Marriage In A Box Logo


Navigating Addiction as a Couple: Rebuilding Trust and Connection

In the challenging journey of overcoming addiction as a couple, there are crucial steps to take to ensure your relationship remains strong and supportive. This article provides valuable advice for couples facing addiction, helping them navigate the path to recovery while maintaining their bond.

Seek Professional Help Together

Couples therapy can be a game-changer. A skilled therapist from Marriage In A Box can guide you both in addressing individual struggles and healing as a unit. This safe space fosters open discussions and equips you with tools to manage challenges effectively. It's important to understand that addiction affects not only the individual but also the dynamics of the relationship. Seeking professional help acknowledges the complexity of the situation and allows for tailored strategies to mend both partners' wounds.

Prioritize Open and Honest Communication

Successful recovery relies on transparent dialogue. Sharing thoughts, fears, and progress helps rebuild trust. Acknowledge mistakes and celebrate milestones, fostering an environment of understanding and empathy. Communication isn't just about talking – it's about active listening, compassion, and vulnerability. When both partners can openly express their feelings without fear of judgment, it paves the way for healing and connection.

Establish Clear Boundaries and Expectations

Clearly define what behaviors are acceptable and what are not. Set boundaries that protect both partners and the relationship. This provides a sense of security and structure during the recovery process. Boundaries can range from agreeing on sobriety expectations to outlining how conflicts should be resolved. When a partner knows their role in supporting the other's recovery, it minimizes misunderstandings and reduces triggers.

Avoid Ultimatums and Threats

Recovery is delicate; threats or ultimatums can backfire. Instead, focus on encouragement and support. Let your partner know that you're committed to the relationship, regardless of the challenges. Ultimatums can create a hostile environment and may even push your partner further into addiction. Your support should be unconditional, while also respecting the need for personal responsibility in the recovery journey.

Embrace the Present Moment

Concentrate on the here and now. Dwelling on past mistakes can hinder progress. By focusing on the present, you can actively work on healing and rebuilding together. Addiction recovery is a step-by-step process, and each moment counts. While acknowledging the past is important, fixating on it can prevent both partners from fully engaging in the present moment and making positive changes.

Highlight the Positive

Celebrate the positive aspects of your relationship and life. Gratitude and appreciation counterbalance the difficulties you're facing. Cultivate joy in shared experiences to fortify your bond. Finding moments of joy amid the challenges reinforces the notion that the relationship is worth fighting for. Shared laughter and positive memories strengthen the emotional connection between partners.

Consider Inpatient Treatment if Addiction Continues

If addiction is severe and you’re unable to quit, inpatient treatment at rehabilitation centers in New York City might be necessary. It's crucial to evaluate potential centers based on accommodations, accreditations, treatment modalities, and location. Past patient reviews can offer valuable insights into the center's effectiveness. Inpatient treatment provides the intensive support required for a successful recovery, especially in cases of severe addiction. Seeking professional help signifies strength and commitment to personal healing and the well-being of your relationship.

Overcoming addiction as a couple is a challenging journey, but with the right strategies, you can strengthen your relationship and achieve lasting recovery. Through couples therapy, open communication, and more, you can build a healthier, more resilient partnership. If needed, inpatient treatment can provide the intensive support required for successful recovery. Remember, you're not alone – the path to healing is navigable together. By approaching the recovery process as a united front, you can emerge from the shadows of addiction and into a brighter, healthier future as a couple.

Posted 1/31/2024

Are You Truly Communicating With Your Spouse?

Marriage problems can arise in many ways, strike at the heart of a marriage, and cause communication to break down. A communication breakdown between couples can occur when they fail to communicate or reach a stalemate about disagreements or misunderstandings healthily. Effectively communicating with your spouse is essential to offset frustration and anger in your relationship and leads to greater happiness. 

External factors can influence your connection negatively, but determining the cause and working to fix it with the right attitude and healthy communication is what matters. So, connect with your partner and share meaningful conversations with your spouse while avoiding strife. Engage with your partner and remember that communication is a binding factor to keep your marriage intact.

Shouting is not Communicating!

It is easier to raise the volume of your voice than to calmly talk when you are upset as you speak to your spouse. Shouting triggers the fight-or-flight response, creates a lot of negative emotion, and doesn't get your point across effectively because the focus shifts from the topic at hand to the conflict. It could also incite an argument or make the other person want to leave. Remaining calm fosters a more loving atmosphere with more opportunities to connect.

Remember that Winning is not the Goal.

