Tag Archives: happier family

New Inspirational Marriage Book Available

After three long years of preparation and work, I’m thrilled to announce that my book, First Kiss to Lasting Bliss: Hope & Inspiration for Your Marriage is now available!

Just in time for Christmas, the book is ideal for married couples of all ages and stages who want to achieve a blissful  marriage, but who understand life sometimes gets in the way.

First Kiss to Lasting Bliss features the real-life stories of couples across the U.S. Many of them used adversity to improve their marriages. Couples overcame drug addiction, infidelity, stranger rape, bankruptcy, raising a special needs child, infertility, loss of a child, military separation, opposing religions, differing races, unsupportive families, life-threatening injuries and illnesses, depression, brain injury, and MUCH more. These couples didn’t just survive, they became great love stories that can inspire us all. You will get to know the couples and their often difficult journeys, as well as the keys to their now-strong marriages.

In the book, I also share 12 overarching lessons that these couples taught me while writing the book. These lessons can inspire you to take your marriage to the next level.

The book is offered in print and e-book editions. The print version is $14.95, and e-books range from $7.99 to $9.99 depending on which format you choose. But no matter what format you choose, I’m happy to offer seven free marriage tools/products from other marriage educators and writers who are generously offering them to all those who purchase my book. Visit my web site for the awesome list (and thanks to all the contributors!) and the links to the different book formats. You can also find testimonials, the book introduction and interviews with me on my site www.LoriDLowe.comGo here if you would rather go straight to Amazon.com to buy the book. (You still get the freebies if you email me).

I’ve shared hundreds of research-based marriage tips here at Marriage Gems during the last three years. If you have found this blog helpful, I hope you will check out the book. Please consider sharing it with your friends or family who could use some encouragement.

I thank all of you for your support and for your interactions here, which keep me motivated to research and write about this important topic that has the potential to help so many families. I especially thank my family for their patience during this rather large undertaking.

I wish you bliss in your relationships!

I wrote this guest post for Engaged Marriage called “Love is Sacrificial.”

For Christian readers, check out this guest post for Journey to Surrender called “A Counter-Cultural Pathway to a Stronger Christian Marriage.”

The Problem with Compromise in Marriage

“Keeping the Sparks Alive” Series

True or False?  Marriage involves plenty of compromise.

Marriage therapist Corey Allen, PhD, explains in this insightful post why compromise isn’t helpful in your marriage. In fact, he says it can be causing a lot of damage in your relationship. This seems counter-intuitive to much of the advice we read and hear about, so I wanted to delve into this further.

The problem with compromise, says Allen, is that it involves both spouses to make concessions, and both parties go away feeling dissatisfied. In addition, there is usually an expected reciprocity when one party gives in. This leads to keeping score and unmet expectations, which we know can cause conflict.

“True compromise can only occur when two equally powerful people both clearly state their needs,” says Allen, adding that only then can they work on a mutually satisfactory solution. The solution may take some creativity or seeking an option that is not already on the table, but often both people can end up happier if they both keep their needs at the forefront.

My husband and I redecorated our family room this spring, and we both had strong feelings about what we wanted. It took months of shopping (which neither of us enjoyed) before we pieced together the elements we were both happy with. It may have been easier for one of us to compromise, but now that it’s done, we are both pleased that we each got what we wanted.

Sometimes the less outspoken spouse has a tendency to go along with what the other person wants. He or she doesn’t want to make waves, and finds it is easier to just give in on something. However, each instance of coming away unhappy can lead to a little bit more resentment and feeling of powerlessness.

 There are a few questions I still have about this issue, and I’m glad to hear Allen will be doing a follow-up post to further explain. There are several points I would make, and I’d really like to get more views on this:

  1. I do think that we still need to be very willing to hear one another out and give each other our influence and encouragement. Sometimes it really helps to hear the other’s reason for wanting something. We may change one another’s perspective before even solving the problem. How we discuss an issue has so much to do with the outcome.
  2. When we are in the midst of a conflict in which both spouses’ heels are dug in, I think sometimes—rarely—one person does need to “give in” or agree to disagree. I’ve interviewed mature couples who are able to do this and respect each other even more for it. It seems I may disagree with the experts on this. If something is not a deal breaker, and it’s gone unresolved after working hard, something’s got to give.
  3. Getting our needs met doesn’t mean we always get what we want. For instance, if one spouse wants a new boat and the other a new car, and there is limited money, we can’t get them both. We can’t use the marriage advice not to compromise as an excuse to be irresponsible and do what we want no matter the consequences.

