Blog with Harmony in the Home


Posted: Mar 25 2019
Mark Gungor - Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage

All marriages start off very selfishly. When a couple begins dating, it is generally all about each person’s own interests. “I like what you do for me. I like the way you make me feel. When I’m with you I’m happy. You make me feel validated.” At the beginning, marriage really is the ultimate in narcissistic expression. The reason you are getting married is because of what he/she does for you. And it’s the same for the other person. It’s all about me, me, me!

But then you get these two me, me, me people together and something has to give. Marriages where couples are able to make the transition from selfish, me-centered thinking, the ones where the husband and wife realize that they can’t get everything they want, are the ones that make it. The marriages where couples can’t do that…and many people don’t…are the ones that fall apart.
It’s amazing how many emails I receive from those selfish spouses asking, “How can I make my spouse___________? Fill in the blank with whatever fits.

How can I get my spouse to load the dishwasher the way I want?
How can I get my spouse to do the things I want to do?
How can I get my spouse to keep the house better?
How can I get my spouse to spend less money?

Chores, money, time, attitude…the list goes on infinitely. They may use other words like “get”, “change”, encourage”, “teach”, etc., but the real idea is how do I make my spouse do what I want? These are the people who have not made the shift from the “me, me, me” and “I want, I like, I need” mentality to a sacrificial, giving, putting the other first, “we instead of me” way of thinking.

Listen to me. The bottom line is that you can’t make anyone do anything. People will complain that their spouse doesn’t clean the bathroom the way they want, or fold the clothes, or hang the towels, or wash the dishes, the “right” way…which is code for my way!

I’ve got news for you, your spouse is not your slave! Stop being a narcissistic snot! Not everyone gets everything they want. If there is a specific and certain way that you just have to have things done and you don’t like it when your spouse fails to meet your standard, the answer is simple: You do it!

There are areas in our home that I am pickier about, like my office, so I am the one who cleans it.  In other areas, it’s my wife who wants things done in a certain way, so she takes care of that. What we don’t do is argue and insult each other all the while insisting that the other person does it my way. I either shut up and let her do it her way, or I do it myself if it’s something that I want to have done just-so.

Sometimes you have to give, compromise, do it yourself and hush up. If you constantly fight to win, dig your heels in to have everything exactly the way you want it, when you want it and how you want it, you will lose, but not in a good way.

Sometimes you just have the mentality that “I get to lose.” Deliberately choose to lose. Lose your selfishness, your ego, and your right to be right all the time. Ironically, losers win and winners lose in this one.

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Posted: Jan 24 2019 - Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage Blog

I Said I Was Sorry 
In my Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage seminar I explain in detail how a man's brain tends to compartmentalize things. It's like men have separate boxes in their heads for everything: money, sex, kids, wife, in-laws, etc. And for a guy these boxes don't touch. He thinks about one thing at a time and then moves on to the next thing since one box isn't connected to another.

Then I go on to explain how a woman's brain is like a big ball of wire where everything is connected to everything and there is no compartmentalizing at all. Money can be connected to the in-laws and sex can be connected to the kids. Things can run together very easily in a woman's brain.

These two very opposite ways of thinking and processing cause men and women to communicate in very different ways. There is one area this is particularly evident and often problematic---the apology. Because men have this unique ability to compartmentalize, a guy can go to his "apology box", say he's sorry for something he did, close that box and then move on to the next task or thing to think about. In his mind he took care of it, he said he was sorry, it's done and life goes on.

Not so for a woman. When she has been crossed or hurt for some reason, the connections in her brain make it impossible to compartmentalize. She may attach all sorts of reasons, feelings, and ideas to that one incident. While her husband has moved on to other territory, she hasn't because it may take her some time to process her emotions and thoughts. So, when a woman is still upset, sad or hurt for a couple of days (sometimes weeks depending on the infraction) it is often a puzzle to the man. Guys will then perceive their wives as holding onto a grudge, being unforgiving and unwilling to move on, and they can become very frustrated. After all, he said he was sorry, why can't she just get past it?

Because of the way women are wired with all these connections in their brains, it's more difficult for them to get past the hurt. It's actually a really good thing for you guys because this is what allows her to put up with your nonsense! You mess up and say and do hurtful things and she's still there because women have this ability to form deep connections. It truly works for men in this way, but when you do something extremely hurtful, it works against you; you will have to fix it, and that may take some time.

