Couples without Children are Happier

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Couples without Children are Happier

Those couples who are most blissful are childless, according to research out of Open University in the U.K. The study, entitled “Enduring Love?” found that couples without children, whether married or unmarried, were far more satisfied with life in general and felt considerably more appreciated by their partner than their counterparts. Parents who cohabitated but weren’t married were a little happier than those that were married. Over 5,000 people of all backgrounds in long term relationships were studied. Surprisingly, mothers were the happiest group while women without children were the unhappiest.

Having children did affect intimacy among partners. Fathers were 50% more likely to claim that lack of physical love was the biggest problem in their relationships. Meanwhile, mothers stated that they wanted to experience physical intimacy less often than their partners. This study found that showing appreciation for your partner was one of the biggest factors in making a marriage fulfilling. Giving compliments, thanking one another and other seemingly minor gestures added up to a lot. The takeaway here is that when a couple starts taking each other for granted, things go downhill fast. But if they constantly renew their love, commitment, fondness and appreciation for one another, their relationship will remain strong, sturdy, healthy and fulfilling.

The British library will soon release the results of this study. If you are a couple with children, or planning to have children, don’t let this study upset you. Instead, make plans on how you will find time to invest in your relationship. Perhaps have a date night where a sitter comes over or you leave the kids with the in-laws. If you know other couples with kids, watch their children on their date night and they can watch yours on theirs. Write each other little notes or texts at least once per day. Make it a point to spend some time chatting together, enjoying each other’s company without having to fulfill some chore. Thank one another for what they do, whether it’s their assigned job or chore, or not.

The real takeaway is that just because you have children doesn’t mean you should take one another for granted. In fact, it’s more important that you show how grateful you are that that person is in your life, loving you, supporting you and standing by you. Show them how much you care, a little each day and they will reciprocate. For more advice read, The 2 Minute Marriage Project: Simple Secrets for Staying in Love by Heidi Poleman.

Talk about Sex before you Get Married

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Talk about Sex before you Get Married

Planning a wedding can be a whirlwind that scoops you up and carries you along. There are so many things to plan and do. But one of the most critical parts of a marriage, your sex life, is often swept aside. Yet, it plays a crucial role. Not only is your sex life important, but the intimacy that stems from it can fuel your relationship and keep it intact for the long haul. But a lack of intimacy can sap your marriage.  Most people expect their married sex life to be phenomenal throughout. Though married people often register higher numbers on sexual satisfaction surveys, the truth is one’s sex life ebbs and flows throughout a marriage. Psychotherapist and sex specialist Vanessa Marin says that those couples who do talk about sex before they get married are more successful overall. It is important for any couple that wants decades upon decades of happy sex ahead of them to discuss it, and come to an understanding about the matter with their partner. Schedule a time to sit down together. It doesn’t have to be stuffy. You can set a romantic mood, get wine and light candles. Or you can just sit down on the couch together and start talking about sex. It’s really up to you, and what style you have as a couple.

The first thing to consider is to ask what your sexual strengths and weaknesses are. Talk about your favorite memories together. Share what the best sex you ever had was. What was it about that time? How did it make you feel? What about it made you feel that way? Ask what theirs was and why. What do you both really enjoy doing together or to one another? What really works for you? Over time, usually couples get better. They get to know each other’s likes and dislikes, and trust builds. Each person should ultimately feel free to open up and express their needs, wants and desires. This will build a great sex life together. It will help build your relationship, as it provides immense intimacy to be able to shed guilt or shame, open up, be understood and accepted, and ultimately be fulfilled by your partner. Ask yourselves how to make intimacy a priority. Marin writes in an article in Psychology Today that she always shares this with clients. They need to set aside time for intimacy. Those clients usually respond by saying, “we didn’t know we had to do that…” Having a fantastic married sex life requires a little bit of care and effort. Schedule date nights, get a sitter and get some special alone time together each week.

Talk about how you feel about the inevitable changes in your sex life throughout your marriage. Are you planning on having kids? You can’t imagine how that will change your time in the bedroom. Menopause and lots of other things will change it too. Discuss how you plan to keep the spark a towering inferno of passion throughout your life together. You don’t want things to get boring. Talk about interests and fantasies together. Marin suggests each person making a list using red, yellow and green lights. “Reds are the things you know you don’t want to try, yellow are the ones you’re unsure about, and greens are the things you feel perfectly comfortable with. Making these lists can be a fun way to keep the chemistry going,” she writes. Talk about what you will do if you ever have a fight about sex. Marin says it is inevitable. Do you have a communication strategy in place? Will you decide to see a marriage counselor or sex therapist if you have to? Know each other’s feelings on these sorts of things. Think about how each of you can nurture your individual sexualities. Lastly, talk about your honeymoon with your soon-to-be spouse. What are the expectations? What will you experiment with? Does the sex take precedence or other honeymoon activities? For more on how to have great sex with your now or soon-to-be spouse, pick up a copy of Marriage And Sex: Marriage Advice On Spicing Up Your Marriage And Marriage Tips About Sex For Married Couples by Suzie Holmes.

Show you care no Matter What Day it is

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Show you care no Matter What Day it is

So Valentine’s Day has come and gone. Some people love it for a chance to cherish their loved one. Others hate the commercial Hallmark holiday aspect. Still others don’t want to be reminded of being single. But the truth is that we shouldn’t need a holiday to remind us how much we love that special someone in our life. In fact, if you are only using that particular holiday to show how much you care for one another, you will soon be seeing less Valentine’s Days, at least with that particular person.

