Can a Pet Help a Marriage Succeed?

We’re all familiar with the emails that make their way around the net that tell a story compelling enough for us to forward the email along to our friends. Some of these emails tell a hilarious story; some inspire us to do something kind, compassionate or perhaps even adventurous. We do love stories!

Well, today I received one of those emails and it was about a very grumpy father (in his 60s) and his daughter’s attempt to bring some joy and peace of mind to her dad. And as the title of this post suggests, it was about a pet.

Now, I realize not everyone is a pet lover. And I certainly respect that. I grew up without any pets in the house and I always felt I missed out on something. So when I got my own place (a beat-up apartment above a restaurant that had fabulous French Fries), one of the first things I did was get a dog. It wasn’t a pure bred, but he sure didn’t know it, and he and I had a fabulous relationship.

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What Does the “Free Hugs” Video Have to Do With It?

The following video has been viewed over twenty-two million times on YouTube!

(Make sure your speakers are turned on)

 

I think you know why I included this video on a blog called “Marriage Success.” A fast kiss on the cheek or the lips is certainly a show of affection. But take a few seconds more and give your spouse a nice, deep hug. The affinity you deliver with a great hug is worth its weight in gold. And don’t wait for the “right moment” to give your husband or wife a fabulous hug. Give them freely. They’ll work wonders!


Additional info on the above video: After watching it, I found out about another Free Hugs “campaign” that was carried out in Santa Monica and one in South Korea, Amsterdam, Hollywood, Israel, China and on and on.

One guy, Juan Mann, started this phenomenon of simply giving out “free hugs.” If you head over to YouTube and type in “free hugs,” you’ll find a ton of videos on this incredible wave of friendship and affinity.

Juan Mann decided to brighten up the lives of passerbys in Sydney, Australia by giving them free hugs. As a result hundreds of thousands, possibly millions of “free” hugs have been dispensed by complete strangers!

Have You and Your Spouse Set Goals?

Whether you’ve just come from your honeymoon, or you’ve been married many years, a key ingredient to a successful marriage is setting goals.

As a couple, where do you want to be in five years? Ten years? Thirty years?

Those are of course long term goals, but you can also sit down and discuss what you’d like to accomplish in the next month or by your next wedding anniversary.

There are a few things to consider when setting goals:

You want to discuss mutual goals, those things that the two of you together can accomplish as a team.

You want to include individual goals, what each of you personally wants to achieve in the desired time period,

Look at the mutual goals and the individual goals and work them over so they are in alignment with each other.

List out real and doable steps that will move each of you and the marriage in the direction of attaining each goal.

Review your goals regularly. Discuss ways to improve progress. Talk about eliminating things that get in the way of achieving short and long term goals.

Set goals that are attainable.

When you achieve a goal, no matter how short term or seemingly insignificant, reward yourselves. Do something to acknowledge the achievement. Enjoy the win of having set a goal and attained it. This actually makes it easier to achieve the next one!

Setting and achieving goals can very definitely help a marriage succeed!

When a Child Wants to Help…

One of the biggest mistakes parents make is not recognizing when a child wants to help. Being in small bodies, they are not going to offer the same kind of help that a fully grown person does, but they will make the effort. And when that effort is not recognized AND acknowledged, then the child will start to “help” in ways you don’t appreciate.

I’ve seen this with my own eyes: A child around two years old is sitting in a shopping cart. He takes an item from the cart and tries to place it on the conveyor belt to the cashier. The unaware mom stops the child from doing this and says, “that’s okay, honey, I’ll take care of that.” Unfortunately, I’ve seen too many moms yell at their child for attempting this. Perhaps the mom is worried the child will drop the item. Perhaps the mom is in a hurry. Perhaps the mom is just stressed out.

Now we turn to the mom who sees this seemingly insignificant act as a real effort on the child’s part to HELP. The child wants to contribute in some way. She’s small, but she can grab onto some item in the shopping cart and TRY to get that item onto the conveyor belt. The smart mom observes what is happening and let’s the child complete this act of contribution. If the child is having difficulty pulling it off, the mom helps out in a way that allows the child to still take “ownership” of the help that’s being offered.

When the helpful act is accomplished, the mom gives the child a very hearty thank you (and maybe even a hug). The child gets that her help is appreciated and will continue to deliver this kind of help in the future. Parents allow the child to complete these acts of help and acknowledge the child each time for doing so.

As mentioned earlier, the child who has this line of help and contribution cut off by the mom or the dad (or siblings) will find other ways to “help.” The child will do things that are a bit (or very) destructive. This will certainly get a response. Not the response the parent or the child really wants, but a response nevertheless.

Give your child the freedom to contribute and you will be doing your child (and your marriage) a great service.


More ideas on bringing up children in my book When the Thrill Is Gone. Ebook version is currently available at no charge.

The Advantages of Sleeping On It…

You and your husband are upset about something. What advantages are there to sleeping on it?

I'd have to say…none.

If you and your spouse are in the middle of an upset, it's worth the extra effort to try to resolve it before heading off to bed. For a few reasons:

  1. You'll get much better sleep if the upset is behind you.
  2. Though some upsets will "fade away" with time, many do just the opposite. They linger and can have a negative impact on other areas of life.
  3. Upsets (even minor ones) that are allowed to accumulate can put unnecessary strain on the marriage.
  4. If there are kids, whether they view the upset(s) directly or not, they are affected by them.