I hear tales all the time of men who have done hurtful things---huge things like having an affair or smaller things like saying something very mean and spiteful---and then they say, "I'm sorry" and expect it all to go away. When it doesn't just go away, these guys get upset and throw it back on their wives because the wife "can't get over it". It just doesn't work that way for women. Men need to learn that pushing her to "move on" isn't the answer. The answer is for you to own the problem that you created.

It's not her problem of unforgiveness. It's not that she won't accept your apology. She's still hurting and it's going to take some time for her to get over it. Men see absolutely no connection between the offense and the continued emotions. It's like they dropped the atomic bomb but don't realize that there is fallout beyond the initial explosion that they will have to keep cleaning up and dealing with. Men, when you hurt your wife and you see she's still dealing with it, don't you dare turn that around and put it on her. You look at your wife and say, "I see you are still hurting. I understand this is still painful. I realize I did this to you. I'm sorry." Then shut up! Don't defend yourself, make excuses or blame her. Every time you see it, you own it. That's just the way it is.

Remember guys, when it comes to apologies, there is no "apology box" in your wife's brain. Don't make the mistake of thinking or saying, "I said I was sorry! Just move on!" Don't put the rap on her, or she will end up thinking you are not sorry at all.

Written by:

Mark Gungor



A number of years ago I read an article about “A 6 Pig Wife.” I recently tried to locate the article to assure accuracy of this story, but without success. I believe the details I remembered are correct . . . but even if not, the principle is valid. The story goes like this:

A man who was conducting business in one of the Polynesian Islands heard a rumor about “a 6 pig wife.” He was very intrigued by this. If it was true, he wanted to meet her.

Let me interrupt the story to explain what the phrase “6 pig wife” means. In that culture, in order to marry a young woman, one had to negotiate a “bride price.” The bride price was to compensate the father of the bride for her moving out of his family and moving in with the groom.

The typical bride price was paid in pigs, usually from one to three pigs, four at the absolute most. The girls that had the most desirable qualities would require the largest payment in bride price.

It shouldn’t take too much imagination to speculate that a wife’s standing in that society would depend upon her bride price. Everyone knew how much each wife cost the husband’s family. The greater the cost, the greater her standing.

Now, back to the story. This man traveled from island to island, tracking down the rumors of a “6 pig wife.” Many people had heard about her, but no one knew which island she lived on. Finally, he met someone who directed him to one of the more isolated islands.

He traveled to the island, asked about, and was eventually introduced to the “6 pig wife.” When he met her he was astonished. After weeks of speculation, he anticipated finding a woman of extraordinary appearance and ability.

His first impression upon meeting her was that she was a “plain Jane.” There was nothing extraordinary about her. However, upon further observation, he did notice that she seemed to have a quiet confidence about her – she seemed to glow, especially when around her husband.

As he left that island, he contemplated what he had seen. He asked himself, why did the husband pay 6 pigs for his wife, when he probably could have married her for several pigs less?

This was his conclusion: The husband understood that everyone in that society evaluated a woman’s worth by how much she cost her husband. This man wanted everyone (his wife, her family, her friends, his family, his friends . . . everyone) to know that in his opinion, she was worth more than any other woman on that island.

Can you imagine what that information would do for the woman’s self esteem, especially if her husband treated her like she was worth “6 pigs”? In return, how much would that affect how she treated him?

Husbands, would you like your wife to have a quiet confidence? Would you like her to “glow”, especially when she is around you? If so, then treat her like a “6 pig wife”.


Men and women are different. Yeah duh! We’re not called the “opposite sex” for nothing. Often, it’s when we’re attempting to relate to the opposite gender that we run into communication issues. These articles are intended to help avoid and smooth out “bumps” in relationships between men and women.

Husbands – Put Away Your Tool Belt

Men, have you noticed that the same skills that work on the job or with the “guys” often don’t work with your wife? You might be very successful at work, but that success will not automatically transfer into the home. You might have some strong relationships with friends that are guys, but that doesn’t guarantee a strong marriage.

