Be a happier Stepmom with 1 change in perspective

How to be a happier stepmom with one tiny change in perspective.

Take the test: could you be more influential by becoming a better listener?

Unless you’re hard of hearing, listening shouldn’t be a problem, right? Wrong. The person who is naturally a good listener is very rare.

But, who knows, maybe you’re a natural. Take the test and see how you do.

P.S This form requires your email address to send results to. Your email address is safe with me. My intent is to serve you, my fellow stepmom, and offer you the support and education I desperately wished for when I became stepmom 10 years ago.

How to become an influential Stepmom

If you haven’t already, complete the “Could listening change your life?” quiz and check back here once you have your results.

Simply learning how to listen effectively, will dramatically improve your experience as a Stepmom.

The benefits of practicing active listening are:

 

1. Leverage conflict to increase connection.

 

Active Listening is the only way to transform conflict into connection. The healing process begins when one of you feels heard and understood.

 

2. Replace resentment with empathy

 

Every time someone judges you, they’re revealing an area where they feel shame. The rare woman who is truly comfortable with her body, doesn’t give your body or looks attention. When we feel shame, we compare ourself to others and attempt to fault in them. To make ourselves feel better. When you recognize the other person is suffering, and that it’s not about you, you’ll develop empathy for them.

 

3. Increase your influence with members of your family

 

When trying to influence someone, research shows listening is more effective than talking (Journal of Research in Personality, Daniel Ames of Columbia University).

 

Here are 5 ways to become a better listener:

 

1. Lead with curiosity

 

Ask thoughtful questions to truly understand their perspective. When you’re not asking questions, use your body language to show your listening. Nod your head, lean in, acknowledge with “I see”


2. Shoulder to shoulder may be better than face to face.

 

For kids, especially, face to face conversations can be uncomfortable. They may be more willing to share a vulnerability when you’re doing a shoulder to shoulder activity; such as cooking or driving.

 

3. Your role is to make them feel understood. Not to fix their problems.

 

Most of us know what we need to do to fix a problem. And when we don’t, we still need to feel understood before going into fix it mode.

 

4. Validate their feelings

 

Put yourself in their shoes to imagine how they might be feeling. Offer a label for how they’re feeling: “That sounds frustrating”.

When you think you understand a key point, reiterate it back to them: “You’re mad, because you feel caught in the middle between me and the kids?”

 

5. Be patient. Allow for silence.

 

If they’re struggling to find the words, give them the time to do it. Resist the urge to speak for them.

 

These conversations may or may not require a follow up to resolve the issue. John Gottman’s research shows 69% of problems in marriage are perpetual, and my guess is that could also apply to most problems within stepfamilies. The source of you unhappiness is not the problem, it’s the story you’re telling yourself about the problem.

 

Get your stepmom toolkit:

 

How nice would it be if knowledge of how to listen was enough to make you a good listener.

 

To turn your knowledge into action, consider my program SMIT: Stepmom In Training. It’s a complete toolkit for Stepmoms.

 

Check it out.

9 strategies for the stepmom having a hard time saying no

If you haven’t already, complete the “Are you a people pleasing stepmom?” quiz and check back here once you have your results.

For numerous reasons, many Stepmoms struggle with setting boundaries.

Sometimes it’s to avoid conflict, or because you’re constantly told you’re not their mother and to stop acting like you are.

Other times it’s done to secure your spot in the family.

 

The benefits of setting boundaries:

 

1. Improves your perception of others.

 

Research shows those who have firm boundaries are more likely to believe others are doing the best they can with the tools they have, even when their best is conniving and manipulative.Instead of being filled with anger, we’re filled with compassion.

 

2. Easier to empathize with those who try to hurt you.

 

You’re able to recognize an attack as a cry for help, instead of a personal attack. You get to choose if you respond to their cry or let it blow past you as you wish them well.

 

3. Better relationships

 

Resentment builds when you say “yes” and you really want to say “no”. Eventually, it boils over and we become passive aggressive towards the requestor.

