In case you are new to the drama that is my marriage, here is the post about our first day of counseling, which now has 235 comments. And here is the post where I blame my whole marriage on the institution of shared-care parenting, and also where I find out that the population of available babysitters in Madison, Wisconsin is reading my blog, and maybe that’s why we now offer the highest paying babysitting job in town.

At this point we’ve been seeing the marriage counselor for a few months, and believe it or not, I’ve learned a thing or two about communicating. We all want to think that our communication problems at home are different from the communication problems we have at work. In fact, though, corporate training companies like VitalSmarts have shown that communication skills are the same at home and at work, just the stakes are higher at home, where getting fired is not just a new job hunt.

So in the spirit of acknowledging that work and home require the same communication skills, here is what I’ve learned so far:

1. Make sure the person you’re talking to is ready to hear what you’re saying.
One reason there are so many comments about my posts about my marriage is that men (it’s mostly men) fear the emasculation of my husband via blogging. There is, of course, little sense of irony among these men that my husband’s masculinity would be very precarious if a few blog posts could derail it.

Regardless, this post is about our marriage. So if these posts bother you, you should ask yourself why you are reading past this paragraph.

2. Instead of complaining, ask for what you want in concrete, measurable terms.
In counseling, my husband and I had the earth-shattering revelation that we are treating each other like crap. So, we each got to ask the person to do some things that would change that dynamic and help us feel better about our relationship.

My husband asked me to stop throwing things, which really pissed me off because I have thrown things twice, in fifteen years, both times at a wall, but he brings it up constantly like I have a track record for throwing daggers at his head.

Please, don’t send me emails about how even one thing thrown is traumatizing, okay? I had about ten million things thrown at me as a kid, and the police were at our house all the time, so throwing only twice, and relatively innocuously, is actually a triumph, and the result of ten years of therapy so I don’t repeat what my parents did. No kidding: Ten years.

Here’s what I asked from my husband: That he say or do one nice thing to me every day. He definitely got ripped off in this bargain. Do not write to me about how this is a metaphor for our marriage. It isn’t. In all marriages that reach a low point, both people are getting ripped off equally, or else someone would threaten to leave. And neither of us is leaving.

3. Give feedback if expectations aren’t met, even if the effort is good.
The first day comes, and he writes me a note to thank me for taking care of the kids. Here’s what it said: Thanks for taking care of the kids. Here’s where he put the note: On my Facebook wall.

I didn’t even know he had an account on Facebook. And before you go to mine, let me confess that my assistant does a lot of my Facebook stuff – which is not uncommon because many professionals are on Facebook only because of peer pressure.

My assistant sends an email to me to let me know my husband says, Thank you for taking care of the kids.

I don’t want to tell my husband that he is crazy for posting stuff like this on my wall where thousands of people see it. But after three days of Facebook-based gratitudes, I remind him that my assistant manages my Facebook page.

He says, “Oh yeah. I forgot.” Then he keeps sending stuff there. He does chocolates. Then flowers. Then plants. By now, my Facebook page looks like a greenhouse.

I count the days until we will be back in a counseling session where I can ask for something different.

4. Take responsibility to make your boundary needs clear.
Then I got an email from Ryan P: “I see on Facebook that you and Nino got married. Congratulations.”

That’s when the Facebook thing became too much. I realized it was my husband’s way of doing our marriage publicly. Mine is blogging, his is Facebooking. So I wanted to tell my assistant to unmarry us because I don’t want to be linked to him online because I’m so sick of him. But Ryan P pointed out that if I do that, everyone would think that we got unmarried, “which would be worse than announcing that you’re married.” So I had my assistant fix it to say I’m married, but not say to whom.

5. You must keep talking. That’s the only way to make progress.
The other assignment we had from the marriage counselor was to have a conversation. Yes, that’s where we stand–we must be directed to talk with each other.

It takes us a while. I have been travelling a lot which throws off everyone’s schedule.

So on Friday night we put the kids to bed and we sit down to have our conversation. We sit on the kitchen floor because it’s already freezing in Madison and our house is hard to heat, but the kitchen is always warm. We sit across from each other on our impractical-for-a-kitchen but squishy-soft pink rugs. There is a soft hum from our refrigerator. There is an orange glow from the Halloween lights my son taped across the wall.

