How to Keep Your Marriage or Relationship Strong and Beat the Statistics

“Good relationships don’t just happen. They take time, patience, and two people who truly want to be together.” ~Unknown

You can`t take it anymore. Life’s getting boring, you fight over everything, your relationship has lost its spark, and you can’t look each other in the eye without feeling regret. Many marriages and relationships get to this place eventually.

According to recent surveys, one of every two American couples gets a divorce. This means you only have a 50 percent chance at making your relationship work, no matter how well it began. The only way you can turn things around is by making some changes in how you interact.

According to experts, these are the top eight tips that, if followed, will give your relationship a fresh breath of air. I’m not married, but I’ve applied these tips in my romantic relationship, and it’s gotten a lot stronger as a result.

1. Understand that there are usually issues behind every fight.

Most of my past arguments with my girlfriend weren’t about money, but they usually happened when I was struggling financially because I was feeling bad about myself.

In the past, any time my girlfriend I talked about finances, I would use aggression and humor to protect my ego and deflect the conversation elsewhere because I felt inferior.

It wasn`t about her, but I made her think it was. So yes, at many times, it`s not about you. It’s your partner being angry—even at themselves—that is causing problems.

What to do then? Ask them questions to help them get to the root of what’s really bothering them. If they have the self-awareness to identify what’s going on and they choose to share that with you, let them know you understand their feelings and agree to talk through this issue when they`re ready.

It can be hard to be understanding and to not take things personally when someone gets upset or accusatory, but this is the most helpful thing you can do. And they will likely remember this later when the same thing happens to you.

2. Avoid the “The Four Horsemen.”

According to John Gottman, a marriage coach and bestselling author of The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, there are four signs to whether a couple will separate or stay together. Gottman calls them The Four Horsemen: criticism, contempt, defensiveness, and stonewalling. Avoid these horsemen and your relationship will be a lot more connected and peaceful.

  • Criticism: Attacking the other person, not their behavior.
  • Contempt: Too much sarcasm and cynicism with a sense of superiority over your partner. It’s a disguised form of disrespect and disgust.
  • Defensiveness: Not accepting responsibility and blaming it all on the other person. According to Gottman, defensiveness escalates conflicts, which is why it’s so deadly.
  • Stonewalling: This means disengaging and avoiding conflicts by all means. Leaving the room or not responding to your yelling partner not only withdraws you from the fight, but from the relationship as well.

3. Cope most of the time, change some of the time.

One thing that bothers my girlfriend is that I don’t talk when I have a problem—I mean zero talk, desert-like silence. It sometimes annoys me that my girlfriend is usually late to work and always leaves a mess behind her. But we no longer fight about both of these things. We know it’s energy consuming and that no one changes because of nagging, so we’ve learned to cope.

She gives me my space when I’m not ready to open up about my issues, and I don`t mind spending an extra ten minutes each morning cleaning after her.

After forty years of coaching thousands of couples, Gottman reached the conclusion that you can never change a partner, no matter how hard you try. According to him, most couple disagreements are caused by deeply rooted personality traits and values that rarely change.

The solution here is to cope with your differences, avoid situations that worsen them, and develop strategies to maneuver them.

4. Emotional Intelligence 101: Name that emotion.

Studies show that emotionally intelligent people have happy relationships because they’re able to defuse conflicts with minimal or no damage.

Researchers found that the best way to both increase emotional intelligence and settle a fight is by being able to name out loud the emotion your partner is feeling at the moment.

You’re not a psychic, I understand, but most of the time you’ll be able to tell what they’re feeling or why they’re angry with you. Translating this understanding into phrases like: “I know you’re angry,” “It feels sad, I know,” or “I bet you’re worried,” will lessen that emotion intensity and potentially prevent fights.

In her book How Emotions Are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain, psychologist Lisa Feldman writes:

“If you could distinguish finer meanings within ‘Awesome’ (happy, content, thrilled, relaxed, joyful, hopeful, inspired, prideful, adoring, grateful, blissful), and fifty shades of “Crappy” (angry, aggravated, alarmed, spiteful, grumpy, remorseful, gloomy, mortified, uneasy, dread-ridden, resentful, afraid, envious, woeful, melancholy…), your brain would have many more options for predicting, categorizing, and perceiving emotion, providing you with the tools for more flexible and functional responses.”

The next time you want someone to feel less tense, show that you understand their experience by naming what you think they’re feeling, be it anger, frustration, fear, or something else. You may not identify exactly what’s in their heart, but you’ll likely disarm them by showing you’re trying to understand and empathize with their feelings.

5. Take responsibility for your part.

Blaming is the quickest way to turn a small conflict into a fight. According to Gottman, couples who stay together longer don’t blame, but rather share equal responsibility over conflicts.

