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Couple’s Challenge: Considering Your Partner’s Perspective

We’ve all heard the expression “you must walk a mile in another person’s shoes to understand them”, and it’s typically true. The phrase isn’t literal, but it has a purpose. You should consider how your actions, words and thoughts impact other people. Before you assume, you should look at a situation from the other persons’ perspective.

For this challenge, consider walking in your partner’s shoes and looking at things from your partner’s perspective.

All too often we get caught up in our daily lives. Slowly, we all become slightly self-centered – even if we don’t intend to. By doing so, we start to ignore how we impact our partner’s life or how things look from our partner’s perspective. By both of you stopping and taking notice, you just might resolve any tension creeping up in the background.

The Reality

No matter how unselfish you feel you are, the reality is every person operates as the center of their own world. Even those who devote their life to others still do so from their own view on life – and this is entirely natural. It doesn’t make you self-centered or a horrible person. In order to survive, it is only natural to focus on the world from your own point-of-view.  So, if you’re operating from your point-of-view, where do you think your partner is operating from? His own. By stopping and thinking about how and why your partner operates the way he or she does, you may just find yourself avoiding arguments and misunderstandings.

Understanding

You can cope more efficiently when you stop and look at every situation from your partner’s perspective. Remembering that you all operate from your own view point, you may just realize that the majority of the time your partner isn’t set out to upset you, inconvenience your life or even insult you. Instead, your partner is operating in a way that makes it efficient for him – as part of his human nature.

Your partner has just as many demands placed on him as you have placed on you. You both have to focus on your careers, personal lives and each other. To cope with these demands, you do what is efficient and comfortable to you. Your actions and your partner’s actions are driven by your physical need to operate from your own view point – not others.

Challenge One Another

This week, challenge yourself and your partner to take on each other’s perspective. While it may be difficult at first, the results are more than worth it. Take time to walk in your partner’s shoes – recognize how he sees his world, the demands and responsibilities he carries and how he handles it all. Rather than blame him for how he behaves, ask questions to understand him better. In the end, his view point should be just as valuable as your own.

When partners appreciate where one another are coming from and understand that each has their own perspective, it is a lot easier to drop the unnecessary resentment toward one another and work better as a team. In fact, it makes the entire marriage process a lot more efficient and well…fun.

Sensual foot massage

Relax…Calling All Sensual Soles

This is by far one of the most relaxing treats you can give one another – the sensual foot massage. Because it’s so relaxing, you might want to wait and save it till the end of your day.

I just love this because after a long day at work, my feet really hurt. So guess what I ask my husband when I get home? “Honey I know you are tired, but please can you rub my feet?”

It feels so good, sometimes it is better than sex. I love my feet being caressed and touched and yes, it does relax me and lead to other things at times.

We used to relax in front of the TV and he would get involved in watching some show and just keep rubbing my feet. If he stopped, all I had to do was wiggle my foot and somehow he got the message to keep on rubbing. Lately, we have decided to rub our feet and stay in the present moment with no TV, a completely different experience.

So let me give you some tips how to create a sensual experience with your feet:

1.  You will need two buckets, or tubs of water. Foot massage or pedicure tubs work great, but they aren’t necessary. You can pick them up at departments stores and they aren’t that expensive.

2. Begin by washing your partner’s feet. If you have decided to take turns, have several towels on hand along with enough soap, lotion, oil or powder for both of you. You don’t want to be interrupted in the middle of it by running out of something.

3. Take the time to set a romantic atmosphere. You might like candles and music… When my husband and I started doing foot massages we watched TV. It felt good, but we were not really paying attention to what we were doing and it was more of an unconscious exercise. But by changing our pattern, we became more aware of the sensations and enjoyed the experience more and definitely felt more connected.

4. Fill two buckets with warm water, one for washing and one for rinsing. The water should be a few degrees above body temperature. Any hotter, it will be uncomfortable. You can also add a few drops of an organic water softener to create a soft sensual texture. Be aware if your partner prefers fragrance free, but I like relaxing lavender.

