After 20 plus years in marriage counselling I am going to tell you something absolutely shocking. I have never met an unhappy couple! That is, when they are compared with the average inmate in a North-Korean prison. Unfortunately, they (the couples) compare themselves to fictional Hollywood romance characters. And no matter how many times I […]
I find it amusing that people think Superman a hero when bullets just bounce off him? What bravery or courage does that require? I too would stand up to evil in a computer game, in fact, I think most people would. I would even end poverty, ignorance, and maybe bring peace between the Russians and the Chinese, if the United Nations asked for my advice. Similarly, ask anyone what the President should do on any given issue from invading a small country to raising the debt ceiling, and it's surprising how many people know what to do. As George Burns remarked, "How come all the people who know how to run the country are cutting hair and driving cabs." The New York Times always seems to boil down whatever crisis is going on in the world to a choice between two obvious alternatives. Not only that, but the NYT graciously makes it so clear even a potted plant could figure it out. Perforce, we have to ask, why is it so difficult for the people who do make these choices? When I first starting teaching marriage and parenting, I naively thought that the lack of such classes in the market place was no one had thought of it. 25 years later I have come to a different conclusion, it's hard to be a hero.
Having an affair is akin to opening an airplane window halfway across the Atlantic, the results being almost identical. But whereas most people understand the concept of being sucked out of a pressurized chamber 30,000 feet up, they don’t understand why affairs happen. What you need to know will shock you.
How many of these statements are true? I eat more than I should. I get angry more than I would like. I don’t work out as often as I need to. I waste more time than I care to keep track of. If any of these are familiar to you, then you can well appreciate how unproductive self-ridicule is. Beating yourself up over your mistakes, whether verbally or not, is sort of like accidentally hitting your thumb while hammering in a nail. Would you then switch hands and hit the other thumb in revenge? Absurd. We think of ourselves as one whole unit not separate parts. As such, our legs are not separate from our stomach any more than one thumb from the other. And even though we sometimes do things that are a little self-destructive, we try to avoid self-abuse. We may not feel like working out and we may eat a little too much, but we don't see our legs as enemies any more than our stomach is. We are not at war with ourselves, rather we are all on the same team.
There are only two things in life that a person cannot put in less than 100%. And work is not one of them. I am sure you already have realized that many of your employees are NOT showing up with a full tank of gas. It's why paying for services is rarely a bargain - because the employee can easily adjust their efforts in their favor. It could very well be that you are fine with this arrangement, however, 99% is not the same as 100. The mistake many leaders, employers, coaches and even parents make is that you can't get to 100% by taking 99 and working harder. As such we cannot even access our own 100% on sheer will power. That final little piece, which makes all the difference in the world, is reserved for the believers. I don't mean Bible-belt believers, although it can include them. I mean Apple believers, Yankees believers, even tree-hugger believers. There is something about a person who owns an Apple that they actually believe the product is more than it's buttons, software and logo. You might call it fanatic because their relationship becomes more of a commitment and they find it hard to be objective and open minded. However, with everything else in life, people can choose what they want to be committed to. So we find some are 100% behind their country, their religion, their team, even the NRA. But there are only two things that people cannot choose to NOT be in 100%.
This is the marriage question I would get every single day, if people said what was really on their minds. "How can I be happily married without really trying?" It depends, what do you mean by "really"? Given the choice between doing very little to improve their marriage, and doing a lot to improve their marriage, most spouses (husbands) will usually give the same answer, "Is this going to get back to my wife?" Based on that, here is the way to improve your relationship without hardly trying. Warning: this answer involves no drugs, illegal substances or physical violence, yet it's amazingly effective.
Groucho Marx famously remarked, “People who agree with me tend to be right.” That gag works great for extracting a laugh from an audience, but won’t get even a smile from your wife. It’s no wonder then that he was divorced three times. Proving how right you are is easy. Recognizing when you are wrong, that takes talent. Or should I say, guts. Therefore, when you get into an argument with your spouse, who is the one person you should never ever seek advice from?
I wish I had a Bentley for every person who told me how closed minded their spouse was. And then a Ferrari for those same people who thought the opposite of their children. If this happened rarely I would have thought people are unlucky in marriage and clever in parenting, and I would have one Bentley and one Ferrari. But that’s not what it is. We all have windows and we all have doors. There are things a sister can say that a parent couldn’t dream of, similarly a boss to an employee, an old man to a teenager. Everyone has a window, even your teenage son and here is the shocker: even your spouse! The problem is, you keep knocking at the door instead of calling through the window.
When we consider that it took the Belfast shipbuilders three years to build the Titanic, it might seem disproportionate that it sank in less than five days. However, a simple appreciation of the forces at play will change the question to, how did it last that long? In the subsequent inquiries many new maritime safety regulations were enacted, not because the Titanic was an unusual boat, but precisely because without these measures such a tragedy is almost inevitable. In other words, the Titanic, a ship of such size and sophistication was almost doomed from the moment it left Southampton in 1912. The real question: why couldn't very smart people, who had a real interest in avoiding the inevitable, see it coming? Especially when we consider that no great genius was required on the part of the later investigative teams that pointed out the Titanic’s obvious failings. Which means to say, we wouldn’t catch it either.
5 things women do wrong in communicating with their husbands It’s as universal as the universe, after the words, “I do” comes, “I’ve said it 1000 times.” What gives? To be fair to me, women were warned. Simon and Garfunkel sang it as far back as the 70’s: “A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest...” And women still get married. So to update that classic song, "The Boxer," we present, "How to get your husband to NOT ignore the rest. 1) The Squeaky Brakes Syndrome My daughter was driving my car and commented how squeaky the brakes were. I had no idea what she was talking about. However, she turned out to be right. Now I hear the squeaky brakes all the time! I had learned to tune it out. It’s not that I wanted to tune it out, I just did. It’s something we all do. In fact our brains are programmed to filter out extraneous noise. We don’t hear the roar of the plane engines until it lands, the ticking clock, the dripping faucet, etc. We all have a range within which we easily tune out.
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