We blame them for asking too much of us, when the truth is it’s our job to say no as we see fit.

Learning to say no allows relationships to thrive. It does away with resentment and increases your value in the eyes of others.

If you don’t respect yourself or your time enough to say no on occasion, neither will they.

 

9 strategies for saying no:

 

Learning to set boundaries is not as simple as learning to say no. If it was, we’d all be doing it.

It requires increasing your tolerance for discomfort, learning effective communication strategies, and increasing your self-worth.

 

1. Remember past successes

 

Saying no can be uncomfortable. Especially if we anticipate conflict as a result.Think of all the times others have said no to you and you simply accepted it. Nobody likes being told no, but we learn early on to accept it.Refer back to these successes to calm yourself before saying no.

 

2. Keep it simple and sweet.

 

It’s easy to cave under pressure when you’re new to saying no.I was so nervous the first time I bought my own car. I was 22 and on my own.

Before going into it, I established my boundaries. 3-500 over invoice, no more.

I walk in, I tell them what I want to pay. Of course, they return with a higher number. Multiple times.Each time I simply said “no thank you”. Over and over.

Eventually, they met my price.Some simple responses are  “No, thank you”, “Sorry, I can’t”, or ” Unfortunately, I have a prior commitment”.

If they keep pressing you, simply repeat yourself in a calm, kind voice.

 

3. Delay your response

 

Saying no can be uncomfortable. Buy yourself time if you’re tempted to choose resentment over discomfort. Lines such as these can come in handy:”I’ll check my calendar and get back to you”

“I’ll think about it and get back to you”” I’ll check with so and so and let you know”

 

4. Be aware of the harshness bias

 

We’re inclined to believe others will judge us more harshly than they actually do.

The worst consequence to saying no is how harshly we judge ourselves. We get busy fabricating hard feelings when the requestor is laid back, sipping on gin and juice (Snoop Dogg jus JUST asked me for a favor the other day).

 

5. Be nice. To you.

 

From the moment you learned the word no, well intended adults pounced on you with “be nice” or “be a good little girl”.

I’m all for being nice. But be nice to you!

Your time and energy is just as worthy as Snoop Dogg’s time and energy. I mean, he probably gets paid more, but you know what I mean.

 

6. They’re used to hearing no. You’re just not used to saying no.

 

You’re not the first person to say no to them, and you won’t be the last.

This is especially true if you’re saying no to a guy once on the dating scene.

If a man is asking something of you, rest assured he’s had plenty of practice hearing no:

“No, it’s that time.”

“No, you’re too hairy.”

“No, I have a boyfriend.”

People quickly recover from being told no. It’s uncomfortable for you, because you’re not used to saying no. They will be just fine.

 

7. Create an alter ego

 

If you have a hard time putting yourself first, create an alter ego. Take care of her as if she was your child.

Crazy. I knowwww. But we’ve all got a little crazy in us. Make your crazy work for you.

Beyonce was scared to go on stage so she sent Sasha Fierce.  Justin Bieber, Jennifer Lopez and many others have alter egos too. Learn from them.

If you’re uncomfortable saying no because you’d prefer a night in with a book, tell them “sorry, I already have plans with ‘insert alter ego’s name‘”.

 

8. Eliminate guilt

 

When you say no to one person, you’re saying yes to someone else.

Instead of focusing on saying no, remind yourself who or what you’re saying yes to.

Saying no to picking up your stepkids  from practice may be a yes to 30 minutes of more sanity saving alone time for you. Or a yes to a client you’re making progress for.

 

9. Start slow

 

If you’ve been saying yes for years, perhaps you’re not ready to start saying no when the stakes are high.

Practice with acquaintances or strangers, or in the McDonalds drive thru.

“Would you like to super size that?”

“No thanks”

Keep practicing. You’ll get the hang of it.