Realize that you're not in it to win it. Winning an argument means that by default, one of you gets to feel good, and the other is left feeling wounded, and that's not a healthy approach for any marriage. A spiteful mindset destroys good communication, and It's easy to fall into a mindset of wanting to get even or get your point across to win the fight. Instead of getting caught up in conflict, try to have the mindset that you are a team and are in this together. The key to healthy communication is finding a solution that makes you both win together.

Communication is More than just talking; It also means Listening.

Not listening to each other is a real problem when your relationship is rough. It can be a time when frustration and tension boil over, and you both want to communicate your point. When communicating with your spouse, listen to their words, tone, and voice pitch, and note body language and expressions. Research links attentive listening to coping more effectively and relationship satisfaction. Consider stepping back to listen to what your partner has to say. Then, take turns talking without interruption instead of trying to make your point

Communication should be a Discussion.

Interactions between you and your spouse involve how you convey thoughts, ideas, and feelings. Verbal ability to communicate with your spouse can enhance the relationship between the two of you. Communication should be a discussion between partners, not a debate involving preconceived notions about what is happening between you. Communication in personal relationships is all about partners collaborating and being willing to compromise through sharing perceptions, feelings, and ideas to understand what is happening between them.

10 Steps to Improved Communication with Your Spouse

  1. Be comfortable – Stay neutral on hot topics you discuss and use good timing. For example, don't talk about upsetting things in bed.

  2. Pay full attention. Turn off distractions and lean into your partner, using connective body language to avoid creating distance.

  3. Make eye contact without staring down your spouse, but don't send a message that you're afraid; avoid eye wandering.

  4. Use "I statements" such as I feel like this when… Indicate your awareness about being responsible for your thoughts and behavior.

  5. Invite your partner to share their perceptions and be empathetic and non-judgmental. 

  6. Don't interrupt! Stay focused, attentive, and connected. Even if you don’t particularly like or disagree with what is said. 

  7. Reflect, check, and clarify what you think your partner is saying by repeating what you hear to ensure you hear the overall message correctly. 

  8. Use language that sounds collaborative and recognize that when there are two of you in a room, there's also a third entity present—the relationship. Focus on what is best for the relationship.

  9. If there's a problem that you are trying to solve, communicate your ideas for solutions with tentativeness. For example, use terms like, I'm stuck. What do we need to do next?

  10.  Keep the communication flowing, be willing to listen, and don't be afraid to say you don't know something.

Couples need good communication skills to survive. Verbal and nonverbal communication is essential to marriage success. If you struggle in this area and want to know more, consider using Marriage In a Box as a resource for helpful suggestions and guidance.

Marriage In a Box provides access to tools and techniques professionals use for relationship issues. You can set goals, earn rewards, and find marriage coaching on the site. Check out the available kit and sources of information online.


Posted 1/10/2024

Do You Struggle with Effective Communication in Your Marriage?

A couple's communication pattern can often determine the success of a relationship. Good communication enhances your relationship in various ways: 

●     Couples can discuss and resolve their concerns more positively and effectively instead of stewing over negative feelings.

●     It helps with intimacy by using mutual give-and-take when sharing things about yourself and listening to the other person, fostering connection and allowing it to grow and deepen. 

●      It resolves and reduces conflict by discussing your problems openly and honestly; it helps you to resolve arguments and disagreements more readily rather than getting caught up in misunderstandings, hurt feelings, and emotional strife. 

 Other factors, including how much you interact as a couple, the personality characteristics of each partner, and stressors, all play a part in determining how satisfied people feel in their relationship. Research suggests that communicating well isn't a guarantee for a happy relationship. Research indicates that good communication skills enhance relationships and well-being in many ways.  Effective communication is a way to foster a supportive marriage. By actively listening and responding to your partner (and vice versa), you are more likely to feel valued and cared for.

Recognize the Impact of Poor Communication

If you and your partner struggle with communication, consider talking to a professional for advice and tips on coping. Poor communication leads to money problems because it is hard to plan a budget together without discussing it. When there is no communication, there is no way to compromise. If you have barriers to your communication that you as a couple are unable to overcome, it may result in making wrong assumptions, and you become emotionally distant, and your sex life will suffer. You and your partner may seek others to fill the void. A marriage with little communication shows neglect and can become stagnant.

Causes of Communication Breakdown

Couples often have difficulty communicating about subjects that may cause arguments, like; finances, household chores, trust, jealousy, parenting styles, intimacy, spending time together, and tidiness. If the argument still needs to be resolved and drags on for weeks or months, the communication rut often leads to a breakdown. Criticism, contempt, stonewalling, or defensiveness become frequent if communication breaks down, and an unwillingness to find a path forward may occur.

