Monthly Archives: June 2016

All about the marriage

Is your marriage alive and well, or is it time to dial 911? Chances are the health of your relationship falls somewhere in the middle — slightly out of shape and tired. Unfortunately most of us tend to take the health of a marriage for granted. And we don’t realize how important a happy, healthy relationship is until it’s time for marital CPR.

Maintaining personal health requires work — exercise, good nutrition, rest and regular checkups. No one teaches us that the same kind of maintenance is also necessary in order to keep a marriage alive. Love between a parent and child is unconditional. Love between a husband and wife is not. As divorce statistics would indicate, an untended marriage falls apart too easily. The good news is that there are ways to make a marriage survive, and better yet, thrive.

Your Marital Diagnosis

There are warning signs or “symptoms” when your marriage is “under the weather.” Here are some key symptoms:

  • feelings of chronic resentment toward your spouse
  • lack of laughter between the two of you
  • desire to spend free time with someone other than your mate
  • too much time spent playing the “blame game”
  • conversations between you are laced with bitterness and sarcasm

 

Relationship Revival Program

Do any of these symptoms sound familiar? If so, it’s time to revive your marriage by following this program.

  • Make the marriage your priority, not an afterthought. Set aside regular time to be alone with your partner. If kids are in the picture, hunt for a “network” of trusted babysitters. If money is a concern, compare the cost of a night out with that of marital therapy or a divorce attorney! Get the drift? Start doing some of the things that used to bring you joy, and helped you to feel more connected. There are plenty of activities that you can do for free — a long walk, star gazing or window-shopping are all simple pleasures that can bring you closer together.
  • Resuscitate your romance. Remember how the sparks flew when you first met? It’s probably not too late to rekindle the embers. Surprise your spouse with a homemade Valentine (any day of the year!) and a bottle of champagne. Light up the bedroom with candles, or put a love note in his briefcase. Last but not least, initiate lovemaking. Passion is the glue in a marriage — it helps you feel close to your mate, and makes getting through rough times a lot easier.
  • Accept what you can’t change. Much marital strife is caused by the belief that you cannot be happy in your marriage as long as you must live with your partner’s bad habits or imperfections. Have you noticed that no matter how much you gripe and moan, these things don’t change? Rather than trying to control what you can’t, work around his quirks and focus on the positive. We all respond much better to praise than to criticism. And here’s the paradox: Sometimes when we stop fighting the way things are, they actually do change. No guarantees, but it’s worth a try.
  • Be attractive, inside and out. “Married” doesn’t have to mean complacent. Continue to learn and experience new things, and share these with your partner. Eat right, exercise, rest and make the most of your appearance. Doing these things is taking good care of yourself, but it’s also a way of showing your mate that you want to be your best and share yourself with him.

What the teenagers need to know about sex

Rory’s parents had discovered that Rory was sexually active and wanted to know how to handle his request to have Jen (his girlfriend) “sleep over” when they were planning to be out of town. They decided to talk it over with someone because they had different opinions. When Rory, who was now seventeen, had posed the question, he had told his parents that he had seen me and suggested that they call me.

Waiting between sessions, I could hear Susan’s and Mike’s raised voices on the path to my office as I sat working at my desk.

“This is the door to her office.”

“No, this way, over there!”

After a few minutes of this I decided to stand at my entryway to guide them.

Mike was a tall man with the same broad shoulders as his son, the football player. He looked like he knew where he was going, but he had already passed my office and was opening the door to the toolshed. Susan was still at the very top of the path. She was on her hands and knees, admiring an English ivy pushing its way out between two rocks. I thought she might be trying to take a cutting. I waved them both in.

Hurrying around my largest tree, Mike arrived first and shook my hand vigorously. “You need to post a map out there just to get around your backyard!”

“Good idea, it can be pretty confusing,” I said.

As we sat down inside, I could see what Rory meant when he said that his parents were in different places. Mike coughed and complained loudly for several minutes while Susan cleaned off her ivy cutting in the bathroom. She seemed oblivious to her husband’s frustration with the delay.

“That’s an unknown ivy, Dr. Ponton, very unusual. Thanks for letting me take some.”

