Ludwig Van Beethoven was the most famous and influential composers that ever lived. By his late 20’s his hearing began to deteriorate and by the end of his life he was completely deaf. Many of Beethoven’s most admired works were written, composed and performed after he had lost his hearing. Although he was stricken with ears that could not hear, he continued to compose songs on his harpsichord. Because Beethoven could not hear, he had not had his harpsichord tuned for years and it was sorely out of tune. In fact, several of the strings were so out of tune that when he played them they would sound terrible. He would write a composition, script it on his score and then he would play the notes. One story is told that as he played the notes, tears would be streaming down his face even though it sounded discordant and dissonant. But it did not sound this way to Beethoven, because he heard the sound that the instrument should make and not the sound that the instrument did make. For Beethoven, the music was beautiful. Our marriages can benefit from this lesson. Ralf Waldo Emerson said, “Treat a man as he is, and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he could be and he will become what he should be.” We can begin to train our eyes to see our spouse the way they could be and our marriage the way it could be instead of always focusing on what is wrong. As we begin to focus on future potential as opposed to current problems, our marital situation will begin to change. Take the Beethoven Challenge this week. For the next seven days, focus only on what your spouse does right and what is beautiful about your marriage. If you can’t identify anything, focus on what could be right and could be beautiful. It is easy to focus on what is not right, what is not working and what you don’t want. The challenge is that when we focus on these things, they continue to persist. This week focus positively on your spouse and your marriage. You will be amazed that as you listen for the finished symphony, a refined masterpiece will emerge. Be certain to take the Beethoven Challenge this week and share this post with anyone who may need the encouragement.
This coming Saturday November 19th, I have been invited to be a special guest on one of the number one talk radio stations in the St. Louis Market, 590 The Fan. I will be a guest on the She Said, He Said Show. Kelley Lamm and Gordon Montgomery are a lot of fun and they have a great show. Plan on joining us Saturday morning at 9:00am on 590, The Fan. If I can ever be of any assistance to you as you strive to create a phenomenal marriage or if you would like more information about my alternative to marriage counseling, please contact me at 314-606-4272 or check out the stlouismarriagecoaching.com website. I work with individuals and couples. My passion is helping people save their broken marriages and turn good marriages into great marriages. Until next week keep falling more in love.
In the classic book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, Dale Carnegie tells the story of a young man who worried himself into a nervous breakdown. He worried about everything: his weight, his hair, his money, losing the girl he wanted to marry and what others thought about him. He worried that he had ulcers. Eventually, his worry made it impossible for him to work. Something had to give, and that was when he had his breakdown. The young man avoided everyone and cried a lot. He decided to go to Florida to see if a change in scenery would help him. When he got on the train, his father handed him a letter and told him not to open it until he reached his destination. He was even more miserable in Florida than he had been at home. Finally, he opened the letter from his father: “Son, you are 1,500 miles from home, and you don’t feel any different, do you? I knew you wouldn’t, because you took with you the one thing that is the cause of all your trouble, that is yourself. There is nothing wrong with either your body or your mind. It is not situations you have met that have thrown you; it is what you think of these situations. “As a man thinketh in his heart, so he is.” When you realize that, son, come home, for you will be cured.” After some reflection he realized that his father was right. It was not the world that needed to change; it was merely the lens of his mind that needed adjustment. He came home and found his father was right. I wish Fathers every where would give their sons and daughters similar letters, when their children believe that happiness is found by moving to another marriage. On a regular basis I work with men and women who find themselves in the same place that this young man found himself in. People who believe that happiness is one relationship away, or one move away. These are people who are in a crisis and are making a mess out of their marriages and their lives. All of them ask me, “Don’t I have a right to be happy”. I say, “Absolutely you have the right to be happy, but if you think leaving your marriage, your children, your current situation is the key to happiness you are mistaken.” Sometimes they don’t listen and end up in “Florida” miserable leaving a trail of broken promises and people. But sometimes they figure it out, begin to work on themselves, discover happiness and end up having phenomenal marriages. Today, if you find yourself heading to “Florida”, come home. Fight for your marriage, your family and you will discover happiness. If your spouse is heading toward “Florida”, be encouraged, they can and do come home. Please share this post with anyone whose marriage might be encouraged by this post. If I can ever be of service to you in your marriage, my passion is helping save broken marriages and making good marriages great. To learn more about my non traditional approach to marriage counseling or to schedule an appointment, call 314-606-4272 or check out the St. Louis Marriage coaching website at stlouismarriagecoaching.com. Until next week, keep falling more in love.
