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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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Are the Same Old Fights Impacting Your Relationship?

When you and your partner are at odds, do you notice the same old fights come up? You’re upset about the kids, he wants more free time, you feel he doesn’t share his load of the housework and it all boils down to the same old script – just a different day. If you and your spouse are constantly rehashing the same fights, you have one blaring issue: you’re not resolving the problems. Fight topics keep coming up when they aren’t resolved and this can impact your relationship a lot more than you might think. Sex and emotions are tied together as one. The more animosity you both have, the less likely intimacy is at the forefront of your relationship. The good news is you can get past your rehashing and move on to a more healthy and satisfying relationship.

Housework

One of the more common fights among couples is about housework. One may feel they’re doing more than enough while the other feels nothing is being shared. By creating a fair division of the housework you and your spouse can move past this. There is no formula or definition of what is “fair” – it is all about what you and your spouse find to be fair. For example, you want help with the laundry, but he is in charge of all of the yard work. Consider splitting up the task by him helping put laundry away and you start managing the weeding or gardening to help even out the workload.

Money

Let’s face it; money and relationships don’t always mix. Most relationships are based on opposites – you’re attracted to someone opposite of you. Therefore your money management skills and styles may differ. Perhaps you’re the spender, but your partner is the ultimate saver. Rather than try to conform or make your partner become more like you, sit down and look at each other’s point of view. Ask yourself why your partner saves money, but you don’t mind spending it. Perhaps your partner feels your money situation isn’t as secure as you do, but sitting down and discussing these feelings may help you both see eye-to-eye on household finances. Also, consider doing the bills together either bi-weekly or monthly. Make a budget that works for both of you, but doesn’t upset the other.

Intimacy

Sexuality between a couple can often just boil down to your desire versus your partner’s desire. Whether it is you that wants more or him, negative feelings can arise when one partner feels rejected or neglected by the other. Consider sitting down and discussing what you both need out of your relationship. Find out where you are mismatching and if there is a compromise you both can live with. By understanding what each person is feeling, you can work to a viable solution.

Whether your fights are about low sexual desire, money or who does what around the house, rehashing the same fights will get your relationship nowhere. Instead, look out for the common fights and ask yourself why they keep coming up. You might be surprised at how unresolved these simple issues are and how easy they are to solve.

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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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Facebook Rules for a Happy Marriage

Almost everyone in the world uses Facebook. It can be a fun way to pass the time while also staying in touch with your family and friends. It can also be incredibly destructive to a marriage. Many modern marriages have seriously suffered because of Facebook-obsessed spouses or online social media affairs. That is why it is essential that you play by the Facebook rules for a happy marriage.

Here are five Facebook rules for a happy marriage:

1.     Set Your Status to Married

Many single people (and married people who wish to be single) will scope out potential mates on Facebook, and they assume anyone without a marital status must be fair game. You can avoid any potential misconceptions by clearly stating that you are married on your profile page. It is also a good idea to use a picture of you and your spouse as your profile pic.

2.     Allow Your Spouse Access to Your Account

If you are in a healthy and happy marriage, there should be no reason for your spouse to check your account, however, you should still make the option available to them. Giving them your password will give your spouse reassurance that you are not hiding anything. There shouldn’t be any secrets from your spouse in the first place, so there is no legitimate reason to deny them access.

3.      Limit Time Spent on Facebook Games

Online games are designed to be highly addictive, and it is easy to waste hours every day playing around on Facebook. Talk to your spouse about how much time is acceptable and then agree on a limit that works for both of you. It is also important to the health of your marriage that you don’t turn down spending time with your spouse to play Facebook games. Try to find games where you can interact with each other like “Words with Friends.”

4.     Post Only Positive Statuses About Your Spouse

Facebook is a public forum, which means it is not a place to vent about what your husband or wife did wrong. If someone is interested in you sexually and they see that you often complain about your husband, it may look like an open invitation. If you regularly post statuses about your daily life, make sure to only choose moments that reflect positively on your relationship.

5.     Reject Flirting Immediately

It doesn’t take much for an innocent conversation to turn sexual. Happily married couples should instantly reject any private or public conversation if it appears that the person has ulterior motives. Don’t be afraid to unfriend anyone whose flirting makes you feel uncomfortable. You might temporarily hurt their feelings, but you will hurt your spouse a lot more if they discover you were participating in the flirtation.

