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Relationship Advice 101: Things the Happy Couples Do

You’ve seen them – those couples who can’t get enough of one another and they have been together for decades. What do they know that you don’t? One of the biggest relationship advice requests among couple is how to be more like those couples. Believe it or not, it’s not top secret. In fact, most of the practices of these happy couples you can easily start now – if you can make the effort.

Keep the Dating Life Alive

This doesn’t mean go out and date other people. It means keep the lifestyle of you both dating one another alive. Stay spontaneous, keep up the revealing conversations and share intimate details just like you would when you were dating your partner.

Spend More Time Trying on Each Other’s Shoes

Your spouse has his own point of view and so do you. If you expect for you both to agree 100 percent of the time, you’ll be severely disappointed. When you have a disagreement, still be yourself and make your point. But, take the time to reflect back on that moment and relive it in your partner’s shoes. While some couples try this bit of relationship advice and apply it during the fight, you’ll find better results reflecting back later – not trying to be the other person during your argument.

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Top Ways to Make a Relationship Work

When you’re in a long-term relationship, there are going to be fights and issues you both have to face. Before you call it off, consider some of these tips for making a relationship work – even when things seem like they don’t.

Put Yourself in the Running
Too many individuals lose their individuality when they enter into long-term relationships. They put their partner first and stop working on themselves. This can lead to disastrous results – especially if you sit stagnant for too long. Instead of ignoring yourself, improve yourself. Consider taking up cooking lessons, reading or just learning a new language to keep yourself on the path for improvement.

Enjoy Quickies
Too many couples assume that spontaneous, quick love making sessions are for when you’re young and first dating. A fast sex session might not have the same bang or romance as a long one, but it helps trigger the chemicals in the brain that give you that “love” feeling. The more you engage these chemicals, the happier and more romantic you’ll be overall.

Never Go to Bed Angry
You have most likely heard this one before and it’s true. Couples should never go to bed angry with one another. Going to bed angry can make you not only have a bad night, but a bad day – only making that fight or problem linger on longer than it needs to.

Relax
If you never have time to relax, you’ll notice your relationship is strained. Couples that relax after work or unwind after a long day have less bickering and pointless fights than couples who don’t take a little time to calm down at the end of the day. Consider setting a “wind down” time each day where you both can relax with one another.

Split Up the Chores
More married women get stuck with the chores around the house than married men. This adds a lot of strain on the relationship when you’re constantly taking on additional chores and your partner isn’t. Considering splitting up the work to make things around the house more even. If your partner doesn’t like it, then cut back on the spending and hire a third party to do the cleaning for you.

Prenuptial Agreements are Back
You may be insulted if someone asks you to sign a prenuptial agreement, but studies show that this relieves a lot of tension in the marriage. When couples know that their partner isn’t with them for any assets or settlements, it ensures everyone is happy emotionally and secure financially.

Get Help
If you notice you and your partner are fighting a lot, consider couples therapy. It isn’t taboo to get a non-bias third party in the mix to help you both sort out your issues. A counselor can help identify any underlying problems that both of you are ignoring and help you get past them s that you can move on to a healthier, happier relationship.

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Finding Time for Everyone in the Family

There are a lot of time-consuming responsibilities that naturally come with being married and having children. There is also a lot of fun that can be had when you make time for each other. Finding time for everyone in the family can be tough, but it’s worthwhile. This article will discuss the importance of quality time with every member of your family, as well as a few tips on how to find time to spend together.

Spending Time with Your Spouse

Many happily married couples find it challenging to get any one-on-one time after they have children. Having kids means more shopping, more cooking, and a lot more cleaning. Both parents are usually exhausted once the kids finally go to sleep, so they don’t have the energy to spend any quality time with each other. They also don’t have the energy to make love, which can lead to a lack of intimacy.

Not making time for each other is a major pitfall in most marriages that must be actively avoided. Make sure to schedule at least one hour per week for just you and your spouse. You can plan a regular date and watch a movie while cuddling together on the couch every Friday or Saturday night. You can play cards together at the kitchen table when the kids are doing their homework or you can sit on the porch and just talk to each other when they are playing in the backyard or inside the house. You should also make finding a reliable and trustworthy babysitter a top priority. You will need at least one date night per month where you actually leave the house.

