5 Tips for ‘Surviving Marriage’ with Your Spouse

Keep these 5 tips in mind when talking with your spouse.My new television series, Surviving Marriage, premieres tonight at 10:00 P.M. on A&E Network. There will be nine, 1-hour episodes in Season One. Each episode will highlight a different couple with a unique set of problems destroying their marriage. Although each couple’s story is different, they all have one thing in common—they are terrible communicators. Poor communication is the theme with nearly every struggling couple I work with whether it’s in my private practice or on television.

Couples with strong relationships are excellent communicators because their style of communication has little to do with talking and everything to do with listening. When you feel heard, you feel respected and validated. It’s that simple and it goes both ways in a relationship. Couples whose marriages are struggling, like the ones on Surviving Marriage, lack this simple ingredient. Here’s why:

The problem most troubled marriages face

No two people see things the same way, including you and your spouse, and this often leads to problems. For example, you might find it unfathomable that your partner hates a certain restaurant that you love or loves one that you hate. Or, maybe you and your spouse have different political views, and you just can’t understand how your spouse can see it that way. Whatever your differences are, over time they can turn into a battle between two forces (you and your spouse) attempting to sway the other to “my” way of thinking. You become fixated on your need to be right and your partner’s ludicrousness that your relationship becomes a competitive, stubborn battle that leads to one place—resentment. Neither you nor your spouse will lay down your sword. In fact, you’ll do anything just to prove that you are right, including destroying your marriage. All because you were too stubborn to listen to and respect your partners opinions and keep yours to yourself.

Here are a few tips to help you become a better communicator and possibly save your marriage before it is to late.

1. Zip It

Our natural reaction when we here something we don’t want to hear or something we disagree with is to become defensive. We immediately defend our opinion on the matter and will go to the ends of the earth to prove the other person wrong. Sound familiar? Have you ever done this to your spouse? If you have, try biting your tongue and swallowing your pride. It does a marriage good.

2. Apologize

Why is it so hard to say, “I’m sorry?” The inability to say these two simple words destroys so many marriages it’s sad. I find this absurd. If these words never leave your mouth I’d advise you to start practicing using them now. If it feels really hard for you to do this then that’s the sign that you need to do it.

3. Pick Your Battles

Do you become agitated when you have a disagreement with your spouse? If so, you need to stop this behavior. If you feel strongly about a particular matter tell your spouse that you respect his/her opinion on the matter but you respectfully disagree. You don’t need to prove why you are right and he/she is wrong. That will get you nowhere good. It’s all in the delivery.

4. Schedule some talk time

That’s right, in today’s technology driven world, there is less face-to-face communication between couples because they are too busy communicating with their phones and tablets. Take time every day to unplug and sit down with your spouse and actually talk. This is the miracle grow that every relationship must have.

5. Do a good deed

Everyone knows that when your spouse responds positively to something you’ve done unexpectedly, like putting the laundry away, that you want to do even more good deeds. So start doing some random, good deeds and you’ll start a whole new cycle of positive chemistry in your marriage.

There is no question that marriage takes work but you need to look it from a different angle. It’s not about what your spouse can do for you, it’s what you can do for your spouse. Commit yourself to what you can do better and I guarantee your marriage will be much healthier.

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A&E Network Presents New Original Real-Life Series “Surviving Marriage”

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A&E NETWORK PRESENTS NEW ORIGINAL REAL-LIFE SERIES “SURVIVING MARRIAGE” TUESDAY, MARCH 24 AT 10:00PM ET/PT

SERIES FOLLOWS COUPLES STRANDED ON A REMOTE ISLAND IN A LAST DITCH EFFORT TO SAVE THEIR MARRIAGES

New York, NY – February 17, 2015 – A&E Network presents the new original real-life series “Surviving Marriage,” which follows couples on the brink of divorce who are stranded on a remote island for an extreme form of therapy designed to repair their troubled marriages. The hour-long, nine-episode series produced by Big Fish Entertainment premieres Tuesday, March 24 at 10:00pm ET/PT on A&E.

With their relationships on the rocks, each week one couple takes the plunge to spend five days together on a secluded island deep in the South Pacific to try to rectify their marital issues. Left alone with no modern conveniences and limited access to food and water, these pairs have only each other to rely on as they navigate the challenging and treacherous conditions on the island. The couples must complete a series of physical and emotional exercises specifically designed by marriage experts to solve the serious issues tearing them apart. Guiding viewers through the experience are Dr. Colleen Long, licensed clinical psychologist, and Dr. Tom Kersting, family therapist, who help navigate the couples’ often volatile journeys, where a simple act can unearth years of pent up aggression, regret and pain.

Throughout the season, viewers will meet a new couple each week including: Cleburn and April, high school sweethearts who struggle with hot tempers and are haunted by past indiscretions; Josh and Alethea, who married young and 18 years later are still trying to find their own identities; Damian and Randi, who find it difficult to maintain a balanced relationship with an imbalance of power and decision making; and Dennis and Tamar, who struggle with financial burdens that are weighing down their marriage. On their last day on the island, after five days of battling deep seeded marital issues that seem beyond repair, the couples must decide if they want to recommit to their marriages or end them once and for all.

“Surviving Marriage” is produced by Big Fish Entertainment for A&E Network. Executive producers from Big Fish Entertainment are Dan Cesareo, George McTeague, Doug DePriest and Johnny Petillo. Executive producers from A&E Network are Shelly Tatro, Drew Tappon and Sean Gottlieb.

About A&E Network

Now reaching more than 96 million homes, A&E is the home to quality original content that inspires and challenges audiences to BE ORIGINAL. A&E offers a diverse mix of uniquely immersive entertainment ranging from the network’s original scripted series, including “Bates Motel” and “The Returned” to signature non-fiction franchises, including “Duck Dynasty,” “Wahlburgers” and “Storage Wars.” The A&E website is located at aetv.com. Follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/aetv and Facebook at facebook.com/AETV.

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