“The grass is not greener on the other side; the grass is greener where you water it!” One of the most unfortunate realities in marriage is the phenomena of extramarital affairs. According to a recent study conducted by Rafael Wlodarski and his team of researchers at Oxford University, 60 percent of men and over 45 percent of women will cheat at some point in their marriages. Affairs affect 1 out of every 2.7 couples, which is almost one third of all marriages. These same studies suggest that only 1 to 3 affairs out of 100 end up in marriage, and of these 75% will end in divorce. The end result of affairs is devastating. For the spouse who has been betrayed, the effects are incredibly damaging. If the stats are so overwhelming and the end result is so painful, why do affairs occur so frequently? It is the “grass is greener” syndrome. The belief that life over their is going to be better than it is here. In my coaching business I frequently have the opportunity to work with people who are having affairs. They almost always say things like, “Dave, you don’t understand this person is my soul mate” or “We are just so happy together” or “This relationship is different”. The truth is these individuals are always living in a fantasy world. They are leaving their children, their spouses, their responsibilities at home and entering a fantasy world where they play, have fun, and are the center of their affair partners’ attention. These people usually ask me, “How can something that feels so right, be so wrong?” or “I never feel this way when I am with my spouse”. The reason they don’t feel this way with their spouse is that they are not doing the things that they do with their affair partner with their spouse. The grass is not greener on the other side; the grass is greener where you water it. I have found that when these individuals begin to lean back into their marriages, they discover that feelings do come back. Affairs never happen in a vacuum. There are always underlying reasons why a person strays. The good news is that when these issues are dealt with, when the affair ends (and they almost always do), marriage reconciliation becomes a possibility. There are some people who say, if my spouse cheats, “I am done”. There are others who have weathered the storm of infidelity and report that they are glad they did because today they have phenomenal marriages. If you are reading this and are having an affair, realize that statistically speaking the odds are stacked against you. Put the energy you are putting into your affair partner towards your marriage. You will be amazed to learn that the grass is greener where you water it. If your spouse is having an affair and you are inclined to save your marriage, don’t give up on them. Work on you, love them unconditionally and fight for your marriage.
As a marriage coach, I help people end affairs, recover from affairs, and begin to piece their relationships back together again. To learn more about my non- traditional approach to marriage counseling or to schedule an appointment call 314-606-4272 or check out the St. Louis Marriage Coaching website at stlouismarriagecoaching.com. Until next week, keep falling more in love.
