Marriage Myth #6 Falling Out Of Love….Again….And Again……The Ugly Truth No One Ever Told You.

on-the-edge-coupleHave you ever thought I love you, but …..  AM I IN LOVE WITH YOU? Have we fallen out of love?

OK ready here we go: Marriage Myth #6

You know when you see that couple in the restaurant and they both have their heads down shoveling food into their mouths.  They are not looking at one another or speaking, kind of with a dull look in their eyes.  That’s what we are going to talk about; are they in love or out of  love?  How about another couple eating and heads down surfing and posting all through dinner; are they on their way to falling out of love?

Let’s find out.

There are two important things you need to know when you ask the question, am I in love?

  1.  Adults fall in and fall out of love across their whole lives according to Helen Fisher–Neuro-biology of Love.

We really don’t have to FALL IN LOVE. We just think it is always random and mysterious and we don’t have any control over whether we feel in love with someone or not, but brain science is turning out tons of research that says that is simply not true.  We have got to definitely upgrade our knowledge on love and save our loving relationships from these myths of doom and gloom that everyone just “Falls Out of Love.”  Listen in to find out “Where is your love” it’s deep inside your brain, find out where.

Take a Tour of where is your love and how does it grow? (watch out it is really geeky but so fun.  Take a tour of your brain in love).   Okay I warned you,  but if you bailed on the details of that video….here is the point:      If they can measure it, how come we don’t know how to give our brains a love work out when we want to…….truth is we can, we just don’t know how yet.    How do you motivate your love to focus, to want, to go after your beloved with power of your heart?  The physiology of love is there for you to know that love is just not an emotion; it is a series of emotional responses and systems. We can reignite, fuel and make it grow back into the fires of our hearts desires.  Get Your 12 Steps Checklist to Falling Back in Love Here.  Maybe you want to sit through that so you know where to put your brain power.

I would hate to poll couples around the world and ask them “have you ever felt like perhaps you weren’t in love with your partner today?”  Wow, what would be the answer.  Yep, you got it, depending on what the couple is or isn’t doing you can determine if they are going to make it.

So, is the answer to just be nicer to your partner? Well, what about if you’re looking on Facebook and you’re reading all the wonderful trips, adventures, surprise birthday presents, and second weddings you see. Would you ask yourself, are they just being nicer to their spouses?  Here comes number 2.

2.  It’s crucial that couples understand what they must not do to one another just as much as what they should do.  You can deplete a loving relationship in no time flat.  Listen in.

John Gottmann of the Love Lab and Gottmann Institute says this about couples and what they shouldn’t do:

Dr. Gottmann says you can predict if a couple will make it based on the things he sites in this video.

Here they are…the 6 things that cause divorce, take a quick peek, oh heck, print it out too.

Can Love Last?  Probably not……..unless we take it in to our own hands to feed the passions and stop trampling all over each other’s hearts.

 Falling in Love on purpose this time

We think we just fell in love but if you think back to those early days, the sparkle time, you realize you worked really hard at this. Didn’t you do some of the following when you were dating your partner:

  • Watch for them whenever you thought they would be near
  • Try to look your best for them
  • Going somewhere with them was going somewhere new every time
  • Listening to them talk, asking them questions about themselves, finding out about that interests and hobbies
  • When you were not with them didn’t you think about them and wonder what they were doing.
  • Did you try to find ways to reach out to them, to call them, to text them, to drive by where they were, etc.

Now tell the truth!! Are you doing this?

 Get Your 12 Steps Checklist to Falling Back in Love Here.

How much of the above are you doing these days? You worked really hard at that time focusing all your BRAIN power on the object of your desire, so what happened?

Life happens and it pushes and pulls you and if you don’t know how to hang on to one another then the very stages of life put you at risk for becoming at best roommates, at worst strangers.

Surprisingly, all of this can happen even if you lead a pretty calm marital life. In fact, you might be more at risk because the ups and downs with challenges of a “bad” relationship gave us a chance to reevaluate, refocus, have important discussions, and find out if we matter to our partner.  Sometimes if we haven’t had a turbulent relationship then things become regular pretty quickly and this is why that’s bad news for the brain.

Five Stages of Couple Love
this info graphic and its article can be found at the

HELP I’ve fallen out of love!!! 

What to do about it?

What if the object of our affection, is no longer the object of our acts of loving?