To sum it up:

 

  1. Remember past successes. Lots of people say no in the world with no fall out.
  2. Keep it simple and sweet. And repetitive. No thank you, no thank you, no thank you.
  3. Delay your response. And then say no. Via text if you prefer.
  4. Be aware of the harshness bias. People aren’t judging you as harshly as you judge yourself.
  5. Be nice. To you.
  6. People are used to hearing no, you’re just not used to saying no.
  7. Create an alter ego and say yes to her.
  8. Do away with guilt. A no to one person is a yes to someone or something else.

 

Stepmom Test: are you sabotaging yourself by never saying no?

91% of 688 stepmoms are chronic people pleasers.

A Stepmom who knows how to say no and set boundaries are:

  • Happier
  • Appreciated
  • More grateful

Take the test…

 

7 things you can do to turn your unhappy marriage around

As a stepmom, you have a better chance of beating cancer than beating divorce. 67% divorce rate for 2nd marriages, and 73% if it’s your third.

Super depressing. I know.

Just Stay with me. It gets better…

The stats also show if you stop considering divorce, and endure the pain of an unhappy marriage, you will be happily married 5 years later.

Although the research is not specific to stepfamilies, it’s still promising:

In a 2002 study, researchers found the majority of unhappy couples reported being happy 5 years later. And those who divorced didn’t report being any happier than those who stayed together.

If you persist with your partner, the odds of you being happily married in 5 years is very high.

Too impatient to wait 5 years? Don’t fret.

Here’s 7 things you can do to turn your marriage around:

 

1. Catch your thoughts

Your pain is not caused by what he did or she did.


Your pain is caused by your interpretation of their actions.

I know, you’re convinced your interpretation is correct, we all are.

But your interpretation is defined by your past hurts and the irrational thoughts you adopted as truth when you were a child.

10 year olds shouldn’t be driving a car, and your 10 year old self shouldn’t be driving your thoughts.

Become aware of the story you’re telling yourself and test them for accuracy.

 

2. Find someone to listen

We can’t move past our pain until we feel heard and understood. If your husband can’t do this for you, find someone who can.

A therapist, a curious friend who won’t try to solve your problems, or me, a Stepfamily dynamics educator and coach.

 

3. Be someone who listens

The only way to transform conflict is to allow the other person to feel heard.

Deep down, they know you’re not to blame for their pain. Believe me, they do. Something you did may trigger their pain, but you’re not the cause of it.

See every attack as the cry for help that it is. A cry to be heard.


Lead with curiosity
to help them heal.

 

4. Acknowledge you’re unhappily married

Couples who report being neither happy or unhappy in marriage are more likely to divorce than couples who report being unhappy.


Unhappy couples who stay together eventually report being happy
. Maybe it’s because you need to name it to claim it, I don’t know.

What I do know is research shows within 5 years you’ll return to your standard level of happiness. Whether you lose a limb or win the lottery, you eventually return to your happiness baseline.

Give your marriage time and it will get better.

 

5. Change your wiring in just 10 minutes

We’re hardwired to spot the negative and focus on it.


We dismiss the positive because it’s not a threat
to our survival. This served as well in the cave man era. Not so much in your marriage.

Martin Seligman, founder of Positive Psychology, has research to prove focusing on what you’re grateful for, for just 10 minutes a day, will make you happier:

 

“Every night for the next week, set aside ten minutes before you go to sleep. Write down three things that went well today and why they went well. You may use a journal or your computer to write about the events, but it is important that you have a physical record of what you wrote. The three things need not be earthshaking in importance (“ My husband picked up my favorite ice cream for dessert on the way home from work today”), but they can be important (“ My sister just gave birth to a healthy baby boy”).

Next to each positive event, answer the question “Why did this happen?””


Commit to doing it for 21 days
and report back. I pinky promise it’s well worth your time.

 

6. Take the blame

Play eye spy and be on the lookout for how you’re contributing to the conflict.

I’m on your side, so please don’t take this the wrong way, but you have a role in your marital conflict. As do I (in my marriage, not yours).

Once you acknowledge your part, you can change your response.


If you change, they’ll change
.