True of False? “Happy Wife, Happy Life!” Not surprisingly, the correct answer to this ditty is true. But not for the reasons often implied. Usually when we use this phrase, the implication is that if a spouse wants to be happy it is their duty to make their spouse happy. If the husband does the right combination of acts of service, avoids doing things that upset or anger her and is generally subservient to his wife’s wishes and demands, then everything will go smoothly and everyone will be happy. While I am a huge proponent of putting love first, avoiding fighting and arguing, and for the most part meeting the needs and wishes of your spouse, the fact is it is not your responsibility to make your spouse happy. I repeat, it is not your responsibility to make your spouse happy. Nor is it their responsibility to make you happy. There has been a great deal of research conducted lately in the field of positive phycology. It used to be assumed that a happy wife, led to a happy marriage. The thought was that if “momma is not happy, nobody’s happy”. But the research is showing a different reality. Individuals who are looking for happiness inside of their marriage, end up not having happy marriages. Happy people who bring their happiness to the marriage, have happy marriages. In other words, it is not the marriage that creates the happy person, the happy person creates a happy marriage. When individuals begin to understand that happiness in “inside” work and not the result of “outside” circumstances falling into place, their own happiness level begins to soar. Positive phycology is teaching that there are pathways that lead to happiness. When individuals learn these pathways they generally increase their own happiness. Some of these pathways include learning to become a more positive person, understanding the power of gratitude, learning positive self talk and developing a healthier life style. In my work with couples I frequently hear people who are experiencing mid-life crisis say, “I am just not happy”. They say this as an excuse to leave the marriage. Frequently they believe that by changing spouses they will be happier. They fall into the trap of believing that the source of their unhappiness is their spouse. For this reason, at every day long intensive that I conduct I have both of the spouses watch the documentary, “Happy”. (I highly recommend this documentary). The truth is if you are not happy, leaving your marriage is not going to make you happy. You are going to end up more miserable. Happiness is inside work not out side work. If you want to increase the happiness ratio of your marriage, work on becoming a happier person. When happy people, bring their happiness to the marriage, they have happy marriages. There is nothing wrong with focusing on your happiness, just be certain that you are not looking at your spouse as the source of that happiness. Happy wife, happy husband, happy marriage.
Thank you for reading today’s post. If you have a friend who might benefit from this information, please share it. Also, know if there is ever any way that I can be of any assistance to helping your marriage, or if you would like to learn more about my non traditional approach to marriage counseling, you can call me at 314-606-4272 or check out www.stlouismarriagecoaching.com. I do phone sessions, in office sessions and day long intensive retreats. My mission is to help save a million marriages, and I am doing this one marriage at a time, one day at a time. Until next week, keep falling more in love!
When you have something of great value, your natural inclination is to protect it. For most of us our most expensive assets are our homes and cars. For this reason, most of us have home owner’s insurance and car insurance. Our most precious asset is our marriage. Unlike our cars and homes, our spouse is not replaceable. (Or at least they shouldn’t be.) In the same way we protect our financial assets, we must have a plan to protect our marriage. One of the elements in creating a phenomenal marriage is to have a plan in place to protect the marriage from forces that have the potential to lessen or destroy the marriage. Imagine that your marriage is a beautiful castle that is located in hostile territory. If you owned a castle in hostile territory you would most certainly build a mote around it. The mote would serve as an advance warning system and defense against invading enemies. In the same way you can build a mote around your marriage. There are many ways to build this mote and protect your marriage, but for today I want to share my top two ways.
The first way to insure your marriage against outside forces that seek to weaken your relationship is to make your marriage your number one priority. Make your spouse more important than other family members, your friends, your jobs, where you live, your home, hobbies or money. When many of us were married we included the phrase, “Forsaking all others” in our wedding vows. When we made that promise we were saying to our spouses, you are going to be my number one, forever. What about children? Shouldn’t they be our number one priority? Your children are your number one priority, next to your commitment to each other. The best gift you can give your children is put your spouse number one. It is the way to ensure sparing them having to be parented by another man or another woman in the future. Parents who make their marriage their number one priority, stay married and have extremely healthy children.
The second way to insure your marriage against outside forces that seek to weaken the relationship is to speak life over your spouse. I tell people to imagine that their marriage has ears. Everything that you say about your marriage has tremendous power over the quality of the marriage. When you talk about your spouse or your marriage to others never talk negatively. Several years ago, I met one of my wife’s co workers. It was a person that I had never met with but who works closely with her on a daily basis. I will never forget her opening line to me. She said, “David, I can’t believe I am finally having the opportunity to meet you. I have heard so many amazing things about you. Your wife adores you, you must be quite a husband.” I graciously thanked her, and it reinforced two things that I already knew about my wife. One, she really does adore me. And two, she speaks life over our relationship. Imagine if she had spent days on end complaining about the dishes that I leave in the sink, my working too many hours and my habit of clicking my toes. Imagine if she had gone to work and regularly complained about the ball and chain at home. Imagine if she had only referred to me as her “old man”. Instead she clearly had spoken life over me and our marriage. She has a picture of our family on her desk that her colleagues regularly ask about. In this way, people know what her number 1 priority is outside of work and she has the opportunity to speak life over the relationship. These two insurance policies to have a phenomenal marriage are free, but if you neglect them they will cost you much more than money.
