Be The Love You Are Looking For!

Robert Holden tells has a great perspective on love at The Daily Love that I wanted to share with you:

In my book Happiness NOW, I tell one of my favorite love stories. It’s an old Sufi tale of a conversation between Mulla Nasrudin and a good friend:

“I’m getting married on the morrow, Mulla,” announced his friend, smiling wide from ear to ear.

Mulla Nasrudin was quiet and thoughtful.

“Isn’t marriage wonderful, Mulla! It is quite the best! Have you ever considered getting married, Mulla?” Continue reading “Be The Love You Are Looking For!”

Simple Truth to a Richer, Deeper, Lasting Relationship

How to Have Enriching RelationshipsHealing thoughts from Jeff Cannon:

When a relationship becomes a one-way way street, it ends up at a dead end sooner or later. Learn to keep the traffic flowing both ways with conversation, forgiveness and mindful awareness to keep your relationship growing well into the future. It all starts with that inner conversation you have with yourself. Be aware of it, and find how easy it is to nurture your relationship in the direction you want it to go. Continue reading “Simple Truth to a Richer, Deeper, Lasting Relationship”

The Secrets That Keep Happy Couples Together

Cynthia Belmer shares this:

What makes a relationship work? What can couples do to stay happy in their relationship, especially in this modern age with stress all around us?

Everyone wants to make their relationship last and everyone wants to feel loved, happy, and in harmony with their partner, but few experience it.

Harmony is about a mutual agreement of giving and receiving in the most balanced, loving and humble way, while maintaining the space needed for self-nurturing and self-love. You can realize it and live it in your relationship when you:

1. Become best friends. Understand the likes, dislikes, the fears, the pain and the gain of your partner and ask open-ended questions.

2. Explore your common vision for the future. Discuss your goals and your visions for the future. How does a great and lasting relationship look like to you? Follow through with this view and commit to realizing and nurturing it.

3. Be humble. Take responsibility of our own actions and say that you’re sorry when you mess up.

4. Be generous. Allow yourself to give with humbleness, to appreciate with love, to forgive with softness, to listen with care and to compromise while receiving your needs in return.

5. Invest in your own and constant self-growth. Follow through with your interests, your goals, your emotional needs and wants and share them with your partner.

6. Trust. Speak your truth, always and allow both of your fears to surface and share them gently together.

7. Listen and never forget. Listen very carefully to your partner and remember what interests them, what they enjoy, they dislike and most importantly, remember their stories.

8. Allow spaciousness. Give some alone time to yourself and your partner and do unique things that you enjoy and that make you feel good.

9. Get intimate. Express your love through hugging, kissing, caressing, cuddling, holding, and other forms of physical affection.

10. Have faith. Never give up on realizing the picture of a great relationship, especially when going through a big storm.

So my question to you is: If you were to make a change so you could live happily and in harmony in your relationship, what would you be doing?

via The Secrets That Keep Happy Couples Together.

The Worst Kind of Betrayal


I had never heard of Brené Brown until a few weeks ago when my friend Tim Kastelle referenced her on his blog. Now, she is everywhere in my life – I think the universe is sending me a message. Here is a great post by Lissa Rankin on some of Brené’s thinking:

I was reading my shero Brené Brown’s new book Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead when I reached page fifty-one and my heart stopped in an “OMG, how did she read my mind, and how did she know exactly how to give language to something that’s been hurting for years?” sort of way.

In this chapter, Brené is talking about trust in relationships and how we build and lose trust. She compares it to a jar of marbles. Over time, when someone demonstrates trustworthiness, we add marbles to the jar. If they betray our trust, we pull marbles out. The safety of the relationship depends on how many marbles are in the jar over time.

This is the part of Brené’s book that took my breath away:

“When we think about betrayal in terms of the marble jar metaphor, most of us think of someone we trust doing something so terrible that it forces us to grab the jar and dump out every single marble. What’s the worst betrayal of trust? He sleeps with my best friends. She lies about where the money went. He/she chooses someone over me. Someone uses my vulnerability against me [an act of emotional treason that causes most of us to slam the entire jar to the ground rather than just dumping out the marbles]. All terrible betrayals, definitely, but there is a particular sort of betrayal that is more insidious and equally corrosive to trust.

In fact, this betrayal usually happens long before the other ones. I’m talking about the betrayal of disengagement. Of not caring. Of letting the connection go. Of not being willing to devote time and effort to the relationship. The word betrayal evokes experiences of cheating, lying, breaking a confidence, failing to defend us to someone else who’s gossiping about us, and not choosing us over other people. These behaviors are certainly betrayals, but they’re not the only form of betrayal. If I had to choose the form of betrayal that emerged most frequently from my research and that was the most dangerous in terms of corroding the trust connection, I would say disengagement.

When the people we love or with whom we have a deep connection stop caring, stop paying attention, stop investing and fighting for the relationship, trust begins to slip away and hurt starts seeping in. Disengagement triggers shame and our greatest fears—the fears of being abandoned, unworthy, and unlovable. What can make this covert betrayal so much more dangerous than something like a lie or an affair is that we can’t point to the source of our pain—there’s no event, no obvious evidence of brokenness. It can feel crazy-making.”