5. Next, sit in a chair facing each other with the bucket on the floor between you. Place his or her feet in the water for a few seconds. Lift one foot and then slowly and carefully wash it with soap. Keep it wet and slippery as you wash all the tiny crevasses. After you’ve washed one foot, place it back in the water and pick up the other one. Repeat the process. If you put a towel on your lap for your partner’s foot to rest on, you won’t have to stop and rinse your thighs before going onto the next step.

6. Once you’ve washed each foot, put a clean towel on your lap and lift the first foot out of the water. Lather it again, feeling the way the soap feels on your skin. Enjoy this moment. Before the soap gets sticky, put your partner’s foot into the rinsing bowl and then lift the other foot from the washing bowl. Repeat the process. When both feet are washed and rinsed, move the tub aside and take one foot out of the rinse water. Wrap it completely in a towel. Do the same to the other foot. Lift one foot onto your lap and dry it thoroughly, making sure you dry between the toes. Then take your time and lavish it with oil or lotion or powder. Repeat with other foot.

7. Then take one of your partner’s heels and put on your thigh. Hold it in your hands for a few moments to warm it and then begin rubbing. To relax the foot, start with lower leg and rub downward towards the feet. Then very gently in small circles, lightly caress from the heel to the bottom of the toes. Use your entire hand to caress the foot and massage between the toes. If your partner isn’t too ticklish , you can use light feathery strokes or use your fingernails to create wonderful sensations along the bottom of the feet. If you are too ticklish in the beginning, try returning to a very light touch after a few minutes and usually the sensitivity decreases.

8. When you have finished with one foot, repeat the same sequence on the other foot. Enjoy and really experience all the different sensations.

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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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Sexy Tips for Keeping Those Home Fires Burning

It is easy to let the passion and romance die out after several years of marriage, especially once you have children together. Your professional and personal responsibilities are so exhausting and time-consuming that sex starts to feel like it’s another tiresome obligation. If neither person is really that disappointed when intimacy is repeatedly postponed for several weeks in a row, then it is time to reignite those homes fires.

An intense sexual attraction was what initiated the relationship and it must continue to burn to keep the relationship alive. The powerful emotional connection and physical endorphin rush that two people share during sex are necessary to maintain a happy marriage.

Here are a few sexy tips for keeping those home fires burning:

1.      Look Sexy to Feel Sexy

There is nothing wrong with getting comfortable in a relationship. Most married people gain a few pounds, stop shaving as often, and relax a little on their pre-marriage beauty regimen. Just keep in mind that it is important to not let it all go and stop caring about your appearance completely. Your physical appearance still matters to your spouse and it should also matter to you. Looking and feeling sexy on the outside is a great way to relight those internal desires.

2.     Listening for the Signs

There is nothing sexier than someone who really listens and understands your needs. Make sure to pay attention to the verbal and physical signs your spouse is giving you. They may be trying to initiate sex and you are unintentionally ignoring the signs. Too much rejection will make your partner feel like it is not worth the effort.

3.     Add Spice & Spontaneity

You can quickly reignite those home fires by breaking out of the normal sexual routine. Catch your spouse off guard with a playful squeeze or seductive rub in public. Pick up a special toy or a revealing outfit that will spice up your next sexual experience.

4.     Try Role-Playing

Many couples find it hard to maintain the same sexual excitement when they are making love to the same person in the same position time and time again. Costumes and fantasy role-playing will create the illusion that you are experiencing sex with someone new.

5.     Make Time for a Getaway

It is hard to truly feel sexy in a house full of kids. Plan at least one night away together once a year where you can focus solely on satisfying each other sexually. If you can’t afford to stay someplace other than your own home, you should at least arrange for sleepovers with their friends or grandparents.