Change for the better and they will too. Not instantly, but keep at it and they’ll eventually respond in kind.

 

7. Learn to say “no”

Are you a people pleasing stepmom?

Wait. Don’t answer that. There’s a test for that.  Take it now and come back.

Many of you may find yourself in situations where you’re enabling your partner or the ex to slack off as a parent.

If you’re happy with your role, then keep on at it. If you’re overwhelmed and resentful learn how to say no.

At the end of the day, Mom and Dad are responsible for the care and feeding of their children.

They likely did it before you arrived on the scene and they can do it again while you’re on the scene.

Give what you can give. Act in alignment with your values.

And take care of you, because no one else will.

Except me. That’s my job. Stepmom coach for sale.

 

It’s time to turn your marriage around. Make it happen! Or just wait 5 years. Your choice.

3 common mistakes that makes Stepmoms miserable

Desperate to recover my sanity, I found myself craving the sight and sound of the ocean. I had the brilliant idea of taking a stroll around a small island near my home while sipping my pumpkin spice coffee.

 

Turns out, everyone in town had the same idea, and got there before I did to scoop up all of the parking spaces.

 

With time by the sea no longer an option, I escaped to my next hidey-hole. Starbucks.  The humming of my laptop will have to substitute for the sound of crashing waves.  At least I have wifi.

 

I’m seeking refuge, because I’m a recovering people pleasing stepmom with a bad case of Stepmom Burnout.

 

I continuously gave too much and took too little with no one to blame but myself. People will take as much as you’re willing to give. It’s human nature to do so. It’s our job to conserve our resources so we can thrive long term.

 

Don’t get me wrong, at times, the less evolved version of me blames my husband. After all, I am human and humans like to blame.

 

The truth is I’m guilty of repeatedly making mistakes known to cause Stepmom Burnout.

Here are 3 common mistakes that lead to Stepmom Burnout:

 

I’ve made many more, but Starbucks has a two hour limit on free wifi, so let’s hop to it.

1) I took rejection personally.

 

During a custody battle, that I did my best to stay out of, the closeness in my relationship with my stepchildren was replaced with distance.

 

The rejection hurt, of course, and I felt like more of an outsider in my home than I already did.

 

I knew it was still my job to keep showing up and leave the door open for them, but continuously making myself vulnerable in the face of rejection took a toll.

 

It took a toll, because I took it personally. I thought their change in behavior was about me, when really, it wasn’t. Very rarely is it about us.

 

I was the same person that was once hugged goodbye as the person avoided during the now awkward goodbyes.

 

What I know now that I wish I knew then is there is no bad guy, and it isn’t a reflection on me or even how they feel about me.

 

It was just a boundary that had to be drawn for BM and the kids to feel secure. For the kids to feel secure with their Mom, and for BM to feel secure with my role in her kids’ life.

 

Of course, I wish we could be one big happy family where no one ever felt threatened by the existence of another, but my nose would start growing if I told you I would always be graceful as a BM dealing with a Stepmom during a custody battle.

 

My stepkids didn’t intend to hurt me. Children are born with an innate need for their mother. They are biologically wired to do what is necessary to keep their Mom’s love.

 

When they reject you, it’s because they’re afraid of losing Mom’s love, not because they don’t like or love you.

 

The more they love you, the harder they may push you away, if you keep trying to pull them back in. Let them do the do-si-do and come and go as they see fit.

 

Allow yourself to grieve for what you once had.

 

It’s ok to be sad sometimes. We don’t have to act on every feeling. Just feel the pain, and it will eventually pass. The headspace app is very effective for learning how to observe your feelings, and give up the need to try and fix everything.

 

I’ve also learned to set boundaries, to preserve my sanity. Another lesson learned the hard way…

 

2) I said “yes” when I really meant “no”.

 

I moved into the home my husband bought and decorated with his 1st wife. There wasn’t room for my belongings unless we got rid of some of his belongings.

