Archive for the 'Relationships' Category

Don’t Lose Sight..

Raising a child is hard, but harder still is not losing sight of your partner in the process. With the high demands children place on your attention, time, and energies, it is easy to fall into the habit of tumbling into bed in exhaustion without a thought for your partner. Children are a blessing to any union but don’t forget how they got there in the first place. Eventually the center-of-your-world will grow up and leave the nest and then it’s just you and your partner again — seems like it’d be a good thing to keep that relationship alive.

Make a date. Date nights are hugely important. They don’t always have to be a “go out” on a date that isn’t always financially viable. If you can’t find a sitter or pay the exorbitant price of an evening movie with dinner once or twice a week, then have your date in. Eat a light snack when you feed the kids dinner and after they’ve gone to bed sit down to a romantic candle light dinner and then cuddle on the couch to a movie.

Do things together. It doesn’t always have to be about romance. Find something the two of you like to do and when the children have gone to bed, do the activity together. Play board games, video games, cards, anything that involves the two of you spending time together with which you can visit as well.

Spice it up. If you and your partner are into board games or cards add a little zest to the mix. Make it sexy, play for clothes, and fantasies. I invented a wicked game of adult Scrabble and a die. The rules are simple, after each complete turn, the person with the least amount of points takes off an item of clothing. What’s that you say? Scrabble takes a long time to play and you eventually will run out of clothes. I thought of that. After your clothes are gone then you roll the die three times. The first roll is for the body part (make a list one through six. I just did a list of three and repeated it). The second roll is for what activity that body part is engaged in. The third roll is for the length of time. When the game is over the winner gets the grand prize of having a fantasy or something they’d like fulfilled. Sounds like fun, right? Something like that can be done with anything if you just put your mind to it.

Hold hands. Don’t forget to touch one another even if it’s a simple hand holding or hand around the waist. Nothing says, “Hey I’m here and thinking about you,” than a simple touch. It’s not possible to touch your partner all the time but it’s easy to throw it in throughout the day — when you walk by them pat their rumps, caress their shoulders, or lightly brush against them.

Notes and love letters. Little notes in your partner’s lunch or love letters left where they can find them are an easy way to let your partner know they’re on your mind. In this highly electronic age it’s easy to flash your partner an e-mail. It can range from a just thinking of you message to a naughty this is what I’d like to do to you/for you message.

Relationships take a lot of work when you are just a couple and they take exponentially more when you bless your partnership with a child. Don’t lose sight of each other eventually you’ll be left to your own devices again and if you haven’t “seen” each other in eighteen or so years you just might know what to do.

Posted in Uncategorized, Relationships, Building and Maintaining, Marriage, Sex | No Comments »

Bad Valentine’s Day Gifts

This year, when your husband hands you a gift that you would rather not have, restrain yourself from giving him the look of death. I know, I know, many women will wonder why they should not tell him to take that emergency car survival kit and put it where the sun doesn’t shine.

“Julie, don’t you watch television? Look at all of the diamonds! Chocolate! Roses! Shouldn’t he know better??

The straight answer is, “Yes, he does.?

Now, before you get all smug and think that I agree with the media’s over exposure of candy and flowers, I do not. Men know better than to fall prey to the marketing campaigns. At least, in their minds. You see, will a few flowers or chocolates keep you warm if your car breaks down in a freak winter storm? Can a diamond jumpstart your battery? God forbid you need to change a tire! What man in their right man would leave the woman he loves without a safety net?

Men think differently than we do. Often, when a man buys a gift, he has practical thoughts. ‘Can she use this?’ is probably the top question in his mind when looking for a gift. Your husband (or boyfriend) is really not trying to insult you. He wants to give you something that he found himself, something that you will use for a long time and maybe, just maybe think of him when you do.

Chocolates and roses will be eaten and die. Heck, you might leave those chocolates in the kitchen and forget about them, especially if he buys a huge box. A diamond, while beautiful, might just be left in a jewelry box to gather dust. If you have children, often this is exactly what will happen to any jewelry that mothers receive. I do not know how often my friends with small children have told me they loved the gift their husband or boyfriend purchased, but could not wear it.

So, in a mans mind, what is the point?

This Valentine’s Day, take a deeper look into that gift that you normally would scorn. Think of the motivation behind it, smile, hug your man, and tell him how thankful you are to have a husband thinks of you.

Posted in Uncategorized, Relationships, Holidays | No Comments »

The Secrets of Happily Married Women

Recently I was introduced to a very nice representative who works publicizing books. I was in search of a specific book to offer as a prize on another blog I work for, but Lauren, the representative, offered two books that may benefit readers here at Family Resource.

