To help you start exploring, I’m answering 10 of the most common questions that women ask about marriage. In each answer, you’ll find links to past blog articles where you can get more in-depth information.
1. Do My Husband and I Fight Too Much?
How often you argue with your husband is much less important than the way you fight. The goal isn’t having a conflict-free marriage. Instead, it’s moving through these bumps in the road in a constructive way that clears the air and strengthens your bond. So if you argue frequently, but you still behave lovingly and respectfully with each other when you do, then your conflicts probably are not a problem.
2. What Should I Do If I Want Sex More (or Less) Than My Husband Does?
There’s no right, or wrong, answer to the amount of sex you should be having in your marriage. It’s all about finding the frequency that meets both of your needs. If you’re not in sync in the bedroom, look for possible causes. For example, maybe one of you is having a physical issue or is feeling particularly stressed lately.
Our lives often revolve around our
kids. We do this because we want what’s best for them. But making them the
center of the universe really isn’t best for them or for you.
More than endless activities, kids need parents who are relaxed, emotionally attuned to them and involved in a loving, respectful marriage. So think about some ways you can free up more time for your relationship. This might mean simplifying life or asking for extra support.
4. Can I Put the Spark Back in My Boring Marriage?
Absolutely! If you’re feeling bored with your husband, the underlying reason might be that you have lost touch with important parts of yourself. As busy partners and parents, it’s all too easy to neglect all the other things that used to light us up.
Think about some ways to rediscover your old passions. This doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming. Revive your yoga practice. Take an online class. Reconnect with a friend you love spending time with. Whatever you choose, you’ll bring new energy into your relationship.
5. Why Has My Husband Changed So Much?
What happened to the great guy you fell in love with? He’s still there — trust me. When it seems like your husband has changed, what’s probably actually happening is that the stress of your day-to-day life is making it harder to see his good qualities. This is just how our brains are wired. To bring your “good” husband back, tackle some of your top sources of stress (like overscheduling). Soon you’ll be seeing him through different eyes.
6. How Can I Get My Husband to Help More Around the House?
If you feel that your husband isn’t doing his fair share of housework, don’t just stew silently. That’s a recipe for resentment. Let your husband know you feel overburdened and ask directly for him to do specific tasks. Then give him a chance to step up.
I can hear what you’re saying: I shouldn’t have to ask! And I understand your frustration. But keep in mind that you are two unique people who came into the marriage with different life experiences, priorities and skills. It’s unrealistic to expect you to coordinate your complicated lives without clear, direct and respectful communication.
7. My Husband Is Cheating — Can Our Marriage Be Saved?
It’s not easy to heal your marriage after an affair, but it can be done. If you want to try to repair your relationship, he must be willing to admit what he has done, acknowledge the hurt it has caused and help you work through that pain.
At the same time, you have to be open to these repair attempts. And both of you must look at what made your relationship vulnerable to the affair.
8. What Should I Do If My Husband Wants to Separate?
If your husband has asked for a separation, it’s perfectly normal to feel lost and panicky. But resist the urge to tearfully plead for him to stay. Instead, deal with him from a place of confidence. You want your message to be more like this: “If you want to leave, I can’t stop you. I’m still committed to this marriage and would like for you to stay so we fix it. But you’re an adult, and I know I can’t tie you here.”
Don’t pressure him to come back. Allow him to experience the reality of what divorce would mean. Give him space to understand your importance in his life. It’s possible he will eventually want a divorce. It’s also possible that he’ll start missing you and the life you have built together.
9. Should I (Gulp) Leave My Husband?
Ending your marriage is a wrenching decision — and a deeply personal one. To guide your choice, ask yourself these questions:
Did I ask for what I need?
Did I address any serious issues present (like addiction or abuse)?
What went wrong?
And what role did each of you play?
10. Will My Marriage Last?
The best way to predict the future of your marriage is to take a look at what’s going on in your relationship right now. Do you both fight fair? Manage your ongoing issues? Know how to apologize? Then it’s likely that your marriage will last. (Learn more signs of a great marriage.)
On the other hand, your behaviors can also reveal whether your marriage is headed for trouble. Researcher John Gottman identified the four behaviors that predict divorce: defensiveness, criticism, stonewalling and contempt. If you and your husband engage in these behaviors frequently, it’s time to get serious about saving your marriage.
Over the past year, I’ve covered a lot of advice
about keeping your marriage strong even when life is busy and stressful. Some
of my marriage advice has delved into tough topics. In other articles, I’ve
aimed more to provide inspiration for improving your relationship.
