We have been married (to each other) for more than thirty years, and we like how our marriage has turned out. We’ve also logged a lot of hours — as a marriage and family therapist (Teri) and a family physician (Paul) — counseling people in various states of marital bliss — or its complete absence. Over the years we have written and spoken to groups of all shapes and sizes on a variety of topics, but more recently we have become passionate about the survival, healing, and prospering of marriages over the long haul.
At a 2003 Focus on the Family Physicians’ conference Teri presented a seminar entitled “Lessons from the Counseling Office: The Top Ten Marriage Busters.” More than 150 doctors and spouses showed up, and during her talk the room got very quiet several times – especially when she addressed the topic of sex. “Hey, I think you’re on to something,” Paul thought. The same thing happened two years later, and Paul thought the same thing – except now he wanted to get involved in the presentations. We started working together on a book based of the marriage busters theme, which evolved into a more specific focus on change in marriage: how individuals change, how the marriage itself changes over the course of years and decades, and how these changes affect the level of intimacy between husband and wife. We’re not just talking about physical intimacy (although this usually undergoes profound alterations as the years pass), but more importantly the soul-to-soul connection with another person that is so profoundly satisfying – and all too often maddeningly elusive.
Many whom we have counseled through distress and crisis have had their marriages improved or even saved (or at least that’s what they’ve said). We’d love to take credit for all of the good results, but we won’t, because we would also have to take the blame for those who haven’t made much progress. But even couples who have dismantled their marriages in spite of our best efforts have provided some illuminating cautionary tales for our book – which, by the way, is called Your Spouse Isn’t the Person You Married.
In the two years it took us to write this book, we have personally experienced several interesting “tweaks” to our own marriage as we have taken an honest look at our own progress on a number of issues. Working through these wasn’t particularly fun, but the process made us even more confident that we can talk about this stuff in an authentic way. While we are offering knowledge gained over 35 years of marriage, we are also keenly aware that we are, and always will be, a work in progress. We have always been transparent about our own lives with our patients and clients, and intend to continue this approach in our writing, speaking and blogging. This is more than a little frightening for us, because there is a vast difference between self-disclosing in the safety of a private office or living room and describing our struggles in public.
Buckle up: This could get bumpy, but at least it won’t be boring!
 Specifically, Paul has written and spoken on a wide variety of topics related to baby, child and adolescent care, family health and fitness, and alternative medicine. Teri is a nationally recognized authority on the emotional fallout from abortion, and has written a curriculum for those who counsel women dealing with that issue.