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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.

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The Mind, Emotions, and Intimacy: How Your Thoughts Affect Your Desire

On the surface, they seemed like the perfect couple. They had much in common and seemed very loving and supportive, despite the many difficulties they had faced together. And the sex… it was always good, especially after they discovered ways to spice things up, ensuring they both felt satisfied in the bedroom.  Beneath the surface and behind closed doors, however, the fire was burning out. Sex became an inconvenient duty; she no longer desired it, and he pushed too hard. The act itself no longer had anything to do with love or passion. It was purely physical, and only an occasional occurrence. She avoided intimacy with him as much as possible, and later, she would discover that she was easily turned on by a new partner, despite such difficulties with her now ex. If the sex was so good, what went wrong?

It’s Not Just About Good Sex

It does not matter how good things feel in the bedroom. Sure, it’s not always difficult to hop into bed and enjoy the physical aspect of sex without much thought or emotion. People do it every day. However, intimacy is an important aspect of a strong relationship. This includes communication, friendship, affection, emotions, passion, attraction, and love. These things enhance the sexual aspect of a relationship, and if any one of these elements is missing, the intimacy in the relationship will dwindle or cease to exist. If the intimacy dies, the relationship could be in trouble.

Where is the Love?

Contrary to fairly tale ideals, falling in love is not a guarantee of eternal love. Yes, you can love someone unconditionally, with all of your heart, and still find yourself eventually falling out of love. This is not to say that couples should not attempt to work through their troubles, disagreements, or petty squabbles. However, it takes two to make a relationship work, and if one partner is not giving it their utmost effort, the other is sure to become disillusioned and unhappy in the relationship. This is because the mind and emotions affect the way in which we relate to our experiences and to other people, especially our partners. Changes in personality, actions, or inactions, can very well dictate our thoughts and emotional responses, making or breaking feelings of intimacy and love. Without these feelings, it is difficult to spend time with your significant other, let alone find the desire to have sex. The brain controls those desires and responses, and if you’re just not feeling it in your mind, you’re probably not going to feel it in your body either.

In the example given above, the wife was suffering from health problems and major stress. The husband did nothing to alleviate these problems, as he was so wrapped up in himself and his own problems that he showed little support or understanding. He caused much of the stress by refusing to seek help for his troubles and using them as an excuse for his actions and inactions. He became abusive in every way possible, thought this was unintentional. After a while, his wife realized that this could not continue. The stress was going to kill her, and she loathed the sight of him. Because these were the thoughts in her mind, it did not matter that he was attractive or that the sex was good. Without feelings of love and intimacy, good sex simply left her feeling empty. She lost all sexual desire, and even found his advances insulting rather than flattering.

Your Mind and Your Relationship

If your brain is causing you to feel negative emotions toward your partner, odds are that this will lead to a loss of intimacy and sexual desire. This can be a warning sign of the beginning of the end; however, it does take two to make a lasting relationship. To overcome this problem, you have to ask yourself what the underlying cause of your negative thoughts and feelings truly is and get those issues out in the open. Even if verbalizing your concerns leads to some tension in the beginning, it is best to try to open the door of communication. You cannot solve a problem if it remains silent. Sex and emotions go hand in hand, and if your thoughts and emotions are interfering with the intimacy between you and you partner, it is time to seek help and solve the problem or time to reevaluate your long-term plans for the relationship.

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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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Are Your Friends Toxic for Your Relationship?

We all have them – drama queens, exploiters and pessimist pals. Some are friends you have had since you were a child, others are those you have just encountered but can’t seem to break free from. While some of your friends are beneficial to your life and your relationship, others can be toxic. You know those friends, the ones who are anti-relationships, negative and basically do what they can to make you feel as though being in a relationship is the wrong choice. Naturally you want your friends to approve of your significant other, but if they get in the way of your ability to establish a long-term, healthy relationship, you may want to consider detoxing from these harmful friends.

