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free marriage advice

Knowledge Is Power. . . NOT!
150 150 Lee H. Baucom, Ph.D.

Have you heard that before?  Knowledge is power?  Trust me, after spending over 9 years, post college, in graduate school, I believe that information has power.

Problem is, too many people forget one thing:  knowledge that is not applied is useless.  Knowledge is NOT power.  Applied knowledge, THAT is power!

On a daily basis, I hear from people who want to save their marriage.  Just this morning, a gentleman asked me for “a few pointers” to save his marriage.  I referred him to my Save The Marriage System.  But I get the feeling that he just wanted a couple of points.

He wanted the “magic knowledge.”  And that is what sometimes worries me.  Are you ready to take action?  Or have you been seduced by society’s obsession with “the easy answer.”  Most easy answers are not even answers.  But more than that, how many people even apply them?

All I have to do is look at my bookcase at all the “information” available to me.  Wow!  I have a solution for many problems. . . and they would probably work — if I applied the information!

My point is, sometimes we get so caught up in chasing information that we never take the next step — action.

Are you wanting to save your marriage?  Stop a divorce?  Improve your relationship?

Do yourself a favor:  once you have some information you trust, spend some time implementing and trying it out.  Don’t keep looking for more information.  Try it out!

About 6 months ago, I got serious about really getting into shape.  I found some information I trusted.  And I applied it.  Want to know what happened?  I lost weight, got fit, and am now in the best shape of my life.

Several people asked me what I did.  I told them.  Some even got the book.  One joked “I read it and nothing happened.  Do you mean I have to do something different?”

Indeed, knowledge is NOT power.  Applied knowledge, THAT is power!  Get the information you need, then take action!  A new year and new life awaits you!

Ready to change your life and your marriage?  Grab this information and save your marriage!

“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”
–Albert Einstein

Saving Your Marriage: What Does Pavlov Have To Do With It?
150 150 Lee H. Baucom, Ph.D.

Remember Pavlov and his dog?  In this famous experiment,Pavlov and Saving Your Marriage Ivan Pavlov would ring a bell and then feed his dog.  He repeated this process over and over, and then he just rang the bell.  No food.  Remember the dog’s response?  He still expected the food and started salivating!

We can all be clear that Fido was not sitting there thinking “dinner bell just rung, so here comes my dinner!”  Yet that is exactly what his body was doing, getting ready for dinner.

Are we so different than the dog?  Oh, sure, we can think in words, so we can do a little reasoning.  But we are still creatures of conditioning.  When we go to a movie, popcorn suddenly sounds good.  When we hear the icecream truck, we start thinking about how good that icecream would taste (Talk about a business taking advantage of Pavlov’s research!  Kids salivating at the ringing of a bell!), when we hear the angry tone in our spouse’s voice, our stomach tightens.

See how I dropped it in there?  Indeed, Pavlov and his dog have a great deal to do with our marriage.  And here, they have a good bit to do with our saving our marriage.

You see, we condition each other in a marriage.  Over time, it is as if both of us are Pavlov, and each of us is the dog, simultaneously.  At the same time I am being conditioned, I am conditioning.

**SIDE NOTE:  if you are not familiar with the term “conditioning,” it is a term from psychology that talks about how a behavior is structured by a set of inputs.  When I “condition” my dog to sit on command, I get him to sit, then reward him.  First input, my command to sit.  First response (hopefully), he sits.  Second input, I reward him.  Second response (if all has gone well), he learns that if he sits on command, he gets a treat!**

Now let me be very clear here.  I am NOT calling your spouse a dog.  I AM stating that we humans also respond to this “stimulus-response conditioning.”  In fact, we have so much coming at us that we do many things on automatic, as we just can’t think through everything.  So, our brain takes shortcuts.  We learn a response, and we use it over and over.  Sometimes, it is helpful.  Sometimes, it is not.

Imagine for a moment that you are sitting at the table, working on the bills.  In walks your spouse with what you interpret as a scowl on their face.  Without really processing it, your brain notes that it has seen that look before, and things did not go well.  So, trying to shortcut the problem, you say “what’s wrong with you?”  What you might not notice is something your spouse noticed:  a little edge in your voice.  Ouch!

