Category Archives for "Communication"

5 Surprising Factors of Long & Successful Marriages

By Dustin | Communication

5-surprising-factors-of-long-successful-marriages“Until death do us part” is a time-honored oath declared in most wedding ceremonies, but this promise is often difficult to maintain as numerous challenges wreak havoc on your marriage commitment.

In a society where divorce has become normalized – even expected – how can you withstand those bleak statistics and experience fulfillment with that same person to whom you vowed “I do?”

The following attributes can infuse your marriage with longevity and vitality for a lifetime.

Social Media Does Not Replace Interaction

The rampant accessibility of various networking sites can help you connect with people across the globe, but avid social media usage could alienate you from the relationship worth sustaining above all others – your spouse.

In fact, research conducted at Boston University in 2014 found that a 2% upsurge in nationwide divorce might correlate with increased Facebook consumption by 20%.

So, don’t mistake digital messaging for actual conversation – humans are communicative beings, and your partner is no exception.

Balance Togetherness and Alone Time

Couples who pursue both individual interests and shared activities tend to experience an increased sense of compatibility, engagement, mutual support and positive affirmation.

That’s because each person in the relationship needs separate and conjoined outlets to preserve their own identity, while finding common ground with their spouse.

Bring your unique passions into the marriage, but discover a new hobby you can cultivate side-by-side – whether it’s training for a marathon or taking lessons on the ukulele.

Prioritize Education and Employment

Financial strain can provoke numerous marital issues – deception, anxiety, selfishness, resentment and distrust – but a conscientious view of your job can give your partner the security and stability they desire.

Moreover, 35% of employed people get divorced, compared to 42% of unemployed people.

Obtaining higher education also projects to your spouse that you are dependable, motivated, and goal-oriented. The Washington Post even reports 10% fewer divorces among those with a bachelor’s degree.

Conscious Choices Exceed Rash Decisions

When faced with transitions – pursuing a career advancement, beginning a family or moving to another state, for example – couples are more equipped to reach a mutually beneficial verdict when they discuss their options in a thorough, candid and respectful manner.

This approach helps you both fight the urge to react impulsively based on heightened emotions, therefore avoiding tension, arguments or consequences.

While change is inevitable, your response can either uphold or derail the marriage bond.

Use Inclusive Pronouns

Rather than telling your spouse, “I think” or “I need,” research compiled at the University of California Berkeley indicates that “us” and “we” communicate a more unified front – particularly in disagreements.

Using these words during high-stress moments can reduce feelings of division and promote conflict resolution instead.

So, the next time you find yourselves embroiled in combat, remember that “I” or “me” conveys isolation, but “us” or “we” forges camaraderie…a basic ingredient for overcoming obstacles.

There you have it – five ways you can proactively help to ensure your marriage is lifelong…and happy.

How to Be a Good Husband: Here is Everything She Needs From You

By Dustin | Communication

how-to-be-a-good-husband-here-is-everything-she-needs-from-youWhether you’re single, thinking of engagement, or have been married for years, your lover will appreciate these tips on how to be a good husband.

We live in a world where you can find instruction manuals for almost anything online.

But there’s no Haynes manual on how to be a good husband.

We also don’t come into this world instinctively knowing how to do it.

With a 40-50% projected risk of divorce, it looks like a lot of couples could use some help.

The good news is, being a good husband is a skill you can learn!

Follow these tips and 10x your relationship!

1) Remember that she can sense how you’re feeling.

Men aren’t mind-readers. And while they’re much better at reading between the lines, neither are women.

But they can sense a shift in emotions. So if you’re in a bad mood, feeling resentful, or bitter, she’ll pick up on it.

Body language, tone of voice, choice of language – she’s unconsciously reading all of it, all of the time.

She might not even know she’s detecting your feelings on a conscious level. But she’ll react to them all the same.

So far, that sounds pretty negative. But the solution is surprisingly simple. If she’ll pick up on your bad emotions – she’ll also pick up on the good ones.

Respect her. Be authentic. Be honest.

This is particularly important if she senses something is wrong. If she asks you what’s up, don’t ignore her, even if you’re worried she won’t like the answer.

Howard Markman, co-director of the Center for Marital and Family Studies, believes that “nagging is an enemy of love”.

2) So, don’t turn her into a nagging wife.

Be honest. Do you ever complain to your friends that your wife won’t stop nagging you?

Well if you want to be a good husband, then your first job is to realize that you’re not infallible.

If she asks you to do something, do it. Don’t keep putting it off until she has to ask you a million times.

