Marriage In A Box Logo


Written by Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists, the Marriage in a Box blog shares insights into common relationship struggles, gives ideas for moving beyond the roadblocks, and helps you find your path to happiness – both individually and within your relationship.

Is Your Spouse Keeping Secrets From You?

Everyone keeps Secrets, and research shows that people keep around thirteen of them on average. Researchers found that the most common secrets involve behavior or romantic thoughts about someone outside the confines of your primary relationship. But all secrets, big and small, profoundly affect you and your marriage whether you notice it or not.

Tip: 3 Ways to Spot a Secret

  1. You're hiding something on purpose.
  2. There is shame or fear about sharing it with your partner.
  3. It would upset your partner if they discovered that you hid it.

Secrecy is not Privacy.

Privacy is about having a life you don't share with others; secrecy is about intentionally hiding information. It is probably in the secret category if you feel shame or fear about something you're not sharing with your spouse.

Why Do Partners Keep Secrets from Each other?

Keeping secrets within a relationship can create conflict or embarrassment. People keep secrets because they fear that their partners won't be able to love them if they know the truth. People believe that the anger, shame, or humiliation their partner would feel would alienate them and push them away from the relationship. Secrecy deprives family members of the information that could have enabled them to act to prevent a future problem.

Keeping Secrets Could Destroy Your Relationship.

Typical secrets reported include money troubles, viewing pornography, and various forms of betrayal, such as infidelity. Experts agree that secrets can cause broken trust and are hard to repair. When your partner withholds essential information from you regardless of their reasons, it's normal to feel betrayed. For many, any form of deceit can be a deal-breaker. Feeling guilty or uneasy about not disclosing information to them is a red flag that you need to do so. When people keep secrets, they impede communication between themselves and their loved ones, creating stilted, unnatural conversations because so much overthinking is involved to ensure they are not revealing the lie.

Determine What to Share with Your Spouse and What Not To.

Things You Should Not Keep Secret from Your Spouse

Examples of these truths include job loss, debt, infidelity, addictions, health diagnoses, and any other information that could damage (or do further harm) the trust between you and your spouse. Often, people keep significant truths secret from one another because they don't want to harm others.

Private Issues That Could Harm Your Relationship with Your Spouse.

Privacy can be a boundary around one's thoughts, ideas, and past experiences that don't directly involve one's partner. A secret is misleading and intentionally kept hidden from them for fear of judgment or reprisal. It would affect their well-being emotionally, spiritually, physically, or financially. Privacy becomes harmful when your partner is affected by the secret.

Some examples of this:

  • They are not paying bills, harboring financial debt, or borrowing money without their knowledge.
  • Work issues include knowing you might be losing your job or considering a job change that will affect your shared lifestyle.
  • Addiction.
  • Health issues that will affect them.
  • Relationships or affairs.

This three-question test will help you decide whether you need to disclose information to your partner.

  1. How would you feel if your partner held a similar secret and didn't tell you?
  2. What is your motive for sharing, and what is your reason for not sharing? Are those reasons in line with your values?
  3. Have you discussed how you each feel and think about Privacy and secrecy? Can you discuss the information in mind without going into specifics so that you reach a mutual agreement on where you should draw the lines?

Some of the following issues may be better to keep to yourself such as:

  • Past lovers or times spent with someone else are better left unsaid. Many relationship experts feel that health is the only topic to discuss regarding past relationships, although some people love stories about old lovers.
  • Things that someone has confided only in you.
  • Thoughts about a best friend or a business colleague being especially hot are best unspoken.
  • Secret complaints about something their partner cannot change about themselves: body hair, introverted tendencies, or you wish they had gotten their teeth straightened when they were a kid.

Discuss Expectations and Boundaries about Honesty, Openness, and Privacy with Your Spouse.