Intimacy is an essential part of any marriage. A long marriage may decrease the passion and frequency of each encounter, but it shouldn’t put the sexual fires out completely. You can keep the home fires burning long after you have children by putting a little more effort into looking sexy, listening to each other, being spontaneous, role-playing together, and planning a yearly getaway. Your marriage and sex life are worth the effort.

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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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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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Intimacy in Relationships

The word intimacy, depending on who you are as well as your gender, could mean something totally different. The real question is “what does intimacy mean to you?”

Some people may answer that question with:

  • It’s holding hands and kisses for no reason.
  • It’s hanging out and doing stuff together.
  • It’s the look we give one another from across the room.
  • It’s the way we hold one another when we’re together.

Almost every person wants to feel deeply connected to another person on a deep level. They all want the amazing relationship that is built on trust, respect, mutual admiration for one another, and yes, intimacy.

Women, on many levels, have a more emotional connection to the person in their lives. It’s part of their makeup, their DNA. Women tend to love the soft caresses, the little kisses, and the late night conversations while lying on the couch or in bed. Most men, on the other hand, consider intimacy as the moments of playing together, planning a hiking trip together, and the occasional hug. Men and women alike can see intimacy differently. It is not as if the men and women who are not really intimate mean to be. It is just that their definition of what intimacy is may be different than yours.

Intimacy is about building up the relationship and establishing a connection with one another. When looking to build up the intimacy in your relationship, consider the following:

  • Take time to do something simple, yet meaningful, such as drawing your partner a hot bath after a long day.
  • Take a walk together, holding hands and talking about each other’s day.
  • Give each other a massage after a long day.
  • Plan a weekend getaway.
  • Cook a romantic dinner for two.

In order to build an intimate relationship you need to remember that communication is the foundation. Being open with one another is important. It’s also about getting in a comfort zone to where you feel free enough to express your opinions and beliefs. There is something about feeling validated that brings you closer together.

Intimacy in a relationship doesn’t always happen right away. As with anything, it takes time and has to be nurtured. You also have to separate sex from intimacy. Having sex and being intimate are two totally separate things. Can intimacy be intertwined in sex? Yes, but it is still a separate thing from sex.

Too often people associate intimacy with sex and that is what it quickly becomes linked with. You have to know that there can be intimacy outside of the bedroom, and it’s that level of intimacy that keeps the home fires burning.

When you take the time to make even the smallest moments a chance to get closer to your partner, then you will see that the level of intimacy within the relationship will increase. After all, everyone wants to feel needed and wanted. We all want to feel desired. So, take the time to validate your partners’ wants and needs, and intimacy will be something that you naturally have within your relationship.

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Practicing Gratitude In Our Relationships

Would you describe your life as joyous?  Do you actively practice gratitude or count your blessings?   Joyful people are typically grateful people – the act of practicing gratitude invites joy into our lives, as well as our relationships.

Gratitude is an attitude of thankfulness.  This state of mind can apply to gratitude for tangible or intangible things – such as a home, a job, a new car, physical health, and the relationships in our lives.  People who have high levels of gratitude and practice gratitude in their lives tend to have more peaceful and harmonious expereinces than those who do not.

The experience of gratitude is always here-and-now. We can give thanks, and feel blessed in the present moment.  Settling into the present moment, we reveal our authentic being and are able to connect with what we are truly grateful for.  When we choose to practice being present and grateful often, we will see and feel a shift into a joyous state in our present situations.

Many relationships suffer from neglect.  In our busy lives we create time for email, phone calls, paying bills, errands, cooking, and our children’s busy schedules.  Often times our attention to our partner – personal, exclusive, caring, loving attention – gets pushed aside as we go along with our hectic schedules.

Gratitude plays a significant role in the elevation of our relationships.  Expressing our appreciation for one another is perhaps more important than anything else we do together.  When we do so on a regular basis, our relationships are strengthened and empowered. Relationships improve when there is purposeful recognition of the various contributions each person makes – the preparation of a meal or the upkeep of the household.  To thank one another for simply being in our lives is also enough to make a difference.  When the practice of gratitude fills a relationship, both individuals and the relationship are continually renewed.