So, how do we fall back in love????????

The truth is we don’t.

We don’t accidentally fall, not naively, not knowing what things will go like as we did the first time. However, if you wish for that feeling again, it means your brain still has a neural pathway for that. That means it still has a code, it still has a map.

It’s not our job to set out on an adventure. It’s not a spontaneous happening. It’s more planned but with anticipation knowing that the right actions and the right attention to repair can reignite and refurbish a love we knew.  On purpose we could get there.

Actually on purpose and with great thought we begin to leave the dishes in the sink and retreat to the bedroom early or better yet, do the dishes if our spouse usually would and continue on with our list of perhaps.

With careful attention to those random and novel acts of loving, we begin to love our way closer and closer to one another.   It seems so silly, so simple, that surely doesn’t make a difference, but read on….

However, for many women, the conditions of their lives outside the bedroom can affect their interest in sex. If a wife feels emotionally distanced from her husband or believes there are unresolved problems in their relationship, it’s difficult for her to put these aside. Things she’s dealing with outside of her marriage can also have an impact. If she is having emotional problems in other relationships, these could interfere with her interest in intimacy.     P.S. It might be the glue between us.

read more about men, women, sex and housework…..psychology article….

Recently a survey noted that 20% of women found a spouse who helped in household activities put them in the mood for sexual activities, while 25% said watching their partner engage in really good parenting warmed their hearts.

A recent article in Psychology Today talks about how loving may not be as random as we think and lets you measure how good you are at this.  ACTIVITY OF LOVING, so read on to find out why you may have “Fallen out of Love”……’s how you are doing and  how you can DO LOVING TO GET BACK IN.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could evaluate how you are doing in the love category.  There is not one good test but because, as Fischer and Gottmann said above, we do know some of the essential things required to grow and stoke the fires of love.

The following “Love Inventory” can help you determine your ranking and that of your loved one’s love.”

Want take a Love Inventory then click below and go to the end of the article.

Take a Love Inventory and Read this article on how to know how you are doing?

Love Inventory Cohen

Loving actions over time without the wounding can help you find your way back into a loving relationship. Sometimes I will admit years of inattention or worse, sharp tongues and thoughtless actions have lead to harden or hurt our hearts.

This is the time to have some help with healing your hearts and learning safe and effective ways to begin the dialogues that lead to more loving.

You almost have the complete set.

You know what not to do–6 predictors of divorce

You Know what to do–Love Inventory

Finally the last piece

Do you want the DIY 12 step by step way to bring back Falling In Love and Building Intimacy?

Get Your 12 Steps to Falling Back in Love Checklist Here

Leave us a comment and let us know what you think.

All my Best,     Monica

Visit My Website To Learn More

How To Be Married In Under 5.97 Hours A Week.

597Marriage Success PlanAre you trying to run your marriage without the right tools.  The M in Marriage is for Maintenance and if you don’t have the right tools and the right time for this investment, then you guessed it things are going to get run down and fall apart.

Seven tools you need to be married

Do A Quick Marriage Quiz to see if you are investing enough time in your marriage.   You invest in your house, your health, your kids, and even the pets.   Okay lets compare.

This is a sure fire way from one of the leading experts in the field of Happy Marriages,  Drs John and Julie Gottman.  So Check out each of these activities on the map to see how you rate.  Send me your time investment in your relationship and I will send you the answer and the ways to increase your investment.

A week of love
Look at your week!

roadmap with flags

How Much time Do You give each other really, Now count it up……How much for how long?  Take a Quiz.

Directions:  Estimate how much time you spend on each of these, per day, per week.  Send me your total.

  1.  Daily Partings                                                    min                      hrs
  2. Admiration and Appreciations    _______min___________hrs
  3. Time for Affection                                           min                     hrs 
  4. Reunions                                                             min                     hrs 
  5. Stress Reducing Conversations               min                     hrs 
  6. Repair Conversations                                     min                      hrs 
  7. Date Night                                                          min                      hrs 

   Weekly Marriage Investment  Grand Total 




Want to really find out more on how to ramp up your relationship and jump start your hearts then you need to read our blog for all the quick tips and tools that make investing in your relationship easier and faster.

Request An Invitation

I can’t wait to tell you everything we know about making marriages great again.