If I can ever be of any assistance to you as you strive to create a phenomenal marriage or if you would like more information about my alternative to marriage counseling, please contact me at 314-606-4272 or check out the stlouismarriagecoaching.com website. Until next week keep falling more in love.
“There is no hope for my marriage. It can’t be fixed!” I hear this sentence several times a week. These are words spoken by really wonderful people, who really believe that the statement is true. They have been deeply hurt by their spouses and they believe that the level of pain is so great, that there is no way the marriage can recover. They have lost hope. When I begin to explore and go deeper with these individuals, sometimes I hear in their stories a hint of their wanting it to be different. Sometimes even though they are saying, “There is no hope” they are secretly praying that there is hope and that their marriage could be fixed. Sometimes they are saying it, and they really want to end the relationship. Regardless of where they are when they are talking to me, here are some guidelines and principles that I have used to help the individuals lean back into their marriage and rediscover hope.
I am a big believer that there is always hope. Having had the opportunity to work with hundreds of couples who have rediscovered hope and restored their marriages fuels my passion to help couples create phenomenal marriages even after hope has been lost. If you are beginning to lose hope, or would just like to have more information about my non-traditional approach to saving marriages, check out my website at stlouismarriagecoaching.com or call me at 314-606-4272. Until next week, keep falling more in love!
Can you guess what the biggest enemy to your marriage will be in 2016? Maybe it will be finances? The fear or reality that you might not have enough financial resource to accomplish all of your dreams. Maybe it will be health issues? The inability to physically move and do the things that you want to do as a couple. Maybe it will be challenges with the kids or with aging parents who are now living with you? The challenges of raising and children and for some of us who are taking care of our parents can be overwhelming. While all of these issues can take its toll on your marriage, the truth is your marriage can survive all of these and more in 2016. The biggest enemy to your marriage in 2016 is accepting mediocrity as the norm for your relationship.
In working with married couples throughout the years, I have found that there are five types of marriages. The first type of marriage that I have observed are phenomenal marriages. These are marriages where couples consistently put love first, have a deep loving connection and work to continue to create passion and love in the relationship. The second type of marriage that I have observe are good marriages. These marriages have the relationship and relationship issues on the radar. They know that creating and sustaining love takes work and intentionality. They may not be their yet, but they are committed to working on the relationship. The third type of relationship is the dead marriage. These are couples who have made the decision to continue to stay together and live as roommates. They stay together for finances, convenience, the kids or morality. While this is no way to live, for these couples there is a mutual understanding and agreement that the marriage is dead. The fourth type of relationship is the heading for divorce marriage. These marriages usually have one person who has checked out of the marriage, and another person is working to save the marriage. The person who is wanting a divorce believes that there is too much water under the bridge and that they can not turn back. Frequently there are affairs involved. I have had a great deal of success in helping these marriages. The fifth type of relationship is in my opinion the most dangerous marriage. It is what I call the drift marriage. It is the marriage that has settled for mediocrity. It is the marriage that says, “Our relationship is not phenomenal and it is not good, but it is good enough.” The danger with this relationship is that it will eventually land in the dead or heading for divorce category. Identify which type of marriage you have today. The first key to turning a dead, heading for divorce or drift marriage around is making a decision to do something about the marriage. Make it your number one priority to create a phenomenal marriage in 2016. The truth is you can turn your marriage around and create the marriage of your dreams. It all starts with a decision. Make it today!