The Ragged Way People Fall Out of Love

After reading this, I had to give myself a hug (and reach out to my BFF so she could hug me too). Trying not to venture into self-pity land, I realized that almost every single ex-relationship in my life ended with just this sort of betrayal. When my marriage to my first husband was falling apart, I begged him to go to marriage counseling with me, and he refused, claiming that it would just cost money and steal precious time (we were both medical residents) to confirm what we already knew—that we weren’t compatible and that we needed to get divorced.

Marriage #2

When my second marriage was falling apart, my husband did agree to go to marriage counseling with me. Then one day, I was in the therapist’s office, looking at the clock. He was ten minutes late, and then twenty. I called his cell, and the call went straight to voicemail. I called his work, and they said he had left hours earlier. I called home, but there was no answer. That night, he didn’t come home and didn’t tell me where he had gone.

When I saw him the next day and asked where he’d been and why he hadn’t come to therapy, he just shrugged his shoulders. When I pushed him to communicate, he just shut down.

I kept going to therapy without him, and he grew increasingly distant. I wrote him letters. I left him rambling messages on his phone, trying to share my feelings. I tried talking to him. But most days, I barely saw him, and when I did, I no longer felt safe saying what I really wanted to say, which was that I felt desperately hurt that he didn’t seem to care enough about our relationship to fight for it.

Then the day came when we were scheduled to go on a two-week vacation to Big Sur, a vacation we had planned six months in advance, intended to celebrate our anniversary. Taking two weeks off as a full-time doctor was a big deal, and I had been very excited about the trip, especially in light of how bad things had gotten in our marriage. In my fantasies, Big Sur would heal us, the time together would knit us back together, we’d have great sex, and we’d live happily ever after.

But the week before our trip, he announced that he was going to climb Mount Whitney instead of coming to Big Sur with me. When I started crying, he told me to “stop being so manipulative,” which only left me crying more.

My therapist finally told me that my marriage was over, even if we were still living together, that it takes two people fighting for a marriage in order to save it, and that, clearly, my husband had disengaged, even though he hadn’t asked for divorce.

It was painfully true. I went to Big Sur by myself, and the week after returning home, I filed for divorce.

A Jar Full of Marbles

I’m now happily married to husband number three, whom I’ve been with for ten years and who is one of the kindest, gentlest, most emotionally available men I’ve ever met. There are so many marbles in the jar in my relationship with Matt that we find ourselves becoming increasingly brave in how vulnerable we’re willing to be. It’s been profoundly healing on many levels. What I appreciate most about him is that, if we disagree (which we do), he’s willing to go there, to communicate, to get pissed, to speak his truth, to open his heart, to express hurt—whatever. Never once, in ten years, has he shut down on me. (If anything, I’ve been the one more inclined to do so from time to time.)

With a jar overflowing with marbles, I feel safe to share anything with Matt, and that safety has allowed me to take huge risks, both personally and professionally, knowing that his love for me is not conditional.

Have You Been Betrayed?

I suspect I’m not alone in feeling betrayed in this slow, insidious way. Have you lost a relationship because someone just quit fighting for the relationship? Are you still in a relationship with someone who seems like they’ve stopped caring, stopped investing, stopped paying attention? Do you feel hurt because you still love someone and you’re no longer getting evidence that they love you back? Is your jar of marbles running on empty?

Then I strongly encourage you to go out and buy three copies (one for you and one for your two best friends) of Brené Brown’s startlingly insightful new book Daring Greatly. As someone on a quest to push the envelope of vulnerability, not just in my personal relationships, but publicly, here on the internet, I keep finding myself nodding as I read this book.

It’s chock full of nuggets like these:

“Shame resilience is the ability to say ‘This hurts. This is disappointing, maybe even devastating. But success and recognition and approval are not the values that drive me. My value is courage, and I was just courageous. You can move on, shame.’”

“Vulnerability is about sharing our feelings and our experiences with people who have earned the right to hear them…We don’t just lead with ‘Hi, my name is Brené, and here’s my darkest struggle.’ That’s not vulnerability. That may be desperation or woundedness or even attention-seeking, but it’s not vulnerability. Why? Because sharing appropriately, with boundaries, means sharing with people with whom we’ve developed relationships that can bear the weight of our story. The result of this mutually respectful vulnerability is increased connection, trust, and engagement.”


The Gateway to Intimacy

I’ve been noodling these very issues for years now, but especially since reading Brené’s latest book. I keep asking myself why I am as vulnerable as I am. And why I withhold what I do. What motivates me to share or withhold?

Last week, I revealed something super vulnerable to a dear friend during a long talk into the early hours of the morning. The next day, I woke up with what Brené calls a “vulnerability hangover.” I kicked myself for over-sharing, doubted myself for having gone too far, worried that my friend would judge me or reject me.

