How to Make Love Last

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How to Make Love Last

Despite the elevated divorce rate, long term love is not doomed. In fact many couples experience a beautiful, deep, thrilling connection throughout their lives together. A recent study conducted by Stony Brook University found that out of a sample of 274 married couples, together 10 years or longer, 49% of men and 46% of women said that they were “very intensely in love.” This study was published in The Journal of Social Psychological and Personality Science. Head researcher Daniel O’Leary and his team uncovered the secrets to sustaining romance. So how do you make love last? First, physical intimacy is important, such as hugging and kissing. It releases oxytocin the “cuddle hormone” helping the couple relax and connect. Couples who didn’t report any physical displays of love were also those in a loveless marriage. Sexual frequency also contributed to feelings of intense love. But it wasn’t necessary. 25% stated feeling this way without be physically intimate with their partner within the last month. Physical affection even makes up for other negative aspects of a relationship. Some couples who reported stress over financial decisions, different parenting styles and so on who took part in physical affection still said they were in intense love with their partner.

Couples that remained positive were also far more likely to feel intense love for each other. Some couples take each other for granted or the elements in their partner that they love, appreciate or admire fade from constantly seeing them. But those who showed more appreciation were far more likely to be intensely in love. Another aspect was sharing in interesting, unique and exhilarating experiences together. Exercising, cooking, reading and discussing the same book or article, learning something new that was exciting like surfing, traveling, exploring spirituality or going on adventures all helped couples maintain intense, long lasting love. Personal happiness was the last quality that couples that love intensely share. Personal happiness was especially important for women in these relationships. But does being intensely in love also infuse a person with happiness, or does personal happiness bring an extra spark to the relationship? This is a chicken and egg scenario, a Mobius strip without end. See if you can infuse some of these characteristics in your relationship. Practice appreciating your partner. Go on adventures and explore together. Invest in some quality time. Make sure to show physical affection toward one another. Your love will grow and blossom if you cultivate it in the right way. For more advice read, Lasting Love: How to Avoid Marital Failure by Alistair Begg.

The Kinds of Friends to help you Through a Divorce

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The Kinds of Friends to help you Through a Divorce

When a marriage ends some people want to hole up and never see the light of day again. It’s true that everyone has their own grieving process. But this is a time when you could use the support of family and especially friends. Close friends will validate your feelings, comfort you, make you laugh and give you some insight. They can really help you endure those hard, dark days and aid you in reaching the bright, shining day at the end of this terrible storm that’s settled over your life. Don’t be too shy or too proud to reach out to those close to you. That’s what they’re there for. You’d be surprised how much people want to help if just given the chance. And if the roles were reversed, wouldn’t you be happy to do the same for them? There are different kinds of friends that can help you through a divorce. See if you have any of these in your social circle and be sure to reach out to them in your time of need. A divorce can drive you nuts. What you may need is a friend who’s logical that can show you how things work and tie the loose ends together for you. If you have sudden revenge fantasies, the logical friend will bring up karma. And if you suddenly want to get a face tattoo to celebrate your new singlehood, your logical friend is sure to talk you off of that ledge. This is a good friend to have when the tempests of emotion rock your inner core. Be sure to have one logical friend you can reach out to.

Next, you want the confidant and conspirator. This is the person who will back you up, and throw in a few things when you really need to badmouth your ex. They’ll take you out for a few drinks, maybe even introduce you to some cute singles they happen to know. This is the person you can get loud with, have adventures with, and find reasons to love your life again with. Divorce can feel like part of you was ripped out. It’s important to explore your past and other sides of yourself. That’s why the old friend is a good one to reach out to. You can sit and relax, reminisce with them and get insight into who you were, who you are and who you want to be. The old friend has probably known you a long time and can talk about your other relationships and what patterns emerge, helping you to see what perhaps you brought to the relationship that you should work on to make your next one spectacular. If you met a new friend, why not spend time with them? They can help you develop your new personality, post-divorce. If you have a friend of the opposite sex, don’t steer clear of them. Hang out with them. When you’re ready a little harmless flirting as practice can lift your self-esteem. They can also provide insight from the other gender’s point of view. The fuzzy friend is a great one to have. Dogs and cats know instinctively when we hurt. The gestures that they do and the unconditional love they practice can help heal your heart. Finally there’s the tried and true friend, the one who may be all of these friends combined, the one that’s always at your side. You know they’ll be there when you call. Definitely reach out to that friend. They’ll have you feeling better in no time. For more advice on getting over a divorce, read Chicken Soup for the Soul: Divorce and Recovery: 101 Stories about Surviving and Thriving after Divorce by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, and Patty Hansen.

