Relate Well! Blog

Addressing the all-important and often perplexing topics and issues related to enhancing your personal growth and professional development

Seven Promises of a Successful Marriage

A marriage is created by a promise made, but it can only thrive by a promise kept. If you want your marriage to thrive commit to keeping these seven promises of a successful marriage. 

1. The Promise of a Lifelong Commitment - Never give up and commit to a mindset that divorce is not an option. 

“Too many couples marry for better, or for worse, but not for good.”

“Love… always hopes and always perseveres.” 

An elderly couple who, as they were paying for groceries in the check-out line, were discussing their upcoming 50th wedding anniversary, when the young cashier interjected by saying, "I can’t imagine being married to the same man for 50 years!" 

The wife wisely replied, teaching the young girl a lesson at the same time, "Well, Honey, don’t get married until you can."

2. The Promise of Protection – Guard your marriage from outside enemies such as addictions, financial problems, work/life...

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Overcoming the Effects of Verbal Abuse - Part I

What is Verbal Abuse?

What you say:  Verbal abuse is often defined as a pattern of verbal behavior characterized by harsh, demeaning, belittling and critical words or statements. Examples are, “You are worthless.”, “I wish you were never born.”, or “Can’t you ever do anything right?”

What you don’t say:  Verbal abuse is also defined as the absence of positive, encouraging and supportive words or statements, such as “you are special.”, “I knew you could do it.” or “I love you.”

The Effects of Verbal Abuse

In my practice I have had many adults tell me that the verbal abuse they suffered as a child did not impact them because they knew that their parents really loved them. Unfortunately, there can be damage to the child’s self-concept even if the parent doesn’t intend to do harm. Even the best parent can make hurtful comments when feeling overwhelmed or angry, and...

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Here Today, Gone Tomorrow: Make Parenting Count

Kurt and Emily stood beside Michael’s crib gazing in wonder at their brand-new baby son. The months of waiting were over, and the guest of honor occupied the beautifully decorated nursery at last. Kurt and Emily smiled at each other. They felt blessed beyond words. They were thrilled; they were fascinated – they were terrified! 

It has been said that the theories of child rearing are really quite simple; it’s only when we begin putting them into practice that they become difficult. Although parenting is as old as the human race, the challenges seem to grow more complicated as time goes on. 

Changes in society have moved children further away from the center of our care and concern. Two-career families, the rising divorce rate, loss of extended family support, and declining values all contribute to the difficult task of raising healthy, secure children. Yet we hear messages through various media that would have us believe that parenting is a part-time...

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Are you STILL angry?

Intimacy is the fuel that powers every couple’s emotional engine. It’s what makes your relationship special – those moments when you catch each other’s eye and laugh because you share an inside joke. It’s when you can ride in the car together in comfortable silence, or unashamedly sing a duet to “your song” playing on the radio. It’s getting excited to tell each other good news or needing to reach out to each other if there is bad news. It’s having someone who knows you inside and out and still loves and accepts you.

If this doesn’t sound like what you want in your marriage, and if you want a proven formula for killing intimacy in your relationship, here it is: Get angry at your spouse and never let it go. Rehearse this line, “I will never forgive…”

It is sad that many people experience a lack of intimacy in their marriages because of the negative emotions they harbor toward their spouse. I once...

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5 Keys to Being a Great Dad

What makes a great dad? I have found that great dads practice five key principles: love, discipline, nurturing, instruction and training, and provision and protection. Read the following five points, and you'll learn how to not only strengthen your role as dad, but you'll also understand what being a "great" dad is all about.

As a great dad, you will:

  1. Love your children.

Just as the foundation of a new home has to be poured before the building can be framed, a father's love for his family is the foundation that supports and sustains everything else he does. When your actions and decisions are motivated by love, your family is on solid ground.

  1. Discipline your children.

Discipline clearly defines the boundaries of behavior and often dictates where we can and cannot go. Remember, there's a big difference between discipline and punishment. Discipline is for the purpose of teaching your children good character and encouraging good choices. Punishment is often motivated by anger or...

