Peter Pearson

As you probably know, the divorce rate for American couples in a first marriage is about 50%. When you factor in the high numbers of couples who don’t divorce, but stay together in mutual misery, the track record for failed marriages is even worse.

The statistics for restaurants are even more grim.

Within two years over 50% of start-up restaurants close their doors.

A significant percent of unhappy marriages don’t end in divorce and many restaurants don’t end in bankruptcy. They just limp along, their life blood and passion slowly sucked out of them.

You might have a better chance of survival wandering blindfolded on the interstate.

I was recently talking to an expert restaurant consultant. She said a significant percentage of failed restaurants could actually thrive by changing two important things.

  1. Restauranteurs must change their attitude about what it takes to survive and grow.
    The common belief of failed restaurants is, “We have a good chef and a good product. We built it and they will come.” That attitude leads to a deadly passivity about connecting to their customers – aka marketing.
    The expert continued, “I can teach them how to reach out and grow their business. I offer manuals, modules and personal coaching. If they apply proven strategies they can avoid the pain, disappointment and embarrassment of telling their financial supporters (often family and friends), ‘Sorry, I lost my business and you lost your investment.’”
    The information she offers is logical and proven.
  2. Restauranteurs must apply what they learn.
    Curiously, consistently applying the skills is the biggest roadblock.
    Restaurant owners could actually put in less time, effort and energy and enjoy their passion a lot more if they applied proven plans.

My expert continued, “Aaarrrrgggghhhh, they believe they shouldn’t have to do more than they are already doing. It’s bizarre. After advertising the grand opening they coast. They believe after the grand opening they have done their job.”

It seems a lot like couples who have a grand wedding, exchange loving vows, and then coast. Their crippling belief is, “We have a great beginning, now we can coast on our love. I no longer need to ‘market’ to my best customer, my spouse.”

The downward spiral has begun.

I don’t mean this to be a depressing blog.

However, countless couples enter our offices after years of neglect, emotional insults and disengagement, and they think communication is their biggest problem. It’s heartbreaking.

I write this blog to alert couples newly on the path of marriage there is danger ahead.

Beware of:

  • Taking your partner for granted.
  • Getting ensnared in the lure of work.
  • Putting too much energy into the demands of everyday life.
  • Believing you no longer need to woo your spouse.
  • Scraps – giving your partner the leftover scraps of your energy and attention.
  • And especially beware of the greatest marriage destroyer of all time: the attitude,  “Why should I have to do anything to make things better? My partner is the one who needs to change.”

Still, I write this blog with optimism.

You can realize the dreams that brought you together.

Where can you start?

Adopt the attitude “An ounce of prevention is better and cheaper than a kilogram of therapy.”

Planning plus action will get you to the promised land.

Your first order of business – do the Daily Double.

It helps you avoid the disease of complacency. It keeps you connected. You build good communication habits.

It’s a simple marriage saver that requires just a few minutes a day. And it is FREE.

It’s my wedding gift to you! (I wanted to give you a gift card to my favorite restaurant, but it went out of business.)


  • Are you about to be married or in the first years of your marriage?

    Enter your name and email address to get insights for newlyweds.


Peter Pearson, Ph.D., Relationship & Teamwork Expert for Entrepreneur Couples

Pete has been training and coaching couples to become a strong team since 1984 when he co-founded The Couples Institute with his psychologist wife, Ellyn Bader.

Their popular book, “Tell Me No Lies,” is about being honest with compassion and growing stronger as a couple.

Pete has been featured on over 50 radio and television programs including “The Today Show,” "Good Morning America,” and "CBS Early Morning News,” and quoted in major publications including “The New York Times,” “Oprah Magazine,” “Redbook,” “Cosmopolitan,” and “Business Insider.”

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A Glossary of Terms that are sometimes Confusing

Couples Therapy is a counseling procedure that seeks to improve the adjustment of two people who have created an interdependent relationship. There are no standard procedures to help two people improve their adjustments to each other. Generally, a more experienced therapist will offer more perspectives and tools to a couple. Length of treatment will depend on severity of problems, motivation and skills of the therapist. A couple can be dating, living together, married or separating and may be gay, lesbian or heterosexual.

Marriage Therapy is a term often used interchangeably with marriage counseling. The term marriage implies two people have created a union sanctioned by a government or religious institution. The methods used in marriage counseling, marriage therapy and couples therapy are interchangeable and depend more on the specific challenges of each unique couple.

Psychotherapy is one or more processes to help improve psychological and emotional functioning. Examples are psychoanalysis, cognitive therapy, behavior therapy, Gestalt therapy, Transactional Analysis, Rational-Emotive therapy, or group therapy. Many forms of psychotherapy are blends of different approaches. For example, newer forms of psychotherapy called energy psychology draw upon recent advances in brain and neuroscience. These approaches often build on cognitive behavioral methods.

Clinical Psychologist. After graduating from college, it usually takes about five years of graduate school to get a Ph.D. in Psycholgy. It then requires an additional two years of supervision and passing a written (and often) an oral exam. There are a few states that allow psychologists to prescribe medications (with additional training) but that is uncommon.

Psychiatrist. After graduation from medical school, there is a generally a 4-year psychiatric residency. After the completion of this training, psychiatrists must pass an exam issued by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology to obtain certification and legally practice in the field. Psychiatrists can prescribe medications.

Clinical Social Worker. This profession usually requires two years of study after obtaining an undergraduate degree. While specific licensure requirements vary by state, most require clinical social workers to obtain 3,000 hours or 2 years of supervised clinical experience, after obtaining a Masters degree. Social workers can also specialize in diverse fields such as human services management, social welfare analysis, community organizing, social and community development, and social and political research.

Marriage and Family Therapist. Obtaining this license requires a Masters degree which takes approximately two years of post graduate study. The license also requires 3000 hours of supervised work and passing written exams.

The Couples Institute. We have assembled a group of top notch therapists at The Couples Institute. Whatever marriage help or marriage advice you are looking for, we are here to serve you. While most other therapists see only a few couples a week, we specialize in marriage and couples relationships, working to develop and bring you the most current and effective approaches to couples therapy. For more information about couples therapy or marriage counseling, see our couples therapy section.