But that friendship has an overflowing marble jar, and, of course, that didn’t happen. My friend was incredibly supportive and sent me love texts all day, knowing how vulnerable I felt after what I had shared. Not only did I not get rejected, if anything, it drew us closer.

Every single one of us is hardwired to connect, and vulnerability is the gateway to the intimacy we crave. But it takes serious guts to push the limits of your vulnerability, to dig deeper and deeper into the core of who you are, and to not only love and accept those imperfect parts of yourself but to expose them to someone else, hoping, trusting, praying that they will be held sacred.

Are you brave enough to be vulnerable?

Source: The Worst Kind of Betrayal « Positively Positive

Open Your Mind… or you may miss something

Open Mind (album)

Kristin Barton Cuthriell writes:

Often, people come into counseling because something in their lives is not working for them. They may be depressed. They may have anxiety. Their marriage may be falling apart. Maybe they have been grieving old wounds for years, and they just can’t find joy in life. Teenagers may be rebelling. People feel stuck in dead-end jobs. Addictions are impacting the family. People have lost the ability to let life in.

People want help. They want to feel better. Some, come in with an open mind and are ready to look at things in new ways; do things in new ways. They are ready to change. Others, however, resist change, no matter how bad they feel. They continue to do the same thing over and over again, bringing them the same undesirable results.

We are creatures of habit. We often resist change and stay with the status quo no matter how miserable we feel. We avoid doing something different.

We must stop and think about what we are doing. We must ask ourselves if what we are doing is working for us. We need to remember that if we always do what we have always done, we will always get what we have always gotten.

Let go of always being right.

Let go of thinking that there is only one way to do something.

If it is not working for you, try something different.

Be open to suggestions.

Open your mind… or you may miss something.” via Open Your Mind… or you may miss something.

One of the tools I use to keep my mind open is this quote: Nietszche said “You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.” I agree with Kristin! Let go of always being right — it’s a terrible burden to bear and you’ll feel much better when you put it down… :-D

Does Gratitude Matter in Marriage?

Susan Heitler, Ph.D. writes:

“Please” and “thank you” often come out of our mouths automatically. How can we use true gratitude and thankfulness to cultivate healthy relationships?

Gratitude is “the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.”

As children we’re taught to say “thank you” automatically in return for a favor. On this surface level, we are taught that gratitude is an appropriate social response.

At the same time, on a more complex level, gratitude is a way of being. When we truly feel gratitude, we experience heartfelt awe and appreciation for the goodness of something outside ourselves. Having gratitude towards someone or something means respecting its value and treasuring how unique, beautiful, or indispensable it is.

New studies support the idea that gratitude is an integral part of healthy relationships. As marriages move past the honeymoon stage, couples go from appreciating and loving every little detail about each other to taking each other for granted. Amie Gordon, a psychologist from U.C. Berkeley, blames this for the downfall of many relationships: ”You get used to having [your spouse] in your life and forget why you chose to be with them.” We become deadened to our spouse’s special qualities and instead focus on things that annoy us about them. These doldrums leave couples confused and discouraged: “Maybe the man they married isn’t so great after all…What happened to the spark in our relationship?…What do we do now?”

Dr. Gordon’s study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology explores the role of gratitude and appreciation in maintaining long and healthy relationships. In the study, 50 committed couples were given a week to fill out appreciation journals. On days when one partner reported feeling more appreciated, he or she tended to appreciate his or her partner more the next day.

Couples who had ongoing reciprocal appreciation were less likely to break up in the next nine months and even reported being more committed at the end of that time. The researchers concluded that a nourishing cycle of encouragement and appreciation provides extra incentive to maintain our relationships. In other words, when we appreciate our partners, we develop trust and respect. When we feel appreciated, we feel needed and encouraged.

In the second part of the study, Gordon’s researchers observed how couples of all ages–from 18 to 60–communicated appreciation. The team noticed that “highly appreciative” pairs tended to use body language and response skills to show that they valued their spouses. Foremost of these was a Power of Two favorite skill: active listening. When their partner spoke, appreciative spouses leaned in, made eye contact, and responded thoughtfully to what they were saying. They made it clear that they were listening to and digesting what their spouse said, thereby showing that they valued their spouse’s opinion. Appreciative couples also used touch and physical encouragement such as handholding or an encouraging pat on the leg.

This study observed the healthy relationships benefits of naturally appreciate couples. The flipside is that some couples are not naturally appreciative. It can be incredibly discouraging to not feel appreciated–you may even feel like your marriage is over. Luckily, our behavior and thoughts are malleable; just as we fell out of patterns of love and gratitude, we can grow back into them.

The key to sparking healthy relationships with gratitude is to take the initiative: “Instead of just waiting for the other person to make you feel good, you can jumpstart that cycle and take it into your own hands by focusing on what’s good in your relationship,” says Dr. Gordon. Start with small and easily achievable goals, such as giving your spouse five compliments a day, or simply smiling at her more often.

Gratitude is a skill that you cultivate—nurture it in yourself, and soon your will see positivity radiate back at you.

Source: Does Gratitude Matter in Marriage? | Psychology Today

Is Your Spouse Really Your Best Friend?