Monica Houttuin, LCSW, CST           Counseling Rediscovering Connections

connected hearts with hands

#My Partner Is Right? We Don’t Have To Go To Counseling


Of course your partner is right if…………………………

and only if……………………………………

they are willing to pull of any or all of the following actions that would keep your relationship emotionally connected and protected in the years to come.

It seems extremely regular for one person in the relationship to want/need more closeness, or intimacy, more work on the relationship.

 So it stands to reason one of you is going to want/need counseling more than the other. It really isn’t a sign after all.

 Here are some ideas from some researchers on



So if Drs. Love and Storsny are correct in their book

 “How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It: Finding Love Beyond Words”.  

Dr. Love and Dr. Storsny suggest that

Love is not about communications skills

but about connection”.

How Do You Stay Connected?

  (the following is a summary offered in an article in Experience Life, written by Patricia Love, EdD and Steven Stosny, PhD

1.  Whenever you can’t talk it out remember your partner is probably not trying to hurt you but rather trying to keep themselves safe.

2.  If couples develop a non-verbal way to reach out to one another or bridge back to a connection it helps to  bypass an impasse (touch, action, smile, wink)

3.  Trying to remember that it is possible for two ways of seeing a situation to be right at the same time.  No one has to be wrong.  See if through their eyes.

4.  Reconnecting sexually or with touch stimulates the neurological mechanisms associated with pleasure and allows us to forget more easily every little offense.

5.  Try to be observant and aware of how your partner is feeling even as you are noticing your emotional needs and reactions.

6.  Remembering that people really only have three basic motivations in their interactions, avoidance, attach or approach.  If you can tell in general which one you are ahead.

7.  Big events like weekends and romantic dinners are important, but without the little random acts of loving throughout the day they don’t seal the deal.  Small and frequent acts  of loving are the key to keeping the connection alive.

Reestablishing Connection when communication breaks down.

That’s What you can do to really CRISIS PROOF YOUR LOVE.

But Let’s be really honest with ourselves.  Some partners just want all the choices.  They don’t want to talk and they don’t want to do any of the 7 items in the list above.

Well You have just entered the ZONE


Check your gut, Do you already know in your gut what is going on.  A lot of times we do.  Try out the steps above, but if you get no traction then its time to get serioussilent-man

Now if this blog has you saying  NO WAY, its way beyond that, then check out my blog coming up

Is My Marriage Over, Never Want To

Say This, Then Read On!!  coming soon

This Blog goes deep into every stage of a relationship and shows you how to tell where you are in the process of falling out of love and becoming stuck in emotional pain.  It also has tactics to use to try to turn things around.

Without Going To Counseling

Post a Comment on what challenges you when just want to talk to your partner.  Share what works best.   And keep an eye out for the next blog.


Join Us For A Community Event JUMP START YOUR HEARTS

I Just Need to Fix Me and That Will Save the Marriage (P.S. Your Partner Might Agree With You.)


 I Just Need to Fix Me and We Will Be Fine

(P.S. Your Partner Might Agree With You.)

“Oh my Gosh you are so sensitive!!”

“You never listen to me”

“You are so stubborn”

“You never want to have sex anymore, what’s wrong with you”?

“Just leave me alone, all you ever want to do is pick on our relationship”

“You never want to talk about it’

Sound familiar?  If any of these sound familiar than you may be suffering from the idea that we can FIX one person in the relationship and everything will be better.     Well, Read On.


Why You Shouldn’t Gamble With Your Marriage

Hey everyone, I wanted to bring up a really important myth.  I think It will help a lot in exposing these secret myths about using therapy to help a relationship.

When we are so miserable that we are sharing some of our hurt with family and friends, of course they have a lot of advice for us.  We might even be feeling anxious or depressed and mention our troubles to our doctor.

If we head off to the doctor office by ourselves to discuss our upset then the doctor commonly will design a plan of action geared toward helping the individual.  The same would be true for your partner if they did the same thing.  It might make sense if the person having the most troubles should get the help.

I’m really the problem????

Couples on average don’t come to therapy until about seven years have passed since they realized that they have an identifiable unsolvable problem.

Where do people turn when they’re trying to decide what to do. When trying to fix something, one place people commonly turn to are friends and family as they talk about what’s going on in their relationship.

Sometimes a couple has decided between them that really it’s one person who’s the problem.

