Saturday, April 14, 2012

Fondness and Admiration System

Today I wanted to share a video post with you of John Gottman's second principle in "The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work". For some reason YouTube kept cutting the video off at 10 minutes, and I can't figure out how to fix that, so I'm sorry that it get's cut off. I also apologize in advanced for me losing my train of thought/place on my notes and my cat attacking me. This whole video thing is new to me! Anyways, I hope you enjoy Gottman's Fondness and Admiration System theory.

Tips, Tips, Tips

Mabon, Lea (2004). 8 Financial Tips for Newlyweds. Retrieved from

Thanks for keeping up with our blog and I do hope you have a happy and strong marriage and do finish rich.

I do apologize for the quality of the video and the choppiness of the video. There is a reason I am not in acting or filming.

Book Review: The Nest-Newlywed Handbook

The Nest-Newlywed Handbook
            Author: Carley Roney and the Editors of

Alright so here is the deal this book is indeed great….but as far as I could tell is doesn’t align with research very well. That is not to say it doesn’t point out some great tips and advice for newlyweds, because it does. But the book doesn’t refer to and cite research to back up their advice. Therefore, I recommend the book but ask you to keep that in mind.

The book is described as an owner’s manual for marriage! It is an offshoot of the very popular wedding website The Knot. The Nest started as simply an online community where girls could share their issues. Now, The Nest has grown into a weekly webzine, a print magazine and now this book series! The author Carley Roney is the editor in chief of both and The book claims to be an owner’s manual for marriage because they feel they are the experts on marriage. The authors also have had thousands of married couples contribute their knowledge to help develop the book. 

The quality of the real life application is fantastic! It is full of checklists, self-assessment quizzes, tips, pros and cons lists, quotes, ect!! This book gives you shopping lists, date ideas, a money lingo dictionary, budget worksheets, trip planners, again ect! I could go on and on about how easy this book is to apply to the everyday life of a newlywed. Also, I am sure there is an answer to your question because it carries a broad range of topics including: money, the home, friends and fun, in-laws, sex, kids and others.

The thing that I enjoyed about reading this book is that I enjoyed it. It was as simple as that! The quality of the writing is very entertaining. It is written in an easy to understand, real life conversation way. As you read the book you feel as if a good friend of yours is giving the advice. (That could be the only potential reason that I could think of that they didn’t include research, to possibly make it more like a friend relaying some advice? I don’t know, just a thought!)

All in all I feel like this is a great tool for the newlywed to tackle many subjects that may be touchy. It gives couples a give of neutral ground to bring up some delicate subjects. For a lot of readers they simply appreciated the fact that the book is a good conversation starter. I experienced this as well! I have been married now for 9 months and some topics in the book sparked a conversation between my husband and I where I learned things about him that I wouldn’t have even thought to ask directly. It was quite fun!

Roney, C. (2006). The nest-newlywed handbook. New York: Clarkson Potter Publishers.

Friday, April 13, 2012

The Benefits of Being Married

If you are married then you probably already know that marriage is awesome, and if you are engaged then you are probably looking forward to being in an awesome marriage. Well, Here are some concrete, research backed reasons on why marriage is a good idea. Feel free to use these reasons on you significant other who won’t commit to marry you, your friends who argue that marriage is outdated and pointless or even just to tell your spouse so you can pat each other on the back.

You are happy
             Having a spouse promises that you will always have an audience who you can share your life with. This constant audience provides support and sometimes meaning through many of life’s experiences (Karasu & Karasu, 2005).  People who are married tend to have greater happiness in their life while those who cohabitate experience higher depression and lower relationship satisfaction (Bradbury & Karney, 2010).

You aren’t stressed
            Your unmarried friends are stressed and you aren’t? Well, “being married means having someone who can provide emotional support on a regular basis, thereby decreasing depression, anxiety, and other psychological problems, and improving overall mental health” (Lehrer & Waite, 2003). This goes hand in hand with being happy. Since you have someone you can go to at the first sign of trouble you don’t have to face life alone.

You have a satisfying sex life
There is a ton of research to back sexual intimacy being more satisfying within a married couple. Research done by Joyner and Waite proved that “a higher proportion of married than cohabiting or single men and women report being extremely emotionally satisfied with sex.” Since sex is not purely physical or emotional you will also be please to know that “levels of emotional and physical satisfaction with sex are highest for married people” (Lehrer  & Waite, 2003).