The first book that I am reading is The Secrets of Happily Married Women by Dr. Scott Haltzman. A short exerpt from the press release has this to say about the book:

“Dr. Scott Haltzman is a marriage counselor as well as a professor of psychiatry at Brown University. Drawing on extensive research and clinical experience, Dr. Haltzman claims that women can achieve marital bliss by working on their marriages LESS. “

When it comes to relationship books and gurus, I am a skeptic. No book has ever spoken to me on a personal level or really hit on a specific issue in my marriage. Until now. The Secrets of Happily Married Women grabbed my attention from page one. Each section in this book has something to say to me and the way Dr. Scott handles this subject is amazing. It is like having him in the room, talking to me and revealing the inner workings of his own mind as a male.

The book arrived early this week and from the first chapter I began putting his advice to work for me. There is nothing hard about using the book or its advice. You really do Work Less. I have seen a major improvement in my husband’s communication to me and our general mood. The really interesting part is that I have not spoken one word to my husband about this book or using the tools I have learned.

This book is one that every single woman in a relationship should have. I can promise you that if you read this book and follow the advice within, you will see an amazing change in your attitude towards your mate. No bookshelf should be without it.

Visit the site! http://www.happilymarriedwomen.com/

Posted in Uncategorized, Relationships, Building and Maintaining | 2 Comments »

Motivational Monday: The Glad Game

Forget injuries, never forget kindnesses. -Confucius

I’m trying really hard with this one today. It seems that people are more inclined to remember injuries and to be honest, I’m one of them. Learning to let go of personal injuries to the emotions is a hard lesson, but not impossible. Lately I’ve been playing the ‘glad game’. Remember PollyAnna? If you’ve never read that book, take a chance and read it.

The ‘glad game’ is taking the time to think of ways to be glad over everything that happens to you. The harder it is, the better it is for your soul. For example…you didn’t get the promotion you wanted or a job you wanted didn’t come through. Well, perhaps you can be glad that you don’t have to spend the extra time on the job and you can spend it with your loved ones instead. Maybe you need eyeglasses, but you can be glad you are not blind, and so on.

The Glad Game is hard, but easier than living with constant regret.

Posted in Conflict and Anger, Character Development, Mental Environment, Stress Management | No Comments »

Motivational Monday:Love

“Love begins at home, and it is not how much we do…but how much love we put in that action.”-Mother Teresa

Love

Often times we wonder if we are spending enough time with our families. A phone call to mom, a walk with the kids, a quiet dinner with our partner. All of the demands our busy lives place on us cuts down the precious moments we share with the ones we love the most.

We may not be able to change our schedules to make more time in some cases and nature will not allow another hour to be added to our day. What we can do is make the time we spend with our families full of love. Take a few moments to say ‘yes’ to reading just one more story at bedtime, ‘yes’ to a short walk, and ‘yes’ to cuddling with your partner for five extra minutes in the morning before work. Here is a great article on love and how to keep it going in your relationship. Love Will Keep Us Together.

Before you turn out the lights in your child’s room, say ‘I love you’ one more time. Make it a habit to look into your partner’s eyes when you tell them you love them, so it becomes a habit to make a connection with one another; instead of a habit to just say the words. Just one extra thoughtful moment for each person you love each day will make your life more full of what every human needs: love.

Posted in Parenting, Relationships, Building and Maintaining, Cohabitation, Communication, Marriage, Daily Living | 2 Comments »

Stay In Touch: Virtual Scrapbooking

Most people are familiar with blogging and also with family websites. You keep a diary for your family to visit, catch up on your activities, see pictures of your little ones, and maybe leave comments. But have you though of a combined family blog?

With different free blog platforms such as Blogger and Wordpress, you can add authors to your blogs. I recently began a blog for everyone to keep in touch. My family is accustomed to visiting my blogs (like this one) and just seeing what I am up to or check out an upcoming magazine article to find out where I am next. But, that’s a little one sided. I want to read about my aunt’s trips to Las Vegas, see my cousin’s latest beach pictures, and find out about my uncle’s falconry exploits. And I don’t want to have to add 500 more blogs to my Google reader.

blogshot.jpg

So, I started a new blog and sent out invitations for each of them to become authors. It’s really hard for us to keep in touch, but thanks to email, I had three people signed up in less than 24 hours. I already have a slideshow posted for everyone to comments on and the nice part is, I can’t wait to see what is going to be there tomorrow.

Families lose touch way too easily. Why not start a new blog and invite your loved ones to blog with you and make your life an interactive experience again?

Here are some articles with more ideas on how to enjoy your family.

The Benefits of Telling your Story

Family Vacation

And Just for fun, because my grandma did this sort of thing to me, I present: Butter Fried Krispy Kreme Donuts.

