Staying married is important for your career. If you’re the breadwinner, and you have kids but get divorced, you will need to earn enough money for two households instead of one. Bye-bye career change. If you are not the breadwinner, you’ll start being the breadwinner, and all the career flexibility your marriage provided will be gone. Now you’ll have a much more limited set of possibilities for your career choices.

Add to that: you won’t be able to relocate for a job because your kids are not going to relocate with you—that’s almost always by court order. And you’ll also not be able to work late or go in early if you don’t have a partner to stay with the kids. So keep your marriage together.

Warning: you are reading marriage advice from a writer who was so checked out in her marriage that she was blindsided by a divorce. But I never want that to happen again, so I spend a lot of time researching what keeps marriages together, and here is some of the research I have implemented to protect my own, second marriage:

1. Don’t live together too long before you commit.
In the 60s when living together was a sign of rebellion, cohabitation was 30% more likely to end in divorce. The Atlantic reports that today co-habitation is a step on the road to marriage more than a rebellion against it. So it doesn’t necessarily lead to high divorce rates.

But beware of endless but uncommitted co-habitation. At some point living together is a form of procrastination rather than moving toward marriage. And in that case most partners will end up unhappy, whether married or chronically unmarried.

2. Don’t use ultimatums. 
John Gottman has a proven set of rules that are simple enough to remember so that when you’re in a fight with your spouse you can say, “Hey! That’s not fair fighting.” One thing he doesn’t talk about is ultimatums. We often use them like an escape route from negotiating.

But in fact, in all cases—marriage, salary, and everything in between—the person who gives the ultimatum is the one most likely to lose. The Harvard Business Review explains the science behind this: the ultimatum activates the animal instinct part of the brain, and negotiating in that mental state is nearly impossible.

3. Act like an old couple.
Younger couples tend to use the demand-withdraw method of conflict. One spouse demands a change and the other spouse withdraws from the relationship. As couples age, they tend to avoid conflict rather than head toward it. Which means there are fewer demands from one spouse and less withdrawing from the other spouse.

As couples age, they increasingly avoid areas of conflict, making the marriage stronger, as long as they don’t hold a grudge (which is, by the way, one of the rules from John Gottman—no harboring resentment.)

4. Spend similarly or have good in-laws.
Couples who have similar spending patterns have fewer arguments about money. Duh, but the important thing here is that every couple argues over one of three things: money, in-laws, or sex. Look at the one of those three that is most difficult in your marriage. The level of difficulty and how you cope with it will probably determine if your marriage will survive.

For some of us it’s too late to find someone who spends similarly. I found this advice in Get Rich Slowly to be helpful in terms of creating financial safety nets in my marriage, to decrease the chance that money problems will ruin my marriage.

5. Forget spicing up your sex life.
Couples who have sex three times a week are much happier than other couples. This is not a statement about how good the sex is. Of course, if it’s terrible then at least one partner will start refusing. But if you can reach a baseline level of sex where both people will engage in sex three times a week, the marriage will be happier than most.

Cynical note to all you smug newlyweds: We know you are having sex every night. It’s not because your marriage is good, it’s because it’s new. Wait a few years. And in the meantime, check out this study of what happens to text messages between two people when they go from dating to married. Spoiler: The most frequent words during dating are love, fun, soon. Most frequent words after two years of marriage are ok, home, yeah.

So what makes sex good after the thrill has worn off? It’s not saucy costumes and leather whips. It’s vulnerability. That’s right. Sex gets more exciting as the partners get more and more vulnerable. Brene Brown, professor at University of Houston, gives great advice on how to become more vulnerable.

6. Avoid couples therapy. Just go to therapy yourself.
Marriage works best when there are two people who feel good about themselves, coming together to feel good about each other. Unfortunately it’s very difficult to feel good about ourselves at all times, and that’s where individual therapy comes in.

Psychologist Kelly Flanagan writes: “We spend most of our adolescence and early adulthood trying to pretend our shame doesn’t exist so, when the person we love triggers it in us, we blame them for creating it. And then we demand they fix it. But the truth is, they didn’t create it and they can’t fix it. Sometimes the best marital therapy is individual therapy, in which we work to heal our own shame. So we can stop transferring it to the ones we love.”

