Marriage Maintenance: Help Your Relationship Thrive and Prepare for the Empty Nest

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal “The Nest is Empty So Why Aren’t We Having Fun Yet”?  highlighted the importance of what I call “Marriage Maintenance”.  With patients who report having difficulty in their marriage, about the importance of maintaining their relationship, I often ask, “Do you maintain your house, paint it, or fix it when there are any problems such as plumbing or roofing?”  “Of course”, says the patient sitting across from me, “It’s important to maintain my house”.  Well, a marriage is the same.   Often, once the honeymoon period is over and kids come into the picture, the time and energy and effort spent keeping the marriage fresh, happy, and maintained decreases exponentially.  Date nights no longer occur.  Instead, they are replaced by childcare, work or other activities that leave the couple stressed or exhausted or both.  The WSJ article quoted a sobering statistic that 1 in 4 people ages 50 and over get divorced and most of this is caused by withdrawal of at least one member of the couple.

One patient a few years ago told me that he takes his wife out on a date rain or shine, “every Friday night”.  He explained that this is a standing date and nothing gets in the way.  Not surprising, he had no issues or complaints about his wife or their relationship.

Balance is the key to a good relationship.  It is important to make time for activities on your own as individuals with your friends and also time together as a couple. Communication is also important.  When your partner turns to you and says they want more time with you, don’t ignore this request or take it lightly.  Connecting emotionally is important for the lifetime of the relationship and allows for healthy sex life and life after the kids have moved out.  The nest will be happy as well as its inhabitants.

Cut Thanksgiving Stress in Four Easy Steps

The holidays are supposed to be a welcome break from the stresses of work. However, for some who are returning home to break bread with their families, often find themselves frustrated and stressed as they attempt to deal with family issues and old dysfunctional patterns of behavior.  Holidays can also be difficult for an individual who has lost a family member or whose family or a support network is far away.  Link to the article.

The economy is still trying to recover and for many, the holidays are an in your face reminder that budgets are still tight and gift giving is difficult.  The holidays are also a difficult time for those trying to manage their weight.  Trying to say no to Aunt Jenny’s apple pie can be quite difficult when trying to count carbs especially when you know she makes great pies. A  recent article published by  the American Psychological Association has helpful holiday tips for parents with young children and those watching their waist lines. Link to the article.