Let’s hear your viewpoints on this. Do you compromise in your marriage? Do you feel your needs go unmet? Is one person likely to give in regularly? Do you think give and take is a bad or good thing?

Photo courtesy of Stockvault.net by Radu Mihai Onofrei

Why Does Our Experience with Pleasure Fade?

Happy Life: Happy Marriage Series

Why is it that what makes us happy today may not make us happy a month from today? All of our desirable experiences are transitory, says David Myers, author of The Pursuit of Happiness.

While some people are generally more happy or loving in their relationships than others, even the happiest don’t maintain endless joy. Pleasure wears off as we continue to be satisfied. That totally stinks, doesn’t it? That means the TV we were totally fine with five years ago is not nearly big enough or clear enough for us today.

Even the pleasurable experiences we have with our mates can fade in our minds. The same experiences we once enjoyed immensely probably won’t result in the same high of emotions if we attempt to repeat them. The “in love” feelings also fade and are replaced by different feelings and emotions.

This isn’t meant to be a downer, but rather as a reminder that even when things are the same, we may see them as different and think of ourselves as less satisfied.

Expectations & Comparisons
Our expectations and comparisons also affect how happy we are in the relationship. Myers explains that experiments demonstrate that watching X-rated movies tends to diminish satisfaction with one’s real-world sex life, which may appear less exciting. Even looking at perfect “10” centerfolds causes one’s own partner to look less appealing in experiments. Our minds adapt to what we take in.

The author says the good news is that we have the capacity to adapt even when negative—or tragic—events strike in our lives. Individuals and couples who have gone through a period of crisis often find they are stronger for it.

Managing our expectations in everyday life seems to be important for our overall happiness—in love and in life. A friend recently noted how much happier her husband is because he isn’t trying to “change the world” as she is. Simple desires make for happier people, she noted.

Unrealistic expectations can doom us to failure. Sports stars and movie stars who expect $5 million for a job are miffed when they are offered $4 million. Charlie Sheen won’t be happy until his enemies are licking his feet. We should be a little more careful about the expectations we create.  

Our relationship and life goals should be reasonable. Short-term, doable goals can still lead up to a lofty one. The expectations we place on our spouse should be reasonable as well.               

What Makes Life More Pleasurable?
So, what’s the answer to making everyday life seem better? Should we reminisce about our favorite memories and highest highs? Myers says this strategy backfires. “Despite our enjoyment of happy memories, there is both theory and evidence to suggest that dwelling on the Camelot moments from our past makes the present seem pretty pedestrian,” he says. In fact, if we use our happiest memories as yardsticks, it makes our present seem blah. If we can see these super highs as rare gifts, not as expectations for daily living, we are better off.

It’s also better to be reminded of the darker side. Pangs of loneliness remind us of how much we enjoy time with our spouse. Hunger makes food taste better. Being tired makes sleep feel heavenly. Those who recover after hospitalization find they are happier than before they were ill.

Myers says even self-imposed sacrifices can make us appreciate life and have more gratitude. “The sacrificial bowls of rice during Lent make the roast chicken tastier. The temporary separation from a loved one makes the reunion sweeter, the person less taken for granted.”       

In sum, the following can make our perception of our lives and marriages improved:

  • Restrain unrealistic expectation.
  • Count our blessings.
  • Make goals short-term and doable.
  • Be careful with comparisons.
  • Don’t focus on an idyllic past; make new memories.

Is there a time in your life that you remember as being more perfect? Does it make you feel less happy when you compare your current life to that time?

Photo credit: ©Valery Shanin/PhotoXpress.com