It often is the person who is the pursuer; the person who brings things up, who wants to talk about things, who get sad or anxious about the state of the relationship. Or just as often,  the problem is sometimes identified as the person who avoids the problem or who becomes defensive.  We then call that an anger problem or a problem with expressing feelings

Actually, it is pretty common for one of the partners to be sent to individual therapy to fix that problem first.  Whether you are the person who feels like you have the problem or you feel like your partner has the problem, you might head off to a doctor who will talk to you about your individual problem and make recommendations to you about getting help.  They might recommend that you get individual therapy, your friends and family might also recommend that your partner get individual therapy.  In the most dramatic cases, both of you will be told you need to each get a counselor.

So off we go. BOTH partners go to individual therapy to talk about the problems about the relationship with their individual therapist about the problem BETWEEN THEM………now wait a minute..

To Each Other

Now as a therapist I want to be very clear that there are some situations in which you shouldn’t go to couples therapy first.

One of the situations where you might not want to go to couple therapy is if somebody is actively aggressive and violent in the relationship. Going to therapy under these conditions is not safe.  However, another condition, maybe is if a person is in active active use of chemicals to the extent that so many issue are being affected by this that couple therapy may be down the road after other help is secured for that.

Most other issues can benefit from working in couples therapy to improve your relationship and communication.

Here’s what happens potentially if you or both of you go off to individual therapy.  That therapist can’t but help hear things only from your perspective.  They will and should try very hard not to biased by what you say.  Their ideas and suggestion will be based on what you tell them you and your partner are doing in the relationship.   How can I say this nicely, we are not lying, but we are can only see if from our point of view most of the time.  EVEN IF YOU TRY NOT TO.

Well you can only imagine what happens if you or both of you are telling your interpretation of the relationship to two other another parties.  That information is going to be a bit skewed or one-sided, yes sometimes depression is treated in a certain way separate from the couple.

Now back to imagining if you both would get individual therapy.  That work by yourself really doesn’t tackle the Negative Communication Pattern that all couples tend to develop that wouldn’t really count for what’s going on the patterns.  You might feel better with yourself but you haven’t gotten to the core of the relationship challenge.  You might actually grow apart from one another.

Most people don’t realize that within couples therapy there’s two things going on.  First, the therapists watches the two of you interacting (yep we are going to watch you talking to each other just the way you do at home.)  Secondly, your therapist needs to make up their own minds about what’s happening, who’s doing what and  when.  The therapist will identify that the negative patterns are happening and work to show you how to improve them.  The therapist can actually teach you to identify these patterns and to interrupt them and correct them at home.

You can’t do that an individual therapy . 


I bet you all know some couple that needs to have an upgrade, it is painful to watch them.  Try as they may,

they are simply stuck……maybe its even you.

Either way its a little work and it takes a little while but its done

everyday in my office.

It is really wonderful to see couples with challenging and painful negative communication move mountains, one pebble at a time.


Why do we wait so long, perhaps we never realize that we have to learn these skills ourselves and upgrade them year after year.  Couples really aren’t told that.

So how do you do that.  Lots of couples go to retreats, or seminars.  Most are far away and very expensive, both in dollars and in time.

Wouldn’t it be great to get your feet wet.  Learn about upgrading your skills close to home and just for fun.

Well, YOU CAN and if not you then that COUPLE we were talking about earlier can as well.

Hopefully this helps make the decision for the right healing at the right time between the RIGHT PEOPLE,


Warmly  Monica

Valentine’s Day Dirty Little Secret



The dirty little secret about Valentine’s Day… OK I’m going to spill the beans as a couples counselor and sex therapist I’m going to tell you something that I see happening you’re after year in my business

And it happens very commonly right after Valentine’s Day
I don’t want to scare you but I just want to let you know this.
I’ve noticed a trend in my office over the years. It seems to me that very quickly after Valentine’s Day the calls from people wanting to come to therapy because their marriage is a wreck increases dramatically.
When I ask these people on the phone why they are seeking to come to couples counseling now they tell me they’re devastated. 
Honestly marriages don’t regularly end up devastated very quickly, I know you’re saying well if I found out about an affair I would be devastated, yeah, but I mean things are generally brewing underneath the waters for a while in a relationship.