They use phrases like, “This isn’t completely your fault; I know that part of this is me” in order to soften things between them. Thus they’re more likely to end conflicts peacefully.

When I was struggling financially after quitting my job, I didn’t want anyone else to know, especially my family, since I’d already rejected a prosperous career in engineering to do marketing.

I felt bad when I knew my girlfriend had told my parents on the phone, and I was tempted to get angry. But then I realized I shared part of the responsibility because I hadn’t made it clear that she shouldn’t tell anybody, and she realized she should’ve asked me before sharing this information with others.

6. Help when you can, even when it’s not your turn.

When you count favors, you turn your relationship into a game, and in games there’s only one winner. If you can help with something, do it, even if it’s not yours to do. In other words: Help when you can, not when it’s your turn.

See some dirty mugs while waiting for coffee to brew? Wash them. Going out? Take the trash with you. She’s sleeping like a zombie and the baby is crying? Change his diaper; don`t wake her up.

These little things matter, and many partners appreciate them and will repay the favor by doing the same for you. Of course, there are times when relationships get unbalanced and you may realize you’re being taken for granted. But so long as there’s equal give and take overall in your relationship, it serves you both to stop keeping score and to help whenever you can.

7. End the day on a positive note.

Among fifty activities couples should do to build intimacy, Gottman puts reuniting as his most important choice. He recommends that couples reunite at the end of the day and talk about how it went. This will settle lingering conflicts and help them end the day on a positive note.

8. One good thing per day.

Darren Hardy, founder of Success Magazine, does this every day and swears by it. He simply writes one thing he appreciates about his wife that day, be it how she looked, what she said, or how she made him feel. Hardy recalls the nicely wrapped notebook, with one year worth of notes, he gave to his wife as her most-favored birthday gift.

Taking notes works because it`s another form of gratitude which, according to studies, makes you happy and attract positive things in life. This will also help you see your partner is a more positive light instead of focusing on their negative side.

Finally, it takes determination.

Like any good thing in life, you have to invest big time to make a promising relationship work. You will have to let go of your ego and learn when to admit you`re wrong, when to be flexible, and when to stand up for yourself. It may be take a lot of effort to turn things around, but it’s well worth it.

Couple sketch here

About Marwan Jamal

MJ is a fitness and health blogger at and a great fan of the gym and a healthy diet. He follows the trends in fitness, gym, and healthy life and loves to share his knowledge through useful and informative articles.

Get in the conversation! Click here to leave a comment on the site.

The post How to Keep Your Marriage or Relationship Strong and Beat the Statistics appeared first on Tiny Buddha.

Yoga Quiz: What Animal Should you Practice Yoga with?

You might think practicing yoga with animals is super cute, or doing a downward dog amidst some animal droppings might gross you out. But like it or not, yoga with animals is here to stay. As practicing yoga with animals is becoming increasingly popular and accessible, it might be time to ask yourself “what animal would be the best for me to practice yoga with?” Take the quiz and find …

Animal to Practice Yoga with

Continue reading “Yoga Quiz: What Animal Should you Practice Yoga with?” on Yoga

New Studies Suggest That High Fructose Corn Syrup is Linked to Opioid Addiction

According to emergent research presented recently at Neuroscience 2017, the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, high fructose corn syrup (also known as HFCS) might play a role in the opioid dependence that has become a public health crisis in the United States.

As Forbes reports, HFCS seems to trigger a reward response in the brain that leads to continued cravings, just like a narcotic would. When researchers fed a sample population of rates a diet high in HFCS and then following that with a dose of oxycodone (a common generic painkiller at the heart of the epidemic) they noted that rats given HFCS produced lower levels of dopamine in response to the drug, and the anticipated changes in locomotive behavior were also decreased.

Normally, exposure to oxycodone would exaggerate changes in locomotive behavior and trigger an explosion or dopamine– a neurotransmitter that plays a major role in reward-motivated behavior.

The absence of such reactions suggests that HFCS reduced the reward response in the rat’s brains, which in turn led them to conclude that diet may influence what quantities of the drugs users want to take, specifically: users would have to take more to get the same effect.

“Our experiments show that chronic pre-exposure to high-fructose corn syrup impacted both the neural and behavioral responses to oxycodone, resulting in changes likely to impact drug-taking and drug-seeking behavior,” co-lead author Meenu Minhas, a PhD student at the University of Guelph in Ontario, told Forbes“These results suggest that nutrition, and sugar intake in particular, can influence some responses to opioids, a finding that may be relevant both to clinical uses of opioids and to treating addiction,” he added.

