Tag Archive | "marriage"

How do we make marriages work? Stop Your Griping!

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How do we make marriages work? Stop Your Griping!

Posted on 07 October 2011 by Ashley Mancha

Be sure to watch marriage counselor Donald Cole on Living Smart with Patricia Gras this Sunday at 3pm (repeats Friday night at 10pm)


Why is it that most American marriages end in divorce? How can I get my marriage to last longer? What should I know before I get married? These are too often asked questions by many couples today. If there were a book that told couples exactly how marriage would be, the divorce rate still wouldn’t budge because humans have flaws and unexpected behaviors.

According to the United States Census Bureau, 2,443,000 people wed in 1990, yet 1,182,000 couples divorced in the same year.  The numbers haven’t changed much from then until now and that’s enough to discourage any couple right?

What are the enemies of a great marriage? One of the most common is overactive criticism. Have you ever said something humiliating, hurtful or insulting to your spouse? Have you done it more than once? That’s where most arguments start; that’s were most marriages begin to end.

It’s Impossible to predict the future but much research is being geared towards saving marriages. According to Lutheran Minister and Relationship counselor, Dr. Donald Cole, miscommunication is more normal than you would think. It’s all about what you do to fix the miscommunication.  Dr. Cole’s approach reinforces these basic problems and antidotes:

The four horsemen that kill relationships


Defensiveness: feeling a need to defend yourself in the conversation.

Stonewalling: removing yourself from the conversation before it’s over. Shutting down and not speaking.

Contempt: developing an opinion of our partner that they are somehow less than us.


Gentle complaining: one partner mentions a problem in a direct but respectful manner.

Taking responsibility: the other partner recognizes what they are doing wrong and tries to fix it. Helps to lower the defensiveness.

Self-soothing: During stonewalling the stonewaller is becoming heated and needs to calm him/herself down.

Creating a culture of fondness and admiration:

In a relationship of any kind, it’s very easy to realize all of the negative things and couples rarely step back and appreciate one another. Here are Dr. Cole’s tips to maintain a good marriage.

Three things to remember about marriage

Be good friends

Learn to have a softer approach when something is bothering us

Create an idea of we-ness


To get the real tips on how to save a marriage watch Donald Cole this Sunday at 3pm on Living Smart with Patricia Gras




For more information on Marriage, Divorce, and how divorce affects children visit the links below


More articles on this topic:


by Ashley Mancha and Patricia Gras

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College Smart: Emotionally Intelligent Marriages

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College Smart: Emotionally Intelligent Marriages

Posted on 30 September 2011 by Ashley Mancha

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Life Balance

Posted on 04 May 2011 by Patricia Gras

Patti’s Reflections:

What I am grateful for: My mother’s kind eyes, a good night’s sleep, great food, a job I love, friends who make me laugh, perfect health, etc etc etc.

What I learned this week: Patience is a virtue and change is inevitable.

The Living Smart with Patricia Gras episode on “Connecting your Disconnected Life” this sunday at 3 p.m. on Houston’s PBS features promotional speaker and author of the books I Used to Have a Handle on Life, But Then It Broke, Touching Tomorrow, and Stop Screaming at the Microwave, How to Connect Your Disconnected Life. In this episode, Mary LoVerde, who is also the former director of the Hypertension Research Center of the University of Colorado School of Medicine, shares insight into how we can improve the quality of our home, work, and inner life.

Missed last week’s episode? Don’t worry, we thought about you. Tune in Houston’s Channel 8 this Friday at 10 p.m. to watch Dr. Stephanie Coulter, the medical leader for the Texas Heart Institute Center for Women’s Heart and Cardiovascular Health Disease at St. Luke’s Hospital. In this episode, Dr. Coulter discusses trigger points for heart disease to occur in men and women and why heart disease is more prevalent in women’s lives.

This Week’s Blog: Life Balance
by Christina Rivera, production assistant

The boundary between work and home has quickly blurred with constant access to our e-mails and each other. The task of leading a healthy and balanced life becomes an endless chore with a myriad of factors. These are some of the usual requirements of keeping life balance: eat healthy, exercise every day, sleep eight hours a day, manage your finances, work at a job your passionate about all the while continuing to discover new interests and expanding your mind that are hard to maintain.

Upcoming Living Smart guest Mary LoVerde sums it up best, “There’s always this push/pull between is it work, is it family, is it kids, is it health, is it—? And that’s why prioritizing doesn’t really work that well, because it’s all-important. You have to go to work to pay for the house so your kid has a place, but if you don’t go to the gym and exercise, you’re going to die and you don’t get to take the kid and you lose your house.” They are all valid tasks to incorporate into our daily lives, but sometimes not being able to do everything can make happiness and balance feel as elusive as ever.

Contrary to the laundry list of activities and tasks we all feel we must do, an emerging idea is beginning to gain popularity. The idea that perhaps in order to gain balances we must work on our relationships. With strong relationships and connections around us the other things in our lives can truly begin falling into place.

I know, it sounds like we just added another requirement to the list we started off with in the beginning. I felt the same way until I looked further into the idea of relationships and connections as a way to happiness and balance. Mary LoVerde, a professional speaker best selling author and this weeks Living Smart guest, describes the function of staying connected. “If I stay as connected as I can to all the things that are really important to me, I can tell because I feel good. I’m not tired, I’m not stressed, I’m not angry. I’m eager, I’m excited, I’m ready to go.”

What makes this way of thinking about life and happiness accessible is that the relationship or connection that might interest you can be just about anything. You might aspire to become connected to your community or you want to strengthen your current friendships. Whatever your goal is, if you truly want to pursue it then it wont feel like a chore and you will still contribute to your overall happiness.

The organization, Actionforhappiness.org, is part of what they call the happiness movement. The group provides tips and inspiration to help people on their path towards happier lifestyles. One of their core steps towards happiness, connecting with others, “Positive relationships are the most important ‘external’ contributors to happiness. We need to put people first and do everything we can to create positive, loving and collaborative relationships in our families, organizations and communities.”

As LoVerde describes the overall goal, “First of all, connection creates balance. Look at your life and think about how you’re going to stay connected to what’s really important.” For more tips and information on Mary LoVerde, tune into Living Smart this Sunday at 3pm on HoustonPBS.

Question of the week:
What do you do to keep your life balanced?

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