*Article from Huffington Post
Thursday, December 22, 2011
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
What’s the one thing any couple needs to make their marriage stronger and more romantic? If you’re like most people surveyed recently, you’d say time together—and lots of it. But that isn't so, in a recent study of couples that had recently turned their marriages around and felt really close now hadn’t made any big changes like devoting entire evenings or weekends to being together. Instead, they’d simply started spending five-minute blocks of time together in rewarding ways. And you can follow their lead to improve your marriage! Here are some examples:
- Cuddle at the most important time of the day. "Most couples fit their cuddles in at the end of the day", says psychologist Judith Sherven, Ph.D. "but cuddling in the morning is even more rewarding." Why? "The physical contact will keep you feeling close to each other all day," she says. So go ahead and set the alarm five minutes early, then snuggle. "You can talk, but you don’t have to," she says. "The most important part is that you’re holding each other. It’ll help you both start the day feeling loved, and you’ll feel that way all day long."
- Ask each other one simple question before you head out the door. What is it? "Anything special going on today? Gottman discovered that talking about the daily details of our lives is just as important to couples as sharing hopes, dreams and fears with each other. "The nitty-gritty details determine a lot of how we act and feel on any given day, so asking about them is a great way to build understanding and rapport," Gottman explains. Then, when you’re together again at the end of the day, ask how that special something—that meeting, phone call to an important client or lunch with a friend went. The results? You’ll feel connected, Gottman says.
- Share what you like about each other. When a conversation about cars sprang up at a gathering with friends, Mary Gilman gave her husband credit for making their old clunker last with his TLC. "He looked so happy, I realized I should tell him more often how much I appreciate the things he does," says the 32-year-old sales representative from Tustin, California. "I didn’t think I had to tell him. I assumed he knew how much I appreciate him." The moral? If there’s something you appreciate about your spouse, from his/her parenting skills to the way he/she painted the bathroom last month, speak up! This proved so important to the couples Gottman studied that he recommends sprinkling five minutes of praise throughout each other’s day. If you start, he promises, you’ll enjoy the same treatment from your husband/wife. How does praise work? "It reminds people that their spouse loves them," Gottman explains. And knowing they’re loved "makes people more willing to iron out differences".
- Do small kindnesses for each other. The good we do for our partner tends to come back to us, says relationship expert James Sniechowski, Ph.D. "When you’re thoughtful to someone, they’re inclined to be thoughtful in return," he explains. "And those acts of kindness make for a loving feeling between two people." So pick up each other’s favorite dessert or clip articles you think your spouse might like. "The amount of love those small kindnesses will bring you is without limit," Sniechowski says.
The more five-minute connections you’re able to make, the better, says Gottman. Why? "Because the more good connections you make, the more money you’ll have in your joint emotional bank account, and the richer your relationship will be." But even just one five-minute connection a day can make for a happier marriage. So go ahead and spend five minutes on building a great marriage.
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Thursday, December 1, 2011
Therefore, here are a few practical tips.
- PREPARE – The ambush of emotions can attack at any time; prepare beforehand.
- ACCEPT the difficulty of this time of year and your loss. Remind yourself that it’s a season and it will pass.
- SOCIALIZE – Don’t hibernate. Insecure feelings may tempt you to isolate, but force yourself to go out even if it’s only for a short time.
- LOWER your expectations – Movies and songs paint an unrealistic picture of the holidays.
- DON’T ANESTHETIZE the pain with drugs or alcohol – Numbing emotional distress with chemicals creates more depression.
- TRIMMING – If old ornaments or trimmings cause too much pain, don’t hang them this year. Put them aside for another time.
- GET UP AND MOVE – Take care of your physical well-being. Healthy foods will give you strength; fattening and sugar-filled foods can worsen your depression. Exercise produces natural stress reducers.
- SHOP online if going to the mall is too stressful.
- COPING STRATEGY – Have the phone number of your counselor, pastor, church, close friend or hotline already taped to your phone. Make the commitment to call someone if negative thoughts get fierce.
- LIGHT – Get some sunshine. Winter can take its toll on your emotions by the loss of sun you experience.
- INVITE a friend to see a movie, have dinner or help decorate the house.
- SET BOUNDARIES – Precisely explain to your family and friends what you are capable of doing this year, and what you aren’t. Don’t let others guilt you into taking on more than you can handle.
- REACH OTHERS by discovering people who might be alone during the holidays.
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