November 23, 2012

The following LOVERS motto is the essential foundation of any marriage, whether a first or second time around:



                                  V…….value of trust



                                  S…….stability of commitment

Please take this “LOVERS” quiz to help you evaluate the LOVERS health of your marriage, as a first or second wife:

_____1.  I feel that my husband has a lot of respect for me.

_____2.  My husband is totally committed to me.

_____3.  I feel that my husband doesn’t listen to what I have to say.

_____4.  I am completely committed to my husband and our marriage.

_____5.  My husband is a very upstanding person.

_____6.  I want to know everything that’s on my husband’s mind.

_____7.  My husband is not very honest with me.

_____8.  I’ve never thought that I made a mistake marrying my husband.

_____9.  Frequently, I’m too angry with my husband to try to understand him.

____10.  I am frequently bad-mouthing my husband to my friends because I find it hard to

accept him as he is.

____11.  My husband sometimes puts me down in front of family or friends.

____12.  I usually admire my husband’s character.

____13.  I have to be careful of what I tell my husband.

____14.  My husband is always there for me.

____15.  I’d back my husband through thick and thin.

____16.  I am my husband’s priority in life.

____17.  I find it scary to be emotionally or physically intimate with a man.

____18.  My husband keeps his feelings to himself.



_____Numbers 14, 15, 16   Marking all 3 “true” indicates a long-lasting duo with much

        “loyalty”.  (Score 1 point for each “true”)

_____Numbers 13, 17, 18   Marking all 3 “false” means that “openness” (communication) is

        great! Be happy!  (Score 1 point for each “false”)

_____Numbers 6, 7, 11   Marking all 3 “false” means that “value of trust” is strong.  (Score 1

        point for each “false”)

_____Numbers 3, 9, 10   Marking all 3 “false” indicates that “empathy” is strong in your

        marriage.  (Score 1 point for each “false”)

_____Numbers 1, 5, 12   Marking all 3 “true” means that “respect” is alive and well.

         Wonderful! (Score 1 point for each “true”)

_____Numbers 2, 4, 8   Marking all 3 “true” means that your “stability of commitment” is

         perfect.  Congratulations!  (Score 1 point for each “true”)

_____Total points

                                                         LOVERS NEGATIVES

Marking any or all of 14, 15, 16 “false” means that you may be questioning the values of your marriage and the “loyalty” may be an issue.

Marking any or all of 13, 17, 18 “true” tells you that “openness” (communication) could be a problem.

Marking any or all of 6, 7, 11 “true” indicates that “value of trust” needs improvement.

Marking any or all of 3, 9, 10 “true” indicates that “empathy” is not a strongpoint.

Marking any or all of 1, 5, 12 “false” shows that “respect” may be lacing in your relationship.

Marking any or all of 2, 4, 8 “false” means that “stability of commitment” may be a problem.



16-18    Relationship is very good

13-15    Relationship is only fair…needs help

8-12      Relationship is very problematic and lacks strength

Below 8  Relationship needs immediate help to survive            Dr. Lenore Millian      (203) 313-1208

Office in Woodcliff Lake, NJ

Making Your Marriage Last: A LOVERS Quiz

July 12, 2012



By Lenore Millian, Ph.D.

Bride Again, Fall 2000

      When we become encore wives, we marry “for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, till death do us part.”  Based on the annual divorce rate, it might be more realistic to substitute “till your past marriage do us part.”  The rates of divorce and remarriage dictate that hundreds of thousands of women will become encore wives by marrying divorced or widowed men.

     As a second wife, I am one of you.  We second wives live  not only with our spouse but also with our spouse’s marital history.  These prior marital histories are far-reaching and potentially can have negative effects on our marriages.  As second wives, we have to deal with the fact that “we married more than just the man” and that our husbands have former wives, children, friends, and in-laws, which we must somehow successfully integrate into our lives in a healthy way.  However, sometimes when the integration process is underway, we experience difficulties that can get out of hand and escape into crisis.

     As second wives, we are subject to the undetectable, sometimes faint traces of the remains of the first marriages.  The intricate webs woven by years of marital history may be both haunting and daunting.  Moreover, these problems tend to crop up just when the fledgling relationship is the most vulnerable, namely the first few years.  These problems often occur well into the marriage, no marriage is exempt!  According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the average first marriage lasts 6.3 years and the average second marriage lasts 4.5 years.  We can beat these odds by learning secrets to overcome some of the most difficult problems we may face as second wives.  We can become lovers for life.

     Let’s look to the LOVERS Motto to find out how we can ensure lifelong marriages for all of us:  Loyalty, Openness, Value of Trust, Empathy, Respect, and Stability of Commitment.

LOVERS are the essentials – the foundation – of a marriage.  When you and your mate work toward being LOVERS every day of your lives, you ensure the permanence of your relationship and marriage.

     As an assessment of your marriage, please use the next few minutes to take this self-diagnostic quiz.  This easy quiz will assist you in evaluating the LOVERS health of your marriage.

The Second Wives Club book coverPermission to reprint this article in whole or in part must be requested in writing to Dr. Lenore Millian at


February 15, 2011

What does forgiveness have to do with good health and a good marriage?

When we think that an injustice has been done to us and we’ve been vulnerable and hurt…what are we to do?  However, holding onto revenge and anger has a very real effect on our immune system.  We become more vulnerable to many types of diseases because these vengeful thoughts translate into stress responses.  This may result in them becoming the underlying factors in many psychosomatic and bodily illnesses.  Research supports this repeatedly…our general health is affected by holding onto vindictive thoughts…whether you are the revenge taker, or the revenge receiver.  Both ways, you are on the losing end.