Valuable Friends versus Toxic Friends

When you’re looking for the answer to what makes relationships work, you may have noticed that happy couples still have their own non-relationship friends – meaning friends that weren’t acquired as part of the relationship. You and your significant other should maintain your old connections and even make new ones. This helps boost your personal identity and is healthy. But, there is a big difference between a valuable friendship and a toxic one. So how do you decide?

  • Do you look forward to seeing your friend?
  • Do you hit the “ignore” button every time they call or jump to answer?
  • Is your friend happy to see you?
  • Every time you get together, does your friend only seem interested in you when they need something from you?
  • Is your friend there for you as much as you are there for him or her?

The bottom line, if you don’t look forward to meeting with your friend or it seems your friend is only interested in you when they need something, it’s likely you have a toxic relationship. Toxic relationships don’t just hinder your own personal life, they can also impact your relationship.

Toxic Friends and Relationships

A toxic friend to a relationship is one that is negative about your relationship or even just relationships in general. This friend doesn’t respect your relationship or the boundaries that come with it. For example, you go out for a night on the town only to find your friend encouraging you to meet up with other men or betray your relationship in some way. If you confide in your friend about any negative issues in your relationship, your toxic friend may automatically dismiss the relationship or consider it a failure. While there are times a friend’s relationship advice is needed and perhaps can shine light on aspects of the relationship that are toxic to you, there are also friends that purposely poison your relationship out of jealousy or simply because they don’t believe in relationships.

You and your partner should re-evaluate your friends at least once a year. Consider a detox of the friends that don’t contribute or even those that are detrimental to your relationship. Of course, make time for those friends that do bring value to your personal and relationship life.

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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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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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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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Why Equality in a Relationship is Essential

Equality in a relationship or marriage is not always easy, but it is definitely essential. The traditional balance in the home is shifting as more women are seeking professional careers outside of the home. Fortunately, most modern men are willing to pick up the slack around the house. They are glad to help and they are capable of handling a larger portion of the family responsibilities than their own father would have been able to do. This shift in household duties is a big step towards equality, but it has created some unique challenges for newly married couples.

Women are Their Own Worst Enemies

When couples first move in together, most women will willingly take on the majority of the shared duties and they will care for their man without any complaint. They never ask for help and are grateful for anything their husband chooses to do on their own. They will do everything necessary for the first few years and then suddenly crash. Eventually the stress of managing a full-time job, plus having to get all the groceries, cook all the meals, wash every dish, do the laundry, dust, and vacuum will become too much to handle and things will start to go wrong.

She will immediately blame her partner even though she never asked him for help in the first place and he’ll have no idea why he has upset his wife so much. He’ll also be so unfamiliar with the routine and cleaning schedule that it will only further infuriate her when he tries to help out and he doesn’t do it properly. This is a common recipe for disaster that affects many new marriages.

How to Establish Equality Early On

It is important to discuss and divide household chores as soon as you move in together, whether you are married or not. If the woman in the relationship handles all of the cooking and cleaning in the beginning, it is harder to get a man to participate in those chores in the future. Each person in the relationship should make a list of things they don’t mind doing and then compare. You may need to compromise on some things, just make sure to divide them as evenly as possible.

How to Create Financial Equality

Couples that establish equality with household chores should also fairly divide the shared expenses. Make sure to divide the bills based on each person’s income, so neither is paying more than they can really afford.

How to Maintain Equality after Children

Daily duties drastically increase after you have children, so it’s important to once again establish responsibilities. Instead of dividing up the tasks, try sharing them since most responsibilities regarding parenting are also bonding opportunities. Use the tag-team approach and take turns getting up during the night, feeding the baby, and changing diapers.

Equality is essential for your future happiness and it is important to establish it early on. Talk to your partner as soon as you move in together and set up rules for managing the shared responsibilities and expenses. Communication and honesty in the beginning will help ensure that you have a long and happy marriage.