The Marriage Problems First Aid Kit describes the most common problem syndromes that plague marriages and gives suggestions about what you can do to remedy them. This kit also allows access to Dr. Kaye’s complete book. Each chapter contains in-depth analysis of relationship dynamics and many useful tools for managing them. We recommend that you start by reading chapters 4 and 8 first.  In this kit you will also find various articles by Dr. Kaye as well as a question and answer forum discussing specific relationship problems brought in by visitors. You will be able to read about the various marriage problems raised by past visitors and what types of interventions were recommended.  You can also use the integrity checklist to see where either of you might be fracturing your relationship’s foundation.  Review the Relationship Responsibility list to make sure that you’re clear about essential responsibilities that require your disciplined character integrity and not just your passion.  Watch the videos that explain some important relationship dynamics you should know.  This kit is designed to give you practical tools and knowledge even before you come on our Love Odyssey marriage retreat.

Kit Contents:

Foreword and Instructions

Dr. Bryce KayeDr. Bryce Kaye shares why he constructed the Marriage First Aid Kit and how you, as a married couple seeking to renew your relationship, can use it to create your own marriage retreat. Want to improve your marriage? That’s what Dr. Bryce Kaye’s Marriage Problems First Aid kit is for – it has value for young married couples, any couple with a longer relationship and is a good resource for people just beginning their marriage relationship and want guidance.

Marriage First Aid Kit Contents

Self-Training Program

A self-training program to strengthen your boundaries and protect your relationship. Print out these instructions for Principled Autonomy Shift Training.

Responsibilities that Protect and Promote a Happy Relationship

You can evaluate how disciplined you are. [PDF] A failure in a specific responsibility may indicate where you are experiencing emotional dysregulation of that discipline.

Toxic Marriage Problems

Your relationship may have developed one of the marriage problems that afflict many couples.

These marriage problems can gradually destroy your relationship unless you spot them and intervene appropriately.

In this section, you can read about what to look for as well as some things you can do about them in addition to marriage counseling.

The Most Toxic Marriage Problems

If your relationship suffers one of the following marriage problems it is best to get professional help instead of trying to go it alone.  help. In fact, lay attempts to confront your partner can dangerously backfire. A professional counselor can make it safer for an intervention. Marriage counseling will be more productive when you and your partner are more stable.

The most toxic marriage problems are as follows:

Drug Affected

Either partner is using frequent alcohol, cannabis, cocaine, or other mood altering chemical.

Third Party Contamination

Either partner is keeping contact with another person with whom they have previously had a sexual/emotional bond.

Threat of Physical Violence

Either partner has demonstrated through their past behavior or by verbal threat that they may physically assault or restrict movement of the other.

Intentional Deception

Either party intentionally tries to lie or deceive the other in order to avoid exposing broken agreements or irresponsible behavior.

Less Toxic Marriage Problems

Role-Bound, Emotional Starvation Syndrome

Both parties have evolved to interact with each other like business managers, going about the business of managing everyday life but without mutual play or sentimental affirmation of each other. Special time is not allocated for intimate talking. No significant effort is made to share intimate time away from parenting roles. Each party feels “taken for granted.” Arguments flare up about small control issues or events that are interpreted as indicating a lack of appreciation of each other.

Pursuer – Evader Syndrome

One party is more comfortable with the expression of intense feelings. The other party dreads intensity, especially heated conflict. The person who dreads intensity finds ways to emotionally withdraw by finding responsibilities to take up their time. The other person sees their partner withdrawing and reacts by aggressively pursuing contact. They often intrude by expressing their resentments in a derogatory manner. The pursuer/intruder may also openly interpret the withdrawing party’s feelings and motives. The withdrawing party reacts by withdrawing further. The pursuer feels like they are being driven “crazy.”

Initiator – Dependent Syndrome

One party (the initiator) has somehow wound up with all the responsibility for planning the fun part of the relationship. The dependent party may be very responsible in their job role. However, when it comes to family or relationship activity, they look to the initiator for ideas. The dependent party is “easy” and ready to agree. The initiator feels as if they have another child for a partner. They miss the excitement of another perspective besides their own and they feel lonely although they may cover it over with anger.

Delinquent Helper Syndrome

One party (the “task-master”) has somehow wound up with all of the responsibility for overseeing the household chores. The other party often doesn’t “help”. The task-master frequently reminds the delinquent helper what needs to be done. The delinquent helper often forgets if they’re not frequently reminded.

Unproductive Conflict

The couple starts a conflict over a specific issue but soon escalates to general blaming behavior. Past misdeeds are raised up in an attempt to invalidate the other. Nothing gets accomplished and the couple retreats from one another with much hostility. This syndrome does not refer to conflict which threatens violence or actually becomes violent.

“Sneaky” Spending Behavior

One party is trying to reduce spending to live within a realistic budget, the other party is often unmindful of what they spend. The less mindful person may not be forthcoming about what they buy.

Conflicting Levels of Sexual Interest

One party wants it more, the other party wants it less. This does not refer to syndromes in which there is emotional conflict or emotional alienation affecting sexual interest. Rather, this is merely referring to different levels of sexual drive.

Non-violent Raging Behavior

In a conflict situation, one part is more likely to yell and scream before retreating in a “huff.” In some couples, the rager may disapprove of their own behavior but feel helpless to prevent it. They may try to avoid conflict situations altogether.

Get Free Marriage Help Online

These book chapters will give you some good ideas to help your an help your relationship even if you don’t seek counseling.


A few words about why and how this books was written.

Chapter 1 – The Great No-No

This chapter illustrates how our own fear of shame is the greatest obstacle to resolving marriage problems.

Chapter 2 – The Structure of Vital Relationships

Love based relationships do not have as much stability or resilience as do integrity based relationships. This chapter describes the strong foundation of a relationship that can stand the test of time.

Chapter 3 – Balance and Paradox

A vital relationship needs to be dynamic and not static. Opposing needs and emotional states must be kept balanced over time. This chapter unravels the paradox.

Chapter 4 – Nurturing Healthy Attachment

Relationships must be fed. It’s not enough to just feel. This chapter explains the fundamentals about how attachment needs can be effectively met.

Chapter 5 – Love’s Hidden Assassin

A very common relationship killer operates far below our awareness. It leads to the numbing loss of affection that accompanies many marriage problems.

Chapter 6 – The Other Usual Suspects

This chapter outlines the other most common relationship killers.

Chapter 7 – Freeing and Strengthening Your Hedonic Self

If you’re starting to numb out and lose attraction, this chapter suggests what you do to start resuscitating the part of yourself that’s going dormant.

Chapter 8 – Defending Autonomy

This chapter gives you tools to ward off sublte inhibition that can strangle your affection and cause marriage problems.

Chapter 9 – Managing Conflict

This chapter describes various forms of constructive and destructive conflict. Tools for appropriate management are provided.

Chapter 10 – Sharing Power and Responsibility

This chapter contains helpful tools for negotiating chores, structuring finances, and dealing with in-laws.

Chapter 11 – Great Sex

This chapter describes elements that foster great sex as well as some guidelines on how to get there.

Chapter 12 – Mapping Your Strategy

This chapter discusses planning for change.

Chapter 13 – Conclusion

Addendum: Message to a Daughter