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The Rushmore Report: The Top 5 Reasons Couples Fight

I love to talk about love – even some of the darker parts of coupledom like arguments, fights, and problems. After all, without the dark we wouldn’t have the light! Most of us don’t realize there are patterns to how we fight. Your arguments might be more common than you think. There are really just five reasons most couples fight.

Here are the five most common issues over which couples fight:

  1. Free time
  2. Money
  3. Housework
  4. Physical intimacy
  5. Extended family

More important than the issues over which we fight is the way to turn fights into positives. Here are six ways you can use the science of couples to help your relationship:

1. Adopt a new mindset.

How to fight better: I want us to shift the focus to fighting better as opposed to fighting less. Why? Fighting better is about having discussions, not arguments. It is about respectfully hearing one another.

2. Identify the issues.

One of the most interesting discussions I have ever had with my husband was identifying our “perpetual issues.” We sat down and thought about the problems and topics and looked at the patterns. The main issues keep coming up – they need to be identified.

3. Localize, don’t globalize.

One reason that little arguments can erupt so quickly is that a small disagreement can be tagged into one of your larger arguments and immediately explode into the big fight. Avoid saying things like, “You always . . .” or “You never . . .” Don’t focus on the big picture nor the past. Focus on the local issues.

4. Start with agreement.

If a gridlocked issue comes up on a daily basis and you need to approach it, start with agreement. Successful couples master gentleness. They start with their common purpose, what they want to achieve as a family.

5. Look beyond the argument.

This is the hardest one to do. It is also the most important. Sometimes there are underlying issues beneath the gridlock. Think about what is happening behind the argument. This will help you to turn the situation to an exploratory discussion, rather than antagonistic.

6. Choose acceptance.

Knowing that your issues and where you stand can help you avoid having the same argument over and over again. Agreeing to disagree and naming the issue can prevent arguments in the future. Acceptance means placing a higher value on the person than the position.

About the Author

Vanessa Van Edwards is a marriage expert and the author of Captivate: The Science of Succeeding with People.

The Rushmore Report: Top Ten Reasons for Divorce

Marriage isn’t always easy and the sad reality is that not all “I dos” end with a “happily ever after,” no matter how much two people may love each other. It’s estimated that 40 to 50 percent of first marriages fail, as well as 60 percent of second marriages. This can be hard to grasp for someone who is about to get married or is happily married. So how does this happen? Why do so many marriages end in divorce?

What are the real reasons for divorce? Let’s look at the ten most common reasons for divorce in hope that you can learn from the mistakes of others.

1. Infidelity

Extra-marital affairs are responsible for the breakdown of most marriages that end in divorce. The reasons people cheat aren’t as clear as we may think, though anger and resentment are common underlying reasons people cheat.

2. Money

Money makes people funny. Everything from different spending habits and financial goals to one spouse making considerably more money that the other, power struggles often emerge. Money issues bring stress, and stress leads to divorce.

3. Lack of communication

This is crucial in marriage and a failure in this area leads to frustration, impacting all aspects of a marriage. On the other hand, good communication is the foundation of a strong marriage.

4. Constant arguing

From bickering about chores to arguing about the kids, incessant arguing kills many relationships. Couples who seem to keep having the same argument over and over often do so because they feel they’re not being heard or appreciated.

5. Weight gain

It may seem awfully superficial or unfair, but weight gain is a common reason for divorce. In some cases a significant amount of weight gain causes the other spouse to become less physically attracted while for others, weight gain takes a toll on the person’s self-esteem. Either leads to a break-down in intimacy.

6. Unrealistic expectations

It’s easy to go into a marriage with lofty expectations – expecting your spouse and the marriage to live up to your image of what they should be. These expectations can put a lot of strain on the other person, leaving you feeling let down and setting your spouse up for failure.

7. Lack of intimacy

Not feeling connected to your partner can quickly ruin a marriage because it leaves the couple feeling as though they’re living with a stranger or more like roommates than spouses. This can be from a lack of physical or emotional intimacy and isn’t always about sex.

8. Lack of equality

When one partner feels that they take on more responsibility in the marriage, it can alter their view of the other person and lead to resentment. Every couple must negotiate through their own and unique set of challenges, and find their own way of living together as two equals who enjoy a respectful, harmonious, and joyful relationship.

9. Not being prepared for marriage

A surprising number of couples of all ages have blamed not being prepared for married life for the demise of their relationship. Divorce rates are highest among couples in their 20s. Almost half of all divorces occur in the first ten years of marriage, most commonly in years four through eight.

10. Abuse

Physical or emotional abuse is a sad reality for some couples. It doesn’t always stem from the abuser being a “bad” person; deep emotional issues are usually to blame. Regardless of the reason, no one should tolerate abuse, and removing yourself from that kind of a relationship safely is critically important.

About the Author

Shellie Warren writes for marriage.com.

Why God Created Eve

Why did God create Eve? While scholars might weigh in, we will jump the gun with ten reasons we see that God must have taken into consideration in coming up with his finest creation. Here you go . . . ten reasons God created Eve.

