Jul 1 2009

10 Things Happy Couples Do


Practice, practice, practice.

1.  Go to bed at the same time. Remember the beginning of your relationship, when you couldn’t wait to go to bed with each other? Happy couples resist the temptation to go to bed at different times. They go to bed at the same time, even if one partner wakes up later to do things while their partner sleeps.

2.  Cultivate common interests. After the passion settles down, it’s common to realize that you have few interests in common. But don’t minimize the importance of activities you can do together that you both enjoy. If common interests are not present, happy couples develop them. At the same time, be sure to cultivate interests of your own; this will make you more interesting to your mate and prevent you from appearing too dependent.

3.  Walk hand in hand or side by side. Rather than one partner lagging or dragging behind the other, happy couples walk comfortably hand in hand or side by side. They know it’s more important to be with their partner than to see the sights along the way.

4.  Make trust and forgiveness your default mode. If and when they have a disagreement or argument, and if they can’t resolve it, happy couples default to trusting and forgiving rather than distrusting and begrudging.

5.  Focus more on what your partner does right than what he or she does wrong. If you look for things your partner does wrong, you can always find something. If you look for what he or she does right, you can always find something, too. It all depends on what you want to look for. Happy couples accentuate the positive.

6.  Hug each other as soon as you see each other after work. Our skin has a memory of “good touch” (loved), “bad touch” (abused) and “no touch” (neglected). Couples who say hello with a hug keep their skin bathed in the “good touch,” which can inoculate your spirit against anonymity in the world.

7.  Say “I love you” and “Have a good day” every morning. This is a great way to buy some patience and tolerance as each partner sets out each day to battle traffic jams, long lines and other annoyances.

8.  Say “Good night” every night, regardless of how you feel. This tells your partner that, regardless of how upset you are with him or her, you still want to be in the relationship. It says that what you and your partner have is bigger than any single upsetting incident.

9.  Do a “weather” check during the day. Call your partner at home or at work to see how his or her day is going. This is a great way to adjust expectations so that you’re more in sync when you connect after work. For instance, if your partner is having an awful day, it might be unreasonable to expect him or her to be enthusiastic about something good that happened to you.

10.  Be proud to be seen with your partner. Happy couples are pleased to be seen together and are often in some kind of affectionate contact — hand on hand or hand on shoulder or knee or back of neck. They are not showing off but rather just saying that they belong with each other.

These are excellent techniques to remember.  Any one of these is a step in the right direction.  All 10 of them together would be a slam dunk in your marriage relationship.

Top 10 List from an article by Dr. Mark Goulston, found on Oasis of Inspiration.

Jun 26 2009

Does It Feel Good?


For years we’ve heard, “If it feels good, do it”, and “It’s not hurting anybody so it must be alright”, and “You deserve a break today.”

Let me be clear here. I’m not opposed to feeling good, but not at the expense of doing good. Doing good is far more important than feeling good.

There are many who think that something is good because it feels good. They’re wrong. This is what babies do. Children do what feels good. Adults devise a plan and stick to it. Men especially need to be honorable enough to plan wisely, communicate their plans, and then keep their word.

There is much good to be done that doesn’t feel good in the doing. The self-sacrifice required to be a husband and father results in good, but nobody will tell you it feels good to be giving of yourself all the time. There are certainly times when I’d rather have some Me Time, but I’ve got to constantly make the grown-up decision not to. Why? Not because it feels good, but because it is good.

The kids need transporting, the broken needs fixing, the lights need to stay on, and the list goes on. When you’re the one in charge of making sure your family is running like a well-oiled machine, you don’t often have the option of doing what feels good. The family car requires maintenance or it will break down.

Luckily, men have some natural talents in that direction. I’m happy to go hunt, kill the Beast, and drag it home to my family.

It helps to keep in mind that sometimes the Beast looks a lot like dirty dishes or a pile of laundry.

Jun 10 2009

Leave It There


I don’t know about you, but I’m usually looking to get back into “Dad and Husband” mode after being at work all day.  Here’s a little trick I use to leave my work behind me when I’m home.

I’ve started using a sign post that I see every day on the road as a mental switch.  As soon as I see it, I know it’s time to sweep the troubles of the day out of my mind and get ready to be joyously attacked by small children.  While I may not be able to control the fleeting thoughts that jump into my brain, I know I control what I do with them and how they affect me.

So here’s what you can do.  Find a sign about 20 minutes from your house…ok, maybe 30…and after you pass it, get in the habit of not thinking about work any more and instead start thinking about what’s waiting for you at home.  It takes a while to form the habit and I’d be lying if I said I did it every time, but I’ve found it really does make a difference in my attitude when I get home.  I’m less likely to retreat to my cave and more likely to show my wife and kids the love they’ve been missing from me all day.

Give it a shot.