A Happy Marriage is a Choice

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A Happy Marriage is a Choice

Marriage has its ups and downs. Sometimes you’re jiving and sometimes you’re bickering. There are times when you can’t get enough of each other. And other times when you can’t wait until they leave the house. There are people in sexless marriages, people just sticking it out for the kids, and people absolutely miserable but feel as if they are cornered. The truth is that a happy marriage is a choice. Though things could have turned out bad, they didn’t start out that way or you wouldn’t have gotten married to begin with.

First, you have to realize that happiness comes from within. Sure, we all have needs and some of them we can fulfil ourselves, others we need from our partner. But no matter what happens in life, you choose your perspective. You choose how to react to it. So happiness is all a matter of outlook. You decide one minute to the next whether to focus on your spouse’s good points or their less than stellar qualities. You decide whether to own your happiness, or unhappiness, or to export these to your spouse. So decide to be happy. Don’t focus on the flaws. If they are insignificant or something you can come to terms with do so. If not, then rethink your marriage.

Find ways to negotiate. Agree to disagree on little things. Trust your partner to handle things and don’t give them the third degree to see if they did so to your specifications. Make time for each other, even if it’s just a little each day. Choose to consistently put forth the effort and invest time and care in your relationship. Choose to make you your best self and to encourage your spouse to be their best self. Be friends and lovers at the same time. Friends enjoy each other’s company, laugh together and do things together. You should too. Laughter is one of the most essential things. If you can laugh together, really laugh and have fun, you are golden. If you are merely trading sarcastic barbs across the coffee table, you’re doomed.

Remember that your spouse is not your adversary. They are your teammate. They are on your side. And if it gets to the point where it starts to feel adversarial, remind them. And remind yourself if you stray too far off too. Remember that real happiness is centered inside you. It is a long term process, not a short term elation. It takes time, practice and effort. No one can make you happy. You can only do it yourself. Choose to be happy. Choose to make your mate happy. And choose to let them make you happy too. For more advice read, 47 Little Love Boosters for a Happy Marriage: Connect and Instantly Deepen Your Bond No Matter How Busy You Are by Marko Petkovic, M.Sc.

Small, Simple ways to improve your Marriage

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Small, Simple ways to improve your Marriage

It isn’t easy staying married, as today’s divorce rate can attest. But it isn’t always big problems that break up a married couple. Often it’s a buildup of little things that turn into a tidal wave of problems which ultimately wash away the couple’s married future. Fight back against the tide of tiny destroyers. Here are some small, simple ways to improve your marriage right now and move forward from this instant on. Follow these and the road ahead will be much smoother.

If you want to stay close, when you are wrong, apologize. Don’t insist you are right for pride’s sake. Your pride will get between you and your spouse. When you are in an argument, don’t only view it from your perspective. Try and see things from their point of view. Use your imagination. How would you feel? What would your reaction be? Putting yourself in their shoes will calm your anger, give you a little sympathy and help to organize the negotiation phase, conjuring up a plan on how to satisfy both of you without harming either. Laugh when you two are together. It is far more important to enjoy each other’s company. It will make your bond strong and resilient.

Pencil sex in if you two are so busy and don’t have time for a long, drawn out romantic encounter. A marriage without physical intimacy gets dull and fades. But being intimate together, even if it’s just a quickie a couple of times a week, will make you closer, release tension and help keep the spark alive. It’s important to make sure that you attack life as a team. That’s why a weekly meeting is important. Instead of killing the relationship with nagging and arguments, schedule a time each week to tackle important issues and solve them. Make a running list throughout the week on what is to be covered. Solve your problems at that time and spend some other alone time during the week enjoying each other’s company. Talk about the little things in life, good and bad. Talk about everything. Keep the lines of communication open and free.

Make sure you schedule some time for your own hobbies, friends, interests, and so on. Don’t yell. It doesn’t solve anything. It only makes matters worse. If you want to yell excuse yourself and go yell in another room, in a pillow or in your car while it’s parked. Then when you calm down schedule a time to revisit the issue, discussing how it makes you feel and possible solutions. Show gratitude. Thank the other person for what they do. And expect gratitude in return too. For some fun relationship advice read, Advice for a Happy Marriage: From Miss Dietz’s Third-Grade Class by Debi Dietz Crawford and Friends.

