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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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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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Neurobiology and the Mind: What Is it really?

Neurobiology is a complex subject, but it s not impossible to understand. If we break it down into basic principles and key factors, it becomes easy to learn. But why learn about neurobiology? Because neurobiology plays an important role in our emotions, thought processes and even intimacy with our partners. To start on the path to understanding neurobiology, we will first visit the topic of the mind.

What Is the Mind?
At its basic form, the mind is what we use to relate to our experiences. The mind is also what regulates our energy and information within our bodies, as well as our relationships. The mind plays a vital role in how we think and memorize things, in our emotions, our awareness and our overall experiences.

The Mind during Every day Processes
If you think about it, our minds are full of personal experiences regarding our thoughts, memories and feelings. The mind also contains the activities that drive our behaviors and actions, including how we interact with our partners.

What Does the Mind Do for Our Daily Lives?
The mind is highly rational. It is influenced greatly by our social interactions and our relationships. Our daily experiences influence how our minds react to, think about and interpret our experiences. It is thought that the mind is self-organizing and that it shapes the flow of energy and information through the body over time. The fact that mental life itself is a self-organizing process that focuses on a relational flow of information and energy shows that our minds are not separate from our bodies or intimate relationships. Instead, the mind learns from them and starts to regulate them accordingly.

Improving Your Mind, Improving Your Intimacy
Once you learn how to control what your mind takes in and how it is organized at a stable rate, you will see a drastic improvement in your body, your thought processes and even your relationships. Things will feel more clear, detailed and in-depth. This improves your mind and health and a healthy mind is stronger for intimacy and stable relationships.

One of the best ways to improve your mind is to think of your brain and body as one singular tool. Promoting integrative communications within your relationships and honoring the differences that each individual brings into your life can help you promote compassion and overall communication with your partner. As a result, you will have more fulfilling, rewarding relationships that integrate kindness and intimacy.

You may not be able to monitor and explore your mind in front of you, but by understanding it from the inside you will find that you have more rewarding relationships and experiences in your daily life than you have ever had before.

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Work-Life Balance With Achievement And Enjoyment

Finding work-life balance in today’s fast paced world is not a simple task.  If you are spending more time at work than at home, you could likely miss out on rewarding personal life moments.  Then again, when you face challenges in your personal life, such as caring for a young child or managing marital situations, concentrating on your job can be difficult.  If your job is overwhelming and exposes you to potential stress, then you may begin to feel pulled between the emotional needs of work and the emotional needs of home.  Whether the issue is too much focus on work or too little, when your work life and your personal life feel out of balance, stress – along with it’s harmful effects – is the result.

Work-life balanace does not mean an equal balance.  Trying to schedule an equal number of hours for each of your various work and personal activities is usually unrealistic.  Life is and should be more fluid and flexible than that.  Your best individual work-life balance for you today will probably be different for you tomorrow, as our priorities and goals shift and change.  The right balance for you when you are single will be different when you are married, and/or if you have children; also when you start a new career verses when you are retiring.  There is no perfect, one-size fits all, balance you should be striving for.  The best work-life is different for each of us because we all have different lives.

The first step to help create work-life balance is to recognize those people or activities that you value the most.  At the core of an effective work-life balance definition are two concepts – achievement and enjoyment.  Most of us what to achieve so that we move up the ladder of whatever we are working on.  Most of us also want to have enjoyment of life, which does not just mean happiness but also a sense of well-being and love.   Look at achievement and enjoyment as the front and back of a coin – you cannot have one side without the other.

How To Have Achievement and Enjoyment 

1. Identify Your Life Values – Create a list of what you find most valuable in your life.  This list could be a wide range of valuables from your partner, children, and family, the time you spend alone mediation or taking a yoga class, dinner with friends, to a special project at work that you a working on.

2. Evaluate The Importance Of Your Values – Compare what is on your list.  Some things will have a higher demand than others depending on the time and situation.  Know that this list will likely shift throughout different phases of your life.

3. Schedule In Your Values – Begin to work what you value into your daily or weekly schedule.  If it is scheduled into you calendar, it will likely be achieved with the added bonus of being enjoyed!

Focusing on achievement and enjoyment in every day life will help with balancing and getting the most out of your experiences.

 

 

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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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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!