Things I've never heard from a therapist...

One of John's clients sends a fantastic newsletter out each month.  (Usually I'm not a fan of company newsletters, but I find both Dr. Susan Fletcher's newsletter and Jason Womack's newsletters worth the read every time.)

This month, Dr. Fletcher had an article called "5 Things your Marital Therapist won't Tell You"...and after 24 years of marriage, I think she is right.  The following is from Dr. Fletcher ...

1. Always go to bed angry. I believe it's a myth that you should always make up with your spouse before going to bed. You are tired at bedtime and trying to settle a dispute when you are tired is futile. Plus, sleep is a great stress reducer. I say, "Go to bed - you're tired!"

2. Fighting is a good sign. One indication that couples are in trouble is when they aren't engaged or talking to each another. Indifference to each other tells me a marriage is in big trouble. At least couples who are fighting are interacting. Couples who care enough to fight still care about each other.

3. Communication isn't the most important thing. Talking about your feelings and making "I" statements doesn't solve problems. What's more important is the way couples respond to each other after an argument in order to build your relationship and make it stronger.

4. Don't try to resolve issues. Some issues just aren't resolvable. For example, Easter and Passover were in April this year. Fighting over different spiritual beliefs is not a resolvable issue. Repairing your relationship should be the focus. Acknowledge that your differences exist in a satisfactory way rather than trying to get your spouse to see your point of view at the expense of the relationship.

5. Every marriage is saveable. Both people have to be committed and it will be a lot of work. But it's worth repeating that - every marriage is saveable.

And since this is my blog, I get to add my own...

6.  You are going to get hurt.  Get over it.  If I had to boil it down to the one big "secret" to marriage, it would be about forgiveness.  We are all broken and we live in a broken world. Often times we hurt each other without even intending to. Treating your spouse as innocent--even when they don't deserve it--has power. We don't want marriages based on merit systems.  We want marriages based on love. Conversely, confession is part of the equation. We all need forgiveness.

7.  Openness is a harder goal than love. We all have self-protectionist strategies in relationships. We get hurt. Some part of us closes up. Our spouse is being a snot and doesn't deserve our presence, so we remove it. Except those patterns over time get ingrained. And we find ourselves behind walls we can't easily scale. The best marital advice I was ever given was to "stay open and stay put."

Susan Fletcher, Ph.D. is a psychologist, author and speaker who specializes in helping individuals, professionals and organizations apply strategies for fast improvement.  Her Smart Zone™ strategies provide ways to be a top performer at work and home. To learn more about how to be in the Smart Zone please visit her website at or contact Susan at (972) 612-1188 or by email at


Susan Fletcher, Ph.D. said...

Enjoyed your blog post and I'm so glad you enjoy my electronic newsletters! Thank you.

I agree with your #6 and #7, too. We have to allow ourselves to be influenced by our spouse and that type of openness can be tough.

There's definitely nothing Random about you Cathy!
Dr. Susan Fletcher

Cathy_H said...

Dr. Fletcher!

I'm delighted you commented. John and Troy think the world of you!

(And I appreciate it that you share advice electronically )


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