7. Your wishes for a soulmate should be filed right next to your wishes for a Disney ending.
The idea that there is a perfect partner for you is delusional. Because there is something wrong and disappointing with each person we could pick. Recognizing that and dealing with it is part of growing a mature relationship.

Fortunately, the idea that there is a wrong partner for you is also probably delusional. Polly Shulman, writes in Psychology Today , “All marriages are incompatible. All marriages are between people from different families, people who have a different view of things. The magic is to develop binocular vision, to see life through your partner’s eyes as well as through your own.”

74 replies
  1. Ken
    Ken says:

    Me and my wife never fought about sex. We both agreed that all our parents were a pain in the ass. And we rarely fought about money. The thing we did fight about, fairly regularly, was the way we were raising our two sons. We get along much better now that they have both grown up (pretty much) and they did not turn out to be monsters.

    • HomeschoolDad
      HomeschoolDad says:

      Same here. We argue over how to raise the kids. She’s the softie….and I’m the (alleged) Nazi. And since we home educate, there are a lot of decisions to make together.

  2. ruo
    ruo says:

    Just read this, this morning: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/debra-macleod/amal-clooney-marriage_b_6103736.html

    The Amal Effect which goes to what you are saying: Choosing marriage and choosing to protect your marriage. This is the part that I really like “she will hold a husband up to a high standard, it is no higher than the one she she will hold up for herself as a wife.”

    It goes to tell me that that’s the type of confidence I’m still trying to instill in myself when I negotiate with my boyfriend prior to getting engaged.

  3. Katybeth Jensen
    Katybeth Jensen says:

    Marrying your soul mate will make your marriage harder rather than easier. Your spouse will challenge you in ways you never imagined. I speak from experience. If my soul mate hadn’t died we might have killed one another. Divorce. Ha. We couldn’t escape one another. My parents have been married for 50 years, one of the things that have made their marriage strong is allowing each other to pursue their own interests. My Mom shows dogs all over the country, my dad is an avid bird watcher. They have lots to talk about during the cocktail hour on the patio when they are together.

  4. Elizabeth
    Elizabeth says:

    I have been married for 43 years to my high school sweet heart. We have survived children, infidelity,bankruptcy,in laws on and on. Life gives plenty of challenges BUT if you make decisions based on what is good for the individual and adjust as a partner for the good of that person, you will still be married to your heart throb many years later.

  5. Truth
    Truth says:

    Being very compatible and honest with each other is very important, and showing a lot of love for one another too.

  6. Jim Grey
    Jim Grey says:

    What I like about your blog is that it dispenses with anything even remotely PC and gets right down to practical business.

    Yes, don’t issue ultimatums. Holy cow don’t do that. If you are experiencing behavior that is truly unacceptable, you are making clear what is acceptable, but the behavior isn’t changing on its own, then get out.

    • C.A. Lewis-McCarren
      C.A. Lewis-McCarren says:

      This comment is so true. You are right – be assertive about your needs/requirements, but if they aren’t happening within your own determined amount of time….they the responsibility lies with you to move on and be OK with it. Didn’t say it doesn’t hurt, but better a hurt heart with room to heal, than a misery pitt with TWO unhappy people to fling the mud at each other.

  7. Mark W.
    Mark W. says:

    Penelope, this is a beautiful post with much insight and practical advice. I think it’s one of your better posts. Not the best one because the next one on the subject will most likely be better. You may be interested in the advice given by elders and documented in The Legacy Project at Cornell. The following is taken from a portion of their About page – “People from across the country in their 70s and beyond shared their wisdom for living. Their advice ranges from how to be happy on a day-to-day basis, the secrets to a successful marriage, tips on raising children, ways to have a fulfilling career, strategies fordealing with illness and loss, and how to grow old fearlessly and well.”

  8. Lisa
    Lisa says:

    I giggled to myself on #7. Way before I dated my current husband (2nd go around), I made a list of Higgs I wanted in a man! I noticed, however I described a gay man!! I thre away the list and found someone who’s charachter flaws did not bug me as much as husband #1. Only been married 5 years but so much happier than before.

  9. Cay
    Cay says:

    I think that there are three major things missing here:

    1) Shared goals. A marriage is a team, and team members help each other reach goals. One good indicator of a strong marriage is that the partners help open doors to experiences and opportunities for each other, thereby expanding consciousness and benefiting them both.

