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Guidance for Couples

Couples are on a long journey together. "The opportunity to learn to love is immense,". Marriage is a dynamic experience. "You have to keep having these conversations for the rest of your life,". "You don't wish a house, you build a house." being together should be fun. "So many people work their partners to death, work their problems to death," adding that play, intimacy and ease are important.

1. There's no such thing as Mr. or Ms. Right for you...

2. Talk isn't cheap: it's your most valuable investment.
Good, regular communication is the key to a good marriage. talking creates connection, empathy and intimacy.

3. A relationship is like a car: you need to change the oil every three months.
"How are we doing?" conversation every three months, no matter how long you have been married.

4. Being emotional is better than being rational.
relationships are by their nature emotional, not rational, so don't build a case with facts and figures -- focus on your feelings and the rest will follow.

5. No one "wins" unless you both do.
If it's about feelings, then nobody's right -- or wrong. It's a conversation, not a fight, so stop trying to win. "When you are into a win-lose pattern, you are both going to lose."

6. How you feel is up to you.
"There is probably nothing more important in a relationship than the art of making yourself happy," How? Take responsibility for your own thoughts and feelings. In some ways this has little to do with your partner. Instead of blaming others for how you feel realize that how you feel is up to you. You can choose to be angry or annoyed, or you can choose not to be. It's not what happens, it's what you make it mean.

7. Women aren't from Venus and men aren't from Mars.
Who talks more? Women? No. Studies show men talk more and interrupt more. Maybe your husband wants to be held more, maybe he needs to talk about his worries at work or his concerns about aging. You're more alike than you think!

8. When you argue, it should be all about you.
This powerful communication tool is simple: You know your own thoughts and feelings best, so stick to that. Don't tell your partner "how they think, or what they should or shouldn't be. This is being in the "other person's business."

"As soon as you start using the word you, you immediately just piss the other person off," he says. "There's no faster way to make another adult angry than to tell them what they think or feel... that you are more of an expert on their internal state than they are."

So stick to I.O.U. (I Over You) language -- say I think, I feel and I need. (The only exception is when you use you in a question: What do you want? What do you think?)

9. It's not about money. It's about what you think about money.
Every person has a financial style -- some people live for today, others want to save for tomorrow. "Neither is right or wrong," So, the key is to stop trying to win and figure out what makes each person comfortable when it comes to money.

10. Sex. It's mostly about talking... and fun.

At the end of a long, stressful day at work, after the homework, the lessons and the lunches, who has the time or the energy for sex? Assuming both people want more sex, the solution is to think more openly about sex and to talk about it. Sexual problems usually get solved not in the bedroom, but talking in the kitchen.

When one person wants sex more often than the other, the main advice is still to talk about it. The couple may have misunderstandings about what they are doing, what they want to do and what they could do. Talking openly, honestly and without fear is a start.