Spending Time with Your Children

It can be difficult for one-on-one time with each child when you have more than one. Try to create bonding experiences with one child whenever the others are occupied with something else. For example, if your son has baseball practice, you and your daughter can play at the park together while waiting for him to finish.

Another idea is to create date nights with your kids. Daddy can take his daughter to a movie while mom is taking her son to the video arcade. The parents can switch places the following weekend, so each child is receiving quality time with each parent.

Spending Time with Your Family

It may seem like you are always together, but most of that is just by circumstance. You need specific family time that is just about having fun together. It is important to have tech-free time at the dinner table where everyone can discuss how their day went and TV programs that you can watch as a family. I also recommend a family card game, board game, or sports activity at least once a week.

Spending Time with Yourself

Many people forget to spend quality time with the person that needs it the most; themselves. You need personal time to recharge your own batteries if you expect to be useful to the people you love. Always remember that there is no one who can take better care of you than you.

It may mean waking up an extra half hour early to sip your coffee and read the paper on the back porch. Or it could mean staying up a little later so you can enjoy reading a book by yourself in a bubble bath. Pick something that you love doing and squeeze it in whenever you can. Try to aim for half an hour every day. It will be worth it!

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Enduring Intimacy

When you find that special someone, you feel as though the intimacy could last a lifetime. It is the perfect relationship. You are able to talk effortlessly, you can share your deepest, darkest secrets and you cannot get enough of one another. Once the long haul sets in, that deep connection stays strong, but you may not have the same closeness you did when you first started out.

As with anything in life, a relationship and the intimacy that comes with it takes a lot of work. You have to maintain it, perform annual maintenance and develop intimacy that lasts a lifetime.

Be There, when You are There

There are a lot of distractions in life – cellphones, iPads, computers, games, etc. When you are with your partner, how often are you actually with them? Do you sit and converse or are you multitasking your attention with other things around the house? Take some time out of your day and spend a little of it with your partner. It does not matter how busy you both are, a few minutes a day will make a difference.

Keep Eye Contact

When you stare into the eyes of your partner, you are being intimate. Eye contact is a way to socialize and connect with a person. Keep the eye contact alive during conversations and don not be afraid to make yourself a little vulnerable from time to time.

Show Affection, Physically

When you use physical affection toward one another, you will not only feel great, but you will notice your oxytocin levels increase. This is the feel-good hormone that gives you the “love” effect. It can help increase intimacy and, of course, boost your sex drive.

Listen

If you want to be more intimate with your partner, you need to actually listen and pay attention to what he or she is saying. While this sounds rather easy, a lot of couples seem to forget this over time. You need to block everything out – such as your laundry waiting for you in the dryer or the to-do’s you have at the office. Just tune out your own needs every once in a while and pay attention to your partner. Actively listen to what they’re saying and be attentive.

Be Available

If you are emotionally shut off from the rest of the world, you are holding out on your partner. Your partner needs to know the intimate details. By being available, you are reminding your partner what is special about you, what made him or her fall in love with you and appreciate you. Try to make it a priority to sit down and share the day-to-day activities of your lives together. Consider talking about what is going on at work, what you are hoping to do next weekend and even talk about your dreams and aspirations.

Be Unconditional

Too many couples have conditions to their love. If you expect your partner to change, you will be disappointed when they cannot. Love your partner for who they are – including any downfalls you have found. Your partner needs to know they are accepted for who they are – not what you wish they were.

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LIFE in Relationships

When a couple first gets together everything is new. There’s an excitement that can make the relationship feel like it will never end, like things will never change. However, as time goes on and life gets in the way, the dynamics of the relationship changes and we have to look at the sudden distance that has surfaced.

The closeness that was once there seems to have withered away. The gentle hand-holding or even the casual public displays of affection are becoming a memory. Where has the time gone and why is the relationship fading? You ask yourself, is the end approaching, do I need to get relationship tips from someone specialized? You know you love your partner and you know that each and every day wouldn’t be the same without them in it. So if that’s the case, then why do you seem further apart?