1. God worried that Adam would always be lost in the garden because He knew man would never ask for directions.

2. God knew that Adam would one day need someone to hand him the TV remote because men don’t want to see what is on TV; they want to see what else is on TV.

3. God knew that Adam would never buy a new fig leaf when the seat wore out and therefore would need Eve to get one for him.

4. God knew that Adam would never make a doctor’s appointment for himself.

5. God knew that Adam would never remember which night was garbage night.

6. God knew that if the world was to be populated there would have to be someone else to bear children because men would never be able to handle it.

7. As keeper of the Garden, Adam would never remember where he put his tools.

8. The Scriptural account of creation indicates that Adam needed someone to blame his troubles on when God caught him hiding in the garden.

9. As the Bible says, “It is not good for man to be alone,” as he only ends up getting himself in trouble.

10. When God finished the creation of Adam he stepped back and scratched his head and said, “I can do better than that!”

The Rushmore Report: Couple Married 68 Years – ‘The Thing that Matters Most in Marriage’

Bill and Anne McDonald met on a blind date in 1944. Both were students at Duke University. They seemed to be “exact opposites,” according to Anne. Still, Bill and Anne – both age 91 – have made it work. They have been married for 68 years. And they’ve never been happier. The McDonalds recently sat for a short interview, and they opened up about the keys to a successful marriage. At the heart of a great marriage, they say, is one thing.

Trust.

It wasn’t always easy. Their differences presented struggles early on. Anne recollects, “Whenever he said, ‘Let’s dance,’ I said, ‘Not now.’ If he said, ‘Would you like some punch?’ I would say, ‘No, thank you. Let’s dance.'”

Still, Anne thought he was devilishly handsome. Bill, who’d been dating a few women, “immediately dropped them,” she says. The couple spent their first five years of marriage far from family. Two sons would come later, but those early years forced them to rely on each other, working as a team, “to make the foundation for our marriage a success through thick and thin,” Anne added.

Bill says, “We discussed almost everything. One of us would propose something and say, ‘What do you think of this?'” When they couldn’t discuss things – Bill’s 32 years in the Navy required regular stints at sea in the days before cellphones and the Internet – they had to rely on trust.

“I think that’s the most important thing – trust,” says Bill. “We have to trust each other in daily living, when we’re apart. When we’re together, we trust each other for our expertise.”

Do Bill and Anne McDonald know what they’re talking about? I’m guessing yes. You can read a lot of books and articles on what it takes to make for a long and happy marriage. And they give good advice. But I’d rather learn to fly from someone who has flown – a lot. I’d rather learn how to cook from someone who has already done it successfully – a lot. And that’s what makes Bill and Anne worth hearing. They have done marriage well – a lot.

So there you go. According to a couple who has done it well for 68 years – and counting – the key to a great marriage can be summed up in one word.

Trust.

Making Marriage Work

Grandma and Grandpa were sitting in their porch rockers watching the beautiful sunset and reminiscing about “the good old days.” Grandma turned to Grandpa and asked, “Honey, do you remember when we first started dating and you used to just casually reach over and take my hand?”

Grandpa looked over at her, smiled, and gently took her aged hand in his.

With a wry little smile, Grandma pressed a little farther. “Honey, do you remember how after we were engaged, you’d sometimes lean over and suddenly kiss me on the cheek?”

Grandpa leaned slowly toward Grandma and gave her a lingering kiss on her wrinkled cheek.

Growing bolder still, Grandma said, “Honey, do you remember how, after we were first married, you’d kind of nibble on my ear?”

Grandpa slowly got up from his rocking chair and headed into the house. Alarmed, Grandma asked, “Honey, where are you going?”

Grandpa replied, “To get my teeth!”

I’ve been married for nearly 35 years. We aren’t to the rocker stage yet. But when we get there, I hope to have a step up on Grandpa. I hope to still have my teeth.

Whether you are still nibbling on your spouse’s ear, kissing his or her cheek, or just holding hands, rejoice if you are blessed to have the husband or wife of your youth. Marriage was the first institution of God. It must never be taken lightly.

The Perfect Mate

A young lady visited a computer dating service and requested, “I’m looking for a spouse. Can you please help me to find a suitable one?”

The matchmaker said, “What exactly are you looking for?”

“Well, let me see. Needs to be good looking, polite, humorous, sporty, knowledgeable, good at singing and dancing. Willing to accompany me the whole day at home during my leisure hour if I don’t go out. Be able to tell me interesting stories when I need a companion for conversation and be silent when I want to rest.”

The matchmaker entered the information into the computer and, in a matter of moments, handed the results to the woman.

The results read, “Buy a television.”

There is only one perfect mate in the universe, and I married her. For the rest of you, be aware that you won’t find a perfect spouse, but you can try to be one. That’s what love is all about – giving, not taking.

Or you can just buy a television.

The Rushmore Report: Twitter Bans Promotion of ‘One Man One Woman’ Book, Calls it ‘Hate’

On July 2, 56-year-old pastor Craig Stellpflug paid for Twitter ads to promote a tweet he posted about his new book titled One Man One Woman: God’s Original Design for Marriage. Stellpflug, a retired medical professional with a pastoral career, told The Christian Post that he received an email response from Twitter telling him his book could not be promoted on Twitter, as it “promotes hate.”

