Wednesday, February 25, 2009

How Can People Stay “In Love” Throughout Their Marriage?

Most people who get married believe that they will stay in love forever … that nature will just take its course and spouses will continue to feel the wonderful love that they felt through the courtship and early marriage. Nothing could be further from the truth!

Most people, in most marriages, find that they have times of feeling more in love than others and there are definitely times when they may not feel much love at all. It is also true that it is very easy to find yourself attracted to someone else … I mean, that is human nature to notice and appreciate others.

Those who recognize the “normal” gees and haws of marriage are more easily able to get past them quickly. Staying in love, seeing the positives in your partner and your marriage and focusing on them more than the bad helps keep the loving thoughts alive. Acting in loving ways with intimacy and fun, talking in nurturing and caring ways, all help as well. Here are some of our ideas about what you can do to help keep the love in your marriage.

Recognize that staying in love does not happen automatically. You cannot put it on autopilot. Keeping it has to be a priority in your marriage. It should not take a lot of work, but will require some effort.

Find a time or two during each day to think about your spouse, maybe look at a picture, and remember why you love him or her.

At the end of every day, talk together about three things that you really like and appreciate about each other and about the relationship.

Have regular rituals together where you celebrate your relationship and each other. These rituals may include lighting a candle and sharing a cup of tea every night after the children are in bed, a weekly date night, Sunday morning breakfast in bed. Rituals help to hold couples together.

Talk together about the future
on a regular basis … both about the near future such as the weekend or a home project, a vacation that you want to take, etc. and also about far into the future as you think about retirement and growing old together.

Have a mind-set for yourself and a pact with your spouse
that you want to stay in love and that all problems have a solution. Some may take a while to solve and some may require a professional “consultant” but together, you can figure anything out.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Tip of the Week, February 23, 2009

“To experience pain may not be a choice, but to suffer is a cognitive decision.”
Jill Bolte Taylor

Friday, February 13, 2009

A Man's Guide To Healing A Broken Heart

This is an article in a local weekly. John shares some of his ideas with the witty and interesting author.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

It is Valentine’s Day and I am not in love … but I am married. How depressing is that!

While we think that Valentine’s Day is fun for those in a new and loving relationship, we know that it can be a very depressing day for those in unhappy relationships. Here are some tips to help you cope with this day.

Lower your expectations.
This is not a time to hope for a big change in any relationship, let alone one that has been in a rough spot for some time. Try not to look for something special from your spouse because you have a good chance of being disappointed and hurt. Better not to set yourself up for that.

Find a way to love yourself.
Remember that you are an important person who is worthy of love.

Do something nice for someone else, particularly someone who might be alone or sad. Send a card, make a call, give a box of candy or single flower to someone else who might be alone or lonely.

Make a careful decision about whether or not to do something for your spouse.
Doing nothing because you are mad or hurt does not help you to feel better. Giving something because you hope to give something in return may set up disappointment. Choosing to give a card or small gift as a way of making a move toward your spouse may be a good idea. Whatever you choose to do, examine your motives and do it because it would feel right to you and not because you want something in return.

Be grateful for the good in your life.
At the beginning of the day, write down 3 things that you like about yourself and your life. At the end of the day, make 3 entries in your Gratitude Journal. Write 3 things that you are grateful for on just that day.

Monday, February 9, 2009

25 Tips for Romance

1. Recreate your first date. Try to remember where you went, what you did, what you wore, what you ate, what you talked about. Re-create as closely as you can.

2. Put candy kisses in your sweetheart’s pockets, car, at the kitchen table, and leave a picture with a heart next to them.

3. Surprise is a wonderful way to bring back romance. Think of something that your partner really wants or would like to do … and get it or plan it.

4. Find something playful to do … swing on a swing set, play miniature golf, have a pillow fight, bring home the ingredients for “some mores” …

5. Leave love notes in unexpected places.

6. Have dinner alone and with candlelight using the best china and silver.

7. Come up with 25 reasons why you love your partner and write them out in a card or out them on small slips of paper in a box for him to open.

8. Look clearly into your partner’s eyes for a few seconds and, while holding that gaze, tell her how much you love her.

9. Find pet names for each other that express endearment and caring.

10. Give her flowers on each of your children’s birthdays.

11. Reminisce about how you fell in love. What were the first signals to you that this was a different relationship? When did you first notice that you were in love and when did you first say it out loud? What were some of the earliest things about your partner that you noticed and led to the feelings of love?

12. Listen to songs that were popular when you fell in love? Choose a song that is “your” song.

13. Celebrate the anniversary of your first date … every month.

14. Write in a journal on a regular basis with highlights of your life together. Read it together on your anniversary.

15. Watch a romantic old movie together like .. Casablanca, Marty, An Affair to Remember or Doctor Zhivago.

16. Take a bubble bath together.

17. Pack a picnic a find a spot where there are no other people around.

18. If you have young children and cannot get away easily, plan a special time after they are in bed. Light candles, put on music, fix something interesting to eat and drink. Think of two or three items of conversation that might reveal more to you about your partner like “What was your favorite thing to do as a child? Tell me all of the reasons you liked it.” or “What is your biggest dream, realistic or not?”

19. Talk about a couple, real or on the screen, that you really like and think of their relationship as very romantic. Talk about all of the reasons that make you think that. Is there anything that they do/have done that you could do?

20. Tell your partner 5 things that you love and appreciate about him. Give him all of the reasons that make you say that. Share one example of a time when she/he showed that quality.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Tip of the Week, February 9, 2009

“Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country.”
John F. Kennedy
Ask not what your relationship can do for you. Ask what you can do for your relationship.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Showing Love and Feeling Loved: Are They The Same?

Jane really feels loved when Tim talks to her about his day and asks about her day. Just finding time to put down the paper, turn off the television and sit with her for a few minutes lets her know that Tim really cares.

Tim feels loved when Jane does things with him. When Jane finds a sitter and invites him to a movie or to play tennis, he really feels loved and cared for.

Zack feels love when Cindy cuddles with him on the couch while they are watching a movie or takes his hand while they are going for a walk.

Cindy really feels loved when Zack brings home a simple flower or her favorite chocolate bar. For her, it is not the cost, it is the idea that he has thought about her and found something that says “I love you. You are important to me.”

Expressing and feeling love is different for different people. Finding out from your sweetheart what feels like love to him or her is important rather than giving love in the way that you want. Jane may appreciate Tim inviting her to do things and really enjoy the opportunity, but would really feel more loved by his giving her a coupon for 20 minutes of uninterrupted conversation every night.

Listen and learn from your partner about what is important to them and what makes them feel loved. Some of the most common ways are:

finding time in the day or night to spend together, even in the craziness of a busy life.
Attention: actively listening and remembering what is happening.
Conversation: talking out loud about your day, hopes, dreams and asking about your partner’s day, hopes and dreams.
Gifts: even the smallest token of acknowledgement is very important to some.
Physical affection: hugs, kisses, touches along with making love.
Activities: doing things together feels like love to many. This is often what men miss most.
Affirmations: recognition and acknowledgment of what you notice that is good and what you really appreciate.

What have you learned about love and what it means in your relationship?