“Nothing is wrong.  Why do you always assume something is wrong?”  Already, you have been trying to figure out how to get the bills to fit into the money available, and already have some adrenaline running through your system.  And that is all it takes.  Each of you have a bit of fuel thrown onto your flames.

In seconds, a quiet afternoon erupts into a relational wildfire.  And as both of you keep digging into your bag of learned tricks, you find more and more fuel to dump on the flames.  Soon, every weakness, slight, and pain from the years of your relationship are heaped onto the table.  And there seems little way out.

Sound familiar?  Change the circumstances just a bit.  Do they fit the pattern for you?  Or perhaps you have followed that path so many times that you have another conditioned response:  silence.  Freezing silence to prevent the fire.  It just doesn’t seem worth it anymore.

One of the things we humans do not like to admit is how much we work on automatic, how much we are conditioned to respond.  We pretend that only animals are that easily influenced.  Somehow, our higher capacity of thought is supposed to keep that from happening(!), but nothing is further from the truth!  MUCH of our lives is run on a simple “stimulus-response” capacity.

So why not use that to your advantage?  Why fight it?  Instead, befriend conditioning and make it work FOR you!

First, consider what ALL the research shows:  positive conditioning is MUCH more powerful than negative conditioning.  In other words, if you want to try to use conditioning, reward the behavior you like. . . and ignore the behavior you don’t like.  You see, when you give negative conditioning, you are still conditioning FOR the behavior.

Let’s think back to the toddler years.  A child is walking through the aisles of the store, sees a toy he MUST have, and tries to get you to buy it.  You refuse.  He melts down, goes to the floor in tears, and wails as if he is on the edge of death.  You:
a) grab that toy and buy it (positive conditioning for negative behavior),
b) grab that boy and drag him out of the store (negative conditioning for negative behavior, showing him that his fit DID get a response),
c) stare at him quietly, giving no cues to what you think, but giving him that slight “you look foolish, and it ain’t working” bemused look.

Outcome to a):  he will throw a fit whenever he wants something.  Outcome to b):  he will throw a fit when he wants your attention.  Outcome to c):  he learns that the fit does not work, so he gives it up.

Application:  when your  spouse does something you like, let him/her know it, loud and clear!  If your spouse does something you don’t like, as long as it falls short of abuse or danger, ignore it.

Back to the bill-writing episode of the spouse with the scowl.  Why even respond?  If something is wrong, isn’t it up to that person to address it, bring it to your attention?  Otherwise, we are training our spouse that we will try to read their mind — a recipe for disaster!

Assume that, unless your spouse approaches you about what is behind that scowl, it is their issue.  It is up to them to address, not up to you to discover.  Let it go, and move on.  Remember, you are conditioned, too.  And you need to recondition yourself.

Second, notice when you are automatically reacting.  Look for it.  Here are some places to look:
a)  when you are repeating the same arguments, and they start the same way,
b)  when you find yourself wondering why your spouse is not responding to some action, expression, or tone you are using (maybe they read this first!).
c)  when you feel your gut tightening, a sure sign that you are caught by some pattern.

Marriages do not suddenly fall apart.  They are taken apart, brick by brick.  Pattern after pattern, conditioned response after conditioned response, the foundation is taken apart.  And marriages are not saved in an instant.  They are rebuilt brick by brick.  But the rebuilding starts when someone decides to stop acting on automatic.

How To Save Your Marriage When It Hurts
150 150 Lee H. Baucom, Ph.D.

Too many times, I have answered my phone to sobs, had people come to my office in tears, write emails that are outpourings of pain.

So, let’s be clear — saving a marriage is tough work!  It requires you to set aside the pain you feel and move forward.  It means setting aside anger and resentment and choosing to relate.

Said another way, it requires us to get out of our lizard brain and back into our sensible brain.

We all have that lizard brain deep within our head.  It is the part that tries to avoid pain at all costs, the one that calculates it is easier to avoid than deal with the tough stuff.