5 Ways to Save a Drowning Relationship

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5 Ways to Save a Drowning Relationship

An online dream dictionary says of the phenomenon of slipping beneath the murky depths, “drowning depicts fear of being overwhelmed by difficult emotions or anxieties”. Certainly we feel this way when we feel our relationship gives us that sinking feeling. Water is often symbolic of change and so this feeling of drowning is being overwhelmed by shifts in one’s life whose outcome is as of yet to be determined and this uncertainty makes you afraid. Of course changes in one’s relationship are somehow more worrisome and at times you can feel less in control of it. Arguments, uncertainties and more can wrench your heart or overwhelm you as if the waters are about to envelop you.  But you don’t have to struggle against forces which you cannot control. You can take control of the situation and make changes to see that you tread water and even point the relationship in the right direction. Here are 5 ways to save a drowning relationship.

  1. First, search your feelings. It’s going to take a lot of work to fix this relationship. Do you have it in you? Does your partner? Do you two really still love each other? You can’t just make it work for work’s sake. Both of you really have to have your hearts in it. You have to know whether you should really be reading breakup advice or relationship advice. But if you feel in your heart that you want to make it work and your partner feels the same way your relationship has a very good chance of succeeding and starting anew.
  2. Second, talk to the people that are close to your partner to get some perspective on how they feel they’ve been acting lately at school, during guy’s night out, at work or during family parties or when he or she visits their siblings or parents. Who is in their network that you feel comfortable approaching about it? Make sure the other person will keep the talk anonymous as you don’t want your partner feeling as though you are spying on them. What you are really doing is trying to gain some perspective on how they feel about things, and your relationship and how this has been perceived by those closest to them. Perhaps investigate your own social circle to see if they have any perceptions on you, how you act in relationships, and what insights that they can provide you about yourself, your partner and your relationship.
  3. Your third step is to put your ego aside and try to figure out what negative baggage or behaviors you yourself are bringing to the relationship. This is difficult for most people. It requires a letting go and some self-analysis. But most often a problem isn’t only caused by one party in a relationship. What does your partner say? Do they have some valid points? What are some better ways you can go about things?
  4. The fourth move is to come together with your partner, decide on what your problems are and how to fix them. Talk to one another, don’t argue. Set up an outline, a plan or some ground rules. Is the problem space, stress, undermining or something else? Who does what in what situations? Analyze the problem together like detectives. Let them know where you think you need to change some things and some things you might have found out about yourself. Offer them to do the same. Maybe the problem is that one person doesn’t give the other enough space after work and their work related stress is carried over through the rest of the night. One person can give the other 30 minutes to relax after work while the other can agree to give their partner their full attention afterward. Many problems may be much more complicated than that. But when both parties are compromising, negotiating, being honest with each other and themselves the process can go a whole lot more smoothly and you’ll feel more confident about your relationship and its seaworthiness.
  5. Fifth step, have some fun together and renew your bond. Take a trip somewhere, a weekend away, a night out on the town, dinner and a movie or a trip to the beach. Reconnect over old memories. Talk about old times and play your song. For more on turning a bad romantic situation around, read I Love You, but I’m Not IN Love with You: Seven Steps to Saving Your Relationship by Andrew G. Marshall.