Kennedy marriage

A few weeks ago I curated an article from Michael Hyatt on ‘How to be your spouse’s best friend’. A few days ago, I found this article in Psychology Today by author Isadora Alman who has an interesting perspective and some good advice:

With any client’s first visit, usually presenting with some aspect of a relationship concern, I always review other aspects of their life – general health, the work he or she does and feelings about it, other people in their life (family, friends), what recreational activities are pursued, and if the person has enough time for him or herself.  Almost always the answer to this last question is “no”.  While all the other aspects of a life I ask about may have some bearing on a relationship issue, this last one always does.

Most of us these days lead frantic lives with demands for time coming at us from all directions.  Priorities have to be assigned and almost always personal needs beyond the most basic of food and sleep are often swept aside.  Even then, many people are not eating well or getting enough sleep so a half hour a day to simply take a deep breath of fresh air is just not there. Time to connect with a partner about how your day went or what’s on your mind in general is left, if it happens at all, to a few groggy moments before sleep takes over.

Let’s say, however, that one does manage to schedule a movie or a meal out.  What if your partner prefers a different movie than the one you want to see, or a different type of restaurant food?  What if he or she would prefer not to go to a movie at all but to a sports event or an art museum?  Do you forego what you want for the sake of couple harmony?  If so, no wonder you might be feeling lonely although coupled.  You’re living your life via someone else’s choices rather than your own.

An oversimplification perhaps, but I strongly feel that you need to be your own best friend.  Your own needs must be given some priority so that, as a fulfilled person, you can then be in a position to be more generous with your partner and others around you.  If you’re feeling lonely and not getting the support, sympathy or help from your spouse that is the very definition of friendship, look elsewhere – for a friend, usually same sex, and not place that burden of such expectations entirely on your spouse.  If you are feeling too much closeness within the coupled bonds, take what space you need for maximum enjoyment of life….and for maximum enjoyment of your partnership as well.  Two people who each have their needs met, who take responsibility of fulfilling their own needs, will make much better and more interesting partners to each other.

Source: Is Your Spouse Really Your Best Friend? | Psychology Today

How Do You Relate to a Gay Family Member?

This is a tough issue for me brought on by an upcoming event in our family. My gay brother-in-law is getting joined in a civil union — sorry, but I can’t quite bring myself to use the word ‘married’ yet — and we have been invited to the reception, not the ceremony. I have mixed feelings about this event;  I don’t know if I can really ‘celebrate’ it but I’m thinking about going to support my wife. In the past, I would have refused to attend on principle but as a recovering conservative Christianliving in the gray‘ I am considering input from all sides. Recently, John Piper posted this Christian conservative perspective on relating to gay family members…

Is there hope for a relationship with a family member who is not a believer and is in a same-sex relationship, and who knows your Christian position?

Yes. One story went like this. An adult sister-in-law was in a lesbian relationship and would bring her partner to all the wider family functions when she was invited. She knew her brother-in-law’s position. Not only was she sinning to be involved sexually this way, but her very soul was in danger of eternal judgment if she did not repent. She knew that’s what he thought.

At first she was very angry and, no matter how kind or gracious or caring the Christian couple tried to be, this sister-in-law saw them as homophobic and bigoted. She assumed she was not loved and let that define the relationship.

Then one day the brother-in-law asked her: Are you able to love me in spite of my views that you think are so wrong? Yes, she said. Then, why, he asked, will you not give us the same courtesy and assume that we might be able to love you in spite of your wrong views?

Remarkably, this actually made a difference. She apologized for pushing them away, and for assuming they could not love while disapproving of her ways.

Perhaps this might help others open the hearts of relatives to their genuine care.” via How Do You Relate to a Gay Family Member? – Desiring God.

‘Living in the gray’ is a new experience for me prompted by meditation on the word ‘right’. Nietszche said “You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.I’ve had to let go of a lot of the need to be right in my life and I think have made great progress, but I have to admit there are some things about what Piper says that resonate with me and I’m wondering for myself what is ‘right’ in this situation as a Christian, an American and as a person ‘related’ to another person by marriage…

First of all, I have a problem with any person, community or group that demands tolerance but does not grant it in return and I believe respect for diversity should include respect for Christians, too. 16 years ago at my son’s baptism, my brother-in-law told my wife that he wanted to kill my infant son so that he wouldn’t grow up as a Christian Conservative like us. Something like that is hard to forget. Amends were not made, but forgiveness was given on our side. We have affirmed our love for him despite his cruel remark and his sexual orientation but I don’t feel we receive the same courtesy; or I don’t anyway — I shouldn’t speak for my wife…

On a broader level, I don’t know how I feel about civil unions as an American citizen or if I should just ‘get over it’. The human rights campaign says this about DOMA — the Defense of Marriage Act passed under the Clinton Administration:

The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) singles out lawfully married same-sex couples for unequal treatment under federal law.  This law discriminates in two important ways.  First, Section 2 of DOMA purports to allow states to refuse to recognize valid civil marriages of same-sex couples.  Second, Section 3 of the law carves all same-sex couples, regardless of their marital status, out of all federal statutes, regulations, and rulings applicable to all other married people—thereby denying them over 1,100 federal benefits and protections. ” via Respect for Marriage Act | Human Rights Campaign.