She’s only nagging you because you’re ignoring what she’s asking.

You may get home from work and be too tired to do what she’s asking.

But think about it from her point of view. She’s probably been at work all day too,

Yet she’s still expected to do the household chores, make the meals, look after the kids, and clear up after you.

If you want some time to yourself to unwind, then why would you expect anything less for her?

Step up and take some of the responsibilities off her shoulders. That’s how to be a good husband.

3) Involve her in your struggles.

Maybe you’ve had an awful day at work. Perhaps you’re in a terrible mood for any number of reasons.

You already know she’ll be able to tell. So involve her in what’s wrong.

Tell her about your day. Ask her advice.

Just let her know your mood has nothing to do with her.

Simply talking about it might lift your burden. Or she might have some useful suggestions.

Making her feel like you’re a team to tackle problems together is an easy way to strengthen your relationship.

By the same token, when she talks about her problems, don’t offer to solve them for her.

And certainly, don’t tell her how she should have acted.

Just listen, and let her know that you care.

It’s a cliche but it’s true – a problem shared really is a problem halved.

4) She wants to feel wanted.

It’s sometimes a common misconception that men are more interested in sex than women.

That’s not true. It’s just the case that men are more vocal about it!

Flirt with her. Make her feel special.

Don’t make her feel like sex is an obligation or a chore.

This goes back to #1. If you’re resentful or critical of her, she’s not going to jump at the chance to jump into bed.

But if you show her you appreciate her, and you value who she is, she’ll naturally be more positive towards you.

Listen to her when she’s talking. Ask questions about her day. Pay her compliments even if she doesn’t ask for them.

Sneak love notes into her purse. Find out her favorite food and prepare it for her to take to work for lunch.

Or, offer to make her dinner. Take her to that fancy new restaurant that’s getting rave reviews on TripAdvisor.

You could really put some proper thought into your anniversary plans. These 5 gestures will mean more than a box of chocolates ever will!

If she feels more emotionally fulfilled by the relationship, then she’ll be far more loving towards you.

5) Remember why you wanted her in the first place.

There must be a reason you chose her above all other women.

It’s easy to lose sight of that after you get married. The novelty wears off and the daily grind sets in.

You start to rub each other up the wrong way. She criticizes you, so you snap back. You want her to feel bad too.

STOP.

Talk to your friends about how they saw your relationship when you first got together. Look at photographs. Watch any videos if you have them.

And don’t just look at how she’s changed. Look at how you’ve changed. Is it for the better, or worse?

This is also an exercise you can get her on board with, especially if you’re both frustrated with each other.

Turn it into an adventure.

Go on an emotional journey together to find your way back to the people that you were.

Have dates in unusual places. Get to know each other again.

She’ll appreciate the effort that you’re making.

6) Most of all, learning how to be a good husband is just step 1!

Reading about it is one thing. Putting it into practice is quite another!

Put some effort into planning an anniversary celebration.

But always involve your partner in everything. She’s your partner, not your property, trophy, or servant.

Listening to her should be at the heart of your lives together.

Make no mistake, she needs to listen to you too. This goes both ways!

So make an effort to have time together without interruptions. Put your phones away, turn off the TV, and just talk.

Really listen to each other, too. Don’t spend all of your time just waiting to speak.

Practicing mindfulness could really help you, especially the use of deep listening. You’ll hear things you’ve often missed in the past – and you’ll get to know her so much better as a result.

It’s true that following all of these steps will take time and effort. If you’d like to kickstart your journey with a peace offering, then consider one of our beautiful gifts for her.

Good luck!

dr-carissa-coulston-relationship-psychologistDr. Carissa Coulston is a Clinical Psychologist with over 30 research publications in high standard medical and psychiatric peer-reviewed journals. She has experience in managing a wide range of problems within the Psychology spectrum from common everyday issues such as stress and anxiety, to more chronic and severe mental health conditions.

Carissa writes a regular blog on relationship management and helps people deal with various problems they face in relationships, offering advice on how to resolve difficult situations, strategies to cope with and move past painful and disappointing experiences, and tips on how to improve the overall quality of relationships to achieve happiness and fulfillment.

The Art of Not Communicating

By Dustin | Communication

the-art-of-not-communicatingWe often hear communication in a marriage is everything, and that is indeed true.

But good communication doesn’t always require dialogue.

One of the most proactive measures I’ve taken to bring about a more peaceful marriage is to not talk.

Well, less than I used to anyway.

The reason this is important is that men are a largely silent bunch.

