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Friday, 24 January 2014

Successful Decision Making

As couples; dating, engaged or married, making decisions together is bound to happen. The successes of these decisions are dependent on them being decisions that are thought through and then made jointly or even by one partner once it is for the good of the relationship and with the knowledge of the other partner. For some couples there is a difficulty of making decisions together. Here are seven practical routes to successful decision making.
1)    For the spiritual couples; praying together, asking for guidance on the matter will be beneficial.
2)    Gathering information and facts is very important; making informed decisions will work in your favour. The research can be done individually or as a couple. Sharing and discussing what was found, could make decisions easier.
3)    Asking family, friends and/or even experts is a good way to go about making some decisions. However, be mindful of getting friends or family members too much in your relationship.
4)    Lay the pros and cons on the table. Talk about them before deciding, you don’t want the cons tipping the scale and you end up making a bad decision because you did not do the requisite work in advance.
5)    As individuals, make a list of your ideals and values. Then compare them as a couple. In doing so you will be better able to make decisions that both of you can live with.
6)    Agree beforehand so that no blame will be placed on your partner if the outcome of this decision is not favourable. The responsibility should be on you both.  
7)    If the decision is turning out to be too difficult, then it is wise to revisit the decision at a later date. Time should be used to gather more information if needed, and also to think more carefully on the pros and cons before it is reexamined.

I hope you find these tips useful. I am sure I have not exhausted the list to successful decision making. Please feel free to comment and share your thoughts and ideas. 

Friday, 10 January 2014

Safeguard your Marriage Against Social Media

We could conclude that all the social media sites are just harmless, fun ways to share our lives with our friends, families, acquaintances etc. However, if used inappropriately, it can be problematic to our relationships; dating who are dating, married couples, child and parent, our relationship with God etc. need protecting from the possible pitfalls of social media. These are a few practical ways to avoid problems.
Keep an eye on the clock
There is such a thing as using too much of your time doing social media activities. In this busy world, between our careers, school, hobbies etc. our relationships suffer because there is not enough time to spend with those we care about.  Ironically, we don’t have this trouble of finding the time to keep connected with everyone in the world, but if asked for quality with our spouse, we often times use the “busy card” as an excuse. *As such, we need to be careful and schedule an appropriate time for social media activity and make more time for God, family and friends.
Airing Dirty Laundry is a NO-NO
It is inappropriate to post any form of grievances that will cause embarrassment to those we love and care about on social media. Sometimes even our posts about our significant others that were intended to be humorous are not received as such by the readers, because they don’t know the exact context to correctly determine if the update is meant to be spiteful or just a joke. Furthermore, what you might consider a joke may upset your loved ones. To those that are married, your marriage should always be presented positively, be it offline or online if you chose to talk about it in the social media.
Be Mindful of What you Share

Getting our family and friends involved in our lives via social media is easy and very fun. Because this is true, if we get carried away and share too much intimate details about our lives, this might seem harmless and innocent, but it is has huge potential to destroy that special intimacy needed to preserve our relationships; marriage and otherwise. Social media don’t need to know about every dinner date or weekend away at a hotel, and definitely not about you wanting to kill your partner because of something s/he may have done, etc. So, think carefully before you share.

Make the Rules Together

This simply means making sure you and your loved ones are on the same page on social media etiquette. Determine together what personal information can be shared. Before uploading pictures, make sure it is approved by your partner first etc.

Exchange your passwords

Yes I said it, exchange your passwords. I personally believe your spouse should know all your online passwords. It is a reflection of commitment, openness, accountability and how much you trust your spouse with the information. Additionally, it proves your interactions online are appropriate; therefore, you are not hiding anything.

Ultimately, it is your responsibility to filter what you share on social media. Your contacts only have the information you share. So share information that won’t be a threat to your relationships.  

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Balance Between Individualism and Dependency

Watch a couple as they dance, if it is done playfully and carefully you will notice a balance of pull and push. There is connecting then pulling apart, a mixture of separateness and togetherness. Relationships should be no different. If couples are able to successfully balance the delicacy of separating and connecting, then the level of intimacy will increase.
This concept of balancing togetherness and separateness is not a new focus for researchers, marriage, family, and relationship therapists. It is essential for intimate relationships to have a balance that carefully supports and encourages independence and togetherness. The ideal is for couples to achieve a healthy togetherness while keeping each other’s separate world preserved. It will allow for the relationship to grow to their full potential. This however, is very challenging.
Each individual expects different levels of togetherness and separateness from their partner. Expecting your partner to meet your intimate needs, precisely how you require is unreasonable, since for instance, you may have different schedules and preferences, so compromise is a must.
Why there needs to be a balance?
Chronic closeness denies the partner the opportunity to grow as an individual, which is necessary even in a relationship. This stifles personal growth, and cause the loss of individuality. However, if there is too much distance in separateness, it gives room for partners to feel lonely and unfulfilled in the relationship. At both extremes; the couple will be trapped in a pattern that’s dysfunctional and relating to each other will become difficult.
How to fix this?

The key is good communication is these situations. Empathy needs to be developed so that you can understand your partner’s feelings and thoughts. Honest, open and empathetic communication generally is the key to a positive outcome. Spend the time needed to settle these issues so as to strengthen the relationship. If this is executed effectively, separateness becomes togetherness; at least togetherness of thought anyway and when you have that, you can work out almost any issues you will have in your relationship. 

