfect relationship means zero conflict, and we often funnel this belief into our parenting style. But disputes are inevitable, and so we cling to the mantra, “Never fight in front of the kids.” This usually results in one … Continue reading

Relationship Rule to Break: Never go to bed angry

We’ve all heard the suggestion that a couple should never go to bed angry. It’s actually terrible advice. One of the most important relationship skills is learning to contain our reactivity in disagreements and recognize that “right now” may not be the best time to try to resolve conflict. Why … Continue reading

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