But here’s what happens…….. A lot of people put a final effort, a final push into the marriage around the time of a significant event  So what I mean is people will wait till after the holidays to make a decision about where they’re going with the relationship. They’ll wait for either the next anniversary or you guessed it.
Valentine’s Day
Secretly in their mind they tell themselves they’re going to give their partner one more chance. Or they’re going to give it one more romantic push to see if they feel anything.
Valentine’s Day already has a hard act to follow because it is supposed to be something according to the media and marketing. The expectations for Valentine’s Day are already huge and usually leave us feeling a little bit ho-hum about the actual event.
It seems odd that one obligatory holiday made up to promote chocolate, wine, candy and jewelry would have an effect on the relationship. Here’s what I think might be going on. You know you just can’t help  it’s like Mother’s Day,Christmas or any other event that you’re used to seeing coming. We know we shouldn’t, but we do have expectations.  We do spend time  wondering  “do you think maybe they’ll do something sweet” or “they never do anything anyway” , “ so why bother hoping”.
Now if right now you are thinking that you and your partner never feel that way you actually talk about how its silly to get wrapped up in commercialism then Great.  If things are going good in the marriage then a slip up or slight at a time like Valentine’s Day probably means very little.
However, if things are moving into the Danger Zone, that slip up can have drastic effects on the heart of our loved one.
I once knew someone who forbid  partner from giving her flowers on Valentine’s Day,  She felt  it played into the mass marketing scheme and it was  just a way to get guilted out of his money (by the way her money too).  She could think of a better way to spend 100 bucks.
Back to The Dirty Secret of Valentine’s Day
So the partner that is contemplating the end of the relationship, says “there’s no meaning, there’s no romance, what’s the use, I just want to be happy,”…

Is watching…
                       What the other partner does……
                                                                           And you guessed it
It’s a set up, not only can I not pull off a particularly romantic episode at a time when we’re feeling separate and strained

from each other because of some conflicts, but with this commercialized, worst time of year where you must be romantic.
I don’t know about you but everybody tells me it doesn’t work that way you don’t get to just turn on the switch and have it be amazing and romantic. And as a sex therapist I can confirm that being told when and where year after year you are going to be romantic is the fastest way to put out the flame.
So when the episode goes ho-hum, regular disappointing, on top of all it was supposed to do to prove we could stay together,

                                                                        OH MY GOODNESS…..HERE IT COMES……..

                                    Devastation,   rage,   feeling like we’re falling out of love,    that’s what’s in the air just after

                                                                                   Valentine’s Day

                            for a couple that is seriously out of sync and in trouble.
Either way, the humdrum boringness of the whole event or the secret expectation that they’ll pull something amazing
out of the hat, you know, they are in for some heartache.
And to be honest, this is one of the times many people bring up wanting to separate or file for divorce.

 So what are YOU supposed to do, what if You Are Not Like that couple,
Well Valentine’s comes every year…………….. there’s nothing you can do to stop it.
 If you are just a  little tired of it then perhaps ………………………………then let’s try ganging up again Valentine’s Day as a Couple.
Here are three quick trips to take the bite out of Valentine’s Day.
1.      actually talk to your partner and find out what do you want what do you expect what do you prefer we do on this time. And then ask if you can share your expectations.
2.      get on the same team and together make up a plan that seems like it will be acceptable to both of you and maybe even pleasant. 
3.      re-envision what this time and opportunity may be for you as a couple. What I mean is just give it a moment to be a little time to check in and see if the two of you are connected. What is connected mean. Well are you turning towards one another are you making sweet kindnesses towards each other do you spend time each day a few minutes hearing about your partners stresses from the day and hopes and dreams.
4.      BONUS IDEA consider asking some bigger and deeper questions around that time about your partners wants needs and dreams. Too often we start to take our partners ” for granted “meaning we stop seeing them as a unique and different person that they are and we start assuming that they’ll be there, Assuming that they’re OK, assuming their dreams are being met.
Taking a moment on any day around this time of year to just turn towards your partner and spend more time and attention is certainly a gift of love and if that’s what we take away from all the red fuzzy hearts showing up in the grocery store then……..
That actually could be a good thing. If we understand together what it means to us and it gets us to create a time that’s just nice and special
it’s just the time to appreciate one another without all the pressure to be amazing.  Then maybe there is a little something good that can come of Valentine’s Day.
If you are going through a bad time right now then my advice is to pay very little attention to Valentine’s Day after all it’s all wrapped up in the idea that every relationship should be full of those beginning “first met you initial love type of feelings” and gives us very little hints about how to run a mature relationship. For a mature relationship you need to gather a tool box of tools both to build your relationship with affection and to know how to handle things when they come up in a every day in all sorts of ways……
If you want to read more about tools and ways to take care of your relationship then look on my blog………&#8230; 
If this discussion has left you a little unsure where you stand and what you can do about it, I am happy to discuss this with you.

