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(from The 60-Second Shrink, by Drs. Arnold and Clifford Lazarus [father & son])

Unhappily married people … tend to make the same mistakes. They frequently express disapproval, are highly critical, blame, accuse, use threats, and are likely to say “No!” to each other a lot. Such behaviors are killers of love and intimacy. When you are on the receiving end of criticism and blame from your spouse, the result is hurt and resentment. And when your partner refuses to grant reasonable requests, when he or she is on “automatic no,” trouble is inevitable.

Remember that happy marriages are based on teamwork and cooperation, not on competition.

Avoid being critical.

Try to say “yes” whenever possible.

Marital problems often stem from a decline of friendship within a marriage. Of course, there is an enormous variety of marital problems and any generalizations must be limited, but when partners lose their friendship, a downward spiral of marital unhappiness is almost certain to follow. So, what can be done to nourish or revive the friendship in our marriage?

Compliment your partner frequently. Make a habit of saying something complimentary at least once a day.

Express appreciation to your partner whenever he or she does something that pleases you.

Make it a habit to do something thoughtful for your partner on a regular basis.

Spend time together in mutually enjoyable activities.

These kindnesses can be small but important things such as doing an extra chore around the house, or giving your partner an unexpected flower, or an inexpensive gift. After all, having a good time together is the very cornerstone of friendship … and happy marriages.

[If you try to force a flower to open, you will damage it; however, if you nurture it with good soil, water and sunlight … it will open itself up to you. It is the same with relationships.]

One who has peace within, will be at peace with others.

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