Tag Archives: happy

Men May Have the Key to a Happy Marriage

Dr. Jed Diamond believes that men can and should become leaders in maintaining long-lasting relationships, and he’s got the science to back him up.

As a psychotherapist I have been helping people find, keep, and develop healthy loving relationships for more than 40 years now. Carlin and I have been married (third marriage for each of us) for 34 years. I had hoped being a therapist would protect our relationship from the problems so many of my clients face, but it didn’t. We’ve had to deal with irritability and anger, male menopause, depression, bipolar disorder, boredom, and beady-eyed fights.
“Falling in love and being loved in return is the peak experience of human existence…”
Like most couples, Carlin and I were joyfully and passionately “in love,” but it didn’t last. Over the years, the little irritations of life began to grind away at us. We missed what we once had, but didn’t know how to recapture it. Maybe staying in love was an illusion, we thought. Perhaps George Bernard Shaw was right when observed in 1908, “When two people are under the influence of the most violent, most insane, most delusive, and most transient of passions, they are required to swear that they will remain in that excited, abnormal, and exhausting condition continuously until death do them part.”
If we look at the statistics, the odds of “living happily ever after” are against us. Around 50% of first marriages end in divorce and second and third marriages fare even worse. But we learned that science offers a new perspective on love and how it can last. “Falling in love and being loved in return is the peak experience of human existence,” says Dr. Fran Cohen, author of The New Science of Love: How Understanding Your Brain’s Wiring Can Help Rekindle Your Relationship. “When love fades, we can quite literally use our brains to bring it back.”
Two experts who have helped us reclaim our loving relationship are John Gottman, who recently wrote another helpful book, What Makes Love Last? How to Build Trust and Avoid Betrayal and Sue Johnson, author of Love Sense: A Revolutionary New Science of Romantic Relationships. If you’re serious about learning to love, you couldn’t find better guides than these.
We’ve long believed that how women feel determines the state of the marriage–“Happy wife, happy life.” But new research from the University of Chicago indicates that men may hold the key to the emotional state of the relationship. The study, “Marital Conflict in Older Couples: Positivity, Personality, and Health,”reports results from a national survey with data analyzed from 953 heterosexual couples who were married or cohabitating. The study participants ranged in age from 63 to 90 years old and the average length of their relationships was 39 years.
“Wives report more conflict if their husband is in poor health,” said the study’s lead author, James Iveniuk, PhD candidate in the Department of Sociology. “If the wife is in poor health, there doesn’t seem to be any difference in terms of the quality of the marriage for the husband.” Another key difference was in a measure the researchers call positive expressivity which includes things like being gentle, helpful, kind, and understanding. “Wives whose husbands show higher levels of positivity reported less conflict. However, the wives’ positivity had no association with their husbands’ reports of conflict,” Iveniuk said.
Why Men’s Moods Matter
“Men are very often more sensitive than women, despite stereotypes you’ve heard,” says relationship expert April Masini. “It’s a lot easier for men to become depressed or unhappy than women in the same circumstances. Men are sensitive, and when they’re unhappy, the marriage dynamic flags.”
Masini’s experience is validated by the work of long-time relationship expert Dr. John Gottman. In his book, The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country’s Foremost Relationship Expert, Gottman discovered some surprising things about men’s emotions and how they impact relationships. Gottman traces men’s greater reactivity to stress in the relationship to our evolutionary past. “Males whose adrenaline kicked in quite readily who did not calm down so easily were more likely to survive and procreate.”
“Men can have a huge impact on the state of their relationship and the key is to deal with the stresses that can overwhelm…
Gottman goes on to say, “to this day, the male cardiovascular system remains more reactive than the female and slower to recover from stress.” For example, if a man and woman suddenly hear a very loud, brief sound, like a blowout, most likely his heart will beat faster than hers and stay accelerated longer. The same goes for their blood pressure. This helps account for the fact, Gottman believes, that men tend to withdraw and avoid conflict in a relationship. “It’s a biological fact,” says Gottman. “Men are more easily overwhelmed by marital conflict than are their wives.”
Women often complain that men don’t want to talk about difficult issues, that they withdraw when she wants to express herself. This may be true, but not because men aren’t interested in listening or in resolving conflict. It may be because he is more easily overwhelmed by conflict and be becomes “flooded.” Dr. Gottman says, “Frequently feeling flooded leads almost inevitably to distancing yourself from your spouse. That in turn leads you to feel lonely.”
This was certainly the case with Carlin and me. Once we learned to reduce the stress we felt, we could share more openly without criticism or blame.
Men often believe that they can do little to improve their relationship, that relationships are “women’s work.” But it turns out that men can have a huge impact on the state of their relationship and the key is to deal with the stresses that can overwhelm and “flood” them. In my book Stress Relief for Men: How to Use the Revolutionary Tools of Energy Healing to Live Well,I teach men, and the women who love them, how to use four energy healing tools to get their relationship back on track. I’ve used them myself to reclaim the easy love that I thought my wife and I had lost. I’ve taught them to many of my clients.
Men may hold the key to creating a happy marriage and once they learn that they not only have the power to make things better, but the skills to do so effectively, they are ready to act. Men no longer have to feel they are powerless in relationship. In fact, they may find that they can lead the way in making their relationships wonderful.

Pharrell Reaction to Happy on Oprah

When you have a craft and you are able to make an impact for not only the people around you but the people around the world. This is truly awesome and I applaud this GENTLEMAN for making such a positive song. If this song does not put you in a better mode after listening to it, I do not know what to tell you. I love what this songs stands for. How says positivity does not sell?