The Wikipedia says

The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) (Pub.L. 104-199, 110 Stat. 2419, enacted September 21, 1996, 1 U.S.C. § 7 and 28 U.S.C. § 1738C) is a United States federal law that defines marriage as the legal union of one man and one woman. The law passed both houses of Congress by large majorities and was signed into law by President Bill Clinton on September 21, 1996. Under the law, no U.S. state or political subdivision is required to recognize a same-sex marriage treated as a marriage in another state. Section 3 of DOMA codifies the non-recognition of same-sex marriage for all federal purposes, including insurance benefits for government employees, Social Security survivors’ benefits, and the filing of joint tax returns.

Clinton and key legislators have changed their views and advocated DOMA’s repeal. The Obama administration announced in 2011 that it had determined that Section 3 was unconstitutional and, though it would continue to enforce the law, it would no longer defend it in court. In response, the House of Representatives undertook the defense of the law on behalf of the federal government in place of the Department of Justice (DOJ).
Section 3 of the DOMA has been found unconstitutional in a California bankruptcy case, a California class action suit on the part of public employees, several federal district court judges in three circuit court jurisdictions, and by a unanimous United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit three-judge panel.” via Defense of Marriage Act – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

I wanted to get Focus on the Family’s perspective on DOMA, but the results have been skewed by anti-DOMA bloggers touting Senator Al Franken’s ‘demolition’ of their perspective. More of the anti-tolerance I referred to in ‘first of all’? The ultra-conservative Christian website Stand up for the Truth! frames the debate this way:

President Obama has opened up an issue that will divide the church in this nation—and for that I thank him.  For too long many Christian leaders and individuals have been able to tap dance around the issue of homosexuality and gay marriage.  We must use this opportunity to find out where our church leaders stand on this issue and then act accordingly.

God provides us choices.  He has given us free will to choose the paths for our lives.  I believe He is now allowing a choice that will define the future of American Christianity, giving it a choice to return to Him, or fall deep into apostasy.  The sheep are being separated from the goats.  Quite frankly I am excited that this issue is now front and center.  Hopefully, once and for all, Christian leaders will have to take a stand—a stand that will clearly define what they believe about the Word of God.  Insist that your pastor and church leadership make a clear, concise statement on this issue and how we as Christians should interact with the homosexual community.

If you think we can just stick our heads in the sand and sit this battle out, you are in for a rude awakening.  The battle is on us if we wish it or not—and how we react as Christians will say a lot.” via Gay Marriage: Seperating the Sheep From the Goats | Stand Up for the Truth.

My jury is still out and I’m looking for input. I’m going to forward this post to a couple of people whose opinions I respect and ask them to weigh in in the comments below. You, of course, are welcome to do the same…

Discovering intimacy

Intimacy is that warm gift of feeling connected to others and enjoying our connection to them.

As we grow in recovery, we find that gift in many, sometimes surprising, places. We may discover we’ve developed intimate relationships with people at work, with friends, with people in our support groups – sometimes with family members. Many of us are discovering intimacy in a special love relationship.

Intimacy is not sex, although sex can be intimate. Intimacy means mutually honest, warm, caring, safe relationships – relationships where the other person can be who he or she is and we can be who we are – and both people are valued.

Sometimes there are conflicts. Conflict is inevitable. Sometimes there are troublesome feelings to work through. Sometimes the boundaries or parameters of relationships change. But there is a bond – one of love and trust.

There are many blocks to intimacy and intimate relationships. Addictions and abuse block intimacy. Unresolved family of origin issues prevents intimacy. Controlling blocks intimacy. Off balance relationships, where there is too great a discrepancy in power, prevent intimacy. Caretaking can block intimacy. Nagging, withdrawing, and shutting down can hurt intimacy. So can a simple behavior like gossip — for example, gossiping about another for motives of diminishing him or her in order to build up ourselves or to judge the person. To discuss another person’s issues, shortcomings, or failures with someone else will have a predictable negative impact on the relationship.

We deserve to enjoy intimacy in as many of our relationships as possible. We deserve relationships that have not been sabotaged. That does not mean we walk around with our heads in the clouds; it means we strive to keep our motives clean when it comes to discussing other people.

If we have a serious issue with someone, the best way to resolve it is to bring the issue to that person.

Direct, clean conversation clears the air and paves the way for intimacy, for good feelings about ourselves and our relationships with others.

Today, God, help me let go of my fear of intimacy. Help me strive to keep my communications with others clean and free from malicious gossip. Help me work toward intimacy in my relationships. Help me deal as directly as possible with my feelings.

via Adult Children Anonymous.

Women’s Top 4 Wishes and Why Men Should Grant Them

“Since venturing into the world of Men’s Top 4 Wishes and Why You Should Grant Them, I have been talking to women about their relationship wishes.  And it seems we are in a pie in the sky world. But who says that women shouldn’t be reaching for the stars?