 If you've never discussed expectations, boundaries, honesty, openness, and Privacy with your spouse, it would be beneficial to do so. As a couple, you'll want to establish boundaries and expectations that work for you. You can decide what life details you wish to share and what information might be better left unsaid.

If you feel uncomfortable or uneasy because you cannot trust your partner, then deciding not to take them back is logical. A quality life needs a sense of security. Keeping secrets or lying to a partner risks losing their trust and jeopardizing your relationship.

Marriage In a Box is a great resource that gives you access to the simple tools, techniques, and solutions professional marriage counselors use for typical relationship issues. Marriage coaching is also available on the site. You can set goals and earn rewards. Feel free to check out the available kit and sources of information online.

Posted 10/19/2022

Can You Change a Suffocating Marriage?

Signs of a suffocating relationship can take several forms. It can be that a needy partner craves so much attention that they can't see friends or family. A codependent relationship can excessively demand your time and energy. People may become resentful, feel trapped, and erect walls if they neglect personal wants in favor of their spouse. A stifling relationship can rob the joy of a healthy romantic partnership and become toxic.

Your Partner is Keeping Tabs on You.

Enmeshment in a relationship can have symptoms of blurred boundaries like micromanaging and excessive control. Indeed, you should always talk to your partner before making major life decisions, but you shouldn't have to speak to them about every detail. If you're in a relationship with an enmeshment style of attachment, set small limits on your partner's control by making small, daily choices without consulting them first. 

Your Partner is Jealous.

Jealousy is a feeling of anger when someone thinks another person is trying to get their partner's attention. Jealousy is a desire to control someone to whom you're attached. If your partner borders on irrational jealousy, it can become toxic if they obsess about who you're with when you're not with them. Jealousy can make your partner insecure and anxious about whether your feelings for them are authentic.

Your Partner Uses Manipulation to Get What They Want.

Manipulation is an attempt by an individual to influence someone's emotions to get them to act in a way to get what they want. Every human is subject to manipulating others to get what they want, especially in close or casual relationships. Using guilt or feigning illness are common tactics that prevent you from interacting with family or friends or enjoying time independently. The manipulator may be consuming all of your time already and may want to isolate you, which will cause feelings of suffocation.

Small Ways to Fix a Suffocating Marriage

Express your concerns to Your Partner

One of the most important things to fix the experience of emotional suffocation is expressing your feelings openly about violating your boundaries so they can see the relationship through your eyes. If your partner isn't aware that they're being suffocating, chances are they won't do anything about it. It can be even more significant if they're aware of your needs and aren't listening.

Open communication with mutual respect is essential to every healthy relationship. When discussing boundaries with your partner, be honest and understanding about what you and your partner are comfortable with or not. Consider writing down your expectations to see what you want when sharing them with your partner. Open communication about how certain behaviors affect you lets your partner know what's wrong so they can fix it.

Set solid boundaries

Each partner should set specific personal boundaries at the beginning of the relationship and when attempting to repair current damages. These boundaries need to be firm, without allowances for crossing the lines, or there is a possibility of ending the partnership.

Take back your privacy.

It's okay to celebrate milestones, special occasions, and even good news on social media if everyone agrees and knows it's happening. Decide what you will share with family and friends or on social media and what will be kept personal.

Work on re-developing a sense of independence.

Couples should make significant decisions as a team. If one person makes all the decisions, the cycle of feeling suffocated can start in a relationship. To break free from the pattern, limit your mate's "policing" capacity and choose to make daily decisions independently.

Encouraging your partner to have fun with friends or family or engage in hobbies or activities independently will display trust in your mate. Your spouse may see they can also trust you to do activities alone without the occurrence of anything improper.

Freely share your opinion.

It's healthy for couples to share their opinions on different topics and agree to disagree. Being able to share views is a beneficial element of good relationships. Loving couples disagree on many subjects, but it doesn't have to affect their feelings for each other.

Take time each day for yourself.

