Do you promise to love, honor and cherish each other, yadda, yadda yadda?

Yeah right!

One or more of those can easily be casualties during the wedding preparations even before you’ve tied the knot.

Maybe it’s time for a Wedding Vow makeover.

How about this? (It also works for business partnerships)

“When an inevitable conflict arises, do you each promise to pause before you blame, yell, scream, shut down or withdraw? And furthermore, do you each promise that while you are pausing and before you speak, you will ask yourself how you contributed to the conflict and what expectation(s) you had of the other person that was either unfair or unrealistic? And finally, do you each promise that if either of you are unable to do this for any reason, that you will commit yourself to developing the skills to do so?”

Are you chuckling at or thinking, “Yeah right!” to this?

If so, then what you are saying is that you believe that whatever you think or feel, that you are in the right and expect the other person to agree with you and conform their behavior accordingly.

It’s also likely that you’re a “high maintenance” person who is easier to upset than you are to please.

If that is the case, go ahead get married… then get divorced and perhaps one day you’ll wake up.

BTW I learned this from a friend of mine who was in his third marriage to a woman who was in her second marriage.

When I asked him, “What is the secret to a lasting and happy marriage?” he replied, “Neither my wife nor I got married before thinking it would end up in a divorce, but we each did. What we’ve done differently this time is come up with a code of conduct for dealing with a difference of opinion which might escalate to a disagreement but will escalate no further into an argument or worse that is more important to each of us than winning, being right or getting our way.”


  • Mark Goulston, M.D.

    Author, speaker, podcast host, psychiatrist

    Dr. Mark Goulston is the inventor and developer of Surgical Empathy an approach that helps people to break their attachments to counterproductive modes of functioning and frees them to connect with more productive and healthier alternatives. He is the host of the “My Wakeup Call” podcast where he interviews people on the wakeup calls that changed who they are and made them better human beings and at being human and the host of the LinkedIn Live show, "No Strings Attached." He is a Founding Member of the Newsweek Expert Forum. He is one of the world’s foremost experts on deep listening, radical empathy and real influence with his book, “Just Listen,” becoming the top book on listening in the world, translated into twenty languages and a topic he speaks and teaches globally. He is an advisor, coach, mentor and confidante to CEO’s, founders and entrepreneurs helping them to unlock all their internal blocks to achieving success, fulfillment and happiness. Originally a UCLA professor of psychiatry and crisis psychiatrist for over 25 years, and former FBI and police hostage negotiation trainer, Dr. Goulston's expertise has been forged and proven in the crucible of real-life, high stakes situations including being a boots on the ground suicide prevention specialist and serving as an advisor in the OJ Simpson criminal trial. Including, “Just Listen,” he is the author or co-author of nine books with multiple best sellers. He writes or contributes to Harvard Business Review, Business Insider, Biz Journals, Fast Company, Huffington Post, Psychology Today and has appeared as an psychological expert in the media including: CNN, Headline News, msNBC, Fox News, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Forbes, Fortune, Psychology Today and was the subject of a PBS special. He lives with his wife in Los Angeles, California.