The Power Of Hugs

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You may have heard the phrase “It’s the small and simple things in marriage that make it last”. It can be as easy as making dinner, complimenting your spouse’s clothes, or giving a hug. The small act of a hug can have a big impact. Understanding the power of something as simple as a hug will help you remember to do the little things, even when you think it does not matter.

Hugging is not only enjoyable in the moment, it has lasting effects on both your relationship with your spouse as well as your attitude. Some say that it is not really a hug unless it lasts 10 seconds. That might be because hugging someone for an extended period of time creates a positive chemical reaction in your mind, body, and spirit.  Hugs increase your serotonin levels (also known as one of the happy hormones). This creates a soothing effect in your body, helping you feel less stressed and more connected. Bottom line, hugs literally cause a chemical reaction in your body that ... Read more »

Putting Your Marriage on the Operating Table

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One of our followers asked the question “Is divorce ever healthy?”

That is a good question, and to really address it let’s start with the word healthy.

Health is defined as proper and normal function.

Whenever we are sick and go visit a doctor, their goal is to fix whatever is not working right and return us to health.  But what happens when it cannot be fixed?  The best option for our survival is to remove the unhealthy part completely. When it comes to divorce, it may also help to put “marriage” under the surgical light and see what is really going on.

Healthy Marriage

Based on years of research, we have a pretty good idea of what a healthy marriage looks like.  While we could create a very long list, I have chosen some of the most important aspects which represent the majority of research:

A healthy marriage is…

safety for deep connection and intimacy. effective communication and problem solving. respect for each other. teamwork in providing the best possible care for the family. support and involvement. trust and loyalty. dedication. effort to forgive, sacrifice, and make things right.

Usually, when we are ... Read more »

Is There Marriage After Pornography?

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Pornography has been a topic of increased focus for the last decade.  As the internet has come to dominate our lives and various forms of pornography have become more accessible, scholars and the general public have struggled with fully understanding the short and long-term effects of increased pornography use and exposure.  Weighing in on this discussion, a recent study by Doran and Price found that adults who had viewed pornography in the last year “were more likely to be divorced, more likely to have an extramarital affair, and less likely to report being happy with their marriage or happy overall.”  

While we should be careful with making blanket statements like “everyone that watches porn will have a horrible marriage,”  these types of research findings underscore the important relationship issues that arise from repeated pornography use by one or both partners.  Unfortunately, there are many who not only view pornography occasionally, but struggle with pornography use as a very real compulsive addiction.  This type of behavior can lead to lying to one’s partner or other harmful relationship behaviors.

So what if ... Read more »

The Surprising Truth About Rebounds

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“I just got out of a relationship, so I’m not really looking for anything serious right now.”


Does that line sound familiar?  It should.  We hear it, or something like it, on the big screen all the time.  We’ve probably heard it in real life too, either because we asked someone on a date or said it ourselves when someone asked us.  Why do we do this?  Why are we so quick to turn down new relationship opportunities?  Whatever your reasons, chances are you’re also partially trying to avoid one of those “rebound” relationships that always turn out so bad–or so you’ve been told.


But what’s the truth about rebounds?  Are they really so bad?  Up until now, scholarly research has paid little attention to rebounding, so our perceptions are fueled primarily by social beliefs.  However, in a recent study, Claudia Brumbaugh of Queen’s College in New York and Chris Fraley from the University of Illinois found some reasons to consider getting yourself back out into the dating world sooner than you’d think.


It is better to be in love ... Read more »

What You’re Still Missing About Empathy

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Today’s post is inspired by Dr. Brene Brown’s work on empathy.  Empathy, as she states in the video above, is feeling with people.   Sympathy, on the other hand, is feeling sorry for people.  Empathy connects.  Sympathy disconnects.  Empathy says, “I know what that feels like, or at least I’m glad you told me what it feels like because I want you to know you’re not alone.  I’m here.”, whereas sympathy says, “Wow, that sounds terrible, sorry you have to deal with that!” (and then slowly backs away to the comfortable sphere where it doesn’t have to feel your pain with you).


Okay, so empathy is great and wonderful, but why do we care?  Because empathy requires vulnerability, and vulnerability is what connects us most to each other in this world.  We all have a need to feel connected, loved, and accepted because we’re human beings–we’re wired that way.  We’re starving for connection, and we live in a world where it’s harder and harder to connect because we’re busy hiding behind our screens.


So why does empathy require vulnerability?  After all, how hard is it to be there with ... Read more »

6 Ways to Find Healing in the Face of a Partner’s Pornography Addiction

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Pornography Addiction

Watching a loved one struggle through an addiction can be devastating. When a partner struggles with a pornography addiction, the spouse is often left with an array of emotions to deal with – perhaps you find yourself consumed by anger, paralyzed by a sense of helplessness, or deeply hurt by the feeling of betrayal you are experiencing.

If these experiences sound familiar, please consider the following suggestions in dealing with your partner’s addiction.

1) It’s not about you.

Often, when a spouse discovers their partner’s pornography addiction, he/she may look inward for an explanation. They tell themselves that if they were younger, more attractive, or in better shape, their spouse wouldn’t be struggling with a pornography addiction. As personal as it may seem, the addiction is actually about the addict, not the physical appearance of the spouse.


2) Focus on Yourself.

Remember to take time to take care of yourself. While the revelation of a pornography addiction can be devastating, resist the temptation to allow it to consume your life. Stay active in your hobbies and friendships outside of ... Read more »