Facebook has billions of users, and the majority of people log on daily to check the newsfeed, play games, and chat with friends. It is an exciting social platform and there is no real reason for happy couples to avoid Facebook, as long as you and your spouse agree to play by the rules.

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Self-Compassion In Relationships

Our relationships with our partners, family and friends often take some effort to maintain as neglecting any aspect of one of our relationships can result in miscommunication, misunderstandings, hurt feelings, and resentment.  Many factors go into making a relationship work, including what you do to take care of yourself during high stress moments.  In this article, we are discussing self-compassion and the things that can make a significant difference to you and your partner.

What is self-compassion?

“Compassion is sensitivity to the suffering of self and others and a commitment to do something about it.” – Paul Gilbert

Self-compassion is a state of warm-hearted, connected presence during difficult moments in our lives.  It provides emotional strength and resilience, allowing us to admit our shortcomings, forgive ourselves, motivate ourselves with encouragement, and care for others. Self-compassion is a skill that can be cultivated by anyone.

It is having mindfulness, common humanity and kindness towards oneself.  Mindfulness is holding your own thoughts and feelings rather than suppressing or being carried away by them.  Common humanity is the understanding that your feelings and experiences are not completely unique. No matter how hard we try to avoid or hide them, all of us have our ups and downs, and sometimes the downs include pain, frustration and disappointment.  Being kind to yourself is not only providing comfort in the moment; it is also committing, whenever possible, to reducing future instances of such suffering.

How To Bring Self-Compassion Into Your Relationships  

1. Remind yourself to slow down.  Take notice of when you become irritable or angry when you are with your partner.  Taking notice is the first step to making a change.  Meeting yourself where you are, rather where you think you should be, will help to you to accept the situation, calm yourself, and slow down.

2. Ask yourself how can you and your partner be happy right now.  Enjoy what you want for the fact that you like it or the activity of it.  This will help bring more awareness about yourself and what makes you happy.

3. When you make a mistake, it becomes a great opportunity to express compassion.  Remember that we are all human and we probably will hurt someone, in this case, our partner, or ourselves – it is part of the human experience.  Taking responsibility for the mistake is a great example of using compassion towards yourself along with situation or person that was hurt.

4.  Learn to generate a kind voice in your own head.  Think of something that you do not like about yourself – as if you have a critic.  What is the critic saying and what emotions are rising as you hear them?   Invite and acknowledge all of these feelings and emotions, whatever they are – anger, sadness, fear, resentment, envy.  Try not to judge any of it as they are simply just thoughts and feelings moving through you. It is neither bad nor good, just awareness.  The compassionate self must be built – this is a great awareness exercise for building it up.

As you practice self-compassion, you will likely discover the awareness of being present.  You will feel more freedom to show up as you are and a greater sense of well-being, for yourself and your relationships.  Another wonderful outcome of practicing self-compassion is once you’ve experienced it for yourself, you will have it to share with others and it will flow automatically and effortlessly.

 

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Relationship Communication Quiz

Here is a true or false relationship communication quiz.  There are no rights or wrongs in the number of true or false answers to this quiz.  Simply look over your responses to get a feel for where communication problems or perceptions exist.  Encourage your partner to take the quiz as well, either together or separately, either way will suffice. Once you both have a tally on where the communication in the relationship stands, refer back to the article on communication in relationships to review some basic communication principles for a healthy dialog between partners.

