Palm Beach Divorce lawyer Christopher R. Bruce recently interviewed Coral Springs Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist Susan Block about how couples can overcome infidelity in their relationships. Susan's interview is accessible below and will be available in the next 24-36 hours for free download at the iTunes store: Click here to download from iTunes.
Bruce Law Firm | StayMarriedFlorida Blog
StayMarriedFlorida was developed by Palm Beach Divorce Lawyer Christopher R. Bruce and is supported by the Bruce Law Firm
If you’ve followed along with this series of articles, you’ve already read about “getting to the core” of your relationship problems and identified hot-button sensitivities you may not have recognized otherwise. You’ve also learned about vicious cycles and how to stop the type of fights you get stuck in again and again. This article is about what to do next now that you understand your partner better, are targeted with your love and compassion toward them, and, hopefully, are feeling pretty good about your relationship again.Read More
Listen to our interview with Delray Beach Licensed Psychotherapist Dr. Laura Zipris on ways to improve and rebuild relationships.Read More
Listen to our interview with Jupiter Marriage Counselor Jemma Coleman on how to take control of conflict in your relationship.Read More
Listen to our interview with Fort Lauderdale Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Dr. Kate Campbell on communication patterns that are damaging to relationships.
In troubled marriages, information can seem not like a source of love and power, but a one-way ticket to more misery. After all, the thinking goes, if your spouse revealed what she really thinks or what he really feels, the fallout could be catastrophic.
Not so fast. A popular article has been making its away around the web, claiming that 36 simple questions can help anyone fall in love. There's real science to back up this claim. Research suggests that simply knowing more about a person can make that person more appealing – even if he or she is your spouse.
Of course, when you're fighting all the time, asking someone about their dreams for the future can be a recipe for disaster, especially if those dreams don't include you. If you want to explore your spouse's psyche without risking hurt feelings, try asking the following questions. Not only will they help you get to know one another all over again; they may also help you find new ways of relating:
· What's your best memory of us as a couple?
· What did you think of me when we first met?
· What do you think is our biggest strength as a couple?
· If you could change one thing about our marriage, what would it be?
· If I could change one behavior tomorrow to make you happier, what would it be?
· What would you like to change about yourself as a partner?
· What are your hopes for our future together?
· How do you think our values and relationship have changed over time?
· What's the best thing about being married to me?
· Is there any sexual trick you've been itching to try?
· What are you most scared of in our relationship?
· If I could surprise you with anything, what would you want for it to be?
· What does a perfect day look like for you?
· Which ways of showing love feel best to you? Gifts? Sex? Favors? Something else?
· If I could get you any gift in the world, what would you want? Why?
· If you could travel anywhere, where would it be?
· What's the sexiest thing I could do for your right now?
Don't stop at just asking questions. Remember, you're exploring your spouse's mind for a reason. Getting to know this person all over again can help remind you why you fell in love in the first place. Even more importantly, though, these simple questions can give you deep insight into what your spouse needs, what he or she wants most from you, and what you can do now to improve your marriage. After all, if you have the power to give your spouse the perfect day, change what bothers him or her most about your marriage, or build upon your greatest strengths as a couple, why wouldn't you?
Whether you're unsure about sticking it out or are madly in love, finding new ways to give your spouse a giddy rush of glee is no easy task. Making your spouse feel good is a key to marital happiness, since happy spouses are nicer, more cooperative, and much more likely to be nice in return. If you need a quick marital boost, try one of these easy solutions.
Encourage Your Spouse to Talk About Himself or Herself
A cardinal truth about life is that everyone loves talking about themselves. Get your spouse to open up by asking him or her specific questions, then intently listening to the answers. Don't be afraid to ask a follow-up question to poke around in your spouse's psyche a bit more. Sometimes all it takes to stoke desire and boost intimacy is feeling heard.
Help Out Around the House
Need to stoke the fires of desire? Try a little choreplay. Especially for women, getting help from a partner can help quell anxiety and stoke passion. Don't just put away a few dishes, though. Do a thorough cleaning, and make sure the work you do is up to your spouse's standards – not your own.