You have money
            Your unmarried friends are poor and so are you? Well, that’ a bummer, as newlyweds you are most likely on the lower end of the financial food chain. But don’t despair! Couples who stay married throughout their life gather and sustain more wealth than those who are single or cohabitating (Bradbury & Karney, 2010).

You are Healthy
            Are you’re friends are always telling you about the next big trend in how to live better, longer and stronger? Congratulations, because you have already figured out one of the best ways to live a longer and healthier life: Marriage. To stay healthy all you have to do is enjoy your happy marriage, since research has found that “married adults show better health outcomes than the unmarried across a variety of acute and chronic conditions, including colds, cancer, and heart attacks” (Huges & Waite, 2009).  But it doesn’t stop here! Research has also proven a positive correlation between marriage and longevity, this means that not only will you be healthier but you will live longer as well (Waite, 2005)!

You don’t get into legal trouble
            Want to be a better citizen too? Great! Then get married! Marriage fosters a better and safer community by encouraging “individuals to internalize and abide by societal norms” (Bradbury & Karney, 2010).  Successful relationships are shown to lower drug and alcohol use as well as hanging out with a deviant peer group (Bradbury & Karney, 2010). This is because men and women (but especially men) who were previously involved in deviant behaviors are more likely to decrease their criminality and settle down if they get married. But beware, drug and alcohol abuse as well as crime are more likely to rise out of a bad marriage or if a relationship dissolves (Bradbury & Karney, 2010).

You are a great parent
            Are you thinking about children or want to have them eventually?  Being married provides a co-effort in parenting that not only decreases outside stress spilling into your relationship but also allows more time to be spent on quality interactions with your child.  As stated by Sylvia R. Karasu and T. Byram Karasu, “parents are coteachers helping a child to become a person.”  Children who do not experience emotionally available and sensitive parents are more likely to have anxiety, depression and behavioral problems (Karasu & Karasu, 2005).

Keep in mind that all these great things are only subject to whether or not you have a good marriage. The Magic Marriage Fairy isn’t going to bestow all these on you as soon as your marriage license is signed. It also doesn’t guarantee that you will always be happy or will be rich when you get older. Like I said, it is all subject to if your marriage is successful. But it’s nice to know that by choosing to get married and then making that marriage great, you naturally get a whole truckload of positive benefits. 

Saturday, April 7, 2012

How to Have a Happy Marriage

Earlier this week I ran across an article on how to have a happy marriage. The post that I read on the internet discusses a lot of ideas from John Gottman. I love John Gottman and have read all of his books. I made my husband read all of his books. I give them as wedding gifts to my friends. I should seriously be getting money from him. Anyways, the article is from WebMD and had a lot of things I thought I would share with you.

The first is that in every marriage there are irresolvable issues. The idea of problem solving is to figure out the things that can be resolved and work on those. The rest you just need to learn to deal with. For my husband and I, it’s that he doesn’t put the rug back over the edge of the tub after his shower and I always forget to empty the trash because that was never my chore growing up. We drive each other nuts with these things, but we live with them. These things are habit and will probably never change. Either of us getting upset just causes unnecessary anger and wastes happiness.

They also touch on the 5:1 positive to negative ratio. For every negative thing you say about your partner you need to say five positive things to keep the relationship functioning happily. By keeping the 5:1 ratio you will be able to have better positive sentiment and when things get rough you will keep positive thoughts about your partner.

A key part to solving conflict is to always try to see your partners’ perspective. People will never change unless they feel understood. Keep in mind to always check their perspective. You can clarify things to make sure you understand and repeat it back. You do not have to agree with their perspective, but you must try to understand and always remain respectful of your spouse and their beliefs.

The article has a list of helpful things in conflict. They are:

  • Bring it up in a nonthreatening way. "Be nice. No name calling," she advises.
  • Bring up specific issues or behaviors, rather than personality qualities. In a happy marriage, there's no attacking the person. "Bring up the specific time, how you felt about it, then people can change the behavior," Orbuch tells WebMD. "Otherwise, they don't know what to do about it, they're boxed in."
  • Use "I" statements. Instead of "you're a very messy person' say 'I'm really bothered when you put clothes on the floor." Such statements show how you feel about a specific behavior, and that's important in a happy marriage, she says.
  • Try to stay calm. Studies show that the calmer you are, the more you will be taken seriously, she says. "Take a breath, count to 10, breathe. Try to be nonthreatening."
  • Take a break. "If you're going back and forth, if you find blood pressure going up, take minutes or seconds," she says. "Don't take hours. If you take too long, it festers in the other person, they've had time analyze it; you're dismissing their feelings opinions, dismissing them."
  • Don't bring it up at night. Choose the right time -- not when people are tired, hungry, when the kids are all around, when you've got a deadline at work. Those are not best times."
  • Consider your spouse's point of view, if you want a truly happy marriage. "I'm a true believer in this," says Orbuch. "Studies show that every single action has a different meaning depending on if you are male, female, your race, your background. That is important to remember in conflict resolution."