Pamper yourself and do things you enjoy to refuel positive energy and relieve stress (hobbies, sports, spa time, etc.).

Reinforce the Importance of Trust.

If you're in a committed relationship for a while and still feel it's hard to be alone, you may want to look at what's happening. Reconnecting to your individuality will be very hard if you continue this way, and it will feel impossible to respect theirs. Building a relationship of trust will help you avoid feeling smothered.

If your partnership is beginning to drain you or cause resentment towards your mate, consuming every moment of your time and having unreasonable expectations, you're experiencing a suffocating relationship. Partners can learn to effectively communicate their needs and wants and show mutual respect and commitment to one another.

Work on your relationship together in the privacy of your home! Download Marriage in a Box's e-book "Marriage: Fix it or Leave It" by Maria Sappe, LMFT. Marriage In A Box is also a great resource that gives you access to the simple tools, techniques, and solutions professional marriage counselors use for typical relationship issues. Marriage coaching is also available on the site. Check it out online.

Posted 10/12/2022

Finding Common Ground In Your Marriage

Remember when you were dating and couldn't wait to spend time together? In those days, you both had so many things in commo n. You were drawn to the same types of activities. Many Sunday afternoons, you would spend hours just talking about things you were going to do someday and genuinely enjoying each other's company.

Now that you have been married for several years, it may seem like you have drifted apart. You might not share many things or have the same interests in common anymore. You probably can't remember the last time you spent hours together just talking. What happened?

How do couples go from being so in tune to entirely out of sync?

When couples are out of sync, they may not be speaking the same love language. We all use "languages" to express our love for those we are close to, such as affirming words, quality time, touch, doing acts of service, and gift giving or receiving. Looking at these areas, you can see how you and your partner match or differ, which may cause gaps in relating. Learning to communicate in your partner's love language will feel more natural as you practice.

There are many reasons why relationships don't endure.

 Research suggests that the main reasons relationships fail are losing trust and intimacy, communication issues, lacking respect, and having different priorities, which lead to neglecting to spend quality time together. Relationships composed of lying, jealousy, and infidelity are centered on mistrust, an insecure foundation that makes it hard to endure. When you can't find a compromise or be able to stay on one path together, your relationship will suffer.

Six Steps to Finding Your Common Ground Again.

1.    Acknowledge how you are feeling to your partner. Communicate.

Gently let your partner know how you are feeling and that you don't feel as close to them as you once were. Ask if there is anything that can help you bond together again, and try to open up a conversation that allows both partners to share their issues.

2.    Recognize Your Partner's Emotional Needs. Recommit to your Partner.

Everyone needs to feel loved, safe with and desired by their partner. Couples often mindlessly ignore each other's emotional needs. To feel more connected with your partner, learn to recognize the importance of opportunities to connect positively rather than criticize, be romantic, give praise or help out. These moments are essential to building trust and intimacy in your relationship.

3.    Schedule a date night once per week.

 Prioritize date nights by doing something you enjoy and having quality time together to deepen your emotional connection. Talk and share as you used to do when you were dating. It's important not to forget that you still have fun together.

4.    If You Think You Know What Your Partner is Feeling or Thinking, Don't Assume. Ask.

It is wise not to assume your partner's thoughts and feelings but to ask and create an atmosphere for open and honest sharing. Are you aware of your partner's worries, stresses, hopes, aspirations, and goals? Using the following keys to get to know your spouse better and share your inner self is a lifelong process.

  1. Ask questions
  2. Remember the answers
  3. Keep asking questions

5.    Learn to Accept Your Partner, Warts, and all.

We all have personality flaws. Rather than focus on your partner's inadequacies, learn to accept them and express what you cherish about them. Try to use appreciation over criticism; your partner will feel an emotional connection. Often, the seemingly insignificant moments of unity are the most significant.

