4 Minutes 4 Marriage – Relationship Myths

How are we doing? Can’t believe another week has flown by? Maybe you still haven’t read the last 4m4m post so you groaned when you saw this one? That’s ok. But your beloved is worth 4 minutes, right?

 Sometimes we have expectations of our relationships that are unrealistic, but since we don’t examine them, we don’t realize our mistakes.

Here are 10 myths that Dr. Phil McGraw writes about in Relationship Rescue,

  1. A great relationship depends on a great meeting of the minds. Men and women are too different to truly understand each other. Let’s accept our differences as enrichment, rather than making them sources of conflict.
  2. A great relationship demands a great romance. Being in love is not like first falling in love. Emotions move in time from exciting to deep and secure.
  3. A great relationship requires great problem solving. All relationships will have long term issues that will continue to be disagreed about. Let’s place the relationship above the conflict. Agree to disagree. Achieve closure on the emotions, even if we can’t find closure on the issue.
  4. A great relationship requires common interests that bond us together forever. It’s not what we do, it’s how we do it. If forcing ourselves into common activities creates tension, don’t do it. Let’s enjoy what we naturally have in common.
  5. A great relationship is a peaceful one. Arguing is neither good nor bad. If done in a healthy way, it can release tension and resolve problems, building a trust that we can disagree and still be close. Suppression of conflict can be destructive if it keeps issues from getting resolved. The key is to get emotional closure at the end of a disagreement so that; even if the problem isn’t solved, both find their minds and hearts in balance.
  6. A great relationship lets us vent all our feelings. Many relationships are destroyed because one person could not forgive what the other said or did in anger.
  7. A great relationship has nothing to do with sex. Sex provides an important time-out from life’s stress and adds closeness that is extremely important. If our sexual relationship is good, it registers about 10% on the importance scale. However, if we don’t have a good sexual relationship, it registers about 90% on the scale, taking on gigantic focus of the relationship.
  8. A great relationship cannot survive a flawed partner. As long as the quirks or nuances are not abusive or blatantly destructive, we can learn to live with them.
  9. There is a right way and a wrong way to make our relationship great. What is important is what works for the couple. This also holds true for how our beloved shows us love. It might not be the way we would choose, but that doesn’t make it wrong.
  10.   Our relationship can become great only when we get our partner straightened out. We are jointly accountable for the current state of our relationship. Instead of waiting for our partner to change, we can and will serve ourselves much better by looking at ourselves instead of our partners.

 And speaking of looking at ourselves, Dr. Phil discusses some “bad spirits” that are destructive to our relationships and which we can change. We need to know our self-defeating nature so intimately that if it appears, we’ll be able to spot it and stop it immediately.

  1. We’re scorekeepers. Partners cooperate, not compete. Focus on what we can give, not on what we are owed. Solid relationships are built on sacrifice and caring, not power and control.
  2. We’re fault finders. If we’re criticizing, we’re not praising. And if we’re criticizing, we are not connecting. We are driving our partners away.
  3. We think it’s our way or the highway. Our intolerance of our partner’s initiatives or ideas puts our own ego above the welfare of the relationship.
  4. We turn into attack dogs. We start out discussing an issue and end up ripping into our partner with a personal attack.
  5. We are passive war mongers. We thwart our partner by constantly doing that which we deny we are doing or the exact opposite of what we say we are doing. Our passively aggressiveness is designed to control, but insidiously and underhandedly.
  6. We resort to smoke and mirrors. What is real never gets voiced, and what gets voiced isn’t real. The result is utter emotional confusion.
  7. We will not forgive. When we choose to bear anger at our partner, we build a wall around ourselves.  Negativity begins to dominate our life. But by forgiving our partner, we can release ourselves.
  8. We are bottomless pits. We are so needy that we consistently undermine our chances of success. Our partner is frustrated by never seeming to be able to “fill us up,” and never knows a fully functioning peaceful relationship.
  9. We’re too comfortable. We don’t challenge ourselves; we don’t strive for any kind of excellence. It takes risk to keep a relationship improving.
  10. We’ve given up. Often seen in an abusive relationship, this learned helplessness kills our spirit.


We’re not perfect people, so no relationship is perfect. But marriage makes us uncomfortable enough to encourage us to grow. We want to keep getting better, being more loving, and growing closer—for ourselves, for our partners, for our marriage, and for our families.

 Blessings on your relationship!

Betty Arrigotti

 To read more about it: McGraw, Dr. Phil (2000). Relationship Rescue: A Seven Step Strategy for Reconnecting with Your Partner. Hyperion.