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Blending Them In Without Mixing Them Up (Part 1 of 2)

One of my first introductions to a blended family was The Brady Bunch. Every Friday night, we tuned in to watch Mike Brady and his three sons and his new wife, Carol, and her three daughters skillfully navigate the challenges and pitfalls of their blended family -- and all in less than thirty-minutes.

Some say the Bradys didn’t have it as rough as most blended families, but, hey, what about the time the entire clan had to help Jan cope with the trauma of wearing glasses? Or when Greg was faced with the gut-wrenching decision of voting for someone other than his stepsister to be captain of the cheerleading squad? Boy, those were tough times! If not for the Solomon-like wisdom of Alice, the housekeeper, the Bradys could have easily ended up as just another divorce statistic.

If only step-parenting could be as easy as The Brady Bunch made it look! In reality, blending families together without mixing them up can be enormously difficult and challenging.

Studies show that half of...

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Helping Your Child Process the Illness or Death of a Loved One

In this life, there is no escaping the reality that your family will be impacted by serious illness and death at some time. This is painful and hard for adults, but we must be mindful of the children who are affected as well. 

When someone we love is seriously ill it can evoke within us a sense of helplessness and powerlessness and children feel it, too. Allowing the child to assist in an age-appropriate fashion can help teach them important lessons about caregiving and compassion, help them be distracted from the inevitability of death and give them a sense of purpose and a special connection to the one they love. This may be as simple as drawing a picture for their sick loved one, bringing a drink of water, helping a caregiver adult prepare a meal, or visiting with them as tolerated. 

When a child experiences the death of a family member due to illness or accident it is important for the parent or adult caretaker to speak openly about it. Children can’t be fooled...

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What Buying a Car Can Teach You About Who to Marry

When my daughter was preparing to go to college, we had to shop for a reliable car to transport her around her temporary new community. She had been looking for just the right car for a long time and she could tell us exactly what she wanted and why. She had done an impressive amount of research!

Knowing what she wanted ahead of time really made the decision-making process more efficient and effective and much less stressful. We didn’t have to visit every dealership in town and subject ourselves to high-pressure sales pitches. In fact, the probability of high satisfaction was greatly increased because she had a clear picture of what she was looking for.

If people put this amount of time and effort into knowing what they really want in a spouse, I believe the divorce rate would fall way below 50 percent and they would be a lot more satisfied with their choices. Oh, I know, you can give a lot of thought to who you want as a mate and still end up with a lemon – there are...

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Help Your Kids Quit Procrastinating

When I was growing up I would often hear my mother say, “Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today.” As a child, I hated that statement. It often meant missing a television program or playing with my friends in order to finish my chores or schoolwork.

As an adult, I can now appreciate the importance my mother placed on getting a job done. Unfortunately, many parents encourage their children to procrastinate by allowing them to postpone such things as homework, music lessons or chores. When a child develops the “I’ll do-it-later” syndrome it is very difficult to grow out of it as an adult.

According to a research study conducted by Rhodes College, Psychologists found that parents can program their children to become procrastinators by being late to activities, putting off the signing of permission slips or canceling appointments. The key to remember is this moms and dads, if you want your children to get things done on time you must begin by...

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10 Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Divorce

With the divorce rate in the United States over 50% we can’t help but wonder whether those who choose to call it quits have thought through the decision carefully enough – and if they may have been able to salvage their sacred union.

In marriages involving unrepentant adultery, chronic abuse, addiction and abandonment, the option to stay together may not be tenable. However, a large number of divorcing couples just claim to have “drifted apart” or “fallen out of love.”   

A sincere examination of the questions below may help you make the best decision for your future. Ask yourself these ten questions: 

  1. Does your spouse have a sincere desire to work on your marriage? 

If your partner is willing to take responsibility for their part in your marriage problems and has expressed a desire to work on restoration, it is worth making the effort before deciding to divorce.  

  1. Are you emotionally attached to someone other than...
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