Posted in Lifestyles, Relationships, Building and Maintaining, Daily Living | No Comments »

Kindle Some Passion.

Holding It Together

With the overextended schedule many couples have these days, is it any wonder that no one has time for sex? Shuttling the kids to school, after school activities, working differing schedules, all of this leaves little to no time for couples to be as intimate as they were dating. Sex is the first thing to go, it seems, when everyone is tired. And sex is the superglue of marriages; when the intimacy deteriorates, everything else will as well.

You may feel too tired to put any effort into reviving a seemingly lifeless love life. But the end result will surprise you. A little extra effort on the part of one partner can go a long way. Instead of the functional goodbye kiss, why not slip a little passion into it? Surprise your partner by letting them know you really /will/ miss them. A sexy wink afterwards can only ignite wonder and a reciprocating spark.

Sneak a sexy note into their briefcase or lunch. If this is a bad idea, in case of it falling out in front of a boss, then write a sexy email and send it to your partner’s personal inbox. If they enjoy television after all the kids are in bed, grab a snack and cuddle up to them. Feed your partner little bites of the snack, because food, like sex, is a basic need and can be very sensual.

If you live in an area where you can sit and watch the heavens, try it. Spending time with your loved one under the stars can help you connect. You can find a lovely photo of a meteor and a link to information about the Persids, here. A meteor shower is something wonderful to share together. How many wishes can you both make?

You will find that if you take just a little time to do these little things, your own passion will grow.

For more ideas, take a peek at what I’ve found!

The Impact Of Intimacy

6 Tips For Keeping Spark Alive In Your Marriage, After Children

Relationship Glue

Posted in Parenting, Dating, Marriage, Sex, Divorce and Separation, Stress Management | No Comments »

Men & Women

Heather Havrilesky had some insightful and funny words about men and women in her “I Like to Watch” column in Salon.

Men and women are different. Thank god we’re all old enough to know that now. Thank god we no longer waste our time asking each other impossible questions, like “Why can’t we communicate soulfully, like Gwyneth Paltrow probably does with Chris Martin? Why can’t you smell that smell that I’m smelling? Where are your pants? What’s that on your face? Are you insane or just very stupid? Should I have another margarita?”

If only we knew when we were younger what we know now, that men and women come from different planets, both of them spilling over with their own distinct clichés. Women can try to date touchy-feely types who fold their clothes neatly and put stuff away and meditate, men can try to date “SportsCenter”-watching, back-slapping gals who know how to “hang,” but the divide between the sexes is still too great. Women like to overanalyze, digress, split hairs, muse, contemplate, obsess. Men like to stare at pictures of ass cheeks.

Eventually we figure it out: “I already have to spend the rest of my life with me, why would I want to spend the rest of my life with another person who’s just like me? Isn’t one of me enough?” Ask any gay man: Communing with a like-minded soul mate is no walk in the park. Better to cohabitate with a complete alien whose odd habits and non sequiturs confuse and confound you, since these endless differences will distract you from your own flaws, thus freeing you up to luxuriate in the comfort of self-righteous indignation for the balance of your days on Earth. Dr. Phil be damned: Intimacy is a small price to pay for always being right!

Posted in Relationships, Marriage | No Comments »

The Sports Fanatic

I grew up playing sports and loving sports as a child. I even played football and water polo throughout high school — winning the state championship in water polo my senior year. As a boy, I was greatly influenced by my social environment to not only love sports, but to also worship them. I worshiped them through clothes, conversation and the way I spent my leisure time.

Sports always seemed to be like the weather — it was something that anyone could talk about at anytime. It also let the other person know that you’re okay — a regular, normal person.

Like most Americans, I spent my weekends in front of the TV watching football, got excited as the Super Bowl approached and was depressed when the season was over. I found, like I did with video games, that I wasted a huge amount of my time watching and talking about it.

As I got older (during my mid-twenties) I started to have aspirations for more meaningful things — writing, starting new businesses, psychology, etc… As my pursuits were juxtaposed to sports, it soon became clear just how completely meaningless professional sports were/are. I began to ween myself off of sports — avoiding games on TV, checking scores on the Internet and conversations about sports.

Removing professional sports from my life allowed me to spend more time with my family, read more and focus on the things that I wanted to accomplish in life. It also made me stand out socially — not something I was going for, but it was unavoidable. When people would strike up conversations with me about an athlete or a big game, I would have no idea what they were talking about. I tried to act like I had some clue of what they were talking about, just to avoid the awkwardness, but once they figure out that I was clueless, they generally gave me an emasculated response. It wasn’t with their words, but more with their facial expressions. It was usually an “are you a real man?” look.