Our conversation topic is pre-selected for emotional safety: A book my husband’s reading. James Kunstler’s The Long Emergency: Surviving the End of Oil, Climate Change, and Other Converging Catastrophes of the Twenty-First Century.

My husband refers to this book as peak-oil literature. I am shocked to hear he’s reading anything at all because he spends so much time taking care of our kids.

He knows all the scenarios about what will happen if we cannot use technology to replace oil, and he feels strongly that it’s too late to make a difference with recycling. Here are things we talk about:

  • If we cannot transport food then we all have to farm. There will probably be a feudal system because only some people own farmable land.
  • Cuba is a test case for this. When they could not get oil from the Soviet Union, everyone had to farm. It has been deemed a success by agronomists.
  • There is some point when oil gets so expensive that it’s no longer useful for maintaining infrastructure and then infrastructure collapses and oil is worth nothing.

I ask a lot of questions. I find all this fascinating, and so does he. We talk about the author’s blog, Clusterfuck Nation, and I have a moment of blog-title envy. We talk about teaching our two kids to farm. From a book. Because how else would we know? And there really aren’t books like that because historically neighbors have taught each other. Besides, we would need oil to get the books to people.

I tell my husband that I like the idea of not having any oil. It’s a much more simple life, and it’s appealing to me. “We would need to live close to people we love. We’d spend a lot of time sitting on our pink rugs talking.”

149 replies
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  1. klein
    klein says:

    WOW, Penelope, All of those things you said NOT to email you or comment about, consider that I have just emailed and commented on them all. Now, to the most disturbing portion of your post and the reason for perhaps all your marriage problems…..

    “I don't want to tell my husband that he is crazy for posting stuff like this on my wall where thousands of people see it.”

    I would now like to draw attention to the fact that YOU WROTE THE ABOVE ON YOUR PROFESSIONAL BLOG!!! If that’s not calling the kettle black, then I don’t know what is.

    Whew, you are so insensitive. It sounds to me like he may very well have purposely communicated to you via the internet, since you do the same with him.

  2. Luca
    Luca says:

    Hello Penelope,

    your blog is a rare pearl in the vast ocean of the web. At the same time you are able to give precious business and counselling advice. This is amazing. It reminds me of a course I attended: two opera singers taught me how to present in front of a large audience. An odd mix of ingredients.
    Keep up the good work, you are making a difference.
    Luca

  3. steven Grant
    steven Grant says:

    Penelope. I have been reading less and less about career change and employment tips, but this was both a useful and moving post. And Brave.

  4. Sandra
    Sandra says:

    Hi Penelope.
    It’s been a while, but I’ve been reading daily.

    I’m glad you are sitting on your pink rugs.

    Lesson #2 wss earth shattering for my husband and me as well when we went to pre-marital counseling. I was confused. How could he not read my mind? Why didn’t he get it. Because just like in business, people interpret the same message differently.

    Now we know, if we don’t tell each other specifically what’s on our mind, too bad. You can’t complain. This one is especially hard for me.

  5. Barbara Saunders
    Barbara Saunders says:

    It does seem a little hypocritical to post to a widely read blog a criticism of your husband’s posting on Facebook. If anything, Facebook is the more appropriate online forum for personal notes between friends or intimates. Many fewer people have access!

  6. J Pap
    J Pap says:

    I agree whoheartedly with – VitalSmarts have shown that communication skills are the same at home and at work.

    Maybe that’s why your marriage is in shambles and once yahoo finds out your a fraud, your work will be in shambles too.

  7. Doug K
    Doug K says:

    Please do try also going to one of the marriage encounter weekends. There are links to the ME for a variety of faiths on the page hosted in Germany, http://www.wwme.de/andere.html

    We attended an Orthodox one and found it immensely valuable. Similarly to your point 5, it schedules daily dialogues. Where it differs is in not trying to actively solve problems, but just to get you talking about your feelings, in a non-judgmental way. I’ve been trying to put together a blog post on it but keep descending into mawkish sentiment. However as I say we found it very good indeed.

    The Orthodox ME is Orthodox in its theology of marriage as a sacrament of the church, but I would hope that anyone who cared enough to marry in the first place, has enough invested in the idea of marriage, to read past the details and into the heart of the matter. They don’t push the faith aspect at all.

