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Home » Advice and Tips, Relationships

Quick advice to save your marriage

Submitted by on Monday, 3 August 20098 Comments

Some of you may know that I have been listening to Tony Robbins Personal Power lately, and have been getting great little nuggets and kernels of advice from it.  I want to share with you a great little kernel that will put the pop in the popcorn of your marriage, and prevent it from going off the deep end.

marriageHave you come home after a tough day at work and taken your stresses and frustrations out on your spouse?  Sure you have.  We all have.  Not intentionally, of course, it just happens.  But it happens because we let it happen, and if we can stop it, we can be one step closer to a long-lasting, happy, marriage.  You may think this will be harder than threading a camel through the eye of a needle, but stick with me here and lets give it a shot.

I know what you’re thinking – how is this going to save my marriage, Mr. Head Jammer?

The answer is this:  It’s all about associations.  Our brain makes associations all the time.

Ever wonder why the smell of a steak on the barbecue reminds you of summertime?  It’s because you usually barbecue in the summer, and your brain has associated the smell of barbecuing with summer.  It’s the same reason why the smell of Tequila makes you nauseous (if you’re anything like me and had some bad Tequila experiences in college).

So when you get home from work and you are stressed, or in a bad mood, and the first thing you see when you walk in the door is your spouse’s face, you start to make an association between your negative feelings about work, and your spouse’s face.  Do this repeatedly, and the association will stick in your brain like Richard Simmons on the oldies.  You’ll get to a point where, you can even be in a good mood coming home one day, and you’ll see your spouse and suddenly feel stressed or in a bad mood, without even knowing why.

It goes without saying that if you start to associate your feelings about work or your boss with your spouse, totally without even knowing it, or totally unintentionally, you can be putting your marriage at risk for no good reason at all.

So my advice to you is this:  If you’ve had a rough day at work, or had a spat with your boss, and are feeling like you want to bang your head against a hard surface, take a few moments to change your state before you march through the door to your home.  Leave your work stresses and feelings about work behind you, and start fresh when you get home.  Try and put yourself in a good mood before you see your spouse.

How the heck do I do that, you ask?

There are many ways.  You can mediate, relax, focus on something other than work, or do some state-changing exercises (using anchoring, for example), if you know how (and if you’ve listened to Personal Power II, you’ll know how).  Have a beer if you have to.  Whatever it takes to get you feeling better.  Doesn’t matter what it is, listen to the wise words of Nike, and just do it.  You’ll thank yourself later.

That’s it really.  Just make sure you don’t associate your bad moods from work, your boss, your idiot colleagues, or that guy that cut you off on your way home, with your loved ones, and you’ll be on your way to a marriage that lives happily ever after.

Just my 200 Yen.  Let me know what you think.

Flickr photo courtesy of millzero.com

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  • Very interesting perspective. I’ve never thought of associating my wife with the things that bother me at work. It does shed light on how to improve your marriage without having to go through a major overhaul. I have found that if I’m in a better mood when my wife gets home things run much more smoothly that evening.
    Tyler – Building Camelot´s last blog ..How To Cook A Morton’s Quality Steak At Home My ComLuv Profile

  • whoa!!! good stuff and this makes total sense. My wife’s job is demanding of her and she’s 24×7 connected to her Blackberry and gets like 350 emails a day, non-stop. She is on the phone about 5-6 hours on conference calls all day, so that LAST thing she wants to do at home is talk. Luckily she does have about a 30 minute ride home from work, but usually stops off and picks up our kids from preschool. I used to but she likes to do it now, or on most days. I take them in the morning now (or most days).

    We’ve been having a rough time with stresses of jobs, increasing bills, stagnant paychecks and living check to check while supporting 2 kids at $1800/mo for preschool. It’s a lot!!! but we did the math and we both need to work. Also, a new car payment started this summer. So with all the recession talks, money issues, job stresses, two whiny kids in the evening because they are HOT and/or hungry on ride home it just gets to us. And I KNOW I take things out on my wife (and sometimes kids). SHe takes things out on me. There are times where we really get pissed at each other and neither of us like that! I’m not a GRUDGE holder, I let things go easily and never stay upset. can’t say the same for my wife. I think she’s very pretty, smart and a good mommy and wife and I constantly tell her that and give her shoulder and neck massages after work to relax her. She always seems so tense at home…i think it’s because she cannot stop thinking about all the shit she gets piled onto her from work. She works for a huge global company and I work for a small local IT training/consulting company. I cannot relate to her workload and just say, “let it go for once!”

    Oh well, this was a great way to view things and I will have to share this with my wife. (Sweetie, if you read the blog post and my comment, please don’t be mad! I’m just typing away my thoughts and this makes me want to get back into blogging more now!!)


  • Head Jammer says:

    @Tyler – It is a really interesting perspective, and it makes sense to me. If we think back to when we first met our wives, all the associations we had with seeing her were positive. Seeing her made us feel good. If you think about even when people go on dates, usually they try and put themselves in a positive state before the date, even if they had a stressful day. So the negative associations weren’t really there. It is really through work and the daily grind that we start to risk associating our work stress with our spouses.
    @DaddysToolbox – Thanks for the detailed comment, and wow, your wife sounds really busy, and that sounds like a tough situation. Me and my wife have really simplified our lives to try and reduce stress. We don’t have a car, we try and keep as few expenses as possible, she stays at home with the kids and sometimes takes an extra kid on some days to earn a bit of extra money, I do my best to work reasonable hours, etc. I think it has helped, but I understand such a lifestyle isn’t possible for everyone. I think it is great that you give her massages and help her to relax. That should help her to make positive associations with being with you and seeing you. If it were possible for her to leave her work stresses behind when she came home (which isn’t always possible nowadays, with Blackberries and working from home, etc.), then you guys would probably benefit, but I’m no expert, just my two cents.

  • Chris says:

    Great article, I think the biggest step is realizing your actions and be willing to change.

    The mind is a powerful tool that can sabotage your life without even knowing.

    The trick I use is to crank up the tunes on the drive home and sing as loud as I can. No one has to suffer through my tone deaf solos, and it helps to relieve the stress!
    Chris´s last blog ..How to Be a Labor Coach My ComLuv Profile

  • Head Jammer says:

    Hey Chris – great points and a great tip to relieve stress! Listening to music that makes you feel good and singing to it is a great way to change your focus to something positive and put you in a good state of mind for when you walk through that door to your home and see your spouse.

  • Keith Wilcox says:


    Very good stuff. I hadn’t thought of this topic, positive thinking, as it relates to spousal interactions. But, you’re right. I am a stay-at-home dad, but I have stressful days, and when my wife appears in front of me after I’ve been dealing with irrational children all day I tend to not be able to mediate my own frustrations. I find something that works to make me feel better is to simply smile — even if I don’t mean it. There is something about a smile that makes me feel better. I think it might work for everyone :-) There, see!

    Keith Wilcox´s last blog ..Interviewing Alan My ComLuv Profile

  • Head Jammer says:

    Hey Keith, good point about smiling. I think it has been proven that simply smiling makes you feel better, even if you don’t mean it. Just by putting your body in a “happy” state, by smiling, standing upright, chin up, etc, you can have a very positive impact on your mood and outlook. So here’s another smile for all of you out there :)

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