If you’ve missed any of my marriage articles from
2019, you can catch up by reading this roundup of the year’s most popular
Both of these articles were about the most serious juncture you can experience in a marriage: whether to continue it. In the first article, I looked at whether you should leave a partner who cheated. Of course, there’s no single right answer about whether you should stay with or leave a cheating spouse. But in this article, you’ll find a list of questions that can help you make the right decision for you if you’re ever in this painful situation.
The second article can help you figure out whether
your marriage is irretrievably broken or whether it can be saved. Again,
everyone’s situation is different. But whatever your decision is, this article
can help you be at peace with it.
It isn’t just women who are seeking some distance in
relationships. That’s demonstrated by another one of my most popular marriage
articles from last year. “I need some space” can be an alarming thing
to hear from your husband. And you might spend a lot of time wondering what he
really means by that statement. But, as I explain in the article, there can be
any number of reasons behind your husband’s need for space, and it’s usually not a red flag in your
If anything, political divisions in our country have
only gotten deeper since the first article was published. So I have the feeling
it will remain relevant for a long time to come! If you haven’t read the
article yet, I offer some tips to keep your marriage from feeling like one of
those cable news shows where ideological rivals just keep shouting over each
And if your husband seemingly loves to pick fights
about politics or other subjects, you’ll want to check out the second article
as well. In it, you’ll find some tips to help you decode what his argumentative
behavior is really about.
But you weren’t just thinking about disagreements in
your marriage in 2019. You were also looking for ways to make the most of your
time together. To that end, I went below the surface of a familiar piece of
marriage advice: Have regular date nights. Unfortunately, that advice can do
more harm than good if it becomes just another area where you are putting pressure
on yourself to do things perfectly. As I wrote in the original article:
“The point of having a date night isn’t to do something you can brag about
on Instagram. It’s to connect with each other.”
Speaking of pressure, these next two articles speak
to some feelings and issues that emerge because of all the responsibilities and
expectations on us as women.
If your husband has said you are controlling, or if this is something you’ve noticed about yourself, I’m willing to bet it’s because you have so much on your plate, and sometimes it feels like your husband is slowing down your efforts to get all those things done. The best way forward is to have an open and honest discussion about household responsibilities — chores, childcare, emotional labor — and how the two of you can divide things more equitably.
Meanwhile, anger is an emotion we are often
uncomfortable with as women. We may worry that anger makes us a bad person or
believe that we shouldn’t get angry at all. When you can’t process anger in a
healthy way, that can lead to destructive behaviors in your marriage, like
complaining or withdrawing. But when you listen to your anger, it can guide you
toward positive change in your marriage.
Thank you for the nearly 40,000 visits to the Strong Women, Strong Love blog this year! I hope that you found resources here to nurture and enhance your marriage.
As 2017 winds down, I wanted to look back on some of the most popular marriage advice articles published this year.
How Attachment Styles Affect Your Marriage This article looks at attachment styles as a framework for understanding your marriage. Your attachment style was shaped by the family you grew up in, and it continues to influence how you approach relationships. For example, if your early caregivers were loving, responsible and reliable, you’re probably comfortable with emotional intimacy and trusting others. But if your caregivers were unavailable or unresponsive, you may have trouble seeking closeness with others. Knowing your attachment style and your husband’s can be an important first step toward improving your marriage.
Learn more: If you found the article on attachment styles useful, you may also want to read Chasing Doesn’t Work (No Fooling!). Chasing is a common pattern when someone with an ambivalent/anxious attachment style marries a partner with an avoidant attachment style.
Some Key Truths About Honesty in Your Marriage What does it mean to be honest and authentic with your spouse? You and your husband might have very different answers to this seemingly simple question! Some people have a let-it-all-hang-out philosophy, but their spouses might feel attacked by their bluntness. Again, your feelings about what should — and shouldn’t — be shared in a relationship were probably shaped by your own family. Talk with your husband about how each of you defines honesty so that you can understand and navigate your differences.
How Your Husband Really Feels About Your Miscarriage A miscarriage is one of the greatest heartbreaks a couple can share together. Sometimes misunderstandings between partners can compound the pain. You may feel hurt and confused if your husband seems unemotional or indifferent after a miscarriage. But he may be acting this way out of a desire to protect you and not add to your burden. It helps to be very clear with him about the kind of support you need.
Learn more: If struggles with infertility have you worried about your marriage, my article Will He Leave If You Can’t Conceive? should be reassuring. In an overwhelming majority of marriages, one spouse’s inability to conceive a child is not a deal-breaker for the other partner.