They speak far less than women do—research shows women talk some 13,000 words more per day than men!—not because they have nothing of value to offer but because men don’t talk just to talk. They think first about what they have to say and then ‘bottom line’ it.

That’s not how women operate.

To us, talking is second nature; and it starts when we’re young. Our girlfriends come over, and we talk for hours on end, or they don’t come over so we talk for hours on end on the phone.

Even as adults, a ‘girl’s night out’ is often filled with incessant gabbing. And if we haven’t seen a friend in months and then spend two hours together, we feel like we haven’t said squat. “We have to get together again,” we implore. “That wasn’t enough time!”

If you’re female, this will sound very familiar. A man won’t identify with this at all—although he may recognize it from his experience with sisters, wives and girlfriends. Women talk.

I once went to a ballgame with my husband and another couple. From the moment the other wife and I sat down, she and I turned toward one another and began talking. Half way through the game, we were still talking—and still facing one another.

The man behind us finally leaned over and asked what in the world two people could find to talk about for that long, especially in the middle of a baseball game! The truth is, we didn’t even know who our home team was playing.

Now I realize that’s an extreme (although 100% true) example, and I’m not suggesting most women don’t like baseball or would be as clueless as I was about who’s playing whom.

I’m simply demonstrating that talking is a largely female activity.

As a female, if I have a thought, I need to get it out. I love to talk! To communicate! To analyze! To dissect!

I could talk all day. I talk even when there’s nothing to say.

But that was not going over well in my marriage.

Men aren’t wired to communicate the way women do. They communicate in a different way, one of which involves—ironically—silence.

There’s a great scene in the movie Aloha when a military contractor named Brian is in his former girlfriend Tracy’s kitchen. Tracy is now married to Woody, an Air Force recruit who doesn’t talk much. When Woody walks into the kitchen where Brian and Tracy are chatting, he stares at Brian for a really long time. Then he walks over to him, looks directly into Brian’s eyes, and gives him a hug. Then he walks out of the room.

Lamenting her husband’s quiet nature, Tracy says to Brian, “See what I mean?” But Brian tells Tracy she has it all wrong and proceeds to tell Tracy everything he got out of the “conversation” between him and Woody—all based solely on body language.

Men are very attuned to body language.

Your husband is deeply affected by your intonations and facial expressions, as well as by the way you walk. He’ll pick up on your mood before you’ve even opened your mouth. That’s the power you have as a female. Even when you don’t talk, you’re making a statement.

We live in a culture that celebrates the loudest among us. But the advantages of being quiet are manifold.

Not talking gives you the opportunity to collect your thoughts before saying something you wish you hadn’t. Not talking makes your husband perk up because that is his language. Not talking makes you a better listener.

If you’d like more insights on how to put this into practice (easily), be sure to grab this free communication strategy from Engaged Marriage.

So on that note, I have an experiment for you.

For one week, decide to keep your feelings to yourself. Every time you want to say something, zip your lip and think first: Do I need to say this? Weigh the pros and cons first.

Then, when you do speak, do so carefully and purposefully as opposed to just talking every emotion you have in order to release your frustrations. (You can call or text your friend for that.) After you’ve been quieter than usual for a week, watch your husband start to be more receptive.

Watch him instigate conversations with you.

Really.

Suzanne Venker

 

Suzanne Venker is the author of five books that challenge feminist narratives regarding men, women, work & family.

 

Her newest book, The Alpha Female’s Guide to Men & Marriage: HOW LOVE WORKS, will be published February 2017.

 

You can find her at www.suzannevenker.com.

From Sour Couple To Power Couple: 5 Habits That Will Power Up Your Marriage

By Dustin | Communication

From Sour Couple To Power Couple- 5 Habits That Will Power Up Your Marriage

We all know them…

Those couples who seem to have it all together.

They accomplish things together. They play together.

They genuinely seem happy and content.

They seem to have it all…

They are a Power Couple.

What’s their secret?

What is it that they’re doing to make their relationship so strong and enduring?

The secret is…

They work at their relationship. Every. Day. 

What isn’t a secret is that you can have this kind of relationship too!

By replacing a few of those old energy-draining habits with some powerful new habits… you and your partner can power out of your relationship rut and into the marriage you’ve always wanted.

So what are these powerful habits?

Let’s take a look.

Power Couples Communicate

Power couples know that communicating is more than just “talking” to each other. They are open and genuine in expressing their feelings and needs.

They are present in the moment (yes, that means you have to put down the cell phone). They seek to understand first instead of thinking of their next response.

Power couples regularly engage in deep, emotional discussions that tap into a level of emotional intimacy that just “talking” misses. They nurture that emotional connection that is so vital to marital satisfaction.