Science Says What Kind of Men Women are Most Attracted to

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Science Says What Kind of Men Women are Most Attracted to

Guys are traditionally the pursuers, and even though we live in an enlightened society most women still prefer it that way. But lots of guys wonder what kind of man women are attracted to, and how to bring the best qualities out in themselves. Women tend to vary greatly in tastes. Lucky for most poor dolts who have hardly a clue, science has stepped in to try and answer the dizzying, age-old question of what kind of guy women want. Here are some of the things science has uncovered. If you’re flying without your wingman, you may find yourself cruising over lonesomeville for quite some time. For one thing, women rate men more attractive in group photos rather than when by themselves, at least according to a study out of the University of San Diego. Therefore, it stands to reason you look better when someone’s there with you. Researchers say this is due to something called the “cheerleader effect.” People look more attractive with their faces together, since incongruities in any one person are sort of evened out by the whole group. Another thing, women like men who know how to work a room. If you are always with an entourage and you’re the life of the party, or at least she thinks you are, you look high status and someone fun to be around.

Are you a single dad? Be sure to take your baby out cruising. Just keep it during daytime hours. Not only will you get father of the year, you might score a few phone numbers. A study in France found that men who cooed, smiled at and talked to infants were 40% more likely to score a woman’s phone number than those who ignored a baby. Researchers say it shows a greater propensity for being a good dad, should the couple have offspring. Some guys shave every day. Others sport a righteous beard. But why not shave every ten days? According to Australian researchers, men who did so were seen as the most attractive. This layer of stubble is thought to project just the right level of masculinity. Here’s some simple advice. Get some nice wheels and you’ll turn heads. If you can’t afford it, borrow some. A British study found that the same dude in a Bentley Continental was found way more attractive than one in a Ford Fiesta, even with the same clothes and facial expressions. Status is the reason, and the projection of resources which he may be willing to share with a certain, special lady.

If you’re an animal lover, taking your dog for a walk may not just be a necessity, but a way to meet someone. A French study found that women were three times more likely to give up their digits to a man walking his dog versus one who approached alone. Dogs break the ice. They also project kindness, sensitivity and thoughtfulness, all qualities women find appealing. Got a little extra time? Why not volunteer? A Cornell study found that women who knew a man volunteered found him a better candidate for dating and a long-term relationship, due to the fact that he was more selfless and compassionate. If you really want to get a woman to fall for you, make her laugh. A University of New Mexico study found that those guys who could make a sharp witted quip and make a woman laugh were more likely to have short-term, uncommitted sex than their straight-laced counterparts. These quick bursts reveal creativity and intellect, two qualities women greatly desire.

Lastly, if you want to get more hits on your dating profile, include the words “creative,” “ambitious,” and “laugh.” Dating sight Zoosk did a survey and found profiles that had these words got 33% more messages. Include words like “read” or “book” or exercise words like jogging, lifting weights and the like also increased message frequency. Be sure to take it slow. Mention “drinks” or “dinner” too quickly and your response rate will plummet 35%. So this advice improves your hit rate. But what about quality control? Read, How To Get A Date Worth Keeping: Be Dating In Six Months Or Your Money Back by Henry Cloud, and you’ll have that covered too.

Pre-Marriage Toolkit

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Pre-Marriage Toolkit

Almost all love advice we are taught growing up is how to meet someone, but we never learn the skills we need to keep a relationship going and make a marriage run smoothly. Well today some organizations are trying to supply a pre-marriage toolkit or workshops to teach you and your partner the skills you’ll need to enhance and sustain nuptial bliss. These classes aren’t only for before you tie the knot. They can help keep your relationship humming along smoothly. Enter smartmarriages.org a website listing classes held across the nation, in all 50 states.

If you don’t have the time or the gumption to leave home on your or your spouse’s free time and work a course into your schedules, perhaps take a course online. Marriage counselor Dr. Susan Heitler has developed an online program at poweroftwomarriages.com. There are four tools every couple needs to put into their tool kit so as to have a successful union according to Dr. Heitler. The first is self-regulation. This is in terms of one’s emotions. Controlling our emotions is one important part of growing from childhood to adulthood. But many adults still struggle with anger issues that leak in and destroy a marriage. If one or another person raises their voice more than once per month, or if one or both spouses tend to say nasty things to one another, anger management should counteract that tendency.