All of these ideas are wonderful and can help you to have positive arguments. No marriage is free from conflict but thing that matters is the type of conflict that occurs. The key is to remain positive and respectful and always be kind to your spouse.

Should Couples Expect the Best or Brace for the Worst?

Here is a great study I ran across that I wanted to share with you guys!
I hope you enjoy the study presented as a power point :/

Just remember the content is great!

McNulty, J. K., & Karney, B. (2004). Positive Expectations in the Early Years of Marriage: Should Couples Expect the Best or Brace for the Worst?. Journal Of Personality And Social Psychology, 86(5), 729-743. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.86.5.729

6 Things to Ensure a Strong Marriage

What are the top five things that newlyweds should focus on in order to ensure a successful marriage?

Today I am going to answer the reader question (stated above) by talking about research done by Stinnett and Defrain.  Thousands of families all over the United States as well as in various placed around the world where studied. These studies found that strong families all have six things in common: commitment, time together, appreciate and affection, positive communication, spiritual well being, and the ability to cope with stress and crisis (Olson, David H., & DeFrain J., 1994). I know the reader only asked for five things to focus on, but you get a bonus one. These six factors not only make a strong family but a resilient relationship as well.

 1.  Commitment
     Sexual fidelity is a huge part in commitment as well as honesty between family members. Strong families also invest their time and energy doing activities together. This means that they don’t let other priorities (work, school…etc) take too much time away from their family interactions

2. Time together
     This one is self-explanatory; those who spend time together are happier personally as well as have happier relationships with each other. But you don’t have to do something large and magnificent to create long lasting memories, often the smaller day to day time spent together can be just as meaningful. When compared to the cinematic view of relationships seen in every romance movie ever made, we need to realize that “real-life romance is fueled by a far more humdrum approach to staying connected” (Gottman & Silver, 1999). Other than eating and doing chores together, click here for an earlier blog post that gives some ideas of things to do with your spouse.
3. Appreciation and affection
     Since you are newly married, let’s assume that you already care deeply for your partner. Along with knowing that you care and love them, it is important that you let them know as well. Giving sincere thanks along with other loving words helps build a positive atmosphere in which you can better get along. Physical communication works really well too. A smile, hug, kiss or even just a pat on the back carries on the message that you care and value your partner. Sex is also an important way you show appreciation and affection to your spouse.

4. Positive communication
     Though it is important to identify problems and discuss how to solve them, some of the best talking you can do is when you aren’t working out a problem or focusing on your communication. Rambling conversations can often uncover important issues. When you are comfortable with the person you’re with then these topics will simply come up naturally. Unless you are telepathic you can’t assume you know what your spouse is saying, this means that you should be listening and asking questions. Humor is also an important part of positive communication. Strong families like to laugh as long as it isn’t sarcasm or being used to put down the other person.

5. Spiritual well-being
     Though this topic is generally controversial, strong families have a strong sense of religion or spirituality. Though religious communities offer an added sense of membership and support, spiritual well being doesn’t mean that you have to be strong in a religion as some talk about it as having of faith in God, hope or even optimism about life. This feeling helps people transcend themselves, so they feel like there is something larger. This also promotes sharing, love, and compassion.

6. The ability to cope with stress and crisis
     Being in a Strong relationship does not mean that you are free of stress and immune to a crises, it just means that you are able to meet the challenge as efficiently as possible while minimizing the possibility of damage. This means that you are able to see and experience growth when troubles do arrive. Strong families who have better ways of coping with stress will also have a better chance at preventing troubles before they happen, and when overwhelming problems do arise strong families seek help in attempt to learn how to cope with the crises.

Though these six parts are important on their own, “family strengths are intertwined like a big ball of string collected over time” (Olson, David, & Defrain, 1994). As they naturally work together and build on each other your relationship can only get stronger and stronger.

Gottman, J., & Silver, N. (1999). The seven principles for making marriage work. (pp. 87-92). New York, NY: Crown Publishers.
Olson, David H., & DeFrain. (1994). “Family strengths and coping strategies.” In Marriage and the family: Diversity and strengths. Mountain View, CA: Mayfield, 563-575.


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