Why Marriage?

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Why are couples choosing marriage?

~They are in love

~They trust this is the right person

~They want a family

~They want a life-long commitment

~They want security

~They want to be together forever

~They want a wedding

~They want “The Dress”

~They don’t want to be lonely

~They feel pressured

~They want financial security

Many couples choose marriage for the right reasons, but they also choose marriage for the wrong reasons.  Even though the social norm is constantly changing, a majority of people still want marriage.  Marriage promotes the common good by building families and raising children.  Marriage benefits society.  Children, Women and Men all benefit from marriage.  Both for its intrinsic good and for its benefits for society, we need marriage.  Everyone wants to have a good marriage.  Marriage is a deep commitment.

What is marriage?

~Its the beginning of a new family.  It’s a life-long commitment.  You will be given opportunities of growth in selflessness.  You will now be given the opportunity to serve others in your new family.

~It is Love. A commitment of unconditional love.  You choose to love everyday.  There will be days that you feel frustrated or maybe discouraged, but everyday you choose to love that person regardless.

~It is oneness.  Marriage is when two become one.  Marriage is a bond between two people.  You grow together in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer.  You will journey through life together.  Your spouse will be someone that will walk by your side through life’s challenges.  They are true to you in the good and in the bad.

Are you getting married for the right reasons?  Here are some right reasons for marriage: 

~You are in love with one another and you have a desire to share your life together.

~You share the same goals and values and you can dream together.  This would also include your willingness to be there for each other when achieving your own values and goals.

~You have spent enough time together and know it is the right choice.  You don’t have the blinders on and are fully aware of each others successes and struggles.

 

Before you say “yes”, consider these wrong reasons why many people marry the wrong person.  

~Money – you may think I will be financial secure if I marry.

~Peer Pressure – all your friends are getting married and you’ve been with that person a long time so you feel like you should just get married.

~To be happy – If your not happy before you get married then you won’t be happy after you get married.

~To save, rescue or help someone.  You can’t change someone.  A lot of people think that if they just marry that person they will change or you may feel like you will help them.  Healthy people make healthy relationships.

A thriving marriage is made of two thriving individuals building a relationship together.

 

 

Investing in your Relationship

Dating is a big part of not only getting to know that other person, but it’s also a time for you to share life experiences through that relationship.

In the beginning, the first date is a time to break the ice and start making a connection with that other person.  Those first few dates are important no matter what movie you saw, the food you ate or the place you went.  It’s important that the time spent together was enjoyable and it was spent just getting to know each other.  As the relationship continues make regular connections to keep that bond going strong.  Go on regular dates because that will be a great way to jump start that habit.  A lack of romance is often the reason many couples break up or even divorce.  It can be hard to come up with new date ideas the longer you are together.  Here are some simple date ideas to invest in your relationship.

First Date Ideas – Keep it Simple

Meet at a coffee shop.  Most coffee shops are setup to initiate intimate conversation. You can have it be as short of a date as you want or as long as you want.  You can end the date at any time and it won’t seem awkward.

Dinner Out.  This is probably the most common first date idea.  It’s always fun to base conversation around food.  It helps set the tone for good conversation.  It gives you the opportunity to have a good dinning experience along with getting to know each other.

After the date is over you may be thinking do I want to go out with this person again?  The simplest way to decide is by asking yourself, “Do I want to talk to this person again?”  If the answer is yes, continue on with the next date.  Don’t put too much pressure on yourself with creating the perfect date.  Just be you.

Fun Date Ideas

It’s important in a relationship to do something fun together.  Sometimes after we have dated someone for a long time we tend to get lazy and too comfortable with that person and so we don’t want to bother gong out or doing anything together.  What do you like to do together that makes you laugh?  Makes you smile?

Be adventurous.  Go hiking, skiing or spend a day on the boat together.

Go out dancing.  Spend the evening together dancing in the backyard to your favorite love songs or take dance lessons together.

Plan a picnic in the park. Spend the afternoon together take a walk and enjoy lunch at the park.

Cheap Date Ideas

Every date doesn’t always have to be based around spending a lot of money.  It’s not about the amount of money you spend, but it’s more about the time spent together.  Here are some suggestions for free and cheap dates:

Stay home.  A night home with dinner and movie is a perfect quiet evening after what may have been a long week.

Visit a park or museum.  Certain times a year a zoo or museum may offer free days   Take advantage of these opportunities.  The park is always free.

A Day at the Beach.  A perfect romantic day could be spent at the beach.  Pack a lunch and take a walk along the beach at sunset.

Romantic Date Ideas

At some point in your relationship you may need to rekindle the romance.  Romance is kept alive by always showing affection to each other.  Remember to always compliment each other and remember what the other person likes to do.  At times give that other person your undivided attention.  Ideas for a romantic date are:

Dinner out at a nice restaurant.  Find a small quaint romantic restaurant or make a romantic dinner at home.

Couples massage.  Spend the afternoon having lunch at your favorite restaurant then surprise your spouse with a couples massage.

