Love in Marriage is a Relatively New Idea

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Love in Marriage is a Relatively New Idea

We think of love as the reason for marriage as a foregone conclusion. Historically speaking, that isn’t the case. Love in ancient Greece was thought of as a mental illness, as was it in Medieval Europe. In France in the Middle Ages it was thought to be cured with intercourse with the beloved or some other. Marriage on the other hand was to combine wealth and for political power. It was also to make children to work family farms. Parents would be shocked in those days if their children wanted to marry for love.

Physical attraction has always been a part of marriage. The world over and throughout history polygamy has been the most popular form of marriage. It even appears in the Bible with King Solomon and David who had many, many wives. In a certain culture in Tibet, the Na people have the women go to the next village to conceive. Then they raise the children with their brothers. The children don’t have any parents like we think of them. They are raised by the whole village. Like that African saying, “It takes a village to raise a child.”

Too much love within marriage was thought to poison throughout ancient and medieval times in the West. However with the American and French Revolutions we saw a change in mindset. People were concerned with their personal freedoms and the pursuit of their own happiness, as Jefferson so eloquently put it. Working for a salary instead of on the farm helped break marriage away from the economic sphere and to the sphere of the heart. Only in the middle of the nineteenth century did Americans begin marrying for love. They convinced themselves that it was the only reason to marry and that it had always been so.

The largest group to marry was the returning G.I.s and their Rosie the Riveter’s just after World War II. The men worked and the women stayed home to care for it and the children. Salaries rose for men. But a lot of women found it confining. Enter the women’s liberation movement of the 1960’s and 70’s. Women flooded the workforce. Soon we saw no fault divorces, the biggest years were between 1978 and 1980. 67% of divorces are filed by women. Today we are seeing vast changes. Some wonder if it is the end of marriage as we know it. But no one is tying the knot in America today, or at least not saying they are, without being in love. To learn more on this topic read, Marriage, A History: How Love Conquered Marriage by Stephanie Coontz.

Can you Repair a Relationship where the Trust is Gone?

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Can you Repair a Relationship where the Trust is Gone?

There are a lot of different reasons someone can blow the trust in a relationship. It could be infidelity, emotional cheating, cleaning out the bank account and blowing it in Vegas, a shopping spree and hiding the credit card bills, or instead a string of little things so long it makes one wonder if they ever told the truth at all. Whatever the reason, trust is the glue that keeps a relationship together. Without trust there is no intimacy and without intimacy, no relationship. You can’t be intimate with someone you have to constantly be on guard around. So can you repair a relationship where the trust is gone? Certainly no one is perfect. Depending upon what you believe and what they have done, there are ways to build bridges back to trust. It isn’t easy. It takes a lot of patience, forgiveness, owning up to what both parties have done and superb communication. It’s important to look at what led up to the violation. Oftentimes there are certain goings-on in a relationship, underlying problems that must be addressed so such a slipup don’t happen again.

Those who are the victims shouldn’t rub their partner’s face in transgressions. Nor should they ignore what contribution they themselves may have made to the situation. Only when each person is open and honest with each other can they make plans of action or rules of engagement that work for them, can they overcome these obstacles and rebuild trust. If both parties are still very much in love, engaged and committed to renewing the relationship then it has the highest likelihood of happening. But half measures will cause few returns. The person who has perpetuated the betrayal has to be sorry. But they should also be open and forthcoming in all aspects and ready and willing to change. The more open they are the faster the healing process will be. A betrayal can be implicit or explicit, meaning it may be something that was a spoken rule or just an obvious one. But it can’t be obvious to one person and not the other. When a transgression has occurred and the person lies or covers up their betrayal, these actions only make things worse. They also contribute to a longer and more difficult road ahead.

Of course every relationship and situation is different. That said there are a few things anyone going on this harrowing journey should keep in mind. If you are the betrayer, fess up before they find out. The longer you wait the more damage you will cause and the more time it will take for the relationship to recover. Plus, unburdening yourself from the guilt will also be a great relief. Decide then and there to have absolutely no dishonesty in your relationship ever again. If you can’t be honest with your partner, why are you with them? At the time of confession and even after, allow your partner to ask questions. Be honest in answering. You want to communicate and restore goodwill. If you are the victim, you shouldn’t keep asking questions just to shock or hurt yourself. At a certain point, you have decided to stay in the relationship or go. If you are staying, it’s important to find the path toward healing, not dwell on the past. Patience is the best characteristic in this situation. Practice it unendingly. Keep in touch with yourself and your feelings. You don’t have to see eye to eye on everything to be fully present and listen to your partner as you work through things. Stay focused and if you are both meant to be together, you can get past this terrible time and find each other once again. For advice on keeping your marriage on the right track before transgressions start read, Secrets of Great Marriages: Real Truth from Real Couples about Lasting Love by Linda Bloom and Charlie Bloom.

Romance, Guy Style

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Romance, Guy Style

We all know what women find romantic. But what about when it comes to men?  How you do sweep a guy off his feet? Flowers, candle lit dinners and moonlit buggy rides aren’t it. It can be difficult to guess what gifts or gestures he’ll appreciate. But not to worry, here are some ideas. Here’s romance, guy style. First, when you do something nice for your guy, don’t expect something automatically in return. It kills the mood. You don’t want him to show up with a bouquet of your favorite flowers and just after you swoon say, “Hey, what are you going to do for me?” Instead, make sure a gesture or a gift is just that, an expression of your affection. Of course he’ll be overjoyed and won’t be able to wait to shower you with gifts and appreciation. But let it come naturally. Don’t force it or expect it.