    A good reason to recommend the Orthodox ME over other faiths’ is that Orthodox priests may marry. Just as no marriage is comprehensible from the outside, I can’t think how any unmarried priest could see the whole of marriage. Married priests share the pain, so they can fully understand the ordinary human experience. Their wives have a good perspective too – for anyone whose husband is ‘married to the job’, imagine what it’s like when your husband has hundreds of people who might call him at any hour on matters of life, death, or eschatology.

  8. AYC
    AYC says:

    Glad to see you and your husband making progress on your relationshiop. Keep having those kitchen conversations and hopefully you will make it into the bedroom soon!. Communication is key in a marriage.

  9. melanie gao
    melanie gao says:

    OK I think the hubby deserves HUGE kudos for sitting down to talk with you – on a *pink* rug. I would never get mine to do that.

    Loved the post. Hang in there.

  10. Marge
    Marge says:

    I will officially never, EVER complain about my workplace or husband ever again. This was one of the most bizarre, disturbing (about the writer, not to the reader) blogs posts I’ve ever read. I am not coming back. Get professional help.

  11. Melissa
    Melissa says:

    I think you are very funny. Life isn’t always easy – but it’s better to laugh thru the hard times! If everyone looked at their own life with as much humor as you do…there wouldn’t be as many depressing people writing comments on this blog!

  12. mmmhhhh
    mmmhhhh says:

    This is way too public. You guys are beating each other up in public forums. Take it off line for a while so you can be less defensive and actually listen to the other PERSON instead of the online personas.

    Good luck guys. As one wise person said, “Love is a verb.”

    Enjoy you much. Hope you get this figured out.

  13. Peter
    Peter says:

    Penelope, I love your posts, both here and on Yahoo, when I get the chance to read them.

    I read this and wonder: what is it that keeps you from giving up? What is it about your relationship that makes you so determined to keep sticking it out, seeking counselling, etc.?

    As a child of divorce, I often wonder what makes people decide to split or stay together.

  14. shoba
    shoba says:

    Penelope, I’m very happy for you.
    I can very much understand how hard it is when there has be sort of arguements, fighting, throwing things at home by our parents when we were children. It happened in my home too. I used to feel very depressed and shy even to go out of my home. I never even wanted to get married because of that. But later I did get married as my life went through a lots of twists and turns. When an arguement crops up between me and my husband only thing that comes to my mind is, let not my children suffer what I suffered and I try to work out a betterway.
    Goodluck again Penelope!
    sincerely,
    shoba

  15. shoba
    shoba says:

    oops, sorry for those spelling mistakes above.
    I’m correcting them here.
    I can very much understand how hard it is when there has been sort of arguements, fighting, throwing things at home by our parents when we were children.

  16. dirtymouthmama
    dirtymouthmama says:

    wtf..

    do you actually read all of these comments?

    hey, i like the public airing of dirty laundry it makes for an interesting read.

    the communication thing is over f***in rated. Yes, it is all good advice, but if it ain't happening in the bedroom it ain't happening.

    So get back on the ride, forget about getting knocked around after being thrown.

    Communication follows doin' it. Both of y'all need a some good head. Sit back and enjoy it.

    Someone above mentioned that before you had kids you weren't talking about shared parenting. Hell no,before you had kids you were practicing making the kids. It was never about talking and it still isn't.

    Shared parenting sucks.

    Professional time,and Parenting time dominate.

    Personal time? yeah, wishful thinking.

    Couple time? only after getting personal time. so –

    Yes, there we have it. My 2 cents.

    * * * * * * * * *

    Yes. I read every comment. I love the comments. It’s why I blog — for the community the blog creates. I want to be part of a community of people who say things like what you said in your next comment — about what the old wife gets and what the new wife gets. So smart. And I never thought of it that way. Thanks.

    –Penelope

  17. dirtymouthmama
    dirtymouthmama says:

    forgot to say.

    you got kids.
    you got this guy until,well,you die.

    the sh*t that bugs you will be all you deal with if you break up. the good will go to the new wife who won’t like you.

    make it work.

  18. LaDawn
    LaDawn says:

    John Seymour writes an incredible books about Self Sufficiency which my family finds helpful and inspiring as we try to reduce our carbon footprint and our impact on the planet.

    We grown our own veg in the summer and my husband manufactures our own biodiesel from recycled vegetable oil in our garage. We hope to be able to generate our own electricity soon.

    Scouts & Brownies is a good place for the children to learn skills outside school learning(as well as from us). We are learning too and there isn’t a farmer that will tell you he doesn’t learn something new with every harvest.

