What to Say When… He Is Uninvolved at Home

Saturday rolled around, and Ashley needed some help. All week, she had balanced work, the kids, and a long To-Do list. Her husband, Ryan, had a busy week, too. But, she was hoping he’d lend a hand with their weekend activities. Frustrated, she found Ryan sitting in his man cave watching sports. How could he just sit there for hours when she was so overwhelmed? What Doesn’t Work: Boiling inside while your partner is uninvolved and oblivious to the problem. Most couples have different levels of energy and different priorities. Accusing one another of being in the wrong without understanding their perspective can backfire. Don’t assume that your spouse is too lazy or too uptight. Mutual solutions are found when both parties openly express their needs.

Simple Strategies For Getting Your Happy Relationship On

As a psychologist, I’ve spent time with hundreds of unhappy couples. They usually arrive with many stories to tell about how their partner has upset and disappointed them. Rather than having them repeat their laundry list of complaints, I try to switch things up. Often, I ask them to tell me what their partner is concerned about. It’s interesting to watch how long they can talk about the other person without launching into their own version of events. Read More » When Sorry Isn’t Enough.

What to Say When… Your Co-Worker Wants a Better Apology From You

Scenario:  Francis works in an office in Chicago where she gets along well with her coworkers. But one afternoon a coworker, Diane, told her she was bothered by the fact that Francis “never apologizes.” Francis was at a complete loss but then she remembered an incident in which she had made a mistake on a […]

When Is It OK to Cut Off a Relationship?

A male reader named “Krist” posted an interesting question on our Facebook page. I thought others might have the same dilemma so I asked him for permission to share my reply here. He agreed and he offered for me to use his real (and uncommon) first name. Krist wrote: “I recently read the book you […]

What to Say When… He Is Allergic to Apologizing

Scenario: Joy and Rich were arguing more often than they ever had before during their five years of marriage. Financially, things were going well. Rich had landed a good job upon graduating from college. Joy had worked full-time for the first two years until the baby came. In Joy’s words: “Really, our lives are wonderful. […]

7 Simple Steps For Teaching Kids How to Apologize and Actually Mean It

If adults need to apologize (And who would argue that?), then the art of apology needs to be learned in childhood. Here are the teaching steps we recommend:

  1. Help kids to accept responsibility for their own behavior. Our adult patterns of sweeping issues under the rug and shifting blame can often be traced all the way back to childhood habits. My own two-year old son passed gas and then blamed it on his diaper, saying, “My diaper burped!”
  2. Teach toddlers that their actions affect others. When you pull our pet’s tail, you hurt him.  When you rub our cat’s whiskers, he purrs.
  3. Instill the concept that there are always rules in life. The most important rule is the Golden Rule – treat others the way you would like for them to treat you. But there are other rules; many rules, and most them are designed to help us have a good life.  Read More »