    2) Romantic narrative. A marriage is a story about love and loyalty. I know that when I look back, I cast my husband as the hero, and that to my husband, I’ve often been the heroine.

    Narratives can be incredibly powerful — all of the stories in our minds inform our decisions going forward — and we have to know that we are writing the future together so that the hero and heroine stay together through it all.

    3) Trust is everything. The importance of this cannot be overstated.

    Full disclosure: My marriage is relatively young. However, both my parents and my husband’s parents have been married for over 30 years and they show strong elements of all of the points mentioned above.

  10. Ayanna
    Ayanna says:

    One of the best posts ever…just dripping with truth! I have been married nearly ten years and I couldn’t agree more with you. Thanks again for the honesty!

  11. C.A. Lewis-McCarren
    C.A. Lewis-McCarren says:

    I totally agree with what you said. The only “addendum” I would add is that when there are abusive behaviors in the relationship, that the above guidelines won’t work – no matter how hard you try. I always think to myself that if I could go back to when I was younger – when I was growing up and developing on so many levels as a young girl/woman – that I would have been taught about boundries, self-respect and all those other components that fosters wisdom in choice/direction. This is also where I get on my jag of these types of “LESSONS” for “skcroool” vs. academics all the time. You can be book smart, but if you don’t know how to apply it ……total fail. Just saying……

    • Di
      Di says:

      I assume you wrote this because, like me, whenever you read a piece along these lines you recall some of Penelope’s earlier posts about her relationship. I don’t think Penelope is capable of being manipulative enough to try and mask that behaviour with lovey dovey stuff but I don’t think these words can be said enough.

  12. Jeanenne
    Jeanenne says:

    Regarding point number 3, a great piece of advice: Harboring resentment is like swallowing poison and hoping the other person dies from it

  13. Wife of 40 yrs
    Wife of 40 yrs says:

    Married my high school sweetheart & I agree about the shared goals & values. We had such joy raising our children (all grown now).

    We also promised each other we would never say or do anything to purposefully hurt each other. That allows a lot of trust in the relationship & the knowledge your spouse values you & your heart so much.

    He retires in 20 days & we look forward to an exciting new chapter in our lives, accompanied by our deep love & respect for each other.

  14. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    I find it interesting that you always refer to yourself as “married,” but, in actuality, you are not legally married to The Farmer. For someone who touts herself as being open and honest, I find this contradictory and misleading.

    • C.A. Lewis-McCarren
      C.A. Lewis-McCarren says:

      Not that Penelope needs me to come to her defense, …. “Legally” married is within the legal system with all benefits at your disposal if you chose to use them. Penelope has openly talked about her 2nd marriage and some of the reasons why the didn’t marry “legally”……I.e., tax and debt burdens are a few. That doesn’t mean they are any less committed or it is a sham marriage. Kind of like homeschooling…..just because it isn’t “accredited” or “stamped with approval” by the education “authorities” – it does not make it any less relevant. In fact, it is made even more relevant because there is actually a choice and stronger commitment to do so WITHOUT concern for approval ratings from people like you. Be nice…..

      • Anonymous
        Anonymous says:

        I wasn’t questioning the validity of her “marriage.” I was commenting on her use of the term, which, by its very definition, means legally married. Most folks who are not legally married, use terms such as “committed relationship,” and “partner” or “significant other,” not “marriage” and “husband.”

        • Mina
          Mina says:

          Nonsense. People have been getting married forever, long before there were paper-stamping bureaucracies. That some people need the state to sanction their union is a construct of their own limited thinking. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

  15. mh
    mh says:

    Married 20 years. What works (for us):

    her:
    Shut up and put out.

    him:
    “That … smells nice”
    (dinner, house, perfume, shampoo, laundry, leather, breeze, fire, baby’s head, 7-11 Slurpee… )

    When women have a problem, the stupidest thing to do is complain about it. Language is a bad form of communication in stressful times. Sex makes everyone feel better. Happy people agree more. This is not manipulative, it is brain chemistry.

    When men make random comments about noticing things, this improves the marriage. Smell comments are unexpected surprises and therefore more intimate. This is not manipulative: intimacy is the goal.

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      I am always struck by how simple and straightforward advice is from people who are married a long time. At the beginning of marriage or seems so complicated to get along- like there are so many things to keep track of. But in order to keep a marriage together I think you have to decide that almost nothing matters as much as you thought it did except for staying together.

