Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Sharing is Loving, Loving is sharing - Your Hopes, Fears and Dreams

Talking is one way to share thoughts and feelings between partners.  Research has shown that women actually talk more than men,  in fact about three times more in terms of the number of words.

This fact does not excuse men to from not talk.  It is the men who “clam up” and refuse to talk.  There are also cases where men who do more talking   than women, just as there are cases where it is the women who talk a lot  as well as those women who do not wish to talk a lot.  There is actually no clear cut or fool proof way to judge who should do more of the talking or who should do less.  It is primarily not about gender but about the individual themselves.

Communication is a vital part of any relationship.  Openness and honesty is a key ingredient to maintaining a kind of memorable relationship that is mutually loving and emotionally comfortable.

The following are tips and possible activities one can do to get yourself or your partner to talk his/her heart out, and share voluntarily any fears and insecurities that either feels.  Conversation helps partners form a solid bond that will not be easily eroded.

Ask and you shall receive
The best and simplest way to get a person to talk is by asking a question.

Often it is best that partners ask each these questions after hours they have been apart most of the day; after work or after a long business trip, etc.  But do not forget it is also important to ask sincerely looking straight into their eyes.  Ask how he or she is feeling or has he/she experienced something they want to share? Sometimes the partner may not want to talk. Relax, let it be and be patient.  Relationships are nurtured by respecting anothers decision - everything has its own proper time and place.  Do not force it.

Let him or her finish

A very annoying habit some partners have is finishing the other partner’s   sentences.  Though you may have good intentions, when you think you are helping, the fact is – doing so creates the impression that the partner is getting impatient  with the verbally challenged approach to sentence construction.  The partner being corrected could either find this act rude. 

Go with the flow.  Trust your partner’s judgment and verbal prowess.  He or she will thank you for it in the long run.

Stop, look and listen

The most important advice anyone could receive is irrelevant if the one receiving the advice is not listening.  They key to communication is in  listening just as much as it is in the talking.

One partner sometimes gets the other to talk by simply listening intently to what the other is saying.  This gives the impression that what the other is saying is important.  Verbal signals are just as important as non-verbal ones.  Active listening is a good practice any time.  It breaks down barriers and puts down any or all reservations one partner may have.  But do not just  listen, value what the other partner is saying.  All it really takes is an ear and a heart to validate anothers existence.

In summary, fears and insecurities are a part of everyone’s psyche.  All one has to do is to share it in order to lighten any emotional load he or she may be carrying.  But it is also similarly important that the one it is being shared with is listening and genuinely cares what the other is talking about.  Sharing makes everyone human and humane.  And it is a valuable gift that both women and men must cherish.
It is best if the partner asks his/her partner how the day went or how they feel.

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Monday, January 13, 2014

Marriage: Share and Share Some More Until You Succeed

Most wives and husbands ultimately become mothers and  fathers.  These mothers and fathers and their children later turn to become families that form part of America’s ever growing communities.  Studies have shown that children strive to become the best they could possibly be if both parents are present to give support in all aspects of their children’s growth be it financial, psychological or emotional.

There are many possible results if a couple fail to share responsibility, support, decisions and commitment to each other and to their children.  One is the most dreaded but is a highly popular option now-a-days.

The D word

Divorce is not a very kind word.  Every year, there are almost a million children in America who experience their parents go through the messy process of divorce.   According to studies, half of these children will become adults who have grown up in homes raised by a single parent. 

Marriage is a solid institution that conveys the importance of a long-term commitment between two mutually loving adults.  However, this is usually not the case in most current relationships.  But there are those children who overcome such odds and later become positive contributing community members. 

Prevention is always better than the cure

One way to prevent the onset of this dreaded D word is that both parents should work on how each partner will get to share on making important decisions,  from where the child will be schooled, how,  the kind of religion (if any) parents would like their children to practice, type of health care, kinds of activities, etc. 

The decision on what to choose is as important as who makes them and how.  Couples must agree and later on come to a mutually beneficial and positive decision that will ultimately benefit the children.

Oddly however,  the cure after a divorce has happened is also the same thing as the prevention.   Parents should just as well work positively together and share decisions.  The negative impact of the separation must, as much as possible, have minimal effect on how the children conduct themselves in the long term.