    I like these posts most of all!

  19. class factotum
    class factotum says:

    I know this is slightly off topic, but Cuba is not a success. People there do not get enough to eat. The could buy oil from any other country in the world, but you only get oil if you pay for it. If you’re really interested, look at therealcuba.com or babalublog.com to get the truth about this “socialist paradise.”

    If you had to farm for a living, you would not spend a lot of time on your pink rug talking. My grandfather was a farmer. He was up before dawn to milk the cows

  20. PJ
    PJ says:

    While I don’t care for her delivery style, I gotta agree with dirtymouthmama’s second comment (“the good will go to the new wife”)

    I’m divorced and happily remarried myself…my wife got everything my ex-wife didn’t. There were other issues with my first marriage, but the real problem was and always is *me*. My marriage is superior to my ex-marriage because I’ve let go of a lot of ego. (Well, that’s the biggest reason, anyway.)

    As for whether to air your dirty marriage laundry publicly, does your husband object? Seriously. If he’s fine with it, more power to ya. I know it’s fun to read (that’s why I’m here…) but probably the first rule of marriage — hell, human relationships — is quit doing stuff that pisses each other off. I dunno…something about respect.

  21. Beymer
    Beymer says:

    Wow, there are some great points there. You seem to outline the basics to having a healthy relationship right there. Why looking for some answers myself I found a great site that has some great input specifically on this topic.

    http://iquestions.com/video/view/257

    Check it out. The guy seems to know what he is talking about.

  22. Mike Hobart
    Mike Hobart says:

    “We talk about teaching our two kids to farm. From a book. Because how else would we know? And there really aren't books like that because historically neighbors have taught each other.”

    Indeed. In John Wyndham’s novel ‘Day of the Triffids’, after the collapse of the civilization one character combs through the bookstores and bemoans the fact that there are no books on farming for complete and utter beginners.

  23. Suze
    Suze says:

    I hope all your personal issues are resolved for the best of you and your loved ones, Penelope.

    Re: Farming. Both my husband and father grew up on farms, so I’m probably closer to that kind of life than a lot of people living in the 21st century. The most important thing I can say about it is: don’t romanticize it.

    It’s hard, even on a part-time basis. In fact, it can be brutal. Economically, it’s a no-win situation for most people. You have to make hard decisions all the time, often life or death situations involving animals.

    It is all involving, for you, and probably more importantly, for your kids. It’s not for sissies (not that you are a sissy, Penelope — in fact I would say you have more than your share of fortitude) and it has exhausted more than one strong and determined family.

    However, at least the two of you are thinking about the future, a good thing.

  24. Suze
    Suze says:

    You know, I think my comment came off as too negative. I think you, and your husband, are doing many positive things regarding your relationship and your future and I commend that.

    And you never know, farming might be the best thing for you. Best of luck to you.

  25. MHentig
    MHentig says:

    Just wondering. Did your marriage start to take a turn after the move from New York to Madison? A big change like that is a huge cause of stress–leaving behind friends, family, job opportunities, your ways of life. Would you consider moving back, in order to save your marriage?

  26. Jeff
    Jeff says:

    You write very well and I have enjoyed your posts on your marriage. I found your blog researching marriage counselors as my wife and I are planning to attend a session for the first time later this week.

    You should know that your article has given me some comfort in that it seems our marital communication is much better then yours but that is not to say that we have a great deal of hope. In our situation my wife is the primary wage earner at about $240k and I earn about $70k. She wants to have kids and have me be the primary caretaker (her job demands are enormous). Additionally she wants to move out of the country to a place where I do not speak the language. It will double her income in the short term, and place her in the 7 figure bracket in two years.

    I would abandon my career, as well as the things in life I enjoy (fishing, woodworking, etc). In reading about how this has effected your husband I realize even more then before that I do not want to do this. She has said that she will leave me in less then 3 months if I will not agree.

    It is terribly painful to deal with this issue, and to watch everything that was built lost. My primary motivation for working to accomplish and build everything that makes up our life has been to make her happy and proud of what we have. When I think of wandering around through what remains of my life, I cannot seem to find any reason for hope. It is a very sad time.