Simple And Fun Ways To Practice Gratitude

- Keep a gratitude journal.  Get into the habit of writing down what you are thankful for either in the morning soon after you wake up or at night before you go to sleep.  Or both times – the more practicing of gratitude, the more joy!

- Say something out loud each day that you are grateful for.  Many families say a prayer at dinner, following it up by saying something you are grateful for is a fun way to practice gratitude – also you would be saying it aloud for your loved ones to hear and give them the chance to appreciate your gratitude.

- Tell your partner how you appreciate what they do, day in and day out, along with the small specifics.

- Put extra thought into showing your gratitude towards your partner.  Perhaps pick up a bouquet of flowers or plan to make them one of their favorite meals.

 

Small thoughtful gestures and a little everyday gratitude towards your partner can yield a great deal of happiness and help strengthen relationships.  Practicing gratitude is a joyful window into seeing what is going on in your spouse’s and children’s lives.

 

 

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Fostering A Healthy Relationship

In terms of Maintaining A Healthy Relationship, in this article we are going to discuss how to foster a great relationship with your partner.  Maintaining a healthy relationship takes time, energy, and work.  With these guidelines to lead as an example, relationships can not only maintain, but also blossom.

Have A Solid Friendship – Ask yourself what kind of friend you are being to your partner.  Apply the same openness that you have in your other friendships to the partnership.  Think about the “get what you give” philosophy – if you want a good friend in your partner, then be a good friend to them.   Provide encouragement and support to your mate to make them feel special and show them that they make a difference in your world.

Know Your Partner – Your partner possesses qualities that make them special to you, as well as a unique person in their own right.  Your partner likely has areas of sensitivities and vulnerability, in addition to their preferences, interests, and values.  Being aware of what makes them “tick” and engaging in behaviors that nurture and support those special qualities can enhance the intimacy and vibrancy of the relationship.  Remember what you honor and respect about your partner.

Strive For Emotional Intimacy – Emotional intimacy has been described as “unbridled mutual self-disclosure” – which implies a willingness to share from the heart.  It means getting in touch with and letting the other person know our feelings.  It is also being authentic; it is through emotional intimacy that relationships grow.

Make Time To Be Together – Cultivate passion and intimacy.  Make time for dates and romance while treating that time together as special and sacred.  Find strategies to create time together that work best for you as a couple.  Some couples devote the first 15 minutes of their morning or last 15 minutes of their evening “their time”; others have a standing date night.  A daily ritual that you both can look forward to being together, while being uninterrupted, will help intimacy and attachment grow.

Let Your Partner Influence You – Many issues in relationships have nothing to do with the “facts” and everything to do with the feelings about the issue.  We are emotional beings, emotions are bound to rise up, especially in our relationships.  It is important that you both understand each other’s positions.  Some issues have no solutions and oftentimes understanding and mutual respect are all that you really need.  Couples learn to simply contain the issues and not let them escalate through positive communication and empathy.

Solve The Solvable Issue – All couples will likely have a few issues that will never be resolved fully, due to difference of opinion and background.  What is important is to develop a dialog with your partner about this set of irreconcilable differences.  Treat them as you would if you were coping with a chronic bad back or trick knee – you don’t like them, you wish they were not there, but you learn to work around them by talking and learning how to live with them.  Having patience will be helpful in these situations, as well.

Create Shared Meaning – As a couple, having some concept of what you both think a relationship and a partnership are supposed to be would be useful.  Perhaps write down your definitions of a successful relationship and do your best to live up to those definitions.  Focus on the fundamental things that are going to make a difference in the long run.  Create specific goals as a couple, and also individually, on how you want to improve your relationship, and then follow through with them.

Maintaining a healthy relationship requires, well, maintenance.  Using these tips and tools will help keep your relationship in balance and maintained.

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