When an agreement cannot be reached

Oftentimes, couples who separate cannot come to an agreement as to what and how is the best way to decide on issues involving their children or on their finances, etc.  Usually, both  partners take each other up as adversaries.  Confrontation usually is the result of such a mindset.  Obviously, this further prevents each from cooperating in the best method possible to serve the children’s interest.

Practice responsible parenthood

The only way to make the best out of a relationship is to practice sharing.  Two people who decide to become as one entity will further enhance the value of their union as well as each other if they share house work obligations and responsibilities that they may have  to their children as well as to each other.  With the current statistics reflecting that thirty percent of children born in the United States are from parents that are unmarried,  people who are thinking of embarking in a relationship will do best if they are aware of the obligations that marriage entails. 

Doing so saves the couple as well as their eventual children from the financial, psychological and emotional anxiety / anguish or problems that separation or divorce may bring.

Currently, there are programs geared towards youth and adolescents – the future decision-makers of the country – that teach them to be aware on how and what is their level of maturity and commitment to their partners as well as themselves.  They are also educated on the aspects of marriage and how it is to raise a child.  These programs also evaluate its participants as to how ready or not ready individuals are in committing to such an important decision.

Thankfully, US schools currently have a curriculum that instruct its young students on what are the various aspects of  how it is to be a parent, this covers emotional, legal as well as financial responsibilities.

All in all, a relationship is called as such because two people are in it.  It is also best and just as practical that these two partners work together on their differences and share each other’s emotional high’s, low’s as well as responsibilities that would lend support on the whole relationship.

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Sunday, January 12, 2014

M & M: Money and Marriage

Contrary to popular belief, love of money is not the root of all evil, lack of money is. This issue is a major concern of most married couples today.  Believe it or not, eighty percent of divorces are the result of disagreements over money.  Though money and marriage may not be good topics to talk about together, the fact is -- marriages cannot go on without money; while money, fortunately or unfortunately, can very well exist on its own. 

The following are tips to improve marriage especially when money and finances are involved.
Learn each other’s spending styles

A couple is composed of two individuals with varying likes, dislikes and preferences, with differing financial lifestyles – e.g., one is a big spender while the other is a spendthrift; one is an impulsive buyer while the other likes to think things through; one prefers to deal with money matters now while the other wants to think about it over night.  These differences could cause friction and fights if the disparity is not appropriately resolved. 

It is best if a couple finds positive and creative ways to use each other’s unique styles to serve the interest of the marriage as well as their bank accounts.  Different does not have to mean conflict and a clash of methods in saving and spending.

Differences are varying ways of approaching problems and opportunities to solve these problems and using these opportunities to the best advantage.  

Spend on values

Couples must take the time and effort to get to know the values they would like to prioritize.  Values such as financial stability, companionship, freedom from debt, etc. are a few examples.  Partners should define these values and determine which are most valuable to them. 

Sharing details about each other’s financial capabilities and in-capabilities is essential.

It is important that couples mutually agree on what it is they want to focus on and from there decide how best to serve each other’s emotional wants and financial needs.

Have dates, will discuss

Money matters during dates used to be a no-no.  But now, discussing money issues during dates is a practical and wise decision.  It is a “no-frills” way to maintain honesty and transparency.  Conflicts may or may not be avoided during these discussions. The important thing is that disagreements must not in any way be the dominant factor in your relationship. 

Talk about sharing financial responsibilities.  Decide how much you must spend and on “what, which and how”. This could be a great way to settle differences, if there are any, and could even improve a couple’s relationship, especially after each has found out how open the other would be in handling finances.

Divide and conquer

Partners must distribute financial responsibilities to each other.  Their decisions should be based more on one another’s capabilities, means and interests than on outdated stereotypes based on gender.  A man was to bring “home the bacon” and the woman was to stay in the house to take care of the children. This scenario may or may not work in this day and age unless a couple finds this particular style actually is best for them.  What is important is that a couple’s uniqueness shines through and the financial lifestyle they decide on works best to their family’s advantage.

Share any events, especially financial ones with each other as well as make sure that important decisions are discussed and mutually agreed upon with the best interest of each other in mind.