Why is that? A husband can get into trouble when he treats his wife like one of the guys. This is especially true when he puts on his “Mr. Fix-It” hat. Understanding this next truth will prevent a lot of stress in the home and make a husband’s life more enjoyable.

Just because you wife discusses a situation with you does not mean that she wants you to “fix-it.” Men need to understand how women deal with issues. Women tend to process their thoughts verbally. When women are processing their thoughts, they are trying to solve their own issues and aren’t looking for help at that time.

How does a husband know what his wife wants? The solution is not that hard . . . ask her! I know a husband that interrupts his wife as soon as she starts discussion an issue with him. He then asks her, “Do you want me to fix this, or just to listen?” When she gives him the answer, he knows exactly what to do.

Husbands, your wife wants your shoulder, not your mouth.

Wives – Don’t Question Your Husband’s Ability

A wife can question her husband’s ability unknowingly when she treats him like one of the “gals.” In the same way that a husband can irritate his wife unintentionally, a wife can communicate lack of confidence in her husband without realizing it.

Female-to-female rules require women to soften a request by asking, “Can you get that?” or “Is that too heavy for you?” A woman hears those questions and understands that the asker is simply being nice.

But a man hears those same questions and has an entirely different reaction. A man feels that you have no confidence in him and are questioning his ability. At best, he is irritated by the lack of confidence and at worst, he will just not do the task.

Men have an amazing capacity to rise up to the level of expectation.

Some comments that motivate a man without questioning his ability are “Wow, you’re able to do that!” or “Thanks so much for helping me.”

Here’s an example that ended up saving lives. A husband, wife and two children were flying in a small twin-engine airplane when the pilot had a massive heart attack and passed out. The husband did have a pilot’s license, but it was for single engine planes, a much different plane than the one he was in. His wife made the following comment to him, “I believe you can do this; our daughters and I will be in the back seat praying for you.” What a wonderful statement of confidence in her husband. A comment like that will bring out maximum effort from a man. This man found the airplane unfamiliar and the controls difficult to operate. However, he was able to safely land the plane with another pilot coaching him over the headset.

Wives – if you think your husband can do something . . . you’ll probably be right. If you think he can’t do something . . . you’ll probably still be right!


In 1173 workers in the town of Pisa, Italy started construction on a tower designed to stand 179 feet tall. The word “pisa” means ‘marshy land’ which gives some clue why the tower began to lean even before it was completed. To compound the problem the foundation dug for the tower was only 10 feet deep. People who understand construction know that problems were almost guaranteed, because the foundation was not strong enough to support that building.

When one looks at marriages, some appear to be strong, some appear to be in danger of collapse (like the leaning tower of Pisa) and some have already crashed. Is there a common foundation supporting those marriages that are strong and healthy? I believe there is. It is also easy to detect a week foundation that can’t support a marriage for very long.

One foundation for an unhealthy marriage is where one of the partners controls the marriage and dominates his/her spouse. If one person always gets their way in the marriage, at least that person is satisfied with the relationship. But no one with a healthy self-esteem would want to be a spouse to that person.

Can you avoid marital conflict? No! The best you can do is learn how to handle it when it happens. The above solution may work for the person in control, but it won’t lead to a healthy marriage. People have a natural tendency to want things to go their way. But it’s selfish to expect things always to go one way. Just by the fact that in a marriage two people are coming together with two different backgrounds, two different personalities, from two different families, there are going to be conflicts. So, what foundation is strong enough to build a long lasting, healthy marriage? A foundation for a strong marriage is when both partners are willing to look for the good in their spouse’s ideas and are willing to listen to an idea that is different than theirs.

That is found in a marriage where neither partner dominates the other. Both partners accept the other as their equal in the relationship. There is a free flow of thoughts and ideas. When there is a difference of opinion, both sides are listened to and considered. Solutions that are agreeable to both partners are achieved usually by blending both initial positions together.

Selfish people have the “if I want it, I’m right” standard. More mature people realize that they’re not always right and are willing to listen to people with differing opinions. How do couples come up with decisions that they both agree upon when previously they were in disagreement? That happens when both partners are willing to listen to their spouse – especially when they disagree.

They try to find solutions that blend their original position with ideas from their partner’s position. They keep discussing ideas and offering possible solutions until they both are comfortable with a decision. When that is found in a marriage – that is a strong enough foundation to last.