Advice for Singles from Married folks

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Advice for Singles from Married folks

There is a lot of dating advice out there. But how do you know what advice is good and what isn’t? Would you take dating advice from someone who is single, bitter and twice divorced or someone in a successful marriage? Generally people who are successful look back and find some nuggets of wisdom to share. Here is some advice from married folks for singles. First, don’t stick too tenaciously to your checklist. Oftentimes, we set standards too high, or we look at physical standards that in no way match what we are really looking for, personality traits, which will keep us truly happy. Women will say for instance that they want a man who is tall and has a full head of hair and follows their same political or religious bent. But what ends up happening is they marry a short, bald man with opposite political or religious beliefs, that has a good personality, is kind, considerate, sincere, and has an amazing sense of humor. Men do this, too. Women certainly aren’t the only ones who are guilty. So instead, why not list the character traits, an inexact outline, of what you are looking for, or toss the checklist altogether and let nature take its course. Don’t settle for someone who isn’t right for you either.

Next, don’t be down just because you’re single. Celebrate your freedom. Too many people who are married with children wonder what they were nervous about back when they were seeking the perfect mate. But when they do get married they regret not living life to the fullest when they were unattached. So enjoy your single years. You don’t want to regret wasting them later on. Ladies, don’t try to change a guy in order to make him what you want. Both of you will end up frustrated and the relationship isn’t bound to last. Instead, find someone whose positive qualities capture your heart and whose negative qualities you can look past, accept, and even learn to love. Otherwise, you will just be wasting your time in a relationship that is doomed from the start. No matter what gender, if you ask someone out or things don’t pan out, thank your lucky stars, don’t curse them. You’ll realize why when you find that person who is right for you. Travel as much as you want and can. Find inexpensive ways to travel. Why not volunteer for development projects, or teach overseas? Not only might you find someone interesting and exotic outside your own social circle, you’ll have lived life to the fullest while you could. To learn more about the perks of being single, read Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone by Eric Klinenberg.

Things You Should be Able to Do Without your Spouse

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Sometimes when you first get married you want to do everything together. You don’t want to be out of each other’s site. Your friends or family joke and say things like you’re attached at the hip. But as the marriage goes on, it’s important to have some time to yourself to spend with your hobbies, interests, friends and family. A relationship is renewed when the people in it live vibrant lives outside of the relationship. Then they bring that knowledge, those skills and that breathe of fresh air back into the relationship and constantly renew it, keeping it exciting. When a couple spends way too much time together, their relationship gets stale too fast. Here are some things you should be able to do without your spouse and feel perfectly comfortable in doing so. Have you ever considered taking separate vacations? Going out to Las Vegas with the girls or out to Marti Gras with the fellas does sound like a good idea. When you are together all the time for too long often small issues become big arguments. The old adage of “absence makes the heart grow fonder” rings true, but a little space also gives perspective which you can bring back in once and your partner reconnect. Fun experiences apart rejuvenate us. Shared experience is great but so is recounting experiences to your spouse, and hearing what novel adventures they had on their vacation.

Ever get so excited about a feature film coming out, and your spouse would rather drop dead than see it? That’s a letdown. But too many people wait for it to come out on video, or miss it altogether. Don’t do that. Embrace your own identity in marriage. You’ll find that allowing differences to flourish and not compete but just merely to exist adds spice to a relationship. Love is not about conforming to one another, it’s about getting to know each other deeply and respecting and loving who that person is. It’s okay to let one person watch their sci-fi flick in the den while the other checks out the romantic comedy in the living room. Why not meet for a snack at a pre-arranged mid-movie break? It’s okay to eat out without your spouse. You may even find a place that you just HAVE to introduce them to. How much fun is that? Loads. You can silently laud it over them and there isn’t a thing you can do about it. There’s nothing like two foodies in love. Go ahead and pamper yourself once in a while. Get a massage. Have separate Sundays once per month where he does his thing and she does hers. Then you can meet for dinner and rousing conversation at the end of the day, instead of looking over at the other end of the couch and saying, “What do you want for dinner?” Do the girl’s night or boy’s night out thing once in a while. It’s not only fun and healthy to hang out with friends but here and there you can even find out how things work in their relationships and see where you are in comparison. For more on this topic, read Resonance: The New Chemistry of Love- Creating a Relationship that Gives You the Intimacy and Independence You’ve Always Wanted by Barbara Miller Fishman and Laurie Ashner.