6.    Turn back toward your Partner. Respond to their cues for attention.

Bids for attention are attempts to connect with our partners and can be verbal or nonverbal. If we respond favorably to these bids, they will feel appreciated, acknowledged, and given affection. How we respond to these bids for attention in our relationships is critical. Research has found that couples whose marriages endured frequently turned towards each other and created closeness and responsiveness, thus making connections.

 One thing that prevents couples from breaking up is to hold your partner in high esteem and provide emotional, psychological, and physical intimacy for each other. The partners in these relationships effectively deal with conflict and give their partners the benefit of the doubt.

Sometimes you feel out of sync with your partner, but it doesn't always mean you have fallen out of love. It simply means that communication issues may undermine feelings of intimacy and connection with each other, even in our closest relationships. No relationship is perfect, but if your difficult moments outweigh the good ones, it is time to evaluate your relationship.

If you want to work on your relationship, download Marriage in a Box's eBook "Marriage: Fix it or Leave It" by Maria Sappe, LMFT. Marriage In a Box is also a great resource that gives you access to the simple tools, techniques, and solutions professional marriage counselors use for typical relationship issues. Marriage coaching is also available on the site.

Posted 9/28/2022

Do You Have A Hurt-Free Zone In Your Marriage?

Being in a relationship isn't always easy. In the beginning, you may float above the clouds together, but it's not unusual to experience stormy times and arguments further down the road. Conflict can be healthy and help you and your partner better understand and meet each other's needs. If disputes are not dealt with correctly, they can escalate into something more difficult to bounce back from or repair. Frustrations can arise from many things but taking it out only on your partner is unfair to them.

Examples of frustrating language are "You're always getting on my nerves" or "You never help me." Using always and never makes your partner feel like they are always hurting you and makes you think internally that your partner is the root cause of all your problems. Marital problems can be intense and painful, and hurts can go deep and last a long time.

What is a Hurt-Free Zone?

  Making a hurt-free zone calls for a period of "relationship stabilization," where certain types of marriage-destroying communication and interactions are not allowed to continue and can have a powerful effect on relationships in just a few days. If trying to save a marriage, with or without a counselor, setting up your hurt-free zone is a critical step in the emotional repair process you must do as a couple. The most destructive communication pattern is criticism and defensiveness, leading to emotional shutdowns and "relationship contempt."

How to Create a Hurt-Free Zone in your Marriage

Rule #1: Use "I Feel Words.." rather than "You did this. Words"

"I feel" statements convey how the communicator feels and helps minimize defensiveness, hostility, and conflict. Using feeling statements helps people assert themselves. I-statements should state how the communicator feels, is connected to an issue, and offer possible solutions. Research suggests that I-messages improve communication, are used in therapy interventions by professionals, and minimize the risk of arguing and hostility.

Examples of "I Feel" Statements

Instead of saying, "You never let me say what I want to do." you say: "I feel frustrated when we talk about planning activities, and I don't get to say where I would like to go." It's best if both partners have input.

Rule #2: No Criticism or Name Calling is allowed.

Everyone hates Criticism. Couples often default to this behavior and feel licensed to do so because they know each other's flaws, lose patience and get annoyed with them. They may belittle, badger, and blame each other in ways they'd never do with friends, even though they know it's harmful. Criticism can have adverse effects because it makes the partner feel assaulted, rejected, and hurt.

 Couples fear that if they agree to stop criticizing, they won't be able to have a conversation about agreements or broken promises. A better approach is appreciatively voicing a complaint which is less off putting. Criticism attacks a person's character. Our brains seem wired with a built-in negative bias. Our brains tend to place weight on the negative automatically. Using sarcasm in a romantic relationship can often be a subtle criticism and can adversely affect your partner.

Rule #3: Never Raise Your Voice.

