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People who patiently toil toward worthwhile dreams and goals, building strong character while overcoming adversity and challenges, grow the strong internal foundation to handle success, while get-rich-quickers and lottery winners usually are unable to sustain unearned sudden wealth.

Had the Chinese bamboo farmer dug up his little seed every year to see if it was growing, he would have stunted the tree’s growth as surely as a caterpillar is doomed to a life on the ground if it is prematurely freed from its struggle inside the cocoon.

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Marriage is like a seed that needs planting, watering, weeding and a lot of sunlight. It takes time, effort, patience and skills to make a difference. The challenge facing many couples is that they have not yet learned the practical skills needed to improve their marriage, nor how to invest in their relationship.

So if you’re looking to improve your marriage, here are some thoughts which I believe can make a big difference in your lives:

* What have you and your spouse done recently for renewal of your relationship?
* What do you think your spouse would like to do for renewal (soon or in the next year)?
* What would you like to do (soon or in the next year)?
* How often do you REALLY just talk as a couple?
* Why are you in this relationship in the first place?
* What can you do as a couple to bring you closer together?

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Rabbi Daniel Schonbuch, MA, LMFT is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. He is an expert in marriage counseling, pre-marital education, treating Anxiety and Depression, and helping teens in crisis with offices in Brooklyn. To watch his free videos on marriage and parenting and for appointments visit: www.JewishMarriageSupport.com, email rabbischonbuch@yahoo.com or call 646-428-4723.
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