Just Listen

The secret to getting through to anyone, anywhere, anytime

5 Rules for Marital Longevity and Harmony

How well does your marriage follow these rules?

Would the following defrost your relationship or make it even more frosty?

  1. Unsolicited criticism will henceforth be ignored
  2. Unsolicited advice will henceforth be respectfully declined
  3. Helpful, loving and respectfully delivered suggestions will henceforth be considered and appreciated
  4. Earnest and legitimate requests will henceforth be granted
  5. Loving acts of kindness, generosity and expressions of appreciation and compliments will henceforth be cherished…and reciprocated

If you answered, “More frosty,” you might want to think of having a heartfelt conversation with your partner about the elephant in the room, because it’s a big one and is standing in the way of the relationship you want.

P.S. It may be that as a more selective couples therapist, I have seen far too many couples that didn’t follow these rules and that could be why they ended up in my office.

To save couples time and money and my having to endlessly referee stubbornness, I now show them these rules before they come in. I have these rules as part of my agenda—if we meet—for each partner to identify and then remove the roadblocks to following them.

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If either or both partners are unable to follow the rules, my “respectful” response is that it appears more important to one or both of them to “be right” than to improve their relationship; then, rather than give them “unsolicited advice,” I “respectfully decline" to see them.

That doesn’t mean they shouldn’t see someone else, it just means that they shouldn’t see me.

Mark Goulston, MD, is the author of the new bestselling book Just Listen: Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone.

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