Anger is a natural feeling; it is only harmful if channeled in unhealthy ways. Raising one's voice in an argument shows desperation and a loss of control. The couple can enter an emotional realm conducive to mental and physical violence. If you say what you mean firmly and mean what you speak with your spouse regularly, then that statement alone will be treated with the seriousness it deserves. An example would be simply saying, "I am angry," as a safer way to convey feelings. As mentioned, a man should never yell at his significant other. Most men are stronger than the women in their life, so ending a disagreement by introducing the specter of violence is cowardly, wrong, and very detrimental to the relationship's health.

Rule #4: Don't Make Assumptions-Ask.

To understand your spouse, accurately ask questions, clarify, and express what you want. Clear communication with others helps avoid misunderstandings and drama.

Rule #5: When Your Spouse Speaks to you-Actively listen.

Sometimes distractions cause you to stop listening because your mind prioritized something else or a phone was buzzing. Your nervous system is busy integrating an endless world of stimuli, and your conscious mind struggles to keep up. Everyone faces other thoughts or activities that can divert your attention quickly and unconsciously. Active listening shows caring. It's easy to take the human being you're talking to for granted. A way to redirect your focus is to help you stop half-listening and start actively listening. It is a practice of seeing the other person in a higher light as wise and intelligent, as if you were talking to the Queen. In this way, your partner will feel listened to and respected.


Marriage In A Box is a great resource that gives you access to the simple tools, techniques, and solutions professional marriage counselors use for typical relationship issues. Marriage coaching is also available on the site. You can set goals and earn rewards. Feel free to check out the available kit and sources of information online.

As a "neutral" third party, a professional counselor or therapist can serve as a safety point to help guide, contain, and consider feelings (anger/guilt/fear), examine causes and resiliency, and help work through conflicts if needed.

Posted 9/21/2022

Can You Avoid Conflict In Your Marriage?

It is inevitable in a marriage that you will have conflict. How you handle conflict can affect the health of the relationship. We choose whether a conflict will lead to damage or a time to explore new ideas, approaches, and solutions for managing the dispute better. Reaching a middle ground is not something that comes easily to a couple. It takes practice and a conscious effort to ensure you don't burn bridges with your spouse and save yourself from lingering, debilitating bitterness.

Strategies for Healthy Conflict Resolution

Know yourself. How do you handle conflict?

Examine your thoughts and feelings about your marriage as they determine your attitudes about your marriage. Your thoughts and body language are vital in handling conflict, as they can inspire hope or negativity, and direct your behavior. Often the motive is to get the other person to serve one's purposes and is rooted in selfishness that leads to manipulation. It is easy to push hot buttons with negative words and behavior, which may cause someone to react negatively. It is best if communication is a calm, purposeful, thoughtful process.

If you need a time out for calming, it is essential to ask for this. It is best to use I feel statements to tell how things made you feel or use phrases like “It made me angry when …or It hurt my feelings when …” to discuss your emotions productively. Explain the effect of the behavior and express your expectations. Using open-ended questions starting with "how" or "what"; can help draw your spouse into a discussion. Try to manage your behavior instead of controlling your spouse's behavior.

Is it worth an argument, or can you let it go?

Relationship problems can arise and hinder communication with your partner. Contemptuous feelings and interactions, defensiveness, and criticism are traits fed by refusal to listen and come to a compromise. These attitudes and actions can lead to a breakdown in relationships and may ignore your partner's side of the conflict because of the desire to be correct.

 Research shows that conflict can bring two partners closer together when handled constructively. Walking away and saying nothing is not a good option because the other person may feel they're being punished and doesn't let them know that you will return later. It may help to take a time-out and talk when things are calm.

Believe in your spouse despite doubt.

Believing in your partner despite doubt shows a sense of caring and understanding in your relationship and dramatically strengthens it. It conveys a sense of having faith and trust in your partner, and they will feel closer and more appreciated by you. This will, in turn, help them give you the benefit of the doubt.

One issue at a time, please.

Focusing on one issue will help keep things calmer, as discussing multiple problems at once will increase your chances of getting angry. Bringing up issues from the past as a weapon will not lead to a solution and will cause damage. It is best if you can deal with one point at a time and plan to deal with unresolved problems from the past another time.