      One thing that really disappoints me about my first marriage is that I never got to know what it’s like to get to that simplified part of marriage.

      I feel lucky to get another try, but reading these comments reminds me that still distracted by petty complaints.

      Penelope

      • Marisa
        Marisa says:

        Interesting about people giving simple advice. At our wedding reception, we put a basket with blank cards for people to submit marriage advice. One couple who had been married about 10 years submitted at least seven cards with lots of good advice. My aunt, who had been married about 5o years, wrote, “Just love each other.”

        Surprising how many things I want to do and say that aren’t really bad or mean or hateful–but they aren’t loving!

  16. Elizabeth in VT
    Elizabeth in VT says:

    A wise person whose blog I once followed wrote that his secret to a long marraige was to recognize that your partner is not perfect, and to love that imperfection perfectly.

  17. Married A While
    Married A While says:

    Interesting to compare this with the comments on your “freezing eggs” post.

    Perhaps I’m being too harsh, but the idea that someone can go till age 35 or 40 without meeting their “one and only” seems rather hard to believe.

    • J.A.
      J.A. says:

      My husband didn’t marry me until about two weeks before he turned 50. He had never been married before and had no children. I’m 17 years younger so I like to joke that he had to wait for his “one” to grow up :-) And no, he isn’t rich so if anyone’s thinking I’m some young(ish) gold digger, then I’m a horrible one ;-)

    • Marisa
      Marisa says:

      Believe it. I married for the first time at age 37. I had wanted–very badly–to be married since about age 22. It wasn’t for lack of looking or lack of caring. Sometimes things just don’t work out. Consider yourself blessed & lucky if you met your sweetheart early.

    • Kat
      Kat says:

      It’s hard to believe that people take luck for granted.

      I’m planning to marry someone – this opportunity never existed until after I achieved some level on the career ladder, worked internationally, and bought my own home.

      Sometimes God doesn’t even let people reap the good karma they sowed.

    • Married6Years
      Married6Years says:

      I didn’t meet my husband till I was 40. (We almost met when I was 14. Oh well.) Neither of us had been married before. Because of him, I believe in soulmates. It’s easy for me to believe that you might not find the right person when you’re younger. It’s so wonderful when people do!

  18. J
    J says:

    I found the opening of this post kind of baffling.

    “Beware of endless but uncommitted co-habitation. At some point living together is a form of procrastination rather than moving toward marriage. And in that case most partners will end up unhappy, whether married or chronically unmarried.”

    Why does it HAVE TO move towards marriage? (Which is the same as co-habitation with a seal of state approval)

    What is the purpose, esp if as you say post-marriage scenario is so bleak?

    “If you’re the breadwinner, and you have kids but get divorced, you will need to earn enough money for two households instead of one. etc”

    Are you a believer that children need to be legitimised like in the Victorian era? Or that marriage somehow validates you as a couple? Without it are you not a couple?

    • mh
      mh says:

      J,

      Penelope ha softened presented research that children from stable two-parent families have better life outcomes (educational success, mental health, income level, etc). Children in married-parent, single-breadwinner families have been shown to have extremely positive outcomes.

      The science is settled.

      • J
        J says:

        “Stable two-parent families have better life outcomes ” > Sure, who doesn’t love a good statistic. But I’m not questioning the coupledom or loving stable home. Only the issue of marriage. Snd specifically this paragraph

        “Beware of endless but uncommitted co-habitation. At some point living together is a form of procrastination rather than moving toward marriage. And in that case most partners will end up unhappy, whether married or chronically unmarried.”

        Penelope’s marriage as mentioned in previous posts, isn’t legal. In purely technical terms she is cohabiting. If marriage is the goal and cohabiting indefinitely is a problem then this is conflicting advice, no?

      • J
        J says:

        PS: With regards to the statement

        “The science is settled”

        There is no such thing as “settled”. We learn things all the time. Studies are constantly being disproved and counter-arguments presented. Penelope and yourself may only prefer to read the ones that most directly validate your life choices but that doesn’t mean counter arguments do not exist. I’m not saying I personally lean towards either, I’m just contesting the idea that there is a hard line drawn under the discussion or any discussions.

        I’d post a link to one such counter argument against “the science is settled” but I think it might be blocked

        • mh
          mh says:

          Oh.