Signs of Communication Problems

●     Avoid assumptions about your partner's thoughts or feelings and minimize or avoid criticizing one another. Engaging in passive-aggressive behaviors or behaviors that seems harmless but indirectly displays unconscious aggressive motives is toxic.

●     A neutral approach, with neither offense or defense, will help to hear and evaluate your partner's point of view and try to reach a compromise to avoid having the same arguments repeatedly.

●     Stonewalling or intentionally shutting down during an argument to avoid problems, also known as silent treatment, can be hurtful, frustrating, and harmful to the relationship. Difficulty talking to your partner is a sign of communication problems, and you may need more help from a therapist for tips and advice on coping.

Strategies for Enhancing Communication

The key to effective communication in a marriage is listening.

Factors involved in active listening can include:

●     tone of voice

●     one way to avoid misinterpretations of tone is with written communication (through text, for instance)

●     body language

●     using gentle touch

●     silence to reflect or listen.

Couples need to learn how to do reflective listening, which involves actively listening to what a person says and reflecting and repeating their statements to them. This type of listening helps your partner feel heard and understood, building their self-esteem, and fostering positive social and emotional feelings between you. It helps to clarify your partner's feelings, needs, and expectations so they feel understood, heard, and valued.

 You can foster competent marital communication with effort. If you approach conversations by avoiding thinking you are right about something and being clear and direct, it will help keep the peace in your relationship. You have a right to your thoughts and feelings but remember that a conversation should not be a battleground where you must prove yourself right. Talk about your thoughts, feelings, and ideas, and listen to your partner's thoughts, feelings, and ideas with interest. Be cautious about misinterpreting relationship messages, so it pays to clarify the content of your messages to have clear communications.

Avoiding communication or silence is a type of communication that can send a negative, hurtful message. We can learn new behaviors if we are willing to put in time and effort. If we lower our ego and pride and realize it takes time to make changes, we can improve communication with our partners.

If you and your partner struggle to communicate, Marriage In a Box may be an option for learning new communication and listening skills, suggestions on avoiding pitfalls, and available coaching. Consider using Marriage In a Box for help in your new journey to help heal your relationship.

Marriage In a Box is an excellent resource that provides access to the simple tools and techniques professionals use for relationship issues. You can set goals, earn rewards, and find marriage coaching on the site. Check out the available kit and sources of information online.

Posted 7/12/2023

Keep A Disagreement With Your Spouse From Escalating

Being in the same house or apartment 24/7, with no obvious end in sight, can make it feel like there’s a storm coming just around the bend.  As this pandemic stretches on, conflicts will arise. What’s the best way to resolve those conflicts in a way where both people feel heard, but you’re also preserving the relationship? 

With this period of shelter-in-place, we can expect a honeymoon period, where people are sticking together and trying to make the best of it, or even enjoying it. Many will have time to get to those projects they never had time for and be able to spend more time as a family.

As time goes by, conflict is going to emerge. There’s no way around it. Some couples may be dealing with a situation where one or both have lost their jobs and money is tight. One partner may be hyper-anxious about the virus and project their anxiety and fears on to others in the family. If you have children, there is the added worry about keeping up with schoolwork and finding ways to occupy their time. In this type of pressure cooker situation, couples will argue, and those arguments can escalate. 

How do you resolve an argument without escalating into a full-blown fight?

The Cool Down Period

Ideally, the best way is to go to a separate space to calm down. One goes in the bedroom, and one goes in the kitchen. If you can’t do that, there are things like headphones or earplugs, to create artificial boundaries. The point is to take some time away from each other to calm down and collect your thoughts, so that you can come together later and talk.

What is the Real Issue?

Often times, the thing you and your partner are arguing about is not the real issue. Are the dirty dishes in the sink the issue? Or is it more about asking your partner to please help keep the home clean instead of leaving it all to you. Try to sort out the real issue you want to talk to your partner about. 

Approach Your Partner in Love

Sometimes, when you speak to your spouse, you can say hurtful things while trying to get your point across. “You are such a slob! Can’t you even wash a dish?”  After that comment, your partner has stopped listening. You, the one person that is supposed to love them, have just wounded them. Never, ever attack your partner’s character. Start with your feelings about the issue. “ I feel overwhelmed when the dishes and cleaning is left up to me. Could we find a way to work together on this?”

Don’t Do All the Talking

Try to understand where the other person is coming from and what their needs are. Give them a good dose of active listening. Then you set the stage for good communication.

Talk it Out

Now that everyone is calm and the issue is out there, you both can talk about ways to resolve the issue. May be each of you cleans up after yourself in the kitchen and the bathroom. Or maybe you schedule alternate days where each is responsible for cleaning particular areas of the house. Whatever you decide to work out, you did it together.