The tweet the author sought to post read, “One Man One Woman is about God’s original design for marriage carried from Adam and Eve in the garden to this day.”

Specifically, the ad was blocked because Twitter prohibits “hate content.”

Stellpflug said his book is “definitely not an anti-gay book” and that it is “not about the lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transexual movement.” He continued, “I suppose if I named my book One Man and Another Man Together in Marriage, it would soar past the critics and actually garner praise as some clarion call for peace and unity.”

He continued, “My book is not hate! It highlights conservative Christian marriage values – therefore it is ‘hate.’ Have we stooped so low in our country that my freedom of speech is squelched because I promote my Christian beliefs? I’ll tell you where the hate is. It is flaunted against the morality by the few as a tool to promote liberal agendas.”

About the Author

Samuel Smith is a writer for The Christian Post.

The Rushmore Report: 25 Secrets to a Happy Marriage

Twenty-five couples were asked to give their secrets to a happy marriage. These couples are from all over America and from many different backgrounds. They have been married for anywhere from 15 to 50 years. These real-life couples have been in the marriage trenches and they are still laughing, smiling, and having fun. Here is their advice to making marriage last for the long haul – the #1 idea from each couple.

  1. We’re best friends.
  2. I gave up the home décor I had brought into our relationship.
  3. We made a pact to never fight about money.
  4. We never discuss sensitive subjects when hungry or tired.
  5. I follow this advice: always treat your husband as an honored guest in your home.
  6. We purposefully sit next to each other on the couch each night.
  7. We always find things to laugh about.
  8. We have separate bathrooms.
  9. We follow this mantra: women want to be loved and cherished; men want to feel respected.
  10. We never bail on date night.
  11. We seek to do good for the other person, instead of fighting over ‘what about me?’
  12. We face adversity together.
  13. We plan forward and look back only to the good times.
  14. We remember why we got together in the first place.
  15. We believe that divorce is not an option.
  16. We’re both left-handed.
  17. We’re passionate, supportive, and accepting of what the other person is doing in their personal life.
  18. We prioritize each other.
  19. We truly knew ourselves before we got married.
  20. We dumped friends and family members who had a negative effect on our life and marriage – and we expected our spouse to do the same.
  21. We mind our manners.
  22. We’re as different as a couple can get.
  23. We take a lot of trips without our children.
  24. We share a common dream.
  25. We’re in it for life.

The Rushmore Report: Seven Principles that Make Marriage Work

John Gottman has provided seven principles that make marriage work in his latest book by the same name. The book seeks to debunk a number of what it calls myths about marriages and why they often fail. Gottman thinks outside the norm, offering suggestions you won’t find anywhere else. Along with his companion book, What Makes Love Last? this work gives hope to millions of couples struggling in their marriages.

These are Gottman’s seven principles to make marriage work.

1. Enhancing love maps

A “love map” is that part of one’s brain where one stores all the relevant information about one’s spouse, such as his or her worries, hopes, and goals. The map also goes into the spouse’s history and feelings. Gottman says happily married couples use their love maps to express not only their understanding of each other, but also their fondness and admiration as well.

2. Nurturing fondness and admiration

This involves meditating a bit on one’s partner and what makes you cherish him or her. The book suggests exercises such as thinking about incidents that illustrate characteristics one appreciates in the partner. There is a focus on happy events.

3. Turning toward one another

This brings connection with the spouse. It means being there for each other during minor events, and responding positively to the spouse’s bids for attention, affection, humor, or support.

4. Accepting influence

Accepting influence means sharing power and making one’s spouse a partner in one’s decision-making by taking their opinions and feelings into account.

5. Solving solvable problems

Gottman’s model for conflict resolution involves softening the start of the discussion, learning to make and receive repair statements, and compromise. This is done while accepting each other’s faults.

6. Overcoming gridlock

According to Gottman, gridlock occurs when a conflict makes one feel rejected by the partner. Each spouse becomes entrenched in his or her position. To the contrary, successful compromise means exploring hidden issues that are really the cause of the gridlock.

7. Creating shared meaning

Gottman describes shared meaning as a spiritual dimension to marriage that has to do with creating an inner life together – a culture rich with symbols and rituals, and an appreciation for the spouse’s roles and goals.

About the Author

These excerpts are taken from John Gottman’s book, The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work. Gottman has written other books, including What Makes Love Last?

Larger Steak

One night at the dinner table, the wife commented, “When we were first married, you took the small piece of steak and gave me the larger piece. Now you take the larger one and leave me the smaller one. You don’t love me anymore.”

Her husband responded, “That’s nonsense, darling. You just cook better now.”

Successful marriages have two qualities: a man who is quick on his feet, and sacrifice. In this story, we see only one of the two.

When God created man and woman, he said they are to be one. That means that as husband and wife, we are to put one another first. We are to give before we receive and listen before we speak. We are to keep the holy triangle in place: God, husband, and wife. We are to put our husband or wife first.

And if, along the way, the wife becomes a better cook, well that’s okay, too.