Plan it then spend it

There are couples who plan what they spend i.e. budget. There are also couples who spend and then plan later.  The former is preferred over the latter.  Although it could feel a bit restraining, the value of planning ahead enables couples to know what they need more than what they want.  Planning also enhances a couple’s creativity as it forces them to think of innovative and often better ways to cover expenses that they have.  Planning also increases the chance of saving and decreases their spending.  This ensures their long-term enjoyment in their financial future.

Money and marriage should not be a source of conflict unless couples make it that.  All it takes is honesty, openness and genuine respect for each other’s capabilities to make money and marriage work.  And if couples wish it so, it will be. 

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Saturday, January 11, 2014

Domestic Work Can Keep Love Alive for couples

A typical housewife's day starts and ends with the same thing:  household chores

A fulltime housewife wakes up early to prepare breakfast and then she makes sure everybody eats well.  When the hubby and the children are off to work and to school, she cleans the house and does the laundry.

A housewife's day is either spent tending her garden or buying groceries.  Then she hurries home and prepares dinner for the family.  Dinner is the time for conversation with the family.  After washing the dishes, the housewife tucks everybody in bed and then she can do things that she enjoys - like reading or needle work.  The next day is spent following the same routine.

A working mother, on the other hand, is not less of a housewife just because she spends the day in the office.  A working mom just needs to plan her day ahead so she can work and at the same time perform all the household chores.

A housewife, fulltime or working, can only do so much before she finds out that she is already at the end of her wits.  A housewife who does all of the household chores will have very little time for her husband or her children.  If she has extra time she is probably too tired to enjoy the extra hours.

There are housewives lucky enough to have husbands who share the household chores.  In marriage, sharing is a manifestation of the couple's commitment to honor and care for each other.  But this is the ideal setting.

In reality, the sharing of domestic chores has become one of the sources of conflict between spouses. Research will show that housewives are mainly responsible for house work.  However, a little help from the other spouse would be a great help.

The arguments most couples have start out with the wife complaining about having so much to do for the family that she no longer has time for herself.  This is usually the phase when the wife is already burned out.   When the husband hears this, he counters by saying he is also too tired and that doing the household chores is not his responsibility

Due consideration should be given to husbands who work and whose wives stay home the whole day.  In this case his earnings are the husband's contribution to the household.  The wife, whose sole contribution to the family is her house work, should do her part and not complain.

The present economic situation however has forced both husband and wife to work and contribute to the family income.  In this situation, both spouses are expected to share in the household chores.

Most husbands complain that their wives no longer have time for them.  Many housewives are so busy with their daily mundane tasks that they forget how to have a good time.

Surveys show that sharing in the household work can be less stressful and depressing for both spouses.  When the household chores are divided, there is more time for the spouses to enjoy each other's company.

Among the most common household chores include buying groceries, disposing of garbage, meal preparation, care of the children and laundry.  Husbands who want to ease their housewives' burden can choose a task they are most comfortable with. 

An offer to help with the household chore will not only brighten the other spouse's day, but in return, she will be extra nice and caring, not only to the husband, but also to the children.

Reasons why men are hesitant to do household chores:

1. Cultural influence-Most cultures tend to be patriarchal where men play the dominant role.  Because of this, men look at household chores as something below them are relegated only to women.

2. Gender-bias-The way children are raised is responsible for how they turn out as adults and how they look at their role in society.   There are men who were raised with the traditional idea that a man's role is to earn money for the family and a woman's role is to take care of the household.

Women can encourage their spouses to share in the household work by talking to them about how heavy the workload is and that any help would be appreciated.  It would also help if women would specify the exact task she wants assistance with so that the men will not be left guessing,

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Friday, January 10, 2014

Re-introduce Romance Into Your Married Life - Keep It Fun.

In marriage, it is the woman who is most likely to complain that the romance is gone or missing from the relationship.

After several years of being together, you might have become so used to each other that you both tend to forget to spice up the relationship with romance.

The secret to a healthy and a happy marriage is to re-vitalize it by constantly thinking of ways to renew your vows and make each other feel how important you are to your partner.  

Here are some tips on how you can re-introduce romance into your married life to liven things up:
1. Reminisce about the good times that you had together.

