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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.

There are three partners in a marriage: husband, wife, and relationship. If either partner focuses on his or her own needs exclusively, the relationship will suffer. Yes, there are situations in a marriage where one partner may need to make a sacrifice. The question in this drama is -- is the wife sacrificing too much? Julie, 25 and Andre, 26, have been married for three years.

In this drama, Richard (40), a CEO of a high-tech firm, is in love with his work. He loves the power, the energy, and the creativity involved. He needs to throw himself into the challenge of work to feel fulfilled. Sure he values the income, but he values the feeling of satisfaction he gets at work even more. Richard needs work to feel complete, satisfied and whole.

Dear Dr. Tobin, I am 41, married with three children ages 15,11,and 5. My children are going to a public school that is 30 -45 minutes away from my home. My husband's work has always dictated what side of town we live on. Now his job is shaky and I feel my life and my children's life is eaten away by commuting, lack of friendships in the area we live, and lack of time to enjoy any sports or activities. I just started school to become an educator, and now I may have to give that up to work to support my family.

Dear Dr. Tobin, I have to make a decision about a young man that I have been dating for six months. I live in Indianapolis and he lives in the State of Washington. We are both Christians and have an open communication line that the majority of married people would envy. The problem is that upon his return visit back to Washington, after the Thanksgiving Holiday, I found myself questioning our relationship due to two apprehensions.

I'm married with three young children. We are both working. By the time we take care of our clients and children, we have little energy for one anoth...

Dear Dr. Tobin, My wife and I have been married 21 years and have 3 daughters. Since I have known her, she has suffered from insecurity and a poor self-image, resulting from bad experiences during her teen years. She was a bit heavy, had severe acne, and had few friends. During her college years, she had high anxiety about grades, and spent all her time studying. I, on the other hand, have a high degree of self-confidence, and tend to take things more in stride.

Dear Dr. Tobin, My husband and I have been together 10 years, married for six of those years and have a two-year old. We have a wonderful working relationship and are good partners, but I have always felt that something was missing. Our relationship began not out of romance or passion, but because he was just good company. I never felt in love or matched. And I believe we've never truly been intimate with each other. I tried to end the relationship in our second and seventh years together, but he really wanted to make it work.

"You and your husband are alone in a cabin for the first time since your marriage. He is nibbling on your ear. Do you (a) nibble back, (b) tell him the toilet is running, (c) ask him to kill the mosquito that's buzzing in your ear, (d) think about how disgusting it is to have his saliva stagnate inside of your ear or (e) tell him if he's hungry, he should go make himself a sandwich?" (A and b are from Erma Bombeck, c, d and e are our additions.

Q: My wife believes that sex for me is only about my coming and that's it. It's not true. How can I show her that I really care about her? A: Try paying attention to her needs. I'm not just referring to her sexual needs. Showing your wife that you're interested in all of who she is, not just her body, will communicate a very powerful message of caring.

What are the key forces that impact passion in a marriage? Answer: In my experience, the major variables affecting marital passion are a sense of wonder and newness, coupled with a strong desire to please the other.

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