If you need one more reason to improve your communication here it is…

Emotional intimacy lays the foundation for physical intimacy. Yes, a satisfying marital sex life starts in the head not in the… you know what.

Power Couples Invest In Their Relationship

Power couples know that what they put into the relationship will come back to them ten-fold. They make an effort, do the work and take the time necessary to keep the relationship healthy.

When you invest in your relationship… you trust what you give will grow. However if you invest nothing… you have zero chance of a return.

Investing sometimes means doing the hard things even when you don’t want to.

Compromising when you want to argue or seeing the positive in your partner even when they’re at their worst. Those kinds of actions build trust and commitment. Investing signals to your spouse, “You are worth the effort”.

Power Couples Make Intimacy A Priority

Power couples know that intimacy is much more than just having sex. Intimacy is that emotional closeness between you and your partner that allows you both to let down your guard and share your innermost personal feelings.

Intimacy grows from spending quality time together. Power couples make it a point to do the little everyday things that connect them as a couple – like making it a priority to eat dinner together or taking an evening stroll. They create little everyday rituals that run through their lives like a thread keeping them connected.

Power couples know the power of thoughtful gestures: snuggling, hugging, hand-holding, sweet words – those little things that create closeness.

And here’s a bonus… Couples with higher levels of emotional intimacy tend to report greater satisfaction with their sex lives. And speaking of sex…

Power Couples Get Physical

Emotional intimacy is important but let’s face it… we like to have sex too! Sex is an important part of a healthy relationship. Sadly, it’s also one of the first things that can fall by the wayside when life gets in the way.

Not connecting lately?

Power couples know that sometimes you have to leave a trail. A well-placed sexy note, a provocative text… even a whispered sweet nothing can bring your partner’s attention to the here and now.

Power couples know that you have to prioritize sexy time. Date nights, a spontaneous rendezvous, a surprise weekend getaway… even penciling yourself into your partner’s calendar can all keep sex on the schedule and just a little bit spicy.

The bottom line is… keep sex as a top priority.

Power Couples Fight Fair

Make no mistake… even power couples have their conflicts.

What sets them apart is the way they fight. Power couples know that when handled the right way conflicts are an opportunity for growth in the relationship.

So what does “fair fighting” mean?

In healthy relationships it means listening to understand each other’s feelings. It means looking for a solution and being willing to meet each other in the middle.

Fair fighting sometimes means apologizing when you need to. Yes, even power couples have to apologize sometimes. Hurtful words do tremendous damage. Once said aloud they can never be taken back.

If they do come out… a sincere apology can help the healing process to begin. Power couples know the power of accountability and forgiveness.

A marriage is not a contest and power couples know this. It’s not about “winners and losers”. It’s about finding solutions that empower you as a couple.

Want to learn more ways to power up your marriage? If so, you need to see this:

 http://www.engagedmarriage.com/tmm-presentation

Investing in your relationship is the single most important thing you can do to build a strong, empowered and satisfying love.

The sooner you start, the sooner you can reap the rewards.

Total Marriage Makeover

Be sure to check it out today…your spouse will definitely thank you for it!

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“Fight” Your Way To Romance: 6 Tips For Conflict Resolution That Bring You Closer

By Dustin | Communication

“Fight” Your Way To Romance- 6 Tips For Conflict Resolution That Bring You Closer

It’s the un-sexiest thing you do…

It’s Fighting, and it either happens way too often (or perhaps not often enough).

No matter your case, when you think about bringing back the spark in your relationship, the last thing on your mind is how you argue…

But fighting is the ultimate destroyer of date nights and intimate moments everywhere, and the only way to keep it from spoiling the fun is understanding how to do it right.

Your first thought is probably, “We don’t need to talk about fighting fair. We don’t fight like that.

None Of Us Want To Admit That We, As A Couple, Actually Do Things Like Fight.

Call it what you will. The fact is that every couple, even the very-definition-of-happy couple, has conflict.

They fight. Sometimes those conflicts are short-lived, minor skirmishes. It’s natural, and in some cases beneficial.

When you aren’t fighting fair, those little skirmishes become full on battles ending in emotional wounds, bitterness and no resolution to the problem.

Left unresolved, the scenario will play out again. And again.

There’s a difference between healthy fighting and fighting that causes serious damage, and we’re about to show you what that difference is and just how you can start fighting fair.

Over Time, Repeated Battling Becomes The Way You Communicate With Each Other.