 

As his items were of higher quality than mine, he asked that we keep his in place of mine. I reluctantly agreed. I said “yes” when I wanted to shout “NO”.

 

I have a low tolerance for conflict, and I didn’t want to be the woman who took over their home.  I sold or donated everything I had, along with the condo I bought on my own and called home for almost 10 years prior.

 

In hindsight, I wish I insisted on a middle ground and educated myself on stepfamily dynamics prior to becoming one.

 

Saying “no” can be uncomfortable, but that discomfort is relatively short lived. If you say “yes”, when you really want to say “no”, you’re at risk of feeling resentment for a long time to come.

 

Resentment snowballs. It builds up each time you squeak out an insincere yes.  It will take a toll on your health and your relationship with DH and the kids.

 

Need help saying “no”? Contact me to master the art of setting boundaries in a non-threatening way.

 

3) I had 1st family expectations for my Stepfamily.

 

On every big holiday, I tried to recreate the holidays from my past. The kids would come with me to visit my side of the family, and I’d expect them to feel like a member of the family.

 

My family welcomed them with open arms, but they’re introverted and reserved, as are the kids. It’s hard to feel like you belong when you’re a kid living in a different state and only see these people for a few hours twice a year.

 

As they get older, they’re less enthusiastic about joining my family in celebrations.  I fought this for a long time. Kept pushing them to join me.

 

I tried to force it like mothers in other cultures force arranged marriages. Because family celebrate holidays together, and these kids are my family.

 

They would come, and I’d spend the time worrying about them having a good time, instead of enjoying time with my family.  Are they having fun, I wondered. What can I do to make it fun?

 

Let them stay home is what I should have done.

 

I grew up in a 1st family, and I mistakenly believed my stepfamily could be just like a 1st family.

 

The bond between stepparent and stepchild needs to build over time. Unlike the bond with a biological parent, it is not immediate. The younger the child, the faster the bond.

 

Expecting pre-teens and teens to bond quickly with you or members of your extended family will set you up for disappointment.

 

If you had dreams of your stepfamily being like a first family, you need to grieve the loss of that expectation, and then find a way to appreciate the uniqueness of your stepfamily.

 

As a stepmom, I get to enjoy the role of an influencer in my stepchildren’s lives. I’m not a biological parent or a friend. I’m a good listener, a trusted advisor and influencer.

 

It’s unlike any other relationship I have, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Even if it means giving up 1st family expectations.

 

Summary of Stepmom Sanity Saving steps:

 

1) Recognize it’s not personal. It’s never personal. Rejection is always about the other person’s needs and insecurities. Not you.

 

2) Stop saying yes when you want to say no. You’re not doing anyone any favors by continuously sacrificing yourself. As qualitative researcher Brené Brown wrote “choose a moment of discomfort over a lifetime of resentment.”

 

3) Grieve the loss of 1st family expectations and allow your family to thrive as a stepfamily.

Stepmoms: What to do instead of punishing your stepkids.

Even in the early stages of your relationship with a divorced Dad, you’re warned early and often “it’s not your job to punish the kids.”  Followed up with the unnecessary reminder “they’re not your kids.”

 

Yet, once you become a stepmom, you’re expected to contribute to the care and feeding of your stepchildren. And love them like your own.

 

In fact, many stepmoms spend more time with their stepchildren than either biological parent.

 

It’s not fair to Stepmom or the kids to leave them in the care of someone lacking the authority of a biological parent, or even that of a teacher or childcare provider.

 

We’re told to leave the discipline to Dad. Sounds good in theory, right?

 

Truth be told, many dads feel too guilty to discipline the kids, or they’re afraid the kids won’t want to visit if he comes down on them.

 

It’s a crappy role for you to be in, and for the kids.

 

Despite all of this, in most instances, I agree it’s best to avoid punishing your stepkids.

 

As a stepmom your relationship with the kids is fragile, especially in the beginning. Kids are not born with an innate need for you the way they are for their biological parents.

 

But, don’t fret, you CAN influence their behavior without punishment.