Show Unconditional Love and Affection
Why get married if you can't count on being loved even when you're unlovable? Sometimes all a spouse needs to warm up to you yet again is a little TLC. Reach out and hug your spouse when he or she is stressed. Leave a nice note in her briefcase, or offer him a back massage. The key here is to do so without expecting anything in return, and to continue with your kindness even if you're met with attitude at first.
Do Your Spouse's Favorite Thing
Everyone has something they love. Whether it's scouring garage sales at the crack of dawn on Saturday, attending a local orchid show, or going for a drive in the country, deep down you know what your spouse loves doing (and if you don't, you should ask). Commit to doing your spouse's very favorite thing for an hour, a few hours, a day, or even a weekend. Bonus points if you plan the entire event yourself.
Surprise Your Spouse
Surprises are inherently sexy because they get your heart racing. If you're desperate to get your spouse's attention and eager to reignite the passion of desire, a surprise may be the very best thing you do for your marriage. Just make sure you surprise your spouse with something they love – not, say, a complicated meal that he or she has to clean up when it's over! A bouquet of flowers, a surprise date, even promising to plan a trip together can all work wonders, not to mention get you out of the dog house.
You and you alone have the power to save your marriage. Don't wait for your spouse to step in and do something, and don't hope things will magically get better. Do something today so you can have a happier tomorrow.
A quarter of all women will experience domestic violence during their lifetimes, and nearly three million men have been assaulted by a romantic partner. Despite its stigma, domestic abuse is depressingly common. What's often left out of the dialogue about domestic abuse, though, is that domestic abusers aren't just monsters with whom a victim lives. They're people who, at one time or another, the victim loved. Leaving an abuser requires immense courage, but also demands that you go through the intense pain of a breakup. Consequently many victims are hopeful that their abusers will change. The depressing truth is that most won't, but this doesn't mean change is always impossible.
Understanding the Cycle of Abuse
Many victims point to the ability of the abuser to be kind, loving, and extraordinarily gentle as evidence that he doesn't really “mean” the abuse. The reality is that this behavior is a classic sign of abuse. Most experts on domestic violence argue that there are three distinct phases to the abuse: the act of battering itself, which is followed by a honeymoon period during which the abuser will do anything to get the victim to stay. After a while, tension begins building again, and this third and final stage eventually leads to more abuse.
The hard truth is that periodic kindness does not mean your abuser will change. Instead, it suggests that he can control his behavior when necessary, which means he's using abuse to control you. This does not offer much hope for redemption.
Can an Abuser Change?
- Domestic violence is not inevitable. There is not an abuser gene, and even the angriest of people can control themselves. This means that, theoretically, a domestic abuser can change. The real question is whether or not he will. For victims of domestic violence, safety needs mean that it's necessary to leave the abuser until he's ready to change. Don't consider taking him back until he's shown the following signs of willingness to change:
- Remorse for his actions that includes complete acceptance of responsibility. You cannot induce someone to behave abusively by nagging him, belittling him, or otherwise upsetting him.
- A commitment to understanding why he abuses you.
- A willingness to respect your boundaries and safety. If you need to move out for a while, he should understand that you're doing this for your safety. If he tries to manipulate you into ignoring your own boundaries, then he's engaging in an elaborate ruse, not dedicating himself to changing.
What's the Right Approach for Domestic Violence?
Many couples trapped in a cycle of domestic violence seek out couples counseling, but couples counseling will not stop abuse. Indeed, couples counseling can compound the problem because such counseling works according to the premise that both spouses share a role in the problem. Violence is solely the fault of the abuser. While you may have problems that marriage counseling can address, your abuser will need to attend counseling specifically designed for abusers until he can stop abusing you. Then you can pursue couples counseling. While your abuser goes through counseling, it's a wise idea to pursue your own counseling so you can explore whether this is a relationship worth continuing.
If you are currently being abused, don't waste time debating whether the abuser can change. Get help immediately by calling the National Domestic Violence Hotline.
Whether your marriage is in trouble or you're just dealing with the normal ups and downs of coupled life, it's easy to see what your partner is doing wrong. It takes two to create a problem, though, so looking at your own role in your marriage is key to getting back on track. You're the only component of your marriage you can control, and when your behavior changes, your spouse's actions may change for the better, too.
