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Researchers secretly observed 55 families dining in fast food restaurants to see how often parents directed their attention to their smartphones rather than to their children.

“You’re going to remember your first sexual experience for the rest of your life,” a wise mother said to her teenage daughter, “so think carefully before you make a decision that can end up haunting you forever.”


It’s a culture of engagement many parents try to foster, hoping to hear about a youngster’s school day or their time spent with friends or just their latest daydreams. It’s contact we seek, a sense of connection — and we rely on questions as a way of drawing them out. But for them, we’ve morphed at those moments into an annoying Questioner-in-Chief, putting them on some witness stand where they feel vulnerable and over-exposed. That’s when they shut down or turn away.
We all have a Third Ear, but we don’t always use it. The Third Ear hears beyond the surface words to a spouse’s underlying mood or emotions. With our Third Ear we’re like an audience listening while staying in our seats, never climbing onto the stage to join the drama.

How to 'Get It'

Ask your partner if you’re a good listener. For most of us, it’s often hard to accurately grasp the main idea, particularly during a difficult conversation. And it’s harder still when we’re pseudo-listening...
Who among us doesn’t sometimes say the wrong thing or act in a way that triggers — even accidentally — a spouse’s hurt feelings? And who among us, after a misstep, doesn’t want to be forgiven? We want our partner to move on without harboring ill will. Research has found that an authentic apology increases the likelihood of being forgiven, and reduces feelings of anger in the “injured” spouse.

How Spouses Can Better Communicate in Remarriages

Remarriage is quickly becoming a normative event within our society. Because estimates suggest that more than two thirds of women and three quarters of men remarry after divorce (Sweeney, 2010), eventually more people may be a part of a remarriage than a first marriage (Dupuis, 2007). Unfortunately, however, research also suggests that remarriages tend to end more quickly and more often than first marriages. Compared to first marriages, second marriages are about 10% more likely to end in divorce, while the risk of divorce in third marriages is 20% higher (Sweeney, 2010).

Are You Okay?

We say it often — “Are you okay?” — when we notice that our child’s mood seems “off,” or he’s experiencing an emotional setback, or she’s tripped on the pavement or fallen off her bike. We say it because we care; we’re concerned.

Table the Text

In this text exchange, the responder might be playful … or angry … or indifferent — we can’t know for sure. That’s because all we see are the words; we don’t hear emotion.
Of all the darker human emotions — sad, angry, afraid, hurt, disappointed, jealous, etc. — there’s only one that’s always toxic, only one that’s sure to wreak havoc on our relationships. Perhaps because of its toxicity, it’s the emotion least understood or talked about: shame.