Avoid typical pitfalls of Marriage - 1/2/02

Smartmarriages ® cmfce at smartmarriages.com
Wed Jan 2 13:55:55 EST 2002

subject: Avoid typical pitfalls of Marriage 1/2/02

from: Smart Marriages

Avoid typical pitfalls of marriage

By Ann Douglas 
Chicago Tribune Jan. 02, 2002

No couple embarks on married life expecting to end up in divorce court, but
that's what happens to more than 1 million American couples each year. And
when they do the postmortem, they often find their marriage was sabotaged by
one of these 10 traps:

1. Taking your partner for granted. That's like having a garden that you're
not weeding or fertilizing, says Robert Billingham, professor of human
development and family studies at Indiana University. "You can't expect it
to continue to thr ive." Let your partner know you appreciate him or her.

2. Forgetting that a good marriage takes work. "People think that having a
happy marriage is a magical, mystical occurrence," says marriage and family
therapist Leslie Parrott, co-author of When Bad Things Happen to Good
Marriages (Zondervan/HarperCollins). "We've accepted the fact that parenting
takes a lot of skill, but we don't want to accept the idea that romantic
love takes a great deal of work, too."

3. Not talking through conflict. If you rely on heavy sighs, slammed doors
and other non-verbal communication when something is bothering you, you
could be playing with fire. As painful as it may be to get the conversation
started, you must speak up. "Otherwise, problems start festering and begin
to take on a life of their own," explains Sharon Naylor, author of The
Unofficial Guide to Divorce (Hungry Minds).

4. Failing to romance your partner. "We all want to be made to feel
special," says psychologist Kate Wachs, author of Relationships for Dummies
(Hungry Minds) and Dr. Kate's Love Secrets (Paper Chase Press). "That's why
it's so important to set aside at least one night per week for you and your
partner and to use this regular 'date night' to share your hopes and

5. Fighting dirty. The better you know somebody, the easier it is to hurt
that person. "No matter how angry you may be about something," Naylor says,
"you need to resist the temptation to figure out the one thing that will
hurt your partner the most and then use that against him."

6. Fighting over money. A recent study by the Million Dollar Round Table, an
international association of life insurance and financial services
professionals, found that 43 percent of married couples argue about money.
If money is becoming a major source of conflict, you might consider sitting
down with a financial planner or some other third party that can help come
up with a financial game plan you both can live with.

7. Letting the passion fizzle. "Have sex often - anytime either of you is in
the mood," Wachs says. "If you wait until both partners are in the mood, you
won't end up having much sex at all and, over time, you'll end up drifting

8. Shutting down sexually when you're angry rather than dealing with issues.
Although withholding affection may seem like the ideal way to punish your
partner, you risk seriously damaging your relationship, Wachs says.

9. Failing to understand that marriages have ups and downs. "It's OK to
expect incredible moments in your marriage," Parrott says. "Just don't
expect them to happen every day."

10. Throwing in the towel too easily. "We're so accustomed to the concept of
obsolescence that we treat our partners as disposable," says Herb
Glieberman, a Chicago divorce attorney and author. Vow to rekindle the
flames rather than looking for the closest escape hatch.
- - - - - -
Note that Les & Leslie Parrott featured in this piece will present three
times at the Smart Marriages conference and that the new PREP Money book,
"You Paid How Much For That?!" will be presented by co-authors Natalie
Jenkins and Scott Stanley.  Of course, the entire Smart Marriages conference
is designed to equip couples with the practices that will help them avoid
the typical pitfalls - courses like Marital Sex As It Ought To Be, Dating
Your Spouse, Hot Monogamy, PAIRS, Keeping Love Alive, Fall In Love/Stay In
Love, Couple Communication - 200 of the country's leading presenters and all
the great courses.  - diane

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