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Articles from October 2009

October 23, 2009

Marriage without Compliments?

sh_logo_small.pngWant to know what I really like about this advice I give you and usually follow myself, to Assume Love? It leads to some really amazing discoveries. The one I write about in today's My Husband Made Me Eat It column at Second Helping Online is that the failure to compliment can be a great way to show love.

Are you making any great discoveries like this from assuming love in your own marriage?

October 13, 2009

Free Honeymoons Save Marriages

Yahoo! put it in their odd news category today, but I think it's clever. A state can end up spending a lot of money on food and social services when a marriage fails. So why not offer second honeymoons to struggling couples, if marriage counseling suggests it will help?

That's what the state of Terengganu (that's in Malaysia, between Singapore and Cambodia) is doing. The two-night honeymoons cost them less than $450 per couple and offer battling couples a chance for reconciliation. They started with a pilot for 25 couples and, based on the results, plan to launch a full-scale program by the end of the year.

And why wouldn't it work? Playfulness frees our creativity to find third alternatives for our disputes, rebuilds our hopes for the future, and lets us see again the qualities that drew us together. It's not easy to hang onto resentment on a romantic vacation.

But why wait until you're ready to split? What would be your ideal honeymoon to keep a good marriage going strong?

October 12, 2009

Tell Your Infidelity Story

Received this request from True Entertainment via the Smart Marriages newsletter today.

Infidelity is among the most delicate and difficult experiences a couple faces. Yet, while statistics show that more than 50% of all adults have cheated on their partners, it is still a very isolating experience.

True Entertainment, an Emmy Award winning production company who has produced TV documentaries for Discovery, The History Channel, ABC, Lifetime,TLC and many other networks, is producing an insightful exploration of infidelity and its effects on a relationship, family, loved ones and friends. This documentary-style show will take a comprehensive look at cheating, with the goal of understanding the nature of infidelity, as well as providing hope to viewers who are experiencing it in their own lives.

We are looking for couples who are willing to share their stories with our viewers whether they have found their way back to each other or ended up ending the relationship.

We are also looking to include the point of view of anyone who was vital in the couples journey (therapist, marriage educators, family or friends).

If you know anyone who might be willing to participate or you would like any further information, please contact Michele Friedman at Our deadline is Friday, October 23rd.

October 10, 2009

Define Fair Class for Business Partner Couples

Whether you call yourselves copreneurs, couplepreneuers, or a mom and pop business, every relationship feels unfair at times, and so does every business partnership.

How can you tell for sure when it's time to get out? How can you get your mate to carry more of an unjust load? How do you balance child care and cooking against cold-calling and bookkeeping? How can you work things out when you disagree? I will answer these questions and more on Friday, October 23, 2009, as part of Copreneur Camp.

Define Fair, my one-hour teleclass, begins at 1:45pm Eastern (12:45pm Central, 11:45am Mountain, 10:45am Pacific). You can join in by phone or computer.

Copreneur Camp is basic training for dating or married couples, same-sex or man-woman, who run a business together.

Registration for two full days of webinars is just $29, and you can easily get a $5 discount. See the Copreneur Camp registration form on the website.

Are you in business as a couple? How has fairness been an issue in your business or personal relationship? Please share what's worked for you and what you're still hoping for an answer to.

October 8, 2009

Childhood Cancer Survivors Less Likely to Marry

Double bad luck: people who have cancer as children are less likely to marry than those who don't. Around 70% of Americans marry by the time they are 30 years old. But not childhood cancer survivors. Only half of them do, according to a large follow-up study reported today.

Why not? Short stature, poor physical functioning, and cognitive problems are the factors more common among the people who remain unmarried. These known side effects of chemotherapy and radiation may make it harder to find a mate.

Fortunately, childhood cancer doesn't hurt anyone's ability to keep a marriage going. The divorce rate was no different for those treated for cancer as kids than for their siblings or the general population.

Nina S. Kadan-Lottick, M.D., M.S.P.H., assistant professor at Yale School of Medicine and Yale Cancer Center, led this study of the effects of childhood cancer treatment on marriages, which was reported in today's Science Daily. It followed up on 10,000 children with cancer, treated at 26 different institutions, after they reached adulthood.

