It’s a bird. It’s a plane. It’s me jumping off a tall building because my husband is driving me crazy. Of course, I would never do that. But when the honeymoon is over and the quirks you used to love about your partner morph into the very qualities that make you want to run for the hills, Death or Divorce are not the only options.

As a licensed psychotherapist, I might be sabotaging my own career by saying so, but it turns out that a weekend getaway to Chicago got us back on track much more quickly than any amount of time sitting on a couch across from a marriage counselor could. A relationship re-set wasn’t the reason for the mini-vacation. In fact, traveling together triggered me more than our day-to-day life at home. Ironically it was all the wrong turns we took at the beginning of that trip that set us on a more harmonious path. Or maybe it was the world-famous authentic Chicago hot dog we shared that did the trick.

I shared that hot dog with my husband — and now my story with anyone who cares to read it — with the intention of helping other couples whose relationships may have been led astray by the cumulative effect of petty annoyances.

The fact is about 7 out of 10 conflicts between couples are “perpetual and unresolvable”, according to the rock stars of couples counseling research, Drs. John and Julie Gottman, a husband-and-wife team who have studied the topic for decades. That’s a fancy way of saying every couple will have the same arguments over and over — and over — again. In other words, it’s never really about who forgot to take out the garbage… or in my case, a husband whose idea of a ‘great vacation’ is walking up and down the same street over and over — and over — again. The way to recalibrate the relationship GPS involves understanding what drives your partner, the Gottmans say.

To find out what worked for us that did not involve me using the roof of the Willis Tower as a springboard, read my latest blog post.

SOURCEPhoto: She Knows
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Valerie Zaffos
Though she now checks the 4th box on forms requesting her age range, Val still has lots to learn. With degrees in journalism and psychology, Val analyzes everything — most of all her own flaws & foibles. Then she writes about it so that others who identify with her tragedies & triumphs might learn by osmosis. Val is a mental health counselor in Weston, FL, which provides ample opportunity to analyze and guide motivated clients, instead of therapizing family and friends who aren’t asking for it. Read her Psychobabble blog at