Don't dwell on the conflict.

Exit an argument earlier than you think you need to.

You know yourself and your body better than anyone else, so once you feel tensed up and your thoughts start to boil, walk away. If anger increases, leaving the argument will become more difficult and steer you away from remaining calm.

Try to come to a compromise.

If you are fighting to be "right" or "win" in an argument, take a moment to stop and think if winning this battle is worth it; maybe cooperation and compromise is the real winner of this battle. Reaching a middle ground consensus doesn't come easily to a couple. It takes practice and calm, thoughtful effort to ensure you are both satisfied with the choices you make.

Marriage In a Box is a great resource that gives you access to the simple tools, techniques, and solutions professional marriage counselors use for typical relationship issues. Marriage coaching is also available on the site. You can set goals and earn rewards. Feel free to check out the available kit and sources of information online.

As a "neutral" third party, a professional counselor or therapist can serve as a safety point to help guide, contain, and consider feelings such as anger, guilt, or fear. They will examine causes and help you work through conflicts if needed.

Posted 9/14/2022

The Price of Cheating on Your Marriage

Research shows that there's no on e thing we can point to that triggers infidelity in a happy relationship. Both men and women are susceptible to temptation regarding having affairs. Statistics show how frequently unfaithfulness occurs between the sexes and how attitudes about cheating vary.

  1. 21% of men have been unfaithful to their spouse or significant other.
  2. Women tend to cheat less, with only 15% acknowledging an affair in a current or previous relationship which reflects a 40% increase over the past two decades.
  3. 74% of men say they'd step out on their partners if they knew they could get away with it.
  4. 68% of women said they would have an affair if there were no chance of their current partner finding out.

Why does a Spouse Have an Extra Marital Affair?

Infidelity has many causes that are complex and varied and occurs in happy relationships as well as in troubled ones. Most affairs are due to relational dissatisfaction, but they can also happen with low self-esteem. Good relationships are balanced in their give and take, and when out of balance, it may lead the partner to look elsewhere. Other infidelity reasons include relationship deficits such as a lack of affection or a social standard that condones cheating.

Those vulnerable to infidelity are conflict avoidant, have a fear of intimacy, or have life changes like parenthood and an empty nest. Some dissatisfied partners begin to exit an unhappy relationship and rewrite their life with a new relationship. Multiple affairs may be a symptom of sex, love, or romance addiction. More recently, Emotional affairs have emerged due to social media and technology and involve secrecy, deception, and possible sexual intercourse.

What Happens When the Other Spouse Finds Out About the Affair?

  • Even if the partner suspects something wrong, they are still shocked to discover the truth about the affair.
  • The betrayed partner may have bouts of anger, anxiety, and mood swings, and self-esteem may suffer. The wounded spouse will need a lot of patience and emotional support.
  • Loss of Trust - When there is betrayal in a relationship, trust is damaged.
  • The partner will struggle with whether to stay or leave the relationship. If they remain, they will need a lot of time and patience to repair broken trust. They may micro-manage time and check their partner's texts, emails, and ask questions.

Cheating Spouses Must Cope with What they Have Done.

  • The unfaithful spouse should never blame their partner for their decisions and behavior and take full responsibility if they want to restore the relationship or put themselves in a better place for relationships in the future.
  • Avoiding the temptation to cheat again must be done. "If you want your marriage to survive, commit to ending all communication with the other person involved.
  • Guilt tends to be about the person feeling the emotion. If someone cheats in a relationship, they may feel guilty and ashamed because of judgment for what they did.
  • Remorse is an emotion that comes from genuine empathy for the pain the other person feels because of your actions. Someone who feels remorse understands and regrets what they did and the pain it caused someone else.

Can A Marriage Be Rebuilt After an Affair?

