How Do You Say Good-bye When a Marriage Ends?

A simple ceremony for couples who are breaking up, so that they don't carry excess baggage into their next relationship.

Van Gogh - Paul Gauguins Stuhl (Der leere Stuhl)If your relationship is sailing along splendidly or you are making progress with a marriage counselor, this post may not apply directly to you. But it may apply to a friend who has reached the end of a marriage that has become so distant, difficult or painful that all she can think about is ending the turmoil.

Had your friend sought professional help earlier, her relationship might have been salvaged. But by the time many troubled couples see a therapist, 80% are unable to salvage their relationship.

That is why, several years ago, Lynne Azpeitia wrote an article for Support4Change in which she shared an exercise she uses when couples decide that they need to split. The idea was to explore how they could break up so that they don't carry excess baggage into their next relationship.

Read More

Can We Feel Love All the Time?

This is the fifth post of advice from Opening to Love 365 Days a Year by Judith Sherven, PhD, and James Sniechowski, PhD.


When you love someone you do not love them all the time, in exactly the same way, from moment to moment. It is an impossibility.

   — Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Lots of people imagine that when they love someone they will feel that rich, warm passion every minute of the day. They believe that they will never feel angry or bored or doubtful. But that’s simply not true.

Loving someone is a journey that spans the gamut of human emotions and life experiences. If we were bedazzled every waking minute, we’d never be able to attend to a sick child or conduct a business meeting. We’d never sleep or gaze at the stars. Lasting love is ultimately a commitment, a CHOICE to continue loving someone “through good times and bad, sickness and health.” Read More

Have You Read the Contract Hidden in Your Marriage License?

Unspoken expectations may be at the root of marriage conflict

Wedding ringsBeen surprised lately by disagreements with your spouse or partner — over things that you thought were already settled in your favor? If so, you may be unaware of an unconscious “contract” to which you thought you were both agreeing when you signed your wedding license and said your vows.

Unfortunately, both of you are operating from a set of ground rules that are not the same. That is because the “contract” upon which each of you are operating has three kinds of expectations:

Expectations that are verbalized. These are the desires and needs that are discussed openly, although your partner may not always clearly understand the full ramifications of what you are really saying. Read More

Creating Your Love Together

This is the fourth post of advice from Opening to Love 365 Days a Year by Judith Sherven, PhD, and James Sniechowski, PhD.


It takes two people working together to make a marriage work.

— Dear Abby

Right from the first moment you met, when you both began teaching each other how you expected the relationship to be, you were co-creating your relationship. Like a work of art, you jointly shaped what you now have. You are responsible for your choices and therein awaits your power.

If you don’t like how your marriage works, it will take both of you to change and re-create it. If one of you won’t do that, you don’t really have a relationship—because real love requires both of you to be involved. Read More

No Training Required for Marriage?

Compassion for others —and ourselves —is key

This is the third post of advice from Opening to Love 365 Days a Year by Judith Sherven, PhD, and James Sniechowski, PhD.


The ability to disagree with somebody but still respect them . . . that’s not something we’re taught anymore.

— James Finn Garner

You took math and reading when you were in school. But you didn’t have to take Communication Skills, Conflict Resolution, Respect for Personal Differences or Positive Parenting. And yet, you’re allowed to get a marriage license and have children—with no preparation for the two most challenging and difficult experiences in life. Read More