Category Archives: Advice

The Nuggets of Truth Inside Dumb Advice for Couples

The Nuggets of Truth Inside Dumb Advice for Couples

There is plenty of dumb advice that floats around for couples who are struggling.  Maybe it’s your Dr. Phil’s of the world or other self-help type guru’s.  Or you might notice that every single one of your friends or family members has an opinion about the solution to your problems.  The tricky thing about cliché advice is that there is often a kernel of truth in it.  So here are few common ones that I have heard, and the valuable parts hiding in the noise. 

Focus on Making “I” Statements 

This one is a good one.  I think that most people have heard this one before.  This one is good advice on its face value.  But the problem is that it is not as easy to implement as people make it seem.  So the original statement might sound like “You always talk down to me.”  The “I” statement that does not help might sound like “I feel like you’re talking down to me.”  Just making it an “I” statement did not really change anything. 

The nugget of truth in this one has to do with shifting from blaming to talking about your emotions.  Blame keeps us stuck in the same cycle that we always stay in.  Instead you would want to focus on sharing what you are feeling and taking responsibility for your actions.   

Love Means never having to say you’re sorry 

This one is just dangerous.  As a matter of fact, my experience tells me that love means apologizing repeatedly.  We are all imperfect people.  By the nature of that, we all make mistakes and behave poorly at times.  Being in a loving, committed relationship means having to take responsibility for our actions when we do act out of our hurts or stress.   

The truth of this one really has to do with being understanding of our partner.  The real advice in here is that we give grace and forgiveness to our partner when they are hurting.  It is important to be attentive to our partner’s pain and connect over the ways that the pain is triggered.  It is important to focus on being the kind of person that it is okay to apologize to.  Love means that we can say we are sorry without the fear that admitting our faults will be held over our head.   

You Need to Be Accepted as You Are 

This is another example of good advice gone sideways.  Another version of this is “If you can’t love me at my worst, you don’t deserve me at my best.”  This one too quickly turns into an excuse for bad behavior.  It’s just who I am after all.  Somewhere along the lines we got the message that our flaws should be accepted at face value without expectation that they would change. 

The good news is that people do change and grow.  You are not the same as you were five years ago.  I think that the beauty of long-term relationships is that we get to go through these changes with a partner that loves us.  If we never changed relationships would be tedious and boring the longer we stay in them.  Instead, it is important to love and accept each other as you are today, not for who our partner was when we first met.  This version of acceptance means that there is no limit to how close we can grow or the ways we can continue to grow to know each other.   

Like any old timey prospector will tell you, you have to sift through some mud in order to find gold.  Cliché’s have some gold in them if we are willing to sort through the mess to find it.  If you are having trouble finding direction out of the cycle you and your partner are stuck in, give The Marriage & Family Clinic a call. 

About the Author

Ryan Hicks is a licensed therapist and marriage counselor at The Marriage and Family Clinic in Denver, Colorado. He specializes in working with couples in high conflict and working with couples in the LGBTQ community. When he’s not working with couples, you’ll find him rock climbing or taking in the great outdoors of Colorado.

How To Make It Through the Holidays When Your Relationship Is Struggling

How To Make It Through the Holidays When Your Relationship Is Struggling

While this time of year can be a great time for some, it can be pretty difficult for others. Spending time with family and endless holiday parties can be really exhausting – especially if you’re having problems in your marriage. The thought of trying to keep up appearances when you are struggling in your relationship… Continue Reading

When enough is enough

When enough is enough

You have known for a while that your relationship is suffering. Things are not as they used to be and the conflict is unbearable. You have been trying everything from your mother’s advice, magazine pro-tips and counselor’s suggestions with no real results. We all know that relationships change as we mature and we’re supposed to… Continue Reading

How to be supportive when your partner makes a mistake

How to be supportive when your partner makes a mistake

There is no denying that relationships are hard work on a daily basis. Add to the basic endeavor a crisis initiated by your partner and you got a headache of gigantic proportions. It’s easy to get mad and blame your partner for the mistakes made, but does it solve the problem? I’ll answer that question:… Continue Reading

I’m in a one sided marriage….what do I do?

I’m in a one sided marriage….what do I do?

Marriages start with a lot of expectations, dreams and plans. We usually fall in love with the person that makes us laugh, holds our hand through tough times and share our vision for the future. But things change with time, as they should –  and it is not always a good change. All of the… Continue Reading

Should I Stay or Should I Go?: 3 Questions to Ask Before Ending your Marriage

Should I Stay or Should I Go?: 3 Questions to Ask Before Ending your Marriage

You got married thinking…no…knowing that this is it! There was no better person for you in this world. The love that you felt the day you said “I do” was going to last forever. And now, that love seems like such a distant memory. You find yourself wondering if it was ever real or was it a figment… Continue Reading

Staying healthy and fit after marriage

Staying healthy and fit after marriage

One of the most common pieces of advice we hear when getting married is “don’t get too comfortable and let yourself go”. It’s a well-meaning (albeit mean) and often true prediction. We should feel comfortable and confident in our relationship to not feel the pressure of looking attractive 24/7, but it is also important to stay healthy… Continue Reading