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The Number One Cause of Relationship Problems
And 6 ways to create and maintain the rewarding relationships in your life.


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Don't let yourself get in the way of a happy marriage.


Clinging to past anger and frustration will most likely trigger future self-sabotage.”
Spring cleaning coincides with the changing of the clocks; and so we need to reset our biological rhythms once again. During this yearly ritual most of us are polishing our mirrors and cleaning our windows to the world to shed more light on whatís happening in our lives. Oh, and donít forget getting rid of the useless clutter to lighten up the home living space. These physical activities inevitably lead to spring cleaning our relationships, and if there is a marriage heading on a collision course this is an ideal time to stop and look at the big picture.

The number one cause of relationship ruin might be you. Usually we attribute blame to someone else, but is it really true that it is never your fault? Embrace responsibility. Know that when you are in rhythm with yourself, you are in rhythm with another. Clinging to past anger and frustration will most likely trigger future self-sabotage. The mental clutter is yours alone, so spring into action and regenerate.

Here are six ways to create rewarding relationships and help keep the oneís you want, close.

1. Identify your stressors, label them and reduce them. Stress robs you of your identity and joy and smothers the hidden child within causing you to become more irritable and fragile. Break your tasks down to become more manageable.

2. Improve your focus and become an aware individual. This means observing yourself while you participate in life. An aware individual can see the bigger picture to understand that important people in your life are not your clones.

3. Become what my friend Agapi Stassinopoulos calls, "singular." Singular people cultivate their purpose and search for self-improvement. You percolate ideas and travel both within and without. A married couple is composed of two singular people. This means you are in a relationship with the self, setting aside time to reflect and recharge. Then you can share your self-growth and grow together.

4. Embrace what my 10-year-old dog Bailey doesónot worry. Bailey is never concerned if her thighs or butt are too big. Bailey enjoys the sun, her dog food, snuggling and sniffing the grass. Donít bring perceived insecurities to the bedroom to diminish your pleasure and build a wall around your heart.

5. Clear out the notion of entitlement and immediate gratification. Dr. Walter Mischel of Stanford University is known for the childrenís marshmallow test where he tells nursery school children that they could eat the marshmallow on their desk immediately or wait for him to return to the room in a few minutes and get an extra marshmallow. Fast forward years later: Dr. Mischel finds that those children who waited had better coping skills, grades and less drug addiction. In a marriage, understand you have different time frames for getting chores done and going on vacations.

6. Unleash your spiritual energy as less can mean much more. Most of us seem to have a bad relationship with the term, "less." Thatís why you need to clean out the clutter every spring. Get rid of toxicity and energy vampires. Do all your relationships support the kind of person you are or want to be? Do you have friends who undermine your marriage? Now is a perfect time to see what needs cleaned.

Debbie Mandel, MA is the author of "Addicted to Stress: A Woman's 7 Step Program to Reclaim Joy and Spontaneity in Life," "Changing Habits: The Caregivers' Total Workout" and "Turn On Your Inner Light: Fitness for Body, Mind and Soul," a stress-reduction specialist, a radio show host and has been featured on radio/ TV and print media. To learn more visit: www.turnonyourinnerlight.com.


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Over 1 million couples turn to Hitched for expert marital advice every year. Sign up now for our newsletter & get exclusive weekly content that will entertain, educate and inspire your marriage.



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