Lots of couples have to work on their communication skills. Too many couples let problems devolve into arguments. They don’t know how to use tact in their relationship. They don’t validate one another’s feelings. Listening actively is not on the menu. And the model they use quickly becomes one of antagonism instead of cooperation. Hurtful or negative communication styles should be stricken from a marriage in total. Don’t counteract what your spouse says with “But.” Listen intently. Understand where they are coming from. See things from their point of view and yours and find avenues of compromise. Be patient. If things get heated stop the discussion and reschedule for another time. Seek innovative solutions for problems and keep your spouse’s opinion and concerns in mind and address them with your solution. Conflict resolution is a key skill that any long-term couple should possess. Every couple is going to see certain things differently. Instead of accommodating only one person’s preferences, solutions need to address both.

Lastly, too many couples let negativity seep in and poison their relationship. The way to guard against this is to inject positivity into your relationship as an antidote. Show appreciation. Laugh and joke with your partner. Compliment them. Show physical affection. Do something nice for them for no reason. Seduce them. Buy them a little gift. Write them a love letter or a poem. These will renew your relationship and your life, and keep both of you happy, together and smiling. For more advice read, Saving Your Marriage Before it Starts: Seven Questions to Ask Before -And After- You Marry by Drs. Les & Leslie Parrott.

How to be Healthy throughout a Divorce

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How to be Healthy throughout a Divorce

It’s estimated that 40-50% of marriages end in divorce today. Though many are civil, they are all uncomfortable, draining and even painful. Then there are the problems of moving, adapting to a new financial situation, transitioning to being single again, and, for many, single parenthood. Helping children to get used to a new lifestyle is tumultuous as well. Depression, loneliness, misplaced anger, insecurity and anxiety can envelope you at this time. Lots of people let themselves go when they are going through a divorce, and wallow in these negative emotions. A recent Gallup poll found that those who are divorced scored lower on well-being measures including physical and emotional well-being. Keeping yourself healthy throughout a divorce and afterward can feel very challenging. This is especially true for women. Even after a divorce women have a higher risk of suffering from depression, making it crucial to know how to cope with negative emotions in a positive way. So how do you stay healthy throughout a divorce and in its aftermath? First, don’t wallow in isolation. Lots of people feel that they want to be alone. But then they spend too much time alone and this isolation begins to wear on them, or exacerbate their problems. Sometimes it has to do with pride. But there is no shame in reaching out for help and support. It takes a really strong person to do so actually.

Reach out to friends, family, mentors and other people who are close to you during this period. They will be there for you with open arms, advice, and comfort. Sometimes we just need someone to listen and validate how we are feeling. Let them know what form the comfort should take and they will be more than happy to oblige. It can also be beneficial to reach out to divorce support groups in your area. DivorceCare is one such group, but there are many others. When you get divorced it seems that so many priorities get in the way that your needs settle way down at the bottom of the list and hardly ever get addressed. Getting enough sleep should be a priority however. Preparing and eating healthy meals, getting enough exercise and making sure your emotional needs are met should also be on the docket and not at the bottom of the list, but near the top. You, your children, your coworkers and your family and friends are counting on you to be the best you you can be. They can’t make it without you. You are an essential part of their lives. But don’t just do it for them, do it for yourself. The healthier the lifestyle you commit to, especially during a divorce, the better off you will be and feel in the long run. Lastly, don’t perpetuate the feeling bad cycle. Everyone needs a chance to mourn. But if you are going to be sullen all the time people at first will be sympathetic, but if too much time has passed they will begin to put space between you and them. Find the positives in your life. Look for moments of joy. Laugh. Be lighthearted and find the positives in situations. Choose to be happy. It won’t be easy but it will be right. For more help with divorce recovery read, The Grief Recovery Handbook: The Action Program for Moving beyond Death, Divorce, and Other Losses including Health, Career, and Faith by John W. James and Russell Friedman.