October 6, 2009

Why Assume Love and Expect Love? For Your Own Happiness

This blog gets cross-posted in my Facebook Notes, where I was asked an interesting question this morning (well, morning for me, afternoon for David, who asked):

Hey Patty, I get Assume Love, but what about expect love. Isn't that the opposite? Assume love is taking the onus on yourself while expect love is waiting for someone else to give it. Or am I reading too much into this?

This is such a great question that it deserves its own blog post. Neither Assume Love nor Expect Love is about your spouse. Both are things you can do for yourself to enjoy being married more.

I recommend you Assume Love whenever you get upset by your mate's behavior. It's not taking the onus on yourself. You do it to regain control over your emotions before they mislead you.

Because whatever happened looked at first glance like something scary, your overly helpful brain will jump into action and make sure you pay attention only to whatever danger you might be in. It will deliberately cause you to ignore a lot of others things you know or could see if your brain didn't smell danger.

Let's say you catch your spouse on the phone whispering, "I'll have to call you back" and quickly hiding the phone. Secretive behavior by your spouse is at first glance pretty scary. Within a split second, your brain chemistry will have you checking over recent events for other signs of an affair. It will have you scrutinizing your mate's face for clues.

If you Assume Love—just choose to believe those wedding promises long enough to check this out and ask yourself why a good, loving person might behave this way—you have a chance of recalling your anniversary or birthday is a week away. Or you two are on your way out, and you blew up at your spouse the last time you went out for continuing a phone call with her sister that made you late.

Assume Love does not ever mean Pretend Love, in which you tell your brain to just shut up about the fear so you avoid offending your mate. If you just Pretend Love, you won't get the relief of discovering everything's actually just fine.

Expect Love is all about your state of mind, too. This person married you. He or she brought a whole bunch of impressive qualities into your life, then promised to continue sharing them through thick and thin. It is perfectly reasonable to expect you will receive lots of love.

Then you make yourself miserable. You make up stories about what package this love will come in. If you're not aware of your stories, they usually begin not with "once upon a time" but with "if you loved me." If you loved me, you wouldn't have spent that money. If you loved me, you'd show up on time. If you loved me, you wouldn't ask me to do that. If you loved me, you would help me with this right now.

Every one of those stories prevents you from seeing the love you are offered. Every one of those stories keeps you tapping your toe, waiting to be loved, when you already are. Every one of them makes your spouse wonder just what it would take to convince you of his or her love—and whether it's still worth trying.

When you Expect Love, you don't put any onus on your spouse. Instead, you remind yourself to quit looking in all the wrong places and blaming your spouse when you find no love there. Showing you love is not a chore. It's one of life's greatest delights. What is unbearable is showing love and getting blame in return. You offer your mate a great gift when you Expect Love, even though you do it to make yourself happier. So Expect Love. Please.

Want a Fair Marriage?

What makes a marriage fair?

A while before my first husband died, I thought it was unfair he wouldn't take on consulting work, like other professors did. We needed the money. In the months right before his death, I thought it was unfair he wouldn't accept a semester of disability pay, allowing him to take on more work at home but less work overall with no loss in pay.

Then he died, and I had to do without his salary at all. So I worked hard, focused my efforts, increased my hours, paid a housekeeper, and doubled my income in twelve months. Now I wonder just how fair I had been, working at only half my ability all those years.

Before he died, I thought it was unfair I had to make all the phone calls about the house we were building, because I spent two and a half hours a day driving to and from work. We lived near his job. He got home in less than 15 minutes. We didn't have cell phones. Car time was useless time.

Then he died, and I realized there was no way I could afford to spend two and a half hours a day driving, so I moved my job closer to my house. It wasn't nearly as difficult as I believed it would be. How unfair had I been to him, wasting all that time driving and bugging him about making phone calls. He hated making phone calls, while I made them easily.

What would you do if you had to do it all yourself? How would you pay the bills? How would you keep your kids healthy? How would you entertain yourself? How would you maintain your carpets and your gutters? How would you keep learning? How would you make sure you had other adults to talk to, other parents to help out in an emergency?

If you're not doing these things now, have you noticed how incredibly fortunate you are to be in such an unfair marriage? People who do are happier and enjoy their marriages more. Expect love. Any other expectations just make you miss the sweetness of being loved.

The Author

Patty Newbold is a widow who got it right the second time...

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