Show you care no matter what day it is. If you keep feeling and showing your gratitude toward your romantic partner in words and gestures, they will return the favor. A virtuous cycle will be created that will sustain and enrich your love and relationship for as long as the two of you keep it up. Here are some ways to display the tempest of passion that lies deep in your heart. If your lover works in the service industry, whether a barista, a waiter or waitress, or tending bar, go in, flirt with them and leave a little tip. You can’t imagine what fun this will be, especially if your lover’s coworkers don’t know you.

Always hold the door open no matter what sex your lover is. If you don’t cohabitate but you do run errands together, pay for their groceries, especially if they have been struggling to make ends meet. If you do cohabitate pay something extra just to say I love you. When you are out and about running errands, buy them their favorite candy, or a little toy that reminds you of them. For an added bonus hide it somewhere in the house and let them find it unexpectedly. Whenever you notice a change in clothes or hairstyle, notice it and comment on it. Ladies, guys like it when you notice and compliment too. It’s not just for women. Call your sweetie at lunch or in the middle of the day just to see how their day is going. Tell them you couldn’t stop thinking about them. If the mood strikes you say something dirty, or just flirt with them. Make something for them, a knit scarf, a painting, a poem, a song, a tchotchke; make it from the heart. Something you made will always be worth more because of the talent, time and care you put into it. Make them their favorite meal, or surprise them with a dinner out on the town. There are lots of ways to show that special someone in your life how much you care. For more advice read, 31 Days to Build a Better Relationship by Clinton Power.

Alleviating Marriage Boredom

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Alleviating Marriage Boredom

Lots of couples go through rough patches, ruts and what-have-you. Everyone is so busy nowadays, who has time to invest in a relationship? Most of the time we come home and all we want to do is eat, veg out on the couch for a little while and go to bed. But a marriage needs to be renewed with energy, vitality, interest, sexuality, amazing conversation, and even the sharing of food and ideas. Without these things a marriage is just flat. Alleviate marriage boredom by following these easy steps to reinvest in yourselves and make your marriage worthwhile.

First, work on yourself. Most people point the finger at their partner without realizing what issues they themselves bring to the table. Have a little time to reflect on what happens when you have arguments, what negative patterns there are, and how to counteract them. Then talk to your partner about it. Discuss the dynamics you’ve discovered and how you will neutralize them. You’ll be surprised but this very act may have them thinking about what they can do to improve themselves.

While you are getting in touch with yourself, get in touch with a sexual fantasy you want to try with your partner. And get in touch with your hopes, dreams and passions. If all you have or they have is the relationship that gets rather dull after a while. For heaven’s sake, what do you talk about over the breakfast table? But if you have a hobby or a dream to be fulfilled, invite your lover in and share that with them. Have one night a week where you invest in just the two of you. Turn off the TV that day and talk, have dessert, open a bottle of wine, look through old photo albums, act silly and have fun together. If you have the means go out. If not, find other ways to enjoy each other’s company.

Realize that relationships change and go through many phases. People’s wants and needs change over time. It’s important to stay in touch with your partner, who they are and how they are changing, and be okay with it, as they must come to accept who you are. If things aren’t the same, talk about it. Find ways to improve your life together. Encourage your significant other to chase their dreams and help them run after them. Expect them to do the same for you. Find something they’ve always wanted to try and do it with them. If absolutely none of these work for you, be sure to see a marriage counselor. But consider divorce the very last option. If you can reinvest in your marriage most times an awful lot will come back toward you. For advice on spicing things up in the bedroom read, Passionate Marriage: Sex, Love, and Intimacy in Emotionally Committed Relationships by David Schnarch, Ph.D.

Guaranteed Relationship Boosters

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Guaranteed Relationship Boosters

Has your relationship been less than stellar lately? Or you just want to know what to do to make it last? Here are some guaranteed relationship boosters that will propel you to a higher level and keep you there. First, make sure you go on dates. But don’t just do it to do it. Plan it out together. Make it something you are both interested in. Studies have shown that when couples pursue common interests they build and deepen their connection and feel a sense of excitement in their relationship.

Step out of your comfort zone and do something daring. That feeling that gets your heart racing together will also put the spark back into your relationship. It also shows how much you care when you tailor a date specifically to your partner’s wants, likes and desires. That too can deepen your bond. As with everything, it’s the thought put into it that your lover will appreciate most. Keep the lines of communication open and constantly flowing. Check in with your lover just to see how things are going in their life, if there is anything you can do for them and how they feel about your relationship. Ask them open ended questions and really get to know your partner. Consider things from their point of view and validate their feelings, opinions and concerns when you agree.

Understand that no one is perfect. Just because your relationship feels perfect at the moment, enjoy it and cherish it but don’t expect it to last forever. Everyone has their baggage. Everyone has flaws. But honestly communicate, confront, and actively pursue overcoming your flaws, or at least mitigating them. Help your partner to do the same. Don’t chastise or belittle their efforts. Praise them, encourage them and use positive reinforcement. Do things cooperatively. If you set up a competitive or adversarial relationship it will erode trust. At a certain point it will get ugly and it won’t be fun anymore. You should have each other’s back, not compete side by side.

It’s the little compliments and gestures that count, no matter what your partner’s gender. If there is something particularly attractive about them today, tell them so. Let them know you like them because of who they are, and the details about them tell that. Whether it’s the shade of their eyes, their dimples when they smile, or the freckles across their nose that drive you gaga, perhaps it’s the way they look dreamily out a window or the flash of their smile…whatever it is, let them know that you love it, and they’ll tell you what they love about you. Do little things for one another. Show your appreciation even if it’s something they are supposed to do. Cherish one another and your relationship will soar. For more relationship advice read, Couple Skills: Making Your Relationship Work by Matthew McKay, Ph.D., Patrick Fanning, and Kim Paleg, Ph.D.