Great Relationships: 3 Really Dumb Mistakes and 3 Smarter Moves to Make

1) Think short term.

Many people enter marriage with the same mindset they have when buying a car. A car is designed with something called "planned obsolescence" in mind. You know that one day it will wear out and you will need to get another one. Entering marriage with this mindset just about guarantees failure.

Smarter move: Go into marriage with a strong sense of commitment. Not just to "stick it out." Commit to having the best possible marriage and to the growth of the other person.

2)Assume you already know all you need to know.

When I got married 10 years ago, I had a degree and license on my wall that said I was a marriage therapist. So I assumed I knew all I needed to know about how to have a good marriage. Boy, was I ever wrong.

I'm grateful I've learned a lot in the last 10 years. I hope my wife and clients are too. Think of it this way _ how successful would you be on your current job if you assumed you knew all you needed to know and were resistant to learning or changing? Your job would not be a great place. The same applies to marriage.

Smarter move: Never in the history of couplehood has there been greater access to information about marriage, men, women, relationships, communication, and how to love someone. Read a book, hire a coach, go to a seminar, take advantage of all the help that is out there.

3) Turn every issue into a battle for control.

This one is really dumb and very, very common. I have actually had couples in my office - I'm not making this up - fighting over the proper way to hang the toilet paper. It's almost as if there is a scorecard somewhere, perhaps on the fridge, keeping track of who wins the most battles. My question is, what is it that you win?

Smarter move: Pick your battles. Instead of fighting for my way at all costs, work hard and creatively for designing "our way" of doing things.

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