For gesture ideas, why not cook him his favorite meal or bake his favorite dessert? Not so handy in the kitchen? Take him out to his favorite restaurant. If he’s a sports guy, take him to a sports bar where they have the best burgers for the game. For guys, it isn’t about a one size fits all thing like flowers or candy. It’s really about tailoring what his hobbies or interests are to your gift or gesture. Get to know your guy and what he likes and ideas will come up.

Tickets to the game or the concert, a nice watch, a weekend away, a ski trip, a party on the beach, a surprise camping trip to a national park he’s been itching to make it to, a massage, all of these will show him how much you care. Guys often plan dates, outings and so on, though certainly not always. But why not turn the tails on him and plan something that will knock his socks off? If you want to do something little, why not leave a little love note for him, or even a steamy one? Leave them in his briefcase, knapsack, jacket pocket, in a book he’s reading, his luggage or his satchel. Some guys don’t like it when things are too sappy. Others are the sensitive type. Know which type your guy is and write your notes accordingly. Why not write something funny or witty?

Sometimes just lazing around together can be romantic. Sitting by the pool with drinks, easing into a hot tub or coffee and a long brunch in a great café will do the trick. Don’t forget that for guys the physical aspect is an important part of romance. Surprising him in lingerie is always a great way to wow him. And it will make you two closer, too. Isn’t that what it’s all about? For more advice read, 31 Days to a Happy Husband: What a Man Needs Most from His Wife by Arlene Pellicane.

Divorce Rate Lowest in Northeast, Highest in the South

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Divorce Rate Lowest in Northeast, Highest in the South

According to the latest U.S. Census information as recent as 2009, the divorce rate is the lowest in the Northeast and the highest in the South. This all comes out of the new report the bureau is now generating, Marital Events of Americans. 2009 was the first year data was collected for this report. This document surveyed Americans 15 and older about marriage, widowhood and divorce.

Divorce rates are lower in the Northeast because people put off first marriages longer and there are less marriages occurring in that region. In the South, more marriages occur so the divorce rate is therefore higher.  The Southern states with the highest divorce rates for men were Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi and Texas. The Northeastern states with the lowest rates of divorce for men were New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Connecticut.

Southern states with the highest divorce rates for women were Kentucky, West Virginia, Georgia, Arkansas, Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Tennessee. Northeastern states with the lowest divorce rates for women were New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts. The report uncovered some other interesting findings. Children of divorced parents were 75% more likely to live with their mother than their father. 28% of Children whose parents divorced in 2009 were more likely to live below the poverty level. 23% of Women were more likely to need public assistance after divorce. 15% of men had a greater chance of needing public assistance. 22% of women who divorced in the last year were more likely to be in poverty, compared to 11% of men.

Previous to this report, information on marriages and divorces was collected at the state level through collecting marriage and divorce certificates. These certificates were passed on to the vital statistics system of the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). Then in 1996 the NCHS and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) ceased collection of these records. This latest report taken up by the Census Bureau is meant to fill the gap. If you’re going through a divorce and want advice, read the book, The Divorce Survival Guide: The Roadmap for Everything from Divorce Finance to Child Custody by Calistoga Press.

What to Do if You Find Yourself in a Toxic Relationship

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What to Do if You Find Yourself in a Toxic Relationship

Are you in a toxic relationship? Sometimes it dawns on you all-of-a-sudden. At other times, you slowly come to realize that something is very wrong. If you aren’t sure, here are some signs. Is there a lack of respect in your relationship? Do you avoid one another and loathe the time you spend together? Does the atmosphere fill with negative energy whenever you are in the same room? Does the idea of spending time with your spouse or partner fill you with dread? Is there a lot of contempt and insults flying like knives whenever you are in a room together? If any of these sound familiar, then the relationship is toxic. Sometimes things get way off track, or something happened that the relationship is having difficulty recovering from, the death of a child perhaps or infidelity on the part of one or both partners. At other times, it’s the buildup of many unresolved problems that start to drive a wedge between the two. The more differences the further apart they are.

In a toxic relationship you can feel emotionally abused, neglected, manipulated, taken for granted, or deprived of a sex life. Your spouse or partner could have cleared out the joint account, disappeared for days on end or buffeted you with one juvenile remark after another. Whatever the situation, when you find yourself in a toxic relationship, where there is no way of resuscitating it and bringing it back to life, you have to find a way to extricate yourself as painlessly as possible, and that can be tricky. Though many relationships can be saved, in the case of one or both parties hurting each other repeatedly, a clean break is best. There are three easy steps that you can use to get out with as little discomfort as possible. First, have a clear understanding of why you want to leave. A charming lover can muddy the waters, confuse you, woo you back and make you forget, for a time, why exactly it was you were leaving. You need to have concrete examples you can hang onto when things get confusing. You can even make yourself a little slogan or mantra to remind yourself of why.

Make a clean break. Decide when you are moving out or when you are breaking up with them, do it and then close off all avenues of contact. You don’t want to get sucked back in again. Many feel vulnerable after a breakup. That means you may be more likely to be receptive to their charms. Also, seeing and hearing from them will keep those wounds fresh. You want to be given the chance to heal and move on. Unfriend them from your social media pages and erase them from your phone. It may seem drastic but it will also be effective. If you work with this person or see them regularly, keep distance. Be professional if not slightly cold and don’t slow down to chat when you see them in the hallway. Give them a polite nod, say hello and keep moving. Sooner or later they’ll get the message and will stop trying to get your attention. Feel your self-worth. It is when we feel bad about ourselves that we are the most vulnerable. When we feel good about ourselves, we usually won’t put up with foolishness. Don’t get sentimental about the relationship. Remember what they put you through and that you deserve better. For more advice read, Psychopath Free: Recovering from Emotionally Abusive Relationships with Narcissists, Sociopaths, & Other Toxic People by Peace.