4 Minutes 4 Marriage – Sex and Fitness

Next week, we’ll be starting Dr. Phil’s Relationship Rescue, but before we leave the Feldhahns’ books, I’d like to list a few more of their findings:

  • With sex, her “no” doesn’t mean you.  Many women don’t have the same need to pursue sex as much as men do. (Though 1 in 4 marriages see the woman wanting more sex than the man.) They do care about sex, enjoy sex, and want to have a great sexual relationship with their man. Women’s lower level of desire for sex usually has nothing to do with their man’s desirability.
    • She has a lower level of sexually assertive hormones which means less craving for sex, less likelihood to initiate, more susceptibility to distractions, yet most women would change all this if they could. Don’t take “not tonight” personally. Use it as a learning tool to understand why.
    • She needs more warm up time than men. Either she needs to take it slowly, or needs some anticipation time. Women want to be romantically pursued.
    • Men’s bodies (no matter how great) do not turn on her body. Her mind may notice and find her husband attractive, but her body won’t, at least until sexually involved. However, lack of grooming can turn her off. (Showered? -check. Teeth brushed? – check.)
    • For her, sex starts in her heart. Her body’s response is tied to how she feels emotionally about her husband at the moment. Great sex starts with a man helping his wife feel happy and close to him outside the bedroom. Hug her sometimes just to hug her. Or share housework so she isn’t so tired.
    • She wants pleasure as much as he does, and if it isn’t happening, she may be reluctant. Women often would prefer to protect their husband from feeling inadequate and so don’t express their dissatisfaction, at the expense of the possibility of working together to solve this problem.
    • When in doubt, ask questions. What do you like? What don’t you like? How can we improve?


  • Sex unlocks a man’s emotions. A woman’s sexual desire for her husband profoundly affects his sense of well-being and confidence in all areas of his life.
    • Men believe that the women who love them don’t seem to realize that wanting more sex than they are getting is a crisis—not for the man, but for the relationship.
    • Sex fills a powerful emotional need. At a most basic level men want to be wanted.
    • Fulfilling sex makes him feel loved and desired. It salves his loneliness and infuses him with confidence.
    • A “no” to a man feels like a rejection. He wants to feel irresistible to his wife. A continued lack of desire on a woman’s part can lead him to depression.
    • A woman can enhance her relationship if she leaves her husband in no doubt that she loves to love him.
    • Make sex a priority. If you need professional help, get it. Talk to your spouse. Even though this is a sensitive subject, it’s critical.


  • Women need to feel beautiful in their husband’s eyes.
    • The little girl inside each woman needs to know her husband thinks she is pretty and he only has eyes for her. “You look fine,” isn’t good enough. She needs to be beautiful to him. He has a great ability to build her up in this area, or tear her down. She needs to hear it, and hear it often.
    • A husband is his wife’s mirror. He can reflect back to her what she needs to hear. If he doesn’t, she is vulnerable to both her inner questions and the external pressure from an intimidating world.
    • In our culture women are not being protected emotionally, but rather, humiliated for their lack of perfect looks. A husband who can reflect to her how lovely he thinks she is proves the best antidote to her own critique of her personal flaws and society’s external pressure. Give her specific, honest compliments.  Say it sincerely; say it immediately when you see her.
    • If a man is his wife’s mirror, he becomes a shattering hammer if he looks elsewhere. If she sees his glance linger over a beautiful women, she ceases to feel special. She feels like she can never be what he really wants.
    • Pornography sends the same message. Wives are injured when husbands look elsewhere for a thrill that they vowed to look for only in her.


  • Men need to feel that their wife makes an effort at her appearance for his sake. (But they REALLY don’t want to talk about dissatisfaction with their wife’s appearance. DON’T ask your husband. We women know deep down if we’ve become complacent.)
    • A husband who sees that his wife is striving to look good for him feels that his wife cares about him.
    • What’s on the outside matters to him. Men desperately want women to know this, but because they know how fragile women are about their appearance, they feel absolutely unable to tell them.
    • This is not to say they need wives to be supermodels. And they certainly don’t want women to go to unhealthy extremes of eating disorders. Men are focusing here on weight, fitness, and appearance issues that women can healthfully do something about. Almost every man cares if his wife is out of shape and isn’t making a true effort to change.
    • When women take care of themselves, men feel loved. When they don’t, men feel unvalued and unhappy. Men want and need to feel proud of their wife.
    •  Perfection isn’t the goal. He’s as pleased by your effort as you are by his less-than-perfect attempts at romance.
    • Again, Shaunti stresses you shouldn’t panic your husband by asking him about this. He doesn’t want to make you cry. If you are not realistically happy with your overall appearance and fitness level, assume he’s not either. (Betty, here—I am a little uncomfortable ever giving advice NOT to talk to each other, but my husband agrees with the author.)
    • Good news. Husbands are likely to be very willing to help! That may mean financially, or by taking care of the children while you take care of you.


The above topics are some of the hardest subjects for men and women to talk about with their spouses. However, at the end of the surveys the Feldhahns asked, “What is the one thing that you wish your spouse knew, but you feel you can’t explain?” By far the top response was:

How deep their love and respect is.

Here’s your chance. Go tell him or her.

I’m going to.

Betty Arrigotti

TO READ MORE (Note: These are also available on CD which make them easy to listen to during a commute.):

Feldhahn, Shaunti (2004). For Women Only: What you need to know about the inner lives of men, Multnomah Books.

Feldhahn, Shaunti & Jeff (2006). For Men Only: A straightforward guide to the inner lives of women. Multnomah Books.

WordPress Themes