When you fight, you get into a sort of communication rut where it becomes the norm to say and do ugly things with the rationale of, “I was mad. I didn’t mean it.”

You’ve probably heard the old saying, “You can’t unring a bell.”  The same is true about words said in a conflict.

Once you’ve said them, they hang in the air between you. You can’t take them back. Maybe you really didn’t mean them but the hurt remains long after the apologies are made.

Fighting Done Right: 6 Key Tips For Successful Battles

If this sounds familiar, then read on!

Imagine being able to disagree, discuss and resolve a problem without yelling, tears or hurt feelings.
You’re about to learn powerful ways to handle conflicts with your partner in ways that end in resolution instead of hurt feelings.

1. Stay Cool

Yelling communicates aggression, anger and a perception of threat.

The survival response is triggered and defenses go UP! You want to speak in a way that encourages your partner to hear you not fear you.

  • Screaming at your partner doesn’t make him/her hear you any better. Yelling can actually have the opposite effect – they simply shut down and tune you out.  
  • Your partner is more likely to be willing to talk if you remain in control of your tone and manner.  Pointing in someone’s face, crossing your arms, rolling your eyes, sarcasm and similar actions communicates agitation, aggression or even disregard.
  • Your calm presence will also encourage your partner to remain calm.  It’s hard to yell and scream at someone who is staying calm and in control.   

2. Show Respect

is a really, really good time to remember: think before you speak. Being respectful sends the signal to your partner that even though you may be angry, you can be kind.

  • Avoid name calling and ugly remarks. They cut to the core and once said, will linger in your partner’s mind long after the conflict is over.
  • Use “I statements” to express how you feel.  Use words that express how you feel and what is important to you. This helps your partner understand what you want and need without minimizing what they feel.
  • Avoid demands or ultimatums. Instead, propose solutions or options to discuss.

3. Time Out!

Getting nowhere? Try one of these strategies:

  • Call a time-out! Get some fresh air, walk the dog or simply step into another room. The goal is to step away from the conflict for a few minutes so that you and your partner can cool off BEFORE either of you say something you don’t mean and can’t take back.
  • Time-outs should be at least 30 minutes. You need time to emotionally and physiologically calm down.
  • Have a signal that you can both use to safely say, “Hey, I need a break.” After your time out, check back to see if your partner is ready to resume the discussion. If not, set a time to continue. This is the key…Your partner needs to trust that you will come back and resolve the problem.

4. Here-And-Now

If you focus on past issues, you can’t address what is happening between you now. If the old issue wasn’t a problem 24 hours ago, why is it relevant now?

  • Focus on one issue at a time. You can’t resolve all of your problems at once. If you have more than one, make a list and tackle them over time. Success breeds success.
  • Avoid using “always” and “never”. They are rarely true.

5. Find Common Ground

Lose the idea of a “fight” meaning that one wins and one loses. That’s a game. Your relationship is not a game.

  • The goal is not to “win” because if one “wins”, then the other one must “lose”.  The goal is to find a resolution you can each live with…give a little, get a little.
  • Hear your partner out.  To find a true resolution, you have to understand what your partner’s feelings and needs are.
  • Seek a resolution and not just a truce. A true resolution means that you’ve shared your feelings, forgiven, apologized and found a solution that will keep the battle from being fought over and over.

6. Keep It Private

It’s easy to want to vent to others. We want someone to validate our feelings. Fight the urge!

You won’t get what you need and you’re setting your partner up for a battle he/she can’t win. You may be willing to forgive your partner but your family and friends will have a much harder time of it.

  • Your relationship, your business.  Don’t involve your mom, your BFF, your co-workers or anyone else. They are more likely to take your side and simply tell you what you want to hear.
  • No Social Media. Social media is the last place you want a conflict to play out. Your relationship is not a reality show. Respect your relationship.

At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that regardless of the issue, you’re fighting for your relationship.  You can fight to be right or you can fight to be happy.  

You have to decide what is most important.

Whether it’s handling conflict or keeping the relationship healthy, even the most loving couples can get off track. Sometimes a little nudge is all that’s needed to get back on the path to happiness, fulfillment, and sensuality.

Once you can get your fighting right, the romance is sure to resurge.

Ready to Learn More Ways to Help Your Relationship Thrive?

Learning how to fight is a great start, but we both know that there’s a lot more to really open up and let the romance thrive.  If you’re ready to bust out of a romance rut, you’ll LOVE our Bring Back the Romance program.

Click here to Ramp Up the Romance Today

How to Keep the Romance Alive When Kids Bring Chaos

Be sure to check it out today…your spouse will definitely thank you for it!

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