This Christmas Season, consider taking the Mistletoe Challenge! Kissing under the mistletoe is an ancient tradition, and one that many continue to embrace over the Christmas Holiday’s. The Celtic Druids were the first people to use Mistletoe as a part of their traditions. They believed mistletoe had sacred powers including the ability to heal illnesses, increase fertility, protect against nightmares, and even increase sexual desire. The tradition of kissing under the mistletoe started in ancient Greece during the festival of Saturnalia and later in marriage ceremonies. During the Roman era, enemies at war would reconcile their differences under the mistletoe, which to them represented peace.
In my coaching practice working with couples I have observed that many marriages would benefit from more kissing. Frequently couples fall into the “quick peck” kissing pattern. The quick peck pattern is the hello and goodbye kiss that last two seconds. According to the March 2014 issue of Psychology Today new research found major advantages to couples who kiss on a regular basis. A major study this past year proved that there is a correlation between the frequency of kissing and marital satisfaction. They also found correlations between increased kissing and lower stress, lower cholesterol, and higher esteem. The benefits are conclusive. So this Holiday season consider taking a kissing challenge.
Here is the challenge
In today’s post I want to talk about a phenomenon that creates havoc in marriages. It is known as the dreaded “mid-life crisis”. All of a sudden, as if from nowhere, your spouse comes home and announces that they are no longer in love. They even question, if they ever were in love with you. They are unhappy about everything, and apparently it is all your fault. The spouse who is in the midst of this crisis can’t seem to recall any good times in the marriage. The mid-life stricken spouse frequently trades reading glasses in for contact lens, starts dying their gray hair, and working out at the gym. If it is a guy, expensive toys with motors are frequently involved. If it is a woman, late nights with girlfriends and expensive body upgrades can be involved. All under the guise that this will make me happy. The final thing is to get a new life, by shedding the spouse. It is clearly a crisis because from the balcony of these peoples lives one can see the choices and trail of destruction that is left in its path. Men and women walk away from families, children, jobs and their marriage in pursuit of a happiness, that they now claim they have never known. If this describes your spouse, you already know how incredibly destructive and hopeless this feels. You probably have friends and family telling you to throw in the towel. You may be loosing hope. But I want to encourage you to hold on. The truth is mid-life crisis seasons come to end. They really do. Through the years I have seen men and women transition out of this destructive season in their lives and go on to have incredible marriages. In the short term remember these five rules to follow if you find your marriage in this season.
I recently spent 7 days on a mission trip to Nicaragua. It was an awesome trip. Cathy (my wife) usually accompanies me on these types of trips but due to the recent loss of her Mom, and the extra time she had to take off work, she was not able to go this year. I went with 8 incredible people from my church, but really missed my wife. When I arrived in Granada, the first night, I discovered that Cathy had placed 7 cards in my suit case. The instructions were to open the card that was assigned to that particular day. One card said, “Miss you, Want you, Love you….More than words can say” another said “Me? Miss you? Only all the time!” One card simply said, “You’re the best” Each of these cards also had a very special handwritten note that made me smile and think about how blessed I am to have such an awesome partner. Prior to my trip I called my cell phone company to determine how much international rates from Nicaragua cost. I learned that I had free texting and 20 cents per minute phone calls to the US. I called and texted home every day. Even if it would have cost $20.00 per minute, I still would have called daily. (We just would not have talked as long) One of the things that amazes me when I work with couples in crisis, is how little effort they put into staying connected when they are far apart. They say, “It’s only one night” or “Absence will make the heart grow fonder”. I had one person who was coming to me to help him save his marriage say, “I thought we were more secure than that and did not feel the need to call home when I traveled.” Cathy and I are extremely secure in our marriage. We have a phenomenal marriage and one of the reasons for this is that we made the decision a long time ago to stay connected even when one of us is traveling. I have found that this is one of the common denominators amongst successful marriages. It is not a chore to check in at home, it is not hard duty to put thinking of you cards in a suitcase. It simply requires a little effort, a little thought and a little time. This is the key to staying connected when you and your spouse are far apart. Even if things are not great between you and your spouse today, make a commitment that you are going to be intentional about reaching out to them, even when they are far away. It really does make a difference. And don’t forget the little gift that says, “Even though I was gone, I was thinking about you!”
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