In my own research through the years, I have found that women are a faithful group, as confirmed by talks with W. Bradford Wilcox, Ph.D., a sociologist and director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia. He says that just 14 percent of ever-married women reported an extramarital affair over their lifetime as compared to 22 percent of men.” Go to the source to get the wishes: Women’s Top 4 Wishes and Why Men Should Grant Them | Psychology Today.

What Do Your Kids Think About Marriage?

Marriage Day

How do you decide whom to marry?

“You got to find somebody who likes the same stuff. Like, if you like sports, she should like it that you like sports, and she should keep the chips and dip coming.”  ‒ Alan, age 10

How can a stranger tell if two people are married? “You might have to guess, based on whether they seem to be yelling at the same kids.” – Derrick, age 8

What do you think your mom and dad have in common?  “Both don’t want any more kids.” – Lori, age 8

When is it okay to kiss someone?  “When they’re rich.” – Pam, age 7

How would you make a marriage work?  “Tell your wife that she looks pretty, even if she looks like a dump truck.” – Ricky, age 10

Classic.  So what do your kids think about your marriage?  If you think you need to do a better job portraying what a marriage should be, the first step is to renew the romance. Start with a getaway.  Have you ever planned a trip for just you and your wife without the kids?  If not, or if you want to do another trip, here are 10 tips for a romantic getaway.

via What Do Your Kids Think About Marriage? | All Pro Dad Blog.

The Quotability of Samuel Johnson

Portrait of Samuel Johnson commissioned for He...
This is not Gretchen Rubin...

A tip of the hat to Gretchen Rubin for pointing me in the direction of Samuel Johnson with her Happiness Project quote du jour…

On this basis, my top five people who have featured most often in Quote … Unquote questions (as opposed to having just been quoted on the programme, which would be too big a task to measure) turn out to be: (1) Winston Churchill (2) Oscar Wilde (3) Noel Coward (4) Bernard Shaw (5) Mark Twain. No sign of Dr Johnson there, I’m afraid.
Then one of the readers of the Quote … Unquote Newsletter came along with his list of people who had featured most often in that Newsletter (and I have to emphasize that this was usually because of some issue regarding their quotations), and this gave a slightly different result, namely: Churchill (first), Wilde (second), Shaw and G.K. Chesterton (joint 4th), Mark Twain and P.G. Wodehouse (joint 6th). Samuel Johnson came 8th in that list.
Then, I counted up the number of quotations attributed to this sort of quotee (again I emphasize written and spoken quotees) in the latest editions of the two major dictionaries of quotations, the Oxford and Bartlett’s Familiar (in the United States). And what do you think I found?
In the Oxford, giving you the results in Miss World order, we have: in fifth place, Thomas Jefferson with 50 quotations, fourth, Winston Churchill with 53, third, Oscar Wilde with 61, second, a stonking 105 from Bernard Shaw, and in first place, with no fewer than 254, from Lichfield, England, Dr Samuel Johnson.
Turning to Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations, and again giving you the results in reverse order, we find: in fifth place with 48 quotations, Oscar Wilde, in fourth place, a new entry, Abraham Lincoln with 51, in third place, with 61, Winston Churchill, shooting up the charts to No. 2, with 83 quotations, Mark Twain, and – I hardly need tell you – this week’s, this year’s No. 1, the top of the quotation pops for all time, with 142 quotations, your own, your very own, Samuel Johnson. Gratifyingly, however you measure it, it’s game, set and match to Dr Johnson.
The next question that must be addressed is, Why is Johnson the most all-round quoted source apart from the Bible and Shakespeare? If you define a quotation, as I will, as: ‘Something written or spoken by another that we wish to use for our own ends because it expresses something memorably and well’, then I need hardly go any further. Apart from the truths and wisdom that they contain, Dr Johnson’s quotations are so memorably phrased that they cry out to be repeated until the end of time.
Does a gentleman who marries a second time show disregard of his first wife? ‘Not at all, Sir. On the contrary, were he not to marry again, it might be concluded that his first wife had given a disgust to marriage; but by taking a second wife he pays the highest compliment to the first, by shewing that she made him so happy as a married man, that he wishes to be so a second time.’
Johnson had a very positive view of marriage (though it is easily forgotten that he was himself a widower), hence his remark, ‘Even ill assorted marriages are preferable to cheerless celibacy’ – that’s in the Life – and ‘Marriage has many pains, but celibacy has no pleasures’ – which is in Rasselas.
`If I had no duties, and no reference to futurity, I would spend my life in driving briskly in a post-chaise with a pretty woman’ – and then he adds: ‘But she should be one who could understand me, and would add something to the conversation.’
Then there is the famous piece of advice he gave Boswell, who was having landlord trouble and considered it a ‘serious distress’. Johnson told him: ‘There is nothing in this mighty misfortune … Consider, Sir, how insignificant this will appear a twelvemonth hence.’ Which, frankly, is the best piece of advice you can give anybody.