Adrian “GC Smooth” Taylor

3 Things I Wish I Knew Before We Got Married

By Tyler Wardlove
I used to think I had my stuff together. Then I got married.

Marriage is great—but it rocked everything I knew. I quickly realized my basic goal in life, prior to getting married, was to simply remain undisturbed.

This “disruption” came suddenly and was disguised as a 5-foot-nothing Swedish-Filipino woman. When I decided I’d rather not live without her, I proceeded to ask her to marry me—that is, to officially invite someone who wasn’t me to be in my personal space for the rest of my life.

This decision introduced my most significant experiences and most challenging experiences—none of which I would trade for the world.

However, I wish I’d had a bit more insight on the front end of our marriage to help me navigate it all.

According to most research, more than 50 percent of people who say “I do” will not be sleeping in the same bed eight years from now. And though Scripture alludes to the fact that adultery and abuse may be reasons individuals might end a marriage, I’d be willing to bet that most challenges experienced in marriage are the result of unawareness. Most people—myself included—jump into marriage with suitcases full of misconceptions and bad theology, entirely unaware of the unique beauty and paradoxical intentions of marriage.

Although happiness is often a very real byproduct of a healthy relationship, marriage has a far more significant purpose in sight.
The following are three thoughts on marriage that friends and mentors have shared with me. I remind myself of them often in hopes of keeping this anomaly called marriage both enjoyable and healthy.

1. Marriage is not about living happily ever after.

Here’s the truth: I get annoyed at my wife. But this is more a reflection of me than her.

I’m intensely certain that nothing in life has ever made me more angry, frustrated or annoyed than my wife. Inevitably, just when I think I’ve given all I can possibly give, she somehow finds a way to ask for more.

The worst part of it all is that her demands aren’t unreasonable. One day she expects me to stay emotionally engaged. The next, she’s looking for me to validate the way that she feels. The list goes on—but never ventures far from things she perfectly well deserves as a wife.

Unfortunately for her, deserving or not, her needs often compete with my self-focus. I know it shouldn’t be this way, but I am selfish and stubborn and, overall, human.

I once read a book that alluded to the idea that marriage is the fire of life—that somehow it’s designed to refine all our dysfunction and spur us into progressive wholeness. In this light, contrary to popular opinion, the goal of marriage is not happiness. And although happiness is often a very real byproduct of a healthy relationship, marriage has a far more significant purpose in sight. It is designed to pull dysfunction to the surface of our lives, set it on fire and help us grow.

When we’re willing to see it this way, then the points of friction in our marriages quickly become gifts that consistently invite us into a more whole and fulfilling experience of life.
2. The more you give to marriage, the more it gives back.

Over the past year, a few friends and I have had an open conversation about the highs and lows of marriage—specifically how to make the most of the high times and avoid the low ones. Along the way, we happened upon a derailing hypothesis that goes something like this: If one makes their husband or wife priority number one, all other areas of life benefit.

When we return marriage to its rightful place in our priorities, it can quickly turn into the greatest asset to every other layer of our lives.
It’s a disorienting claim. Disorienting, because it protests my deeper persuasion that success as an entrepreneur, or any professional, requires that career takes the throne of my priorities and remain there for, at the very least, a couple of years.

However, seeing that my recent pattern of caring about work over marriage had produced little more than paying bills and a miserable wife, I figured giving the philosophy a test drive couldn’t hurt.

For 31 days, I intentionally put my wife first over everything else, and then I tracked how it worked. I created a metric for these purposes, to mark our relationship as priority, and then my effectiveness in all other areas of my life on the same scale, including career productivity and general quality of life.

To my surprise, a month later, I had a chart of data and a handful of ironic experiences to prove that the more you give to marriage, the more it gives back.

Notably, on the days my wife genuinely felt valued, I observed her advocating for me to invest deeply in to my work. She no longer saw our relationship and my career pursuits as competitors for my attention, and as she partnered with me in my career, I have experienced the benefits of having the closest person in my life champion me.

Of course, marriage requires sacrifice. And sometimes it will feel as if it takes and takes. However, when we return marriage to its rightful place in our priorities, it can quickly turn from something we have to maintain and sacrifice for into the greatest asset to every other layer of our lives.
3. Marriage can change the world.

John Medina, the author of Brain Rules and a Christian biologist, is often approached by men looking for the silver bullet of fathering. In one way or another, they all come around to asking, “What’s the most important thing I can do as a father?”

Medina’s answer alludes to a surprising truth.

In my previously mentioned experiment, I measured the effect that making my marriage priority number one had on different areas of my life. One of those areas was my 16-month-old son’s behavior.

What I found in simply charting my observations was that the majority of the time, my child’s behavior was directly affected by the level of intention I invested in my marriage.

Re-enter John Medina, the Christian biologist. After years of biological research and several books on parenting conclusions, what is his answer to the question, “What’s the most important thing I can do as a father”?

“Go home and love your wife.”

Gary Ezzo and Robert Bucknam, the authors of Babywise, say it this way: “A healthy marriage creates an infused stability within the family and a haven of security for a child in their development process.” They go on to sum up their years of research by saying, “In the end, great marriages produce great parents.”

The point is that marriage has a higher goal than to make two people happy or even whole. Yes, the investment we make into our marriage pays dividends for us. But, concluded by Medina and his colleagues, the same investment also has significant implications for our family, our community and eventually our culture.

So men, women, the next time you find yourself dreaming about living significantly or succeeding in your career or being a better parent than yours were to you, do the world a favor: Go home and love your wife. Go home and and love your husband.