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 21 2009

Happy Father’s Day!


I’d like to take a small moment to wish all you dads out there (and especially mine!) a Happy Father’s Day!

I know many who don’t have fathers. I understand there are many who, because of the way they’ve been treated, wish they didn’t. I also know that, Gloria Steinem’s wrongly-attributed quote to the contrary, fathers are needed.

Me and the boys

Me and the boys

Hear that?

Men are needed. Imperfect, struggling, failing men are needed and they need to commit to being better and constantly striving to improve.

So how do you do that? You remember that it’s not about you. You remember to lavish the love on your family that maybe you wish you’d receive, in whatever form they best like it.

Here’s the kicker though…do it with no thought of what you’re going to get out of it. In doing so, you will demonstrate your generosity and unselfishness. You will teach your sons how to work at the business of combining marriage and career. You’ll show your daughters what genuine, self-sacrificing love looks like.

The President has some Father’s Day thoughts that I think are important to check out. I don’t agree with much that he says, but there are some gems in there…most notably the last paragraph.

On this Father’s Day, I am recommitting myself to that work, to those duties that all parents share: to build a foundation for our children’s dreams, to give them the love and support they need to fulfill them, and to stick with them the whole way through, no matter what doubts we may feel or difficulties we may face. That is my prayer for all of us on this Father’s Day, and that is my hope for this nation in the months and years ahead.

Makes good sense and I wish him the best in his endeavors. There are many people that see President Obama as a good example and his overall echoing of Dan Quayle’s sentiments from 20-odd years ago, that fathers matter, is still true (here’s the wiki article if you’re interested).

Go use this Father’s Day as a springboard for the rest of the year. Make this your resolution day that you’ll recommit to your wife. You’ll educate yourself. You’ll grow.

Mar 27 2009

You’ve Found A Good Thing


You’ve got to understand as a man that when you marry the girl of your dreams, she wants to remain that. Long after she’s left her girlhood behind, she wants to know you’ll still pursue her. She wants to know you’ll love her with the same intensity and still greater depth than you did in the first heady days of your courtship.

How is this possible? How in the drudgery of daily existence, the constant press of work, the struggle to survive, the demands of needy kids, or the drive for personal space can a man find meaningful time for his woman? How can their relationship not just exist but truly prosper? What part can a (seemingly) relationally-challenged man play in leading his family? How can two people iron out their differences until they’re smooth and work back and forth, giving and taking until they’re finally synchronous with each other? Is there a way to fight fair? In fact, is there a way to remove the “fight” altogether and turn it into temporary disagreement with a permanent recognition of underlying good will, respect, honor, and love?

The answer to all of this is you’re in control, man. You’re leading the dance and your wife loves it when you’ve got the right moves, even when she’s in disagreement with you. She loves your ability to make peace and diffuse situations. She is more sensitive than you and feels little hiccups in the relationship more than you do. She loves it when you take care of business, but only because it’s a subset of you taking care of her. Even when you’re feeling disrespected by her, you can know that what she really wants is your love, care, and provision. Walk the tightrope of treating her voice as equal and leading by careful example, and you will find yourself a good thing, an amazing, devoted, grateful, happy wife.

It can be done. If you’re struggling, you can do it. If you’re doing it, you can do it better. Life is a wicked winding road that’s far easier to travel with your best friend. With a little patience and a few techniques, the rough spots won’t wreck the ride.