Maybe it’s time to take a step back and look at the relationship for what is it. In most cases the relationship is not over even though it may seem that way. Instead, you simply need to breathe a little life back into your relationship. The foundation has always been there, but over time so many things have gotten in the way and the two of you have forgotten about the basics that brought you together in the first place. That love and ultimately that connection need to be remembered because it’s those things that make you the couple that you are.

Remember these great little tips to breathe life back into your relationship:

L – Laugh

Laughter is one of the best remedies when it comes to rebuilding a connection with the one you love. Take time to be silly. It doesn’t matter if you’re young or old, laughter makes you feel good.

I – Instill

Instill confidence in one another by remembering the best qualities that you bring to the table. Why do you love the one you’re with? What was it that made you fall for them? If it was his/her sparkling personality then remind them of how special that is. Instill confidence in them that they still make your clock tick.

F – Forgive

Forgiveness is hard to do but if you’re holding onto any anger, hostility or resentment then in order to truly make a fresh start you need to forgive them. It’s the only way you can truly wipe the slate clean. Without it, you never will truly reconnect.

E – Embrace

Don’t ever forget that there is power in a single touch. When you’re hurting or sad, a simple embrace can feel so good and make everything seem ok. It also reminds you of how good it feels to be so close to the one you love. Take time to hold one another and remember that connection and how good it feels. Sometimes the best remedies don’t involve words but more of a touch.

Breathing life into your relationship doesn’t mean years of counseling and therapy. Sometimes you just have to remove all the obstacles and get to the heart of what used to be and what can be again.

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Commitment Stages

Real life relationships are not like those in fairy tales or romance novels. If that happens to be your expectation, you could be setting yourself up for some serious disappointment. Stages of relationships can be both good and bad, depending on the couple and the dynamic under which their relationship operates. One of the most important aspects of building a strong stages of relationships is in facing reality and the manner in which you approach that reality. If you have your head in the clouds and do not (or cannot) accept that relationships change and face this reality, then you are in for some major shock and your ability to adapt and maintain a healthy relationship could be inhibited.

Depending on the research you uncover and who is being asked, there are varying opinions as to the number of stages of relationships, as well as what those stages are and what they consist of.  The exception to the rule is that our recognition is of the evolution of stages in committed relationships, not merely those who are dating or simply have a physical arrangement.

The 6 Stages of Commitment

  1. Infatuation – This stages of relationships is about romantic love, fantasies, and hope. The relationship is fairly new, you’re head-over-heels in love, and you either do not notice your partner’s faults or choose to justify or ignore them because of your deep emotional attachment and vision of the future.
  2. Adjustment – Those fantasies begin to subside and you begin to see the reality – real life, you partner’s faults, things that annoy you, etc. At this point, you begin to consider these things, adjusting to them as facts of life, learning to cope or voice your opinion on the matters.
  3. Conflict – As reality sets in, conflicts emerge. All couples inevitably have disagreements. It is how you handle these disagreements, how you react to one another, and how you learn to live in harmony despite your differences that matters most. This makes a huge difference in the future success of the relationship and the level of fighting a couple will experience.
  4. Re-Examination – During this relationship stage, reality and conflicts have come to a head, and it is time to decide which differences you can live with, if you see a future with your partner, and to decide whether to stay with your partner or cut your losses and move on. During this stage, some emotional and physical withdrawal is normal. However, it is also the stage where the risk of separation, divorce, and even an affair is at its highest. A separation can be good for some cou0ples, helping them to consider things very carefully and to develop both individually and as a couple. This is really not the time to run to divorce court or into an affair, even if these things commonly occur at this stage. If the relationship has any chance of recovery, it is important to work on development and to honor your commitment.
  5. Reconciliation – If the relationship survives re-examination, the next stage is a recognition of interest and love. Couples want to be closer and to work on reigniting that fame they had in the beginning of their relationship. At this point, they learn to live with one another’s differences and have learned how to gauge reactions, deal with conflict, and to compromise. This is the beginning of acceptance and a point where the relationship may be stronger than ever before.
  6. Acceptance – Few couples ever actually reach this stage. Full acceptance means you have successfully navigated through the other stages of relationships, are still together, have created some balance between couplehood and individuality, and while conflict still occurs, have learned how to handle conflict and to choose your battles wisely. You are not only lovers; you are a partnership, and a strong one at that.