Your lizard brain is constantly telling you what to fear, what it thinks can hurt you — which, by the way, is just about everything.  That part of you that keeps saying “but what if I try, and my spouse rejects me?” or “what if I do/say the wrong thing?” or the one that says “nothing is worth this.”

The sensible part, the one we humans pretend is really in charge, hears that deep voice, and then pretends it makes sense.  But one step back, that brain knows that 1) there are no guarantees in life, 2)  sometimes, life hurts, but that doesn’t mean we should shrink away, and 3)  there are things like family, commitment, and love, that make the pain bearable.

When you find yourself wanting to give up, to get away from the pain, take a step back.  Give yourself a chance to breathe.  Then ask “can I keep trying?”, “am I really ready to quit?”, “am I willing to really give it my best shot?”  If you decide you really want to quit, just make sure that lizard brain hasn’t hijacked the rest of you.

And when you are ready to keep on moving forward, to find a way, find your answer on how to save your marriage here.

Video: How Can We Protect Our Marriage?
150 150 Lee H. Baucom, Ph.D.

Marriages get into trouble when they are not protected.  And marriages that are recovering must protect the marriage, so that it can keep growing.  Marriages that are doing well STILL need to protect their relationship, in order to prevent problems.

This video can help you protect your marriage from problems, and help recover from problems, by helping you learn how to protect your relationship.

Save The Marriage Video: I Keep Messing Up. What Do I Do?
150 150 Lee H. Baucom, Ph.D.

Do you find yourself in a panic, making a crisis even worse?  Does that mean you can’t save your marriage?

Time to discover what you need to do if you want to save your marriage, even if you are making mistakes.  Let’s face it:  you are in the midst of a crisis, and most of us do not do well with fear.  But that doesn’t mean there is no hope.  We just need to get you back on track!  Learn how to save your marriage, even if you keep messing up!

Video: What If My Spouse Wants A Divorce?
150 150 Lee H. Baucom, Ph.D.

Has your spouse asked for a divorce?  Are you wanting to stop the divorce.  Can you save your marriage, or is it too late?  We look at these questions in this video.

My belief is that you can STILL save your marriage, but let me tell you more about that in this video.

Video: Can You Fall In Love Again?
150 150 Lee H. Baucom, Ph.D.

We recently looked at where the love went.  Today, we want to examine the question, “can we fall in love again?”  A crucial question.

You see, I don’t think you should just be saving your marriage to avoid divorce.  I believe you can and should be building an exceptional marriage.  A marriage crisis does not mean you simply limp along into the future.  You grow, learn, develop, and create a marriage much, much better than ever before.

Want to know what can happen?  Watch this video to help you save your marriage.

Save The Marriage Video: I Thought Everything Was OK! What Happened?
150 150 Lee H. Baucom, Ph.D.

A marriage crisis can rear-end you!  You feel like you didn’t see it coming.  At least weekly, I hear from someone telling me that they knew their marriage was not going as well as they would like, but they thought it was temporary.  Maybe they expected that once the kids were grown, there would be time for the marriage.  Or perhaps they thought that once their jobs were secure, or they were promoted, or. . . .

Fact is, marriages can fall apart, and one or the other spouse doesn’t see it coming, making you wonder “can this marriage be saved?” or “can I save my marriage?”

Start by learning what happened in this video.

Save The Marriage Video: Will A Midlife Crisis End My Marriage?
150 150 Lee H. Baucom, Ph.D.

So, we have a basic understanding now of what a midlife crisis really is.  But that only creates another question:  will it end your marriage?  Can the marriage be saved in the midst of a crisis?  The answer will be a challenge, but can lead to transformation of the marriage, if you heed advice on your marriage.  Stop your divorce that a midlife crisis is creating.  Watch the video.

Save The Marriage Video: What Is A MidLife Crisis?
150 150 Lee H. Baucom, Ph.D.

Do you, in the midst of trying to save your marriage, suspect that your spouse is having a midlife crisis?  Many people think they know what that means, but do you really understand it?  Do you know what effect a midlife crisis can have on a marriage, creating a midlife marriage crisis?  Can this marriage be saved if the spouse is in the midst of a crisis?  Here is your “save my marriage advice” when a midlife crisis seems to be a part of the problem!