  27. Jonathan
    Jonathan says:

    I haven’t read all of the many comments here so maybe I’m repeating something that’s already been covered. But you make it clear that it’s OK for you to “do” your marriage publicly by blogging, but not OK for your spouse to do your marriage publicly with Facebook. Don’t you think that’s a little one-sided? Similarly you argue with the one thing your spouse asked you to do and complain when he does what you asked. Hmmm…

  28. Alex
    Alex says:

    Dear Jeff,
    I am so sorry for your dilemma. I think that is a completely unreasonable request on your wife’s part. Parenting is very isolating even in good situations. If you lost your job, your ability to communicate, and your social network, and became totally financially beholden to your wife, you would be miserable. This is her problem–you are just, unfortunately, the victim of it.

  29. Dave
    Dave says:

    Penelope —

    I am in the process of dissolving my own marriage for a number of reasons. I’m sorry to see yours faltering as well. You have my sympathy as well as my empathy. In my case, neither party has clean hands, but that doesn’t make it an easy thing to do – it’s still a death.

  30. Jess
    Jess says:

    My #1 advice I learned in counseling – “There is more than one ‘right’ way to solve a problem. Remember that your ‘way’ is just one possible option.”

    I tended to go in looking for a battle, a challenge, a “win.” In the end, you never “win” when you badger people into agreeing with you.

    My personal and professional relationships have become so much better now that I realize that I don’t have to win or lose, just decide on one of the many solutions in front of me.

  31. natalie
    natalie says:

    Penelope,

    I had a “starter marriage” right after college, and am now happily married with two kids (3 and 5). I can see that my first marriage didn’t work because I fell in love with who I hoped he would be, instead of who he was. At the beginning of the end, I read a book called Fighting for Your Marriage. There was a line that said something to the effect that if one of the partners has emotionally checked out, there is nothing left to do. That was when I knew my marriage was over, because I had checked out. It sounds like that is not the case for you, although not so clear for Nino.

    With my second marriage, my husband and I try to spend time together where we just go to dinner and talk. Kind of like you two sitting on the kitchen floor. I think it is a key to a successful relationship that you try to find pleasure in each other’s company, and appreciate them.

    I can see why you complained about the Facebook stuff–it’s too impersonal. It’s like sending an e-card–it takes no effort and it doesn’t really mean anything. Maybe doing something nice every day is too much. My husband tries to tell me he loves me at least once a day, and periodically thanks me for what I do for the family. Maybe if both of you tried something like that, it would help.

    Good luck.

  32. Some Random Guy
    Some Random Guy says:

    I don’t know if this is of help, after all I once went through a phase when I wrote a blog detailing all my personal problems. Blogging helped me for a couple of months until I realized hanging my dirty laundry for the whole world to see wasn’t making it any cleaner.

    Now I keep my own personal journal and confine my problems to myself, family, and those who I feel comfortable sharing with. The internet may be a quick and convenient way to share problems with others but I’m not convinced it provides an emotionally healthy medium to cope with one’s problems.

    For instance, how does your husband feel that I, some random guy, know you and him have marital problems? As a reader, I certainly don’t want or need to know this information. I would rather read your career advice and the substance that feeds into it.

    Though I applaud your efforts to seek marriage counseling, I don’t think it’s my business to know you are in marriage counseling, at least not for now. Maybe when the counseling succeeds and your marriage is stronger than it was before you can detail your Odyssey to the rest of the world for our benefit.

    By the way, I appreciate your advice. I don’t believe that all your ideas reconcile with the real world, but I do seek kernels of wisdom in your column and blog postings and do my best to share it with my friends (especially the aspiring law students and MBAs).

    On another unrelated note, if you haven’t read Plain Talk: Lessons from a Business Maverick by Ken Iverson, I would suggest doing so. Lots of great counterintuitive advice you can incorporate into your repertoire. If you want a concrete example of someone and an organization (ie Nucor Steel) who succeeded by going against the grain and doing things differently, this book is for you. I linked the amazon.com synopsis above. 11 customer reviews…all of them five stars.

    Enjoy and Good Luck!

    Some Random Guy

  33. Jode Poley
    Jode Poley says:

    Penelope;

    As a surviving husband and father of a child who suffered major brain trauma (25% brain loss). I wept when I read of your conflict with your husband… You are in a realm of parenting and marriage few understand or ever forced to cope with. We also have struggled in the past three years with 9/11, children and the fight for being in the 20%.

    I’m sorry – genuinely sorry for you and your family.