Source: The Quotability of Samuel Johnson

Go to the source if you’re curious to know more about this most quotable of all authors…

How To Have A PERFECT Relationship With EVERYONE!

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A little Kute Blackson to start your day…

There are over 6 billion people on the planet. Each with their own unique personalities and expression.

Every person is in your life for a reason whether you see it or not. Each person is here to teach you something and has a gift for your soul’s evolution. Each person reflects some aspect of yourself that needs to be loved, forgiven, embraced or simply accepted.

The more you can accept and love yourself as you are.

The more you can accept and love those around you as they are.

The freer you will be.

Trying to change someone into your ideal version of who you would like them to be only creates suffering for you.

This is not in your control.

Let me repeat: This is NOT in your control.

Source: How To Have A PERFECT Relationship With EVERYONE!

Go to the source if you’d like more of Kute’s post and/or watch the video below…

Avoid Arguments with Good Timing

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Mark Merrill shares…

Soon after my wife, Susan, and I were married, we made a discovery.  It seemed like most of our arguments were at night…when we were tired and irritable from a long day.  So, we set a nine o’ clock curfew on serious discussions.  We found that it really helps.  Now, when we get into a heavy talk after nine, we remind each other that it’s late, we’re not going to resolve anything tonight and we can talk about it tomorrow.  And you know what?  The next morning we’re usually refreshed and can talk about things calmly or decide that it wasn’t that important to begin with.

So you can avoid a lot of arguments with your spouse if you wisely choose when you will have serious discussions.  A good rule of thumb is to avoid settings that are already tense—getting the kids to school in the morning, when you’re dealing with plumbing problems or right when your spouse walks in the door after work.  Instead, choose a time when you’re both rested, when you have some peace and quiet, and when the other person is open to having a serious discussion.

And here’s something else to keep in mind—don’t mix business with pleasure.  In other words, you don’t want to bring up heavy topics when you and your spouse are having a fun time or are in friendship mode.  If you’re out together for your first date night in months, or you’re finally having a little cuddle time on the couch, don’t even venture into potential areas of conflict.

Source: Avoid Arguments with Good Timing « Mark’s Blog

10 Strategies to Help Solve Your Marriage Problems

Many good marriages slip into crisis because we don’t or won’t believe how much work it takes to keep relationships humming at optimal levels. Another reason is a simple failure in imagination.

But – if successful courting requires commitment, hard work and imagination to pull off… then why does it surprise us when neglect hurts relationships after we walk down the aisle? She wouldn’t have married you if you took her for granted – why risk everything now?

There are many good strategies if we want to restore a problematic – or “under the weather” – marriage. All Pro Dad suggests the following 10 for men who want to get the ball rolling…

Follow the ‘via’ link if you’re interested in the 10 strategies…

4 Steps to Marriage CPR

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When a person needs resuscitation, the signs are obvious.  They stop breathing, they’re non-responsive.  It’s easy to see that the person displaying these symptoms needs immediate help.  In marriage, the symptoms that a relationship requires life-saving measures are sometimes difficult to detect.  Couples learn to adapt and function despite their critical status.  But functioning in a marriage is not what you and your spouse really want. You want to thrive.  So, how can you bring a dying relationship back to life?  It’s time to administer some marital CPR by doing four things…

Follow the ‘via’ link above for more…

Putting Conflict to R.E.S.T.

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No marriage is perfect. We all have conflict from time to time. Resolving conflict can be one of the biggest challenges in marriage.  When conflict goes unresolved, it causes tension and builds a wall between husband and wife.  When attempts at addressing conflict are unproductive or harsh, it can lead to resentment, discouragement and even bigger problems than you faced originally.

So, after you’ve cooled down and taken a break, how can you address conflict successfully in your marriage?  One way is to practice the R.E.S.T. method.

Follow the ‘via’ link if you want the R.E.S.T. of the idea…


8 Secrets of Conflict Resolution

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In his book, Learning to Live with the Love of Your Life… And Loving It!, Dr. Neil Clark Warren provides eight secrets to working through conflict with your spouse.

1. Marriage is a “We” Business

Dr. Warren says, “Any couple who gains a ‘we’ perspective eventually experiences great success in marriage.” Shift the focus of your marriage to a “we” mentality, especially in conflict.

2. Deal with the Issue as Quickly as Possible

Deal with conflict by getting problems out in the open and addressing them head-on. Don’t let issues fester below the surface.

3. Stick to the Subject

If you are in the middle of an argument with your spouse, stay focused on resolving that current conflict. Don’t throw old fights or problems into the discussion.

4. Don’t Intimidate

Some people become more concerned with “winning” a fight than working through the conflict. They may become mean, intimidating or threatening in order to stay in the fight. In Dr. Warren’s words, “Intimidation may result in victory for an individual, but I’ve never seen it produce victory for the marriage.”

5. No Name-Calling

Establish a rule with your spouse that there will be no name-calling during a fight. Name-calling will only lead to more hurt and emotional distance between the two of you.