Factors that Need to Be Considered include:

Impact on the Children

The lasting effects on children who grow up with infidelity affect their future romantic relationships and their ability to trust. Be mindful of your children, as their feelings matter, and adultery can impact them. Avoid giving children too many details about what happened, but honesty is essential. If they see you working through your mistakes, this can be a positive and vital life lesson.

What will be necessary to rebuild the marriage:

  1. A sincere remorseful apology is needed to begin the restoration process of safety, shared values between the partners, and a promise of change.
  2. A willingness to forgive and believe in the other's sincere regret and desire to change is needed for a couple to move on.
  3. Avoiding the temptation to cheat again and commit to ending all communication with the person with whom you were unfaithful.
  4. A resilience to trauma will require flexibility to engage in different coping types to overcome it and move forward. As healing begins, it is essential to have clarification as requests come forward, including details and dates, rather than ruminating, obsessing, or interrogating the betraying partner endlessly.
  5. Reset the trust point by honesty, non-blaming examination of the state of the relationship and its issues before the affair. It is vital to discuss the wants and needs of each partner in a newly repaired marriage, renewing love for themselves and each other and leaving the affair behind.

A Marriage Counselor Can Help

As a neutral third party, a professional counselor/therapist can help guide safely, contain, and consider both partners' feelings. Also, therapy for children involved in infidelity is beneficial if you see increased anxiety, depression, anger, or behavioral issues.

Marriage In a Box can give you access to the simple tools, techniques, and solutions professional marriage counselors use for typical relationship issues. Marriage coaching is also available on the site. You can set goals and earn rewards. Feel free to check out the available kit and sources of information online.

Posted 9/6/2022

How To Stop Being A Smothering Spouse

Smothering someone in a marriage relationship is detrimental to the marriage. Planting a flower in a shady, dry ground stifles its growth. Eventually the flower will die if it cannot freely receive sunlight and water. Stifling your spouse’s growth by smothering them can cause them to run in the other direction. Every marriage requires a balance between togetherness and freedom to be yourself.


  1. You need to talk to them every day, every hour that they are not around you.

Constant phone calls and text messages all day long might be sweet the first week of your marriage. After that, it is just downright annoying. At some point, they will be forced to avoid your phone calls and stop answering your texts so they can get their daily work done. You are setting your relationship up for failure.

  1. You are jealous of his or her friends.

A lot of people who are extremely jealous partners get that way because they don't feel secure in their relationship or have underlying self-esteem issues to make them act that way. When you get very jealous and try to "wedge" yourself between your partner and their friends, you're going to end up smothering the relationship to death.

  1. You feel the needs to control your partner’s life

The need for controlling a partner in a relationship doesn't come from a place of love; it comes from a place of anxiety. It's a sign that you're anxious that your partner will leave, cheat, or otherwise hurt you. Controlling them will lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy.

  1. You need to know every little detail of where your partner has been, who they’re with, or what they’re up to?

Pumping your spouse for answers to every little detail of their day is not sweet or loving. It is a sign that you do not trust your partner. Has your partner cheated on you or given you a reason to distrust them? If not, your incessant questioning will likely drive them away from the relationship.

  1. You Feel Your Partner is Your Life

Expecting your partner to be your everything only puts a lot of pressure on them and ends up making you feel crazy. It's not an attractive quality. You're not contributing anything to the relationship because you do not have any outside interests or friends of your own. You're smothering your partner through your expectations.

If any of these signs sound familiar, you are smothering your partner. When someone feels smothered, they do not enjoy being around the person smothering them. They aren’t happy in the relationship and will start getting irritable with you and seeking ways to avoid you. Eventually, they will seek a way out of the relationship.

The best chance you have of saving your marriage is to stop smothering your spouse.

Have an open an honest conversation with your spouse and admit that your behavior has been smothering.