Although Mike appeared eager to begin, I sensed that it would take some work with this set of parents to move into the topic of their son’s sexual behavior. And I was right. Nearly half the session went by before we were even close to the subject.

Then Mike let me know exactly what he was thinking. “It’s against my values to ever have this kid sleeping with some girl at our house. He says he’s not going to have sex, but you can’t trust him, Susan.”

“Mike, it’s his choice, his body. You can’t control everyone,” said Susan in a frosty voice that hid more than anger.

“I know I can’t control everyone, but it’s my house.”

“It’s our house, Mike.” I heard the tenor of her voice rise to meet his.

“Let’s see if I’ve got this straight. Mike, it is against your values for Rory to have a girlfriend sleep at your house. Susan, you have a different opinion. You think it might be okay under some circumstances. Mike, help me get the full picture here. What values does this violate?”

Taken aback by my question, Mike paused and stroked his beard. Susan smiled sweetly, seeing her husband on the spot. “Yes, dear, what values?”

“He’s a kid. He’s irresponsible, well, some of the time. And, simply put, I own the house. I can decide what goes on there.”

“That’s a value, all right,” snorted Susan.

“Susan, we probably wouldn’t even be here if you hadn’t encouraged him to sleep over at Jen’s house. Then he gets caught, and the Ludtmanns are not speaking to us.”

“Mike, you’ve got that wrong. I knew about it, but I did not encourage it.”

“Well, you didn’t tell me it was going on. I thought he was at some football camp until Jen’s dad calls me at the office, threatening to sue. I was left looking pretty stupid—sports camp, huh?”

Here Susan blushed and started fumbling in her oversize carryall.

“Susan, Mike, what was your communication like before this happened?”

Drying her eyes with a bunched-up Kleenex, Susan said, “Usually a lot better than this. After this situation with the Ludtmanns, everything has fallen apart.”

Women Can be More Assertive

download-51It’s not long ago that men were expected to do all the chasing and make all the decisions when it comes to dating. But how much has this changed in the 21st century?

A survey by DatingDirect.com suggests a new trend — women are becoming sassy and assertive, while men are remaining more traditional in their approach to courtship.

In the survey of over 2,000 people, women reported being less shy on dates than men (29 per cent versus 44 per cent), and making more effort with their appearance — half choose smart, sexy clothes on a first date, whereas 78 per cent of men go for the casual and relaxed look. Women also like to keep the finances on an equal footing. Seventy per cent prefer to split the expense of a date, or pay for themselves. However, 52 per cent of men believe it’s their time honoured duty to pay.

Darren Richards of DatingDirect.com concludes: “The rules of dating may be changing for some, but the concept is still as popular as ever.”

But what might be stopping you from taking the first step? Sometimes even very intelligent, funny, confident women don’t ask guys out because they believe that “it’s the man’s role”, or they fear rejection, scaring men off, or appearing too keen. But there is a whole generation of men who want women to make the first move, and feel that women should embrace the power and independence they now have. And in fact, some guys are just too shy, or don’t know what to say, or think that you won’t be interested.

But perhaps your lifestyle doesn’t bring you into contact with potential new partners. So consider widening your social circle — take up a new class, try out new clubs, get involved in political or volunteer activities. Also, don’t discount your current social network, because often friends, family and work colleagues are more than willing to help and will set up introductions if asked.

Other possible avenues include personal ads in newspapers and more specialized dating services to cater for your specific hobbies or preferences, guaranteeing that you share at least one common interest.

These days, the internet is increasingly used by modern singles to search for a compatible date. So join in discussion groups, forums and chat groups and put your dating skills into action. And in the arena of internet dating, women can be as forward as they like and either side can make the first move. Men report that they are perfectly happy to be approached by women and their supposed “male pride” isn’t hurt at all — quite the contrary!

In many ways, online dating is the ideal way to meet someone suitable, as you can quickly get to know a great deal about a person at no risk to yourself. It’s no small thing to be aware of the other person’s outlook on life, religion, sense of humor etc. before meeting up in person. Chatting in a safe environment encourages honesty and therefore compatibility, so may prevent a wide range of problems occurring further down the line.