Life is too short to spend time dwelling on the bad things. Instead, turn it around and make the best out of the good times that you had together.

Re-visit a romantic vacation spot where you celebrated your anniversary.

For the husbands, “court” your wife again. Schedule regular dates and spend some time away from work, your house and your children.

Having some ‘alone’ time together will surely liven things up a bit and start   putting the romance back into your marriage.

2.  Be more understanding and tolerant of your partner’s mistakes.
It is said that the first few years of marriage are the best times that you have as a couple.

As the years pass, you get to be more lax in showing your affection to your partner. You argue about little things and you find the marriage stifling.

If you learn to become more understanding and tolerant of the other’s shortcomings, a lot of petty fights will be prevented. Also, learn to be more sensitive to the needs of one another.

With a sprinkling of a more positive outlook in your married life, you’re sure to be get back on track and have a wonderful married life.

3. Be honest with your feelings.
Generally, there is a misconception that you love your mate for what you think he or she is. In reality, you fell in love because of what you think that person will become for you. You expect your partner to change or be someone that they are actually not .This could lead to a lot of hurt and misunderstanding between a couple. Instead of trying to mold your partner into someone that you want them to be, why not look the other way?

Find out what your partner thinks you should improve on. Try to think if this change will bring about a better you. This could lead to a lot more room for improvement in your married life, and allow your partner be happier with the new you.

4. Try to express your love for each other freely and be generous with compliments.

Nobody ever turns a good compliment down. As a couple, freely complimenting each other – and doing this often – would help put the romance back into your married life.

Also, over the years, you tend to overlook the basic things like thanking our spouse for a favor done, or complimenting her on looking great or saying I love you.

If you just go back to basics and not forget these simple courtesies, you will have a more respectful relationship that you both will be contented with.

5. Talk and listen at the same time.

A typical household problem is the wife nagging her husband. Try to prevent this by listening to each other and then take the time to let the other talk.

Men are not compelled to talk as often as women. Try to balance this by making your husband talk while you listen, because he will likely just listen while you do the talking.

Keeping your communications open is another way to improve your relationship.

6. Always be attractive for your partner.
One of the most effective and sure fire ways to put romance back into your married life is by improving your appearance. If you have had your hair done in a certain style for years, why not try to change it to look a little different?

Having your partner see you in a new light will may put the passion back into your marriage.

All in all, you still need to "work" on keeping your marriage strong and alive.

By re-introducing romance into your relationship, you are just might live the rest of your married life to the fullest!

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Thursday, January 9, 2014

Another Key to a Solid Marriage - Never Go to Bed Angry

“Never go to bed angry” is a cliché that we always hear. This has proven to be very sound advice, and is a motto that many couples live by.

Marriage is the ultimate consummation for two people who are in love. Your wedding is not the “happy ending” to your love story, instead,  it is just the  beginning of your life together.

For a married couple who is just starting out, petty fights and arguments
can not be avoided.  The first few years of your marriage will be the test if to determine if you can actually “live” with each other’s bad or annoying habits.  The strength of your love for each other will serve as the “building block” of the rest of your years together.

During petty fights, it is good to remember that having an argument is natural. You and your spouse are two different people and you can expect your individual personalities to clash.

Here are some ways you and your spouse, as a married couple, can strengthen your bond and improve your marriage:

1. Fight if you need to.

This is when the rule mentioned above will apply. As a couple, you will have arguments, disagreements, and conflicts of interest. Even a minor thing like household chores can lead to disagreements..

The key to a ‘healthy’ argument is to get everything out in the open.
Take a look at this example. During a quarrel the husband may be given the ‘cold’ shoulder by his wife. The wife thinks that her spouse is not being sensitive enough when it comes to  her needs. He is  caught totally unaware, but when he tries to confront the issue head-on his wife gives him the ‘silent treatment’. Eventually, their marriage will crumble because the anger on both sides is not dissipated. The wife was not able to let off  ‘steam’ because she kept everything bottled up inside.

In this case, it is better if you bluntly confront the problem. Argue and fight if you need to.
At first, the two of you will be angry enough to confront each other. After you get everything out in the open, sound reasoning will rule and calmness will follow.