Sometimes we're just too tired to sit down and resolve an upset before going to bed, but any effort you (and your spouse) make on this kind of thing can be very helpful. Even if all you do is look each other in the eye and say, "hey, I know we're upset but I think the world of you. Let's agree to fix this tomorrow for sure." — that's far better than sleeping on it. And a fast hug or kiss wouldn't hurt.


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Outside Influences

 While driving around town a few days ago, I heard a radio talk show host give a woman advice that was so off-the-wall, I figured I’d mention it here as a good example of “outside influences.”

The talk show host is well known, has a national audience and his subject is money and finances. (I won’t mention his name, as that part of the story is not that important). A woman calls all excited to talk to the host and says her fiance wants a pre-nuptial. She says he’s got a handful of old cars that are treasured collectibles and apparently he doesn’t want to lose them if the marriage goes sour.

The woman explains a bit more about her fiance, that he’s been in school for awhile, learning a craft and the talk show host jumps in and goes on for about five minutes about how big a mistake the woman is making by going ahead with the marriage! He even tells her that if you were my daughter that, “I’d do everything in my power to make sure you didn’t marry this guy!” He uses this five minutes to severely criticize the woman’s fiance.

Now I realize this is a more-than-obvious example of an “outside influence” but this woman started off the conversation with a fiance she loved dearly and a minor concern about the pre-nup and as the talk show host worked her over for those five minutes you could see that she was starting to feel different about her fiance.

And I also realize this woman most likely should NOT have called the show to get “advice” about her fiance AND whatever advice he gave she should NOT have let it affect her. But unfortunately these kinds of things can and do happen.

If you (or your spouse) are talking to a friend or another family member about your spouse and you receive advice that is derogatory in some way, realize the potential exists that you’ll leave that conversation with less affinity for your spouse. You may have had good intentions going into that conversation, perhaps wanting to air some concerns you have, but you have to be aware of the fact that someone outside of your marriage has the potential to reduce the love and affection one spouse has for the other.

Sometimes a marriage is being hurt by a hidden outside influence. This person is not immediately obvious to the husband or wife. In my book, When the Thrill Is Gone, a procedure is given to locate a hidden, negative influence on a marriage. Locating such a source of trouble can bring tremendous relief to a marriage.

Having an awareness of “outside influences” as a factor in your marriage can be very helpful.

One Very Easy Way to Improve Communication…

If you and your spouse are not in good communication with each other, there are a number of ways to improve the communication, but here is a very simple approach: talk to your spouse about things that are VERY REAL to him/her.

Each spouse has a number of subjects that are “very real” to them. It might be work-related,  a favorite sport, a particular political view, maybe even a sibling that one spouse spends a lot of time with. If you’ve been together for even a short time, you pretty much know what these subjects are.

If you’re the wife and you’d like to take that first step to improve communication, discuss subjects with your husband that he has a good bit of “reality” on. If you do this, your husband’s willingness to communicate will be higher than before. Keep it sincere along this line and you will eventually see an increased willingness to communicate about other subjects (recent upsets perhaps).

People find it very easy to talk about things that are very real to them. When the level of communication in your marriage drops, talk to your spouse about these very real subjects first and you’ll have taken a simple and effective step to raising the level of communication.

Our Purpose

The purpose of this site is to help YOUR marriage succeed. I define a “successful marriage” in this way:

    • The husband and wife are in superb communication with each other.
    • They are able to use communication to resolve disagreements; upsets do not linger.
    • They thoroughly enjoy each other’s company and are eager to spend time with each other.
    • Both partners are creating a future together.
    • The passion and excitement is at a high level.

This site provides ideas, tools and advice to help you achieve every one of the above. And because a successful marriage depends on our children doing well, we’ll provide very useable tips to help you with the kids.

Having a successful marriage is incredibly important. Yet over 50% of all marriages end in divorce. And many married couples painfully continue on with an unhappy marriage.

Why does a marriage start out so bright, so full of hope and promise and over time lose its  passion and excitement? Do people just “fall out of love?”

These and many other questions about marriage will be answered on this blog. I realize that’s a bold statement, so let me make a suggestion: Become familiar with the tools and advice we offer here. Look over the different posts and see if they give you new insights. 

Read some of the articles and subscribe to our free weekly marriage quotes.

The information in my marriage book has helped thousands of couples improve and even save their marriage!

Having a successful marriage is VERY important.

Yours,
Stan Dubin

Marriage Quotes

I scoured the net to see what others have said about the subject of a successful marriage. I found quite a few marriage quotes that I thought you’d like.

From Lao Tzu to Tolstoy, from Homer to John Lennon.

You’ll find some great quotes from Thoreau, L. Ron Hubbard and Pearl S. Buck. And many others.

Read them over and see if they give you some new insights. The very last one was a big hit with several of my friends.

Note: I included a “Marriage Quotes” link on the menu bar near the top. I’ll be adding more quotes as time goes by. Use the bookmark link below to assist your return here. And of course feel free to share this page with others!

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