Tips from "Marriage Boot Camp: Bridezillas" counselors

Posted at 7:59 AM, May 31, 2013
and last updated 2013-08-20 17:17:20-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- A marriage counseling duo with a new show coming to a WE TV, a cable/satellite network, are taking their tips to the public with a series of tips designed to help any marriage.

Jim Carroll and his wife Elizabeth, marriage coaches known for their explosive and confrontational marriage "boot camps," will headline a new show where they take on couples that have starred in another WE-TV show, Bridezillas. The show is called Marriage Boot Camp: Bridezillas, and it preieveres on Friday, May 31 at 9 p.m.

Though the show will censor on transforming the marriages of several over-the-top couplings featured on  Bridezilla, the Carrolls offered the following tips for a healthy marriage that any couple can follow:

1. TAKE ON YOUR MARRIAGE! - Get off your lazy butt and do the hard work of creating the marriage that you want. Stop whining, complaining and blaming. Find a Boot Camp, a Conference,a Work Shop or a great counselor.

2. SPEAK A SECOND LANGUAGE! - Communication is the key to a strong relationship. Listening is key, when one person is talking, one person should be listening. Learn to speak your mate’s emotional language. Study your mate, learn the subtle cues for attention, affirmation, and of course sex!Be an affirmation Santa. Give, give, give! Pay careful attention to your mate and when they do something good, describe it and celebrate it!

3. LEARN TO FORGIVE! - Master the art of forgiveness. Learn what forgiveness is and isn’t. After all is said and done, release the offender from being in debt to you so that YOU can be free.

4. START WITH YOURSELF! - Deal with your past. Take a thorough inventory of yourself and make sure that you aren’t poisoning your current relationship with your past damage. When you grow, so will your marriage.

5. LEARN TO FIGHT! – Do your fights end with an improved relationship and greater closeness with your mate? No? Don’t assume you know what you’re doing; get expert training. Get some skills and some tools and a foundation of solid rules of play.

While the last tip may seem a little controversial, the Carroll's say it can be a normal, productive part of any relationship if it's done correctly. Here's a few "rules of engagement" the Carroll's recommend during your next spat:

1. Same TEAM - Know that you are fighting for your relationship, not to make a point, not to win, not to beat your mate down. Know that your mate is not your opponent. Turn to your mate and say, “You are not my enemy”.

2. One PLAY - ONE ISSUE ONLY! STAY ON TOPIC, don’t snowball! A rolling snowball picks up all the garbage in its path and gets bigger and bigger and becomes impossible to stop! Don’t bring up past arguments or other unresolved issues. This requires discipline! If you break this rule, the odds of you getting to a good solution are virtually nonexistent.

3. Stay In The Game - A coach told his football players to “Play hurt” meaning that even if you get bumped and bruised, get past the pain and stay focused on the goal. If you are an avoider and you tend to run out on your team, then your relationships will suffer. Take it for the team!

4. L.U.V. (Listen-Understand-Validate) - This concept goes all the way back to the very roots of psychotherapy and has worked for decades.

Listen – Stop, pay attention and really focus on what has just been communicated. You must put your own opinions, feelings and logic on hold for the moment.

Understand – Try to understand things from your teammate’s point of view, put yourself in your mate’s shoes. In understanding, you will use a powerful communication skill called “mirroring”. When your mate is done sharing, you will “mirror” back what your mate said, “what I heard you say is…”

Validate – In addition to understanding your mate’s point of view, you also validate their point of view. This does not mean that you agree with them. You can say, “I see why you would think that…” and you use your imagination to really see it! You also validate your mate’s feelings by letting your mate know that you see how they feel. “I see that you are scared, I know you are frustrated.”

5. Personal Foul - If you are Albert Haynesworth or T.O., you know the impact that a personal foul can have on your game. In the game of managing conflict, here’s our list of bad plays:

• Name Calling

• Cursing

• Button Pushing

• 3rd Party Testimonials (my sister thinks so too!)

• No Superlatives (never, always)

• No non-verbal’s (eye rolling, head shaking, etc.)

6. Time Out - Have you ever gotten over heated and said or done something that you wish you hadn’t? When this happens, you need to Back Off, Stop action and take a time out. One word of caution, if you are a conflict avoider, this rule can become a weapon! Agree to get back in the game as soon as possible. Take a 15-minute break, then check in to see if you can continue in a productive way.

7. SCORE – Win Win- Strive for solutions that benefit everybody. Win-lose is really lose-lose in marriage because if your mate is unhappy, you will be unhappy and nobody wins in a power struggle!

NEGOTIATE, BARTER– he does laundry and gets more sex in return, COMPROMISE– laundry gets done only on weekends,

SACRIFICE– let the other have their way, be creative! Get to a win/win solution, whatever it takes.

8. Spike the Ball! - Excessive celebration is highly encouraged! When you get through a tough conflict, make sure that you celebrate together! Go out for ice cream, have a happy hour, or everyone’s favorite – make up sex!