During this period of COVID-19 self-quarantine, it will take more effort than ever to stay calm, work together as a team, and nurture your marriage.

Posted 4/8/2020

Move Your Marriage Away From Discontentment

Don’t confuse being discontent in your marriage with falling out of love. Being discontent means that there is an issue that can be worked on and fixed. Falling out of love means that you gave up on your marriage and chose not to love your partner. Discontentment stems from anger with your spouse. Anger usually stems from a build up of many little annoyances that grow into big annoyances.

Problem: He won’t take the garbage out unless I ask him to.

Thought: I’m not doing his laundry until he starts pitching in and taking out the trash.

Words: “Are you going to take out the trash or do I have to do it?”

Problem: She stays on her phone texting the majority of the evening.

Thought: “I’ll turn the football game on loud, that will get her attention”

Words: “ I’m just going to watch the game since your busy texting your friends.”

Problem: She leaves the sink full of dirty dishes every night.

Thought: “I’m not cleaning those dishes, it’s her job.”

Words: “Did it ever occur to you that germs grow on those dirty dishes!”?

Problem: He frequently stays late at work.

Thought: I’m not making dinner for him, he can make himself a sandwich.”

Words: None. Silent treatment

The thoughts that you dwell on eventually begin to control your words, your actions and your behavior. When you become critical and condemning of your spouse, what’s essentially happening in your mind is that you’re breaking down the respect you once had for him or her. 

You hold the keys to whether you will continue to love and respect your spouse or not.  

Take a look in the mirror. Be mindful of your own shortcomings, and failures. When you look at life through a clear lens, it will be easier for you to let go of your spouse’s past mistakes, shortcomings and failures.

Communicate. Secretly thinking revengeful thoughts or making snarky comments does not let your spouse know what is really wrong. You and your spouse need to find time to sit down and calmly discuss what is annoying you and what can be done to fix that.  Examples:

“Honey I feel like you don’t care about our home when you don’t bother to take the garbage out.”

“Sweetie, I look forward to spending time with you in the evening and when you stay on the phone texting, I feel like you don’t want to spend time with me.”

Polish your spouse up. Start using encouraging words and actions.  When you do this, your heart towards them will start to grow softer and the respect you once had for them will start to develop again.

This will help your spouse feel your respect and it will help you to dwell on the good in your spouse.  If you continually do things like this, your spouse will start to move closer towards you and become more attentive towards you.

Posted 3/10/2020

Two Ways to Improve Communication With Your Spouse

Communication is one of the most vital aspects of an intimate relationship. When communication breaks down or becomes almost non-existent, this big signal that something is wrong in the marriage. 50% of couples that divorced claimed it was due to the inability to communicate with each other.  What are the 2 big culprits?

  1. When something happens, you assume you know the reason.

You and your spouse had plans to meet at that wonderful Italian restaurant near his office for dinner. He arrives late and you feel angry and disappointed. You assume that meeting you didn’t mean much to him or that something else was more important and sit in silence through the entire dinner.

What really happened?

You bought into your assumption instead of asking that he didn’t care enough about you to be on time for dinner rather than ask him calmly what delayed him. Traffic could have been bad, an important meeting at the office could have run longer than expected, or any number of things. Asking why he was delayed allows him the chance to explain things.

You did not communicate your feelings. Your spouse cannot read your mind and will not know what is bothering you if you do not calmly explain. “ I am annoyed that you were late because I was really looking forward to spending time with you tonight and I feel like you may not have been looking forward to spending time with me.”  Expressing your feelings allows him the chance to understand why you are annoyed and make it right.

You did not make a clear request. In the future, if you are not going to be able to arrive at the agreed upon time, please excuse yourself and call me to let me know so I don’t worry.  

Neither one of you spends time listening to the other.

Deep, positive relationships can only be developed by listening to each other. If there is no communication in your relationship, maybe neither spouse is truly listening.

Here are the most common listening mistakes:

  • Daydreaming or thinking of something else (even something as simple as your list of groceries) while another person is speaking;
  • Thinking of what to say next;
  • Judging what the other person is saying;
  • Listening with a specific goal/outcome in mind.

At last twice a week, try this listening exercise together.

One spouse gets 10 minutes to talk about their day, while the other spouse listens actively and with a genuine interest. The other spouse can ask questions to clarify but cannot interrupt the first spouse.

After 10 minutes), the other spouse gets to talk for ten minutes about their day as well, while the same listening rules apply to the first spouse.


You will be surprise at how much you learn about each other. Watch the quality of your relationship and your communication improve. It is an intentional way to practice active listening to each other.