    As a husband I applaud that you blog openly about how things are going. My wife blogs about our struggles openly (for proof see jenny.sojourn-of-grace.net). We are hopeful for you and your husband. After moving out of the NY area and into the Midwest we have had room to breath and restore. Take heart.

    We will be praying for you.

  34. Arnold Carson
    Arnold Carson says:

    The conversation about farming was sweet, but it points to something important: building a shared life together. Where’s the shared life together? Where is the intersection between career and life at home? You both seem attracted to a shared life. You want a shared life. Yet you don’t seem to have a shared life.

    Yes. There are books about farming. See any and all books by Joel Salatin, especially, “You Can Farm” (http://www.amazon.com/dp/0963810928/?tag=ptrunk-20)

  35. Jaco
    Jaco says:

    As a marriage counselor it is always informative to read what other counselors are saying. Although counselor confidentiality is important, I did not read anything that is harmful to the counselor. It is true that the same principles of facilitating change in marriage can be used in the work place. I have done this during my Masters research. With a positive and optimistic outlook I would like to see a future article named; "What we have learned in our marriage – €“ the unique stuff that worked for us".

  36. שיר בהפתעה
    שיר בהפתעה says:

    i agrre with this opinion:

    My #1 advice I learned in counseling – "There is more than one – €˜right' way to solve a problem. Remember that your – €˜way' is just one possible option."

    I tended to go in looking for a battle, a challenge, a "win." In the end, you never "win" when you badger people into agreeing with you.

    My personal and professional relationships have become so much better now that I realize that I don't have to win or lose, just decide on one of the many solutions in front of me.

  37. עיצובים בחינם
    עיצובים בחינם says:

    I haven't read all of the many comments here so maybe I'm repeating something that's already been covered. But you make it clear that it's OK for you to "do" your marriage publicly by blogging, but not OK for your spouse to do your marriage publicly with Facebook. Don't you think that's a little one-sided? Similarly you argue with the one thing your spouse asked you to do and complain when he does what you asked.
    i thing so too my friend!

  38. Marriage Problems
    Marriage Problems says:

    This is so open, I a not sure I agree that putting your marriage and life out in the open like this, I would certainly not be comfortable myself.

    I agree why is blogging ok and not facebook?

  39. Now what.....
    Now what..... says:

    I love your blog. Oddly enough, I am in a relationship of 10 years which has been slowly going south in the last. Our major issue revolved around financial stuff and it just seems like we just can’t talk to eachother anymore. We both stand to lose so much more if we can’t work this out. Yet we are both either clueless on what the next (“right”) step should be and/or simultaneously consumed by stubbornness that we are currently participating in 5-day silent treatment venture. It’s ridiculous, I know it’s wrong, but I just feel like I don’t care right now. I happened to stumble upon your blog which made me laugh, which is great for me right now. I also appreciate your story, it makes me realize that we are not the only one’s going through this even though it feels that way. I have taken a few good tips from you. Thanks for sharing.

  40. The Purloined Letter
    The Purloined Letter says:

    Irony: I found your blog when trying to find some online suggestions about communicating with a partner. We’ve been happily together for about 16 years, but this year has gotten tense and we are awfully snappy with each other way too often. The reason we have been so tense? Trying to figure out how to move forward after reading Kunstler’s book (and others).

    Thank you for your comforting post.

  41. Lee Horton
    Lee Horton says:

    I think that communication is overated. It is important but it should be a means to negotiating intimacy, not just talking. Your example is great because talking about a book doesn’t seem like an invitation to intimacy but it leads to fantasizing about a simpler life, which when shared can be a path to intimacy.

  42. A.J. Pape
    A.J. Pape says:

    Penelope –

    Thanks for your candor.
    Although I’m not in your target market, posts like this one make me trust you and would absolutely incline me to work with you or pick you over a competitor.

    It’s as you say – the way we communicate at work and at home is not so different. As you are so candid in your blog, I would imagine you are the same in business conversations.

    Thanks again for the great example you’re setting here.

    A.J. Pape

  43. SSegall
    SSegall says:

    As a marriage counselor, I am telling you that you are diluting what marriage counseling by talking about it to the world. The more you think about it or engage with your spouse, the better you will do. Looks as though you are not sure you really want it to work. Otherwise, you would not be posting this on such a public forum. Best of luck anyway.

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