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 Chinese or Pizza


Being able to empathize is one of the most

important relationship skills, especially when 

it comes to saving your marriage.


I once heard it said that most mistakes children

make are not because of a lack of discipline; but

because of a lack of empathy. I think the same is

true if you're trying to save marriage. If we would 

only tune into how our spouse is feeling we'd never 

do half the stuff we do.


You've probably heard me say before that many

people keep making the same mistakes in their

marriage because although they're apologetic they

really don't appreciate the pain they caused

their spouse. Once we feel that pain, we're not

able to cause it anymore.


This week's exercise is one that my wife and I

worked on not only to save my marriage but with

our kids too. It was once suggested by a  marriage

family counselor. It goes like this: next time you're

having a disagreement, switch roles as early in

the disagreement as possible. In other words, you

argue your spouse's position and your spouse has

to argue yours.



Tonight was family night. We often take the kids

out for dinner to start. On the way we said,

"Where do you want to go?"


One of my children said, "I want Chinese."


Another other said, "Last time we went to Chinese

I got a tummy ache. I want Pizza."


You can imagine the conversation from there. It

wasn't pretty. So my wife and I jumped in and

asked them to switch roles. So the child who

wanted Chinese had to articulate why Chinese was

the wrong choice and why pizza was a better

option. And the child who wanted Pizza had to do

the opposite. They started to appreciate each

other's feelings, especially the child who was

arguing for Chinese. It became difficult for them

to push for Chinese once they tuned into what it

would feel like to go to a Chinese restaurant

that made you sick last time.


Try this between you and your spouse. This week

when (if?) you encounter a point of contention,

switch roles and argue for each other. Notice how

this forces you to tune into each other's

feelings. Then try to resolve the matter after

you appreciate each other's perspective. I think

you'll find that it'll help save your marriage and

even stop divorce.  This is the kind of exercise that you

might do if you went to a marriage family counselor.


Have a good week.


Warm regards,


Mort Fertel

Author & Founder of Marriage Fitness

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