Cooper Lawrence Answers Viewer Emails!

Relationship Expert and syndicated radio host Cooper Lawrence answers some viewer questions:

How do I help my spouse get motivated?

Success is all about motivation and motivation is all about planning behaviors. the best way to


help someone feel motivated is to understand how planning works. Studies show that setting a specific date and time when you will do your task, you are much more likely to get it done. Saturday at 2:00 as opposed to just throwing it on your "to do" list means it is more likely to happen.

My wife is the successful one but I find that as smart as she is she shouldn’t need my help. Am I right?

A major study published in 2007 that found the higher a woman’s IQ the more difficulty she has with confusing or complex tasks. The reason is that smart women have higher expectations of themselves so when they are up against something challenging that they cant solve, it calls their ability into question, it acts as a self-fulfilled prophecy, whereas men are more likely to take a challenging situation as what it is, a challenge to be met and dealt with even if the results are less than stellar. So understanding gender differences can help you motivate your spouse. If you understand the basis for their lack of motivation you know how to council them.

What happens when one spouse is more successful than the other?

Nothing. That’s the ideal, why should it matter? If it does then the issues are not success related by marriage related and individual related. Its more likely that if you feel competitive with your spouse you feel that way towards others in your life and that it is a personal issue, not a marital one. For some one spouse’s success is a metaphor for other issues in the marriage

Remember too that for a lot of marriages in trouble, one spouse may spend extra time at work not because the job or their success depends upon it but instead to avoid conflict at home, or to avoid an unhappy partnership–so if you are using work to avoid your family/spouse you need to address that

Anything on the best way a husband and wife can live and work together?

The key to well-being in this situation is the flexibility of the work itself. Study after study looked at what aspects of the work-family situation made for the best environment. They looked at the job itself, the type of supervision the person had and they found that the only thing that had any probative value was work flexibility. Not only did it ease conflict but also it increased work satisfaction.

This may seem like a cliché question but how do you really juggle work/home life?

Ok, how do you know if you are balancing work/family? Here are a few questions to answer

Are you satisfied with the number of hours you work each week? Is your spouse/family?

These are the first two questions because you may be working to support your family but what they want from you is not more money but more time. If you are feeling distant from your family or they have expressed that you are absent for family events this should tell you that the time you spend might be in the wrong place instead of seeing it as nagging, see it as a warning sign

How is your sex life? The latest research shows that most adult couples have sex on average 61 times per year. That’s 1-2 times per week. If it is more for you- good going, if it’s less is it because you are too tired from your day? Can’t unwind enough to feel sexual? Or are there marital issues that are manifesting themselves in the bedroom? Do you work on family vacation? This one is obvious Do you have techniques to manage your stress at home and at work? This is key, if you don’t have a plan in place in either environment that speaks volumes – the easiest and most effective way was first described in a Harvard study about 30 years ago and the technique is still used today—it is called “mindful relaxation”.

How can each of the following affect a relationship?

- Financial – what does money mean to you? Couples fight about money, but it’s never about money. It’s about power, or nurturing, or love so you ask yourself, what is money the metaphor for in your life and then you fix that

- Health- Success is affected by the financial strain of health issues and feeling physically weak and out of step and unable to handle stress as well as you could when you are feeling stronger, however, there are those who have major health issues yet continue to prosper. Those folks have a very different worldview and that’s what it comes down to when health is an issue

- Reputation- Christie Brinkley is a great example. Everyone asked why she wanted the media frenzy surrounding her divorce, and the short answer is “reputation” she hasn’t worked as a model or been working in the public eye on a large scale for a while so all she has is her reputation and she wasn’t going to go down as this feeble jilted women to be pitied, she wanted us to know that her ex had questionable character, a pornography obsession, was a philanderer etc. not because she was bitter but because her reputation is really all she has

How do you restore faith and trust, once it’s already been lost in a major way?

How you handle failure is a large predictor of future success. If you have a high status job but you fail in something that you deem low status it has less effect on you. As an “in group” member, failure is temporary. Also, it helps determine what you attribute failure to. Are you not smart enough? Or did you not learn enough to complete the task properly? Which one you believe determines how likely it is you will be successful again

That said, the changing nature of the work environment the environment of the contemporary economy has drastically altered the perception and interpretation of career success and failure. This has implications for the renewed importance on social and personal success.

It all comes down to what their philosophy is in life- what Dr Carol Dweck of Columbia University calls learning goals versus performance goalsare you someone who is focused on learning something new or are you someone who just wants to reach a goal and being successful. If you were a student, lets say, are you interested in learning history or just getting an “A” in history? Being learning oriented has a stronger link to success than being performance oriented – the learning people tend to find new strategies and new ways to achieve whereas the performance people tend to just believe they weren’t good enough or intelligent enough

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