Most Marriage Advice is Wrong (But this works)

I have to tell you about my client, Katie.


She came to me wanting to stop arguing so much with her partner. She believed her partner was way too permissive with her stepdaughter. She felt her partner was too emotional and difficult to talk to. 


They spent a lot of time yelling. Slamming doors. Walking away from each other. 


At first she was convinced her partner had to change in order for her marriage to work better. 


And I get it. It’s very easy to think that if the other person would change, things would be better. But this is a losing battle. Because it’s so hard to change other people, and changing ourselves in comparison is relatively easy. And ultimately, we only have control over ourselves. 


Through our work together, I taught her exactly how to communicate more calmly and effectively with her partner. I showed her not just what to say, but how to say it with more calmness, love, and understanding. 


And guess what? 


They are no longer arguing as much as they used to. Katie is less irritable and less reactive. She notices herself listening to her partner more, and really understanding her point of view. The change in Katie’s demeanor in turn helps her partner be less defensive, calmer, more loving. 


And ultimately, these changes have led to more productive and authentic conversations that actually build intimacy.


Katie isn’t a magic unicorn. She just wanted something better and was willing to change. Now she gets to enjoy the benefits of a less argumentative and stronger marriage. 


And here’s the best part. What Katie has, you can have too – it simply starts with the desire for a better marriage and a willingness to change. Anybody can do this. 

P.S. Want to know more? I created a free training to help you create better relationships with your stepkids and spouse. It's really good. Click the button below to watch.

Are you toxically shaming yourself?

Little girl with hands covering face

I have a confession to make. 


I’m not always nice to my stepkids. In fact, a few months ago, I was really mean to one of them. 


I was feeling outraged by his behavior. And I took it out on him. 


Immediately, I regretted it, and I shamed myself. 


I told myself there was something wrong with me, that I was a terrible human being, unfit for my role as stepmom…

And then I remembered shame serves no purpose. Shaming yourself is like trying to ride a unicycle; except every time you fall off, instead of getting back up and trying again, you literally punch yourself in the face. Eventually you’ll quit trying because of all the self-inflicted pain. 


And that’s what shame does. It’s toxic. 


In order to stop shaming myself, I had to change what was going on in my head – stop believing that I was unfit and a terrible human. 


So I gave myself permission to believe there was actually nothing wrong with me – because I am human. No human is perfect. I simply reacted to some strong emotions. And every single human says things they don’t mean – me included!  


Doing this gave me such a sense of relief. It allowed me to apologize, learn from myself, and consider how to handle the situation differently in the future. 


And here’s the best part: You can do this for yourself too. You don’t have to keep shaming yourself. You can remind yourself that you’re human and there’s nothing wrong with you. You make mistakes, just like the best of ‘em. And that’s OK. 

P.S. Want to know more? I created a free training to help you create better relationships with your stepkids and spouse. It's really good. Click the button below to watch.

Her heart was broken (but yours doesn’t have to)

two women

I have an important message to share. You ready? 

The other day I read about a fellow stepmom who had spent a lot of time grieving all of the firsts she had missed with her current husband – a first child, a first wedding, a first honeymoon, a first house purchase. 

2nd wife grief is very common and it’s OK to grieve if she wants to. 

But what no one ever told her is that it’s also always optional to grieve about all the firsts she had missed. 


Her only issue here? She just might not have realized she had a choice about grieving in the first place. 


Instead of focusing on what she doesn’t have (because she can’t change it), she could instead focus on what her and her husband do have as a couple and who she to her husband now: 


Maybe the new house isn’t HIS first house, but it’s THEIR first house – and that’s special and amazing too. 


Maybe she’s not his first wife, but she’s the only woman he loves now. And he loves her so much. (And maybe there’s nothing special about being the first woman at all because, hey, the first one didn’t work out 😉). 


Grieving what she doesn’t have and can’t change in her marriage is always optional.


And if she wants to, she can just decide to focus on what is good and special in her life and marriage now, and drop the rest. 

P.S. Want to know more? I created a free training to help you create better relationships with your stepkids and spouse. It's really good. Click the button below to watch.

My stepkids ignored me…Until I did this

Woman smiling

Do your stepkids ignore you sometimes (or maybe like all the time)? 


If this is you, I get it. It feels horrible and kind of humiliating. My stepkids used to do it to me too. 


But here’s the important thing: my stepkids no longer treat me this way. 


And here’s how I changed it: 


I decided that their behavior truly wasn’t about ME as a person – I could have been any woman in the household and, the same thing would have happened.  


Because here is what is true: children who ignore their stepparents simply aren’t ready to accept their new reality of divorce and remarriage.


So once I understood their behavior wasn’t about me, I was able to have a calm discussion with my husband about a new set of rules and expectations based on our values as a family (e.g. we don’t ignore other people when they speak to us, or when we’re all at the table, etc.) 


Then I took on the responsibility of also enforcing consequences for the ignoring behaviors. Calmly. Every single time I noticed.  


And eventually their behavior changed. 


So the real secret to making this happen in your household? You can implement my 3-part solution too: 

Depersonalize: Remember their behavior isn’t about you. It’s about them. (And let’s be real: all kids are kind of born as sociopaths until we teach them otherwise)

Solve: And then from there, you come up with a solution with your spouse (There’s lots of advice on the Googles for how to enforce rules!). 

Enforce: And then you get to calmly enforce the solution, whatever that looks like in your family. Show the kids what your values are as a person, and as a couple.


And eventually the kiddos will learn. And they’ll accept you and respect you way more. But only because you decided that their behavior wasn’t personal and then showed them, with calm, how to treat you. 

P.S. Want to know more? I created a free training to help you create better relationships with your stepkids and spouse. It's really good. Click the button below to watch.