All couples experience these stages of relationships in some form, though some to a lesser degree than others. There is no specific chronological order; however, it is difficult to justify how these relationship stages could evolve in any other order. Additionally, while some experts claim there is a specific period for each stage, this too is a questionable claim. Some couples remain infatuated for many years until certain changes occur. Couples who experienced little conflict may find themselves fighting more down the road. The bottom line is that relationships evolve, and this evolution, if handled properly, can create a stronger bond and a lasting love.

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How to Switch Off Relationship Autopilot

It’s 6:30 am and your alarm goes off. Although you’d love to stay wrapped up in the warm coziness of your blankets, everything that you have to do today floods your body, causing you to jump out of bed.

Autopilot has kicked in.

You begin moving through your day like you are speeding down a highway, driving along as if hypnotized, going from one thing to the next. You drop the kids off at school, go to work, attend meetings, navigate conflict with a coworker, pick the kids up from school, run to soccer practice, get home to make dinner, help the kids with homework, feed the dog, clean the kitchen, half-listen to what your spouse is telling you about their day, and put the kids to bed.

You pause for a brief moment and collapse back into your bed, only to start it all over again at 6:30 am the next morning. You can feel anger and resentment bubbling to the surface.

“Is this really my life?”

This is your life on autopilot: half-awake, frustrated, disconnected from yourself and those around you. Of course you need and want to “be there” for your children, your spouse, and your co-workers, but your inner voice can’t help but cry out, “There has to be a better way!”

How do you get yourself off autopilot so you can really live? It all starts by shifting your focus. The key is to become aware of your feelings, habits, patterns, and general “busyness” so that you can learn to mindfully step outside yourself the moment you notice you’re engaging in your usual autopilot behavior.

Below are three strategies to disengage autopilot and live an awakened life:

Tune in to your body.
The first step to an awakened life is to tune in to what you are feeling. Take in and become aware of everything your body is sensing. For example, as you take a shower, focus on how the water feels as it runs down your back. As you drink your morning coffee, tea, or juice, take a moment to enjoy each sip instead of gulping it down. Pause throughout your day, really focusing on how you feel as you interact with your friends, coworkers, and those you love. Be aware of bids for emotional connection and turn towards them. The point here is to become mindful of what you feel, hear, see, and smell. Become aware of each and every sensation, paying close attention to any faint whispers from your “gut instinct.”

As you begin to get in tune with your body, you will begin to identify when autopilot is taking over. From this space, you can choose what you want to focus on, for yourself and within your relationships.

Identify and set your intention.
Focusing on your relationship with your partner, take a moment to tune in to what you want. What is your intention when you are with them? Your intention might be to listen more deeply, let go of blame and criticism, or simply to be more honest, vulnerable, or present. Whatever your intention, set aside a few minutes at the beginning of each day to reflect on your desired outcome.

With kindness and self-compassion, take responsibility for and release what is preventing you from fully engaging. Without judgment, be mindful of what is happening. For example, if your intention is to deepen your sense of connection with your spouse, start by sensing the situation between the two of you.

Have a daily ritual of connection with your partner.
With this newfound focus on your feelings and intentions, identify one daily activity or routine with your partner where you would like to be more awake, mindful, and engaged. For example, have a stress-reducing conversation where you only talk about stress outside of your relationship. Actively listen and pay close attention to what your partner has to say. Whatever your chosen routine or daily activity, commit to giving it your full attention and focus. Ask yourself, “What really matters here?”

Getting stuck on autopilot happens to the fittest of relationships, so be patient and stay focused on your desired outcome. In addition to these these three steps, disengaging from autopilot and leading an awakened life also involves mindfully having compassion for yourself and others, practicing forgiveness, and living with an open heart.