1. I often cannot seem to find the right words to express what I want to say.
True or False

2. I do not speak up because it tends to only make things worse.
True or False

3. I tend to worry that exposing myself to my partner will result in rejection.
True or False

4. I often do not speak up because I am afraid my opinion is wrong.
True or False

5. I talk too much and do not give my partner a chance to speak.
True or False

6. I do not look forward to my partner speaking.
True or False

7. My speech can often be defensive.
True or False

8. I frequently bring up my partners past failures.
True or False

9. My words do not match my actions.
True or False

10. Once I get started in an argument, I have trouble stopping.
True or False

11. I do not honestly listen.
True or False

12. I try to repay anger with anger or insult with insult.
True or False

13. I tease my partner too much.
True or False

14. I do not spend enough time speaking of really important things.
True or False

15. I often lie by omission.
True or False

16. It irritates me when my partner brings up a problem.
True or False

17. I think that it is important to lay out to my partner all of the complaints I have about them.
True or False

18. I tend to say, “you always” or “you never,” when discussing my complaints with my partner.
True or False

19. I rarely state my complains to keep from hurting my partner.
True or False

20. I state my complaints often in a heated manner.
True or False

21. I do not like to argue because I feel arguing reflects poorly on the relationship.
True or False

22. I do not like to discuss our negative feelings because it only makes us feel worse.
True or False

23. I do not feel I should have to bring up what is bothering me because my partner should already know.
True or False

Again, there are no rights or wrongs in the number of true or false answers to this quiz.  This is just to simple gage where you are currently in your communication process of your relationship.  As with all things, knowing is the first step forward.

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Cultivating Positive Emotions

By now, most of us have heard about surrounding ourselves with as much positive as possible verses negative – but what does that mean when it comes to our relationships?  First we have to look at the quality of our thoughts in general.  Do you tend to think “I can’t do that” or “I can do that”?  Becoming knowledgable on which side you lean towards is the most important step as it creates the awareness of where you presently stand.

The next thing to look at is our emotions.  Are your emotions mostly happy, angry, or a combination of both?  If we look at a wide range of positive emotions—from awe to amusement to interest to inspiration to gratitude—what they all have in common is that they are responses to your current state or experience at that time.  They are usually not a permanent state, only feelings that fluctuate.  This is true for all emotions, however the positive emotions tend to be more temporary, as we do live in a very busy, sometimes overwhelming, world.  Often, we are not aware of the positive emotions due to our tendency to see the negative ones.

Positive emotions are also desired states.  Not only do they feel good, but we desire to feel them, as often as possible.  Some people might say it feels good to be angry, and at times anger can be useful or productive, but generally, people do not desire to feel angry.  Positive emotions can make us healthier and happier if we take time to cultivate them.

When people increase their daily doses of positive emotions, they find more meaning and purpose in life.  They also find that they receive more social support—or perhaps they just notice it more, because they are more attuned to themselves and others.  They begin to show mindful awareness of the present moment and increased positive relations with each other, especially true within your relationship.

SIMPLE STEPS TO CULTIVATING POSITIVE EMOTIONS 

A positive emotional relationship begins with believing in yourself and also in your relationship.  Know that you are both good people who are deserving of each other’s love and kindness.  If this is something you have doubts about, it would be helpful to think about what your needs and wants are along with your partner’s and reaffirm your connection with one another.  If the two of you believe in one another and both of you want a positive lifestyle, you may need to learn how to make the commitment to do your best to maintain a positive demeanor and start with small baby steps.  Being aware of what brings you gratitude, joy and happiness and to notice on a daily basis what actually makes you feel good is the first step of being mindful of positive emotions.

An example would be if you come home from work, exhausted, and take notice that your partner has neglected to do the dishes that have been sitting in the sink all day.  Your partner hands you a cup of tea and suggests you relax.  You have a choice in the moment to either react and get angry at the neglected dishes or take a breath and realize the positive verses the negative.

What is required is the willingness to make a change for the better, being aware of your patterns that are not working, adjusting your thoughts and attitudes toward life and each other.  This process is one that takes time and it will likely take more than a moment for you to see and feel the results.  Much like compassion, positivity is an ongoing process.  As part of that process, you will need to accept that sometimes we experience positive and negative emotions, which is part of life.  We want to be able to understand and accept our negative emotions while not getting caught up in them.  Being aware of the pattern in your relationship gives you the opportunity that your negative thoughts and emotions sometimes serve a purpose on what we can learn from them and what we would like to change to live a happier and healthier life.

Cultivating positive emotions and allowing that feeling to flow through your relationship is a great way to go through life with the one you love.

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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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Taking Care Of Yourself First

Taking care of ourselves before others often sounds selfish, as if we are not as vested in our relationships, rather only in ourselves. However, taking care of yourself first is a crucial step in actually being more vested in your relationships.  When we tend to our own needs, we are able to be more focused on helping others and tending to what they need help with.  Just like the airplane safety videos, demonstrating that applying your own oxygen mask before helping your child or neighbor is important, life is much like this.  If you cannot breathe properly, there is no way that you will be able to successfully help someone else breathe.  If we do not take care of ourselves first, we are likely to be little help to others or our relationships.