                                                                                 HERE IS YOUR NEXT STEP                                                           
Where ever you are on Valentine’s Day, be kind, be caring and just enjoy yourself.

Let me know what your think, I would love to hear your comments
Warmest Wishes as always,

Marriage Myth Number 4 !



Many couples think that what’s wrong with the relationship is what they’re fighting about. In-laws, money, sex, kids, housework, finances, fun together, work schedules, etc. etc. etc. and the list goes on.

But that’s NOT what’s really underneath most couple fights.

One person in the relationship routinely says,

 “You never listen to me”

“I don’t matter to you”.

I feel like I’ve fallen out of love

“We’re just not close anymore, it’s like we’re roommates”.

Or perhaps even worse, they say NOTHING and drift further and further away from you.

What does all this mean?   What are you really trying to tell your partner?

The core of what hurts between a couple is the failure to make the emotional connection during the ins and outs of daily life.

Are You There For Me?

Do I Matter To You?

Will you meet my emotional needs and stay connected to me?  This is what many of our small interactions are trying to detect.  When we sometimes miss or refuse these smaller “bids” for connections (Gottman) the stakes grow larger and larger over time.  When we fail to catch and respond to our partners needs it’s like we just took a whole lot of money out of the relationship bank account.


When you ask your partner to help you with something even if it’s small and they make you call them to her three times, and then you have to remind them a time or two, your brain is interpreting this as a message that there is a problem with our emotional connection.

Ideally catching bids for affection from our partner is the subtle way we show our partner they are important to us and we are connected. When you reach out and your partner is indifferent or emotionally absent it packs a real punch to the connection in the relationship.

Some couples are confused as to why they don’t feel like they have a very quality marriage when they don’t ever fight. But following this idea that failed bids for emotional connection are what help to deteriorate the marriage, will help you understand the continual failed bids can lead to a disconnected and unsatisfactory relationship.

Adding insult to injury are also failed bids for repair. What this means is if a couple is at odds or fighting then one of you may be the first to unthaw and try to shift the situation.  This may be done by a smile, a joke, or the offer to help or bring a beverage.  Failing to accept this peace offering is known as rejecting the repair bid.  We reject our partner’s attempts to heal or shift the trouble because our brain is still fuming or stuck in a pouting loop. When we do not accept these attempts to repair from our partner it leads to a deepening of the conflict and often some challenging or dangerous situations in the marriage.  If a couple continues to detach and refuse attempts for repair it can cause disengagement in a relationship.  Maybe that’s the beginning stages of the “falling out of love” comments.

If you do find yourself becoming defensive and critical you may find yourself spending less and less time together for no good reason.  Sometimes it’s emotional disengagement and sometimes it’s just a lack of interest or feeling of pleasure in your relationship.

So essentially it’s not the conflict alone and that’s causing harm in a relationship, but rather, are we making deposits in the emotional bank account or we are taking too many withdrawals with criticism and lack of repair. Just like any check and balance system soon we will run out of a balance and be in the negative in the relationship. This leaves quite a bit of insecurity for you and your partner.

The offended partner may withdraw in response or might erupt in an emotional outburst saying many of the things we just listed above about how they do not FEEL the relationship is doing well.  The relationship can slide quickly into criticisms and defense or into an emotionally distant separation

What Do Effective Partners Do In A Healthy Relationship?

They recognize that there’s no way not to hurt your partner sometimes,  it’s sort of like if you’re going to dance with them you’re eventually going to step on their toes, so……

  • You’ve got to be willing to make a bid for repair when you see that something has hurt your partner (even if you don’t agree it should). Realizing very quickly that you are capable of hurting your partner and need to fix it as quickly as possible goes a long way.  Attempting to make those repairs quickly is key to restarting and rebooting moment to moment as we live in the relationship together.


  • When someone’s offering a repair for an action it’s imperative that you do not turn them down or turn away from them simply because your brain is still a little sore and pouting. It’s very important when your partner is reaching out to you to see that you are open to accepting their bid. This does not mean that what happened doesn’t need to be discussed or isn’t important it just means that you’re willing to accept their attempt to repair and turn towards you.