Find a convenient time to talk with your spouse when you won’t be interrupted and ask if you may speak with them about your behavior. Come clean about your behavior. Don’t give excuses or reasons to try to justify your behavior, just admit that you know you have been smothering them with different actions.

Apologize and ask for forgiveness.

When you wrong your spouse, you need to own up to it. Apologize for treating your spouse that way and ask if they can forgive you. They may not be able to forgive you right away, but you need to ask them for forgiveness to let them know you regret your behavior. Reassure them that you love them and want your marriage to work.

Work out a plan together to put a stop to your smothering behavior.

Tell your spouse that you want to stop your smothering behavior and will need their help to do it. Ask them what things make them feel smothered. It may be hard to hear, but you need to know what specific things make them feel smothered so that you can focus on ways to stop those behaviors. Ask for their understanding and patience while you trying to work on your behavior.

Brainstorm things you can do to help stop your smothering behavior.

  1. Have Your Partner Set Clear Boundaries.

Ask your partner to make clear the amount of time alone they need to do things with friends, work out, or just do your own thing. Make it a very specific amount so that you have a clear expectation of when you will see each other again.

  1. Redirect your attention to things you are passionate about.

Look for classes at a local community center or college that you can join to develop an interest in something outside of your relationship. It will help you meet new people and find something you can devote your time to.

  1. Schedule Date Nights.

Regular date nights introduce healthy couples time into your marriage.  Use the time to go out to dinner, go see a play, go do things together. Talk about things that drew you together and try to rekindle the initial attraction.

Learn More About easy marriage therapy exercises you can do together.

Posted 8/24/2022

How to Build a Business With Your Spouse

How to Build a Business With Your Spouse

If you and your spouse have decided to go into business together, you'll have to balance regular business start-up requirements with some special considerations. You'll need to be meticulous in your plans and not forget that your business partner is also your romantic partner. Read on for some tips and tricks.

Write a Business Plan

As you and your spouse develop your business idea, take the time to write up a business plan together. This can actually improve your chances of business success and help you stay on track. Begin by describing your business, and include plenty of information about your products and services, your business's structure, tasks and roles, funding and financial projections, and marketing. You can make revisions over time, for a business plan is really a living document, so be flexible.

Find Space for Your Business

Perhaps the two of you are considering starting a home-based business. If so, you must make sure your current home is large enough to accommodate that business. If it isn't large enough, consider buying a larger home.

If you're a first-time buyer, determine what you can afford, and get pre-approved for a mortgage before you start your house hunt. You might also hire a real estate agent to guide your search and the purchase process. Check out some potential homes online, and select a few to visit. Just be sure they have enough space for your business.

Market Your Business

When you get your business up and running, you and your spouse will have to begin your marketing routine. Build a website and set up social media pages. Make those sites extra eye-catching by adding a banner to boost brand awareness. You can create one with a free banner design tool. Just select a template and customize it with your own text, colors, and fonts. You could even add in animation or a short video.

Then put your banner on your Facebook page, YouTube channel, and Twitter feed as well as your website. Don't neglect more traditional forms of marketing either, such as newspaper ads, posters, and word of mouth.

Balance Work and Life

When you work with your spouse in a business, you must be careful to find a balance between work and life. Set specific hours for your business and try to wrap up work at the right time so that you can relax with each other. Watch for increasing tension and make an effort to manage your stress levels so that tension doesn't wreak havoc on your relationship. Set aside time for date nights, enjoyable activities, and vacations. This helps you maintain your romantic relationship even in the midst of your business partnership.

Build Your Business

You and your spouse can build a strong, healthy business that you both enjoy running. Just be sure to write up a detailed business plan and find enough space for your business (even if that means moving to a new house). Market your business well but also balance life and work to keep your relationship strong.

If you’re dealing with relationship struggles, visit Marriage In A Box to learn marriage therapy techniques that can dramatically improve your relationship.

Posted 8/20/2022

Long-term solutions to the most common relationship struggles.

See how it works