We have so many things to tend to daily – from our demanding work schedules, our partner’s schedule and needs, and our children’s school and activities – it’s a miracle we get anything done!  Tending to yourself first benefits all of your relationships and your daily tasks.  Taking good care of yourself provides the foundation upon which everything else builds.

Taking care of our needs prior to others relates to self-compassion.  Self-compassion is when you are aware and honest, with a willingness to be non-judgemental, towards yourself. Tending to your own needs first is a great way to practice self-compassion.  Just like having compassion for yourself helps you to bring compassion to others and your relationships, taking care of yourself prior to others also helps bring care and attentiveness to your partner, children and other relationships.

Self-care is about replenishing ourselves so that we can have enough energy, creativity, love, and joy to spread to others.  By taking care of ourselves first, it allows for us to be the best we can be for our partners, children, friends, co-workers, and community.

Ways To Take Care Of Yourself

Nourishment – Your body works best when it is strong.  When life presents challenges, keeping yourself in physical and emotional well-being is of utmost importance.  This means eating plenty of fresh whole foods, staying hydrated, being physically active, and getting adequate rest.

Relaxation – Often times we view spa visits as a luxury and not necessary.  However, carving out the time to treat yourself to a dedicated method of relaxation – whether it is a massage, facial or even a quick visit to a sauna or a swim – is a great way to take care of yourself and replenish your energy so that you can carry on with your tasks and helping your loved ones.

Meditation –  An effective way to nourish your well-being, meditation helps to reduce the stress in your life and gives you the ability to handle the day with a calm, refreshed attitude. While increasing your energy levels, meditation essentially helps you to connect with your authentic self.  Meditation is simple minded practice, meaning you do not have to do much to participate in it, yet the benefits can affect your entire life in amazing ways, including making it easier for you to be there for others.

After taking time to explore the ways that work best for you to tend to yourself first, you will likely see that you are able to tend to your partner and children’s needs more effectively.

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Family Communication

Regardless of how much everyone loves one another, most families will experience problems at one time or another. Learning to communicate openly and honestly can help build relationships that will withstand these challenges that families face.  When you calmly communicate how you feel with your loved ones, you create an atmosphere that encourages and allows them to respond and share how they feel.

To practice building awareness of the many ways – both verbal and non-verbal – that you communicate with those you care about, begin to pay attention to how well you actively listen and also hone in on what your non-verbal communication is divulging.

Active Listening – Active listening is allowing the listener to be involved with the speaker.  It is to better understand what is being said and gives us the opportunity to be fully present for the speaker.  Listen silently with full attention on what the other person is saying by establishing eye contact, nodding and using encouraging phrases.  Also take the time and consideration to really acknowledge the speaker’s thoughts and feelings.

Nonverbal Communication – Communication experts estimate that 90 percent of our messages is not what we say, but rather how we say it.  Our body language carries the credibility of the messages we send and will either reinforce or contradict our words.  Often times, when we are not talking is when we are saying the most.  Use eye contact to establish a connection and keep your body posture open and accepting rather than closed and defensive (i.e. – arms crossed over your chest).  You may want to do a nod of “uh-huh” to show that you are actively participating in listening to what your loved one is communicating.

The people in your family are likely you most loved ones in your life.  It is important to show affection and appreciation during the sometimes difficult moments we have as families.  Like the old saying “it is not what you say, but rather what you do,” take the opportunity to show and participate in affection.

Affection – Each member of the family has a need for love and affection.  Each person also has the responsibility to show love and affection to other people in the family.  The way you show love can be different for the different people in your family. What one child feels is loving might be felt as bothersome by a different child.  Each person’s individual needs should be respected and thoughtfully tended to.

Appreciation - Begin to recognize and appreciate the contributions of everyone in the family, together and individually.  It is amazing to start to see the small things that really help make the family whole and complete.  Take time to show your family members how much you appreciate them and how much they matter to you.  Ways of showing appreciation may vary from child to child and partner, so add some extra time and care into what you think each member of your family may enjoy as a form of appreciation.  Remember there is never such a thing as too many hugs!

Our relationships with others are what enrich our lives, especially the ones who we call family members.  If we are able to communicate with our families openly and honestly, it will only improve the quality of our lives and strengthen the bond our families.