  • We need to know that we are there for each other emotionally. It’s hard and rough when we are really tired and sometimes overwhelmed by our own day to day stressors. When your partner needs you and asks for your help it’s really important that you be there for them that shows that you care, that we are connected.


  • Every couple has challenges. Over the course of a relationship you will face some very difficult turning points in the relationship. It is important that when you’re scared and really hurt one another that you do acknowledge it and set up a time to talk about it and maybe even multiple times. Sharing that you’re afraid, sharing that you’re worried that you hurt them, is really important in these times.


  • Whenever possible and frequently, it’s important to remind your partner that we have been through a lot, we tackled some tough stuff, and will probably do that again. We just need to work together and not lose hope. Emphasizing that you’re there for them is key.

In the face of many challenges that couples have it’s important that the couple see themselves as resilient and willing to take on the emotional challenges in order to keep stable and balanced in the relationship. If a couple understands that they have to be adaptive and to learn to grow they can face challenges ahead of them.

Wishes for a Peaceful Holiday full of Joy and hopefully a few “I’m sorries”.


Marriage Myth Number 3 – Secret Marriage Problem No One Ever Told You About!

molding the perpetual problems.jpg




Alright, sit down, take a breath, YOU ARE NOT GONNA LIKE WHAT I HAVE TO SAY.

You just need to solve your problems, well, research says there are a significant percent of problems in a relationship that are not ……….solvable.   Read More ……………..


So this research says that there are only certain kinds of problems that can be solved in a relationship.   To be honest only @ 31 percent of problems most couples face can be solved in the traditional ways most of us think about (compromise, turn-taking, sharing).  What?  I know you are thinking right now, “you have got to be kidding me, we are doomed”.  But wait listen a minute longer.

Now you might not  know what those “solvable problems”  are for your relationship, they are different for each couple. So that leaves the rest of the “problems” 69% that are NOT SOLVABLE.

This seems really mind blowing, the things that you are at odds with your partner over, really could be some of  those 69% of the other types of problems.  These are termed PERPETUAL PROBLEMS.  Now don’t despair, it isn’t that we do nothing about these types, it’s just a really  different thing than SOLVE them.

What is a perpetual problem. Why can’t we just get rid of them?  Great Questions.

Perpetual Problems are things you as a couple are  going to be working on tweaking and adjusting over the course of a relationship.   What do I mean?  Let’s take a quick look to see if you have perpetual problems in your relationship (don’t be shocked, the answer is going to be …….YES).

Here is a list of very common perpetual problems.

Differences in parenting styles

Different goals for finances

Different needs for socializing

Different preferences for how often we have sex

Different desires to be with extended family members

Different opinions about the importance or work, spirituality, fun and vacations………..

Those are just a few of them.  You won’t have every one of these.  Some couples do wonderful with parenting and are continually going round about finances, while others do great with finances and seem to be at continual odds about extended family issues or sex.

Now when couples grind down over some of their perpetual problems over and over with the idea they should be able to SOLVE them they become at risk to develop negative communication patterns.  When those negative patterns ensue we can become stuck, avoid, emotionally distance and even argue extensively.  Not only can this be negative it can be dangerous for a couple because of hopelessness and eventual emotional injuries to one another.

Learning About Negative Communication Patterns (watch this video)

Perpetual Problems have at their heart a difference not of opinion but of deeper more heartfelt beliefs or dreams.  The reason we are not solving them is,  how do you compromise on your dreams, desires and beliefs. Solving Perpetual Problems takes a whole different level of communicating and understanding together.

So,  the real goal in a relationship is not to SOLVE ALL YOUR PROBLEMS or not to have any problems, but to know the difference between ones that are solvable an ones that require different methods to manage them. 

A good give away that you are struggling with  a perpetual problem is

  1. YOU have tried all your couple problem solving tricks on this and nothing is resolving
  2. YOU cannot even pin this one down and either we don’t talk about it or it erupts into our negative cycle when we do talk about it.

If you want to have a different kind of conversation about some of these perpetual problems then it will have to involve different talking points.   One way to do this is to follow some of Couples’ Therapists the Gottmans as they suggest some deeper questions.