Your Husband Wants to Separate — Now What? The above three articles were the most popular ones published in 2017. But by far, the most-read post on the blog is this article on separation that I wrote in 2015. This post has generated ongoing discussion since it first appeared, with commenters opening up about their own experiences with separation and offering each other support and compassion. If you’re going through a separation now, know that while you can’t do anything to make your husband return to the marriage, you’ll have a better chance of saving your marriage if you can avoid acting from a place of fear.
Learn more: If the advice in my article on separation resonated with you, you may also wish to explore The Last Resort Technique for saving your marriage. Creator Michele Weiner-Davis (a marriage therapist) makes no guarantees that the technique will work, but says “it works often enough for you to be eager to give it a shot.” And, she adds, “even if your marriage doesn’t improve … your mental health will.”
Thank you again for reading the Strong Women, Strong Love blog in 2017. I wish you and your husband much love and joy in 2018. If there are relationship topics you’d like to see me cover on the blog next year, just drop me a note or a comment on Facebook.
I hope you and your family are enjoying a wonderful holiday season! As 2015 draws to a close, I wanted to look back on the most popular posts during the past year. While these articles have marriage advice you can use all year long, some of these ideas are especially helpful during the busy holiday season.
If you get stressed out at family holiday gatherings, you’ll definitely want to check out this post. Our brains can go into fight-or-flight mode when we’re tired, overwhelmed or feel threatened — even if the “threat” is just criticism from a family member. We feel flooded with negative emotions that are hard to snap out of. If you feel like you’re about to flip your lid — a couple of warning signs are getting defensive and having trouble truly hearing others — that’s a signal to stand down for a while. Get away from the fray instead of pushing yourself to keep up with the holiday rush. As a couple, plan ahead for a little quiet time (like a quick walk) together in the next few days to head off any flip-outs, especially if you’ll be around relatives who have a knack for pushing your buttons.
One reason certain family members might drive you crazy when you see them is that researchers have found that our brains process physical and emotional pain in much the same way. The insights in the post might help you understand more about why it’s so difficult to be around a distant and withholding parent or a contemptuous sibling. I hope this post will also be a reminder that seemingly small rejections — like mocking your husband’s driving in front of your family — can have a big impact on your relationship.
Yes, this post is about a different holiday, but it has some ideas you can borrow this time of year as well. If you’re stuck on a gift idea for your husband, consider planning an experience to share that’s exciting, that helps you grow or that changes up your routine. Whenever you add novelty and variety, you stoke the fires of passion in your relationship.
You need your husband to help more with getting the house ready for your guests. Or maybe it’s getting on your last nerve that he still hasn’t taken care of the gift shopping he told you he’d handle. But, as I wrote earlier this year, “If you’re trying to motivate your husband with an intense, ‘you’re not going to ignore this anymore’ approach, it may backfire, especially if there’s a tone of blame.'”
If you want to set a 2016 resolution for your marriage, make it to cultivate an atmosphere of mutual respect in your relationship. What I wrote in this post, which was the blog’s most popular article from 2015, is still true: “Respect is the very soil from which true love sprouts.” But you don’t have to wait until the new year to restore respect if it’s been lost in your marriage. Listen to each other, even amid the holiday hubbub. Compliment each other in front of your family members. Share a laugh about the fact that you love sentimental presents and he loves gag gifts.
If you’d like to read more marriage tips like these, consider purchasing my book Strong Women, Strong Love as a gift for yourself and for your husband. You’ll find lots of ideas to keep your marriage thriving even amid our busy lives.
Catching up on your reading during the holidays? This week, I’m counting down the most popular posts of 2014 from the Strong Women, Strong Love blog. Each of these posts is a quick read that will give you insights you can use immediately in your marriage.
We all want appreciation and validation in our relationships. Researchers have even shown that couples need lots of positive interactions for their marriages to thrive. So what should you do if your husband isn’t saying thank you — or even noticing! — everything you do for your family? Read this post for tips on making your marriage a more appreciative one.
The second most popular post of 2014 debunks all the unrealistic — and even contradictory! — advice women get barraged with about how to be “irresistible” and “seductive.” Check it out to learn why authenticity is the most attractive quality of all.
Do you ask your husband to do something, and then follow up to make sure he has started and is doing things right? Do you get mad and redo work your husband already completed because it doesn’t meet your standards, and you know you can do it better? If that sounds familiar, you might be micromanaging your husband — and damaging your marriage. You’re not alone. This was the most popular post on the Strong Women, Strong Love blog in 2014. Read it to get tips on breaking the habit of micromanaging.
What marriage topics would you like to see covered on this blog in 2015? Leave a comment, send an email or connect with Strong Women, Strong Love on Twitter or Facebook to share your ideas.