          “The science is settled was a joke.”

          I read it in the comments on an unrelated topic on an unrelated blog, and I thought it was generally understood across the internet that “The science is settled” is meant to be a complete joke.

    • Marisa
      Marisa says:

      J, you were asking this of Penelope and obviously I don’t know her mind. Just throwing in my thoughts, here.

      I understood that point about cohabitation to mean something like “fish or cut bait”. Either commit to what you’re doing, or give it up and move on. Living together usually involves some measure of commitment simply because giving up your own personal domicile is risky. If you’re in a relationship & want to commit permanently, then do so–either by legal marriage or by some other kind of clear and obvious signal to the rest of the world. If you don’t want this relationship to be permanent, then, after a while, let go & move on. But relationships aren’t made stronger by saying, “I’m here until something else comes along or moves me in another direction. Let’s enjoy this now, but no promises from me!” At least, if that’s you’re attitude, you’d be better off having your own domicile so you can be off at a moment’s notice & no one is surprised.

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      I think the Surpreme Court pretty much defined the legal benefits of marriage, which were substantial enough that the Supreme Court took the time to rule on them.

      Even without legal benefits, though, there is something powerful about standing in front of friends and family and announcing that you have picked a partner for life. It’s the testimonial before people who matter. That’s big.

      I recently read research that the more money you spend on a wedding the less likely the marriage is to last. But also, the more people you have at the wedding the more likely the marriage is to last.

      I think that’s a powerful statistic to show why getting married is about making a formal announcement of commitment. Now, if only I could find that statistic….

      Penelope

    • Kim Priestap
      Kim Priestap says:

      Can I offer information as the wife of a family law attorney to those who choose to co-habitate? According to my husband, from a legal perspective, living together without being married is not the smartest decision. If you purchase property together and break up, which many, many relationships do as the statistics show, and the couple cannot agree on who gets what, you will not be able to turn to DR court to settle the disagreement. Instead, you will have to file a civil lawsuit in court in order to claim what you believe is yours. That is an even bigger mess than a divorce.Imagine a jury deciding who gets what. Again, this is assuming the couple can’t come to an amicable solution, which most couples can’t. This is just an FYI.

  19. Steven MD
    Steven MD says:

    We are coming up on our 25th anniversary this year. The way to fix your marriage? Fix yourself first. Therapy, lots of therapy (for me,that is). She is an emotionally healthy person. I had to learn.

  20. Harry Joiner
    Harry Joiner says:

    Guess what: I read this post on Feedly the other day and bookmarked it. I liked it that much.

    Then today I had a dust-up with my wife of 23 years and went right back to your (sage) post and reread it. Great post. Thanks for making a difference.

  21. bea
    bea says:

    I think it’s been said here but I’ll echo it: Lots of fooling around. My husband and I try to have some sort of “interlude” every day. It’s simply always on the books so we both approach our days and schedules with an eye towards when this interlude can happen, where it can happen, how much time we have/don’t have. It’s not always actual sex, but it’s always fun and intimate. And it has created an amazing bond between us. I regard it like scheduling exercise into my day: I may miss some days because, well, life happens, but I know I have to be diligent about it. I have to do it, and do it very regularly to be healthy. It may not sound very romantic in theory, but in practice it is very much so.

    Another important one: I think you have to be with somebody who you like and find funny/amusing/interesting to be around. I would rather be around my husband more than any other person, save my daughter. He’s hilariously funny and clever, and he just amuses me to no end.

    Those are two biggies for me: Sex and funny. We’ve been together almost 14 years and I have such a deep fondness and affection for him that I just could not do without him and vice versa. I think our general state of being smitten with each other really rests on the fact we fool around a whole lot and we are endless sources of amusement for each other.

  22. Dr. Ken Newberger
    Dr. Ken Newberger says:

    The heading to point #6 above reads, “Avoid couples therapy. Just go to therapy yourself.” I couldn’t disagree more. If a person has individual mental health issues, they should certainly see a therapist on their own. However, when the marriage is in trouble, it takes both the husband and wife to work out the problem. I have a PhD in Conflict Analysis and Resolution. Unless one spouse is 100% responsible for all the problems (which I have never seen), it is virtually impossible to bring about reconciliation when only one spouse is involved.

    • jessica
      jessica says:

      Unless one spouse is 100% responsible for all the problems (which I have never seen)

      Want to come over to my house?

