Monday, February 29, 2016


The sound of Louis Armstrong's raspy voice singing "A kiss is just a kiss..." is on repeat in my head...but before you dismiss this, I want to wrap up love month with the notion he also croons in the next line:  "...the fundamental things apply..."

There's nothing more fundamental than a kiss from your SO.  I'm not talking about a peck on your cheek - too many couples have that routine down pat.  It's dry.  And while it can be a reassuring millisecond gesture, does it really move the intimacy meter to the satisfying end of the spectrum?

Kiss every day, the 20-second kind of kiss. Do it three times per day.

One famous marriage counselor is so convinced of this best practice that he gives couples in distress, on their first visit, a gift and a homework assignment:  after handing them a bag of Hershey's kisses, he instructs them to follow the 3x/day 20-second prescription until their next counseling visit.  He tells them that they burn enough calories in those 3 daily kisses to reward themselves (if further reward is even needed) to a Hershey's kiss each night.  And in the process, maybe, just maybe, their future counseling sessions will be refocused, or fizzle.

Study after study verifies that this healthy kissing habit is good for you and that couples are not doing this enough (20% of couples report kissing less than once per week).  Aside from the very real possibility that you might jumpstart a much-needed reconnection, your cholesterol and stress levels decrease, and your chances of marital survival - and passionate living - are profoundly improved.


Friday, February 26, 2016

Friday, February 19, 2016

Honesty really IS the Best Policy!

We remember all our childhood lessons about Pinocchio.  I remember all the trips to the confessional.

We know lying is wrong, even if it's easy and convenient.

And in marriage?  To those who say that some lies actually spare your partner's feelings, well, then, where do you draw the line?  Lies about the past are okay, but lies about the present aren't?  Is that how you want to live?

If you want a good marriage, you have to be honest with each other, about everything, and often.  It has to be one of your habits, if not an instinct.

Because it's the only way to really understand each other.  It's the only way to really make each other happy.  This is straight from the work of Dr. Willard Harley.

Honesty is the seat belt of your marriage - it's the only way to ensure your safety.

In his Policy of Radical Honesty, Dr. Harley recommends:

Reveal to your spouse as much information
about yourself as you know; your thoughts,
feelings, habits, likes, dislikes, personal history,
daily activities, and plans for the future

Thursday, February 4, 2016

15 Hours

It's love month.  It's cold outside.  What are you doing to stoke the relationship fire?  I told you I was going to talk about the work of Dr. Harley this month.  His specialty is improving, sometimes saving, marriages.

It seems one of the most common things that happens after the altar is that couples that were previously completely invested in each other start to grow comfortable, which is often just code for complacent.  They often unintentionally neglect the very thing they value most - their marriage.

Dr. Harley contends that couples that want to save, or even improve, their marriage must spend time together.  That seems straightforward, I know, but apparently couples report being way too busy to enjoy their spouse's company!  In his work with couples, he puts forth his strategy in The Policy of Undivided Attention.  You're probably too busy to read about it, so I'll recap it here: 

Basically, marriages improve and often thrive when both individuals are committed to spending time together.  Dr. Harley recommends 15 hours per week of alone time together.  He recommends that the 15 hours should be protected - undivided attention (mutually facing a movie screen doesn't count!) - away from kids and often away from the home.  And for best results, it's better to spread the 15 hours throughout the week.  He suggests that this is the only way to really sustain the love, and there's nothing shameful about getting out the calendar to make sure you fit it in.  If you're not sure what to do, just remember back to how you acted when you were dating.  Do that.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Love Month!

Happy February.  This month is designated for many things, and I support most of them, but for me, it's love month.  It's cold outside, daylight is still minimal, there are more exciting times of the year...unless you decide to celebrate the love you have in your life.

And so in case you haven't heard about Dr. Willard F. Harley's work (he saves and improves marriages), I want to share a little of it, as it has helped me, not only in my closest love relationship, but actually the concepts work with any important relationship. 

His most awesome contribution is his concept of "The Love Bank" - and I'm thinking love month is a great time to discuss this.  He (duh!) believes that everything couples do affects their love for each other either positively or negatively.

Dr. Harley contends that we each have a love bank for each of our important relationships.  We have an account for each relationship and when we feel love from the person, we add deposits.  When we sense the ugly stuff (hostility, resentment, anger, etc.) we withdraw from that account.  A full account triggers the feelings often associated with falling in love (acceptance, security, euphoria).

The thing you obviously want to avoid is withdrawing more than you deposit.  In fact, you never want to get the account too low (not unlike the gas tank, or your real bank account, I guess).

I heard about his book from a trusted source and plan to discuss it in further detail with you throughout this incredible month.