I say all of this, because a recent article about a woman inducing birth early so her husband could go to a football game absolutely perplexed me. For me, I see a man who has devoted his time, money and energy into loving something that’s absolutely meaningless — an NFL team. The NFL is a giant commercial outfit designed to solely make money. It’s the antithesis of intellectualism and attaches itself to the tribal mentality of human beings — belonging to something and conquering all others. The problem is that like most things, it’s make believe. What happens after someone wins the Super Bowl or any other game for that matter? Nothing. At its best, it’s a distraction (which we all need to some extent). But to make it as important as things that have meaning, like a new baby and the health of your wife, is shamefully pathetic and off balance.

I’m not anti-sports. It doesn’t mind me that people are interested in sports and spend time watching and attending games. However, like anything that’s ultimately meaningless, it should never take precedence or equal importance to the things that truly matter in life.

Posted in Lifestyles, Relationships, Daily Living, Mental Environment | No Comments »

Baa Baa Black Sheep

Thursday we migrated to my inlaws’ turf in Pensacola.  We had a beautiful family Christmas on Friday and then a huge party on Saturday for my mother-in-laws 60th birthday… They are a very “historic” and involved family in P’cola - we celebrated at the Yacht club which was, suprisingly, not the least bit fluffy or snooty (which were my own misguided stereotypes).  That’s the neat thing with “old” southerners with prestige or community clout - they have no care to act like people with prestige or community clout.. They are people who have worked hard to get what they have and are loving every minute of life and loving every minute of the people around them.  Such a massive difference from the people in Nashville with money or prestige, but damn my new year’s resolution of not saying anything negative unless absolutely necessary (which, never you fear,  I will take great liberty with)…. I had a blast and fell more in love with my husband’s family than I was before.

But. 

But.  But.  But.  There is the instance of the sisters-in-law (John’s sister and brother’s wife).  I’ll just say, we’ve come a long way.  What started out as a friendly and fond courtship between the women in the family, turned ugly for a few years and we are just now pulling out.  I hope, anyway.  I’ve wracked my brain and I honestly can’t figure out where the hate came from.  But trust me, it was bordering on hate..  John swears that it has nothing to do with me (excepts it’s aim) but that, unfortunately, they have both had bad experiences in the family and haven’t gotten over them.  I can’t say.  All I can say is that it would be nice to not be the outsider, as far as the women in the family go.  The fact is, they are all older either in years or in lifestyle and, even though we are in different places in our lives and I am completely comfortable with that, it seems, they are not. 

They have been a collective of married people raising kids for the last ten years - taking vacations together, living in the same town, sharing all levels of life experiences - and it seems, they are not ready to let anyone else into that fold - especially if that person if younger and of an entirely different ilk than them.  So, I find myself pulling back a lot from them and giving all my energy to John’s parents whom I am blessed to be wholly embraced by - which, I’m afraid, probably only makes matters worse.  I will just take a deep breath, try to reflect on mistakes I may have made and try very hard to be myself around them, even though they make it hard.. I never get nervous around people damn it, and 9 times out of 10, if someone doesn’t like me I wouldn’t think twice about it (honestly, it just doesn’t happen.. I know that sounds so egocentric, but I really do get along with people so well…).  But this is my husband’s family and it does matter.  A lot.  Because I respect them. And, I’ll admit, I never once thought that it would be like this.  I thought that I would finally have women to be a family with - to be tight with and strong for and vulnerable in front of..   But I can’t force myself into a picture that they want to keep all to themselves…  All I can do is be mindful of what I say without indulging in the great desire to keep entirely to myself and leave it alone all together.  Happily though, and on a positive note, the rest of the family and I adore each other.  The aunts and uncles and cousins always have and always will have huge open arms for me..  So, why should the fact that these two women aren’t interested bother me so much?  Can’t tell you.  All I can tell you is that I guess, maybe, it seemed like (in my weird, overly literary mind) getting married was like joining a tribe - and in that tribe you have a group that you belong.  And, it seems, my group doesn’t want me.  And, I can get all tough and say “well, who wants to be in their stupid ‘Creative Memory’ selling, church fundraiser crap life anyway?” - but that’s not the truth in it.  The truth is that, even though we don’t have a lot in common as far as lifestyle goes, we are really working toward the same goal.  And, when did lifestyles matter so much in a family?  I thought the whole point was to be a part of something much greater than miniscule day to day matters - I thought the idea was to be in a family with people who could bring you up and make each other wiser for the wear… Maybe I am just a kid with far fetched ideas about how the world is supposed to be and how it can be better.. Maybe their right… and maybe that’s why they can’t let me in… But I just don’t want to believe it. 

Posted in Relationships | No Comments »

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