      LOL.

  23. Sarah M
    Sarah M says:

    I completely agree with this list-it’s really practical advice. I heard great marriage advice a few years into ours (we’re nearly at 10 yr) that I’ve never forgot. My friend and her spouse were arguing and she completely diffused the situation by telling him, “hey ____! I’m on your team!” Getting into an argument with your spouse really feels like you vs. them, but so often it’s just a miscommunication, or that you have to communicate more about what each person finds valuable so you can come to a compromise. Telling your spouse you’re on their side can quickly dissipate the anger or hurt so you can cut the crap and get back to talking things over and finding a solution. And you don’t wake up with an anger hangover the next day!
    Sarah M

  24. Inside Job
    Inside Job says:

    oh… my dear
    I am in love, but he is silent.
    I hurt him, and he left… But I love him…

    yet, reading your article was important to me, because good, great marriage will come.

    here I do not quite understand:
    “Psychologist Kelly Flanagan writes: “We spend most of our adolescence and early adulthood trying to pretend our shame doesn’t exist so, when the person we love triggers it in us, we blame them for creating it. And then we demand they fix it. But the truth is, they didn’t create it and they can’t fix it. Sometimes the best marital therapy is individual therapy, in which we work to heal our own shame. So we can stop transferring it to the ones we love.”

    sometimes people have problems, and working together reveals to them their sensitive sides, it is also important

    Eve

  25. Christopher Bosak
    Christopher Bosak says:

    What is love anymore is this age of hookup dates. What does it mean anymore, and besides what does it have in importance to this world as it is now. Besides the only person I wanna marry is an Aspie like me. Neurotypicals don’t understand people with Asperger’s like me. they only act like they truly do.

  26. Burcu Uslu
    Burcu Uslu says:

    I really liked this article. I have a 5-year marriage. Currently everything is fine and very happy. Sometimes there are little debate. But it is important that mutual respect. I liked the first way. You’ve done accurately identify in every issue.

  27. Married for Life
    Married for Life says:

    My husband and I are coming up on 36 years. I think we’re getting into that “old couple” stage and it’s really nice. Some would call it a rut. I call it a Grand Canyon that we’re happily traversing together.

    I’m old enough now to look back and see how the things we do in our early years truly affect the grand scheme of one’s life. How things that seem so problematic in our 20s and 30s, really aren’t that bad and perhaps we just need to take a deep breath and ride them through. I have many friends who weren’t able to do this. They ended their marriages back then, some of them more than once. Now as 50-60 year-olds, they find themselves in less than ideal situations, whether it be family, finances or someone in their life.

    My husband and I aren’t so much better than any of these friends, except we’ve persevered. I’m so glad we did because I find life to be really fun and I’m glad I have him to share it with.

  28. Married for Life
    Married for Life says:

    One more thought. When I studied photography, we learned hands tell the true story in a picture. Matthew and your are delightful together. I love how you’re clutching yours to yourself, yet you’re still reaching out to him. Such a feminine curve in your hand! And Matthew’s hands look strong, yet gentle, like he’s lovingly drawing himself to you. Is this what Brene Brown referres to as a good vulnerability?

  29. J.R. "Bob" Dobbs
    J.R. "Bob" Dobbs says:

    “The magic is to develop binocular vision, to see life through your partner’s eyes as well as through your own.” — Polly Shulman

  30. Ariane
    Ariane says:

    One of the many reasons I read this blog are the incredible links you add. That Brene Brown TED talk made me cry it was so good.

  31. Dr. Ken Newberger
    Dr. Ken Newberger says:

    You wrote, “6. Avoid couples therapy. Just go to therapy yourself. Marriage works best when there are two people who feel good about themselves, coming together to feel good about each other. Unfortunately it’s very difficult to feel good about ourselves at all times, and that’s where individual therapy comes in.”

    Although there are times when your advice is true, I respectfully disagree that this is the primary route individuals in marriage should go. Attachment theory suggests that our mates can help us feel secure in the relationship and therefore secure in ourselves. As a general rule, our mates help us become “all we can be.” Unless there are significant mental health issues, organic depression, etc., couples in marriage do best when they are there for each other, help meet the other’s needs, and build each other up. And in this vein, a third party professional is just the person to help “couples” meet this challenge.

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