You may still be a point in your relationship where you do have fondness and admiration for one another and could engage in the following questions about an area that is perpetually coming up for the two of you.

  1.   Do you have any core beliefs or values around your position on (insert  perpetual problem)
  2.  Is there a reason or story from your background or childhood that makes this important    to you?
  3.  Tell me why this is so important to you, what feelings to do you have about this issue?
  4.  What  would be your ideal scenario here, what purpose or goal are you trying to meet?

The real reason that we cannot come to an understanding about our perpetual problems is that something about our deeper wishes and needs is not being addressed.  We can’t settle down, feel heard, and understood until we do so.

Couples in my office sometimes find these conversations weird or funny in the beginning, like we are making too big of a deal.  As the conversation deepens however you will hear your partners true dreams, wishes and fears come out in the conversation.  Suddenly we are not talking about dishes, credit cards or sex we are talking about Do You Love Me, Do You Care, Are You there for me.  Soon the hopes and dreams come into view and their positions on these perpetual issues come into sharper view.  We keep molding the clay and shaping the relationship based on the understanding of one another’s dreams.

If you ever need a little help with the tough stuff check out these videos about Communication, Intimacy and Trust Rebuilding in Couples Therapy.

Warmest Wishes,

Monica Houttuin, LCSW


What An Awkward Christmas Wish!


Choose Your Destination: A HAPPIER MARRIAGE WITH Monica Houttuin, LCSW, CST

“What do you want for Christmas?”

Choose Your Destination!!

A Happier Marriage with Monica Houttuin and Couples Counseling!!

The dreaded question from your partner.

We want to say something like “JUST SURPRISE ME”

“Be Imaginative.”  “You Know What I Like.”

But we all know where this is going.

The look on their face when you didn’t get it right or do it right.  Why is this so hard?

What does the average couple spend on each other for Christmas?

It ranges  from nothing ( I don’t recommend this)

to the absurd because we have no clue or didn’t think about it).

With that money what is it we really want to gain?

If you buy the right gift you are lucky.

Chances are you buy the wrong gift.

You spend too much, you spend too little, its the wrong size, the wrong color.

You didn’t put enough thought into it

or worse yet

you went to the drugstore on Christmas Eve and bought a gift card.

To be honest all couples really want is comfort, pleasure and connection.

All couples want is to be wanted and special to their partner.

We want to be close and improve our communication.





There is a way to do it.


What An Awkward Christmas Gift?

“What do you want for Christmas?”

Go on ask for your hearts desire!!

Choose Your Destination!!

A Happier Marriage with a Marriage Makover  and Monica Houttuin,  Couple’s Specialist.

Choose Your Destination: A HAPPIER MARRIAGE WITH Monica Houttuin, LCSW, CST

The dreaded question from your partner.

We want to say something like “JUST SURPRISE ME”

“Be Imaginative.”  “You Know What I Like.”

But we all know where this is going.

The look on their face when you didn’t get it right or do it right.  Why is this so hard?

What does the average couple spend on each other for Christmas?

It ranges  from nothing ( I don’t recommend this)

to the absurd because we have no clue or didn’t think about it).

With that money what is it we really want to gain?

If you buy the right gift you are lucky.

Chances are you buy the wrong gift.

You spend too much, you spend too little, its the wrong size, the wrong color.

You didn’t put enough thought into it

or worse yet

you went to the drugstore on Christmas Eve and bought a gift card.

To be honest all couples really want is comfort, pleasure and connection.

All couples want is to be wanted and special to their partner.

We want to be close and improve our communication.





There is a way to do it.

  It’s about re-visioning the gift that you give.

Figure out a way to PROACTIVLEY say to your partner

how can I be more loving to you?

And follow this by

‘What if  for Christmas this year we gave the gift of time

renewing, rejuvenating our relationship”.

What if this Christmas you gave a MARRIAGE MAKEOVER

to the two of’ you

instead of a 52 inch HD TV

(which certainly wont improve comfort and connection).

It might seem like an awkward thing to say to your partner

without raising concern and worry?

But phrased in the right way.

“I was thinking about how I could love you more……..

and I wondered……..for Christmas……..could we give each other the gift……..

of a


more comfort,   more connection, more joy……”

Call me and talk to me and I will explain to you how you can design several hours, a couple weeknd retreat,  or several weeks of time and attention to the most important Dream in Your life.  To love and be loved.

Happy Holidays


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