Make Time for Physical Affection
Research has repeatedly shown that the simple act of kissing your partner every day can work wonders for a marriage. It's easy to get caught up in the daily grind, but physical affection outside of the bedroom can help solidify your connection. Kiss your partner every day, and reach out to touch him or her as much as possible. Offer massages and hugs, and maybe a gentle rear pat as your partner walks by.
Apologize – and Mean It
After years of marriage, it's easy to hang on to resentment as if it's some sort of investment that will eventually pay out a massive yield. But hanging on to resentment only makes you both feel miserable. Apologizing doesn't mean giving up your power. Instead, apologizing when you're wrong is the first step toward rebalancing your relationship. Don't shy away from apologizing. Doing so not only makes your spouse feel more valued, but can help encourage him or her to take responsibility when you're the victim and they're in the wrong.
Change Your Perspective
Years of conflict can make you totally intractable, but stubbornly clinging to your own viewpoint is the very worst way to improve your marriage. Instead, commit to taking your partner's perspective at least once a week. Sit down and actually contemplate what your partner's day is like, how your behavior appears to him or her, what stresses he or she is facing, and where your relationship is lacking from your partner's perspective. Doing so can make your partner more sympathetic while encouraging you to make healthy changes.
Do Something Nice
Sometimes years of marriage make it easy to forget the most obvious advice of all: do something nice for your partner. It doesn't have to be big or expensive, but a small act of love each day can steadily move you back toward happiness. Try sticking a sweet note in your wife's purse, straightening your hubby's tie, or offering a quick back massage. Kindness tends to breed more kindness, so don't be surprised if your acts of love encourage your spouse to begin taking positive steps of his or her own.
Ask Your Partner Meaningful Questions
Some relationship experts believe that simply asking the right questions can lead to lasting love. By asking your partner to share more about himself or herself, you show your love and concern. And when you listen, your partner will feel more valued. Feel free to ask anything that's not accusatory, but this list of 36 questions for lasting love is a great start.
You've probably heard the depressing statistics that 50% of marriages fail, but the truth is that divorce rates are falling, particularly among Millennials. Four decades of skyrocketing divorce rates have taught Americans that breaking free of a troubled marriage may not be all it's cracked up to be. Indeed, if you have children, you'll likely be stuck dealing with the same issues you once faced while married – but without the security that comes with a lifetime commitment. It's easy to convince yourself that divorce is the escape hatch to a better life, but more than half of divorced couples regret their decision. Here are five surefire signs that you're not yet ready to divorce.
You Want to Teach Your Spouse a Lesson
If you think filing for divorce will be a wake-up call that encourages your spouse to finally do right by you, think again. Filing for divorce will likely activate your spouse's defenses, and may even permanently destroy your marriage. Divorce is not a bargaining chip, and using it as such is almost guaranteed to backfire.
If you can't stand the thought of your ex being with another person, ask yourself whether you're really ready to get divorced. Divorce is not a way to resolve disputes; it's a permanent separation that requires you to fully let go of your spouse. If you're not prepared to do that, then you still love your spouse. And that means there's still hope for your marriage.
You Hope You'll Stay Friends
Sure, the prospect of completely losing touch with someone who's played such a valuable role in your life can feel scary. Divorce, though, means giving up control. If you're willing to do anything to stay in touch with your spouse, then put that energy toward saving your marriage instead. Once you're divorced, there are no guarantees that you'll stay in touch.
You're Planning a Big Fight
If you're planning to milk your spouse for every penny he or she has, ruin your spouse's relationship with your kids, or otherwise engage in a massive legal brawl, consider your motivations. Fighting from a place of vengeance not only wreaks havoc on your marriage; it will also exponentially increase your stress levels. If you want to wage war on your spouse, this signals that your connection and your emotions are still strong. Put that energy into saving your marriage and you'll be happier a year from now than you will be if you accrue hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal bills trying to destroy your ex's life.
You Haven't worked On Your Marriage
If you're sick of being married, thought you'd have fewer conflicts, or have some other amorphous reason for divorcing, it's time to take a long, hard look at your motivations. Marriage takes work, to be sure, but that work pays off in the form of greater happiness and a lifelong connection. If you haven't spent some time in therapy, explored your own behavior, or dedicated yourself to better communication, you haven't given your marriage a chance to succeed.