Plan a mini vacation away.  Spend the weekend away with your spouse at your favorite vacation spot.

Go to a comedy Club or Show.  Laughter is good medicine.

Dating, whether its your 1st or your 100th date is the best and easiest way to keep your relationship healthy and long-lasting.  Always date each other.  If you are consistent with dating even after you have been married for 30 years you are reminding each other that they are important and that the other person matters.  No matter what even when life gets busy and crazy always make time to date and keep investing your time in that relationship.

Fighting in a Healthy Relationship

Fighting is completely normal and healthy in a relationship.  If your not willing to discuss your thoughts and emotions with each other then it just bubbles up inside and will eventually turn into a full blown nasty fight.  However, not ALL fighting is OK in a relationship.  In a healthy relationship you will be able to resolve the conflict in one sitting no matter how big or small the issue may be.  Don’t bring up the past, go to bed mad or even give each other the silent treatment.  It can be difficult to resolve a conflict so quickly.  Take the time to really listen to the other person, tell them how you may be feeling without yelling and try to understand where they are coming from.  Never walk away or shut down.

 

If you completely resolve your conflict then it should never be brought up again.  Learn how to move past the conflict and forgive.  If something was done 2 weeks ago that bothered you and you then decide to bring it up in a current fight you might be dealing with conflict in an unhealthy way.  This means that each fight needs to be truly worked through and settled before you move on.  If it is not dealt with and settled then you will just bury it inside until the next fight and the next fight after that.  It will eventually make you explode.  Never keep records of wrong that your partner has done in your relationship.  If your going to fight fair then deal with the present issue.  Never drag previous issues into it.

It’s important that you have good communication with each other.  Be respectful in the way you talk.  You need to have open and honest communication with each other.  Solve your problems as they come into the relationship.  Learn to pick your battles.  Never keep score of the others wrongful doing and NEVER hold grudges against them.

In the end, you both have a common goal.  Your goal is to fight fair and have a happy healthy relationship.

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Fifty Shades of Gray – What it is Teaching about Sex & Relationships

While lots of women are fantasizing about the rich, sexy, smart, controlling and abusive Christian Grey of fiction, there are lots of women that are dealing with living in this environment every day.

The popularity of “Fifty Shades of Grey” among women also sends a message to men that unrestrained domination is what women want.  And, educated by porn, they know how to do it.  A majority of men have been regularly feeding their mind of this kind of violent sex and degradation through porn for many many years.  Ana Bridges, a researcher at the University of Arkansas, conducted a study that found that 89 percent of the most popular porn scenes involved violence.  Porn will show you that women enjoy torture and violence, and now “Fifty Shades of Grey” is tacking on an un-realistic fairy-tale ending, convincing women that this type of relationship is normal and that they should just give in.

Sexual violence is on the rise in our military, colleges, families and even on the street.  It is no wonder that these are the consequences when violence is made to be sexy.  The National Center on Sexual Exploitation website, fiftyshadesisabuse.com, details 50 problems with this disturbing trend in the media.  This project comes in an effort to educate the public on how sexual exploitation affects society on both individual and public health levels.

The movie is selling itself as an exciting love story and making people believe that this is what true love should be like.  Abuse is inexcusable, even when the abuser was abused during their childhood.  People need to be held accountable and responsible for the pain that they cause on others.  An abuser is someone who tries to buy your love, tells you what to eat or how to dress.  They will isolate you from your friends and family and claim that they want you to be all theirs.  The abuser monitors who you are texting, talking to and watches your every move.  They try to justify their jealousy with making you feel that they just want all of you and that you belong to them.  Sometimes this can make someone feel good about themselves because they have never had someone show them that kind of attention so they think this is what love looks like.  You may feel like you can change that person.  You think if I am just with them long enough then I can make a difference and change who they are and that they will overcome their abusive tendencies.  The “Fifty Shades of Grey” movie portrays Christian Grey as a sexy billionaire who just needs to be loved so it easily convinces the audiences around the world that this type of behavior is ok.  His classy, rich and educated character is very attractive.  We tend not not think that people like this character would not be abusive.

It’s not cool to support the twisted ways this movie portrays sexual relationships.  Speak up and share these thoughts with others.  Spread the word that this movie is anything but a true happy healthy love story.

So what does a healthy relationship look like?  

-You share the same basic values, morals and life goals

-There is trust between the both of you

-You both keep your own identity in the relationship

-Spend quality time together and quality time apart

-You should always feel safe in communicating your needs to each other

-Respect that you have your own thoughts and opinions and differences

-Set and share realistic expectations in the relationship

-Bring your best strengths to the relationships.  When one is weak the other will be strong and supportive of the other

-Honor each others families and friends.  Always maintain healthy boundaries in your relationship with each other and those around you.

 

Words of Affirmation Every Relationship Needs

Every relationship constantly needs words of encouragement and love for it to be healthy.  In your relationship are you using words to lift each other up?  Here are few ways to bring words of affirmation into your relationships:

~I love you

~You inspire me when….

