Wednesday, February 27, 2008

What Every Marriage Needs

Here are some of my relationship favorites - a few small things that every marriage needs:
  • A photograph of the two of you. Not a family photo . . . no in-laws. Just the two of you. Experts recommend using a picture that is less than five years old. No kids. No wedding photos. Ideally it’s a photo of the two of you doing something goofy. Yvonne knows I love having photos of the two of us all over the house. I especially love the one from last summer that shows us wiping out in the waves together at the beach. I even have that one on my computer screensaver. Every time you see your special photograph you will be reminded of your commitment to remaining a couple.
  • An inside joke. Without a sense of humor, your relationship will never survive. Your inside joke needs to be something very personal. Perhaps it’s a secret word for something, or a weird nickname. And this is important: it should make no sense to anyone but the two of you. Marriage counselors will tell you that when you share something that’s just between the two of you, it connects you.
  • A fair fight. Healthy disagreements should actually be a staple of your relationship. I know it sounds strange, but most experts I have interviewed agree that “no fighting” usually means that there are unresolved issues that will eventually explode. The key to a truly successful fight is to avoid sentences that begin with the word “you” — and never to sling insults. I’ve caught myself many times breaking the you rule, as in “you always” . . . or “you never . . . " That’s never productive. It’s always harmful. If your goal is to solve a relationship disagreement try using we instead of you. For example,resist the temptation to say “You never help around the house," say instead, “I think we have a problem with getting all the chores done. Can you help me come up with a plan that we can use?"

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Today's Quote

"The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another." ~ William James

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

What Are You Willing To Do To Be Happy?

Dr. Robert Holden, author of “Happiness Now” says chronic complainers like Reggie actually live in fear of happiness. Their condition—which he dubs “happy-chondria”—is based on a belief that any happiness carries an eventual fall and price.

Dr. Holden says the key to being happy is overcoming “destination addiction,” which he defines as “living in the not-now.” “It’s always about tomorrow, so you’re chasing ‘more,’ ‘next’ and ‘there,’” he says. “You promise yourself that when you get there, you’ll be happy. And I promise you, you won’t, because you’ll always set another destination to go for.” Instead, Dr. Holden says if you are unhappy with your life or looking to improve your score on the satisfaction test, there are two things you can do. “We have to learn to let go of our past, we have to give up all hopes for a perfect past. Let the past go, it’s gone.” After that, he says, “Take a vow of kindness. Be kinder to yourself and to others. “It’s never too late to be happy,” he says.

More here...

Monday, February 11, 2008

Controling Your Anger

The first step is to recognize that your anger is a problem. There are healthy reactions to frustrating situations and there are unhealthy reactions. Throwing things, hitting walls and hurting yourself are examples of unhealthy or inappropriate reactions. These are inappropriate reactions for many reasons but mainly because none of these will help you solve your problem and only serve to make the situation worse.

It is important to ask yourself what good comes out of acting the way you did. Did it solve anything? Did it change the fact that your brother destroyed your room? Did your mother give back your cell phone? Or, did your behavior make the situation worse in that you helped to further destroy your room with your damage to the walls?

A better way to deal with anger is to try to remain calm and even-tempered in every situation. Ideally, one should strive to be emotionally neutral in most situations. This is easier said that done but with practice you can learn to not overreact. If it is not possible to talk calmly with family members about your issues, seek professional counseling. You can learn strategies for dealing with difficult or frustrating situations so that you do not resort to hitting walls or hurting yourself.

It is possible that no one has taught you or modeled for you how to deal with anger and this in turn makes it difficult for you to know how to act. You can learn to change and react more appropriately but you might need someone to teach you. Try asking your parents (when you are feeling calm and rational) to help you learn how not to overreact and if you cannot talk to them, ask the school counselor.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

What To Tell Kids About Divorce

Divorce is extremely rough on adults. Can you imagine its impact on kids? In fact, there’s an estimated 1,075,000 children involved in divorced families. So what do you say and not say to kids when parents dissolve their marriage? Here’s some practical help.
  • Define divorce for your kids. You can help your child by telling them the truth about your divorce instead of hiding it.
  • Explain that divorce takes place after a husband and wife decide they can no longer live together and no longer want to be married.
  • Make sure your kids don’t think you’re divorcing them. From A Kid’s Guide to Divorce we learn children need to know that because their father is divorcing their mother, it does not mean he’s divorcing them as well. Even if the child lives with one parent, the parent who lives somewhere else is still that kid’s mom or dad only.
  • Tell your kids they cannot cause a divorce. Too many kids think they’re the cause of the divorce: if only they had better grades, had behaved better or helped more around the house, they could have kept their parents together. Make this perfectly clear to the kids: divorce is between moms and dads only.
  • Remind your kids they cannot fix a divorce. Your children may wish for you and your spouse to get back together or try some things to make it work, like acting like an angel at home to make mom and dad happy. That does not mean they will get back together.
  • Consult the various divorce sites concerning kids. Kids in the Middle is a non-profit organization that provides counseling, education and support for kids and families whose parents divorced. Bonus Families is a site offering kids and their families a place to go to share divorce experiences. Kids’ Divorce Help Page is one child’s view on how he made it through his parent’s divorce.Help your child through your divorce. For peace of mind pay attention to these tips on how you can help your kids through the divorce process.
  • Listen quietly. Children have questions and feelings about their parent’s divorce. Many parents have a hard time listening to their children talk without wanting to interrupt. Children need to be heard.
  • Reassure your children of personal safety. Kids are concerned once their parents divorce there will not be a place for them to live or enough food or clothing.
  • Don’t put your child in the middle . It is wise not to say anything negative about your ex within ear-shot of your child. Children must be able to love both parents. If there is information you feel you must know, go to your spouse and ask them directly and not through your child.
  • Make sure the kids know both parents love them. Just because dad and mom don’t have the same feelings of love for each other, that does not mean the kids are not loved.
  • Let them know who they will be living with. Keep the kids informed on any details that include them. Of course, how detailed you are about what is taking place depends on their age.
  • No blame should be assigned to either parent for the separation. It isn’t healthy for a child to think there is a good parent and a bad a parent.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Addicted to Stress?

At a time in my life when I could barely stay on top of my hectic schedule, I realized how addicted to stress I was. I also learned what I could do to make necessary changes to my lifestyle.

A friend of mine once said, “It’s much easier to stay out of temptation than it is to get out.” It’s the same with stress. Stay away. Think—really think—to yourself, "Is this stress really worth it?" Some stress is necessary and good, of course.

Any way you cut it, there is stress involved in being a parent. The rewards of raising healthy, happy kids are well worth a little stress; that’s a trade-off we’re willing to make. But not everything that stresses you out is worth the cost. And some good and worthwhile things — even parenting — cause more stress than they have to ... Click to read more.