High Fructose Corn Syrup, as you may recall, is made when corn is milled into corn starch and then enzymatically reduced by bacterium to become corn syrup. Then, the chains of glucose and fructose that make up this syrup are chemically separated by another enzyme, which converts the glucose to a mixture of approximately 42 % fructose and 53 % glucose, with some other trace sugars as well. It is a highly processed substance.

Because the United States placed an import tariff on foreign sugar in 1977– and the government also currently subsidizes the domestic production of corn– High Fructose Corn Syrup has become a cheap commodity in the United States, which is why it is so ubiquitous. Couple these damning implications for the “average American diet” with increased exposure to and prescription of cheap, easily accessible painkillers, and the researchers’ findings don’t seem that unrealistic. So is diet at the core of the opioid epidemic? It’s too soon to tell, but it’s very likely related.

The post New Studies Suggest That High Fructose Corn Syrup is Linked to Opioid Addiction appeared first on Garden Collage Magazine.

Are Questions Your Answer to Happiness?

Access Consciousness founder Gary Douglas explains how turning the standard self-help formula on its head could actually be a lot more helpful.

Take a walk through your local bookstore and you will probably find a self-help section. And more than likely, it’s fairly large. The global self-help industry is reportedly worth around $11 billion per year and a quick online search of “the answer to happiness” will reveal nearly 5 million results. People are obviously looking for it. But how many actually find it? Look around. Not much happiness is abounding.

Perhaps that’s because we have it backward. We keep looking for the answers that will create happiness. But what if they don’t exist? What if there is no secret to life? And, what if the willingness to ask questions actually opens the door to the happiness you seek?

3 Top Tips to Finding Happiness

1. Recognize that there is nothing wrong with you.

The reason the self-help industry fails most people is because they start with one subtle-yet-damaging conclusion: that there is something wrong with you. Most programs ask the individual to acknowledge what is wrong about them and then take steps to fix, improve, or neutralize those issues.

What if there is nothing wrong with you? What if buying into the idea that you are damaged and somehow in need of being fixed is what keeps you stuck in unhappiness? Always searching. Never finding.

A healthier and more effective approach to self-help is to give people the awareness that nothing is wrong with them and that they need to stop making themselves wrong. All that is required for positive change is a more open mind.

If you have lived your life believing that you are wrong and that you need to be fixed, start asking this question, “What’s right about me that I’m not getting?” As you ask this question, the negative thoughts and feelings that keep you from happiness start to dissipate and you gain a sense of the gift you are.

See also Feeling Stuck? Try Self-Inquiry for Resistance

2. Curiosity is key.

Research has shown that curious people—those who are constantly asking questions and looking for new possibilities—tend to enjoy higher levels of positive emotions, lower levels of anxiety, more satisfaction with life, and greater psychological well-being.

Take kids as an example. In case you haven’t noticed, they tend to have a higher level of happiness than most. They play. They imagine. They explore. They ask questions. They are curious.

Each one of us has an innate awareness of what decisions will bring us the best of love, life, health, finance, and business. The trick to revealing this unconscious wisdom is to keep your mind open to every possibility—to never seek an answer to anything. To forever and always ask questions.

3. Practice asking questions.

Most of us have spent our entire lives looking for the answer. Not just any answer—the right answer. Recognizing that questions are what catapults us into the life, the joy, and the satisfaction we desire is a start. But, if asking questions is new to you, it might take some practice. Here are a few typical answers or conclusions you may be familiar with and questions you can ask instead:

  • Rather than saying, “This situation is so bad” or “Wow, this situation is amazing,” ask “How does it get any better than this?” This question triggers your unconscious self to make an unpleasant situation better and an uplifting situation even greater.
  • Instead of believing that you are a victim of life and that happiness is given or taken, ask “Do I want to be right, or do I want to be happy?” This question empowers you to realize that happiness is a choice and can be called upon at any time.
  • Instead of saying “I am stuck” or “I quit,” ask “What else is possible that I have never considered?” This question triggers your unconscious awareness to look for the various solutions and possibilities available to you.

Happiness is available to you. Recognize that you are not wrong. Have a sense of curiosity about everything that comes your way. Ask questions rather than seeking answers and coming to conclusions. Happiness is just a choice. What choice can you make today?

See also A Meditation Practice To Let In Joy + Happiness

Gary Douglas is a bestselling author, business innovator, and founder of Access Consciousness®, a set of simple-yet-profound tools currently transforming lives in 176 countries. He has authored or co-authored 17 books including the Barnes and Noble #1 bestselling novel, The Place. An avid investor and entrepreneur, Gary is a vocal advocate of Conscious Capitalism and benevolent leadership. He co-hosts a weekly radio on Voice America and has featured in numerous TV shows, print media, and online publications around the world. He is renowned for his unique insights on love, relationships, money, business, aging, leadership, and emotional freedom. For more information on Gary Douglas, visit

5 Powerful Steps to Help You to Let Go and Feel Less Pain

“Some of us think holding on makes us strong, but sometimes it is letting go.”
Herman Hesse

“One problem with gazing too frequently into the past is that we may turn around to find the future has run out on us.”
Michael Cibenko

I often write about finding lightness in life.