Switching off autopilot allows you to see life from a fresh perspective and frees you to make different and more mindful decisions. As you begin making choices in this awakened state, you’ll notice your actions naturally begin to align and become more consistent with your desired outcomes – in your relationship and in your life. Learning to connect from a place of deep presence will enable you to hear what your heart is saying, ultimately empowering you to respond rather than react.

 

Resource: Gottman Blog
Photo: Courtesy of  Feelart on Freedigitalphotos.net

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Relationship Stages

Creating and maintaining a healthy relationship is something that can be continually worked on.  These are the stages of relationships, as defined by Harville Hendrix.  Harville has crafted relationships into five significant stages.  As you read over them, begin to think about where you are currently in your relationship.

Romantic Love
Couples begin marriage in a state of romantic bliss.  During this euphoric phase, which usually lasts the first to third years or marriage, newlyweds wear the proverbial “rose-colored” glasses –  life and love are perfect.  Differences tend to be discounted and faults are few.  This is the time that spouses seek the intimacy they crave.

Disillusionment or The Power Struggle
This second stage is disappointment time, often with faultfinding.  Partners realize that the other’s behavior is irritating or even hurtful.  This stage can be frightening and it is when many couples see divorce as the only option.  Often, the lack of effective communication skills, problem-solving skills, and the ability to compromise and negotiate leave many couples stuck indefinitely in this stage.  Also, the battle of wills occur, and to successfully leave this stage each individual must find a way to adjust to the ways of his/her partner.

Cooperation: Knowledge and Awareness
Stage three can leave the couple feeling stung and hurt by the damage rendered by the turbulent times.  If the couple perseveres and is willing to learn the communication and negotiation skills to navigate the power struggle, a new sense of acceptance and willingness to change enters the relationship.  Learning new relationship skills, and cultivating creativity within the relationship often accompany this shift in thought.  Partners take responsibility for their own problems and shed the illusion that their partner is the key to their happiness.

Acceptance
Stage four is often called acceptance, commitment or mutuality.  You and your partner realize that regardless of whom you are with, there will be problems, so you might as well stay in the relationship and work them out.  Togetherness just feels secure, and there exists a heightened sense of belonging.  The unhealthy patterns that dogged their relationship seem like ancient history.  This acceptance is the bridge to ultimate transformation and a love that can be enjoyed for a lifetime.

Transformation
Couples who put in the time and effort reap this final reward.  Intimacy is second nature.  The attitude is “we grow together.”  This is also called “co-creativity.”  Stage five couples develop a web of meaningful relationships that support the marriage and deepen the joy.  In this final stage, couples know what the fairy tales neglected to mention: Love is hard work.

Were you able to identify where you currently are?

 

Reality and Relationships: The Stages Of Relationships Every Couple Must Endure

Relationships are not like those in fairy tales or romance novels. And if that is your expectation, you are setting yourself up for some serious disappointment. Stages of relationships can be both good and bad, depending on the couple and the dynamic under which their relationship operates. One of the most important aspects of building a strong stages of relationships is in facing reality and the manner in which you approach that reality. If you have your head in the clouds and do not (or cannot) accept that relationships change and face this reality, then you are in for some major shock and your ability to adapt and maintain a healthy relationship could be inhibited.

Depending on the research you uncover and who is being asked, there are varying opinions as to the number of stages of relationships, as well as what those stages are and what they consist of. SexAndParenthood.com recognizes six stages, much like the experts whose work we believe in and promote. The exception to the rule is that our recognition is of the evolution of stages in committed relationships, not merely those who are dating or simply have a physical arrangement.

SexAndParenthood.com’s 6 Stages of Commitment

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Individuality

Individuality: Why Knowing Whom You Really Are is Important in Your Relationship

Each person is completely unique, even if he or she has something in common with others, especially their significant other. Individuality is important, and knowing who you are plays a key role in your relationship, as well as the choices you make for yourself. If you are unsure about yourself or insecure in anyway, this can have a detrimental effect on the choices you make, as well as the strength and stability of your relationship.

Standards and Expectations  

Setting standards and expectations for yourself is a good way to ensure success. When it comes to relationships, this will help you to weed out those toads in order to find your true love hiding deep within the lily pads. If you do not know who you really are, there is no way you can definitely set forth your standards and expectations.

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