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Take your marriage to the next level

What are the two most important things in life? No, it is not food and shelter.  It is not success at work or money.  Obviously. The two most important things in life are to honor God and honor others. Are you are ready to take your marriage to the next level? Once you figure out how to love each other well, you might be fooled into believing you reached the pinnacle and there's nothing left to achieve.  You would be wrong.  A great marriage is wonderful.  Helping other couples experience the kind of love and support you feel is something much bigger than your own marriage.

Helping others is the next step in your journey, and it may well end up being the greatest part of your life together! The next level is discovering how to mentor couples.

[ If you want weekly support and encouragement for your deepest relationship struggles...join the VIP Inner Circle today! Change is a process and takes time, a VIP Inner Circle membership is the...

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Anchor your relationship in joy

What is the scariest movie, human, animal, or story for you? Me, it is Poltergeist reigning supreme at the top of my list. Perhaps tied with the freaking shark from Jaws, I still struggle swimming in open water when I cannot see the bottom...lakes, oceans, nighttime in pools, are all accompanied by the haunting sound, "da na, da na, da na, da na daaaaaaa"! Yes, the music from Jaws plays loudly in my head swimming in a pool at night. My brother convinced me at a tender age sharks can swim through the pipes of a pool. They hide during the day and hunt unsuspecting children at night. 

But even scarier than giant sharks hiding out in a pool is the twisted clown devil, monster, destroyer of worlds from Poltergeist.  It is the prolegomenon of my horrifying fear of clowns. 

Today is about joy.  I bet you did not see this coming! Your relationship can feel scary at times.  Are we going to make it? Is...

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The power of a sacred pause

"The most important thing in life is to stop saying 'I wish' and start saying 'I will.' Consider nothing impossible, then treat possibilities as probabilities." Charles Dickens wrote that, and this week you are about to learn the most important strategy for your relationship to succeed. Before you become flooded, and incapable of loving each other well, take a Sacred Pause.  It's really the only way you can get through difficult conversations and come out closer than ever.

The Sacred Pause is nothing more than recognizing you are getting upset.  Is this difficult to do?  Clearly not! We all can recognize when we are not happy and are getting angry.  The question is whether or not you are willing to make the right choice in these moments.

Are you willing to disengage, in the right way, and give yourself time to calm down? You had better be willing because a Sacred Pause is going to save your marriage.

What is a Sacred Pause?

I've talked about this strategy a...

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4 repulsive reactions you have to stop now

Repulsive.  Just saying the word out loud should get your attention. "Arousing intense distaste or disgust." The Urban Dictionary defines repulsive as, "Something or someone that is gross and provokes disgust; disgusting." Let me ask you something, is this your goal each day you wake up lying next to the person you chose to spend the rest of your life together? Is it your dream to destroy your marriage and spend tens of thousands of dollars on arguably the worst experience a human being can go through? Are you intentionally trying to be repulsive through your words and actions?

Unless you are Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, or Jeffrey Dahmer, my guess is you are not, in fact, waking up in the mornings dreaming of creative ways to repulse your spouse. The bummer is, we are naturally gifted at being repulsive when things become difficult.

The family of your youth taught you many things.  Some good things and some bad things. The perfect family system does not exist....

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The one thing you can't do

When is the last time you heard, "You never do anything! I have to do everything around here!" Or at least some version of an irritated, angry, frustrated, overwhelmed, or disgusting statement of fact leaving you feeling like a failure or judged. Today, together, we are going to eliminate this kind of hullabaloo (Which I spelled hullabaloo correctly on my first attempt, whoops, I typed this out too fast because Grammarly finally corrected me! Now I've just made it embarrassing.) Anyway, today we discover how to destroy flooding in our difficult conversations.

Welcome to Inspirational Comedy, I'm Michael Smalley, thank you for joining me today.  Two things before we get started.

  1. Head on over to smalleyinstitute.com and join the family by becoming a member of the VIP Inner Circle. It's weekly coaching, encouragement, and guidance to help you get the marriage you want. You get date night ideas, a huge vault of online courses (valued at over $500), downloadable couples...
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How about trying NOT being a jerk

Move from adversaries to teammates. The first three minutes of a difficult conversation matter:

In a six-year longitudinal study performed by John Gottman and Sybil Carrère, they discovered that they could predict the likelihood of a couple’s divorce by observing just the first three minutes of a conflict discussion.

Three major errors in difficult conversations:

  1. We assume we know all we need to know to understand and explain a situation.
  2. We hide our feelings — or let them loose in ways we later regret.
  3. We ignore who we are, acting as if our identity is separate from the issues.

“The key is to shift your thinking from I need to explain myself or deliver a message to I need to listen and learn more about what is going on,” Stone says.” Doug Stone

Before you start a difficult conversation ask three questions:

  1. Sort out what happened. How do you see the situation? Where does your story come from (information, past experiences, rules)? What...
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Move from adversaries to teammates

The first three minutes

  • In a six-year longitudinal study performed by John Gottman and Sybil Carrère, they discovered that they could predict the likelihood of a couple’s divorce by observing just the first three minutes of a conflict discussion.

Three major errors in difficult conversations

  1. We assume we know all we need to know to understand and explain a situation.
  2. We hide our feelings — or let them loose in ways we later regret.
  3. We ignore who we are, acting as if our identity is separate from the issues.

“The key is to shift your thinking from I need to explain myself or deliver a message to I need to listen and learn more about what is going on,” Stone says.” Doug Stone

Before you start a difficult conversation. Ask three questions:

  1. Sort out what happened. How do you see the situation? Where does your story come from (information, past experiences, rules)? What do you think you know about the other person’s viewpoint? What...
Continue Reading...

The joy of difficult conversations

The joy of difficult conversations will lead you to the marriage you want. 

25 years of missing out on the true joy resulting from pain

  • I didn’t want to feel Judgment, condemnation, controlled, confused, powerless
  • I kept trying to change her
  • I couldn’t understand we are all two things simultaneously

Where is the joy in pain?

  • It leads to a deeper understanding
  • The result is authentic intimacy

Intimate Conversations (only available to VIP members)

One Incredible Exercise (only available to VIP members)

  • Gottman's Open-Ended Questions Exercise
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