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Michael Tobin

Michael Tobin

Dr. Michael Tobin has been a psychologist since 1974, specializing in marital and family therapy. He is the author of numerous articles on marriage and family relationships and is the founder of WholeFamily.com. He's  been married to Deborah for 38 years and is the father of four children and grandfather to five.

Love - - What is it? First, let me tell you what it isn't. It's not a something we fall in or out of. It's not a dreamy, blissful state where all fears, doubts, and worries melt away as we merge into one flesh. And it's not those glorious first moments of your first love when you were swept away in a wave of ecstasy. I know that's what the music industry and Hollywood would like us to believe. It's interesting how we use language. Think about this - "we fall in love." Fall means to stumble, trip, lose your balance and be out of control.

Mona and Phil are both in their late 30's. They have three children. Phil is an advertising executive and Mona works part time as an atrium landscape artist. This drama depicts a classic marriage: while at home with the family, Phil underfunctions, while Mona overfunctions.

Tension and conflict in a marriage inevitably lead to a phenomenon called triangulation. What that means is that a third person, usually a child, is unconsciously drawn into the parents' conflict as a means of diffusing it. In other words, a wife who feels angry with her distant husband might compensate by becoming closer to her son.

Dear Dr. Tobin, When we have conflicts, my partner does not want to involve his friends or family, rather he feels free to contact my employer. In one case he contacted a prospective employer and I lost that opportunity. In another case, he informed a prospective employer that I was no longer available for work, which was not true. What are the guidelines regarding the relationship between a family and a partner's employer? He's Ruining My Name Dear He's Ruining My Name, You know the answer to your question.

My husband and I are and have been having a power struggle for nearly 10 years. He is stronger in the struggle than I am and it has now reached a physical level. Photo: he’s on the computer

You can't make anyone love you and nobody can make you happy. Whew, is that ever hard to buy. I can already hear the screams of protest: "What do you mean you can't get anyone to love you? What a depressing thought! You mean there's nothing I can do to get my wife to love me? What are you saying? There's no love in a marriage? If so, why get involved with someone if they can't make you happy! Why are you telling us this depressing garbage?" Well, the truth of the matter is, it's not depressing; it's liberating! Here's how: First of all, we've all been hypnotized into believing that our true love will heal all hurts.

Dr. Tobin’s road map of proven principles to create a loving marriage, or how to avoid marital mind fields, pitfalls, and other challenges.

Think about this question for a moment. Are you as polite, kind and considerate to your partner as you are to a casual acquaintance? For most of us, the answer is no. How come? How is it that this same person that you now hardly give a moment's thought to, unless it's negative, could be the same one to whom you once were so loving, giving and appreciative?

Personal responsibility is one of the least understood concepts in modern psychology. A person who would say about himself, "I'm responsible. I get to places on time. I pay my bills. When I promise to do something, I do it," would be describing very fine qualities. However, being reliable and conscientious are not definitions of personal responsibility.

Perhaps, a way of defining personal responsibility is by telling you what it's not.

I agree that having an affair is a sign of problems in a marriage, but what if you've told your partner that you're tempted to have an affair and your partner acts as if that is ridiculous and seems to push you to spend time with the person that you are considering having the affair with...all the time saying that marriage is built on trust and showing no signs of concern about my feelings for this other person? I have been very honest with my husband about my feelings and the conversations that I've had with the other person. My partner has a very uncaring attitude and refuses marriage counseling.

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