 

You do this by focusing on connection. Once connection is established, you’re in a position to influence. And the role of an influencer is far more powerful role than a disciplinarian.

 

Here are 3 strategies for successfully influencing your child’s behavior, without punishment:

 

1. Make them feel important.

 

Overall, our culture lacks respect for children.

 

Kids aren’t allowed to show disappointment when they’re told no. It’s considered disrespectful for them to challenge an adult’s thinking.

 

If they’re in school, young kids are even told how to sit (criss cross applesauce) and to “catch a bubble” when walking the halls or during story time as a way of keeping them quiet.

 

Imagine if you were treated like that day in day out.

 

What would your response be to that one person in your world who actually encourages you to talk about yourself, empowers you to express yourself, and offers you undivided attention?

 

Are you going to turn your back on that one person who acknowledges you’re important? No way.  You’re going to want to please that person, as much as they please you.

 

Research shows talking, tweeting or facebooking about ourselves is more rewarding than food and money. Be one of the few adults in their world who takes the time to make them feel important.

 

2. Validate their feelings.

 

When encouraging them to talk about themselves, you’re job is to put your ego aside. Don’t judge their statements as right or wrong, simply seek to understand.  Connect without an agenda.

 

The stronger your connection, the more likely they are to come to you and ask for help when they get older and are confronted with big, scary decisions.

 

Until they come to you for advice your job is to show interest, ask questions and encourage critical thinking.

 

If they’re sharing something positive with you, ask them to tell you every detail. Celebrate with them.

 

“I’m so happy for you! Tell me all about it, don’t leave out any details!”

 

If they’re sharing something upsetting, label their feelings and paraphrase back what you think you heard.

 

“That must have made you feel so sad when they wouldn’t let you sit with them.”

 

By validating their feelings, you’ll be a safe person for them to come running to in times of need. Or when they feel guilt or shame for misbehaving.

 

3. Communicate boundaries using “I” statements.

 

The most compassionate people in the world have strong boundaries. Without strong boundaries, we quickly become depleted, unable to offer empathy.

 

Being a good stepmom is emotionally demanding, and the last thing your family needs is you playing the part of the sacrificial lamb.

 

Boundaries are guidelines on how we are to be treated. Holding a boundary requires action on our part. We can do this without disciplining another.

 

If you had plans to take your stepdaughter out and she’s behaving disrespectfully towards you, you hold your boundary by stating what need is not being met, and what action is required to meet that need. Such as:

 

“When I ask something of you and you ignore me or roll your eyes, my need for respect is not being met. If we’re going to continue with our plans, I need to know I’ll be treated with respect. Going forward, please be kind with your words.”

 

By focusing on your needs, instead of criticizing your child, the child is able to hear you without feeling defensive. You’ve also clearly stated what behavior is required of her to meet your need for respect.

 

If she ignores your request, you have the option of canceling your plans. She’s experiencing a natural consequence of being rude to another, and it doesn’t require you to control her behavior.

 

With that said, pick your battles, pre-teens and teens are age appropriately moody and hormonal, and they’re unable to control every impulse. Just keep prioritizing connection over control and you’re on your way to being an influencer.

 

Cliff Notes:

 

1. Make her feel important by being a good listener: Ask her for details. Match her emotions. If she’s excited, be excited. If she’s sad, offer empathy.

 

2. Validate her feelings: Paraphrase back what you heard. Don’t offer advice unless asked.

 

3. Communicate boundaries with “I” statements: Describe the offensive behavior, state what need is not being met, follow up with action she can take to meet your need.

For the Stepmom considering divorce.

In this moment, I know at least one of you is questioning if you’re cut out for life as a Stepmom. You’re thinking of quitting.

Maybe you’re now just discovering life as a Stepmom is not a fairy tale. Or, worse yet, maybe it is like it’s depicted by Disney.

 

This lifestyle is not for the weak. Many of us go into it thinking we can help, only to recognize those we could help the most don’t want our help.