Monday, 6 January 2014

Maintaining Individualism in Marriage

You remember that “chemistry” that pulled you together? Then after dating, things got more serious and relationship was built. There was this excitement of realizing that this person has a lot of the qualities you want from a partner. Things might even grow more from there; the decision is made to marry, and start your lives together. The aim is to build a solid relationship; complementing each other, focusing on each other, and then having children if that is the plan.
All of a sudden, there is now a routine to life; you and your partner have fallen so deep into the routine, individual self is lost. When two people marry, they now play and work together.  The Bible says they should leave their parents and become one. Genesis 2:24
Becoming one here means working together as a functional family, not getting so lost in the relationship that individual self is lost. The primary mission is working together to have a happy marriage. However, work must also be put into remaining the person your partner fell in love with while dating.
Before going into any relationship, figure out beforehand what is important to you. Ask yourself, what you value most; what are the things I will not change about me, to make a relationship work etc. For example, if a healthy lifestyle is a part of who you are, be determined not to give that up for the sake of a relationship.
Secondly, common interest in relationship undoubtedly contributes to keeping a relationship together. However, you should not be so invested in your partner’s interests that you forget about yours. This holds true too, for your children. You get so invested in taking care of their needs and interests that you forget about yours. This could lead to you resenting your partner and children.
Thirdly, this one was very good advice given to me by my best friend. Maybe not these same words but he said, if my marriage is not meeting some of my needs, then I should consider meeting them on my own. There is no relationship that will meet all your needs, maybe just about 80% of the time (my random guess). No matter how great your relationship is, it is up to you to ensure you find time for your interests as well. The individual you, will thank you for it.
Your individual integrity needs to be maintained if you desire a strong relationship. It helps to maintain that special spark that started your relationship. Additionally, it guards against being taken advantage of, or being controlled by your partner. Of course, as was mentioned, you might become resentful and end up pulling away from your partner.  So, do yourself and your relationship a favour and carve out a space for yourself; to be yourself.  

Friday, 3 January 2014

Difficult Truth's About the "Love Thing"

There is no guaranteed method to enter the love game, and it is definitely not foolproof, nor is there a “how-to guide” exists that’s universal or comprehensive. Unfortunately, this is true regardless of how many books (manuals) are on the market about relationships. All us bloggers and Authors (I’m getting there), have to offer are suggestions and philosophies that might have worked for a reasonable number of people. Each couple has their special love insanity brand, so no matter how great an insight is; it might not fit your relationship puzzle. 

It’s hard to digest that you can get bored and tired of love. We fail to mention that, despite how great the relationship is and how happy you are, there will be times you wish you were single again. You might even become really attracted to someone else that you lay eyes on; their voice, their smell as they walk by, and though there is no doubt you love your mate; you want the other person so much you almost become intoxicated. Yes, you may not act on this attraction (hopefully), but you hate yourself just the same.

It is highly likely that you will fall in the love trap of several “Mr. or Mrs. Wrong” before finding the right person. Each time you fall, in order to experience the true love of “Mr. or Mrs. Right,” you have to forget the hurt from past relationships and take with you the lessons learnt. You have to let yourself sober up completely, to really revel in the joys of love.

“Mr. or Mrs. Right,” is a mystery. This person technically, understands you, fit into your life’s framework, warm, supportive, keeps your anxiety to a minimum, etc. However, these criteria are extremely hard to find in just one individual, so you need to think carefully about what you are looking for. 
Another thing - there is no such thing as being ready for love. We sometimes make this huge hoopla about “being ready” and the “right time” to enter a relationship; this idea is nonsense. Yes, you are busy with school or starting a new career, but do you quit your job if you now decide to begin a routine workout? No, you make the necessary rearrangements in your schedule. The same should be for relationships; you make a mental, emotional and whatever other necessary “schedule” when someone comes along.
Finally, heartbreak should equal a good experience for you. The annoying optimists are right on this one; be appreciative of your heartbreaks,  look at them from a “bright side” perspective and use them as a stepping stone to doing things differently the next time around. Hey, no one said it would be easy, but it sure is fun, especially when it is right. 

Thursday, 2 January 2014

New Year Resolutions: Marriage and Relationship

We all do it; well most of us anyway, make New Year resolutions. This New Year, I am positive it’s no different. We should also make resolutions to improve our relationships and marriages. If you have not already made New Year’s resolutions in this area of your life, these are my suggestions. 

Quality Time Together is Necessary
As we try to work on our other resolutions; as couples, too often we are too busy taking care of other things and often times do not spend enough time and effort in quality alone time together. I am suggesting more date nights this year, arrange for a baby sister, if you have children and use the time to reconnect and fall in love with each other again. Money should not be an issue, quality time alone at home after putting the children to bed will also be appreciated by your spouse.

Forgive Quickly and Forget Always
If you have things you need to apologize for from the past year, do so ASAP! Leave the grudges behind and start the New Year afresh. Be mindful not to bring up past grievances, remember to forget after forgiving. This will make you and your spouse happier.

Approach the Throne of God Together
Seem like I bring him up a lot in my posts, but no doubt he is absolutely necessary in our relationships. It’s very special hearing my husband talk to the Lord about my issues. It means he is listening and/or pays attention. An added bonus; the bond in marriage is strengthened, unity is encouraged, and marriages are changed for the best. The list could go on.

Upgrade the Bedroom
When I say this, yes I mean improve on your sex life. But I'm also suggesting maybe redecorating the bedroom. Change the wall colour to a warmer colour, new bedding, curtains etc. If the bedroom is warm and inviting, I'm sure everything else sexually will improve.

Say the Words “I Love You” Daily
Though this is important, your actions must reflect the truth in your words. It’s nice to be reminded you are loved, especially if you are not in a good mood.

No two relationships or marriage is the same. So, I encourage couples to adjust their New Year’s resolutions according to their special needs and wants.