After the storm, the two of you should be reasonable enough to listen to each other then come up with a solution and make up.  Do not worry, this may not always be the case,. Your love for each other and the foundation that the two of you have established since you were married should help patch things up.

Just remember to avoid keeping your feelings all bottled up inside. If you do this, past hurts will return and might eventually cause a huge argument that will be even harder to resolve.

2. Wipe the slate clean once you make up.

After the fight, make sure that you both know what started the argument In the first place.

You and your spouse might have entirely different reasons for being angry. Listen to each other and determine what caused the other to hurl accusations or hurtful words. If you are a husband exerting your ‘authority’ over your wife, she should know the way that you feel.

If your spouse was hurt by something that you did not actually mean to do. Try to explain that you would never intentionally do anything to cause her to be hurt or angry. This leads to the basis and foundation of your marriage which is mutual love and respect, and you could eventually patch things up.

3. Do not be afraid to admit if you are wrong.
Pride in marriage has a very expensive price to pay. Do not put this pride between you and your spouse. If you are in the wrong, do not be afraid to admit it, then apologize.

Remember that you are together in spite of your individual differences. Go back to what brought you together in the first place and you can never go wrong.

By practicing these things and making it a habit to settle your fights before going to bed, you will have a solid and stable marriage that is based on trust and love.

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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Only Way to Spice up Your Marriage: Exploring Common Interests

Married couples seem to go into a lull at some point in their shared lives. There will always come a time when someone works too hard while the other stays at home with their children. It is not really that bad, it is just the way things will be at one point. Someone has to work to sustain the whole family while the other one has to stay home to supervise the children.

This is the lull, where everything, from morning to night, Monday until Sunday, seems to repeat itself. You go to work in the morning, you come home from work in the afternoon, you cook for your children, and you discipline your children. The routine is the same every day.  A person has the tendency to get bored and will sometimes feel that the marriage is a total failure. This is when the couple should realize that they have to explore other areas of interests to prevent this lull from happening. This does not really have to mean that you should love and/or hate what your partner does... You just have to show genuine interest in every aspect of his/her personality.

The easiest place to look would be into sports. Does your husband love to play or watch basketball/football/baseball games? Does your wife love to play tennis or volleyball? Maybe it’s time for you to have a change of heart and learn to like the sport your partner loves. Learn the basics, or perhaps, let your partner teach you and when your partner sees what you’re doing, he/she will appreciate it and return the favor the next time.

Other games include board games where you could compete together with your children and have family time together. Puzzle games are another option. Both of could enjoy working together to complete the puzzle.

Traveling might be another option. Many people love traveling and exploring new places certainly would end boredom. Travel by sea and experience “life in the slow lane”.  Another option is to travel by airplane so you could get to your destination faster and experience other places and cultures as you travel to Asia or Europe. Traveling is a sure way to stop the doldrums of marriage.

Another interest you could both pursue would be interest in each others job. You don’t have to be an accountant to learn why your husband is worrying about a few cents missing or a computer programmer to realize why your wife has headaches because the function of this or that is not working. It only takes a few days to learn the basics of what your partner is doing. You don’t have to learn it all, just be interested enough in them to realize what your partner is having problems with.

You could also pursue some religious interests. Join groups that will help you or your partner then perhaps you could help others with their problems. This would be fulfilling and a wonderful experience for both of you.

Perhaps your partner reads a lot, there are a number of things you could do if that is the case. You could let him/her read to you before you sleep. Nothing beats the feeling of sleeping soundly with the one you love at your side. He/she will also love the feeling that you are secure with him/her.

What if your partner is a writer? There are things you could do to help. If he/she writes articles then do the proofreading. Tell him/her your opinion on the subject matter. Do your best to understand what he/she writes and form your own opinion. Writers love criticism, too, since it’s one of the ways they’ll know that someone has read what they wrote. Criticize him/her or praise what he/she did. It’s the only way they’ll realize that you’ve done your “job” of reading his/her article.

No matter what you do, the best thing is to put yourself into your partner’s shoes. Learn to love what he/she loves and show some interest in what he/she does. It is only way you can eliminate your boredom and you’ll learn to appreciate your partner more fully too.

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