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Even though Jordan and Mary had a history of both being manipulative and self-centered in the past, which got them stuck in a power struggle, they got to work and began to re-instill trust. They practiced disengaging from any sexual agenda. Jordan began giving her a very high level of focused, caring attention.

He began to understand how important it was to look deeply into Mary’s experience. He realized that he didn’t really know her as well as he thought he did. Jordan realized that he didn’t know what she was feeling, wanting, or needing at any given moment…


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There are common pitfalls that contribute to a diminishment of interest in sex in many long-term relationships. Such diminishment is neither natural nor inevitable. We are challenged to identify ways of responding to and neutralizing problematic situations that can, if unchecked, lead to sexual difficulties. One of the most prominent instances where longing for connection shows up in a vivid way is the sexual experience because it’s the place where we’re most vulnerable. …


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: Keeping track of how difficult (selfish, dishonest, controlling, unreasonable, cruel, stubborn, bitchy, mean, aggressive, distant, cold, shut-down, possessive, irrational, hysterical, illogical, over-sexed, under-sexed, boring, passive, rejecting and unloving to name a few) the other person is, is building evidence in a file. The thicker the file grows, the more we feel justified in holding our partner responsible for the trouble. It is the chronic self-justification that promotes our prejudice against or partner, distorts our memory, promotes arrogance, creates injustice, generates arguments, and distorts love.

Keeping a file adds “evidence.” Support from family and friends go in the file too…


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When speaking about marriage:

— Carol Tavris and Elliott Aaronson in

Couples are enormously invested in making their marriage work. Partners strive to emphasize the positive and minimize the negative in an attempt to maintain harmony. But despite their efforts, many couples begin to keep a file of grievances that do not get properly addressed and mount up to become destructive.

Of…


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When I shared this observation with my single friend Howard, he looked at me as though I had taken leave of my senses. I don’t blame him, really — it hadn’t been that long ago that I had the same association with this particular “C word.” In fact, it wasn’t until after Linda and I had been together for several years that I stopped feeling like I was stuck in a trap and began to experience the liberating nature of true commitment.

Prior to that realization, I was not really committed to our marriage. Sure, I tried to keep the…


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One of the characteristics that sets blue ribbon relationships apart from the rest of the pack is the tendency for both partners to live in a state of appreciation for all the ways they enhance each other’s lives. They live with an attitude of gratitude that prompts them to continually seek out ways to make each other’s lives easier, more pleasurable, more enriched, and more fun. They make it a point to do this through various acts of assistance and support, spontaneously offering words of acknowledgment, kindness, small gestures of affection, and physical touch that say, “I love you.” In…


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No one likes critical feedback. We often avoid criticism by discouraging those who give it, or dismissing it as invalid. It’s hard to hear that someone feels mistrust, disappointment, or anger toward us. But avoiding “tough love” denies us the opportunity to enhance respect and trust in our relationships and our lives.

Invalidating a partner’s feelings undermines the level of trust and respect in the relationship. To maximize the love and intimacy between you, pinpoint your most common reaction to criticism through this thought exercise:

Imagine someone saying…


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I am a recovering pessimist. I grew up in a family that had a basement freezer crammed with food, and cases of canned goods stacked against the walls. All this hoarding was preparation for the economic or political disaster that my parents were certain would occur.

I grew up hearing stories about my grandfather’s assault on a Russian army officer who had taunted him with anti-Semitic remarks. As the story goes, he then fled and deserted the military, leaving Russia to emigrate to the United States. There were stories about the pogroms and violence that occurred in the old country…


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Linda: My husband Charlie and I studied the happiest couples we could find, interviewing more than 50 couples.

These couples were the voice of experience, having been married for an average of 30 years. They had all created exemplary relationships in the many different forms that great relationships can take. We expected that people who felt really happy and fulfilled wouldn’t have many differences and would have very infrequent conflict.

It turns out happy doesn’t necessarily mean tranquil. Many of the “happy” couples were quite opinionated and could be volatile at times. Although it was true that overall there wasn’t…


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For those of you who haven’t yet had the pleasure of reading our book, , this is a kind of Cliff Notes version. My husband Charlie and I interviewed fifty happy couples and chatted informally with many more. Our goal was to come up with practical advice that might aid others in maintaining long-term, loving unions. While this is by no means a substitute for the real deal, it will give you the condensed version of the book’s key themes.

So sit back, relax, and find out about a few of the many secrets of great marriages…

Linda & Charlie Bloom

Linda Bloom LCSW and Charlie Bloom MSW, married since 1972, are experts in the field of relationships and have published four successful books. bloomwork.com

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