Posted 3/1/2020

Stop Avoiding Needed Marriage Conversations

Marriage takes a lot of hard work to keep it working. There will always be some topics of conversation that are more difficult to address with your spouse than others. Issues like sex, finances, and in-laws are hot buttons for many couples. Many people try their best to avoid these topics because they fear that it can escalate into a fight. At some point though, you need to develop the skill of talking about your concerns together as a couple. Without communication and discussion, you cannot share the same vision.

Topics you cannot avoid talking about:


When you are first married, you look for every opportunity to have sex. However, as the marriage progresses, sex becomes less frequent as jobs and life commitments begin to take up time. You and your spouse need to be able to talk about how often, when, and what type of sex you like in order to keep the flames of love burning.


Financial stress is a primary cause of divorce. Money can be a very sensitive topic for many couples as each spouse likely handles their money differently. One spouse may have been raised in a frugal family and taught how to mange money, while the other spouse may have been raised in an affluent setting where money was usually available but rarely discussed. As you pool your finances together, you and your spouse need to be able to discuss how much money you have and how you will budget, invest, take on debt, and spend your money. It may require getting some advice or education about money together to be able to make these decisions


In many marriages, one family can dominate spending time with you and your spouse, especially around special occasions, when a child is born holidays etc. You and your spouse need to be able to talk and set some boundaries so that you both can enjoy each other’s families and say no when you need to.

3 Tips to make talking about sensitive topics easier

Start the conversation on a positive note. Pay your partner a compliment like “Thank you for taking time to sit down and talk about our finances.” State the issue calmly and don’t assign blame. “Somehow we seem to have gotten off track with our finances and I am hoping we can get back on track together. “

Keep the conversation centered on the topic. Try not to let the conversation veer off into your relationship’s past or other issues. Stick to the topic at hand.  If you attack the problem rather than the person bringing it up, you’ll create an environment that is conducive to sharing your feelings and opinions.

Throughout the conversation, respect your partner. Don’t interrupt. Stop and listen when they begin to talk. Don’t be so intent on getting your point across that you don’t allow your spouse a chance to voice their thoughts on the issue. Your relationship should always take priority over the issue.

Having a conversation with your spouse, even the most sensitive topics of conversation, bring you and your spouse closer together. You are more likely to be on the same page and share the same visions for your future.

Posted 2/23/2020

25 Romantic Ways to say I Love You to Your Spouse

Why do people remember such classic movies as “An Affair to Remember”, “Titanic”, “The Notebook”, “The Vow”, “If Beale Street Could Talk”, or “A Star is Born”?

Those movies make you feel the butterflies in your stomach when two made-for-each-other people meet, the yearning for that first kiss, an obstacle that pushes them apart, and a rescue or chance encounter that sends them back into each other’s arms for a passionate embrace.

Sure, it never happens in real life, but most people want it to. There is no reason you cannot stir up the butterflies, the yearning, and the passionate embrace in your own marriage. Try out one of these 25 Romantic “I Love You’s” on your spouse this Valentines Day and feel the heat rise.

  1. Say it in a note and slip it inside their briefcase, lunch tote or purse.
  2. Say it in French in a text message je t’aime.
  3. Say it on a Skype call to them wherever they are.
  4. Say it with a bouquet of favorite flowers delivered to their house, office or in person.
  5. Say it in a love letter you mailed to them days before.
  6. Say it with a homemade cake with “I Love You” spelled out in the frosting.
  7. Say it with chocolates in a big heart shaped box.
  8. Say it with a pre-arranged baby sitter and dinner out.
  9. Say it with a lipstick kiss and message on the bathroom mirror.
  10. Say it with nothing but your underwear or nightie on.
  11. Say it with tickets to a sports event.
  12. Say it with his favorite home cooked meal.
  13. Say it with music and drinks or coffee.
  14. Say it in a sexy phone call.
  15. Say it in a Facebook post all about him or her.
  16. Say it with a massage.
  17. Say it with showers of compliments.
  18. Say it in a hot tub.
  19. Say it with a picture trip down memory lane.
  20. Say it with his or her favorite movie and popcorn.
  21. Say it with a favorite treat and a corny love saying.
  22. Say it with perfume or cologne.
  23. Say it with a night of dancing,
  24. Say it with a recreation of your first date.
  25. Say it with a hot, steamy shower together.

No matter how you choose to choose to tell your spouse “I Love You”, you really can’t go wrong. Say it expecting nothing in return and straight from your heart. He or she will be over the moon for you.

Posted 2/14/2020

Older Posts ›

Long-term solutions to the most common relationship struggles.

See how it works