6. Turn Up Your Listening Sensitivity

While it may be hard to actively listen to your spouse when your emotions are running high from an argument, you must take the time to try and see their point of view. This is key to the road to resolution. When your spouse feels listened to, they will be more willing to listen to what you have to say, as well.

7. Practice Give and Take

“What we must understand is that marriage is a partnership and therefore requires both give and take to be successful,” says Dr. Warren. Be willing to compromise on certain issues that are more important to your spouse. Choose your battles wisely.

8. Celebrate Every Victory

Recognize the victories when you and your spouse successfully work through a conflict together. Focus on the progress you have made as a couple and the new strengths that you have together as a result.

For more help on conflict resolution, check out iMOM’s 10 Ways to Fight Fair with Your Spouse.

10 Ways to Get Your Wife to Trust You

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Two brothers live at home with their parents. Don, 17, has a strict curfew. Dan, 16, is never told when to come home. The difference is trust.

Mom and dad know Dan will be home around 10:00. If he’s going to be late, he always calls. But Don never lets them know what he’s up to and he’s lied consistently for years.

For all his openness and detailed communication, Dan feels free as a bird. Don, however, even though he keeps many secrets, always resents what he experiences as a short leash.

Marriage is a similar dance of trust and credibility. Partners who demand “freedom” and push the limits to see how tethered they really are never experience the sense of liberty experienced by those who respect their spouse, keep no secrets, and keep one-another informed about everything.

Non sequitur? Not really. Trust is a sticky issue, but it’s an irreplaceable element if relationships are to experience the kind of freedom and confidence that can only be grounded in mutual respect.

Here are 10 ways to foster trust with your wife…

Follow the ‘via’ link if you’d like the 10 ways. Me? I’m working on it…

We Date [or Marry] Who We Are!

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Mastin Kipp shares this…

We date at the level of our self-esteem. Your relationship is a direct reflection of your own self-love and self-worth…

Let me be clear – the only way we should have to change is to be more authentically ourselves. This means compromise, of course, but this also means not abandoning ourselves to please another.

The common question seems to be: “How can I change myself so this will work”, and the response is “Don’t change yourself – BE YOURSELF”.

Many Seekers are terrified of being alone and of the unknown. And I understand, it can be hellishly uncomfortable in there. But if your needs aren’t being met in a relationship, it’s not the other persons fault. The responsibility is on you to communicate your needs and to choose someone who honors you, cherishes you and loves you.

If you don’t love, honor and cherish yourself, you will settle and your needs won’t get met.

To be a Seeker we must get comfortable with the unknown and with letting go of toxic relationships. We must step into the Faith that we can create the life we truly desire, not as we change to please others, but as we step more into our own authentic selves. This means communicating our needs, having higher standards around the people we are dating and stepping into our own self-love and self-care.

Of course in any relationship we have to compromise and find a middle ground. This is part of being in relationship. But this blog is aimed at the thousands of folks who have written in asking how they can change to please other people. Please yourself first and then you will attract someone who is pleased with you.

This means embracing the unknown and being okay with letting go of something or someone that isn’t meeting your needs.

Ask yourself this question: “If I REALLY loved myself, what would I do?”

Become What You Want To Date or Marry

ジンジャー&レモンマートルティー 2011.9.16
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Written from a women’s perspective and full of wisdom…

#1 – Look in your relationship mirror

If you’re in an unhealthy relationship or with someone that is not fulfilling you, look in the mirror.  What do you see in them that you yourself own? [sic]  If they’re cold and distant, well maybe you share that quality in your life, or perhaps are accepting that quality because you feel you deserve it.  It’s important to understand the reason why we attract people who are not satisfying us and better yet, why we stay.

#2 – Mate “Must-Haves”

Time to get out a pen and piece of paper…it’s “list” time.  You’re going to make a list of all the attributes that are a “must” in a future mate.  Make two columns on a piece of paper.  Title the left column “must have qualities in a mate”…and then start listing them (i.e. family oriented, hardworking, funny, etc.) Once you’re done, turn to the right column and title it – “qualities in me”.  Then go down the list you made for your mate and check off those traits that you yourself have. Those traits that are left unchecked, if they’re really important to you, then work on creating them in your own life (for instance, if you want a man who is sensitive, yet you hold your feelings close to your chest, work on opening up).  After you’re done with this list, run it by a friend for an objective view.

#3 – Be realistic

Let’s be honest, you’re not going to be able to tell if the man you just met (whether online or in person) has all of your must-have mate qualities upfront.  Give it time…after a few dates you will see if you start checking those must-have traits off the list.  Also, while looking out for those traits, be open to other qualities that may be attractive to you as well.  It’s also important to know that one mate will not obtain ALL your must-have traits.  So pick 3-4 that are truly must-haves and leave the rest for ‘nice-to-haves’.

It’s crucial in this process of finding our life-long mate to be aware of the qualities you find attractive in someone else that you can also find them in yourself. First and foremost, you need to be that ‘person’ for yourself!

“First and foremost, you need to be that ‘person’ for yourself!” True dat…

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