It can come from an unhurried but effective day at work.

It can come from uncluttering and simplifying both your home and life.

Or from letting go of distractions or huge mental burdens (that can also become physical as stress and worries pile up).

Learning to let go of something in your past, of something that is just an unimportant distraction or of trying to control what you cannot control can free up huge amounts of the energy and the time you have to use for something better and more fulfilling.

It is not always easy. But it can be life-changing.

In this article you can find five steps that have made it easier for me to let go over the years.

I hope they will help you too.

Step 1: Know the benefits of not letting go.

Why is it sometimes hard to let go of something?

Well, to be honest, there are advantages and benefits to not letting go. At least for instant gratification and in the short run.

  • You get to keep feeling like you are right. And like the other person is wrong. And that can be a pleasant feeling and way to look at the situation at hand.
  • You can assume the victim role. And get attention, support and comfort from other people.
  • You don’t have to go out into the scary unknown. You can cling to what you know instead, to what is familiar and safe even if it’s now just a dream of what you once had.

I have not let go of things in the past because of these reasons. I still sometimes delay letting go of things because of those benefits above.

But I am also conscious of the fact that they are something I get out of not letting go. And I know that in the end they are not worth it.


  • What will the long-term consequences be in my life if I do not let go?
  • How will it affect the next 5 years in my life and the relationships I have with other people and with myself?

The mix of knowing how those benefits will hurt me in the long run and of knowing that there are even bigger benefits that I can get from letting go become a powerful motivator that pushes me on to let go for my own sake and happiness.

Step 2: Accept what is, then let go.

When you accept what is, that this has happened then it becomes easier to let go.


Because when you’re still struggling in your mind against what has happened then you feed that memory or situation with more energy. You make what someone said or did even bigger and more powerful in your mind than it might have been in reality.

By accepting that it simply has happened and letting it in instead of trying to push it away something odd happens after a while.

The issue or your memory of the situation becomes less powerful in your mind. You don’t feel as upset or sad about it as you did before. You become less emotionally attached it.

And so it becomes easier to let go and for you to move on with your life.

Step 3: Forgive.

If someone wrongs you then it will probably cause you pain for a while.

But after that you have a choice. You can refuse to let go of what happened. And instead let it interfere with your relationship and replay what happened over and over in your mind.

Or you can choose to forgive.

First accepting what happened can be helpful to make it easier to forgive.

Another thing you can do is not to focus on forgiving because it is “something you’re supposed to do”.

Instead, if you like, find the motivation to forgive for you own sake. Do it for your own well-being, happiness and for the time you have left in your life.

Because, as Catherine Ponder says:

“When you hold resentment toward another, you are bound to that person or condition by an emotional link that is stronger than steel. Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link and get free.”

And that you forgive does not mean that you have to stay passive towards your future. You may for example choose to forgive but also to spend less time or no time in the future with someone who has hurt you.

Step 4: Focus on what you CAN influence in your life.

By reliving what happened over and over in your mind you aren’t really changing anything. Unless you have a time-machine you don’t have any control over the past.

And being distracted or worried by things that you cannot control in your life in any way right now is a waste of energy.

So ask yourself:

  • What CAN I focus my time and energy on instead to actually make positive progress or a change in my life?
  • And what is one small step I can take today to get started with that?

My experience has been that by switching my focus from what I cannot influence to what I actually have influence over and by doing that over and over again – by using questions like the ones above – it becomes easier and easier to stop worrying and to let go of what has happened or what I cannot control.

Step 5: Let go again (if necessary).

If you let go of something that happened or some distraction in your life then that might not be the end of it.

Life is not always that neat. The issue or distraction might pop up again.

Then let it go once more.

I have found that each time I let something go it pops up less and less frequently and it has less power over me.

Plus, this extra practice will make it easier to let go in the future. Letting go is something you’ll get better at over time just like for example keeping an optimistic mindset during tough times.

Q&A: How to become a morning yoga person

Shoutout to all my Bad Yogis in the Bad Yogi Studio and The Perfect Body Yoga Program— this one’s dedicated to you 😉 How great does it sound to wake up feeling rested, inspired to get on your mat to do yoga, and finish a class all before you head out the door? Kind of […]

Q&A: How to become a morning yoga person was first posted on December 13, 2017 at 5:00 am.
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