~You are so kind

~You are beautiful

~You are handsome

~Your an amazing mom

~I’m lucky to call you mine

~I love how you parent our kids

~I’m so proud of you

~Your an amazing provider

~Thanks for being there when I just needed someone to listen

~Your the best cook

~I definitely married up

~I love your laugh and your smile

~You complete me

Words can either bring you up or tear you down.  Be cautious before you use your words.  Always ask yourself…will these words encourage or discourage someone?  Always be humble and kind!

 

 

RESPECT

What is respect?  By definition respect is a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements.  Respect is a behavior found in healthy relationships.  In order to get respect you have to give it.  In relationships if there is a healthy respect there will also be trust and support for each other.  Each person will also find that they value each others independence.  When respect is given it shows the other person that they are important to them.

You may ask yourself, “how do I become more respected by others?”  The following areas will help you understand respect and the appropriate steps to gain respect:

-When you know you are wrong – admit it.  Own your mistakes and be humble about it.  Accept your mistakes and move forward.

-If you have done nothing wrong then don’t apologize.  If you are disagreeing about something there is no need to apologize.  State your opinion, take responsibility and apologize if needed.  Don’t apologize for nothing just to say you apologized.

-Respect yourself in how you present yourself.  Practice good grooming habits.  Make sure you show that you care about yourself.  When you express that you care about yourself that will outpour into others and reflect on who you are as a person.

-Controlling your emotions can be difficult.  Don’t let your emotions take over.  Try to always remain calm.  If you are losing your temper it will be difficult for others to view you in a positive light.  If you respond to others in a calm manner it will help defuse the intense situation.

-If you have natural leadership tendencies you will easily earn respect from others.  If people respect you they will easily want to listen to you.  Possess great communication skills.  Be confident in yourself.

-Being a problem solver will help gain respect from your peers.  Its important to not react immediately.  When a problem arises, face the problem and take the appropriate steps to solve it.

-Remain humble.  As you develop respect always remain humble.  How you respond to others is important.  Treat others as you would want to be treated.  Do not act arrogantly.  Treat others with kindness.

-Honesty – If you want respect you must always be honest.  Follow through with what you say.  Always be dependable.

-Healthy Boundaries – Set clear boundaries within your relationships.  Don’t allow people to take you for granted or disrespect you.

Earning respect can be hard work and yet so rewarding in your relationships.  When you develop these qualities you can earn respect from others.

2018 – It’s a New Year

It’s January 2018.  It’s a new year which can also bring new changes to your life.  Many of you want to set goals for this year.  No matter how old you are, who you are or where your from you’re probably going to set goals and work seriously hard to achieve those goals.  Maybe some of those goals include running a marathon, spending more time with family and friends, reaching or even exercising for the first time.  So what does it take to reach those goals?  What does it take to ensure that you will follow through with your goals?  You have to do more than want to achieve them.  In most cases, realizing your ambitions will require a series of lifestyle changes.  Here are a few tips to achieving your New Years goals and resolutions.

  1.  Make a list – Determine what your goals are and write them down.  Brainstorm what changes you need to make to accomplish those goals.  Put the list in a spot where you can see it daily.
  2. Wake up early – Setting that alarm for earlier than normal will help you work towards achieving those goals.  The house is quiet with no distractions so you will find the extra time beneficial.  It will be hard at first, but eventually your body will be programmed to waking up early.
  3. Utilize the weekends – Weekends are important to recharge your body and mind from the hectic week.  Don’t let the time be wasted though.  Use your time effectively and efficiently.
  4. Do not procrastinate – When things are difficult to do we tend to just put them off.  Try the 15 minute rule:  set a timer for 15 minutes and commit to working on achieving those goals.  After time you may realize that you are spending more than just the 15 minutes.

May the year 2018 bring happiness to you and your family.  Remember to set those goals, work hard to accomplish them and you can have a successful and prosperous 2018!  Happy New Year!!

Five Holiday Traditions to Start Together this Year

Traditions have been around in families for many years.  Do you have any traditions in your family?  Maybe your thinking about starting new traditions.  Here are 5 holiday tradition ideas for you to start this Christmas season together.

1.  Give Back Together – Set up a volunteer activity that you can do together.  Volunteer at a local food pantry or put together food and notes of encouragement for families with babies in the NICU at your local hospital.  Put together care packages to hand out to the homeless in your town.

2.  Ornament Gifts – Buy each other one special ornament each year so you can start a collection for your tree.

3.  Quality Time Together – Snuggle up by a fire while drinking hot cocoa and watching your favorite Christmas movie.

4.  “Experience Gifts” – Exchange “experience gifts” instead of material gifts.  Does your loved one have a favorite sport?  Does she love live music? – get tickets to a special event that he/she will love.

5.  12 Dates of Christmas – Have a pre-planned date for every month of the year on the calendar.  There will be no excuses for not spending time together.

I hope you find yourself happy and healthy this Christmas season!