Research shows that when marriages fail, it's not fighting that tears couples apart. It's loneliness within the marriage. It's the feeling that the person who once understood you from across the room no longer has a clue about who you are or what makes you tick. And what's worse, they either haven't noticed, or they no longer seem to care. Betsy Sansby, a "marriage-friendly" marriage and family therapist from Minnesota, was determined to help couples on the brink stop drifting and find their way back to each other.

"I used to think that if I could just get couples to stop blaming each other and start seeing how their own obnoxious behaviors were hurting their relationships, their relationships would improve." So she created three homework tools to help her couples do this: The Stop Strategy, The OuchKit, and The Art of Conversation. And their relationships did improve. "All the couples who consistently used the tools got better at stopping arguments, calming themselves down, recognizing what was beneath their anger, and expressing their feelings with less defensiveness and blame."

But something was still missing. As one woman put it: "We're nicer to each other, but I still don't feel close." Her husband's response was: "What more do you want? I go to counseling. I do what you ask. It's never enough! I don't think you'll ever appreciate me."

Suddenly, after hearing this refrain from enough couples, a light bulb went on for Sansby. "The absence of fighting is not the same as the presence of real appreciation." "What I realized," said Sansby, "was that women think they're being specific in their requests when they're really not. And men think they understand what women want when they really don't." So while couples were no longer fighting bitterly, they still weren't meeting each other's intimacy needs.

A woman can tell a girlfriend, "All I want is a little compassion!" and her friend instantly understands what she means. But her husband doesn't. He needs more information. He's not an idiot. He just doesn't speak "Woman."

Love Bites works because it helps women meet their needs for closeness, connection, and appreciation by teaching them how express those needs in language a man can understand. It helps men meet their needs for closeness, connection, and appreciation by teaching them first to identify what those needs are, and then express them in language a woman can understand. The beauty of Sansby's tools is that the lessons they teach are built into the tools themselves. No manual is necessary. As another therapist puts it: "Love Bites sneaks up on you. It looks and feels like a game, but the lessons it teaches about giving and receiving are profound."

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Love Bites is available for $19.95 at:, where you can also purchase The OuchKit, and download other free tools for couples. You'll also find Ask Betsy a popular relationship advice column where you can post questions of your own. For discounts on quantity orders or distribution requests, call 800-898-8036.