 

Do you think life would be easier if you didn’t marry into a pre-made family? To some degree, it’s true.

 

In 1st marriages, you have time to build a strong bond with your husband. In a 2nd marriage, you’re trying to build a bond in the shadow of a stronger, already established bond between father and child.

 

The thing is you’re probably comparing your marriage to a problem free 1st marriage. In other words, you’re comparing it to a marriage between 2 unicorns, because only a marriage between mythical creatures is problem free.

 

Even then, I bet they still lock horns.

 

When you choose someone to marry, you’re not just choosing the man, you’re choosing a list of problems to contend with.

 

No matter who you choose, you’re choosing problems.

 

The question at hand is not whether or not you think you can solve your problems. Research suggest 69% of your problems will never be solved.

 

The question you should be asking yourself is  whether or not you think you can accept the problems, or do you want to trade in for another set of problems?

 

Does he work too much? Leaving you to handle the child rearing and domestic duties? Would you prefer someone who works too little leaving it on you to provide for the family?

 

Does he yell a lot? Would you prefer someone who stays silent leaving you to try and fail to read his mind?

 

Is he too nice to her? Would you prefer someone adversarial knowing he will be adversarial with you too?

 

Odds are if you end this marriage you’ll replicate the same dynamics in your next relationship.

 

We’re creatures of habit. We’re subconsciously driven to recreate influential relationships of our childhood because that’s what we’re comfortable with.

 

If your Dad was a yeller, odds are you’ll be a yeller yourself, or your partner will be.

 

Maybe, just maybe, you’re perfectly positioned to become your best self in the situation you’ve created.

 

Need help choosing happiness? Sign up for 1 week of coaching via unlimited texting/messaging for just 25.00. No commitments or contracts. Contact me now.

7 ways you can single-handedly improve your marriage.

With the astronomical divorce rate of 2nd marriages, we need a box full of tools to divorce proof our marriage.

When we feel we’re at risk, many of us consider marriage counseling. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to get buy-in from our spouse. Even when both partners agree to marriage counseling, the long term success rates for traditional marriage therapy are disappointingly low.

Don’t you fret. It may take 2 to have a good marriage, but it only takes 1 to improve a marriage.

With these 7 research backed strategies, YOU can singlehandedly improve your marriage today.

 

7 simple actions to singlehandedly improve your marriage

 

#1. Meet your basic physical needs.

* Insufficient sleep causes stress. Good sleep improves your mood.

* Omega 3 (fish oil) is shown to reduce pessimism and sadness by 50%.

 

#2. Stop personalizing their words.

* When someone judges you, they’re telling you they fear they’re not good enough. Not you.

* It is never about you. Everyone is too busy thinking about themselves to worry about you.

 

#3 . Stop blaming.

* Everyone’s first instinct is to blame others.

* Be evolved. Follow up by taking responsibility.

 

#4. Do something new together.

* When we have fun, we associate our joy with the person we did it with.

* Doing new activities together will rekindle the love you felt in the beginning

 

#5. Reduce emotional demands on spouse.

* One person cannot meet your every need.

* Connect with friends & family to spread the demand across a larger group.

 

#6. Express Gratitude

* Feeling grateful increases dopamine, the same way an anti-depressant does.

* Expressing gratitude prompts others to seek further connection with you.

 

#7. Share this post, and then have sex with your partner.

* Regular sex increase patience and decreases anger.

* Enjoyment from sex 3 times a week has been show to make us look 7 years younger.

 


 

Sources:
#1: “Rewire Your Brain: Think Your Way to a Better Life” by Dr. John B. Arden
#2,3: “Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead” by Dr. Brené Brown
#4: “For Better: How the Surprising Science of Happy Couples Can Help Your Marriage Succeed” by Tara Parker-Pope
#5: Common sense
#6: “The Upward Spiral: Using Neuroscience to Reverse the Course of Depression, One Small Change at a Time” by Alex Korb, PhD
#7: “Secrets of the Superyoung” by Dr. David Weeks