Forgiveness is the process of letting go of the past and opening  to the future.  It is a way of releasing ourselves from the pain we have experienced at the hands of others.

Forgiveness is something we do for ourselves…it helps us to become free from the pain and anger we feel.  It is truly a GIFT TO OURSELVES.  Forgiving the person at whom you are angry releases you from the very transgression that was done to you.

Forgiveness can free us from all the entanglements of the past.  It helps us to let go of the negative feelings, and gives us a sense of control over our lives.  This anger that we tend to hold onto can tighten around our necks like a noose and prevent us from moving on with our lives.

Sometimes, we as marriage partners, commit an act against one another which is the discovery that your husband/wife is having an affair.  It is rightfully perceived as the ultimate of betrayals and the harbinger of divorce.  How does one get past this hurt…how is trust ever to be had in such a marriage?  Would you be willing to give up what you HAD because his/her betrayal rendered your marriage into a charade?

In her book on anger, Carol Travis talks about forgiveness in 5 basic steps:

1.  Remembering in detail what happened, how it made us feel, understanding the other person and hearing what they thought happened and how they experienced it.

2. After forgiveness comes reconciliation.  Reconciliation is the HIGHEST POINT OF HEALING.  With reconciliation, one has to eliminate old patterns and create a basis for healthy emotional interaction.

3. Please refer at this time to the “Techniques for Achieving Forgiveness” below.

4. Remember: Divorce is easy…achieving marital reconciliation and the subsequent forgiveness is a struggle…but well worth it.



1. Ask yourself what forgiveness means to you.

2. Ask yourself what forgiving the other person means to you.

3. Ask yourself what you could have done differently to prevent the conflict from arising in the first place.

4. Ask yourself what your expectations of the other person are.

5. Using role reversal, ask yourself to become the other person, and say what you think the other person feels or thinks.

6. Set an empty chair in front of you and imagine that the other person has died, and that their spirit is in the chair.  What do you want to say to that other person’s spirit?

7. Give yourself permission to speak of your anger, pain, and rage.  Realize that these feelings are normal.

8. Ask yourself to write down the strongest reason why you cannot forgive the other person.  Write down that sentence over and over until you become bored with it or until an idea occurs of how you can overcome this obstacle.

9. Make up a story of how it would feel to you if you were to forgive the other person.  Contrast that to how you presently feel and the cost of non-forgiveness.

10. Ask yourself what it would take to forgive the other person, and why.

11. First, visualize and then create a ceremony or ritual to complete the healing process, eg. shaking hands, kissing, writing a forgiveness poem to the other person.

12. Visualize hateful, unforgiving thoughts in a brick-tied bottle floating out to sea.

13. Write a letter to the person with whom you are angry…don’t mail.

14. Visualize how wonderful it would feel to have peace and love in your heart instead of all-consuming anger and resentment.

15. Make the decision to forgive.  Enjoy the release and the happiness that comes from forgiving.

The Second Wives Club book cover

But I DO Talk to Strangers…YOU!

October 19, 2010

How to Communicate with Your Partner

Who are you?  You’re my partner, my companion, my source of comfort, my lover, the other parent to our kids…But, WHO are you?

So often, people in either first or second time around relationships claim that they cannot talk to each other.  Some feel that they virtually are married (or partnered) to strangers.  Just who is this person sharing my life…what is this person thinking or feeling?

The only way to develop a “genuine intimacy” in a relationship is to disclose a very personal part of yourself to the other person: your feelings, your thoughts.  These are the essence of who YOU are as a person.  In so doing, you are trusting that your partner will value your disclosure and become that much more bonded with you…enriched by your very presence.  You will then nurture your relationship, much like water and sunlight nurture a garden.

Some patients in my practice want a quick recipe for improving their communication skills because they realize that these skills are so critical to developing and maintaining a loving, solid relationship.  While there are no “shortcuts” in achieving good communication, the following are tried and true guidelines:

1)    LISTEN to each other; Listening is the most important part of communication skills.  Often, our partner’s mind is so busy with a retort to our statement, that REAL understanding of the partner’s message is impossible.  LISTEN!

2)    PARAPHRASE your partner’s words in order to make certain that you have an accurate reflection of her/his thoughts.  Keep in mind that your comprehension of someone’s thoughts is subject to your own experiences, and therefore, may be a distortion of the meaning.

3)    PROBLEM SOLVING:  You and your partner need to set aside a time and a place in which discussions will be conducted.  The agenda should be planned in advance.  Trying to resolve a grievance when the grievance arises, is ill advised.  Discussing the issue at a neutral time makes it more likely that the problem will be resolved effectively.

1.     Begin with a positive statement.
2.     Be specific.
3.     Define the problem.
4.     Be brief.
5.     Discuss only one problem at a time.
6.     Keep it current (no throwing in problems from the past)
7.     Focus on solutions and COMPROMISE.
8.     DESCRIBE the behavior that is upsetting to you and the changes you would like to be made.  (Of course, that goes for BOTH of you!).
9.     FINAL agreements should be in writing so that they are clear to each partner.

LOVE each other, and acknowledge how very lucky you are to have found one another in this life.  Enriching your relationship will be a lifetime treasure of rewards.

The Second Wives Club book cover