Let's Talk 'Bout Marriage

couples couples therapy listening marriage social skills tension Jan 11, 2022

Let’s talk about marriage for a minute. 

Isn’t it true that Marriage Therapists tell all their clients to increase their communication and their marriages will improve? Do I really need to spend $250 a session just to hear that?

NO! That is not true. (Plus, you know Marriage Therapists have more than one tool in their toolbox, right?!) 

In fact, I don’t necessarily believe that more communication is the answer to help all couples get through tough times. Yup, for all you cynics, you read that correctly. Although (many) women like to communicate about what they’re unhappy about, (many) men hate those conversations. 

It’s not that we need more Communication.

It’s that we need deeper Connections.

Most of my marriage therapy clients do actually communicate. They just don’t communicate effectively.

(Ok, ok.  Effective communication where both parties feel validated and understood, and they both walk away feeling closer, just so happens to be a great tool also 😉. But today we’re talking about when that doesn’t quite happen.)

Do you feel that communication with your spouse about things that bother you leads to more tension?

“How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It?” is a great question, and it also happens to be the title of one of my favorite books about Marriage (written by Steven Stosny and Patricia Love -- that’s her real name. Cool, no?) 

The book outlines a basic difference between men and women. Yes, these are stereotypical, and yes, of course, there are always exceptions and lots of nuance.

Tension in marriages often stems from how men experience the shame of inadequacy and how women experience the fear of loneliness. Men hate the feeling of shame. And similarly, there is nothing worse for a woman than the fear of being alone.

This subtlety creates havoc when couples try to improve their relationships through communication. The more they communicate – the worse their relationship gets. A man’s reluctance to talk about their relationship is because his wife’s dissatisfaction itself makes him feel like a failure.  He feels ashamed. And shame is an emotion that men avoid desperately.

A reason why women like to talk to their husbands is that beneath the more overt tension is a loneliness making her feel anxious and sad. She feels alone and so she wants to reconnect by interacting and communicating.  And fear of loneliness is an emotion that women avoid desperately.

Listen up women: There is nothin’ that a man wants more than to please his wife.  Little makes a man prouder and have more self-worth than providing for his wife and his family. He wants to be needed. He wants his wife and family to depend on him. He wants to give his wife gifts. He wants her to be happy. He wants to be connected.

Research and clinical experience have shown that most men want a closer and deeper emotional connection just as much as women do.  Many men regard their wives as their best friend and closest confidant. 

But here is the difficult cycle:

When there is an issue in a marriage, the man feels that his wife is not happy with him and he is not meeting her expectations, he feels that he’s failing her. This sends him into the shame of feeling inadequate.  To ease this feeling and his pain, his response is often distance. But this distance is the opposite of what the woman needs at that point – and it makes the woman feel more isolated and alone. Each time this interaction happens -- her pain of isolation and his pain of inadequacies gets deeper and deeper.  

How can we move past this? 

Aha. You ask a good question! 

Both men and women need to make the time to create a more loving and connected relationship.

We don’t need a newsletter reminding us to be kind and telling us what to do. I even feel silly reiterating the basics. But, I will name a few because…  that’s why you hired me. 

We need to start with small gestures of kindness to our spouses. We need to genuinely take the time to get to know and understand each other. Be curious! We aren’t perfect either- and focusing on that should help us accept our spouses imperfections also. We need to appreciate what our spouses do right and thank them for it. Oh, and schedule vacations! 

There’s so much more to say about this. I highly recommend the book (“How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It”). Click here to buy for a deeper understanding of this concept. 

And just btw, creating a safe, secure, meaningful and happy marriage happens to be one of the best ways to guarantee that your children have healthy social skills and a marriage of their own to look forward to!

Consider this your Marriage Therapy Session for the week.




One last thought! I read in the research (AKA someone’s amazon review of the book) that this theme seems to be true about boys and girls, beginning in childhood.  Boys have an innate fear of being inadequate, girls have a natural fear of being lonely. Interesting!


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Welcome to our very first newsletter! For those who know me, I’m sure you are not surprised that I created a course about Social Skills. I mean, my social skills are just so appropriate. Right?! 


For those of you who do not know me (yet), you will learn that few things excite me more than an open and honest conversation about real life.  Life is about connecting to the people around us, and there’s no better way to connect than being open and honest about real life issues. Any time. Any place.


Inappropriate. According to some!


So I’m inviting you to my new and exciting newsletter called Socially Appropriate-ish  because, I really think I am Socially Appropriate- ish. Honestly, my initial name for this newsletter was “Socially Inappropriate.” I thought that was best. I was excited about it until my kids were like — “ummm, you‘re joking, right?” So I quickly came up with another name and pretended that I was joking all along… which, I was not😳.


Being in the field of Marriage and Family Therapy for the last 18+  years and working in various environments (which you will read about) has enhanced my  Socially Appropriate-ish skills even more. Therapists are simply forced into awkward and complex situations daily. To be clear, I love what I do! And— I don’t mind awkward. So, this newsletter will include a dose of some of that awkwardness. 


This newsletter will include the following topics:


Relationship Issues, Social Skills, Emotion Management,   Anxiety (that’s a biggie today), Bullying, Shame, Trauma, Attachment Theory, Crazy Kids, Crazy Parents (that should be a diagnosis IMHO!), Abuse (never funny), First Year of Marriage (sometimes funny), Different Models of Therapy,  Empathy, Triggers, Developing Confidence, The Emotional vs Logical Brain, Differences between Men and Women (always funny), OCD, Emotional Acceptance … And much more!


So, if you want to stay on my email list, no need to do anything at this point except to wait for my next newsletter. Which I would like to say will be weekly - though I have a fear of committing. So let’s say weekly-ish! And if you’d like to unsubscribe, by all means, hit the unsubscribe button below 👇🏻.   I’m mature, so I won’t take it personally. Even I find “unsubscribing” to unwanted emails therapeutic.  It’s an amazing way to relieve some pent up frustrations. No?


Oh! About that. There’s a lot more coming about other healthy ways to take out frustration in later emails. Not for the unsubscribers. 


Also, I’ve been directed by marketing experts to give a freebie out with this first newsletter to keep the audience engaged. (Easy for them to say!)  So, here goes the freebie: for the next 24 hours, please reach out with any appropriate question you think I can help with. And I will get back to you (but remember my fear of commitment, so I’m not saying when).


Have any quick questions or concerns? Is your child a perfectionist? Not sure if you should take your child’s anxiety seriously and go for professional help? Is your son/daughter/spouse afraid of the robbers/fires/clowns? Is your dating child having a hard time coming up with conversation on dates? Curious how to help a child build confidence? Do family members (read: you) have low frustration tolerance? Worried about your marriage because you feel disconnected from your spouse? Are you thinking about your childhood lately and wondering if it’s time to process something? Having a hard time with your parents? 


Reach out! Hopefully, I can help or at least point you in the right direction. But please note that, I’m only committing (eek) to writing you a short text or voice note :) 


Simply choose one of 2 ways to reach out: (and don’t forget to add your name) 

1.) Whatsapp me @ 646.688.4021 (confidential business number) or 

2.) Go onto my website www.ShifiLieberman.com/contact and send me an email. 


I really want to hear from you.  Feel free to reply to this email with any questions, comments or criticisms. (I know what you want to tell me Mom— you think writing about Socially Appropriate-ish content is inappropriate. I know! You can book a session with me to talk this through! 🤣😘) 


Speaking of subscribing, please feel free to forward this email to your friends and family so they can also become more Socially Appropriate-ish! www.ShifiLieberman.com/newsletter


With lots of excitement!